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Re: What news story has caught your attention recently?

Postby Moon-Crane » Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:42 am

JT wrote:Now my question to at least Patrick and Moon-Crane is: Are you theophobic?

Me, no. How can one fear that which does not exist?
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Re: What news story has caught your attention recently?

Postby JT » Fri Jun 28, 2013 5:00 am

Moon-Crane wrote:
JT wrote:Now my question to at least Patrick and Moon-Crane is: Are you theophobic?

Me, no. How can one fear that which does not exist?


By theophobic, I mean do you fear organized religion. You know, people who do believe a God exists and have set up institutions supporting that belief. And by the way, how do you know that a God does not exist?
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Re: What news story has caught your attention recently?

Postby JT » Fri Jun 28, 2013 5:02 am

Moon-Crane wrote:
JT wrote:Funny how liberals will accept a birthright basis for certain civil rights but balk at others. Inconsistent, isn't it?

Yes, of course, it's only 'liberals' who do that. I've never heard of a conservative ever being inconsistent on any subject [/snark]


But that doesn't answer the question, does it?
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Re: What news story has caught your attention recently?

Postby JT » Fri Jun 28, 2013 5:09 am

Moon-Crane, its not that you haven't heard any coherent arguments for traditional marriage, its that you won't accept them. But adherents of traditional marriage don't have to accept your rationale either. And many, including the many 'african americans who are as stupid and bigoted as their white brethren on certain issues' think comparing the racial and gender civil rights to homosexual 'rights' is a false equivalency. And. let me add, homosexuality is WEIRD (haha).
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Re: What news story has caught your attention recently?

Postby Patrick » Fri Jun 28, 2013 7:52 am

JT wrote:...
But the logical error you are making is in claiming that these churches, such as the Catholic church, are criminal. It has to be agreed that historically most organized religions have indeed behaved, at least on occasion, reprehensibly. But the modern version of these Christian churches are not on the whole criminal. Simply having another moral or political view than you does not make one a criminal. That is clearly intolerance. Now, if you want to point a finger at a religion for modern-day systemic reprehensible behavior, look no further than Islam.

But you are purposely missing the point here, like so many of your correligionaries I might add, that the church is currently using stolen money, stolen through extortion and bodily threats, that they are by their own arrogant attitude condoning the misdeeds of their predecessors, such as condemning "heretics" to torture and death. As I said before, the Vatican is a sham or a country it only exists on stolen money. It should be dismantled, its assets sold to the highest bidder and then the money redistributed among the poorest of this planet, then you'd have justice. The people who are currently living on that stolen money should be indicted on that and most likely be put in prison. Now you can try to cloud the issue all you want but the truth of the matter is just as I said.
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Re: What news story has caught your attention recently?

Postby Patrick » Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:07 am

JT wrote:Now my question to at least Patrick and Moon-Crane is: Are you theophobic?

I don't condone thievery and extortion, you obviously do. What does that make you?

I don't give a rat’s ass about religion one way or the other. I am willing to consider it a harmless hobby, like collecting stamps or watching TV as long as it stays that way.

I don't consider myself stamp-collector-phobic or TV-watcher-phobic then why would someone define me as "theophobic" which isn’t even a real word, unless he has some ulterior motive?

If a stamp collector starts bothering people and impose his stamp-collecting ethics on them, THEN I will have a problem with it, that's what you people do.
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Re: What news story has caught your attention recently?

Postby Moon-Crane » Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:22 pm

JT wrote:Moon-Crane, its not that you haven't heard any coherent arguments for traditional marriage, its that you won't accept them.

But, I'll consider any argument that can clearly display how allowing two people of the same sex to marry will have any genuine detrimental affect on the ability of two people of the opposite sex to marry. Again, marriage isn't a xtian religious union so why should it be held to those rules? I don't accept any argument that grounds itself in any particular dogma of an (as any evidence suggests) imaginary creator. Let's hear some facts that should reinforce any notion that marriage should only be the recognition of a union between one man and one woman.

All these religious commentators wigging out and spluttering about marriage between one man and one woman as a biblical god-given institution. Remind me, how many wives did Solomon have?

But adherents of traditional marriage don't have to accept your rationale either.

Very true. They can do what they like. Pray long and hard for it to be overturned , every day, for the rest of their lives if they're that way inclined. Stay in their like-minded groups and complain about it to each other to their hearts content. I don't care as long as they adhere to law - or even break law in the privacy of their own home without affecting other people.

And many, including the many 'african americans who are as stupid and bigoted as their white brethren on certain issues' think comparing the racial and gender civil rights to homosexual 'rights' is a false equivalency.

That's up to them. Again, doesn't make it true. Would you believe that you can be a repressed minority who wishes for an end to your own repression and still hold prejudices against other repressed minorities. I know! Crazy!

And. let me add, homosexuality is WEIRD (haha).

:lol: Whereas praying to an invisible sky fairy is completely not weird. At. All. (come on, you set that one up)

Seriously, though. It's actually each to their own if people want to believe in any religious doctrine. I just don't want to hear certain individuals constantly espousing those beliefs in public or expecting to have their beliefs deemed relevant to affecting government/social/economic policy. Just don't expect one's own religious belief should hold privilege over all else when any subject is in the spotlight.

Even if you are personally a Christian religious believer, do you not get frustrated by some of the more evangelical republicans appearing to pull the current party strings? Is there not a 'no true scotsman' vibe to the more extreme or literal-bible beliefs given off by some of members that alienates a section of people who may otherwise vote Rep?

And of course, to conclude: "Some of my best friends (and family) are religious" ;)
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Re: What news story has caught your attention recently?

Postby Moon-Crane » Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:31 pm

JT wrote:
Moon-Crane wrote:
JT wrote:Funny how liberals will accept a birthright basis for certain civil rights but balk at others. Inconsistent, isn't it?

Yes, of course, it's only 'liberals' who do that. I've never heard of a conservative ever being inconsistent on any subject [/snark]


But that doesn't answer the question, does it?


Some most certainly do accept some things and balk at others that don't quite fit their agenda? What else do you want me to say. Yes, people can be inconsistent. All people make those rationalisations in their lives.

The current example i can think of is people giving Obama leeway over the current telecoms snooping scandals. There are Dem people not willing to rebuke him who were quick to rebuke Bush for similar policy. By the same vein, there are Rep supporters doubling down on Obama over this, while they found it acceptable under the Bush regime. I'm no Cheney fan, but at least, in this respect, he's consistent in his support of the actions under either party.

And accepting 'birthright' in other ways is also another kettle of fish to hammer on at another time :D
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Re: What news story has caught your attention recently?

Postby Moon-Crane » Fri Jun 28, 2013 2:12 pm

JT wrote:
Moon-Crane wrote:
JT wrote:Now my question to at least Patrick and Moon-Crane is: Are you theophobic?

Me, no. How can one fear that which does not exist?


By theophobic, I mean do you fear organized religion. You know, people who do believe a God exists and have set up institutions supporting that belief.


Then also no. In general/overall terms, i'm not at all fearful of religious people. I may disagree with what they belief but there's a right to believe in what you like as those beliefs don't affect me or interfere in my way of life. And i believe the majority of people holding any religious belief in the world are just happy to quietly get on with living their own lives. There's nothing to fear from that. You appear to hold some religious beliefs. We (and others) bang heads over stuff and have fun getting aggravated. Doesn't make me fear you or stop me from buying you an ale if we were ever in the same place.

Of course there are a small percentage of people in most religions (and, of course, of no particular religious persuasion) that should put the 'fear' in any sane person. I tend to fear for women under the thumb of Taliban led regimes throughout the world. I fear for the dysfunctionality of people brought up within any of the more extreme religious households. I fear for vulnerable people taken in by the likes of scientology or various cults. In those terms there's always something to feel a fear for. None of these are things that i personally fear for myself. There are probably more appropriate words to feel than fear.

And by the way, how do you know that a God does not exist?

The conclusion of examining the presented evidence. Yes, i can't be any more certain of gods non-existence than i can of the unicorn's non-existence, but there's a point where you have to place the burden of proof on the other side. We're not going to play Pascal's Wager are we?
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Re: What news story has caught your attention recently?

Postby JT » Sat Jun 29, 2013 2:22 am

Moon-Crane wrote:Me, no. How can one fear that which does not exist?

By theophobic, I mean do you fear organized religion. You know, people who do believe a God exists and have set up institutions supporting that belief.

Then also no. In general/overall terms, i'm not at all fearful of religious people. I may disagree with what they belief but there's a right to believe in what you like as those beliefs don't affect me or interfere in my way of life. And i believe the majority of people holding any religious belief in the world are just happy to quietly get on with living their own lives. There's nothing to fear from that. You appear to hold some religious beliefs. We (and others) bang heads over stuff and have fun getting aggravated. Doesn't make me fear you or stop me from buying you an ale if we were ever in the same place.

Of course there are a small percentage of people in most religions (and, of course, of no particular religious persuasion) that should put the 'fear' in any sane person. I tend to fear for women under the thumb of Taliban led regimes throughout the world. I fear for the dysfunctionality of people brought up within any of the more extreme religious households. I fear for vulnerable people taken in by the likes of scientology or various cults. In those terms there's always something to feel a fear for. None of these are things that i personally fear for myself. There are probably more appropriate words to feel than fear.


The conclusion of examining the presented evidence. Yes, i can't be any more certain of gods non-existence than i can of the unicorn's non-existence, but there's a point where you have to place the burden of proof on the other side. We're not going to play Pascal's Wager are we?


Many religions think that there is no definitive evidence for the existence of a God because it presents a sort of 'veil' that requires faith. In other words, its designed that way. I have always had a hard time with that. Most of my life I have been a flaming agnostic. Always had to have evidence to believe anything. Very recently I decided, for multiple reasons, to give organized religion a chance. One of the reasons was, ironically, arrived at through my head. We, our bodies and psychology, are the result of a quaternary code. Think about it, nucleotide base arrangements code for the production of specific biological molecules called proteins. These proteins have EVERYTHING to do with our existence. Tissues. Physiological behavior. even psychology to a large extent. Even when certain genes turn on or off. This quaternary code results in the folding of proteins into a specific three-dimensional structure that determines its activity. And its all self-replicating. I just have a hard time believing that is by complete 'accident' from beginning to end. I have always been willing to have an open mind about that, but ironically my head tips me towards a designer.

Now, as far as what I am calling 'theophobia', that is my catch word for anyone who seems to me to be disproportionately, way-over-the-top, anti organized religion. Or even aggressively atheist. Patrick. You also, in my opinion, have shown some of this. Organized religion, along with just about all other persistent institutions, have a suspect history. But today I think too much criticism is placed on MODERN churches for THE SINS OF THEIR PAST. Modern Islam is an exception. Too much of that religion is 200 years behind. Or as Thomas Friedman has said, they need an Islam 2.0 update.
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Re: What news story has caught your attention recently?

Postby Moon-Crane » Mon Jul 01, 2013 8:57 pm

JT wrote:Many religions think that there is no definitive evidence for the existence of a God because it presents a sort of 'veil' that requires faith. In other words, its designed that way. I have always had a hard time with that. Most of my life I have been a flaming agnostic. Always had to have evidence to believe anything. Very recently I decided, for multiple reasons, to give organized religion a chance. One of the reasons was, ironically, arrived at through my head. We, our bodies and psychology, are the result of a quaternary code. Think about it, nucleotide base arrangements code for the production of specific biological molecules called proteins. These proteins have EVERYTHING to do with our existence. Tissues. Physiological behavior. even psychology to a large extent. Even when certain genes turn on or off. This quaternary code results in the folding of proteins into a specific three-dimensional structure that determines its activity. And its all self-replicating. I just have a hard time believing that is by complete 'accident' from beginning to end. I have always been willing to have an open mind about that, but ironically my head tips me towards a designer.

Genuinely fascinating. I can only say that if this is the argument from 'complexity of design is so incomprehensibly incredible... therefore god' then it doesn't hold water with me. I'm no biologist and lack the personal ability to technically explain the scientific reasons why I believe it's unfounded, but i've read explanations from qualified biology academics, such as PZ Myers, about the mechanics of how cells, proteins, enzymes, etc, emerge and evolve until you get to the diversity of life we know today. With peer review and consensus amongst experts in the field, they appear to adequately cover the subject. These are incredibly complex developments evolving over vast amounts of time, yet none of it relies on a 'god did it' explanation.

If anybody plays the: 'but what are the odds of x occurring... I simply ask them to reverse engineer their family tree and ask what the odds are that those dozens upon dozens of couples got together at the exact times they, with all the factors being just right over thousands of years to ultimately produce them? It's an equation of stunning complexity and incredible numbers to go forward from any starting point and assess the variables that had to exist to go forward from there until you get to the current day – but everything obviously occurred exactly as it had to because here the person is alive and kicking and able to consider it. It's similarly, but not really any more, mindblowing when trying to consider the odds of conditions within this whole universe being just right to have humans on this little rock called earth.

JT wrote:Now, as far as what I am calling 'theophobia', that is my catch word for anyone who seems to me to be disproportionately, way-over-the-top, anti organized religion. Or even aggressively atheist. Patrick. You also, in my opinion, have shown some of this. Organized religion, along with just about all other persistent institutions, have a suspect history. But today I think too much criticism is placed on MODERN churches for THE SINS OF THEIR PAST. Modern Islam is an exception. Too much of that religion is 200 years behind. Or as Thomas Friedman has said, they need an Islam 2.0 update.

You might find my approach too harsh to religion, but, to be clear, i'd defend 100% your right to believe what you want to believe. However, I have no time for any religious people who try to push their religious faith on others or perpetuate clearly debunked falsehoods as fact; using their privilege to push divisive rules based upon sexual orientation, gender, race, etc; telling people how they are allowed to live their lives and filling people with fear about what is going to happen to those people when they die if they don't do exactly what these religious experts say.

My beefs with religion are very much to do with what's happening today. When you have the likes of David Barton, Ken Ham, Glen Beck, Bryan Fischer, Ray Comfort, etc, with public platforms to spout unsupportable rubbish - unequivocally pushing their belief as an absolute truth and for it to form the basis for government, social and educational policy - then you have to push back with equal force.

I make no apology for being terse when it comes to demanding evidence or dismissing lies for what they are. I can't sit by and allow people to exercise their privilege without rebuttal. These guys have invented a god to believe in because he confirms all the things they want to be true. And of course everybody else has to practice those same beliefs to avoid some sort of eternal hell. All without evidence. They can't even define 'god'.

There are enough so-called non-believers who sit apologetically by, give excuses for the opinions put forth types of people, and allow this stuff to seep onwards. Not me. Church and state are clearly supposed to be separate, and these goofballs constantly try to push things which are, at the bare minimum, unconstitutional. Then, the victim-card gets played and cries of discrimination or repression of their faith are bleated because people point out the illegality of their manoeuvres. Blaming non-christians, especially atheist folk, for trying to destroy christianity, rather than simply asking for equality across the board.

When it gets to the point of comparing their imagined suppression in the modern day US to that of the Jews in Nazi Germany my boiling point will always be tipped. Poor little privileged white christian males. Yes, they're such a repressed minority :roll:

Disproportionately over the top? From my perspective. No. From theirs? Certainly. But, to put it another way. Think of the way you feel towards Islam. Do you consider yourself Islamophobic?

To reiterate, I have no beef at all with people who simply, and privately, believe in a god - even though I can't share that belief. I'll stand by your side to defend your right to believe what you do. I'll just never be able to defend a right to have a belief as the basis of a law that discriminates over others who don't share that belief.
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Re: What news story has caught your attention recently?

Postby CatNamedRudy » Wed Jul 03, 2013 1:42 am

Well said MC!
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Re: What news story has caught your attention recently?

Postby JT » Wed Jul 03, 2013 3:11 am

CatNamedRudy wrote:Well said MC!


Cat, don't you have anything original to say? Debate for yourself. That is one thing I've noticed about you.
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Re: What news story has caught your attention recently?

Postby CatNamedRudy » Wed Jul 03, 2013 3:30 am

JT wrote:
CatNamedRudy wrote:Well said MC!


Cat, don't you have anything original to say? Debate for yourself. That is one thing I've noticed about you.


Why should I say anything when MC just made the point?
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Re: What news story has caught your attention recently?

Postby Bee Gees Fan » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:56 pm

Sorry I've taken a while! Been busy.

Moon-Crane wrote:Citations please.

I know we've got the list. I'll post one that was submitted for peer review and made the news at the time from Daryl Bem, which was then taken up by others: Three Unsuccessful Attempts to Replicate Bem's ‘Retroactive Facilitation of Recall’ Effect


That's just one out of many studies/experiments referred to in that list. Even if Bem's study was inaccurate, there's plenty more there for you to look at. I guess you could argue that if Bem's experiment was flawed then that casts some doubt on the other experiments on the list, but I don't think it would be fair to assume that they're all tainted.

Anyhow, I found some more citations:

http://www.scientificexploration.org/jo ... icles.html

Articles from the JSE, a peer-reviewed publication.

http://ejp.wyrdwise.com/

European Journal of Parapsychology

http://www.princeton.edu/~pear/publications.html

And studies listed on Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research website.


Moon-Crane wrote:Everybody's got the right to do what they want with like-minded consenting adults. I don't want to stop anyone doing anything that's not hurting other people.


I would agree, and I think that's a fair way of looking at things. So you wouldn't have anything against, say, interested people attending psychic development circles? Or taking other such courses/classes which teach psychic or paranormal ability? Or people publicly demonstrating psychic abilities for zero charge?

There's a focus in the media on professional psychics who charge money for their services, but I would say that there's at least an equal number of psychics and mediums (if not more) who don't charge anyone for their services at all. When I was regularly attending the Spiritualist Church, the mediums who came to pass on messages from spirits didn't take money for what they did (many had more 'mainstream' jobs to pay the bills and some were retired.) I think the most some of them accepted was refunded travel expenses, which I think is reasonable, especially as some of them did come quite a long way to get there.

Since you seem to accept that not everyone who calls themselves a 'psychic' is a deliberate fraud and that some of them genuinely believe they have these abilities...what would you like to see from these people (the ones who honestly think they have psychic ability.) Would you like to see more of them offer themselves to rigorous scientific testing, things like that?

Finally, while it's true that celebrity psychics are publicly open about who they are, the majority of non-celebrity individuals who identify as psychics, or anything similar, do feel pressured to "remain in the closet" and keep this significant part of who they are hidden - sometimes even from family and friends. Coming out as a psychic or even as just someone who is interested in psi/paranormal research can also have career-harming ramifications, depending on the individual's chosen career path. There's an individual who posts on various psi and psychic-related blogs who said that he is not posting under his real name for the reason that he is currently looking for a place in graduate schools, and that if he publicly expresses an interest in psi research, that will ruin his chances at some places immediately. In certain areas of academia, being honest about your interest in psi can be potentially damaging to your career prospects.

I personally would like to see greater public openness from individuals involved with alternative minority faiths and spirituality (like Wicca, Paganism, occultism and psychics.) My hope is that if more pagans, witches, New Agers, etc stand up for themselves and combat the erroneous notions that we are weird, crazy and/or evil, then slowly, the general public's perception of us will change for the better. Gays have made huge strides in the last several decades. I'd like to see the same happen with witches, pagans and occultists.

What I would like to see us do more of, is educate people about what it is we really believe and what it is we do. There are so many negative stereotypes out there that are simply false. I'd like to see us, as a community, making rebuttals against false, prejudiced or misleading information and give objective well thought-out arguments for thinking the way we do. If we show tolerance, honesty and integrity, along with a healthy sense of pride in who we are, what we practice and what we think, then hopefully we will see positive social change.

We don't want to force our beliefs on others, or make others believe as we do - most of us don't care whether people share our views on magick or supernatural powers or not. But what we do want is for people to assess us fairly and objectively and not discriminate against us. Which does happen. It may be less of a problem than other forms of discrimination, but it's still a problem that needs to be addressed.

P.S. As an exercise, MC, perhaps we could recommend to one another some blogs/websites reflecting our points of view. I think everyone can benefit from giving at least a little exploration to thoughts and opinions that differ to ours. I could recommend to you what I think are some fair, objective and well-written paranormal/psychic blogs/sites and you could recommend to me some objective, fair and reasonable blogs/sites that take a more sceptical approach.

The one caveat for me is that I'd be prepared to look at sceptical blogs/websites that are polite and respectful towards believers in the paranormal and which don't, for the most part, take a rude and snarky tone. If there are any sceptical blogs/sites you know of that don't routinely insult believers in the paranormal, mock/belittle them, and that have a reasonably respectful/civil tone, then I am happy to take a look at what they have to say.

For my part, here are some recommendations of my own of some generally pro-paranormal blogs that I think are generally fair, objective and well-written:

http://paranormalia.com/ - Paranormalia, a blog by Robert McLuhan

http://www.michaelprescott.typepad.com/ - Michael Prescott's blog

http://dailygrail.com/ - The Daily Grail, Greg Taylor's baby.

If you choose to look into them, I hope you find them interesting and, even if you disagree with some of what they think/say, at least you might have a better understanding of their perspectives and why they think as they do.
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Re: What news story has caught your attention recently?

Postby JT » Sun Jul 07, 2013 6:04 pm

CatNamedRudy wrote:
JT wrote:
CatNamedRudy wrote:Well said MC!


Cat, don't you have anything original to say? Debate for yourself. That is one thing I've noticed about you.


Why should I say anything when MC just made the point?


Obviously the reason you don't say anything original and intelligent is because you cannot. MC can express his opinions intelligently. Unlike the utterances some make that are befitting of a 12 year old cheerleader. I guess anything more in-depth and insightful is not forthcoming. "Why should I say anything when MC just made the point?" is of course just more evidence of that.
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Re: What news story has caught your attention recently?

Postby Patrick » Sun Jul 07, 2013 6:49 pm

JT wrote:...Obviously the reason you don't say anything original and intelligent is because you cannot. MC can express his opinions intelligently. Unlike the utterances some make that are befitting of a 12 year old cheerleader. I guess anything more in-depth and insightful is not forthcoming. "Why should I say anything when MC just made the point?" is of course just more evidence of that.

You obviously have no trouble belittling people for no reason. Maybe this little tantrum of yours says a lot more about you than it does your "victim du jour"…

You need to calm down and come back to the discussion when you have dealt with all your demons or at least the most glaringly conspicuous ones.
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Re: What news story has caught your attention recently?

Postby Roverman » Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:27 pm

This is getting so heavy I am forced to say this;

'I remember when we came down here and drank wine'.
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Re: What news story has caught your attention recently?

Postby Bee Gees Fan » Wed Jul 10, 2013 1:04 pm

Moon-Crane wrote:You might find my approach too harsh to religion, but, to be clear, i'd defend 100% your right to believe what you want to believe. However, I have no time for any religious people who try to push their religious faith on others or perpetuate clearly debunked falsehoods as fact; using their privilege to push divisive rules based upon sexual orientation, gender, race, etc; telling people how they are allowed to live their lives and filling people with fear about what is going to happen to those people when they die if they don't do exactly what these religious experts say.

My beefs with religion are very much to do with what's happening today. When you have the likes of David Barton, Ken Ham, Glen Beck, Bryan Fischer, Ray Comfort, etc, with public platforms to spout unsupportable rubbish - unequivocally pushing their belief as an absolute truth and for it to form the basis for government, social and educational policy - then you have to push back with equal force.



I can totally understand these issues that you have with the "old" religions, particularly the Abrahamic ones, which in my opinion are the faiths with the most unsavoury elements.

But what you don't seem to take into account is that none of the criticisms that you have apply to most of the modern neo-pagan religions that have evolved in the latter 20th century, Wicca being one of them.

So my question is, do you have "beef" with Wicca? And if you do, for what possible reason?

I honestly can't think of anything in Wicca that you could object to. (Morally, that is.) The problems/criticisms that you listed above don't exist in Wicca. To go through them one by one:

* Wiccans don't try to push their beliefs on others, they don't proselytise and the religion doesn't encourage its practitioners to do so. As Scott Cunningham wrote in his book about Wicca, "Wicca doesn't solicit because, unlike most Western religions, it doesn't claim to be the one true way to Deity."

* Wiccans don't perpetuate clearly debunked falsehoods as fact. Most of them believe in plenty of supernatural/paranormal things, and probably view them as "facts" personally, but they don't attempt to get their supernatural ideas taught as fact in classrooms, and don't try to badger other people to believe what they do.

* Wiccans don't push divisive rules based on sexual orientation, gender or race. The religion of Wicca is devoid of any prejudice against homosexuals and homosexuality, different races, and women - Wicca in fact gives equality to women, and the Goddess that Wiccans believe in is given equal status to the God. The fact that Wicca deems the feminine as equal to the masculine is a reason that it was so popular with some feminists in the 1970s.

So to be clear, Wicca the religion has no prejudice against people of any sexual orientation, race or gender. If there are any Wiccans who *do* have some of those prejudices, they haven't got them from their religion.

* Wicca is non-dogmatic.

* Wicca doesn't request money from its practitioners.

Wicca is a religion that is free from intolerance, prejudice and dogma. I can understand you being of the opinion that the mystical beliefs in Wicca are nonsense, but I can't think of anything that you could object to morally.

You once said something like (paraphrasing) that you could "accept the view that proponents of Wicca cause fewer problems them proponents of faiths like Christianity or Islam." But I don't think that goes far enough: as far as I can see, proponents of Wicca don't cause *any* problems.

I could be wrong here, and if so, my apologies, but the impression I get is that you know very little about Wicca and just assume that it's similar to the older, more intolerant religions. As someone who has some knowledge of Wicca, I can say (and have hopefully shown) that that is not the case at all.

I've seen too many people make negative judgments of Wicca (and other neo-pagan religions) based on false assumptions and lack of knowledge of the faith. And since I consider myself reasonably well-versed in such matters, I try to give a more accurate overview when I can.


Moon-Crane wrote: I'm no biologist and lack the personal ability to technically explain the scientific reasons why I believe it's unfounded, but i've read explanations from qualified biology academics, such as PZ Myers, about the mechanics of how cells, proteins, enzymes, etc, emerge and evolve until you get to the diversity of life we know today.


I have a rather low opinion of PZ Myers - not because of his stance on creationism/biology, but because of what I think are his prejudiced views on parapsychology (and the scientists involved in it) and some aspects of the paranormal. He comes across as a closed-minded bully quite a lot of the time, one who will sneer and make personal attacks, rather than engage in some mature and respectful discussion.

He also behaved very childishly towards the Daily Grail a few years ago. Greg Taylor, the website's owner, introduced a poll in which he asked members/contributors to the website their opinions on the best evidence for the afterlife. There were various options available (including mediumship and NDEs) and also an option of 'no evidence.'

Greg put the poll in place because he wanted to get the opinions of people involved in the community, to share information and pave the way towards further discussion of the topic. Somehow (I'm not sure how) PZ Myers became aware of the website and the poll, posted about it on his blog, and urged those commenting to go and vote 'no evidence' in the poll. Several thousand people duly showed up and voted 'no evidence' (with most declining to join in the conversation or make any kind of comment) which obviously unfairly skewed the poll towards 'no evidence' (since the Daily Grail is a very small community in comparison to Myers' blog.)

So what was meant to be a poll giving insight into how individuals in the Daily Grail were thinking, turned into something which was unfairly manipulated, and I'm in agreement with Greg when he said it was "just plain rude and childish behaviour or PZ Myers' part."

Then there have been Myers' personal insults to Rupert Sheldrake, which I thought were rather nasty. He went on a diatribe about Sheldrake in a blog post, described Sheldrake as "nuts" and called his work "a substanceless load of bollocks."

Sheldrake nuts? Perhaps he is mistaken in his ideas/theories and perhaps his research will turn out to be mistaken or flawed. But he's not crazy. He's an intelligent man pursuing evidence-based science. Calling him "nuts" is a low blow. Is Myers incapable of talking maturely and respectfully about these subjects and the people who investigate them?

Sheldrake's own response to Myers' insults and false statements (communicated to Greg, presumably in an email.)

With such a farrago of prejudice, ignorance and arrogance it's hard to know where to begin. It doesn't really seem worth replying to people who aren't interested in the facts but simply in venting their rage.

Myers has not taken the trouble to read any of my experiments on telephone telepathy nor any of my other research on the subject and is obviously as bigoted as Dawkins himself. For example when he refers to my experiments as "exercises in gullibility, anecdote and sloppy statistics", the only thing he refers to is an attack by some sceptics on my staring research based on a fallacious argument which I've already refuted in The Skeptical Inquirer.

He has not taken the trouble to look at the telephone telepathy or email telepathy experiments, published in peer-reviewed journals, which are based not on anedcotes but on randomized controlled tests. Then he accuses me of not proposing any theory for telepathy, which in fact I have done. But there's nothing one can do about ranters of this kind, who are beyond the reach of science and reason.

Some of the comments following his blog are equally sad and remind me of the low level of debate found on the Dawkins website, where people vie with each other in their prejudice, sneering and nastiness.



And for an example of Myers jumping to false conclusions about people based on prejudice, rather than exploring that person's background, I recommend reading this article on the Daily Grail - http://dailygrail.com/Religion-and-Spir ... ew-Atheism

To summarise, Greg outlines how Myers attacked an Australian reverend, Tim Costello, saying: "Since Costello is a reverend, unfortunately, that probably means he's an ignorant ass who's never learned anything that matters."

Greg did some digging into Costello's background. Costello has a large body of humanitarian work to his name, including not just charitable work, but work in a legal practice for whom the law is normally inaccessible, work helping out people who are homeless, and working to assist people who suffer from alcohol or drug addiction. He's the 2008 winner of the Australian Peace Prize and is listed by the National Trust as a "National Living Treasure."

Greg goes into a bit more detail in the article, but the point is, Reverend Tim Costello (supposedly an "ignorant ass who's never learned anything that matters") has done a huge amount of work helping out disadvantaged people. An ignorant ass who's never learned anything that matters? Perhaps Myers should have done a little reading on Costello's background before coming to such a bigoted conclusion.

And as Greg concluded the article : So, on the world's premiere science blog, there would have been plenty of intelligent people ready to set the record straight in the 200-or-so comments that followed such an epic fail? Right? Hmmm? No. Because, sadly, Myers is what he so despises himself. A rigid fundamentalist who will ignorantly spout off at someone just because they don't have the same view as him, leading a flock of his own faithful who don't dare criticise (or simply, don't even see the flaws because they've drunk so much Kool-Aid). And, sadly, lowering the level of debate about religion - a topic that deserves much more intelligent discussion and criticism. This is the man put forward as the spokesperson for rationalism?
Last edited by Bee Gees Fan on Wed Jul 10, 2013 3:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: What news story has caught your attention recently?

Postby Bee Gees Fan » Wed Jul 10, 2013 1:59 pm

Patrick wrote:I don't give a rat’s ass about religion one way or the other. I am willing to consider it a harmless hobby, like collecting stamps or watching TV as long as it stays that way.

I don't consider myself stamp-collector-phobic or TV-watcher-phobic then why would someone define me as "theophobic" which isn’t even a real word, unless he has some ulterior motive?

If a stamp collector starts bothering people and impose his stamp-collecting ethics on them, THEN I will have a problem with it, that's what you people do.



Patrick wrote: that's what you people do.


Can you define "you people"? Are you saying that every single religious person bothers people and imposes their ethics on them? If you are saying that, then that's clearly and demonstrably false. It may seem that way sometimes, but many religious people let others lead their own lives and don't bother them. Even MC has stated that he thinks "the majority of people holding any religious belief in the world are just happy to quietly get on with living their own lives." So if that's what you meant by "you people", then it's a broad and false generalisation.

Also, there are many people who have spiritual and supernatural beliefs who are not religious. This can include atheists. As I pointed out before, atheists can have a whole range of supernatural or spiritual beliefs (as long as those beliefs don't involve any deities, in which case they would no longer be atheists.) There are atheist witches, atheist psychics, atheist mediums, atheist occultists, etc. Sometimes such people use the term "spiritual but not religious" to denote themselves as people who don't follow or accept any organised religion, but who nevertheless have some spiritual and/or supernatural beliefs.

What are your thoughts on these type of people, myself included? What are your thoughts on witches, occultists (such as myself), and psychics/mediums who genuinely believe that they have the abilities they say they have? What is your opinion of someone who, for example, likes to talk to spirits in their spare time, attend psychic development circles, or cast magick spells?
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Re: What news story has caught your attention recently?

Postby Moon-Crane » Wed Jul 10, 2013 5:34 pm

I've got replies to make to your posts, BGF, but i'm lacking time now so will do it later.

Also, to stop derailing this particular thread i'll move the discussion elsewhere. I seem to recall a thread called 'random philosophical rubbish', or some such, that was set up by DG - so i'll dig that out and we can maybe continue there?

Edit: Going to move this discussion here:
http://www.frasieronline.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=5773&p=324439#p324439
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Re: What news story has caught your attention recently?

Postby Bee Gees Fan » Fri Jul 12, 2013 3:03 pm

Moon-Crane wrote:I've got replies to make to your posts, BGF, but i'm lacking time now so will do it later.

Also, to stop derailing this particular thread i'll move the discussion elsewhere. I seem to recall a thread called 'random philosophical rubbish', or some such, that was set up by DG - so i'll dig that out and we can maybe continue there?


Okay, that's cool. I don't know if having the discussion in this thread was irritating anyone or not, but it's probably more appropriate there.
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Re: What news story has caught your attention recently?

Postby Moon-Crane » Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:06 pm

Bee Gees Fan wrote:Okay, that's cool. I don't know if having the discussion in this thread was irritating anyone or not, but it's probably more appropriate there.


No, i don't think anyone was bothered, but i think there's plenty of proper news to stick in this section :)

Bad train crash in the south of Paris http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-23294630 to add to the terrible train crash in Quebec and the crash landed plane in San Francisco.

Do you know the area, Patrick?
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Re: What news story has caught your attention recently?

Postby Patrick » Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:31 pm

Moon-Crane wrote:
Bee Gees Fan wrote:Okay, that's cool. I don't know if having the discussion in this thread was irritating anyone or not, but it's probably more appropriate there.


No, i don't think anyone was bothered, but i think there's plenty of proper news to stick in this section :)

Bad train crash in the south of Paris http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-23294630 to add to the terrible train crash in Quebec and the crash landed plane in San Francisco.

Do you know the area, Patrick?

Not specifically, but it's very possible that I went through it during my travels. It seems rather unremarkable, I much prefer my place which is on the countryside and yet less than 80 kilometers from the Capital. So in a way, I get the best of both worlds.

This is of course a terrible tragedy.
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Re: What news story has caught your attention recently?

Postby Moon-Crane » Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:39 pm

Glee star Cory Monteith found dead in Canada hotel
Not a show i pay that much attention to but my missus watches it and so i know the actor well enough from it. Had no idea he'd been struggling with a long term addiction battle, though. Very sad.
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