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Old 22nd February 2019, 01:45 PM   #361
ynot
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Originally Posted by attempt5001 View Post
This posts was really helpful for me to recognize one of my own biases that I will try to be more aware of. In most of these discussions of hypothetical interactions between theists and atheists, I am picturing the latter as being the aggressor, which is an unfair presumption.

Thanks for that.
Now you're "tsk, tsking" yourself .
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Old 22nd February 2019, 01:46 PM   #362
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Not true, atheism can be a position of indecision.
A position of indecision is whatever position you have not yet left. Be it theist or atheist.

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Atheism is the default position, theism is a choice or indoctrination.
Atheism is the original position. You might then, for whatever reason, adopt theism. And you may abandon it again, by choice.

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Now you have it! No choice required. Trouble is you contradict your first statement. Perhaps you also cannot wrap your mind around the correct version?
Or perhaps you cannot wrap your mind around what I'm saying. Certainly you don't own the correct version.

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Old 22nd February 2019, 01:47 PM   #363
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Well we must agree to disagree on this one then, as I can't see how a negative view of one's self and mankind in general, cannot result from the Christian message. I do not offer my brothers experience as a primary piece of evidence but just as an illustration. I observed the same openly expressed idea by many others in my brothers family and circle of friends. I see the same expressed in other hymns and prayer and the fact that other hymns and prayers do not feature this sentiment does not diminish the fact.
But this is based on the presumption of the universal negative view of..., which isn't universal, even though you find that hard to fathom.

I don't think you would accept a "I can't see ... therefore it cannot be so" argument from anyone else, so I am challenging you, with all respect, to be skeptical of it in yourself as well; not to reject your current perspective, but to broaden it.
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Old 22nd February 2019, 01:59 PM   #364
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Originally Posted by epeeist View Post
Re smoking or not smoking, that's again, an example of behaviour, not belief.

Maybe being vegan is a helpful example. Eating vegan is behaviour. Believing that because of animal rights one should be vegan is a belief. Believing that for health reasons one should be vegan is a belief. Eating vegan because one's spouse is and it's easier to go along, is pure behaviour, not principled belief in health or ethical reasons for veganism. Eating meat despite one's vegan beliefs means one is not, by behaviour, a vegan, even if one believes it is wrong and unhealthy to eat meat and so in a sense is a vegan believer who occasionally sins?
Believing in animals rights ... why is that not a behavior? Can you define what distinguishes 'belief' from 'behavior'. The person who is a vegan because their spouse is presumably believes in being loyal to their spouse.

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I have no problem believing there are non-believers who don't believe.
Rather obvious, isn't it? Although I have met theists who insist that atheism is also a belief ..

Quote:
I do however have difficulty believing it's a simple choice that can be turned on or off as you seem to posit.
I have already told you that this is not what I claim, so I would be grateful if you abandon that belief.

Quote:
Or maybe it can't be turned on, but only off, it's a one-way switch? It's not clear to me what you mean. Perhaps it's a grammatical or linguistic problem, are we using the same words to mean different things?
Well, let's say (this is not my exact situation, but will suffice):

I was brought up to believe in god. People I trusted told me god exists, so I believed them. When I came of age, I examined this belief and found that it made little sense to me. I resolved that the information "god exists" must be false. Thus, I chose to stop believing in god.

Could I switch back? Of course. Given convincing evidence of god's existence, I would presumably believe again.

Obviously I can't say: "Oh, tomorrow is Sunday, so I'll believe and go to church, and come Monday, I'll be atheist again." THAT would be ridiculous.

Hans
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Old 22nd February 2019, 02:07 PM   #365
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
A position of indecision is whatever position you have not yet left. Be it theist or atheist.
So what? We are debating what atheism is, not what indecision is. You claimed atheism was a position of choice (decision), I said it can also be a position of indecision (atheism not yet left).


Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
Atheism is the original position. You might then, for whatever reason, adopt theism. And you may abandon it again, by choice.
I'm using "default position" in the same context you're using "original position".
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Old 22nd February 2019, 02:09 PM   #366
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Originally Posted by Aridas View Post
This subject is a bit tired, but here's yet another obligatory correction. More specifically, atheists lack belief in any gods. This may be out of, say, ignorance of the concept in the first place, and thus isn't a choice. It may also be a failure to accept claims of the existence of any gods, which could potentially be a choice. It may also be a rejection of the existence of any gods, which fairly certainly is a choice.
Well, as has already been noted, we are born atheists. We may then adopt some belief, if those we trust are believers. This belief may or may not be a theistic belief. We may then at some point examine our belief rationally, and we may come to the decision that it does not make sense. ... At which point we may abandon it (or get mighty frustrated and defensive, like we sometimes see .. And I am honestly not referring to you).

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Old 22nd February 2019, 02:12 PM   #367
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
So what? We are debating what atheism is, not what indecision is. You claimed atheism was a position of choice (decision), I said it can also be a position of indecision (atheism not yet left).
You seem a bit indecisive here. While we may hold ANY position indecisively, atheism is not, in itself, a position of indecision.

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I'm using "default position" in the same context you're using "original position".
OK.

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Old 22nd February 2019, 02:24 PM   #368
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Originally Posted by attempt5001 View Post
But this is based on the presumption of the universal negative view of..., which isn't universal, even though you find that hard to fathom.

I don't think you would accept a "I can't see ... therefore it cannot be so" argument from anyone else, so I am challenging you, with all respect, to be skeptical of it in yourself as well; not to reject your current perspective, but to broaden it.

It's a difficult hurdle to get over I can see, and understandably so because it strikes at the very heart of Christian belief. Your observation of the apparently non negative self appraisal of your Christian fellows may possibly be distorted. If you were to challenge them about their belief do you think they would deny they were unworthy of salvation in their own right? Would they deny that Jesus dying on the cross for their sins was needed.

I think it's up to you to show how someone can simultaneously believe in their unworthiness and worthiness. Pointing to someone and just saying "he does" doesn't fill the hole.
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Old 22nd February 2019, 02:52 PM   #369
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
You seem a bit indecisive here.
Argumentum ad You-Have-a-Problem.
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Old 22nd February 2019, 02:54 PM   #370
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
Atheism is a choice. It is a rejection of belief in god.
Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
Well, as has already been noted, we are born atheists.
Amazing that babies choose to be atheists by rejecting something they don't even know about .
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Old 23rd February 2019, 01:07 AM   #371
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Does it? I'm in no discomfort myself, other than the occasional facepalm at stupid blank assertions in such threads.
You don't create any discomfort because you solve it by insulting the opponent. You call him stupid and idiot and that reassures you.
See as you sentence is without insults. Empty.

“Does it? I'm in no discomfort myself, other than the occasional assertions in such threads”.




Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
No it doesn't. All rules we've come up with boil down to a social contract.

E.g., I don't want to be murdered, you don't want to be murderd, and those guys over there around the tribe's camp fire also don't particularly fancy being killed. Self preservation is, after all, the strongest instinct. So we sit together and make a pact to not murder each other, and to somehow deter anyone else from murderizing any of us to death.

E.g., if I'm one of those tribesmen, I'd like to keep my flint spear and knife, because I worked hard to make them and my feeding my family depends on them. I wouldn't like to wake up one morning and see some other dude going hunting with them. You presumably similarly would like to keep your stuff. And those guys over there are quite fond of keeping theirs. So we invent a notion that taking some other guy's stuff without his permission is theft, and it's wrong.

But there is not a single atom in that flint knife that says it's mine, as opposed to that other guy's. There's not a single atom that says it's ok for it to be in my hand, but totally not ok in that other guy's hand. There is no such thing as an absolute and inherent morality in the whole thing. It's just something that we as a group came up with, because that's what most of us wanted.

You can even look at any parliament to see that in action in real time.



Now if we're more advanced than cavemen sitting around a campfire, we might invoke philosophical theories like utilitarianism. Or we could use sociology and economics to see what kind of principles worked best for other societies. Or if we're into neuroscience, we might look into what kind of things we're hard-wired to abhor, or which cause the most suffering to the most people. Etc.

No it's not. Not any more than the peace treaty between, say, Germany, England and France is.
Rousseau invented the theory of the social contract to explain two things: as a hypothesis of the origin of human society and as a rational method of arriving at a just society.

It is not a description of a real society, as you pretend. Real society (parliaments, which you mention, for example) works with a complex mixture of different principles that clash with each other, contradictions, power relations, ideologies and other irrationalisms.

You design a limited group of rational individuals, propose a simple theme and, of course, the solution comes by itself. This is the fallacy od "robinsonism" .

The moral problem arises when one side claims that the one who does not support war is a traitor to the homeland and the other side says that war is unjust, for example. This is a real problem that is not solved by agreements between equal parts, but by majorities, in a parliamentary democracy, and by pure violence in a tyranny. But majorities can be unjust, the parliament controled by a minority and a tyranny can make the right decision by chance. It is your moral sense that must dictate to you what to do and no pure social contract, which is non-existent, can solve the problem.

So, while the real treatises have a material existence, they are written and anyone can read them (not always), the moral norms are not written anywhere. They are not the same thing.

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
For the rest of us, the idea that the rules are what WE as a people need, and can make new ones if new situations arise, or strike old ones if we no longer want them, is what's GOOD about the whole thing. It's not a discomfort. It's in fact quite comforting that we could replace, say, the divine right of kings with the Magna Carta, and can do so again if needed.
The problem with morality is that WE don't always agree with what we need. Some say it's one thing and others say it's another. And both things are usually opposite. And what the majority wants is not always what our moral sense tells us. In the name of what does our morality tell us that we should oppose the majority? It is not with simple slogans that this problem is solved. But they also reassure those who don't want to create problems for themselves.

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
And that's the problem with arguing that some argument has merit because Dostoevsky said so, and he's a smart cookie.
No one has stated such a thing in this forum. You see ghosts. Go back to the real debate, please.
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Old 23rd February 2019, 01:44 AM   #372
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I never said it's perfect, but it is what it is. Unless you can show an alternative that actually came from a god and/or is actually absolute, harping on how the only thing that actually works is inferior is just pointless. Inferior compared to WHAT?

RL choices are based on comparisons, not on the Nirvana Fallacy, which seems to be what you're proposing. Claiming that one alternative is weak because it's not perfect, is ultimately pointless, when the other one has the same problems and/or doesn't even work. It's weak as opposed to WHAT?

It's like if I had a truck company and went on about how nah, women don't make good truck drivers, because they're weak and can't push a truck back up if it tips over. Well, as long as men can't do that either, the whole statement is a pointless detour through nonsense. Or really, as opposed to WHAT? To the Klingons and Vulcans from Star Trek? To the Xeleyans from The Orville? As long as those don't actually exist, that's not much of a saving grace either.

Which is incidentally also the nonsense that your A, B, C, D message was proposing. The only value in stating the weakness problems with A and B was in comparison to C. Pretending that you can drop a side in the comparison because it doesn't solve the problem either -- in your case C -- but still keep harping about how A and B have a problem because they don't solve the exact same thing C didn't, is just an exercise in nonsense.


But in this case it's not even as much a skewed comparison, it's the SAME thing on both sides, with some smoke and mirrors thrown in. You don't actually HAVE any absolute rules that come from a god on one side, and the imperfect rules of humans on the other. You have the same kind of rules that humans made up on both sides. One side just LIED about it coming from gods, but it's still a group of humans that came up with them. It could have been democratically (like in ancient Athens) or by a theocratic tyranny (like in ancient Jerusalem), but they're still made by a group of people and then handwaved as being mandated by piety to the gods.

But tacking a bald-faced lie to something doesn't make it anything else. If I lie that my cat is really an alien facehugger (and whoever slept in bed with a cat will know what I'm talking about) doesn't actually make it anything else than a cat.


Backing into "yeah, but if you really believed in Jesus..." isn't a solution either.

A) you have to show that people arrived at even the same thing by really believing in Jesus, before you can call it absolute. Again, other people arrived at burning witches alive, from the same love of Jesus.

Edit: hell, Jesus himself arrived at "If anyone causes one of these little ones--those who believe in me--to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea." (Matthew 18:6, also in Mark 9:42 and Luke 17:2) And it makes sense if you think about it, from a utilitarian point of view. If you literally believe that you can only get to heaven through Jesus, and one apostate guy causes dozens of children to end up in hell by teaching them to disbelieve, then it's OBJECTIVELY better to drown that one guy and save the dozens. Right?

Just quoting Dostoevsky pulling bare postulates out the ass isn't really evidence for it being absolute.

and even more importantly

B) any solution that involves everyone believing the exact same ideology you want, just doesn't work at all in practice. Claiming that it would work for religion, is no difference than claiming it would have worked for Communism. Because, see, the latter would have also worked, if only absolutely everyone believed in the same ideology and morality and all.

In fact, encountering any theory that needs that is when you know it's pure horse-crap. THE #1 problem of any REAL social system is exactly how you deal with different people wanting different things and thinking that different things are right. Some even thinking your whole system is bogus. Some, a la the "Free Man On The Land" and such, even believe that your whole system is based on some conspiracy theory, and they don't have to obey any of the rules if they reject the supposed conspiracy. Some, a la the early 20'th century anarchists, may even think they have a duty to break the rules quite spectacularly to effect change. Etc.

Just imagining some utopia where it all just works because the RL problems don't exist, isn't a solution, it's just stupid. Whether it's about society or if I were to design a car for an universe where all the engineering problems don't exist, it's still ultimately just a pointless and useless exercise.
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Old 23rd February 2019, 02:05 AM   #373
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
No one has stated such a thing in this forum. You see ghosts. Go back to the real debate, please.
Except that's IS really what's proposed, when we're asked to just believe such postulates -- or act as if they're already proven, and you can only disagree by taking the burden of disproving them -- which are supported only by a quote from Dostoevsky.

You may go on about how it doesn't matter if it's Dostoevsky or his barber who asked the problem, but that's misleading nonsense as long as it's still pushing bare postulates from that guy. The way that "it doesn't matter" is actually that yeah, Dostoevsky's barber would also need a bunch of qualifications, if you want to push bare postulates from him as premises. Until you do so, the way it actually works is that Dostoevsky is as UNqualified as his barber to be a source for those postulates.

What an unqualified party can do is ask a question that doesn't give you the solution or postulates you have to use for the solution. E.g., "so how do atheists deal with morality?" That's about the level that Dostoevsky's barber can ask without any further qualifications or burden of proof.

The moment the proposed "problem" is more along the lines of "here are postulates X, Y and Z, therefore atheists can't do it" that's no long just asking, it's making some claims. They better be supported. Either directly or in informal logic you could show that the guy making the statements X, Y and Z is a total authority on the topic, so you can believe him. E.g., supporting some General Relativity claims because the guy who said it was Einstein, and he kinda is the ultimate authority on GR. That's NOT something you can ask people to take on no more authority than the guy being Dostoevsky's barber.
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Old 23rd February 2019, 03:57 AM   #374
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Amazing that babies choose to be atheists by rejecting something they don't even know about .
Don't be silly. We both know what we are talking about.

We are born atheists, simply by virtue of not knowing about the concept of religion.

For various reasons, mostly by upbringing, many of us adopt a belief system, probably not as a result of much actual reflection.

As we grow more reflected, we may then decide to reject it.

And some may even be convinced to believe again later.

Can't say it much clearer. If anybody persists in misrepresenting my position on this, I can't do anything about it.

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Old 23rd February 2019, 08:20 AM   #375
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Except that's IS really what's proposed, when we're asked to just believe such postulates -- or act as if they're already proven, and you can only disagree by taking the burden of disproving them -- which are supported only by a quote from Dostoevsky.
I haven't quoted Dostoevsky once. I have used his name as an example of what a theist could say if he adopted his point of view.
I have not once asserted that this argument should be accepted because Dostoevsky said so.
In addition, I have paraphrased the famous phrase that says, "Truth is truth, whether it was said by Agamemnon or his swineherd. That means that you have to stick to the arguments and not to the one who says them. Just the opposite of an argument of authority that you attribute to me.

So change your line because it goes in the opposite direction to what I said.

I repeat Dostoevsky’s argument:

The atheist claims that Christianity is a false belief.

If this is true only two possibilities rest for him:

a) There are moral absolute norms. Dostoevsky and you claim that it is false.
b) Moral norms are conventional/subjective.

If b), Critias can logically argue that he follow his own benefit without care what detriment it causes in the others. Furthermore, that this is the only way for an inteligent man.

If we are atheists and believe in the authority of moral norms against absolute selfish we must find a rational argument against Critias. Till now you have not give a single. You should be concerned.
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Old 23rd February 2019, 08:41 AM   #376
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
I haven't quoted Dostoevsky once. I have used his name as an example of what a theist could say if he adopted his point of view.
I have not once asserted that this argument should be accepted because Dostoevsky said so.
In addition, I have paraphrased the famous phrase that says, "Truth is truth, whether it was said by Agamemnon or his swineherd. That means that you have to stick to the arguments and not to the one who says them. Just the opposite of an argument of authority that you attribute to me.

So change your line because it goes in the opposite direction to what I said.

I repeat Dostoevsky’s argument:

The atheist claims that Christianity is a false belief.

If this is true only two possibilities rest for him:

a) There are moral absolute norms. Dostoevsky and you claim that it is false.
b) Moral norms are conventional/subjective.

If b), Critias can logically argue that he follow his own benefit without care what detriment it causes in the others. Furthermore, that this is the only way for an inteligent man.

If we are atheists and believe in the authority of moral norms against absolute selfish we must find a rational argument against Critias. Till now you have not give a single. You should be concerned.
It's a false dichotomy.

Here is why. Suppose we agree that "wellbeing", while subjective, is a good basis for morals. Yes or no?

If we agree that it is (subjective or not), can we then make objective determinations as to whether a particular act is moral or immoral? Yes or no?

For example, if we assume "wellbeing" to be a subjective basis for morality, we can easily decide it is better for me (or you or anyone) to be alive rather than dead in the general case. However, for someone suffering at EOL the reverse may be true. It thus becomes possible to make objective claims on the basis of a subjective starting point.
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Old 23rd February 2019, 09:15 AM   #377
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Originally Posted by abaddon View Post

Here is why. Suppose we agree that "wellbeing", while subjective, is a good basis for morals. Yes or no?

If we agree that it is (subjective or not), can we then make objective determinations as to whether a particular act is moral or immoral? Yes or no?

For example, if we assume "wellbeing" to be a subjective basis for morality, we can easily decide it is better for me (or you or anyone) to be alive rather than dead in the general case. However, for someone suffering at EOL the reverse may be true. It thus becomes possible to make objective claims on the basis of a subjective starting point.
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.
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Old 23rd February 2019, 09:52 AM   #378
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
If we are atheists and believe in the authority of moral norms against absolute selfish we must find a rational argument against Critias. Till now you have not give a single. You should be concerned.
Mate, you're still misleading by focusing on what one side can't do, when the other has the same problem. And it's been pointed out repeatedly at this point. But you seem to think that if you ignore whatever you don't have an answer to, and repeat the same idiocy over and over again, that somehow makes it a valid point.

If both religious and non-religious EQUALLY can't do anything about Critias, then repeating ad nauseam that no, see, it's the latter camp that's the one with the problem, is stupid and dishonest.

Oh wait, it's you. Stupid and dishonest arguing is your normal style, innit?
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Which part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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Old 23rd February 2019, 10:01 AM   #379
HansMustermann
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Additionally, that's another bare postulate that you keep repeating: that we must do something about Critias, and by "something" you seem apparently mean that nothing short of converting him will even qualify.

But that's another thing that you just keep postulating out of the ass, as if postulating without evidence enough times will somehow make it true. No, it doesn't. We're not in The Hunting Of The Snark, and you're not the Bellman.
"Just the place for a Snark!" the Bellman cried,
As he landed his crew with care;
Supporting each man on the top of the tide
By a finger entwined in his hair.

"Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:
That alone should encourage the crew.
Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice:
What I tell you three times is true."
But in the real world, just because you keep repeating the same idiocy over and over again, it doesn't magically make it true. Support it, if you want it to have any value.

DO we need to do anything special about Critias? It seems to me like we only have to do anything if it actually works better than keeping the status quo. So you must at the very least show that you actually have a plan, and it would work at all.

DO you have a plan that would work? If so, please present it, together with the evidence for why it would work.

Otherwise, there's a reason why the whole "we must do SOMETHING" is known as the politician's fallacy.
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Old 23rd February 2019, 10:02 AM   #380
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
If both religious and non-religious EQUALLY can't do anything about Critias, then focusion only on one side, as if it's the one with the problem.
The problem of Christians is their problem. If one of them comes out, I'll mess with him. The atheist problem is my problem. And I worry that others who claim to be atheists don't even know that they have a problem.
I don't know if they lack intelligence or honesty to accept their own limitations. Or both. What do you think?
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Old 23rd February 2019, 10:07 AM   #381
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
DO we need to do anything special about Critias? It seems to me like we only have to do anything if it actually works better than keeping the status quo. So you must at the very least show that you actually have a plan, and it would work at all.

DO you have a plan that would work? If so, please present it, together with the evidence for why it would work.
In order to find a solution it is first necessary to understand what the problem is. You don't seem to understand because you want to maintain the status quo. What's that?
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Old 23rd February 2019, 10:15 AM   #382
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
The problem of Christians is their problem. If one of them comes out, I'll mess with him. The atheist problem is my problem. And I worry that others who claim to be atheists don't even know that they have a problem.
I don't know if they lack intelligence or honesty to accept their own limitations. Or both. What do you think?
Given that it's you who's STILL using bare postulates instead of anything even remotely resembling logic, it's rich to call the others as lacking honesty or intelligence. But, hey, what else is new?

Second, do we? It seems to me like your problem even has a name in the list of fallacies: the Nirvana Fallacy. Your problem is nothing more than that things aren't PERFECT the only way they ever worked, so that somehow means it's our problem.

But that's as stupid as saying that engineers must admit that the whole model of power plants with turbines is crap, because those turbines never have a clean 100% efficiency. In fact, can't have 100% efficiency! Why, those engineers must be lacking intelligence or honesty, if they're not in discomfort about that!

Well, so? Do you have anything better? Write your solution here, then:

__________________________________________________ ______
__________________________________________________ ______
__________________________________________________ ______
__________________________________________________ ______

Feel free to use an extra piece of paper.

Otherwise, the rest of us have learned to work with an imperfect universe. E.g., we can make society work without needing to indoctrinate everyone to believe 100% the exact same morals.

If for you it's a problem that it just isn't up to your standards of absolute perfection, then I would suggest it's you who has a problem, not the atheists or any other group.
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Which part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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Old 23rd February 2019, 10:17 AM   #383
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
In order to find a solution it is first necessary to understand what the problem is. You don't seem to understand because you want to maintain the status quo. What's that?
Do I? I already said I'm willing to apply some other plan, if you have one and can show that it works better. But until you do, it would be in fact stupid of me to want to change anything from something that works (even if it's not perfect) to something that doesn't promise to work better, or in fact at all.
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Old 23rd February 2019, 11:48 AM   #384
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
It's a difficult hurdle to get over I can see, and understandably so because it strikes at the very heart of Christian belief. Your observation of the apparently non negative self appraisal of your Christian fellows may possibly be distorted. If you were to challenge them about their belief do you think they would deny they were unworthy of salvation in their own right? Would they deny that Jesus dying on the cross for their sins was needed.

I think it's up to you to show how someone can simultaneously believe in their unworthiness and worthiness. Pointing to someone and just saying "he does" doesn't fill the hole.
Right, but I think I've described exactly that scenario. A person feels "not to great about themselves" without that being attached to any religious thinking, then they hear something like "all have sinned ..." and think "that makes me feel better. No one is perfect, so I don't feel so alone in my own shortcomings". Then they hear, "not only are you not alone in being imperfect, you're loved and valued" and they are further encouraged.

Again, I'm not claiming that experience is in any way universal, but I have experienced it to be quite common.
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Old 23rd February 2019, 12:04 PM   #385
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Well, that would work, indeed, but only because basically that's what's called negging in a relationship. You give someone the backhanded kind of praise or support that only encourages them to keep feeling even more unworthy, and seek more of your approval of them, 'cause you're apparently the only one ok with that long list of problems you told them they have. It's Abusive SO 101, if you will.

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.
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Old 23rd February 2019, 12:33 PM   #386
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post

a) There are moral absolute norms.
Obviously false. Various cultures and various ages have quite different moral norms.

Quote:
b) Moral norms are conventional/subjective.
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.

Quote:
If b), Critias can logically argue that he follow his own benefit without care what detriment it causes in the others. Furthermore, that this is the only way for an inteligent man.
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.

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Old 23rd February 2019, 12:39 PM   #387
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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.
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.

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Old 23rd February 2019, 12:43 PM   #388
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
Obviously false. Various cultures and various ages have quite different moral norms.



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.

Hans
Critias can conform to society's standards as a pragmatic matter, without accepting those standards.
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Old 23rd February 2019, 01:05 PM   #389
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
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.

Hans
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.

In the wake of Athens losing a war against Sparta, the Spartans installed a muppet government that later the Athenians would remember as "the 30 tyrants." (Bearing in mind that back then tyrant really just meant autocrat, it didn't have all the negative connotations of today.) One of the most prominent ones was Critias. Aiding this government was a list of 3000 other Athenians that, really, we don't really know by what criteria they were chosen.

Far as I can tell, it seems to have worked not unlike the previous Athenian democracy, except only those 3000 qualified for juries (well, called judges back then), voting on issues, etc. Also only those 3000 could carry weapons inside the city.

Resistance from the Athenians was actually rather fierce, and the new government ended up executing or banishing something like 5% of the population of Athens in the first year and a half, just to keep ANY control over the city.

You may wonder why I chose a year and a half as an interval for that statistic. Well, that's because that's how long they reigned in total, before they were deposed and killed in a massive revolt, aided by a whole army of exiled pro-old-democracy Athenians which just landed to aid in the rebellion.

And that was the end of Critias, really. All that his supposed flexible morals got him was a year and a half of power, before he lost both that political power and his life.


At this point, since history is more my thing, I should add that we don't really know what Critias's motivations were. Plato puts some words in his mouth in his dialogues, but frankly that's what Plato does with all his characters. There is no indication that any of them say anything even vaguely resembling an actual quote from that historical characters.

I mean, Plato's dialogues even include whole dialogues that can't possibly have happened like that, because they include characters that are a couple of centuries apart and couldn't possibly have talked to each other. And sometimes they include (probably) fictive characters like the great philosopher Timaeus that nobody else ever heard about.

I don't think there's any reason to believe that Critias actually believed in everyone doing whatever they want, because what he actually did was precisely try to impose a certain structure and order to society. It just happened to be based on the Spartan model. It was really a REFORM, not a case of "huzzah, no morals apply any more."

It's also not clear even how much that was his own idea, and how much it was the idea of his spartan overlords. But also conversely we don't know if it was just the Spartans who put him up to it, or it was really a coup of the richest and most influential 3000 Athenians who quite liked being the only ones with political power. I mean, it's possible that the Spartans simply went along with it, as long as the new oligarchy remember who helped them into power. I mean, that some rich and powerful oligarchy would have even more wealth and power if only that pesky government wasn't in the way, well, that's still one of THE best predictors of civil war or uprisings or such.

So, anyway, we don't really know WTH Critias thought there, and how much it was his own ideas anyway.


But anyway, that historical detour aside, it seems to me like the real history offers the perfect argument to give Critias. His actions were most certainly not in his own interest, and not just in some very long run, but rather immediately. The backlash to his "reforms" was immediate and bloody. He spent the next year and a half just putting out fires, so to speak, and then he got killed for it.

Hardly makes a case that WTH was happening in his head is some winning philosophy, eh?
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Old 23rd February 2019, 01:44 PM   #390
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Critias can conform to society's standards as a pragmatic matter, without accepting those standards.
Sure. Don't we all, to some degree? So what?

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Old 23rd February 2019, 01:48 PM   #391
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post

But anyway, that historical detour aside, it seems to me like the real history offers the perfect argument to give Critias. His actions were most certainly not in his own interest, and not just in some very long run, but rather immediately. The backlash to his "reforms" was immediate and bloody. He spent the next year and a half just putting out fires, so to speak, and then he got killed for it.

Hardly makes a case that WTH was happening in his head is some winning philosophy, eh?
Very interesting, thanks. I resisted looking it up for now.

The point is, obviously, that fictional characters prove exactly ****.

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Old 23rd February 2019, 01:54 PM   #392
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
Don't be silly.
I don’t agree I am being silly.

Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
We both know what we are talking about.
We are both talking about definiing of the labels “theism” and “atheism”.

I say . . .
“Atheism” is a generic label that applies to a group of people that don’t believe in a god or gods.
“Atheist” is label that applies to an individual person that doesn’t believe in a god or gods.
“Atheism” and “atheist” are labels that represent the default/original position of all people.
The above definitions aren’t contingent on reasons why people don’t have a belief in a god or gods.

You say . . .
Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
Atheism is a choice. It is a rejection of belief in god.
You also say . . .
Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
We are born atheists.
which you repeat . . .
Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
We are born atheists, simply by virtue of not knowing about the concept of religion.
It’s a blatant contradiction to say “ Atheism is a choice. It is a rejection”, then to say “We are born atheists”, then point out the obvious that we can’t choose or reject concepts when we’re at an age when we don’t know anything about concepts and don’t even have the ability to intellectually choose or reject anything. What you say is . . . well . . . “silly”.

Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
For various reasons, mostly by upbringing, many of us adopt a belief system, probably not as a result of much actual reflection.
I agree, and some are god belief systems.

Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
As we grow more reflected, we may then decide to reject it.
And some may even be convinced to believe again later.
I agree. When they have the ability to do so, people can choose to believe in a god or gods and become a “theist”. They can subsequently choose not to believe in a god or gods again and revert back to the default/original position of being an “atheist”. This sequence can be repeated. That some people choose and reject "theism" doesn't mean they choose and reject "atheism".

Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
Can't say it much clearer. If anybody persists in misrepresenting my position on this, I can't do anything about it.
Try to say it without contradiction, then worry about being clear.

If I have misrepresented your position (what you say) then please point out exactly where and how I do. Thanks.
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Old 23rd February 2019, 02:22 PM   #393
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
We are both talking about definiing of the labels “theism” and “atheism”.
No, we are talking about adopting or abandoning belief, and reasons for it. That is the subject of this thread.

Quote:
I say . . .
“Atheism” is a generic label that applies to a group of people that don’t believe in a god or gods.
“Atheist” is label that applies to an individual person that doesn’t believe in a god or gods.
“Atheism” and “atheist” are labels that represent the default/original position of all people.
Sure, and I shan't contradict you on that.

Quote:
The above definitions aren’t contingent on reasons why people don’t have a belief in a god or gods.
Of course not. A position is one thing, the reason for adopting that position is another.

Quote:
It’s a blatant contradiction to say “ Atheism is a choice. It is a rejection”, then to say “We are born atheists”, then point out the obvious that we can’t choose or reject concepts when we’re at an age when we don’t know anything about concepts and don’t even have the ability to intellectually choose or reject anything. What you say is . . . well . . . “silly”.
No. You can have a position by choice or by circumstance. You can be born rich or you can have worked hard for it. To say that people can choose to be atheists does not mean that all must have chosen. To say that believers can choose to believe does not mean that all must have chosen.

Quote:
I agree, and some are god belief systems.
Some are probably better than others.

Quote:
I agree. When they have the ability to do so, people can choose to believe in a god or gods and become a “theist”. They can subsequently choose not to believe in a god or gods again and revert back to the default/original position of being an “atheist”. This sequence can be repeated.
Exactly.

Quote:
That some people choose and reject "theism" doesn't mean they choose and reject "atheism".
Oh? Please explain why not.

Hans
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Old 23rd February 2019, 02:28 PM   #394
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
The point is, obviously, that fictional characters prove exactly ****.
Well, pretty much.

When you control everything that everyone says or does, and the context (or lack thereof) is exactly what suits your narrative, you can make anything work or not work. We've all seen some movie or series or another, that were complete Second-Order Idiot Plots ("in which not merely the principals, but everybody in the whole society has to be a grade-A idiot, or the story couldn't happen.") But even that's not an impediment when you're writing the story. Well, it may be an impediment to the story's being successful, but it certainly won't prevent you from having the events or dialogues happening as you want them to. If you need someone to be stumped by some otherwise complete idiocy, or totally not figure out even the most basic common-sense objections, you can have them do that.
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Old 23rd February 2019, 02:28 PM   #395
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Originally Posted by attempt5001 View Post
Right, but I think I've described exactly that scenario. A person feels "not to great about themselves" without that being attached to any religious thinking, then they hear something like "all have sinned ..." and think "that makes me feel better. No one is perfect, so I don't feel so alone in my own shortcomings". Then they hear, "not only are you not alone in being imperfect, you're loved and valued" and they are further encouraged.

Again, I'm not claiming that experience is in any way universal, but I have experienced it to be quite common.

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?

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.

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.
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Old 23rd February 2019, 02:31 PM   #396
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Originally Posted by attempt5001 View Post
A person feels "not to great about themselves" without that being attached to any religious thinking
Sure, but more than likely with being attached to some non-religious thinking cause.

Originally Posted by attempt5001 View Post
then they hear something like ""all have sinned ..." and think "that makes me feel better. No one is perfect, so I don't feel so alone in my own shortcomings". "
Now their “not so great” feelings have definitely become attached to religious thinking. Perusing and fixing the actual cause of the “not so great” feelings takes a back seat. Like taking a placebo rather than real and possibly effective medicine.

Originally Posted by attempt5001 View Post
Then they hear, "not only are you not alone in being imperfect, you're loved and valued" and they are further encouraged.
Strange way to treat feeling "not to great about themselves" with confirmation that they’re not so great. Would “Don’t worry about being blind, lots of people are blind” really help anyone feel better about being blind?

If ”loved and valued” is from a religious community then they can get that from other communities without the baggage of religion. If it’s from a believed god then it’s merely a placebo love and value.

Originally Posted by attempt5001 View Post
Again, I'm not claiming that experience is in any way universal, but I have experienced it to be quite common.
Sure, but is that “common cure” a good thing if it it hinders or prevents people from perusing and finding an actual cure?
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Old 23rd February 2019, 02:35 PM   #397
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Originally Posted by attempt5001 View Post
Right, but I think I've described exactly that scenario. A person feels "not to great about themselves" without that being attached to any religious thinking, then they hear something like "all have sinned ..." and think "that makes me feel better. No one is perfect, so I don't feel so alone in my own shortcomings".
Sure. Nobody is perfect. But what has that to do with religion?

Quote:
Then they hear, "not only are you not alone in being imperfect, you're loved and valued" and they are further encouraged.
Depends. If they hear they are loved and valued by whoever is saying it, then great. But if they hear they are loved and valued by some hypothetical entity, perhaps not so much. .... especially not if that same entity threatens all that don't behave with endless condemnation.

Hans
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Old 23rd February 2019, 02:41 PM   #398
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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?
Standard negging 101, really. You don't always get someone who already has low self-esteem to mentally abuse. You might have to work at it. You have to drop a hint here, a backhanded comforting there, to get them to really understand how much of a piece of crap they are, and how lucky they are to have someone like you (or Jesus) who still loves them anyway. Well, if they work at pleasing you, anyway.
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Old 23rd February 2019, 02:48 PM   #399
Aridas
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
Well, as has already been noted, we are born atheists. We may then adopt some belief, if those we trust are believers. This belief may or may not be a theistic belief. We may then at some point examine our belief rationally, and we may come to the decision that it does not make sense. ... At which point we may abandon it (or get mighty frustrated and defensive, like we sometimes see .. And I am honestly not referring to you).

Hans
*chuckles*

I also had no reason to expect that you were even implying that that case applied to me with that. Thank you for the amusement, though!
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Last edited by Aridas; 23rd February 2019 at 03:12 PM.
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Old 23rd February 2019, 03:03 PM   #400
ynot
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
No, we are talking about adopting or abandoning belief, and reasons for it. That is the subject of this thread.
No. I’m specifically talking about these two contradictory posts of yours . . .
Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
Atheism is a choice. It is a rejection of belief in god.
Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
Well, as has already been noted, we are born atheists.

Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
No. You can have a position by choice or by circumstance.
No. You don’t choose to have a default position you were born with. You can only choose replace it with another position.

Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
To say that people can choose to be atheists does not mean that all must have chosen.
No. You didn’t say “can’” you said “is” . . .
Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
Atheism is a choice. It is a rejection of belief in god.
No. A default position isn’t chosen, it’s either retained or reverted to if it’s not retained for a period.

Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
Some are probably better than others.
Now you really are being silly

Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
Oh? Please explain why not.
Because - “A default position isn’t chosen, it’s either retained or reverted to if it’s not retained for a period.”. Atheism is exclusively a default position.
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Last edited by ynot; 23rd February 2019 at 03:10 PM.
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