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1  General Discussion / Constitution and Law / Re: Is Judicial Review Constitutional? on: June 02, 2010, 11:00:08 am

You're confusing concept with reality.  So, judicial review has been used to do some bad things, but that is not the fault of judicial review, that is the fault of the current Court.

Anyway, even though the role of the Supreme Court was not fully defined until Marbury, that general idea had been the intention of the Constitution.  It wasn't just made up.
2  General Discussion / Alternative History / Re: England Remains Catholic on: June 01, 2010, 10:52:10 pm
Many English Puritans and Quakers end up in places relatively tolerant of (Christian) minorities -- like Russia and Poland. There would be some strange city names in the Volga Valley.

Why would they not have simply gone to America?  Those groups didn't come to the U.S. because there was so much tolerance in England.  They were hated in England, because once all was said and done, the only major change in the Anglican Church was lack of acceptance of the Pope... it didn't make the situation better for Puritans, who wanted to destroy all vestiges of Catholicism, or Quakers who had a combination of plain and strange practices, but were accepting of all religions.
3  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: God created evil on: June 01, 2010, 04:42:24 pm
In fact, one time I told Bono straight up, and not out of anger, but out of fact:

"You and I don't believe in the same God."

His reaction was... well, fearful it seemed to me... but it's the truth.  I don't see how we can avoid saying it when we agree on almost nothing about what this God is like, and how he has ordered the universe.  It doesn't mean that we are, all of a sudden, on different sides.  We were never on the same side.  It's easier to simply accept that than to maintain the farce, that then leads us to exclude people of other faiths from our circle, with whom we have far more in common.  Just tolerate the differences, and move on.
4  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: God created evil on: June 01, 2010, 04:26:10 pm
Theologically, I have almost nothing in common with someone like Bono, or jmfcst, inspite of the fact that we both believe in Jesus Christ, because our views of the nature of God are completely different... and I have much more in common with someone like Ben Constine, even though he is Jewish.  

I do not understand what you are saying:  How do you and I have a different view of the nature of God that would have you more in agreement with Judaism's view of of the nature of God than with my view of of the nature of God?

Are you referring to our disagreements about the Trinity, or about having a relationship with God, or about who is going to be saved...or are you referring to God having always existed...or something else? 

Seriously, I am not trying to be a wise guy, I am probably confused because the term “nature of God” is not something I use, mainly because it seems so broad that it could refer to anything and/or everything relating to God.

This is a conclusion I came to in my long, drawn out, debates with Bono over the years, through AIM.  After that long period of time, I finally came to the conclusion that the primary reason for our disagreements, and our lack of ability to resolve them, was not because we were failing to come to an understanding over various theological points about the Christian scriptures, but rather because we were asking totally different questions, and thus had no ability to come up with similar answers.

The cycle has repeated itself between you and myself over the years.  What frustrates me most in dealing with you, and I am sure in you dealing with me, is that we have no hope of agreeing on anything.  This is because our disagreements aren't predicated on this or that point about trinity vs the unified Godhead, or about apostolic authority vs a diffuse Church, or on a continuing development of the Church vs authoritative teaching stopping with scripture... yes, those are all symptoms of or differing views of the broader nature of God, the universe, and man's place there in, but even on the points where we can agree, the agreement is merely superficial, because we don't agree on the the starting point of the inquiry... we don't agree on the questions that cause us to arrive at that point. 

Superficially, we appear to agree on quite a bit.  We agree that this guy named Jesus was divine, and that these scriptures are inerrant, and we agree on this, and that... and so one would be led to say that we agree on the major points... but really we don't.  Those are the minor points.  Even a Marxist and a Burkean can agree on the facts and the details.  After you get past that, to the more fundamental stuff, its an entirely different story.  Likewise, I have certainly met Democrats on whom I agree far more on the nature of government and the issues, even if we don't agree on specific policy, than many of my fellow Republicans with whom I might have more in common, on the surface.

Does it matter that we both agree on this Jesus guy if we can't agree at all on the nature of his mission, his role, his teachings, etc?  No.  As much as you an I agree that this God exists, we don't agree at all on who this God is.  You and I, in reality, worship a totally different entity, even though we call him the same thing, while there are people out there who don't call this divinity the same thing, but agree with each of us, separately, on the worldview we ought to take in exploring and understanding It.  Ben and I certainly agree way more on the nature of the divine than you and I.

I don't mean it as a put down.  I don't mean it as a call to arms.  It's simply reality.  I can't remember who it was, but someone said in the other thread where we are fisticuffing that it is amazing to see how much we fight when we have so much in common... says who?  Do you feel like we have anything in common?  The notion that we do is based on backwards thinking, looking at the product as opposed to the process.  There is no common process when comparing how we come to the conclusions to which we have arrived.
5  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What counties have you smoked marijuana in? on: June 01, 2010, 03:46:46 pm
Add Somerset, NJ as of about 3 minutes ago. Grin
You bitch Tongue

Haha, just a little.  There's plenty left for later on!

Here is a better poll question:

Can you enjoy weed without acting like "OMG... I'm so cool."

The only people who do that are in high school.  Talking about it amongst other users is not bragging or fishing for cool points.

Dude... it's a public forum... if you want to call anything that goes on here a private conversation "just amongst us" then you are only pretending.
6  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What counties have you smoked marijuana in? on: June 01, 2010, 03:37:39 pm
Here is a better poll question:

Can you enjoy weed without acting like "OMG... I'm so cool."

See, when you do things like this you only reinforce the stereotype that people who smoke are immature, self-absorbed and only do it because they think it makes them look cool.  In otherwords, you are a stoner douche, not an adult.

As I have said many times, I have never done it, but I think anti-marijuana laws are ridiculous, because its no more harmful than alcohol, tobacco, or caffeine and hysteria around it detracts from our ability to combat more serious drugs.

People like you aren't helping.
7  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: God created evil on: June 01, 2010, 02:40:11 pm
This is one of many areas in which you will find that Christianity does not represent one, unified, world view.  Over the years, I have come to the conclusion that different sects of Christianity are not, in fact, different groups looking for the right answers to the same questions, but rather groups that so different that they have more in common with other sects of other religions than they do with one another, all looking for totally different answers and asking totally different questions.  Theologically, I have almost nothing in common with someone like Bono, or jmfcst, inspite of the fact that we both believe in Jesus Christ, because our views of the nature of God are completely different... and I have much more in common with someone like Ben Constine, even though he is Jewish.  We aren't all fighting over the same God, here, the span of "Christianity" are all worshiping what is fundamentally a different divinity.  There is no intrafaith unity, because there is no common faith.  You are libel to find more interfaith unity between different sects of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc.

That being said, my view on evil is more philosophical than it is explicitly theological, because even in the collected writings that we call "The Bible" you find a wide array of views on the nature of good and evil, from strict monism (in the Pentateuch) to all out dualism (in the New Testament).  Simply put, I believe in what you might call a "Black and Gray" reality, with actions and people that are truly evil, and then those that inhabit various zones of goodness, or acceptability; but you will never find a perfect good, either individually, or in action, because such a thing is impossible, the best you will find is a person who doing their best and failing much of the time.  Finding something (short of God) that represents a perfect good is, at the least, a oneway ticket to disappointment, at the least, and delusional in most cases.  Even by doing good, people are going to commit at least some sin, active or through negligence.

And so the real root of all evil is pride.  Not only is the idea of a perfect good diluted, it is evil itself, because people who believe, or think they are acting for the absolute good, or are even good incarnate, are also the people who tend to be capable of the most evil actions.  Too much pride equals a lack of remorse, because one who thinks they are absolutely correct sees no need to examine their own shortcomings.
8  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Do you believe in evolution? on: May 29, 2010, 11:44:07 pm
BTW... just to show that I am not one-sided, and never had any intention of being so... there is actually one demonstrable link between the rise of capitalism and the rise of Protestantism, which is this:

The Catholic Church had a traditional ban on usury.  No Catholic was allowed to lend money, or goods, at any type of interest.  While Jews were occasionally placed under this ban, for the most part, Jews were the only people allowed to partake in money lending.  Not that Catholics couldn't lend money, but without interest, they couldn't make it profitable.  It's easy to see how, when Protestants lifted this ban, that helped capitalism move forward.

I'm pretty sure jmf probably didn't even know about that, though, let alone was it anything like what he was talking about.

Before the Baroque era the Catholic church weighed everyone down.

Care to add any substance to that insight?
9  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Do you believe in evolution? on: May 28, 2010, 11:26:04 pm
And BTW... your point about Protestant Nobel winners is pointless, as the "majority of the Protestant community" I was talking about doesn't relate to the more mainline denominations... I was speaking about the anti-science crowd that you represent.
10  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Num Excommunicated for Allowing Abortion to Save a Mother's Life. on: May 28, 2010, 02:25:45 pm
The bishop was in the wrong for automatically declaring the nun excommunicated. In case anyone didn't see this though, she was readmitted to the Church.

Sorry, you can't post that.  That just doesn't jive with the "hate the Catholic Church/hate all organized religion and hate the Catholic Church double because it is the poster child of organized religion" world view.
11  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Num Excommunicated for Allowing Abortion to Save a Mother's Life. on: May 28, 2010, 02:12:48 pm
Saving a person's life: excommunication.

Molesting a child: a slap on the wrist and re-assignment.

The Catholic Church, everybody!

Unbelievable, really.

I have a question:

When you people totally abandon your intellectual honesty and integrity, is there like a sucking feeling, or is it more like a part of your mind is being cut out?
12  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Interracial marriage still rising, but not as fast on: May 27, 2010, 11:37:56 pm
lol West Virginia.  I guess it's hard to find cousins of different ethnic origins.

West Virginia is a lilly-white state so it's not surprising that they are at the bottom of the list (same with Maine).

OTOH, Mississippi and Alabama show once again that they have a looooong way to go.

And Pennsylvania, WTF?

The low percent in PA doesn't surprise me.  The non-white rural population is tiny (less than 1 percent) and many of the smaller cities, like Altoona, Johnstown, Williamsport, etc have relatively small black populations.  In the meantime, the larger cities are deeply segregated, and while racial tension doesn't abound, racial map is clearly defined, both geographically and socially.

BTW... contrary to popular belief, half of U.S. states have more liberal laws about marrying relatives than West Virginia, in fact, the states that allow First Cousin marriage vs the ones that don't would likely surprise you:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cousin_marriage#United_States_2
13  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Num Excommunicated for Allowing Abortion to Save a Mother's Life. on: May 27, 2010, 01:07:04 pm
Put this in the wrong thread:

Related to my point in the other thread, people always bash "The Catholic Church" for not allowing enough local control from the bishops.  But, when we do allow more local control, crazy sh**t like this happens.  And then who do people blame?  Not the local bishop... they blame the Vatican... "The Catholic Church".
14  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Num Excommunicated for Allowing Abortion to Save a Mother's Life. on: May 26, 2010, 09:26:49 pm
Er, the Catholic Church teaches that abortion to save a mother's life is moral. At least that is my recollection. So color me confused per the headline. Maybe I should read the article.

OK, here is a squib I found on the matter (which strikes me as close to a save the mother's life exception, but maybe not quite co-extensive (you kill the fetus first in the womb before aborting it or something):

"Operations, treatments and medications that have as their direct purpose the cure of a proportionately serious pathological condition of a pregnant woman are permitted when they cannot be safely postponed until the unborn child is viable, even if they will result in the death of the unborn child."

I wonder if the nun can appeal this decision. If she can, she certainly should. After now reading the article, it does not appear the bishop followed the above stricture, because what he said is that it is not OK to perform medical treatments if the result will be to kill the fetus. And if the Church denies her appeal, that will generate a lot more news of course. It will be particularly exacerbating, because here the diagnosis was that the choice was either 1) kill the fetus and save the mother, or 2) not kill the fetus, and then a bit later both the mother and fetus would die, with near 100% probability. How that can be justified under any logical moral construct escapes me.

Perhaps Supersoulty might comment on this?  Chris?

Your analysis is correct.  The Catholic Church permits medicinal abortions if they are out of absolute necessity to save a woman's life.  The problem is that local bishops don't always adhere to this notion, and forbid all abortions, outright no matter the reasons, the rationale being that God would not permit such a thing unless it were predestined... yada, yada... not a Catholic rationale at all, but a Calvinist one and just one of many ways that Calvinism has perverted not the theology of the Church, but rather how some people view the theology of the Church.

Anyway, that's neither here nor there...

In theory, she can appeal to the Vatican.  Whether or not the Vatican will accept the appeal is another matter.  By canon law, they ought to, but many things don't happen the way they should.
15  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Pope blames 'terrifying' sex abuse on Catholic Church on: May 26, 2010, 09:17:44 pm
So... I'm confused.  He says this, and makes no effort to cover it up, and you guys continue on the attack.  Would it have improved the situation had he said this before, prior to knowing all the facts?  That seems to be what you guys are pissed off about now.

Uh, who's continuing any attack?  This is the first step in the right direction, obviously.

The attack has shifted now, and that shift is reflected in your attitude, obviously.  Now its... "Oh man, after the long cover-up (which had nothing to do with this Pope) the asshole finally decided to do something."

Well, bluntly put, Soulty, isn't that a pretty apt summary of the situation? (The "asshole reference being optional depending on one's personal view of Benedict?)

Nothing would have been helped by him making a public statement before.  Benedict used the period of time between the opening of the flood gate and now doing what he should have been doing... gathering information and coming to the realization of the measure of the situation (and let's not forget, he spanked the Irish bishops a few months ago, once things came out with that situation).  The Pope is not omnipresent, nor omnipotent... as hard as people find this to believe, the entire institutional Church does not open its doors, and shift its course just because he wants it to... all the more true in the post-Vatican II climate.  He sought to appreciate the enormity of the cover up (not the enormity of pedophilia acts specifically, since, for the trillionth time its seems less common for priests than the general population), before he acted.  People blaming the Vatican and the Pope is only proof that most people aren't paying attention to what is going on, or have already jumped to a predetermined conclusion, since local bishops and national bishops councils have been the culpable parties in all cases.
16  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Pope blames 'terrifying' sex abuse on Catholic Church on: May 21, 2010, 03:38:03 pm
Sex abuse scandals, just what Jesus would've wanted. I agree with Catholic theology but not the church itself. tsk tsk

And yet, if Christ's Church had always been free of scandal, he would have died an old man, surrounded by his ever-faithful disciples.

You're referring to the disciples betraying him? The disciples would've been between 12 and 20. If they had not betrayed and denied Jesus, then Jesus wouldn't have died for our sins. Jesus would condemn the Catholic priests who molest children.

The point -----------------------------------------------------------------> You
17  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: Critz vs. Burns for PA-12 on: May 21, 2010, 01:12:53 pm
I almost forgot my absolute favorite ad; the one charging that Tim Burns' company sent jobs overseas.  It was a total fabrication.  It absolutely did not happen.  But it played well in the 12th where class warfare is at it's height and people were deeply concerned that Tim Burns was a millionaire.  Nevermind that he grew up poor and was totally self-made.

Edit: That was supposed to say "12th" not "14th."
18  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Pope blames 'terrifying' sex abuse on Catholic Church on: May 20, 2010, 11:54:50 pm
Sex abuse scandals, just what Jesus would've wanted. I agree with Catholic theology but not the church itself. tsk tsk

And yet, if Christ's Church had always been free of scandal, he would have died an old man, surrounded by his ever-faithful disciples.
19  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Pope blames 'terrifying' sex abuse on Catholic Church on: May 20, 2010, 11:44:18 pm
So... I'm confused.  He says this, and makes no effort to cover it up, and you guys continue on the attack.  Would it have improved the situation had he said this before, prior to knowing all the facts?  That seems to be what you guys are pissed off about now.

Uh, who's continuing any attack?  This is the first step in the right direction, obviously.

The attack has shifted now, and that shift is reflected in your attitude, obviously.  Now its... "Oh man, after the long cover-up (which had nothing to do with this Pope) the asshole finally decided to do something."
20  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Pope blames 'terrifying' sex abuse on Catholic Church on: May 20, 2010, 11:41:31 pm
makes no effort to cover it up

He did in the past.

You mean like when he reorganized the entire Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith to try to handle these cases?
21  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: Critz vs. Burns for PA-12 on: May 20, 2010, 11:10:29 pm
I just can't tell you enough how pissed off I am at how the National Media is portraying this.  MSNBC is saying that this is proof that Tea Party backed candidates can't win in a real competitive race, Fox is trying play this as a strong showing for the Tea Party in race that Republicans weren't supposed to win anyway, neither side gets the fact that the Tea Party abandoned Burns for "their guy" Russell, who is a total charlatan and a Peg Luksik lacky, who, like Critz, isn't even from the district, simply because he ran as anti-establishment and more "ideologically pure" than Burns.

The Tea Party jackasses cost us the race, by not supporting Tim Burns.  JJ is right, and this is only proof of what I have been saying for a long time... if this is a trend, then we are in big trouble in the Fall.  The Tea Party people also loved Peg Luksik, even though Toomey is a true blue conservative, simply because she is a shrieking dumbass who couldn't win party backing because there is no way she could win a race for dog catcher.
22  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: Critz vs. Burns for PA-12 on: May 20, 2010, 10:36:32 pm
It also didn't help that, aside from the competitive U.S. Senate and Governor's races, there were also competitive State House and Senate races on the Democrat side in large areas of the district.  Heavily Democratic areas of the district that did not have this, and from where we derived our early returns (just because that's where we had volunteers), were all highly favorable to us, with almost half our vote coming from Democrats.  In the areas with other competitive races, they pretty much voted straight ticket.
23  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Pope blames 'terrifying' sex abuse on Catholic Church on: May 20, 2010, 10:29:31 pm
So... I'm confused.  He says this, and makes no effort to cover it up, and you guys continue on the attack.  Would it have improved the situation had he said this before, prior to knowing all the facts?  That seems to be what you guys are pissed off about now.
24  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: Critz vs. Burns for PA-12 on: May 20, 2010, 10:23:08 pm
I'm hardly an expert in what went wrong in this race, but as someone who worked on it every single day for the last four weeks, I'll offer some of my thoughts:

1) The national media is billing this as a "loss for the Tea Party" which makes me wonder if the national media is in any way engaged with the facts of the reality on the ground here.  Tim Burns was not the Tea Party candidate... Bill Russell was the candidate that most of the Tea Party fell behind.  Many of them voted for Russell in the primary and in the special, or simply refused to vote for any candidate in the general.  Eitherway, they lifted not a finger to help Burns in the election and did nothing but sow discord in the Republican Party.  We don't have the figures yet, but I assume that the undervote played a significant role in the results. 

The undervote wasn't the only thing that hurt us, though, Russell's presence in the race acted to confuse the conservative Democrats that we needed to have vote for us in order to win.  His presence in the primary, while many still supported him in the Special, blurred the line for a number of voters who then simply defaulted to the party they were registered with.  Republican turn out was 6 percent higher than Democrat turnout, but we failed to win over the register Democrats we would need to win, and failed to sure up our own base... the real political effect of the Tea Party on this race.

Russell did turn around and endorse Burns in the Special at the 11th hour, but to me it seems more like he did it to be seen doing it, as the endorsement came far too late, and with far too little publicity to make a difference.  The handful of people he had out at the polls passing out "Vote Burns in the Special, Russell in the Primary" cards probably only helped to confuse voters even more... but he comes out getting to say that he tried to be a team player.

2) The Burns campaign proper responded far too slowly to the ads that Critz and his backers were running against Burns.  Even after Critz was forced to admit, in the debate, that the ads being run in his name contained false information about Tim Burns, they still failed to hit back in a timely fashion.  I won't get into the inside baseball reasons for why this happened, as I don't want to throw anyone under the bus, but the ad, which was patently false, stating that Burns pledged an addition 23 percent sales tax on top of the current tax system was patently false, and extremely damaging, and the Burns people didn't even bother to address it until three days before the election.

3) All the turnout models we had showed us winning this race.  All the polls we had showed us winning this race.  Problem is, there has never been a competitive race in the district proper, and no one has any clue what an accurate turnout model looks like for the PA-12.  All the numbers we had were simply untrue.  I, and everyone around me, believed that we would win up until the time that 50 percent of the precincts reported... and we were simply stunned.
25  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: We're Part Neanderthal, Researchers Find on: May 07, 2010, 10:37:32 pm
To me, this seems like yet another "coffee good/coffee bad" scientific debate.  Last year, someone declared, definitively the there is no trace of Neanderthal genes in the modern human genome.

Look, its as simple as this... all variation in the genome of modern humans can be accounted for by small mutations in the known gene pool.  Modern Humans are 99.9999999999 percent similar with in their genetic codes.  There is no real, appreciable difference between Asians and Europeans, for instance, inside the actual genetic maps.  We can only track migrations of genetic populations through Haplogroup mutations.

If Modern Humans breed and had viable offspring with Neanderthals, where ever this occurred, there would be a clear, noticeable difference in the genetic heritage of that groups, compared to groups located in lands that humans settled previously, where Neanderthals were not present.  No such split exists.  Even granting migrations of people spreading the Neanderthal genes, potentially eliminating the obvious difference, the extend of presence of these genes from one group to another would be apparent, especially when you look at the more isolated African origin groups.  No such evidence exists.

That's the end of the story.
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