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Comments by SPS

Go to: Message to American Atheists

SPS's Avatar Jump to comment 131 by SPS

Keep fighting, Mr. Hitchens.

Wed, 27 Apr 2011 03:04:21 UTC | #619810

Go to: Hawking: God did not create Universe

SPS's Avatar Jump to comment 160 by SPS

I posted this comment at Huffingtonpost on a "what if there's evidence for god article". It's somewhat relevant, if not completely to this article's topic:

If understanding through knowledge takes precedence over faith, then there really is no place for god, because lack of understanding is never justification for practicing faith. Having something beyond your current understanding descend from the sky saying 'made by god' is only evidence for that lack of understanding. Beyond this, saying that scientific evidence can exist for a supernatural being beyond our understanding is contradictory. You cannot claim to understand something through evidence, then claim at the end that it can't be understood. So, again, there is no criteria met that can be considered proof. It's a bit like saying "Bob made this, so Bob is god", but you don't know anything about Bob or how he made something. All you've proven is that you've encountered something you don't understand, and attributed qualities to Bob without understanding Bob, or in the end why those qualities you believe to be true are true, i.e. omniscience, omnipotence, etc.

Updated: Sat, 04 Sep 2010 04:41:16 UTC | #511043

Go to: A response from Shermer

SPS's Avatar Jump to comment 24 by SPS

From Shermer's article at Huffingtonpost: "This gets to the point of my work in evolutionary economics (the subject of The Mind of the Market). The evolved psychology behind trade does, in fact, makes us better people. Nonzero exchanges between strangers ("you give me that which I want and I'll give you this which you want")..."

He forgot to include the third guy who gets screwed over by both of them. This is also part of trade.

When a capitalist's/trader's main concern is growing profits/materially, there's plenty of room for unethical behavior. This isn't very different from a religious adherent whose goal is to obey god by an act of charity one day and murder the next. Whatever benefits trade/capitalism may bring, there is something wrong with a system that is willing to leave people behind, considered deserving of their lot, for not being stand out participants in that imposed system. And, yes, capitalism is an imposed system. Capitalist systems are treated as the things to be protected and nurtured over the well-being of the populace. The benefits of capitalism need to be wrestled away from it, and taken in spite of it, rather than willingly provided by it. Anyone whose lived paycheck to paycheck, and this is likely a large percentage of people, knows that the main goal is to keep an income and not piss off your boss. Living to pay your bills, putting aside your thoughts, opinions, abilities, and essentially throttling back who you are to fit into an occupation so you won't have to live in the street is hardly freeing, despite the fact that you can buy x, y, z when you get paid. What Shermer seems to outline is positive change through trade, but more accurately there is positive change through lack of fear and want and an expansion of freedom. This needn't be achieved by capitalist reign or promotion of trade as a {pseudo)cure all. We are willing to seek solutions and make changes when something doesn't work the way we think it should, why should an economic system be any different?

Sat, 04 Sep 2010 04:26:09 UTC | #511041

Go to: Michael, we hardly knew ye

SPS's Avatar Jump to comment 20 by SPS

If morality exists, why would we need need money/capitalism to regulate and tell us what is moral and what is not? What kind of morality says "you'll feel the effects of morality when you participate in a (so called) free market, but not before then". It only serves to show us who is best at getting money/power, not who deserves things and services of value. It's a false means of sorting out people into categories, and justifying to yourself why you have something like healthcare coverage and the guy down the street does not.

Tue, 31 Aug 2010 01:56:13 UTC | #508323

Go to: "Everything happens for a reason"

SPS's Avatar Jump to comment 37 by SPS

Anyone can observe an upside from a terrible situation. It may have helped us to survive to be able to do this. Yes, everything happens for a reason, but not a planned reason, not a good reason - the reason we give and get from it. Many people who say terrible things happen for a reason, stink of a self-centered, almost cowardly selfishness, serving to insulate them from any effort to truly understand, and perhaps then be in a position to do something other than wait for the inevitable "meaning" to reveal itself. Connecting the dots between the tragic and the good doesn't take much imagination. We should try to prevent the tragic, rather than resign ourselves to waiting to see the good in it - and in practice that is exactly what we try to do.

Fri, 06 Aug 2010 05:13:18 UTC | #496523

Go to: Topic of Cancer

SPS's Avatar Jump to comment 87 by SPS

Beat this.

Fri, 06 Aug 2010 04:36:33 UTC | #496515

Go to: Atheist Billboards Vandalized In Sacramento Area

SPS's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by SPS

"Also Lost?" Bleh. Lame, vague, unspecific, and no problem breaking the law. Nice example. If you can't make your vandalism true, at least make it entertaining or artistic.

Tue, 02 Mar 2010 01:29:00 UTC | #445669

Go to: Atheists Love You. They Just Don't Know Why.

SPS's Avatar Jump to comment 78 by SPS

I have to wonder from what philosophical grounding does Dawkins’ altruism emanate? Why is other human life worth anything if there is no God? From what philosophical groundwork is he basing his good works on? Dawkins, it would seem to me, hasn’t defined his terms and is only borrowing our definition of “good.” Because without our definitions he’d have to ask the question, “What is good without God?” And that’s something I haven’t seen answered yet.

Philosophical grounding did not precede altruism. If philosophical grounding preceded behavior, why adhere to it? What is the motivation? You no more need philosophical grounding to be good than you do to know you don't like being punched in the face, and realizing most others don't, either. "Good" has never belonged to religion, so don't flatter yourselves.
“What is good without God?”
First, what is good with god? Good with god is fear. Good with god is the expectation of reward, and avoidance of promised punishment for specific behavior - both on a grand scale, limited only by the believer's imagination. None of this lends itself to owning the rights to "good". It is simply another instance of 'me right, you wrong', then sticking your fingers in your ears and refusing to hear anything else. Good with god is the equivalent of drawing a box around yourself, and then convincing yourself that if you step out of the box you'll fall of a cliff, and if you stay inside it you'll be fine, better than fine, you'll be rewarded because you're doing the "right" thing. Religion's version of 'good' is indeed inferior, because it does not allow revision or examination without referring back to itself as the answer. I'll copy and paste from a post I made elsewhere as it is somewhat relevant here, as well:
Is there commonality of experience? Are there experiences which are preferable to others, and how do you bring them about? Do you have them and seek them only after contemplation of moral absolutes every time, and if not, why not? Why are there specific behaviors to be observed in non-human animals? How do you know the absolute you believe is the correct one? There is also a false assumption that a proposed absolute need be the only absolute with authority. Again, a problem specific to religion, as there could be any number of proposed eternal absolutes by any number of religions.

Wed, 20 Jan 2010 03:12:00 UTC | #433250

Go to: Genetic breakthrough hails new cancer research era

SPS's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by SPS

Good stuff. So many promising breakthroughs and technologies seem to fade into unfunded oblivion. I hope that's not the case here.

Thu, 17 Dec 2009 01:53:00 UTC | #423928

Go to: Biocentrism Demystified: A Response to Deepak Chopra and Robert Lanza's Notion of a Conscious Universe

SPS's Avatar Jump to comment 58 by SPS

My thought is that consciousness is the active correspondence seeking of scale and scales between one thing and another, which also results in a sense of time. Just a guess, of course.

Wed, 16 Dec 2009 02:24:00 UTC | #423751

Go to: Speed Limit To The Pace Of Evolution, Biologists Say

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Wed, 04 Nov 2009 18:33:00 UTC | #411179

Go to: Two White Guys Walk Into a Bar...

SPS's Avatar Jump to comment 20 by SPS

Let's move beyond faith versus reason.

Nah.Let's move beyond faith.

Fri, 23 Oct 2009 02:21:00 UTC | #407692

Go to: Unbelievable: From Atheism to Christian Faith

SPS's Avatar Jump to comment 128 by SPS

For all the juxtapositioning to fit it to reality, faith is ultimately unsatisfying, and can never serve to be an end in itself. It is more a light shone in the eyes to distract from the darkness of ignorance at the end of religion's tunnel. As an emotional buffer, it's effect is temporary. It is at best an emotional placeholder until you can grasp onto something real, and its use less a means of perspective than a distorter of retrospect.

Wed, 16 Sep 2009 00:55:00 UTC | #397495

Go to: Majority of Americans Believe Health Care Reform 'Myths'

SPS's Avatar Jump to comment 196 by SPS

The problem isn't guns. It is that they are seen as a permanent solution. The problem is that many gun owners accept them as a cure to, rather than symptomatic, of unresolved issues. Not entirely unlike charities that wish to assist this group or that, they are indicative of a society that remains flawed, but one that is willing to accept the temporary fix and look no further.

Tue, 01 Sep 2009 01:25:00 UTC | #393516

Go to: Majority of Americans Believe Health Care Reform 'Myths'

SPS's Avatar Jump to comment 46 by SPS

People who are against health care reform to cover everyone need to realize they are not the freedom fighters they make themselves out to be. People are not islands unto themselves. We live in a society in which our actions or inaction will effect others. They seem blind to the fact they are also looking for consensus with like-minded people, like-minded people for whom it must be acceptable that millions will go uninsured, that people will die for lack of care, or be financially devastated when they can't cover their medical costs. It must be accepted by those who bemoan taxation to cover health care for everyone that this will be the cost of resistance to such a program. It should be clear that the market doesn't care about you, that the power of the consumer, especially when it comes to such essentials as health care, is grossly overestimated. Demanding that people get private health care insurance, or none at all, over a public option requires a conformity of its own, and requires compliance with the tyranny of a for-profit system under which your health is well behind the priority of making money - if it registers as a concern at all. It's been said that health care is not a right. So, considering this, which children would it be acceptable to let go untreated or die if they don't have the right to care? Which adults? Which poor? It appears that those who are so resistant to having others decide what will be done with their taxes are more than comfortable with inflicting their moral judgment on others.

Wed, 26 Aug 2009 01:38:00 UTC | #391663

Go to: Christian right aims to change history lessons in Texas schools

SPS's Avatar Jump to comment 24 by SPS

From the article:

"government exists primarily to protect God-given rights to every individual"

I forget my christian history - does he mean "god-give rights" like slavery or genocide? I get those two mixed up.

Now, if I remember the christian right cheer, it goes something like this, "Lie, deny, repeat." Altogether now "Lie, Deny, Repeat! Go Team!"

Link suggestion for site:
Left-clicking a link should open a new window or tab rather than re-directing from the current page. That's just my preference,though.

Wed, 22 Jul 2009 18:08:00 UTC | #381500

Go to: Real debates about faith are drowned by the New Atheists' foghorn voices

SPS's Avatar Jump to comment 172 by SPS


In the past, people knew we could say nothing about God.

For people who can't say anything they sure talk a lot.

Religious experience is not undefinable. It is wilfully unexamined by the experiencer. Bonds built by common experience remain common experience with or without the self-proclaimed authority of religion. Those reluctant to let go of religious story as hard truth may find that they actually fear lack of permanency and the presumed stability religion is supposed to bring.

Mon, 06 Apr 2009 18:47:00 UTC | #344906

Go to: Open-mindedness

SPS's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by SPS

Hi noahidios,

If you mean post it within an article thread, you just post the web address in your comment. But, I assume you mean an article, or video, or something, in which case you can e-mail the link to

You can take a look here:

Wed, 01 Apr 2009 16:58:00 UTC | #342684

Go to: Open-mindedness

SPS's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by SPS

Well said, video guy. A lot of good stuff covered in under ten minutes.

Wed, 01 Apr 2009 16:45:00 UTC | #342677

Go to: Happy Birthday Richard Dawkins!

SPS's Avatar Jump to comment 322 by SPS

Happy Birthday, Richard!

Thu, 26 Mar 2009 17:30:00 UTC | #340099

Go to: New Scientist flips the bird at scientists, again

SPS's Avatar Jump to comment 62 by SPS

Distortion of truth for profit? Oh, my. How unexpected.

Sat, 21 Mar 2009 20:08:00 UTC | #338111

Go to: I'm Not One Of Those 'Love Thy Neighbor' Christians

SPS's Avatar Jump to comment 265 by SPS


Thanks for taking the time. I've enjoyed our conversation. Maybe we'll take it up again later, but it's almost breakfast time. Got to go for now.

Sat, 22 Nov 2008 05:03:00 UTC | #274796

Go to: I'm Not One Of Those 'Love Thy Neighbor' Christians

SPS's Avatar Jump to comment 264 by SPS

And in years to come we will be close to some other advance, and so on, and so on - I hope. I don't think we have seen all there is to be seen, or know all there is to be known.
To me, that's the only assumption that need be made.

Sat, 22 Nov 2008 05:00:00 UTC | #274793

Go to: I'm Not One Of Those 'Love Thy Neighbor' Christians

SPS's Avatar Jump to comment 262 by SPS

Undetectability can result by the limits of our instruments, by intention, or natural occurrence, or variations thereof.

Villages in Africa see planes flying over.

Yes, but believing they're gods wouldn't be quite accurate:)

Sat, 22 Nov 2008 04:47:00 UTC | #274785

Go to: I'm Not One Of Those 'Love Thy Neighbor' Christians

SPS's Avatar Jump to comment 259 by SPS


I don't think they would need to be hiding. They would only need to be unrealized by us, undetected. We don't see things at the atomic level naturally, but we know they're there, and not because we were happy in our knowledge before being able to do that.

But all members of an alien civilization would have to feel like that all the time.

Well, how many residents of London go to live permanently with a village in Africa each year? I don't think exploration has to equate to colonization.

Sat, 22 Nov 2008 04:27:00 UTC | #274777

Go to: I'm Not One Of Those 'Love Thy Neighbor' Christians

SPS's Avatar Jump to comment 257 by SPS


I'm saying that it needn't be an option of either 'ground' or 'hyperspace'. I'm saying we haven't reached the limits of inquiry which may change our perspective on what we know today.
We can either extrapolate based on our current knowledge, and close the book on further inquiry, or we can go forward.

You mean that absolutely no-one in that race would ever want to take a trip to the stars?

No. Basically, I'm saying the need to explore, to find out, makes more sense than the need to set up camp wherever one finds oneself.
Let's say you live in a country where everything is as you think it should be, essential needs are met, etc. You take a boat ride across the ocean for the knowledge it might bring and curiosity's sake. You find other lands, civilizations, and people, but nothing that would compel you to take up residence there, and nothing that would better meet a need than you would find in your own country. You return home with what you have learned, but you haven't necessarily left your mark on where you've been, or felt the desire to spread across the new area you have seen.

Sat, 22 Nov 2008 04:02:00 UTC | #274770

Go to: I'm Not One Of Those 'Love Thy Neighbor' Christians

SPS's Avatar Jump to comment 253 by SPS

Comment #288269 by Steve Zara

Suppose you come across a vast field of grass. The only footprints you see are your own. With your telescopes you can see the grass for miles and miles around. Someone questions if others have been walking around. You see no footprints. And then, the arguments start .... "they have been walking on stilts"... "before they walked, they developed ways to hover above the grass".

That is the level of argument we sometimes see from those who support the idea of alien space-faring life.

Good example, Steve. But, you would also be remiss to think the correct questions have been asked or the correct instruments have been used, or that you have reached the limits of your own understanding. The evidence may lay in the ground, or across the sea. Maybe you need a shovel and not a telescope. There is no supposition necessary that would be on par with assuming the existence of the supernatural. To me, the search for alien intelligence is no more an act of blind faith than is the building of the Large Hadron Collider.
As has been mentioned, we are here. An advanced, long-lived alien race no longer struggling to survive, may be limited in its drive for reproduction. An alien race not threatened by its own members, and finding itself the master of all around it, may find no reason, need, or urge to expend any effort to colonize across the galaxy. I find the urge to explore far more plausible than the urge for continuous colonization.

Fri, 21 Nov 2008 16:02:00 UTC | #274528

Go to: I'm Not One Of Those 'Love Thy Neighbor' Christians

SPS's Avatar Jump to comment 178 by SPS


Maybe. But it'd be ashame not to look, eh'

Fri, 21 Nov 2008 10:21:00 UTC | #274373

Go to: I'm Not One Of Those 'Love Thy Neighbor' Christians

SPS's Avatar Jump to comment 173 by SPS

Why assume we know how alien civilizations harness power, or that a particularly long-lived alien race would hold a continued interest in reproduction and colonization'

Fri, 21 Nov 2008 10:12:00 UTC | #274367

Go to: I'm Not One Of Those 'Love Thy Neighbor' Christians

SPS's Avatar Jump to comment 60 by SPS


Be prepared for advice to be wrong - a lot. Sometimes it will be best to take your own counsel and dispatch with the rest. In either case, no advice is beyond reproach, and will be valued in the light of understanding.

Happy Birthday!

...and it can help to have a sense of humor.

Any thread is about whatever someone posts about and others pick up on, not always the article or topic at hand.

By the way, love The Onion!

Thu, 20 Nov 2008 16:43:00 UTC | #273981