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Comments by epeeist

Go to: The raw deal of determinism and reductionism

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Comment 229 by susanlatimer :

It makes me wonder how useful the word consciousness is. When we are talking about the fact of and the nature ofanything.

It is probably reification, just because we are conscious does not entail that something called "consciousness" actually exists except as an abstract concept with which we can associate properties.

Sun, 22 Jul 2012 09:31:24 UTC | #949813

Go to: Mandatory religious worship in schools

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Comment 5 by raytoman :

Where did you get the stupid idea that there are few religious people in the UK?

Well you could try the 28th British Social Attitudes Survey on the subject. 50% of people were of "no religion" and of the rest some 56% never attend a service or meeting. Only 14% attend weekly.

Wed, 04 Jul 2012 10:26:18 UTC | #948547

Go to: Mathematics: stupid and clever questions for people who understand

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Comment 50 by Teknical :

If 'infinity' is a number and 1, 3, 5, 7, is half an infinity because half of the numbers are missing and I imagine it would be expressed as 'infinity' divided by 2.

If you write all the cardinal numbers down in a row and then the odd numbers underneath, like so:

1 2 3 4 5...

1 3 5 7 9...

You can see that you can match each of the numbers on the second row to one on the first row, thus the two have the same cardinality, i.e. aleph zero

Sat, 02 Jun 2012 10:10:18 UTC | #945172

Go to: So what's the goal with theism?

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Comment 169 by bobcat1 :

Who keeps the "official" record? How do you calculate that, 24 million, number?

How about this page since it gives population since the time of "creation" and a figure at the time of "the flood". Of course there are other estimates. I would like to ask a couple of questions if I may.

  1. Let's take a figure of 25 million or so at the time of "the flood". Now Stalin, as I think most would agree, was a monster who managed to kill off 0.8% of the population of the USSR during the purges. Your god however killed some 99.99997% of the population of the world. So why should we not regard your god as a worse monster than Stalin?

  2. Which of Noah's sons married the Chinese woman?

Tue, 29 May 2012 09:14:31 UTC | #944180

Go to: So what's the goal with theism?

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Comment 166 by bobcat1 :

No, I'm not surprised at all really. After all, every tree is known by it's fruit. I agree, evolution proves this.

Yep, wonderful piece of imagination by Darwin. Even better was that his speculation survived testing and has continued to do so for the last 150 years. As such it has become one of the best tested scientific theories ever.

Mon, 28 May 2012 15:35:00 UTC | #943984

Go to: So what's the goal with theism?

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Comment 159 by mmurray :

Of course you need to be wary of turning this on its head and deciding that just because you are not an idiot then your opinion is as good as an experts.

Ah, good old Dunning-Kruger effect

Mon, 28 May 2012 12:16:17 UTC | #943956

Go to: So what's the goal with theism?

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Comment 139 by bobcat1 :

Who determines what or whom is an expert and what or whom is an idiot? I'm guessing, from your comment, that you would consider yourself qualified to make that call ?

Let's rephrase the question shall we.

If someone makes a statement then how can we decided whether to accept it

Essentially you are asking what is the warrant for the person's testimony. There are several factors which contribute to the credibility of testimony:

  1. Is the person an authority on this subject?
  2. Do they have appropriate background and training to make them a credible source.
  3. Do they have a good track record in this domain of discourse
  4. Is there a clear basis on which the person reached the conclusion?
  5. Does the person have a bias or vested interest?
  6. Do other credible sources disagree?

Mon, 28 May 2012 10:27:36 UTC | #943943

Go to: The Consolation of Philosophy

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Comment 59 by sharkeggs :

We only know that the universe had a beginning.

Not my understanding, we only know that the universe was in existence after the Planck time.

Fri, 04 May 2012 17:42:08 UTC | #939713

Go to: Australia's blurred separation between church and state

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Comment 11 by memeweaver :

They fail to notice that by continually appeasing a minority who will never vote for them, and will never be satisfied by any appeasement (witness the routing of Labor in the Queensland state election, and what the Christian right voters said), they betray their voting base, who now wander off to greener pastures.

Kipling got it right

And that is called paying the Dane-geld;

But we've proved it again and again,

That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld

You never get rid of the Dane.

Mon, 30 Apr 2012 16:07:26 UTC | #938390

Go to: The Consolation of Philosophy

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Comment 35 by Mr DArcy :

Well science has some say about the shape of electrons "real" or not. Now whether or not the instruments are up to it, I couldn't possibly say, but at least this activity has progressed my understanding of electrons.

They used an instrument based on lasers to do the investigation. Now, how do lasers work? What is the theory behind their operation?

Don't get me wrong, I am a realist when it comes to the existence of electrons. However there are problems when it comes to entities which are not directly observable or rely on instrumentation for observations. It is a truism in philosophy of science that all observations are theory laden.

Mon, 30 Apr 2012 07:51:12 UTC | #938299

Go to: The Consolation of Philosophy

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While I have as much affection for the post-modernists as Alan Sokal there is still plenty of mileage in good philosophy.

Quine has raised neuroscience as an explanans for a number of philosophical problems, I would agree with him but I don't think we have a full science of mind as yet. Philosophy of mind is still a useful discipline and if you read someone like V.S. Ramachandran it is something that he takes into account in his work.

There is also a good deal at the foundation of physics too. Are electrons and quarks real? Certainly we have no direct observational evidence for their existence, only indirect evidence. The indirect evidence is that from instruments which are built using theories which themselves implicitly assume the existence of such particles.

There is a famous discussion between Boyle and Hobbes about the air pump, in their day a notoriously unreliable instrument which could only give results when it was "working properly". But as Hobbes pointed out, what does one mean when one claims it is working properly? Surely one is making a circular argument. This of course continue in the work of Duhem and W.V. Orman Quine, namely that all theories are under-determined and that it is impossible to test a theory in isolation since all theories are dependent on auxiliary hypotheses.

One can go further, fields are postulated to avoid "action at a distance" and to preserve the spatio-temporal locality that causality seemingly requires. But one can also question whether fields are real and whether causality is a universal.

Sun, 29 Apr 2012 15:35:39 UTC | #938165

Go to: The Consolation of Philosophy

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Comment 30 by Mr DArcy :

I wouldn't want to deride Derrida, but de desire is strong.

Why not, other philosophers do. John Searle famously said Derrida gave bullshit a bad name.

Sun, 29 Apr 2012 15:15:40 UTC | #938161

Go to: Councils win prayer 'rights' as ministers fast track Localism Act powers

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Comment 73 by Alan4discussion :

History suggests that the the Tory version of "Localism" is about central government abdicating responsibility for local problems, while opening up loopholes for local opportunists!

You missed the other bit, if localism is a success then call-me-Dave will take the credit for it. If it goes tits up then he will be able to pass the blame.

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 13:13:11 UTC | #919600

Go to: Councils win prayer 'rights' as ministers fast track Localism Act powers

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Pickle's claim is arguable. The bill only gives councils the right to consider things which are properly the business of the council.

Could, for example, Sheffield declare that it would not grant planning permission to businesses which took part in this central government scheme or Tower Hamlets council close down bank and building society branches in its area because they did not abide by Sharia law on usury? The answer is almost certainly not, they are not the business of the local council.

In a similar way I think we will probably find that the same is true of mandating a particular set of prayers as part of a council meeting.

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 08:28:19 UTC | #919503

Go to: RDFRS UK/Ipsos MORI Poll #2: UK Christians oppose special influence for religion in public policy

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Comment 8 by tdcolvin1 :

A wonderful counter-argument to Sayeeda Warsi's latest comments... http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/feb/13/militant-secularisation-christianity-lady-warsi

One might also try this link

Not my phrase, but one I have stolen from elsewhere "Warsi is Britain's answer to Sarah Palin. But she isn't as clever"

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 13:35:23 UTC | #917682

Go to: Muslim extremists storm Irshad's book launch in Amsterdam

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Comment 8 by Metamag :

Who did not sneak into the country but were groomed by it thanks to intellectually and morally bankrupt lefties and failed permissiveness of multiculturalism.

And your evidence that they were:

  1. Groomed by lefties
  2. That said lefties are intellectually and morally bankrupt.

If you are American then I think you might be better posting on a Faux News site, here in the UK you might try the Daily Mail.

Tue, 24 Jan 2012 18:50:11 UTC | #911150

Go to: Worrying developments for freedom of expression in the UK

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Sun, 22 Jan 2012 19:14:10 UTC | #910756

Go to: Worrying developments for freedom of expression in the UK

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Incidentally, another incident to add to the list.

Fri, 20 Jan 2012 11:56:31 UTC | #910111

Go to: Worrying developments for freedom of expression in the UK

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Comment 131 by Grizwald Grim :

As I suspect many Atheists have never experienced the comfort from a religion that others do, it seemed a mother would be the best comparison to aid in understanding the emotional reaction that results from having one's religion mocked.

You are wrong. There are many posting here who used to be members of a religious community. Steve Zara was a Catholic as was I.

Fri, 20 Jan 2012 11:55:17 UTC | #910110

Go to: Evolution, Christmas and the Atonement

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Comment 17 by epeeist :

Click on Denis Alexander's picture or name at the top of the article. This gives a very brief profile. The one thing that is missing from it is that he is on the board of advisors for the Templeton Foundation.

And while I think on (slightly dimmed by the Christmas cheer). I find it interesting that the sub-editor who in all probability commissioned this piece, Andrew Brown, is a Templeton journalism fellow as is another writer in the belief section, Mark Vernon.

Something to remind its readers of if more Templeton fellows turn up to write columns.

Tue, 27 Dec 2011 09:53:30 UTC | #902948

Go to: Evolution, Christmas and the Atonement

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Click on Denis Alexander's picture or name at the top of the article. This gives a very brief profile. The one thing that is missing from it is that he is on the board of advisors for the Templeton Foundation.

Sat, 24 Dec 2011 14:38:28 UTC | #902395

Go to: Air Force Base denies atheist display, allows Menorah and Nativity Scene

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Comment 5 by drumdaddy :

I'd walk my dog by there at least three or four times daily.

And allow it, nay encourage it, to cock its leg at the appropriate location.

Fri, 16 Dec 2011 19:02:00 UTC | #899937

Go to: Christopher Hitchens obituaries

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Reading some of the epitaphs and comments on them it becomes apparent that while some (many) may have disagreed with his politics or his way of life that it is the comments from Christians that are the most vile. The sheer vituperation and glee that he is dead and the gloating on his possible punishment by their god leaves one sickened. Really, religion does poison everything.

Fri, 16 Dec 2011 12:15:01 UTC | #899704

Go to: Catholic Answers Live with Sean Faircloth

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Comment 267 by Ignorant Amos :

Comment 253 by Mark Jones

Is this the right room for the wanking symposium?

Been to a few of them in my time Mark....but we're not allowed to talk about it.

Old Bernard Manning joke:

Doctor: You'll have to stop masturbating

Bernard Manning: Why, am I going blind?

Doctor: No, but you are upsetting the rest of the people in the waiting room.

Fri, 09 Dec 2011 18:21:14 UTC | #897189

Go to: Catholic Answers Live with Sean Faircloth

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Comment 229 by Tedilasllaves :

The Marxists and users of contraception are not following what the Catholic Church teaches. As far as I'm aware not a single 'ex cathedra' teaching of the Catholic Church has ever changed and this is what informed Catholics are talking about when they speak of Catholic teaching.

You do realise that the Pontifical commission on birth control produced a majority report which stated artificial birth control that was not intrinsically evil and that Catholic couples should be allowed to decide for themselves about the methods to be employed. According to the majority report, use of contraceptives should be regarded as an extension of the already accepted cycle method.

However, it was vetoed by the then pope Paul VI who accepted the minority report.

Fri, 09 Dec 2011 08:39:44 UTC | #897019

Go to: Islam, Charles Darwin and the denial of science

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Comment 18 by MichaelE :

If their dream is to refute Darwinian evolution, it may help to have at least a basic understanding of the theory first.

Let's assume that one of these students comes up with a killer experiment that shows the TofE is false. All that this shows is that the TofE is false. What it doesn't do is provide validation of any other hypothesis.

Thu, 08 Dec 2011 10:34:37 UTC | #896717

Go to: 'Honour' crimes against women in UK rising rapidly, figures show

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Comment 12 by Atheist Mike :

Gotta love the labour party, we have our own little saudi arabia now thanks to them.

You presumably also blame the Labour Party for setting up the Forced Marriage Unit, and for MPs like Ann Cryer for speaking out against forced marriage and honour killings.

Sun, 04 Dec 2011 14:45:01 UTC | #895559

Go to: Yet another flea

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Comment 14 by susanlatimer :

It was the strangest thing. I didn't go in with a chip on my shoulder but I left with one. I was there to honour a great man and all they talked about was how great Jesus was.

My father and his family were Catholics and I have had to attend a number of Catholic funerals. My experience in each case has been the same as yours. Little mention of the person whose funeral it was except for their contribution to the church and the rest of the service being a hard sell for Catholicism.

My father had ceased to be a Catholic by the time of his death but we still had a Catholic funeral for him so as not to upset my grandmother. The priest took great delight in attacking my father's politics and his atheism, it was all I could do to stop myself hitting him after the service. As it was it turned me from being apathetic about religion to realising what a malign influence it has on society.

Forget the service, remember your uncle as he was.

Wed, 30 Nov 2011 11:09:31 UTC | #894376

Go to: Biology, Faith, and Skepticism

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Comment 9 by Extreme-Madness :

Why is Stephen Hawking does not commit suicide! Sick joke, but unfortunately some people think seriously. I just read an article in a Croatian weekly political magazine "Objektiv". Author of the article is obviously wonder why Stephen Hawking does not commit suicide because´╗┐ he does not believe in God,

It was only after people started to commit suicide in order to get to heaven earlier that it was declared a sin.

Wed, 16 Nov 2011 19:49:23 UTC | #890804

Go to: Protesting Herr Ratzinger's visit to Berlin

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Comment 30 by decius :

Also, the strong support the catholic church offered to both Hitler and Mussolini should account from something.

Let's not forget that the Vatican as a "state" was established by the Lateran treaties, signed while Mussolini was in power.

But how about Franco, or Pinochet?

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 17:57:57 UTC | #871225