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Chilean, raised roman catholic, currently agnostic, PhD physicist, currently in Med School for Medical Physics (UPDATE: completed my degree! I am now a PhD in physics and medical physics!). plays the bass guitar... anything else, please ask!

Comments

Should atheists subscribe to naturalism or even scientism?
TheMiddleWay comments on Sep 2, 2019:
I don't think atheism nessesitates any other "ism". This is like saying that because I like football I must also like tennis or cricket. Atheism is the answer to one question and one question only "Do you believe in god(s)?". Naturalism and scientism are answers to a host of other question. And ironically, the question of god is one that naturalism and scientism can't answer, by sheer definition of the question. This is like trying to use the rules of grammer to ascertain whether "This sentance is a lie" is true or false... by the very nature of the sentence it cannot be ascertained. I personally am against scientism. I've learned enough science and have worked in the field long enough to know that thinking science can answer all questions is hubris. Instead, we need to focus on the answers we CAN get from science and make good use of them, instead of trying to pretend that every question can be answered. So in answer to your last question, absolutely: one can unbelieve in god and still have a host of irrational beliefs... I mean heck, we see this on this site on a daily basis, don't we? :D
Have you known many believers who can't seem to grasp the omniscient god thing?
TheMiddleWay comments on Sep 2, 2019:
Except omniscient doesn't necessarily mean prescient. Hence it can be the case that an omniscient being, god or otherwise, can know everything there is to know about the present and past but that doesn't mean they know everything about the future. As for numerology, yeah, that's bullocks. :D Numbers are fun. Numbers are cool. But numbers are NOT mystical. :D
I thought that this news from Canada’s Supreme Court would be of interest here.
TheMiddleWay comments on Aug 31, 2019:
Wholeheartedly disagree. (EDIT: I've changed my mind and now I agree with the decision. the comment Joanne made made me change my position. Read her comments and my reply to see said change) While I'm not wholly conversant in Canadian educational system, it seems that that is not a public university, it doesn't get public funds, and it's asking it's members to refrain from a set of practices that they feel is against their religious beliefs in what is a religious school that is all about those beliefs. Thus, if a person doesn't want to confrom to said practice, there is nothing forcing them to attend said school. Now, if people are being kicked out after being accepted because they won't sign, then I would be against that as their education would be directly affected and this new policy is not what they signed on for when they applied. But otherwise, if you want to have homosexual sex, simply don't go to that school... ez peezy. Similar to any other policy a school has that you don't agree with... don't like it, don't go. I would also note the hypocrisy of the ruling: it seems (AFAIK)that it's only homosexual sex that the court took offense to... hetereosexual sex (AFAIK) they didn't care about. So it seems (again AFAIK) that asking people not to have hetero sex is ok... but god forbid they are asked not to have homo sex, oh no, cant have that! (EDIT:
There is so much wrong with Christianity, mainly the part where devotees are required to "WORSHIP" ...
TheMiddleWay comments on Aug 31, 2019:
Catholic services in the USA contribute 30 Billion a year to charity, about 17% of the total.[1] The catholic charity is in the top three charities in the usa, behind only the United Way and the Salvation Army (both of which are religiously affiliated) There are plenty of reasons to hate religion, I grant you... but their charity work really should not be one of them. After all, considering that the USA is worth A LOT more than the 15 billion the vatican is worth and that they spend a significant portion of that in warfare and not charity, I should think one would hate should the USA as much, or more, then religion because of their perceived lack of charity. ;) [1]https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2013/mar/19/frank-keating/does-catholic-church-provide-half-social-services-/
Humanists Score Victory in Longstanding MD Legislative Prayer Case (happy dance) "Under the ...
TheMiddleWay comments on Aug 30, 2019:
Seems fair: the people in power can't pray but the people they serve can. Hence all beliefs and unbeliefs can be expressed by the populace but no one belief or unbelief will be emphasized by the people in power.
Aborting people with down syndrome? Moral or not? [youtu.be]
TheMiddleWay comments on Aug 30, 2019:
Immoral. In modern society, they are very much productive and functional members of society. The fact that genetically they may be stuck in a younger mentality is no reason to euthanize them anymore than we would euthanize people who have no genetic markers but are also stuck in a younger mentality. If our society were less developed, if they were a burden to local communities and society in general, then it could be argued that it would be moral. *Maybe* the case could be made that it would be moral in some backwater third world country where it's people are struggling to survive even with it's healthiest members. But in our first and second world countries, where they can survive AND thrive, it's immoral.
Despite us both being atheists, my roommate and I had a disagreement on the usage of the word ...
TheMiddleWay comments on Aug 29, 2019:
People who say babies are born atheist are patently wrong. You see, atheism (or any belief for that matter) has to be an expressed in some format for us to ascribe a set belief to a set individual. You can't ascribe belief to a person in the absence of action or word that conforms to that belief. Nor if you ask a question and don't get an answer, you can't presume that their belief is one way or the other. Or a simpler way to see this: ask a baby what it believes in. What will it say? Exactly. ;) Now, there IS a label that we can somewhat ascribe to a baby and that is IGNOSTIC, the view that the definition of god is meaningless and thus any talk of it is equally meaningless. This is what the OP alludes to when they say, " do we enter the world with insufficient knowledge of the question to be labeled one way or the other.." After all, concepts of god, morality, justics, etc are meaningless to a baby. As such, being ignostic (god labels are meaningless and thus neither accepted nor rejected) is a way more accurate label than being atheist (god label has meaning but is rejected) or theist (god label has meaning and is accept.
It’s been 14 months since my son died and the platitudes still piss me off.
TheMiddleWay comments on Aug 28, 2019:
I'm also of that opinion. Which is why I also condone believing what you want about the afterlife as long as it makes you feel better in THIS life: If thinking your son is waiting for you makes you feel better, I say do it. If thinking he is gone and that is that brings you relief, do that. If postponing any judgement until you do or do not join him makes you feel better, go for it. Better for you to feel better in this life that you are currently living than to suffer through existential questions on top of suffering the loss of a loved one.
Atheism is just a way of clearing the space for better conversations.
TheMiddleWay comments on Aug 28, 2019:
How does Harris define "better"? I have very good conversations with theists and atheists and agnostics alike. I don't know what makes one "better" than the other.
Just as an fyi, there is NO way 45 can actually DO anything about overturning the 14th Amendment.
TheMiddleWay comments on Aug 22, 2019:
Trump no. Congress yes. And as president, he can ask congress to consider it. The chances of it actually happening are between 0 and 0, but he can try. Of course, I'm disappointed in the press and people that buy into this latest statement from him. This is because his strategy is SO transparent it pains me when people don't see through it: 1) Claim something outlandish, impossible, divisive, contentious 2) Watch as everyone gets all worked up over the statement and demand he don't do it. 3) Walk back the statement and do something significantly less than what he claimed to get what he *actually* wants and claim this was him listening to peoples concerns. Case in point, he knows there is no way he personally can repeal the 14th. So when he says he's seriously looking into it, one need take this like a game of chess and try to ascertain what he actually wants. Maybe if people worried less about what Trump says and more about what he does, or will do, we would have better luck combating his policies we don't agree with. As it is, as a collective, he is beating us with a stupidly simple strategy. In his words, "Sad".
Today is the final day of the worst year of my life;it was one year ago on the 22nd of August that ...
TheMiddleWay comments on Aug 21, 2019:
Fuck lung cancer. Fuck it haaarrrrdddd.......
UPDATE on Religion's professor saying atheism is a religion.
TheMiddleWay comments on Aug 21, 2019:
So he's not *technically* wrong. In terms of interpretation, the first amendment grants freedom of religion and that has been expanded to include unbelief or secular belief. As well, when humanist organizations make article postings like the one he's included, it makes it hard to argue that they are not religion when they call themselves religions. The fundamental problem, of course, is that religion has always, and I argue always should be, based on some belief in some god(s). This is what differentiates christianity, judaism, etc from other activities like football, mathematics, etc. This is a point that you may want to bring up because, as I've argued many times on these very boards, when we loosen the definition of religion to include things that don't include gods, then you can include everything and anything. It becomes a tautology: something that is true but trivially so. In fact, you can drive this point home by asking him what he considers is *not* a religion. Is football a religion? Is math a religion? Is star wars fandom a religion? Is politics a religion? If, as I predict, he says yes to all of them then you know that his definition is so broad as to be useless. OTOH, he may say not to many of those and you can throw back his own definition to argue why we shouldn't consider them religion and thus exploit a "argument from absurdity" to show that considering atheism (literally without gods) as a religion is absurd. The other minor problem is he is confounding a constitutional definition of religion with a philosophical or theological one. As I mention above, it's true that atheism is granted protection under the first amendement, which has *zero* mention of atheism. And the only way they could do this is to consider atheism a religion or, in the same light, consider *any* belief or unbelief system a religion. This is very similar to another conversation regarding protecting gender expression under title VII: it protects against sex discrimination but there is no mention of gender expression. Yet some people put gender expression protection under sex in order to offer that protection. I think that is wrong for reasons we are seeing here: we shouldn't conflate sex with gender anymore than we should conflate atheism with religion. I hope this helps in your discussions with your teacher. It's important to note that his viewpoint may be wrong to you and I but it's not wrong to him... and becuase he does have evidence to backup his viewpoint one shouldn't dismiss it outright. Rather, IMO, you should poke and prod his evidence, put it in context, test it, challenge it, and thus hope to not change his mind but rather change your own insofar as reaffirming what you already believe or maybe even questioning what you believe in an effort at...
Religious children are meaner than their secular counterparts, study finds [theguardian.com]
TheMiddleWay comments on Aug 20, 2019:
This paper was retracted earlier this month [1]. A quote from the abstract of said retraction: "When we reanalyzed these data to correct this error, **we found that country of origin, rather than religious affiliation, is the primary predictor of several of the outcomes.**" --- [1] https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(19)30875-9
Someone said it’s (Trump’s recent executive order saying the LGBTQ could be fired) effect is ...
TheMiddleWay comments on Aug 20, 2019:
The article is about Christian employers firing over skirts in a case going to the supreme court and has nothing to do with the recent DOJ proposed. The fact that the DOJ wrote a brief endorsing the supereme court overturn the lower case ruling is not the same as the DOJ proposing policy. It is however completely consistent with the core issue at hand: sex is not the same as gender and thus while Tilte XII protects sex, it doesn't protect gender. Of course it's happening now, the same way that racism and sexism and all other manner of -isms are happening. The question is the magnitude of said negative actions and how we can minimize it while protecting both beliefs: that that doesn't support non-binary gender roles and those that do. And of course who is in charge of said change... hint, it's not the judicial or the executive branch. ;)
Aquaman!!!! From Discover on Google [ktsm.com]
TheMiddleWay comments on Aug 20, 2019:
"Momoa first rose to fame as Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones " Wrong! As any Sci Fi nerd knows, he was famous long before as Ronon on SGA. :D
A KY School District Found a Brilliant Loophole for the “In God We Trust” Law | Hemant Mehta | ...
TheMiddleWay comments on Aug 15, 2019:
Offensive to the peso, the euro, and bitcoin... 😂
There are no words horrendous
TheMiddleWay comments on Aug 15, 2019:
In further reading, seems to me that this doesn't apply to all federal contractor but only: "Among other changes, this proposal is intended to make clear that the Executive Order 11246 religious exemption covers not just churches but **employers that are organized for a religious purpose, hold themselves out to the public as carrying out a religious purpose, and engage in exercise of religion consistent with, and in furtherance of, a religious purpose."** So in that light, and as I read it, the rule makes more sense insofar as a random contractor can't use that as an excuse to fire someone willy nilly but a religious contractor that is all about a religion can. I mean if you are a Muslim contractor and you blaspheme allah every day at work, while well within your first amendment rights, it should be the right of the employer to terminate you. On the other hand, if you are a secular contractor, you could not use my blasphemeing of allah or yehovah as a reason for termination. Which of course brings out the other side of the coin for, if my reading of this is correct, as an employee you would have a duty to not align yourself with any company that doesn't hold your similar beliefs or similarly a company that has clear religious beliefs that you might come into conflict with.
There are no words horrendous
TheMiddleWay comments on Aug 15, 2019:
So I'm reading the actual document because, you know, I don't like twits on twitter telling me what to think... And there is no mention of pregnancy, only one mention of gender, and three of sex. Exactly how does the ACLU come to the conclusion that this allows the firing of pregnant, unmarried, and LGBTQ workers? Also, remember that small companies are not bound by these rules and can, and have always been able to, discriminate at will. Personally, I think there is good to these rules as indicated in the text, where (for example) a person growing a beard is a religious freedom that their employer was trying to take away and, most importantly, using these rules will force legal action and (hopefully) have the supreme court do what congress will not and make a decision one way or the other. Further, remember that religious freedom cuts both ways: if the employer wants to fire you due to their religion, then surely the employee can sue based on their religion. Fight fire with fire I say.... https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2019-17472.pdf
There are no words horrendous
TheMiddleWay comments on Aug 15, 2019:
Until such time as congress makes a rule (or amends title 7) to protect gender and not just sex, this will continue to be perfectly legal. Don't blame trump or the DOL; blame a congress that is so wrapped up in it's own BS that it can't address issues that are important to us. Further, don't think that this stops with trump being out of office. We need to get congress out of office and replaced with people that know the difference between gender and sex in order to amend the rules and make them more relevant with our modern conception of the two and the inherent protections both deserve.
Do you think sociopaths and psychopaths can't really help their actions since they didn't really ...
TheMiddleWay comments on Aug 14, 2019:
Sticky wicket for society. If you believe in free will, then they are responsible. If you believe free will doesn't exist, then they are not responsible. I believe in conditional free will: we are free to exert our will but only subject to certain conditions, like physics and biology. In this case, the biology of a psycho/sociopaths brain may very well hard-wire them to their behaviour... no matter how much they want to change or realize it's bad, their chemicals won't allow them to change. However, it is still *their* chemicals, *their* biology and thus *their* responsibility insofar as if they can't change it, then they should still be subject to the consequences of *their* actions. So to me, whether they can or cannot change is irrelevant in terms of assigning fault. It's what you *do* that matters, not what you *could have done* otherwise.... and whether free will exists or not or is conditional or not, it is still *you* not *others* or *nobody* that are doing the actions and thus *you* not *others* or *nobody* that bear any responsability for *your* actions.
Children Raised Without Religion Are Kinder And More Empathetic, Study Finds (This may have been ...
TheMiddleWay comments on Aug 13, 2019:
Tons of problems with the study; here is a very detailed analysis of why: https://wmbriggs.com/post/17238/ And why it was retracted early this month: ;) https://wmbriggs.com/post/27817/
Agnostic vs Atheist Sorry to rake up this seemingly old one up again but there have been so many ...
TheMiddleWay comments on Aug 13, 2019:
Few thoughts from an agnostic: 1) You cannot know for sure due to the very nature of the god claim. It's like the ontological equivalent of proving that "this sentence is not true" is valid or not. 2) You can prove a negative. It is harder to prove than a positive but it can be done and is done all the time: do you have a dollar bill in your pocket? Easy to prove that you don't. Hence if you are going to claim "god doesn't exist" as an example of a form of an atheistic claim, you better darn tooting be able to prove it... no different than if you are going to claim "god does exist" as an example of a theist claim, you better darn tooting be able to prove it as well. 3) Schrodingers cat is not provable. x-rays or thermal imaging are both what is meant by "opening the box" insofar as a measurement has been made. 4) We emphatically do not argue for an intangible pair of scissors in the drawer. That is a theistic point of view. What we argue is if you don't know what a pair of scissors looks like, it makes no sense to claim that it is or is not in the drawer. We don't argue for is or isn't. We argue that we can't make either claim. 5) We leave the door open because there is no compelling reason to fully shut it out. In this regard, it is very much like string theory: no proof that it's true and yet we keep the door open *on the chance* that in the future we find a way to prove that it is true. It may be that string theory will be the god equivalent in science insofar as we will never find a way to prove it is negative... but then it will always benefit us to keep it just a smidge open on the chance we can prove it positive. 6) The real reason for my agnosticism (can't speak for all, just mine) is my steadfast dedication to being scientific about the world. There are *a ton* of ideas in science that can't be proved for a time and are then negatively proven (like your aforementioned aether) or are then positively proven (like the higgs). Gods are in that same category: **unproven but not disproven**. IMO, a good scientist doesn't close the door on an idea until there is proof, evidence, actual reason to close the door... anymore than they fully open the door on the same, until there is proof, evidence, actual reason to open the door. This is not to say that I support any and all religious claims... when one person says their bible says gay marriage is wrong, in deference to my scientific mindset, to my agnosticism, I say "prove that it's wrong". If all they can say is "this book says it is", then I can point to many other books that say "all these books says it is not" and then ask "what else you go?"... if nothing else then the weight of evidence clearly goes to it not being wrong. Same with many religious claims. That is not to say that ...
This piece of garbage sends dick pics.
TheMiddleWay comments on Aug 12, 2019:
I send Dick pics all the time... don't see what all the fuss is about...
Why are the liberals blaming white supremacist’s for mass shootings?
TheMiddleWay comments on Aug 6, 2019:
I think the problem is that there is no set definition of what constitutes a "mass" shooting. Here, the number is set at 4.. is that a mass? It's more than 1 for sure but some could argue it's not a "mass" of people the same way that 4 people getting together for drinks would be a "mass(ive)" amount of people or if 4 people robbing a bank would be a "mass" of people robbing. How would the above change if we uped the "mass" metric to killing 10 or more? or 20 or more? I think therein lay the answer: if we look at mass shootings as killing truly massive amounts of people, then it's clear that white people take the cake, supremacist or otherwise. Of course, this doesn't forgive or make lite of the people that "only" shot 4 people nor of non-white shooters; gun violence IS a problem whether 1 person or 300 are shot. But it is true that when it comes to truly massive killings, there is a definite skew in terms of race for whatever reason.
Swipe left or right?
TheMiddleWay comments on Aug 5, 2019:
On the plus side, looks aren't really an issue for him.. ;)
It's amazing how many talented artists Iceland has.
TheMiddleWay comments on Aug 5, 2019:
Bonobo is great. Roykssop and Bjork also come to mind
Even Mindfulness Meditation Has Turned Into a Minefield [psychologytoday.com]
TheMiddleWay comments on Aug 2, 2019:
Good article. I'm particularly encouraged by the fact that the topic of polarization, and how to address it, is very much at the forefront of many peoples mind.
Germany’s Catholic Church lost more than 200,000 members in 2018 - Vatican News
TheMiddleWay comments on Jul 30, 2019:
Did they check in-between the couch cushions? When I lose something it's usually there...
We do a blind taste test comparing the Burger King taco to the Taco bell taco to an authentic ...
TheMiddleWay comments on Jul 30, 2019:
lol! Great topic and execution! I've never had a BK Taco but it would have to be pretty darn good to be better than a TB taco... I still love those f'ers! Word of photographic advice: never shoot *into* the light. It will underexpose your subject. Alternatively, you should set up lights on the subject (person, food, etc) such that the entire scene will be properly exposed. That is unless this is on purpose such that your taste tester remain anoymous and not get death threats from prefering BK to TB!!!! :D :D
My points are 166,666. Does this mean I'm the Antichrist?
TheMiddleWay comments on Jul 29, 2019:
Isn't every anti-theist, and many atheists, by some definition already the anti-christ? ------ An·ti·christ /ˈan(t)ēˌkrīst,ˈanˌtīˌkrīst/ Learn to pronounce noun (in some Christian teachings) a personal opponent of Christ expected to appear before the end of the world. "the battle between Christ and the Antichrist" **a person or force seen as opposing Christ or the Christian Church.** plural noun: Antichrists "St. Paul really did have to fear for his life at the hands of an Antichrist named Nero" a person or thing regarded as supremely evil or as a fundamental enemy or opponent. "I see the media as the Antichrist"
HOW DO CHRISTIANS EXPLAIN THEIR SUPREME GOD HAVING FLAWED CHARACTER TRAITS LIKE ANGER AND VIOLENCE?
TheMiddleWay comments on Jul 29, 2019:
If gods created man: A flaw is something that doesn't go according to plan. However the gods create the plans and/or we have no idea what plan the creators of gods had or if they had a creator themselves Thus, anger in a god cannot be seen as a flaw as it is part of their creators plan nor is it a flaw in man as it is part of our creators plan. If man created gods: A flaw is something that doesn't go according to plan. However, a theists' gods are exactly as they are planned by the theists. Thus anger in a god cannot be seen as a flaw. Further, in this scenario there is no plan upon which humans were made and thus anger in humans also cannot be seen as a flaw. Either way, we arrive at the conclusion that anger in gods or men cannot be seen as a flaw. Doesn't mean we have to embrace it, extol in it, nor glorify it. We can choose, for ourselves, to not be angry the same way we can choose to not eat meat. This doesn't mean that eating meat is a flaw, merely something that we don't want for ourselves.
HOW DO CHRISTIANS EXPLAIN THEIR SUPREME GOD HAVING FLAWED CHARACTER TRAITS LIKE ANGER AND VIOLENCE?
TheMiddleWay comments on Jul 29, 2019:
Anger isn't a flaw. Anger can be a sign that something wrong is being done and that you aren't ok with it. Violence isn't a flaw. Violence can be used to rectify a situation where no other recourse can exist. I think where they are character flaws are when they are used excessively or without reason. However, in the christian account, their god didn't use it excessively nor without reason. When he did use it, it to teach a lesson that couldn't be taught otherwise (sodom and ghamorra) or because things had gotten out of hand (the flood). So there is good reason for their god to have these emotions given that humans have these emotions as well and they are not always a flaw in us. As for the crusades, those were mostly about politics and land and territory and property. That religion was used to motivate it is because that was the easiest way to sell it to the masses and the royalty. I believe that had gods not been invented, then the people of that time would have found other reasons to justify their invastions, even going so far as the naked truth of just saying "I want this!!" and nothing more! :D
Having been humming "A Juicy Red Apple Is Nice - But Not All Apples Are Red!" to myself all day, I ...
TheMiddleWay comments on Jul 27, 2019:
Boss Drum. Move any mountain. Classics....
When religion conflicts with science it holds no credibility.
TheMiddleWay comments on Jul 27, 2019:
Science is 100% human made. Numbers and equations, integrals and derivstive don't exist in nature, they exist in the human mind. Hence, Regardless of the correctness or incorrectness of science or the existence or non-existence of God's, science is exactly like religion in this regard... Something that was born of humans and will die with humans
Not A True Atheist -- We mostly see this with Xtians, saying "you're not really atheist, you're just...
TheMiddleWay comments on Jul 27, 2019:
This is nothing more than the classic "No True Scotman" logical fallacy. As you say in your second paragraph, it has nothing to do with being christian for all manner of people commit it. "Imagine some Scottish chauvinist settled down one Sunday morning with his customary copy of The News of the World. He reads the story under the headline, 'Sidcup Sex Maniac Strikes Again'. Our reader is, as he confidently expected, agreeably shocked: 'No Scot would do such a thing!' Yet the very next Sunday he finds in that same favourite source a report of the even more scandalous on-goings of Mr Angus McSporran in Aberdeen. This clearly constitutes a counter example, which definitively falsifies the universal proposition originally put forward. ('Falsifies' here is, of course, simply the opposite of 'verifies'; and it therefore means 'shows to be false'.) Allowing that this is indeed such a counter example, he ought to withdraw; retreating perhaps to a rather weaker claim about most or some. But even an imaginary Scot is, like the rest of us, human; and we none of us always do what we ought to do. So what in fact he says is: 'No true Scotsman would do such a thing!'" - Antony Flew
'In God We Trust' Signs Go Up In South Dakota Public Schools, As Required By Law : NPR
TheMiddleWay comments on Jul 26, 2019:
The problem is that is our national motto. Until we can change that, and we should, there is really nothing the ACLU or FFRF can do at the state level imo. Does anyone know the history of these institutions suing to get that motto revoked?
Mad at god or don't believe?
TheMiddleWay comments on Jul 25, 2019:
I think you'd have more hits if you asked if people are mad at *religion* instead of mad at *god(s)*. After all, precious few people, theists included, claim to have had enough experiences with god(s) to be mad at them. But the majority of people, atheists included, have had enough personal experiences with religion to be mad at it.
Generally, as perhaps too often said before, I'm a broad church skeptic, and have little interest in...
TheMiddleWay comments on Jul 25, 2019:
Can you give examples of popular skeptical apologists who fit this description? I have no doubt people like this exist in every field, atheist, theist, agnostic, etc... but I'd to examine if this is a broad generalization or if it aptly fits a good majority of people that fall under the guise of Skeptical apologists.
Religions: Mutualists, commensals or parasites?
TheMiddleWay comments on Jul 24, 2019:
I know this is a non-answer to your question but the darwinian evolution analogy is so loose when applied to concepts like religion (or any mental concept really) that I think it has no merit to think of them this way. To me, this is saying that just because X transfers to Y, then said transfer must be akin to a darwinian evolutionary process. Consider "1+1=2". It's a mental concept just like religion. It is transfered (read: taught) just like religion. Can we qualify this concept as parasitic or symbiotic or neither? To me, assigning any such function to "1+1=2" is a stretch of the imagination and I see no difference, inthe context of beth being taught concepts, between teaching one or the other. For example, some problems I see with the analogy are: One way to effect evolutionary change is by outside pressures that then change the organism internally to better adapt to said change. What are the *outside* pressures and the *internal* changes to religion? Evolution is also subject to random mutations. What are the random mutations of religion? Evolution dictates that species that are ill-adapted to an evironment die out and those that are well-adapted survive. What is defines if a religion is ill adapted to well adapted and, for that matter, what defines the environment upon which this evolution is being played out on? The fundamental critique I have to all the above is the notion that religions change in a way analogous to how creatures evolve is fundamentally flawed. And thus viewing religion (or any mental concept) using the Dawkin's "meme" paradigm will give no insight at best or the wrong insight at worst. Again, I know this is a non-answer to your question but take it for what it's worth....
For the last time, don't ask a stranger "What are you?"
TheMiddleWay comments on Jul 23, 2019:
As a Hispanic immigrant to the USA, I took a different approach: I reveled in my difference. I extolled in my otherness. I wear my distinction with pride. I chose to view insult as compliment. I chose to not accept hate and return love instead. When someone asked me "what are you?" I see that as an invitation for me to describe my life, my culture, my family, my upbringing. I see that as a teaching moment. As a way to share how the varied factors in my life shaped who I am. It is also an invitation for me to reply in kind "What are *you*? Even the most homogenous of people have variety worth exploring... lilly white can be germanic, nordic, irish... dark black can be African, carrabean, indian... TL;DR: instead of thinking the worst of people when they ask a question, use that question as an oppurtunity to share and educate.
How do you feel about the DOJ telling Bob Mueller what he can and cannot say ahead of tomorrow's ...
TheMiddleWay comments on Jul 23, 2019:
Don't trust what MSNBC or CNN or FOX have to say about anything political. It is guaranteed to be slanted one way or the other and will just feed into your personal confirmation bias, something we should all be striving to minimize. As per the above, I will base my commentary on the reuters article [1] on this subject, reuters and ap being two sources that are least likely to editorialize. **The base request is very reasonable.** We have all seen how congress works and they will ask anything and everything to score points for and against the president. As such, if he is being called in to talk about the report, he should ONLY talk about the report, quote: "“must remain within the boundaries of your public report because matters within the scope of your investigation were covered by executive privilege.”". Questions outside the report can, and will be, contorted and distorted to fit whatever point of view the questioner asks. As such, it is a safer bet to merely comment on what is in the report, what is public, the actual core of what Mueller wrote rather than any other circumstancial event or action taken by him. Even something as innocent as "we investigated XYZ but did not include her in the report" is fodder for a shitstorm that cannot be backed up by what the report said and congress, nor the public, may fully embrace why that person wasn't included in the report but rather will only see said omission as confirming their bias. This is also reasonable for me as a doctor. When I bring someone in to talk about a patients condition, that patient has given me permission to talk about one thing I can't then discuss another. Imagine if you will a pregnant cancer patient. They ask me to talk about her cancer with her parents. Can I also discuss her pregnancy? No. Absolutely not. It would be a breach of HIPPAA and patient-doctor confidentiality to discuss something which I have not been given specific clearence to talk. If the parents ask me "Is my daugher pregnant?" I cannot answer. I would have to say talk to her or I'm not at liberty to discuss anything but the cancer. Same here. The report is public and what is able to be talked about. "Exe Privilege" is akin to patient privacy. If the president hasn't given explicit consent to talk about things not in the report, it is... unprofessional?... unethical? .... illegal?... for mueller to then discuss it, bring it up, or answer ----- [1]https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-mueller/u-s-justice-department-tells-mueller-to-limit-congressional-testimony-idUSKCN1UH2KI
For laughs: George Carlin vs Richard Pryor rap battle [youtube.com]
TheMiddleWay comments on Jul 23, 2019:
EPIC OL SCHOOL THROW DOWN!
WHERE DOES RAGE FIT IN HUMANISM?
TheMiddleWay comments on Jul 20, 2019:
TL;DR Don't give into the rage To paraphrase the great Frank Herbert: "“I must not rage. Rage is the mind-killer. Rage is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my rage. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the rage has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”"
WHERE DOES RAGE FIT IN HUMANISM?
TheMiddleWay comments on Jul 20, 2019:
"But the focus on showing compassion to every single individual always makes me feel that I don't "belong"." That's because you don't. There are rare few people who "walk the walk and talk the talk" of true compassion. Some christians I know do. Some buddhists I know do. Some atheists I know do. But the vast majority of people I know show compassion only when it's easy, when there is no sacrifice on their part, when it doesn't take time or thought away from their normal life. Showing compassion for a starving child by giving money to charity? Trivial. Easy. Zero difficulty on your part. Showing compassion to a murderer or sex abuser? Tough. Not easy. Maximal difficulty on your part. But remember, showing compassion is not the same as advocating said action. Showing compassion is at it's base empathy, understanding that but for your life, your chemicals, the way you were raised, what you were born with and without, etc, you too might be exactly the same. I don't condone epstein's actions. I don't advocate forgiveness and think he should pay for his crimes to the fullest extent of the law. But I am compassionate insofar as I understand the urges that make us do things that society doesn't condone. I understand how hopeless one is under the iron grip of our neurochemical makeup that makes us think, ponder, and sometimes, do things in the moment that we wouldn't do normally. I understand how money corrupts, how we live in a culture that makes certain class of people... the rich or the white or the powerful or the strong... feel like they can do anything to anyone at anytime with no repercussions. This is a consequence of society telling them this, not the devil, not a god, not a book... but culture and community that little by little instills a different point of view on life depending on how much money, power, and strength you have. I understand. But I don't forgive. And like you, this means we don't belong in a society that neither understands nor forgives.
Josh and Shannon Harris separation: The author of abstinence book I Kissed Dating Goodbye is ending ...
TheMiddleWay comments on Jul 20, 2019:
Now that he's had a taste of it for 19 years, methinks he just doesn't want to marry to get another fix. ;)
This is going to be a long post, with math .
TheMiddleWay comments on Jul 19, 2019:
Now can you redo the calculations taking into account that the earth is flat? ;)
What is the reason to live? What are we living for?
TheMiddleWay comments on Jul 19, 2019:
No reason.
Most Obese states are known for.
TheMiddleWay comments on Jul 18, 2019:
Where is the correlation data? I.e. The data showing religiously, education, and political leanings? I bet obesity correlates more with poverty than those factors too...
Homoseexuality is natural. Religion is unnatural.
TheMiddleWay comments on Jul 15, 2019:
Tautology: no other animal has the verbal or written or cognative skills to practice religion. Consider: by that same logic, reading, 'riting, and 'rithmatic are also unnatural as no other animal practices any of those either.
There are basically two types of agnosticism: the first one takes place and participates in the ...
TheMiddleWay comments on Jul 13, 2019:
The second stance isn't technically agnosticism as there is already a label for it: apatheists. "Apatheism (/ˌæpəˈθiːɪzəm/;[citation needed] a portmanteau of apathy and theism) is the attitude of apathy towards the existence or non-existence of god(s). It is more of an attitude rather than a belief, claim, or belief system.[1][2]" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apatheism
Do you believe in law of attraction?
TheMiddleWay comments on Jul 13, 2019:
For gravity and the strong force, yes. For electromagnetism, yes and no. For the weak force, no. 😜😜😜
Hey guys, I just cured a narcasist.
TheMiddleWay comments on Jul 13, 2019:
Can you share a bit of your technique or process?
We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in.
TheMiddleWay comments on Jul 12, 2019:
Stephen F Roberts said this on the alt.atheism newsgroup 13 years prior to the publication of the God Delusion. "I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours." [1] It was a very popular quote both in the newsgroup and outside. Yet, AFAIK, Richard Dawkin's doesn't credit Roberts for paraphrasing this quote... and that would make him a plagiarizer. ---- [1] http://freelink.wildlink.com/quote_history.php
I just watched an old Neal Degrasse Tyson speech and was kinda blown away.
TheMiddleWay comments on Jul 9, 2019:
"Can you imagine if we wouldn’t have had a nearly a 1000 year break in mathematical advancement where we could be now as a species?" Yes. I can imagine the atom bomb in the hands of people whose moral philosophy has not developed to the point of not using it whole sale. I can imagine mustard gas in the hands of colonial spain as they conquered the americas. I can imagine native american indians raiding each other in tanks and aeroplanes. For every imagined utopia you can imagine over an alleged break I can imagine a dystopia... ... which is why said imaginings are fruitless to understand our world here, now, as it actually is not as we imagine it to be.
I just watched an old Neal Degrasse Tyson speech and was kinda blown away.
TheMiddleWay comments on Jul 9, 2019:
A few clarifications: "We have all hear heard how the catholic and other churches tried to suppress science through the the years. Position of the earth, shape of the earth, Darwinism, etc..." Hearing is different than research. Modern historical research dismiss this idea soundly. [1] "Then along comes one of their prophets and decides that “math is the work of the devil” and bans advanced calculations. Science dies in the Middle East" Al Ghazali did not condemn mathematics. He condemed hubris that comes from beliving too much in mathematics... similar to the hubris we would call scientism today. As we can see from his history, science did not die in the middle east as a result of his works, quote: *The period following Ghazali "has tentatively been called the Golden Age of Arabic philosophy" initiated by Ghazali's successful integration of logic into the Islamic seminary Madrasah curriculum.* [2] "Out of all the people that have won the Nobel Prize, only three are Muslim and it is a direct result of religious interference." 12 muslims have won the Nobel: 3 for science and 9 for peace. ,If "religious interference" leads to peace over science, that isn't really that bad, is it? Further, as there is no set prescription in Islam against science (actually, quite the opposite) it's hard to prove that there would be more muslim nobel prizes but for their religious doctrine. Economics, politics, geography... all of these are factors that may play a much larger role in there being disproportiante amount of muslim nobels vs. say jewish or christian ones.> ---- [1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/5-myths-about-the-middle-ages/2016/09/22/e56c4150-7f50-11e6-9070-5c4905bf40dc_story.html?utm_term=.b2e022d27b5b [2]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Ghazali
Is Sport a Religion? | Psychology Today Australia
TheMiddleWay comments on Jul 7, 2019:
Once we broaden the definition of religion to not include supernatural gods, we open the floodgates to anything and everything being a religion. Having said that, it is fair to say that it has several elements common to religion: mindless devotion, violence in the name of us v. them, no matter how bad your life you still have your team, etc. But as others have mentioned, we could apply that metric to many other things that are clearly not religion like politics or music. So sports have *elements* of religion but is not itself a religion.
On David Hume and his refusal to embrace faith as he neared death.
TheMiddleWay comments on Jul 6, 2019:
Likewise, I am no more excited by the idea of continuing to exist after death than by the idea that I existed before birth.
Religious indoctrination in public schools.
TheMiddleWay comments on Jul 6, 2019:
interesting perspective. Thanks for sharing. Religious indoctrination, yes. But teaching about religion, no. after all, if you are a secular school then you should be able to teach about all aspects of your society. And if religion is part of your society, and the schools should address that as well. But they should not do is try to convert you to any one religion or state that any one religion is better than the other but rather treat the subject dispassionately and equally as you would teach biology history or any other subject.
Well, my friends and I have gone and done it now.
TheMiddleWay comments on Jul 5, 2019:
Hahaha! Priceless! I had no idea these existed despite a lifetime of making cheeto sandwich's out of everything! How did you come about doing this? What has the response been like so far? :)
My grandchildren recently started attending some sort or required class to become catholic.
TheMiddleWay comments on Jul 5, 2019:
**Teaching your kids science will do ZERO to counteract the religious teachings.** For if that were the case, they would not be so many religious people in science, d'uh! I think rather than approach this as a means of counteracting their interest in religion you should ask them what their interest in religion is, what they think of it, and engage in meaningful dialogue. After all, it is not up to you to set forth a child's education that is not your own and you have no idea if the kids are actually wanting this type of education, benefiting from it, or otherwise what their opinion is. In fact, I want you to consider that this attitude of counteracting the religious teaching is exactly the kind of prosethylizing that many people object in the religious.
Donations to 'religion' declined $2 billion in 2018 after years of growth: study - The Christian ...
TheMiddleWay comments on Jul 3, 2019:
I'm no economist, but from my reading they are talking about inflation adjusted dollars. It seems donations are actually UP but their buying power due to inflation is actually what has declined. Again, I suck at economics so is my reading correct?
Faith is given, not inborn you agree?
TheMiddleWay comments on Jul 3, 2019:
Disagree. Several good reasons have been stated prior but I'll throw one more into the ring: I think it's not to outlandish to say that every kid has faith in their mother and father. As such, we are all born with a blind belief in our parents which can then translate to a blind acceptance of other things for which we have no a priori evidence for.
For the life of me i don't understand how in this day and age there are still, Flat Earthers, moon ...
TheMiddleWay comments on Jul 3, 2019:
I've not been to the moon so how do I know that others have? Because I was told. I've never measured the circumferance of the earth so how do I know it's round? Because I was told. I've never time-travels to the age of dinosaurs and tracked them turning into birds so how do I know evolution is true? Because I was told. Think about what all these people have in common: they are "denying" that which they can't see, touch, feel, or experience for themselves. Think about what all of us that accept these fact have in common: by and large we all have "faith" that the scientists are telling the truth. This is the key to understanding them. It's not all delusion. It's not all conspiracy. A lot of it, and I would wager a majority, is simply rooted in the fact that we all accept anecdotal evidence to various degrees: what we experience with our sense trumps what we are told is true. The other angle of it for me lay in the ability to do inference, a skill that takes practice and not everyone has. So to go from fossil records to geological records to dna records, etc and then infer from all this that evolution is happening is a non-trivial procedure. I guarantee you the majority of you who believe in evolution have never done the foot-work to understand WHY we believe in evolution. They may have some rudimentary biology and geology knowledge, They may have done some basic internet research, but I would put money that you believe evolution because that is what science tells us to believe, because of our "faith" in our scientific "priests". So as long as not everyone is trained as a scientist (and why should they?) and as long as not everyone can travel outside our stratosphere to see the Earth or Land on the moon, then there will be those who trust their senses over what other people tell them and while we call them deniers of the science and the "faith" we have in what our "priests" tells us, they call us deniers in what they can see with their own eyes and experience in their life.
Thank God ICE deported 53-year-old pastor.
TheMiddleWay comments on Jul 1, 2019:
Citing one random case of a person who breaks immigration laws and goes on to do good doesn't dismiss the many others that break the immigration laws and do bad. citing one random case for person who breaks the immigration laws and goes on to do bad doesn't dismiss the many others that break the immigration law and do good. This is why the logical fallacy of *hasty generalization* exists is so insidious: nothing is gained by generalizing a singular random example onto an issue and yet many accept these generalizations in support of their point of view...and of course dismiss opposing generalizations when they go against their point of view. TL;DR: this is a nice story but useless in terms of rational debate on this issue immigration
I had pain.
TheMiddleWay comments on Jun 28, 2019:
By all means get as many referrals as you need but I don't see anything wrong in the doctor's response. "That's the way God made you" is a bit of a colloquialism and even if not, once he realized you're an atheist he immediately corrected to your point of view.
Violent Buddhists Target Muslims in Myanmar: The Daily Show - YouTube
TheMiddleWay comments on Jun 26, 2019:
Buddhism is by far the *least* violent of all philosophies/religions to be sure. But Buddhists are human and humans are violent. So just like extermist will corrupt the peaceful precepts of christianity and islam, it shouldn't surprise that extremists will also corrupt the peaceful precepts of buddhism.
George Godwyn For two days you people, you motherfuckers, including the president and vice ...
TheMiddleWay comments on Jun 25, 2019:
To blame only the gop betrays your Dem bias. To blame only the Dems betrays your gop bias. To blame both sides betrays you are unbiased. It's not just Trump people to blame; we are all to blame. ☹️
Is the universe infinite?
TheMiddleWay comments on Jun 25, 2019:
but that's not really a correct application of Occam's razor. Occam's razor only applies to two hypotheses that lead to the same result and us we take the simpler one. So if you have two competing reasons for why the universe is infinite, take the simpler one. If you have two competing reasons for why the universe is finite, take the simpler one. But you cannot take an argument for an infinite universe and compare to a finite universe and claim that one is simpler than the other and thus the razor cuts one way and not the other. To see how this is true in sharp contrast, consider that the simplest assumption of all, "God did it", would naturally win any argument in terms of Occam's razor used the way you want to use it. to see a more scientific reason why Occam's razor is not use this way consider that many theories explaining phenomena are not simple. So when we searched for the higgs or another particle, the theory that wonis the one that explains the facts and is the simplest of all viable candidates, not just the one that is simple, period.
Religion has done little to prevent war, famine, crime, oppression, misery, and unhappiness
TheMiddleWay comments on Jun 25, 2019:
Neither has secularism so what the point of singling out religion? To me, The point is that to believe is human .. To not believe is human.. And to be human it's to err... Hence war, famine, etc etc
California bill requires priests to report all sexual abuse to authorities ...
TheMiddleWay comments on Jun 24, 2019:
I'm of two minds about this. As I think we spoke before, if we take this right away from priests, then we should also take that right away from doctors and lawyers... both of whom can be held to confidential information. Imagine that I go to a priest... or lawyer... or doctor... and confess said crime against me and that priest reports the abuse. Then I'm "forced" to go through it with the police, to testify, all that. I may not want any of that attention and, while we should make an envirionment where saying such things should be said, ultimitely it's up to me to speak up, not others. Or course in the case of kids this becomes complicated since power is being held over them, the fear of god AND parents and manipulation and all that. But I would be very concerned for while I applaud outing abusers, the toll this can take on the abused (especially if the abuse was long ago and has stopped) can be tragic. it's a bit of a catch-22: stay quiet and you risk the abuse continuing; speak up and you risk doing further damage to the abused (up to and including suicide).
Sunday schools. Is it a form of child abuse?
TheMiddleWay comments on Jun 24, 2019:
Paradox: If teaching children something that's false is child abuse... ...and sunday school as a form of child abuse is false... ... then isn't teaching our children that sunday school is a form of child abuse itself child abuse? Hmmm....🤔🤔🤔
While this video is not about religion, it's content does explain why religion is just a placebo ...
TheMiddleWay comments on Jun 24, 2019:
How does a video on placebo that doesn't reference religion explain how religion is placebo?
Sunday schools. Is it a form of child abuse?
TheMiddleWay comments on Jun 24, 2019:
No more, or less, than any other school. Just because one doesn't agree with the teachings of an institution doesn't equate that institution teachings to child abuse.
Unfortunately, I have to agree with Nergal :( We're going backwards as a country :( I'm deeply ...
TheMiddleWay comments on Jun 22, 2019:
The only thing this photo perfectly portrays is how HYPERBOLE has taken the place of DISCOURSE.... why TALK about how you are right when you can EXAGGERATE to make the other side seem wrong.
"We are repeatedly told these days that we are living in a new and frightening era of ...
TheMiddleWay comments on Jun 21, 2019:
In the words of the Talking Heads: "Same as it ever was; same as it ever was" ---------------------------------- "Wherever possible there must be independent confirmation of the “facts.” Encourage substantive debate on the evidence by knowledgeable proponents of all points of view. Arguments from authority carry little weight—“authorities” have made mistakes in the past. They will do so again in the future. Perhaps a better way to say it is that in science there are no authorities; at most, there are experts. Spin more than one hypothesis. If there’s something to be explained, think of all the different ways in which it could be explained. Then think of tests by which you might systematically disprove each of the alternatives. What survives, the hypothesis that resists disproof in this Darwinian selection among “multiple working hypotheses,” has a much better chance of being the right answer than if you had simply run with the first idea that caught your fancy. Try not to get overly attached to a hypothesis just because it’s yours. It’s only a way-station in the pursuit of knowledge. Ask yourself why you like the idea. Compare it fairly with the alternatives. See if you can find reasons for rejecting it. If you don’t, others will. Quantify. If whatever it is you’re explaining has some measure, some numerical quantity attached to it, you’ll be much better able to discriminate among competing hypotheses. What is vague and qualitative is open to many explanations. Of course there are truths to be sought in the many qualitative issues we are obliged to confront, but finding them is more challenging. If there’s a chain of argument, every link in the chain must work (including the premise)—not just most of them. Occam’s Razor. This convenient rule-of-thumb urges us when faced with two hypotheses that explain the data equally well to choose the simpler. Always ask whether the hypothesis can be, at least in principle, falsified. Propositions that are untestable, unfalsifiable are not worth much. Consider the grand idea that our Universe and everything in it is just an elementary particle—an electron, say—in a much bigger Cosmos. But if we can never acquire information from outside our Universe, is not the idea incapable of disproof? You must be able to check assertions out. Inveterate skeptics must be given the chance to follow your reasoning, to duplicate your experiments and see if they get the same result." -Carl Sagan, "The Demon-Haunted World: Science As a Candle in the Dark " **1995**
Who's an introvert and likes mountains?
TheMiddleWay comments on Jun 21, 2019:
A person can more more freely in a plain than a mountain thus giving the illusion of, or making easier to be, and extrovert. Conversely, the mountains make travel more difficult and treacherous thus giving the illusion of, or making it more convenient to be, an introvert. I don't think it's a curious link at all. I think all it does is correlate ability to socialize with topography... not that one personality types "desires" one over the other: an extrovert on a mountain will still want to socialize; an introvert on the plains will still want to keep to themselves. If we were to accept this hypothesis, then we should find introverts prefer islands (like hawaii and puerto rico) and extroverts prefer continents... and, from a purely anecdotal POV, I daresay islanders are NOT very introverted at all! ;)
Young people develop bone spurs at base of skull from looking down at smartphones
TheMiddleWay comments on Jun 20, 2019:
The data presented in the papaer is pretty coarse to justify their conclusions IMO. All they say is they found these abnormalities in 40% of 218 people aged 18 to 30 or 87 people total. But there is no breakdown (I could find) of how those 87 people distributed. If they are mostly towards the young generation, who would have and continue to use hand-helds in the agressive manner they suggest, I could see a case for their conclusion... but if not, if they are evenly split or skewed towards the 30s, well between 20 and 30 you are NOT going to use the phone the same way as in your teens and thus that wouldn't make sense. Very interesting result, to be sure, but I'm not sure their conclusion is justified... yet.
@themiddleway It's a sad day in America. [friendlyatheist.patheos.com]
TheMiddleWay comments on Jun 20, 2019:
I saw. Very disappointed with the ruling. I get where alito is coming from... that cross has been a part of the community for so long that it's not only representing a christian ideal but a much higher one. But I don't get how he can see that as being "equal" when the only symbol is a christian one and it's on a heavily traveled site such that it does clearly endorse only "one" religion. However, the bright side is that it's generally being said by commentators that their decision heavily relies on the historical aspect of the monument such that it is unlikely that it can be used to support NEW uni-religious monuments in the future. But yeah, not happy the way this turned out but at least it could have been a lot worse!
Atheism in America: misunderstandings, explained - Vox
TheMiddleWay comments on Jun 20, 2019:
Great article. Instead of "preaching" about atheism and how it's right and how it's the truth and how religion is evil and how to believe is to have a mental disease and all the the other rhetorical tropes I've come to expect from the students of the New Atheists, this article gives us "a day in the life"... gives us the perspective of what it is to be an atheist not what it is to be without religion... a subtle but important difference if you are trying to get people to understand where you are coming from.
Supreme Court Cross Case: Memorial Can Stand On Public Land : NPR
TheMiddleWay comments on Jun 20, 2019:
SOOOO disappointed. I heard that Alito's referenced it's historical status... while completely ignoring the historical *christian* nature of using crosses to commemorate fallen heroes.
Einstein was not the first to equate forms of mass to energy, nor did he definitively prove the ...
TheMiddleWay comments on Jun 19, 2019:
You: "And his theories on time and gravity were wrong." Quote from the article you presented: "Of course, countless experiments since then have convinced us of the correctness of Einstein’s result." 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣
New York Ends Religious Exemptions to Vaccines : NPR
TheMiddleWay comments on Jun 15, 2019:
That's reasonable. After all, you can still be anti-vaxx and hold onto your beliefs... just not around people that can be harmed by said beliefs.
WHO NEEDS GOD?
TheMiddleWay comments on Jun 14, 2019:
A lot of people have questions they can't possibly answer and religion is just an easy answer. What is life about? Where do I go after death? What is right? What is wrong? Philosophers spend careers and lifetimes *pretending* to answer these questions... time and careers the average person doesn't have. So if you are given an answer accepted by community and/or family of morality, existentionalism and purpose in religion, and that answer was good enough for your parents and grandparents and cousins... to your neighbor and friend and coworker... why bother rejecting it it? As I've said in other threads, if there is nothing positive gained by disabusing a person of something you perceive as fallacious, then nothing is gained by promoting that they should not hold those beliefs.
What we think about vs what will probably kill us.
TheMiddleWay comments on Jun 12, 2019:
Looks like google searches are more factual than our american press. ;)
Famed film actress Lillian Gish’s name removed from Bowling Green State University theater: The ...
TheMiddleWay comments on Jun 12, 2019:
I don't know about Lillian and her other works. If they were in the same spirit as "Birth", then maybe this is deserved. However, if that is the only movie of it's kind she did, then yeah, they are just jumping on the PC wagon and overreacting...
LOL.
TheMiddleWay comments on Jun 11, 2019:
If they answer yes, they are supporting an action that has zero chance of going to fruition and thus may cost them their seat. If they answer no, then they are breaking ranks with senior democrats and this may cost them their seat. Makes sense that many did not care to risking their seat by answering, and risking all the good they can do in other areas, simply because CNN asks a question.
Agnostics??
TheMiddleWay comments on Jun 11, 2019:
--Raises Hand-- Me!!!! I'm agnostic because there is currently no test, experiment, or logical argument to prove or disprove the existence of gods. I swing from soft agnosticism (the evidence doesn't exist yet) to hard agnosticism (the evidence will never exist) and sometimes consider if ignosticism (the definition of gods doesn't lend itself to coherent experimentation or discourse) is not best for me. I'm not an atheist or theist because philosophically, agnosticism is mutually exclusive to atheism and theism: you cannot simultaneously claim to be with (theist) or without gods (atheist) but still doubtful about there being gods (agnostic)
So, God is in control.
TheMiddleWay comments on Jun 10, 2019:
Hmmmm... I don't know the christians you talk to but the ones in my family would say all of it is part of god's plan... your son's death... your pain... all of it part of a master design not known to us individually. I will say this though: regardless of any divine plan, I do know that there are many bad things in my life that have caused me pain and in time have gone on to make me, or my community, a better place. I don't know the circumstances of your son's death and I do grieve for him and you... but could this lead you to make changes such that other son's don't die the same way? Could it lead you to make a support group to provide succor to others in the same situation? Could it make you a better person down the line? I don't know. But I do know that not all pain is harmful; some of it serves as the foundation upon which to build greater good for ourselves, our community, or our race. Maybe that is at the heart of that christian sentiment... that while we can't change the past and the pain that that causes, maybe we can do something to the future and use that individual pain to prevent or assuage larger pain in individuals or more widespread pain in our community. In effect, "the plan" is to make something bad into something good... to turn our pain into something practical... which ultimately doesn't require god(s) intervention but only individual fortitude and imagination.
Asking if there is no god, what is the purpose of life is like...
TheMiddleWay comments on Jun 9, 2019:
Cute quip but when you put any thought into it, it falls flat. See, I've never seen any god come down and enforce their masterdom over his slaves. I've never seen any god come down and say "I'm your master!!!!" So how can they be our masters and how are we their slaves? Also, this dismisses the fact that many people like being subservient, like being slaves. The entire sub/DOM culture embraces this fact and so that answer isn't as bad as it's portrayed to be. ---- [1] https://www.katekinsey.com/the-difference-between-a-slave-and-a-submissive.html
Just curious. Who would not have joined this forum if it was called atheist.com?
TheMiddleWay comments on Jun 9, 2019:
Me. I'm agnostic not atheist. I know there are many atheist sites out there... this to me was the first that purportedly focused on agnosticism... though it turns out in the end that was a bit of a "bait and switch" as this site definitiely focus more on an atheistic than agnostic demographic. :P
In you mind, what are you first?
TheMiddleWay comments on Jun 9, 2019:
I would be surprised if a person identified with their beliefs on the narrow topic of gods (atheism/agnosticism/theism) before the broader topic of citizenship or biology. So for me: Human, Citizen, Agnostic because the former are more difficult to change than the latter and thus are a larger part of who I am.
I'd like to tell how I got to Agnosticism.
TheMiddleWay comments on Jun 8, 2019:
"I came out as an atheist, although I'm agnostic, because explaining what an agnostic is, it's more complicated" Ha! Ain't that the truth! But as an agnostic myself, I would advise you not hide or sugar coat who you are just because it's hard to explain to others. In fact, in the act of explaining it you get to know yourself better, they get to know you better, and you may expose them to a world view they would not have considered otherwise! Welcome to the site and please, if you ever need help explaining to anyone what our agnosticism is all about, do call on me: I've tons of experience, analogies, stories, facts, quotes, and more to put it in terms anyone can understand (though that is still no guarantee they will accept why we think agnosticism is the way to go! LOL)
How do you debunk it when someone claims religion, no matter it's true or false' serves as an ...
TheMiddleWay comments on Jun 8, 2019:
Are you trying to debunk it because their life will be better for their knowing your truth... or are you trying to debunk it because your life will be better for their knowing you truth? If the only reason you are debunking their placebos is because it gives you the thrill of knowing you're right, regardless of the consequences said action has on the other, then I say don't do it. On the other hand, if debunking their placebo can lead that other person to a better life, to more fruitful truths, to equal or higher happiness, then I say do it What's more important: knowing the truth and being miserable the rest of your life or living a lie and being happy the rest of your life? I daresay one group, call them "The Academics", whose life is about chasing truth would choose the former. But another group, call them "The Humanitarians", whose life is about chasing experiences, would choose the latter. Thing is not everyone is after the same things you are: some of us want to find out everything there is to know about the universe... others are content experiencing everything there is to know about the universe... and yet others are content just surviving in this universe. Who are you... who are you talking to... why are you talking to them... why are they talking to you.. get a fix on this before you attempt to destroy another persons ideology
Isn't it funny that religious fundamentalists and anti-religion activists have one trait in common:...
TheMiddleWay comments on Jun 7, 2019:
It's the nature of extremism to see things as black and white, as "I'm right" or "You're wrong". It's what I call the culture of "OR vs AND": too many people see things as OR instead of seeing things as AND.
Catholic church spends over 10 million lobbying against legislature that would help sex abuse ...
TheMiddleWay comments on Jun 6, 2019:
"And yet, more than $10 million of the Catholic Church's money has now gone to fighting statute of limitation extensions for those victims, as well." I would be against these types of legislation as well. I'm not an advocate of waiting DECADES to accuse someone of a crime due to memory fading, memory being corrupt, and evidence degrading.
You Can't Prove That God Doesn't Exist - Debunked - YouTube
TheMiddleWay comments on Jun 5, 2019:
I like the thrust of his argument for it is true that many negatives are easily proven while others are not. I would like to point out that russel's teapot is not in principle impossible or even nearly impossible to prove since we can, in principle, examine the entire space between Earth and Mars, either physically or with EM waves, and either find, or not find, the teapot there. Impractical? Certainly with todays technology. Impossible? Hardly. So the heart of his argument is very sound: if you define the teapot to be undetectable, then you can't prove that it is, or isn't, between the earth and mars... in effect you can't prove or say anything about it! Likewise, if you define god as to be undetectable, then yeah, can't prove a negative (nor a positive either!) and in fact you can't really say anything about them. However, the "omni" argument that he then uses to prove god doesn't exist, or at least an "omni" god, is not in the same vein as the teapot for there we are merely asserting that there is an inherent contradiction in all three and that is not necessarily true nor does it give us a solid instance upon which to prove that all three can't coexist. It would be different if an alien species claiming to be god came to earth (I'm looking at you Goa'uld!) and we would find that they are not one of the three "omnis"... then clearly we can use that to prove that they aren't gods (Right Teal'c?). But lacking any definite entity presenting themselves as gods, we can't use the "omni" arguement to prove that those gods do, or do not, exist. So yeah, something we can all agree one... to an extent. ;)
Just a reminder: in a 2016 article, Franklin Graham calls for school boards to be dominated be ...
TheMiddleWay comments on Jun 5, 2019:
Much ado about nothing. I see ZERO evidence that in 6 months (at the low end of the 4 year call) there is any dominance of these people in school boards and ZERO evidence that that will change over the next 2 years. Why is it that atheists who claim to not believe in god believe in the "predictions" made by evangelicals to the point of getting upset over things there is no evidence happening, like our nation becoming dominated by Christian Laws? Histrionic Hyperbole: good for fire and brimstone preachers; bad for freethinkers.
A couple of times, in the movie, "Religulous," Atheist, Bill Maher, is asked, "What if you're ...
TheMiddleWay comments on Jun 5, 2019:
As a scientist, I would abide by my rational principles: I would discard the erroneous data point and incorporate the correct data point.
A few hours ago, I made a post in the Mental Health Support Group [agnostic.
TheMiddleWay comments on Jun 5, 2019:
Most members in this site, as are more atheists, are white. Don't tell them that though... they don't take kindly to being reminded of that!
"Religion is a social institution that evolved as an integral mechanism of human culture to create ...
TheMiddleWay comments on Jun 5, 2019:
What's interesting is how secular institutions taking over religious ones still fall pray to the same problems with religion. So any large institution promoting morality, like the government and it's laws, or altruism, like goodwill, is still seen to be some "higher power" and inviolate by some and not others and is still subject to greatness as well as failure. Gee, it's like realizing that regardless of the existence of or belief in god(s), it's always humans that interact with humans and thus all foibles, and strengths!, of religions are actually foibles, and strengths!, of humanity... fancy that!

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Agnostic, Skeptic
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