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News: Atlas Hardware Upgrade complete October 13, 2013.

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1  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Which electoral maps are the most aesthetically pleasing to your eye? on: December 18, 2014, 10:03:40 am
Why didn't you use green for SNP? It's hard to tell it apart from the LibDems this way.

You can't tell the difference between yellow and orange? Smiley I won't use green for the SNP as it's not their colour.
2  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Which electoral maps are the most aesthetically pleasing to your eye? on: December 18, 2014, 06:57:47 am
Anything I've hand drawn on MS Paint from old books Wink

This is my favourite, simply because no one has ever compiled a map of the 2007 Holyrood elections by ward before

3  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Please help me understand non-religious metaethics. on: December 18, 2014, 06:54:55 am
I don’t want this to turn into a discussion about the nature of Jesus, but to touch on it a little if he is who it is said that he is, not who he says he is because quite frankly how he defines himself is all over the place in the NT and only really makes any sort of sense if you subscribe to adoptionism, then he can’t be human. He might have been born, but he cannot be human because humans are not born of parthenogenesis. He cannot be human because humans cannot suspend the laws of nature to perform miraculous feats. He is not human because he did not die, not as we do. He died for three days, was whole again then ascended. He may be an avatar of a human but that is it. If he was literally a ‘god made flesh’ and became human then because humans lack the ability to become gods, if he was truly human he wouldn’t be able to return to that divine state. Being ‘human with benefits’ isn’t human. God was no more of a human that Zeus was a swan.

All this aside you have Matthew 19:17 in which Jesus says ‘Why do you ask me about what is good?...there is only One who is good.’ referring to god. So in his human form he’s still deferring ‘goodness’ to his non corporeal form. He’s saying that the part of himself that isn’t human is still arbitrarily able to determine the rightness and wrongness of the ethics of another self or be ‘more good’ than his other self and it’s human faculties can. Which was very much the position prior to taking on that avatar of a human anyway.
4  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: 1 out of 5 Republicans Agree: Rectally feeding suspected terrorists is a-ok! on: December 17, 2014, 06:22:36 pm
Here's a 2009 survey on the issue for comparison;

http://www.people-press.org/2009/04/23/public-remains-divided-over-use-of-torture/

There's some interesting comparisons by religion/age there too.
5  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of incorporating the cross into Christmas celebrations? on: December 17, 2014, 05:57:49 pm
Very good.  Christmas is first and foremost about Christ, and it should be kept that way.

Please keep your religion out of our secular winter time holiday, thank you.

Is this thread not about Christmas?

Indeed it is.  A holiday for families and friends to come together and exchange gifts, as overseen by a jolly old fat guy.  You can keep all the boring stuff you were talking about, whatever it was, thank you.

This isn't about whether it's boring or not; Christmas is in all its intents a Christian liturgical feast. I celebrate the advent of snow, presents and mulled wine during European winter in a secular fashion, but to suggest that Christianity is not at the very heart of Christmas is absurd.

Hilfy, this is a troll thread. I only commented here to state that the celebration of the Wise Men bringing gifts to Jesus was a separate event/holy day. Lief's purpose here was to be mildly offensive, perhaps to lure Our Dear Friend back to The Update since the thread's inspiration was a BushOK Facebook post. Don't waste your time taking the bait and getting offended.

Poor Hifly.  It must be so terrible for him to have a mildly offensive, controversial opinion thrown at him.

It might cause him an injury.

'Here lies Hifly. He went to Oxford'
6  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of incorporating candles into Hannukah celebrations on: December 17, 2014, 05:44:15 pm
How DARE they shove it down our throats. It's boring and I don't like it. Bring me my presents.

You have a much more varied taste for what gets shoved down your throat I see. Good for you. I hope one of your presents gives you hours of practice.
7  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Please help me understand non-religious metaethics. on: December 17, 2014, 04:11:45 pm
Andrew, it looks like an unclear pronoun reference in what I quoted earlier was the cause of some confusion.  I was taking "it" as referring to "the mind" and you meant "the mind of God".  But even so, I fail to accept your assertion that if God exists, he must lack a physical form.  Granted, the Abrahamic religions generally reject the idea of an anthropomorphic deity, but that still leaves open pantheism, pandeism, panentheism, and no doubt other concepts that also posit a physical yet non-human deity.

Assume for a moment that God is pantheistic.  Your assertion that "It cannot therefore ‘judge’ the actions that we take because it is not us." would be analogous to "A human cannot therefore ‘judge’ the actions that its pinky finger takes because it is not a pinky finger." Now I don't know about you, but I think I can judge my pinky.  But even if you disagree, then what about the Christian belief that God became Man in the form of Jesus?  Even if one asserts that one can only be justly judged by one's peers, then if Jesus were indeed both Man and God, it would seem to me that he meets your requirements to be a judge of human actions despite being God.

Regardless of whether god has a physical or not physical form it is a god. It is not a human. If it spends a brief sojourn in a human body, it's still not 'a human' as by being able to do such a thing, to come and go as it pleases from form to form, clearly demonstrates. If you wish to pose the question that 'everything is divine' through some form of pantheism, your analogy of the pinky finger doesn't really link to that. It is a part of my body that is controlled by the brain. It cannot be judged independently of me because it is me. It doesn't do anything by itself. In a pantheistic view, if everything is essentially an expression of the divine and every action comes from the divine then the actions still cannot be judged because there's now nothing outside that magisterium. There is no higher or lower order. I am as divine as a rock, I am as divine as the divine. I cannot judge because all actions, all ethics are now divine.
8  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: UK General Discussion II on: December 17, 2014, 02:54:53 pm
A lot of rumours flying about today about a potential Christmas abdication announcement.

I doubt that Charles will abdicate the Princedom of Wales in favor of his son William, but we can always hope.

Abdication is a very modern solution to what happens when royality 'just won't die.' The Queen in 88. Charles is 66 and William is 32. If the Queen lives as long as her mother, Charles will himself be 79 when he becomes king. The potential for a succession of geriatric monarchs is a potential problem because despite what people often think, the monarch has things to do in a constitutional sense. It makes sense for the Queen to step down and Charles to reign for a decade before handing down to William.

I quite like Charles, but that aside handing over straight to William would be problematic but also unfair on the man who can at least have the luxury of raising a family before he steps into the role. It also helps the process of disestablishment re the CofE if that is opted.
9  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: UK General Discussion II on: December 17, 2014, 02:33:00 pm
A lot of rumours flying about today about a potential Christmas abdication announcement.
10  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Please help me understand non-religious metaethics. on: December 17, 2014, 12:01:50 pm
Given that intelligence is a product of evolution and even thought is dependent on matter and energy, there is no reason to believe that it can exist independently of the physical form. Even if we delete this definition to allow us to run with the idea, then evidently we would still be dealing with a higher ‘self’, to such an extent it does not exist as nor require a corporeal form. It cannot therefore ‘judge’ the actions that we take because it is not us.

Doesn't appear to me that you've deleted the definition.  To me it looks like you're still holding on to it, even as you claim to be considering what if you didn't.  You still are equating the self with an individual corporeal form, otherwise I fail to see how you can assert "It is not us."

I don’t know what you mean. What I said is that I don’t play around with the idea of the ‘mind of god’ because the idea of anything non corporeal having a ‘mind’ is not supported by anything other than a belief that something can. We can know that because we have a mind and we have that mind because we have a brain and energy within it that allows us to have a thought process. But I’ve suspended my position (and I hold that position because there is no evidence for non-corporeal minds or ‘will’) so that I can actually talk about the ‘idea’ of god and the idea of ‘religious ethics’ which are not concepts that I think are actually worthy of the attention that they are often given.
11  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Please help me understand non-religious metaethics. on: December 17, 2014, 11:13:09 am
I don't really understand why it's necessarily in a primitive human's interest to dehumanize anyone outside their immediate family and social group. 

It isn't just in a primitive human's interest; it can be in our interest, too.

Let's say that you're a goat herder living in the Negev. A stranger happens to be sojourning in your land, and he asks you for a meal and a place to sleep. You're under no obligation to grant these to him, and since you're unlikely to ever see him again, the discomfort that feeding and boarding him would create outweighs the discomfort that you'll experience while turning him away. Since you don't believe that there's an objectively right way to treat one's fellows, you do turn him away, and you don't feel bad about it, either.

Incidentally, your Bible-believing neighbor happily provides the stranger with what he asks for.

A more modern example would be the homeless man begging for alms. Most of us would move past him with a guilty conscience if we didn't at least give him a token donation, but to the totally rational individualist, recognizing that he derives no material benefit from the exchange renders such feelings of guilt a foreign concept. How would you convince this person that he ought to feel otherwise?


Then why is it that I have friends? Why is it that I have a husband? Why is it that these people come from outside my family and my social groups if as you say, it’s in my interest to dehumanise them? After all, they were once people I did not know and had no reason to trust when I initially encountered them. If what you say is true, we wouldn’t go out our way to fraternise with anyone…
12  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Please help me understand non-religious metaethics. on: December 17, 2014, 07:37:16 am
Most of this makes sense so far, especially afleitch's first post, although I'm not sure I can really tell whether he's positing ethical naturalism or ethical non-naturalism, since he expresses approbation for the idea that 'good' is irreducible but then describes it as a function of what seems to me an awful lot like dependent arising out of human subjectivity. (If he's willing to ascribe that term to what he's discussing, I actually immediately understand it a lot better, because that's a concept with which I'm in other contexts already familiar from studying Buddhism, and envisioning how one would apply it to ethical propositions isn't really that big of a cognitive leap for me.)

What I was attempting to draw together was the fact that ‘good’ as a concept is irreducible precisely because of human subjectivity; there is no other ‘subject’ by which it can ever be viewed, there is no other ‘self’ to whom it could apply. Therefore while the study (or, more correctly I should think, the experience of ethics) is plausible, because we face ethical choices constantly because we are human. However it cannot exist outside the human experience and therefore is always going to be subjective. It’s supposed to be subjective because all human experience is. That is what life is; life isn’t something you have. It’s something you do.

We consider what is 'good' because we can think, we can think because we are sentient, we are sentient because it is to our advantage that we have evolved to be that way. If we were not sentient, we would not contemplate what is 'good'. If we were more base then we could feel the physical as pleasure and pain and benefit, but could not contemplate fully if these are 'good'

Which brings me to religious-ethics, or at least ethics with a godhead. Given that intelligence is a product of evolution and even thought is dependent on matter and energy, there is no reason to believe that it can exist independently of the physical form. Even if we delete this definition to allow us to run with the idea, then evidently we would still be dealing with a higher ‘self’, to such an extent it does not exist as nor require a corporeal form. It cannot therefore ‘judge’ the actions that we take because it is not us. Nor can it endow us with its own pre-set ethics and then ‘press start.’ Because that is not how ethics appear to be imparted.
13  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Please help me understand non-religious metaethics. on: December 16, 2014, 06:20:44 pm
For one thing, the existence of God is irrelevant to ethics.  If doesn't do anything to establish conceptions of the "good" and God doesn't seem to have a benefit in terms of ethical behavior.  There's no evidence that any supposed Gods have established ethical principles or even that being a creator of the universe entitles you to make up ethical principles.  What if a God is evil?  Surely, ethics can't come from an evil God, right?  So, I don't get that. 

I agree that a god is irrelevant to ethics. Certainly within the Christian context, god within the Bible clearly behaves in manners which are almost, but not quite, universally indefensible either from a detached human-self perspective, or even from the perspective of his own laws. Curiously, strands of Christian theology that often take issue with self-reference or moral relativism within secular ethics, either doesn't mind or tacitly requires both self-reference or moral relativism to apply to god. Otherwise acts of genocide in the Old Testament for example, would remain unjustified. 'It's okay if god does it because he's god' is moral relativism in it's purest sense because not only are actions that one considers 'bad' justified because of who perpetrates them but there is no room, as there is for us humans, for ethical principles to change through collective experience.
14  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: "Holiday tree" on: December 16, 2014, 05:56:45 pm
Whenever someone wishes me a "Happy Holidays," I always make sure I tell them MERRY CHRISTMAS in a stern voice.  I do not wish for them to inflict their political correctness agenda on me and my country and my culture. It's offensive to me. I don't even take Happy Holidays folks seriously, because it's done to try to intimidate Christians or even secular Christmas celebrants.

I have seen the term "holiday tree," "holiday cookies,"  GAG---I mean really??   It's political correctness run amok. OP has it right.

That's a c-nty thing to do. It would be like me taking offence at someone wishing me a Merry Christmas despite not being Christian.
15  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Politicians/celebrities/famous people in general who you kind of look like. on: December 16, 2014, 05:21:06 pm
A younger Guy Pearce.
16  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Please help me understand non-religious metaethics. on: December 16, 2014, 05:08:22 pm
I would tend to agree that ‘good’ is irreducible. I have to preface that with my own position that meta-physical or meta-ethical concepts are grounded in the physical. While they do not as themselves have any objective reality the minds that construct them do. Every argument, every construct and is a some subset of physical information, deduced from a physical experience that is then invested with meaning by a conscious mind which is itself an active physical process. That allows me, I think to rightfully defer the base nuances of human behaviour to the biological sciences. If I wish to pick up a concept and play with it, it cannot escape that inheritance. And when I play with the concept of 'good' it does not trouble me that this is the case

When we look outside of ourselves, we infer intelligence because we are intelligent and we infer goodness because we are good. And because of that, we assume that there must be an arbiter of what is good outside of ourselves. What is ‘good’ can only be experienced and determined by the person who is living it who may then impart how he internalizes ‘good’ to other people.

It is not possible for ‘goodness’ to exist outside of human reference because our determination of good is entirely self-evident. We are the only ‘self’ who contemplates what is good. Until we can communicate with another ‘self’ who has to also experience ‘good’ that is measurable against our own, then we can come to no other conclusion. But as another ‘self’ will never be human, then it can never be measurable.

We can infer that different standards of what appears to be beneficial differ species to species. We cannot take a moral position that the spider that eats it’s mate to assist in propagating the species, by doing something that we would find abhorrent, is doing anything other than what is beneficial for them. We cannot argue it as ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ We can make no moral statement on that matter because it’s ‘benefit’ does not concern us. It exists outside our ability to experience it. We find it difficult as a species to separate what is beneficial from what is good because the two are not always mutual.

Any model that relies on a ‘creator’ or an external ‘self’ that possesses different abilities from our own has the same relationship as we do, to the spider. It cannot argue that what we do is measurable against it’s own standard. It's an absurdity.
17  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Update for Everyone III - The Whinge Binge on: December 16, 2014, 04:02:29 pm
So after my civil partnership in 2012 and my New York marriage last month, we're now going to do it again for the 'third' time in converting our civil partnership to a marriage in Scotland.
18  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: The Simple Truths Silver Mine on: December 16, 2014, 03:51:46 pm
Nathan, do you search for any uses of the word 'religion' used since the last time you logged on?  Just curious.

Har har har. No, I do not. The intolerably smug and simplistic nonsense that certain posters spew on this subject crosses my radar more than frequently enough as it is without actively looking for even more of it.

That was a quick and tone changing edit there...

Well, yes, because I realized quickly that my original tone was uncalled for.

In any case, I think I've earned the right to be smug about having a better grasp of my own field of study than, well, people whose field of study it incredibly obviously isn't.

You don't have a particularly good grasp of non-religious belief however it presents itself to you, which has came across particularly when I have discussed secular morality (there is a post on the atlas ether somewhere in which you said that secular ethics and the reason for unbelief didn't even concern you)

So you can't fully say you have a 'complete' grasp of the matters at hand. It would be like someone who has superb knowledge of the history of the Democrat Party claiming to have a full grasp of American political history despite never studying the GOP Smiley
19  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: The Simple Truths Silver Mine on: December 16, 2014, 03:38:08 pm
Nathan, do you search for any uses of the word 'religion' used since the last time you logged on?  Just curious.

Har har har. No, I do not. The intolerably smug and simplistic nonsense that certain posters spew on this subject crosses my radar more than frequently enough as it is without actively looking for even more of it.

That was a quick and tone changing edit there...
20  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: some thoughts on homosexuality on: December 16, 2014, 03:10:03 pm
If I were you, I'd write your feelings down, fold them neatly into a small wooden box and ram them up hifly's ass. But you're not me, so that might not be as satisfying.

If you're gay, then be gay. Now that doesn't actually mean anything except what you want it because there isn't a 'gay way to be' except to simply open yourself up to your feelings and hope to meet someone who loves you more than you love yourself. Whatever else you do, whether outrageous or mundane doesn't matter. If you don't tell people that's fine. It's not your fault if you turn up with a partner by your side and your friends and family never thought to ask you Smiley
21  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Scottish Labour leadership election - To be announced on December 13 on: December 15, 2014, 05:10:20 pm
The MSP results, in terms of who is deemed 'big hitters' is quite bad for Murphy. He was preferenced 3rd by Malcolm Chisholm, Hugh Henry (who's seat he will be eyeing up) and Elaine Murray. Lamont didn't mark him down at all, nor did Ferguson or Jamieson.
22  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Sandy Hook families sue gun manufacturor...... on: December 15, 2014, 04:18:28 pm
Let them try. Jeez. Let them try. Yes it's frivolous and they won't win because they don't have the money and don't have the lawyers and they will be taught a very public lesson in 'who's boss' when it's thrown out. But there's nothing else they can do.
23  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Parting shots? on: December 15, 2014, 07:48:30 am
We are guilty before the law of God and Jesus said "I am the way, the truth, and the life."  We can have debates over other religions, and I'm not saying they won't be saved per se, but your best bet is to submit to the truth.   When I was born again, I felt brand new.  Please, please, please.  This is the most important thing you will ever do!  When you call upon the Lord and say, "I acknowledge I've broken your laws.  Thank you for sending Jesus to save me; please help me, Lord," you have become a child of God!

Disingenuous.

Taking the 'finished product' of Christianity off the because you're culturally familiar with it and declaring it to be 'true' is terribly easy and equally as mundane. Thinking differently is a far bolder, difficult and often more fulfilling avenue to take.
24  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Scottish Labour leadership election - To be announced on December 13 on: December 13, 2014, 07:01:57 pm
It's impossible to be to the right or left of the SNP because the SNP occupy roughly all known respectable political positions simultaneously.

Even if you accept that premise perception matters. If Labour is perceived to be to the right of SNP that would presumably backfire in a number of constituencies.

Which at Holyrood level translates to; all the ones they have left.
25  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinions on the following issues on: December 13, 2014, 04:03:04 pm

Prayer in Schools Support


Does that include satanic prayer?
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