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Old 23rd February 2019, 03:11 PM   #401
Aridas
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Or in other words, we're back to my previous impression that ultimately religion just offers comfort from the problems that it puts into your head in the first place.
Except for the initial problem of the person feeling bad about themselves. That leave the score at one not because of religion and multiple problems related to that religion, but with a net effect of helping with the original problem, specifically, even if other problems are then caused.
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Old 23rd February 2019, 03:22 PM   #402
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Gents, (ynot, Thor 2 and the Hans's),
I'm not trying defend theism or religion. The OP asked why people believe, so I'm describing scenarios and accounts that I have seen and heard, first-hand, many times. If you find them to be so unfathomable that the only explanation is that everyone was actually being accusatory and terrible to one another and they were all too deluded to see it I really don't think there's much more I can offer to the discussion. But discounting an account because it doesn't fit your presumptions and experience it not a very skeptical posture. (And in case you are thinking it, this is not what I am doing. I accept your experiences as also being true and common, just not universal.)
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Old 23rd February 2019, 03:39 PM   #403
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
What about those that feel OK about themselves and are told by Christian teaching they are unworthy, need to admit they are unworthy, and seek forgiveness for their unworthiness. Nothing contrary to the Christian message in this is there?
Right. I have seen this a little and heard of it a fair bit and (referring back to the OP) I agree , it seems counter-intuitive to me as well that this would be an effective way to convince people to believe.

Quote:
I read a book in the early days of my agnosticism/atheism that had an effect on my views about Christianity. "The misery of Christianity" by Joachim Kahl. Kahl is an ex-theologian and as seems typical for many of his ilk, damning in his criticism of the faith that once held him captive. You may find it interesting.
That does sound interesting, though from the title, I'm surmising that his and my experience would have been pretty different. I don't think it will help me to try to justify my decision to reconsider my faith based on someone else's discontent. Maybe some of his frustrations would resonate with me as well though.

Quote:
The above leads me to another issue of interest. Namely the appalling bloody history of Christianity for the bulk of the time since its inception. When confronted with this undeniable fact, the Christians I speak to today are dismissive and suggest their predecessors just "had it wrong", unlike themselves who are on the right track.

What do you think of this? I mean the scriptures that guided those errant faithful in the past are the same that guide the ones on the true path today.
I'm not a historian by any stretch, but it seems to me that the history of Christianity is similarly bloody to the history of about any other group. I think that's pretty strong evidence that Christianity, like most religions, has been largely coopted for political purposes since inception. I think that may be a big part of why my experience has been different than the examples you have seen. It sounds like the people and places where you have experienced Christianity are very politically-charged. Politics are a little less divisive here in Canada than a lot of other places I think, and there was about an even mix of "liberals" and "conservatives" (and "NDP", which will only make sense if you know Canadian politics), in the church I was a part of. Faith and the church was very separate from "the state" in that setting and I think that made a big difference.

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Old 23rd February 2019, 03:46 PM   #404
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by Aridas View Post
Except for the initial problem of the person feeling bad about themselves. That leave the score at one not because of religion and multiple problems related to that religion, but with a net effect of helping with the original problem, specifically, even if other problems are then caused.
That might be so, except for what Thor 2 mentioned: that people are told by religion to feel like they're guilty and sub-par even if they did not, in fact, have that problem to start with.

And considering the age that most people get that crap into their system, I kinda feel hard pressed to believe that they were already naturally inclined to feel like they're some walking awful piece of crap that needs Jesus to feel accepted. Or frankly, if they already do, then their parents were the awful pieces of crap there.

At the age when we start pouring that crap into kids' heads, they're looking to their parents for acceptance and support. They don't need some external group to tell them that, yeah, lucky you got us to accept you, even as damaged goods as you are. If any little kid actually desperately needs someone else than their parents (or similar guardian) to accept and support them in the first place, then their parents have not just failed epically, but frankly someone should call child protection services.

So for most people I don't see HOW the score could possibly be one for the feeling like worthless scum before religion got into it.

I mean, sure, you can find exceptions like if someone made it to 21 years old and then decided to find religion to feel accepted. Sure, then they have a 1 in the column of pre-existing conditions. But that's hardly the average case, is it?
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Old 23rd February 2019, 03:46 PM   #405
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
No. Iím specifically talking about these two contradictory posts of yours . . .





No. You donít choose to have a default position you were born with. You can only choose replace it with another position.


No. You didnít say ďcaníĒ you said ďisĒ . . .

No. A default position isnít chosen, itís either retained or reverted to if itís not retained for a period.


Now you really are being silly


Because - ďA default position isnít chosen, itís either retained or reverted to if itís not retained for a period.Ē. Atheism is exclusively a default position.
I hope you are being intentionally obtuse. Atheism is not exclusively a position you are born with. It is also one you can adopt later.

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Old 23rd February 2019, 03:52 PM   #406
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Originally Posted by attempt5001 View Post
Gents, (ynot, Thor 2 and the Hans's),
I'm not trying defend theism or religion. The OP asked why people believe, so I'm describing scenarios and accounts that I have seen and heard, first-hand, many times.
Well, I accept that that is a valid interpretation of the OP question. I don't really challenge your answer; such could indeed be the reasons for many to believe.

The way I see it is that people adopt a belief if they feel they have a need to believe. There exists no rational or evidence-based grounds for belief in a god, so it must be based on personal need, or cultural pressure.

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Old 23rd February 2019, 04:04 PM   #407
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by attempt5001 View Post
I'm not a historian by any stretch, but it seems to me that the history of Christianity is similarly bloody to the history of about any other group.
Not really, no. Most other religions than the Abrahamic ones never even had the notion of a holy war, for example. Even after the adoption of Xianity, for example, the Eastern Roman Empire had no such notion until IIRC Heraclius.

And even then arguably they learned the notion from the Muslims, who were attacking them in the name of religion. Heraclius arguably just recognized how useful it is to march your lemmings under the banner of a god.

That's not to say that others didn't have wars. The Romans for example opened the gates of the temple of Janus when they were at war, and closed them when they were at peace. In the whole half a millennium or so of the Western Roman Empire, those gates only closed IIRC twice. So yeah, lots of war.

But when it come to justifying war and mass-murder as holy, it's not quite the same for everyone. There kinda is a gap between the original wars in the names of gods in Mesopotamia (they didn't actually have any other justification for power than gods: kings were the representatives of gods, treaties were treaties between their gods, etc), and when the Muslims and Xians started doing it.

The Romans may have for example involved praying and rituals in their wars -- quite integrally so, in fact -- but they never justified their wars as the will of any god, nor were they trying to spread religion.

Originally Posted by attempt5001 View Post
I think that's pretty strong evidence that Christianity, like most religions, has been largely coopted for political purposes since inception.
That it was. And that part is indeed common for virtually any religion ever. Even for primitive tribes, the shaman has effectively more power than the chief.

BUT not all were co-opted in the same way.

Even when it comes to wars, generally it was more like events and occasional wars in the sky were written to reflect the events on Earth (e.g., so the favourite god of the new Pharaoh dynasty ends up the top god) than the other way around. E.g., in the bloody military campaign that ended Egypt's first interregnum and restored imperial power, they wrote a post-facto account where Hathor goes on a bloody rampage that reflects the war, not justify the war in the name of Hathor.

Originally Posted by attempt5001 View Post
I think that may be a big part of why my experience has been different than the examples you have seen. It sounds like the people and places where you have experienced Christianity are very politically-charged. Politics are a little less divisive here in Canada than a lot of other places I think, and there was about an even mix of "liberals" and "conservatives" (and "NDP", which will only make sense if you know Canadian politics), in the church I was a part of. Faith and the church was very separate from "the state" in that setting and I think that made a big difference.
Well, I have two grandpas which fought in a war supposed to end "judeo-bolshevism", and one was crippled too. I hope I can be excused if I don't see Xianity as that big happy peaceful family that doesn't do any divisive stuff

I'm not trying to goodwin it, btw. It's just where they happened to be involved in a war that was justified by ancient religious hatred. Wrong time, wrong place, maybe, but that's the time and place I happen to have as the example that's close to home.
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Old 23rd February 2019, 04:17 PM   #408
ynot
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
I hope you are being intentionally obtuse. Atheism is not exclusively a position you are born with. It is also one you can adopt later.

Hans
Not being obtuse at all. Perhaps you see your own fault in another?

If you're born with red hair and you retain that colour naturally all your life, then red is exclusively the default colour of your hair. If you dye your hair another colour then you have chosen for your hair to be another colour. A chosen colour is not a default colour. If you can't keep dying your hair for some reason it will grow back to the default red colour even though your preferred choice might be the dyed colour.

Atheism is exclusively a position you are born with. Default positions are neither adopted nor re-adopted they are only reverted/returned to if they have been replaced by choice for a time.
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Old 23rd February 2019, 04:22 PM   #409
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by attempt5001 View Post
Gents, (ynot, Thor 2 and the Hans's),
I'm not trying defend theism or religion. The OP asked why people believe, so I'm describing scenarios and accounts that I have seen and heard, first-hand, many times. If you find them to be so unfathomable that the only explanation is that everyone was actually being accusatory and terrible to one another and they were all too deluded to see it I really don't think there's much more I can offer to the discussion. But discounting an account because it doesn't fit your presumptions and experience it not a very skeptical posture. (And in case you are thinking it, this is not what I am doing. I accept your experiences as also being true and common, just not universal.)
As I was saying before, I don't really care much about what you believe in. Whether you actually believe that stuff, or are playing devil's advocated, or whatever, doesn't make the arguments any better or worse, really. In fact, to be honest, I find some of the "devil's advocate" arguments to be more likely to be sub-par than the real thing. I don't mean particularly in this thread, but generally, if someone only put like 15 minutes into thinking up an argument they don't actually believe in, they might actually do a worse job than someone who's actually put some years into thinking of reasons to defend it.

Or not. Conversely, just because someone truly believes what they're saying, doesn't automatically mean they're also good at this newfangled "logic" thing.
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Old 23rd February 2019, 04:26 PM   #410
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Originally Posted by attempt5001 View Post
Gents, (ynot, Thor 2 and the Hans's),
I'm not trying defend theism or religion. The OP asked why people believe, so I'm describing scenarios and accounts that I have seen and heard, first-hand, many times. If you find them to be so unfathomable that the only explanation is that everyone was actually being accusatory and terrible to one another and they were all too deluded to see it I really don't think there's much more I can offer to the discussion. But discounting an account because it doesn't fit your presumptions and experience it not a very skeptical posture. (And in case you are thinking it, this is not what I am doing. I accept your experiences as also being true and common, just not universal.)
Well (and I mean this in the nicest possible way ) this thread isn't all about your personal religious beliefs or your particular religious community.

If we were debating whether it's a good idea to pick up snakes without knowing if they're poisonous or not, would it be helpful if I kept saying "Well I've picked up many snakes and I haven't picked up any that have been poisonous, so that makes picking up any snake at random okay from my experience".
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Old 23rd February 2019, 04:28 PM   #411
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Atheism is exclusively a position you are born with. Default positions are neither adopted nor re-adopted they are only reverted/returned to.
Maybe, but that doesn't change the fact that you choose to do that return.

I'll use your hair colour analogy. Sure, one could argue that deciding to stop dying my hair black is just reverting to original, whereas deciding to start dying it blue instead would be choosing a new colour. But no matter how you wish to call it, there's still a choice involved. I could go to the bathroom and dye my hair black again, or I can not go do that. The moment I chose to do one or the other, that is a choice right there.

Now whether picking a religion is anything like picking a hair colour, that's another argument. But just calling the action by a different name is not what's making that point about it being a choice or not.
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Old 23rd February 2019, 04:58 PM   #412
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Maybe, but that doesn't change the fact that you choose to do that return.
Merely asserting a fact doesn’t establish or prove a fact. Returning to a default position happens automatically (without choice) when you choose not to retain a chosen alternative position.

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
I'll use your hair colour analogy. Sure, one could argue that deciding to stop dying my hair black is just reverting to original, whereas deciding to start dying it blue instead would be choosing a new colour. But no matter how you wish to call it, there's still a choice involved. I could go to the bathroom and dye my hair black again, or I can not go do that. The moment I chose to do one or the other, that is a choice right there.
That you can choose to dye your hair any number of colours other than the default colour, doesn’t mean you choose the default colour.

Being an atheist at birth isn’t your choice.
Becoming as theist later in life is your choice.
Choosing to stop being a theist automatically makes you an atheist again.

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Now whether picking a religion is anything like picking a hair colour, that's another argument. But just calling the action by a different name is not what's making that point about it being a choice or not.
It’s an analogy. Are you saying analogies are worthless and invalid?
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Old 23rd February 2019, 07:20 PM   #413
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Well (and I mean this in the nicest possible way ) this thread isn't all about your personal religious beliefs or your particular religious community.

If we were debating whether it's a good idea to pick up snakes without knowing if they're poisonous or not, would it be helpful if I kept saying "Well I've picked up many snakes and I haven't picked up any that have been poisonous, so that makes picking up any snake at random okay from my experience".
OP: I can't conceive of any reason anyone would ever believe. Can anyone supply one? I'm very interested.

Me: Ok. Here's a way I've heard and seen people explain it, first hand.

Other: I don't believe that's true or likely

Me: Okay, that's understandable, given your experience, but there's my experience nonetheless.

Other: Well, it's not about you.

Me: Okay, I guess I bow out so you can enjoy your echo chamber.
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Old 23rd February 2019, 09:04 PM   #414
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Merely asserting a fact doesn’t establish or prove a fact. Returning to a default position happens automatically (without choice) when you choose not to retain a chosen alternative position.
My emphasis. So a choice was involved even in your own wording. Insisting that it's without choice when you choose a course of action, is pretty daft, no matter how you handwave and do word games around it.

Originally Posted by ynot View Post
That you can choose to dye your hair any number of colours other than the default colour, doesn’t mean you choose the default colour.

Being an atheist at birth isn’t your choice.
Becoming as theist later in life is your choice.
Choosing to stop being a theist automatically makes you an atheist again.
My emphasis again. Especially when the consequence is that automatic, it's like insisting that I didn't choose to make my basement dark again (it's, after all, its default state), I only chose to flick the light switch.

But it's even more nonsensical than that, actually, because "atheist" means "not theist". So (A) becoming or reverting to an atheist and (B) stopping being a theist, are actually by definition the same thing. It's not even one being an automatic result of the other, they are THE SAME. By definition. So insisting that you only chose B but not A, when the two are the same thing, is silly.

Even as silly word games go, it's not the brightest one.

Originally Posted by ynot View Post
It’s an analogy. Are you saying analogies are worthless and invalid?
Not sure whatever gave you that idea.
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Old 23rd February 2019, 10:13 PM   #415
Aridas
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
That might be so, except for what Thor 2 mentioned: that people are told by religion to feel like they're guilty and sub-par even if they did not, in fact, have that problem to start with.
And as noted in the original premise it was stated that cases where religion didn't cause it were what were in question. That doesn't mean that Abrahamic religions don't also cause such, just that those weren't the one being talked about. There are, in fact, a number of ways that such can happen absent those religions, after all.

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
And considering the age that most people get that crap into their system, I kinda feel hard pressed to believe that they were already naturally inclined to feel like they're some walking awful piece of crap that needs Jesus to feel accepted. Or frankly, if they already do, then their parents were the awful pieces of crap there.

At the age when we start pouring that crap into kids' heads, they're looking to their parents for acceptance and support.
Parents, yes, and people in general soon after. Again, though, such happening wasn't denied. It was just not specifically relevant to the point being made.

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
So for most people I don't see HOW the score could possibly be one for the feeling like worthless scum before religion got into it.
Mmm. Objection here. Feeling like worthless scum isn't required. Simple discomfort with the way things are and lacking a feeling of validation are plenty.

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
I mean, sure, you can find exceptions like if someone made it to 21 years old and then decided to find religion to feel accepted. Sure, then they have a 1 in the column of pre-existing conditions. But that's hardly the average case, is it?
Mmm? I wasn't aware that there was any requirement that something had to be an "average case" when what was being quibbled with was "Religion only solves problems that it makes." Discussions about how common such are is a different matter. I suspect that it's more frequent than you think, though, especially given a grasping at straws for answers that frequently happens during teen years and the emotional ups and downs happening then.
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Old 23rd February 2019, 10:25 PM   #416
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Originally Posted by attempt5001 View Post
OP: I can't conceive of any reason anyone would ever believe. Can anyone supply one? I'm very interested.

Me: Ok. Here's a way I've heard and seen people explain it, first hand.

Other: I don't believe that's true or likely

Me: Okay, that's understandable, given your experience, but there's my experience nonetheless.

Other: Well, it's not about you.

Me: Okay, I guess I bow out so you can enjoy your echo chamber.
I will reply when Iíve had time to properly consider and evaluate. Donít want to knee-jerk reply.
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Old 23rd February 2019, 11:51 PM   #417
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
My emphasis. So a choice was involved even in your own wording. Insisting that it's without choice when you choose a course of action, is pretty daft, no matter how you handwave and do word games around it.
I’ve never said or insisted that changing from atheist to theist, or theist to atheist, doesn’t involve choice. I’ve said the choice is whether to be a theists or not, not whether to be an atheist or not. You need to read a whole sentence in context rather than just a single word. If and when you choose not to be a theist you then are an atheist.

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
My emphasis again. Especially when the consequence is that automatic, it's like insisting that I didn't choose to make my basement dark again (it's, after all, its default state), I only chose to flick the light switch.
You choose to turn the light off for reasons (save electricity costs, preserve bulb life), the basement is dark as a consequence not a choice. If there were no reasons to turn the light off you might choose to leave it on permanently.

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
But it's even more nonsensical than that, actually, because "atheist" means "not theist". So (A) becoming or reverting to an atheist and (B) stopping being a theist, are actually by definition the same thing. It's not even one being an automatic result of the other, they are THE SAME. By definition. So insisting that you only chose B but not A, when the two are the same thing, is silly.
Even as silly word games go, it's not the brightest one.
I agree they are the same in effect, but we’re debating choices, not effects. People normally choose to be a theist or not for reasons. There doesn’t have to be any reasons to be an atheist. Being an atheist is merely a consequence of not choosing to be a theist.

I originally challenged the declarative assertion that atheism IS a choice and IS a rejection of god.
Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
Atheism is a choice. It is a rejection of belief in god.
I might have accepted “can be”.

I’ve had my say and don’t think I've anything else to add. I don’t particularly care if some want to say choosing not to be a theist is the same as choosing to be an atheist, or even that atheism can be a choice. but I do care if and when when “is” used to mean “can be”.
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Old 24th February 2019, 12:43 AM   #418
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The OP is searching for a reason to believe yet I see a constant discussion of religion. Religion is made by man, a flawed creature, so religion is likewise flawed. Everyone has a different belief and who's right? Who knows. Maybe nobody.

If I were looking for a reason to consider a higher power at work I'd take a look at Nature. Man has such a need to proclaim himself God, yet with all his knowledge he still cannot create the spark of life. Oh certainly he can work with existing life, add a few genes here and there, fertilize an egg, map DNA, clone things and many other wonders, yet the creation of life is beyond man's reach.

He increases his knowledge, which is a good thing. Searching for answers to the unexplainable is an admittedly noble cause. Yet I think it can be also be noble to realize and admit there are mysteries and processes that cannot and may never be explained. Life exists and it was not created by man. Is it too much to ponder that the creation of life is above man, so something above man has accomplished this creation?

I guess you could call it what you will. A higher power, God, Nature, aliens, luck etc. But life suggests there is something that has done something greater than man can accomplish.

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Old 24th February 2019, 12:52 AM   #419
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Actually, since at this point he seems to have introduced the real historical Critias into it, I could clarify that in fact Critias DID run into exactly that problem really fast.
I'm not interested in the real Critias, but in Plato's image of a tyrant who justifies his tyranny because social norms are conventional and the only law is that of the strongest.
That Critias in particular said or did this is irrelevant to Dostoevsky's argument. Which, by the way, never mentioned Critias as example of tirany, but Cleopatra. But we're not going to talk about the real Cleopatra now. I hope so.
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Old 24th February 2019, 01:22 AM   #420
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post

Not quite true. While quite diverse, norms are what a culture or society will accept. They generally follow what is perceived as good for the society.


No. Critias cannot logically argue that. Critias is part of a society and must accept and largely follow the norms of that society, or risk being rejected.

No matter how cynical and/or powerful your character Critias is, he will not fare well in the long run if his society rejects him.
Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
What are you arguing here? That cynical tyrants can only exist if atheism is true? Well, history knows a long line of cynical tyrants. Most met violent ends.

Hans
Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Critias can conform to society's standards as a pragmatic matter, without accepting those standards.
Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
Sure. Don't we all, to some degree? So what?
Of course, no one is 100% moral. The problem is with those who are one percent moral and have the power to harm others (Critias). I suspect that the number of these people among the global leaders of politics and economy is quite high. On the other hand this is also a problem when in our daily lives we meet - or depend upon - such a person. And it is a problem for us when we are faced with a situation in which morality demands some small sacrifice on our part. Even then, not as strong as the others, we wonder why we should sacrifice. Why to be moral?

Morality is supposed to be a brake on society not becoming the law of the jungle.

Hans says there are rules that every society imposes. Social norms. This is called conventional norms because they depend on social pressure, more or less contractual or imposed. But social norms are not moral norms. I may not comply with a social norm in the name of morality. I can risk facing legal or social sanctions because I believe they are unjust. That happens every day.

In addition, I may not comply with a social norm thinking that it harms me personally and that I can make a profit by not complying with it. To violate a social norm because my act goes unnoticed, because I deceive those around me or because I have the strength to impose myself on the rest, is something quite common, unfortunately.

So you cannot invoke the existence of social norms to explain the imperative nature of moral norms. They are two different and often conflicting things.
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Old 24th February 2019, 02:24 AM   #421
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
I'm not interested in the real Critias, but in Plato's image of a tyrant who justifies his tyranny because social norms are conventional and the only law is that of the strongest.
When Plato decided to put certain words in the mouth of a very specific character, like Critias or for that matter Solon, who those persons were was an integral part of the argument. He puts the arguments for rule of the strongest in Critias's mouth, not, say, in the mouth of Solon (who reformed Athens into a democracy.)

It's like nowadays featuring Petain -- of Vichy government fame -- to deliver those lines. Which incidentally would be a decent equivalent of Critias. At the time when Plato was writing that, that wouldn't be a random name, but be quite vivid in people's memory. Who he was and what happened to him ARE going to colour the reading if you choose that person to deliver the argument.

So I don't think it's unfair to point out that the person he chose to deliver those lines is, in fact, someone who failed because of thinking that way. Epic fail, even. And who any reader -- in fact, anyone who COULD read Plato's text or anything else -- would remember that way.

Being rejected by society was not something that Critias and the others in that collaborationist government could just ignore. He and his collaborationists were not just defeated or deposed. They were WIPED out in the uprising.

Again, all he got from that, and it's something that every reader would know, was a year and a half of power, then he lost his life for it.


But either way, even if we call the character Jack instead of Critias, the fate of Critias is an argument. An even better one is the fate of many gangsters from the prohibition era, or several others who thought that might is right.

The point is that you can still sort morality by how good it is for everyone anyway. When the social contract actually breaks down into "the law of the jungle", as you put it, it's not really good times even for the gangster type who thinks that only might makes right. Because at that point there's nothing to stop some other guy who thinks "might makes right" to come try to kill you.

And sure enough, if you look at the gangsters during the prohibition, it wasn't fun times for them. If you were one strapping young lad looking to go into a promising career, there are good reasons to not become a gangster. Because if you do, chances are a lot higher that you'll die painfully in a shootout or outright execution (a la the Valentine Day Massacre) than that you'd end up some mob boss. Hell, even if you made it to mob boss, several of those were killed too or had to give everything up just to keep their lives.


Hell, even if you look strictly at political tyrants, even those can't extract themselves entirely from such pressures. The secret about absolute power, is that it doesn't really exist.

If you're the guy whose only justification for power is that you have it, there's nothing to keep some other guy from trying to take it from you. It's not gonna be like "Oh noes, he didn't get the majority vote in the election" when there are no elections.

You have to bribe and placate a lot of people to hang onto that power. And even then, they can still depose you, like they did to Mussolini. Other notable tyrants from the 20'th century include Hitler, who had to deal with several assassination attempts per year, or Stalin who ended up completely paranoid and lived his last decade or so in constant fear for his life. Stalin literally only allowed one particular veterinarian to consult him, because he believed that most doctors want him dead. (Which they probably did, if they were representative of the general population.)

So, yeah, while the law of the jungle is a viable alternative in BS imaginary dialogues, it's not that much fun and games in practice.
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Old 24th February 2019, 02:32 AM   #422
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
In addition, I may not comply with a social norm thinking that it harms me personally and that I can make a profit by not complying with it. To violate a social norm because my act goes unnoticed, because I deceive those around me or because I have the strength to impose myself on the rest, is something quite common, unfortunately.
Mate, societal problems, just like engineering problems, are what they are. The smart solution -- and in fact the only thing that counts as a solution -- is the one which deals with reality, including with such problems.

If you have a "solution" which only works in an utopian world that's completely free of any problems you don't know how to solve, that's not even a solution at all. And it's definitely not the better one. You don't get to go around moaning about how the real solutions aren't perfect, when yours doesn't even work at all in the real world.

Coming up with a perfect solution that only works in a perfect universe -- e.g., only if every single living human believes in the same moral code and never does anything against that code -- isn't some super-smart master-philosopher thing. It's the dumb and useless thing.

It's like if I proposed that I can make you a rocket that will take you anywhere in the whole visible UNIVERSE, not just our galaxy, but it only works in a universe where I don't have to carry the weight of the fuel, or deal with incoming particles when you move at that speed. And really, I could. But since that doesn't work in the real world, that's not some super-smart solution, it's just a useless mental exercise.
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Old 24th February 2019, 04:01 AM   #423
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post

But either way, even if we call the character Jack instead of Critias, the fate of Critias is an argument. An even better one is the fate of many gangsters from the prohibition era, or several others who thought that might is right.

The point is that you can still sort morality by how good it is for everyone anyway. When the social contract actually breaks down into "the law of the jungle", as you put it, it's not really good times even for the gangster type who thinks that only might makes right. Because at that point there's nothing to stop some other guy who thinks "might makes right" to come try to kill you.

And sure enough, if you look at the gangsters during the prohibition, it wasn't fun times for them. If you were one strapping young lad looking to go into a promising career, there are good reasons to not become a gangster. Because if you do, chances are a lot higher that you'll die painfully in a shootout or outright execution (a la the Valentine Day Massacre) than that you'd end up some mob boss. Hell, even if you made it to mob boss, several of those were killed too or had to give everything up just to keep their lives.


Hell, even if you look strictly at political tyrants, even those can't extract themselves entirely from such pressures. The secret about absolute power, is that it doesn't really exist.

If you're the guy whose only justification for power is that you have it, there's nothing to keep some other guy from trying to take it from you. It's not gonna be like "Oh noes, he didn't get the majority vote in the election" when there are no elections.

You have to bribe and placate a lot of people to hang onto that power. And even then, they can still depose you, like they did to Mussolini. Other notable tyrants from the 20'th century include Hitler, who had to deal with several assassination attempts per year, or Stalin who ended up completely paranoid and lived his last decade or so in constant fear for his life. Stalin literally only allowed one particular veterinarian to consult him, because he believed that most doctors want him dead. (Which they probably did, if they were representative of the general population.)

So, yeah, while the law of the jungle is a viable alternative in BS imaginary dialogues, it's not that much fun and games in practice.
So according to you bad guys (tyrants, exploiters or demagogues) always lose and in the long run the equitable social contract wins. How naive! It seems that you believe in the Social Contract as others believe in the Christ.

May be this will change your ideas: http://chalaux.org/epdduk08.htm

Read Rousseau. He was very clear that the social contract was a theory to unmask the really existing state of injustice not a description of the actual state.

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Old 24th February 2019, 04:18 AM   #424
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
So according to you bad guys (tyrants, exploiters or demagogues) always lose and in the long run the equitable social contract wins. How naive! It seems that you believe in the Social Contract as others believe in the Christ.

May be this will change your ideas: http://chalaux.org/epdduk08.htm

Read Rousseau. He was very clear that the social contract was a theory to unmask the really existing state of injustice not a description of the actual state.
I didn't say they always lose. Just that for every 1 that makes it to big dictator or whatever, there'll be probably a hundred who don't quite make it as well as they thought in the "might is right" business. E.g., even if you think Stalin somehow made it, a lot of even the people supporting him didn't have it that great in that kind of a system. Hell, even two different heads of the NKVD, the guys doing the purging in Stalin's name, got themselves purged.

It seems to me like there's a very good argument to be made that that kind of society is not in one's best self interest.

That said, it STILL is the only thing that works, and your argument STILL boils to the Nirvana Fallacy: aye, but it's not PERFECT. Because the distortion you did above is actually representative of your whole contribution in this thread. You have to fight the strawman that someone claimed a PERFECT solution -- as in, it ALWAYS works flawlessly -- because apparently nothing else than a perfect utopia even counts.

Well, I dunno if pragmatism counts as being naive. But I'm pretty sure that it's retarded to keep harping on how the system that works is bad, because it's not as 100% perfect as an utopia that never worked anywhere at any time, and you haven't shown that it even CAN work. As even St Anselm could tell you, something that exists is always greater than something that doesn't. It doesn't matter how absolutely perfect your solution to morals or anything else is, if it's something that never existed and it's never been shown that it's even POSSIBLE for it to exist, then sorry, the imperfect solution that actually works in the REAL world is better every time.
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Old 24th February 2019, 04:24 AM   #425
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Also, as a side note, do you even HAVE an original thought to share on this topic or any other? Because all I've seen you do in any thread is parrot some quote from some other author, and then repeat like a broken record a couple dozen times, without any further support. And without apparently even being able to read and comprehend what everyone else wrote, much less actually address it. Because apparently being some quote from some well known author is enough.

Well, not only that's stupid and useless on a skeptic board, or really anywhere where people even vaguely heard of the appeal to authority fallacy, but it's generally stupid and useless in an age where we have Google. If all you can do is be an index to what other people said, trust me, Google does it better
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Old 24th February 2019, 04:49 AM   #426
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Originally Posted by ChrisBFRPKY View Post
The OP is searching for a reason to believe yet I see a constant discussion of religion. Religion is made by man, a flawed creature, so religion is likewise flawed. Everyone has a different belief and who's right? Who knows. Maybe nobody.

If I were looking for a reason to consider a higher power at work I'd take a look at Nature. Man has such a need to proclaim himself God, yet with all his knowledge he still cannot create the spark of life. Oh certainly he can work with existing life, add a few genes here and there, fertilize an egg, map DNA, clone things and many other wonders, yet the creation of life is beyond man's reach.
At last check, man HAS already become able to create a viable cell from scratch, DNA and all. Not complicated life, yet, sure, but plenty to count as a "spark" of life. And, of course, progress is continuing.
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Old 24th February 2019, 05:56 AM   #427
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
So according to you bad guys (tyrants, exploiters or demagogues) always lose and in the long run the equitable social contract wins. How naive! It seems that you believe in the Social Contract as others believe in the Christ.

May be this will change your ideas: http://chalaux.org/epdduk08.htm

Read Rousseau. He was very clear that the social contract was a theory to unmask the really existing state of injustice not a description of the actual state.
One can't even comprehend how you could misunderstand Hans so much!
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Old 24th February 2019, 07:50 AM   #428
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
One can't even comprehend how you could misunderstand Hans so much!
I'm afraid you're the one who doesn't understand. Hans believes that he lives in the best of all possible worlds, that selfish cynics are punished (well, all but 1) and worrying about morals is nonsense, because there are already the norms of every society that have been achieved by consensus (contract).

This is called conformism and I don't know if it scares me more or less than religion.

And what if within those community norms is to pursue atheism and believe in a cruel god? What would friend Hans do? And you?

(Of course, he doesn't seem to have read the article I linked. )
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Old 24th February 2019, 08:11 AM   #429
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What I AM saying is basically, to quote St Anselm loosely from memory (since only quotes seem to work with you,): "An entity that exists both as an idea in the mind and in reality is greater than an entity that exists only as an idea in the mind."

The same applies to your absolute morals ideas. Can you show that such a thing actually exists? If not, then no, it's not something superior. It's something inferior to any morality system ever that actually existed and works. Even the system imposed by Critias, guess what? It actually existed and worked. Not perfectly, but it did SOMETHING. As such it is inherently better than stuff that never actually existed as more than an idea, and never actually worked IRL.

It's like the difference between a rocket engine and the Star Wars hyperdrives. Does the latter exist? No? Then it's not better. And it's in fact stupid to harp on how much worse the former is compared to the latter, when you can't show the latter to actually work, or for that matter even exist. An impossible and purely imaginary alternative is not an alternative at all. What you're proposing is that a hypothetical super-bird in the bush, that nobody ever saw or can support with any evidence, is better than the real bird in the hand.

The same applies to the kind of society you seem to wish to achieve. You know, where everyone is convinced of the same morals, and nobody breaks them, and all. Well, it doesn't exist, never existed, and you haven't even shown that it's POSSIBLE at all for such a society to exist. In fact, you outright admit that it's impossible to achieve when you say that you can't convince Critias by either logic or religion.

Guess what? Then it is not better at all. It's in fact quite useless compared to any society that does exist and work in the real world. Just like communism and a slew of other utopias. Take the most corrupt and anarchic society -- say, Somalia -- and by sheer virtue of existing and working in the REAL WORLD, it's worth more than any utopia that can't exist and doesn't work.
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Old 24th February 2019, 08:29 AM   #430
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
I'm afraid you're the one who doesn't understand. Hans believes that he lives in the best of all possible worlds, that selfish cynics are punished (well, all but 1) and worrying about morals is nonsense, because there are already the norms of every society that have been achieved by consensus (contract).



This is called conformism and I don't know if it scares me more or less than religion.



And what if within those community norms is to pursue atheism and believe in a cruel god? What would friend Hans do? And you?



(Of course, he doesn't seem to have read the article I linked. )
And you demonstrate again you still haven't understood what he has been posting.

Plus of course he hasn't necessarily been posting about his beliefs.. Just like you haven't.
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Old 24th February 2019, 08:32 AM   #431
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Plus of course an obligatory how are David Mo's beliefs meant to make us believe in a god?
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Old 24th February 2019, 08:37 AM   #432
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Plus of course an obligatory how are David Mo's beliefs meant to make us believe in a god?
Don't talk nonsense.
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Old 24th February 2019, 08:40 AM   #433
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
What I AM saying is basically, to quote St Anselm loosely from memory (since only quotes seem to work with you,): "An entity that exists both as an idea in the mind and in reality is greater than an entity that exists only as an idea in the mind."

The same applies to your absolute morals ideas. Can you show that such a thing actually exists? If not, then no, it's not something superior. It's something inferior to any morality system ever that actually existed and works. Even the system imposed by Critias, guess what? It actually existed and worked. Not perfectly, but it did SOMETHING. As such it is inherently better than stuff that never actually existed as more than an idea, and never actually worked IRL.

It's like the difference between a rocket engine and the Star Wars hyperdrives. Does the latter exist? No? Then it's not better. And it's in fact stupid to harp on how much worse the former is compared to the latter, when you can't show the latter to actually work, or for that matter even exist. An impossible and purely imaginary alternative is not an alternative at all. What you're proposing is that a hypothetical super-bird in the bush, that nobody ever saw or can support with any evidence, is better than the real bird in the hand.

The same applies to the kind of society you seem to wish to achieve. You know, where everyone is convinced of the same morals, and nobody breaks them, and all. Well, it doesn't exist, never existed, and you haven't even shown that it's POSSIBLE at all for such a society to exist. In fact, you outright admit that it's impossible to achieve when you say that you can't convince Critias by either logic or religion.

Guess what? Then it is not better at all. It's in fact quite useless compared to any society that does exist and work in the real world. Just like communism and a slew of other utopias. Take the most corrupt and anarchic society -- say, Somalia -- and by sheer virtue of existing and working in the REAL WORLD, it's worth more than any utopia that can't exist and doesn't work.
Therefore, social norms are good because they are the ones that exist, morality is bad because it does not exist and is an ideal. Everything that exists is good, ideals are bad. Better to do what others do because it "works," that is, it exists. If others kill Jews, I kill Jews. If others burn atheists, I burn atheists. They are the norms of my community. Aren't they? (Caramba, that's the second time I've asked you the same question).

Do you realize what you're saying?
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Old 24th February 2019, 09:26 AM   #434
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Don't talk nonsense.
Considering that he basically asked you how does your stuff relate to the topic in the thread title, I don't think it's nonsense.
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Old 24th February 2019, 09:39 AM   #435
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Therefore, social norms are good because they are the ones that exist, morality is bad because it does not exist and is an ideal. Everything that exists is good, ideals are bad. Better to do what others do because it "works," that is, it exists. If others kill Jews, I kill Jews. If others burn atheists, I burn atheists.
The argument you seem to make for it AGAIN is the appeal to consequences fallacy. An absolute morality must exist, because otherwise look at all the bad stuff that could happen. But there's a reason why that's a fallacy.

It's like saying that humans are able to fly, because otherwise they die in airplane accidents or falling off bridges. While the latter may well be true, it does not actually show that the former is. Wishful and magical thinking don't make something true.

Basically wake me up when you actually have a logical argument, not when you're just rehashing the same fallacies.


Additionally, you'll note that I allowed plenty of room to rank existing norms as better or worse. The idea that whatever is the current system is automatically the best possible, is just your own strawman. I even EXPLICITLY mentioned before using sociology, psychology or neuroscience to see if we can find out what worked better for other societies. If you can show that you have something that works better, I'm all for it. But the operative word is: works.

I'm just not losing any sleep over utopian notions that don't exist and won't work. That's not proposing something better, that's just a pointless fantasy.

(Not that there's anything wrong with occupying your brain with fantasy scenarios, mind you. I, for example, am currently busy figuring out if the undead, being by definition dead, should be exempt from taxes. But the difference between sanity and paranoid schizophrenia is literally just the ability to distinguish between reality and the fantasies that only exist in your head.)


And in any case, your comprehension problems, distortions and lies are still your problem, not mine. If you can't actually make an argument that doesn't involve lying about what I actually said, like you do above, that's hardly some kind of winning move. There is no such thing as being right by virtue of not even understanding what the others are saying.

Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Do you realize what you're saying?
That your fallacies STILL don't impress me?
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Old 24th February 2019, 10:39 AM   #436
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Don't talk nonsense.
Did you miss the topic of the thread? I know the title isn't a quote by a famous dead philosopher so you may have ignored it but it does sum up the topic quite well.
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Old 24th February 2019, 11:46 AM   #437
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Originally Posted by Aridas View Post
At last check, man HAS already become able to create a viable cell from scratch, DNA and all. Not complicated life, yet, sure, but plenty to count as a "spark" of life. And, of course, progress is continuing.
If you had read a bit further into some of the embedded links you would have found they are using yeast and trying to rewrite it by adding sections of human DNA. This does not qualify as creating life. It's taking existing life and reworking it into something else.

Kinda like swapping a few body parts of two cars and calling the new resulting mismatched cars "created from scratch".

https://www.statnews.com/2017/07/26/...fes-blueprint/

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Old 24th February 2019, 12:15 PM   #438
abaddon
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Whose well-being? Critias thinks that the discomfort of others does not concern him. What is best is your own well-being.

Of course Critias did not carry out his tyranny by making his particular selfishness obvious, but by convincing an aristocratic minority that what mattered was the welfare of the minority and not that of the majority. It is a moderate version of cynical selfishness. Both should worry an altruistic or a democrat atheist. They suppose the end of the moral principles in the usual sense.
Enough with the intentional obtuseness.
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Old 24th February 2019, 12:42 PM   #439
Aridas
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
I'm afraid you're the one who doesn't understand. Hans believes that he lives in the best of all possible worlds, that selfish cynics are punished (well, all but 1) and worrying about morals is nonsense, because there are already the norms of every society that have been achieved by consensus (contract).

This is called conformism and I don't know if it scares me more or less than religion.

And what if within those community norms is to pursue atheism and believe in a cruel god? What would friend Hans do? And you?

(Of course, he doesn't seem to have read the article I linked. )
Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Therefore, social norms are good because they are the ones that exist, morality is bad because it does not exist and is an ideal. Everything that exists is good, ideals are bad. Better to do what others do because it "works," that is, it exists. If others kill Jews, I kill Jews. If others burn atheists, I burn atheists. They are the norms of my community. Aren't they? (Caramba, that's the second time I've asked you the same question).

Do you realize what you're saying?

You don't seem to have actually read and comprehended what Hans said. This seems like a problem that frequently occurs with you.
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Last edited by Aridas; 24th February 2019 at 12:43 PM.
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Old 24th February 2019, 01:00 PM   #440
Aridas
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Originally Posted by ChrisBFRPKY View Post
If you had read a bit further into some of the embedded links you would have found they are using yeast and trying to rewrite it by adding sections of human DNA. This does not qualify as creating life. It's taking existing life and reworking it into something else.

Kinda like swapping a few body parts of two cars and calling the new resulting mismatched cars "created from scratch".

https://www.statnews.com/2017/07/26/...fes-blueprint/

Chris B.
Are you objecting... that it's not being assembled from the atomic level (despite the distinct inefficiency of that when there's obviously better options for what they were doing) and thus it doesn't count? Or is your objection more along the line of that standardized parts being able to be used in multiple similar things disqualifies them from being used to make something new?
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Last edited by Aridas; 24th February 2019 at 01:03 PM.
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