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Posts posted by J.C.MacSwell

  1. 1 minute ago, zapatos said:

    I suspect the reason that blame keeps getting heaped on Israel more than Hamas is because Hamas is no longer rampaging through Israel, but Israel is still rampaging through Gaza. Every time someone kills a child they invite criticism. In the beginning of this most recent mess Hamas received the lion's share of rebuke. Now that Israel is on the offensive it is they who receive the lion's share of the rebuke. I personally don't find that surprising at all.

    Once the fighting dies down I suspect there will be a more even-keeled evaluation of who is to blame for what. 

    You are probably correct.

  2. On 12/17/2023 at 4:34 PM, CharonY said:

    So what purpose then does blaming Palestinians for their own situation serve in this particular context? 

    To assert the blame more clearly on Hamas (they are Palestinians...but read below)than is typical in this thread, including the comparison of Gaza to a concentration camp, despite that Israel alone doesn't control the perimeter, and inside Hamas has been diverting resources toward the destruction of Israel  that were intended for, or could be utilized to help, other Gazans lead a more normal life. 

    Not that Israeli leadership is not responsible for some aggravating of a bad situation in Gaza or on the West Bank.

    On 12/17/2023 at 4:34 PM, CharonY said:

     Does it not mean that because Israel is justified in their actions and Palestinian carry (whatever level of) guilt, their deaths are, if not acceptable, then at least justified? 

    Unfortunately yes. Israel is justified in some of their actions even when innocent deaths occur. Hamas started the current war. If just you and I were hostages of the Hamas leadership, and Israel had a chance to take us all out, our deaths would be justified. If it was you and I, plus the rest of the members on this Forum, perhaps not. (I don't know where they draw the line)

    I'm on record alluding to the fact that I don't believe everyone in Hamas is evil, never mind other Palestinians, but unfortunately wars are never fair to the innocent. In this war instigated by Hamas, Israel is obligated to protect their citizens and, by the rules of war, try to limit Palestinian civilian casualties. How well they are doing in those regards is certainly open to debate but they are certainly not acting like everyone in Gaza deserves to be bombed. They are putting boots on the ground and putting their soldiers at greater risk than if they simply did that...small comfort as it may be to the Gazan civilians in harms way due to Hamas's war.

    So I hope for a ceasefire, even if I don't believe one should be demanded of Israel. Israel should be very wary though of breaking any of the rules of war...and also very wary of the long term results of any actions they take.

    8 hours ago, CharonY said:

    Except, if you remember, my premise that any policy resulting in innocent deaths (esp children) is a bad one. 

    Does a late term fetus and their civilian mother both count?

  3. Personally I write God, rather than god, when referring to a supreme god, regardless of which religion, if any in particular and of course regardless of whether He/She exists as I certainly cannot know. (there is an underlying assumption on my  part that if He/She exists it's the same One for all people and all religions regardless of the belief details that a religion might have ) 

    I would mostly use god rather than God when referring to lesser gods, but not for the purpose of denying or belittling someone's God. But if it was a religion with multiple gods I might capitalize any where that was their custom.

    I see no reason to change that.

    Similar I think to what I now see the TheVat just posted.

  4. 19 hours ago, TheVat said:

     It's the kind of story that sends me back to my core opinion on human aggression: you cannot trust humans with anything more lethal than a stick.  

    This brings to mind the agreement between India and China not to use firearms within a couple kilometres of the Line of Actual Control in the area of disputed border between the two countries. Unfortunately at times casualties including fatalities sometimes occur when fighting erupts but at least those casualties are considerably lessened along with reduced tendencies for escalation than otherwise would be likely.


    "According to the agreement, they can’t use firearms, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have fistfights or fights with swords, axes, clubs, and more. Although shots have been fired, when this has occurred, both sides have immediately denied it as neither wants to be in violation of the agreement."

    https://www.sandboxx.us/news/these-are-the-unique-weapons-used-in-the-border-clashes-between-china-and-india/#:~:text=While the soldiers had rifles,batons%2C stones%2C and others.

  5. 4 hours ago, Phi for All said:

    You're going by the book now? You think these folks are actually practicing what they preach?!

    Some do to some extent.


    4 hours ago, Phi for All said:

    Tell me you've never seen people pointing out the sins of others righteously.

    Can't do that. It would contradict the very post you were quoting me from.


    9 hours ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

    People do judge though, often in a way that seems to imply they think they are better. I just don't see this as unique to the religious.


  6. 8 hours ago, Phi for All said:

    There you go! All you have to do is claim we can't do something that your god can do easily, and you set up a vertical hierarchy that you can use to manipulate and subjugate others with. The part about consciousness "absorbing existence" is particularly nebulous. That's a first class religious argument right there.

    Don't forget to berate us for being sinners! That's really the important part. Call us sinners first and you're obviously higher up the moral ladder than we are. Judgement is yours!

    Correct me if I'm wrong but in the Abrahamic religions isn't everyone but God considered a sinner?

    The point being that unless someone claims they are God that doesn't necessarily put them higher on any moral ladder.

    People do judge though, often in a way that seems to imply they think they are better. I just don't see this as unique to the religious.

    Do you not judge? Do you not have a moral compass and some guiding principles? I can see the advantage of not committing to a set of rules in a book you haven't read yet (often the starting point where faith comes first and a fuller understanding of the "rules" second) but each and everyone making up their own rules isn't necessarily good either.

    Progress on at least some critical agreements can be made but I think more easily in a group of say, 10 than 100 and say 40 million (roughly Canadian population) rather than 8 billion...but somewhere along the line in any group where a hierarchy does not yet exist, especially in the bigger ones, someone might decide they should be the leader...and someone else might also...or instead decide that supporting the first might move them "up" in the group...and away we go...the ladder is set up and ready to go...the race is on for some...and the indifferent are set up and encouraged to have at least a slightly easier time following and at least a slightly harder time not...and often judged accordingly. Doesn't seem unique to religions.

    10 hours ago, TheVat said:

    These movies are evidence that people are imaginative and some imaginative people become screenwriters.  

    Regarding soul, this seems to be a prescientific concept from the ancient world when the nature of living things was not understood.  When a person stopped breathing, ancient people saw that final breath as some essence leaving the body because it provided a simple explanation to them of life as some animating force.


    Do you not feel you have a strong sense of "self" though, beyond (or maybe emergent from?) your physical being? 

  7. 36 minutes ago, iNow said:

    I reckon that depends entirely on how one chooses to define soul


    My intention was defining it as something you consider yourself aside from your physical body, assuming there is such a thing. If there isn't I think it's almost certain, at least in my mind (lol because that's where I assume my soul would be), that we do not have free will. Most people believe they have free will and some essence of self but can't prove it, and I think that is how I would define my soul

    So I guess that's roughly how I choose to define it, but I can't even be certain I have a choice, though it feels like I have both a soul and free will right now, being alive and all.

    So assuming it exists...the question becomes what happens to it when you die?

    Since it really doesn't lend itself to a scientific investigation, it can't be proven as correct thinking...so religion, unencumbered by provable lines of thought, gets to reign over this type of question. 

    That's the best I think I can do at the moment...weak-ass as it seems.

  8. 18 hours ago, iNow said:

    Like how gay people who love each other shouldn’t be allowed to marry and visit each other in the hospital when sick? Or how women should remain barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen? Or how we should throw stones at them if they were so dishonorable as to allow themselves to be raped?

    Yes. Religions have answers to those ranging from good through terrible.

    Science can't answer them...though I guess some might try to claim they have scientific answers for them.

    But I was thinking more along the lines of "what happens to our souls when we die?".

  9. 12 hours ago, CharonY said:

    MigL whole point was that a) Palestinians put Hamas in power and failed to develop themselves out of the mess. In fact, he claims that they had many exit points but failed to utilize them (such as building resorts and get oil rich). 

    How else should I interpret the overall point as, the situation is entirely their fault, they put Hamas in power so whatever suffering comes there way is no one else's fault. In other words, because Palestinians had these moral failures, they do not deserve a ceasefire in order to reduce the deaths that are currently accumulating. I.e. because Hamas did not adhere to agreements, therefore it is morally correct to have Palestinian (non-combatants) die. Note that I have nothing against decapitating Hamas, in fact, I do think that this is a necessary step. But I do not think that one can make the moral argument that this can be done at the cost of unchecked (or minimally checked) deaths of civilians. It was wrong during the Iraq war, and it is wrong now. Don't get me wrong, Hamas is in the wrong here. But even the fact that Hamas is so powerful is not entirely the Palestinian's fault as outlined above and I am fairly sure that especially children had little say in that matter.

    As I mentioned in the beginning: can we agree that any outcome resulting in children dying should be considered morally wrong? And the answer it seems is no, we are able to justify it just fine. Sure, the actions happen in the context of self-defense, but still children and non-combatants die. And at least morally I am unable to make myself feel better about human suffering by identifying moral failures (real or perceived).

    I fail to see how such an attitude does anything but to make it easier to allow suffering to happen to other folks

    I should add that a ceasefire should not be seen (as many appear to in the internet ) as a taking sides moment (politics has become so stupid that I feel the need to express this). Rather, all reports indicate a humanitarian catastrophe with little resources, a massive death toll and worsening health situations. I don't care whether there is a ceasefire or other way to implement humanitarian help. This is not a team sport, folks are suffering and at least in the short term there is only one party that controls the situation. 

    And even from an utilitarian view (also outlined above) it is not clear whether the large-scale war effort will have long-term positive effects. This is likely why the US has tried (perhaps with some irony) tried to rein the offensive in a bit. 

    And I should also add that in the face of human suffering the glib statement that they should have used their beaches better just a tad on the a callous side (not to mention unrealistic).

    And I also acknowledge that my attitude is inherently hypocritical. Obviously I only care about this particular conflict because I happen to discuss it on this forum and because of the news article I read. I know that I am not really doing anything against it, nor do I spend a similar amount of time to think about all the other ongoing conflicts. It is part of the human condition, we are unable to even mentally deal with the breadth and depth of suffering in the world. After I write my little diatribe I am going to make a coffee and go back to work. But at minimum I want not to feel good about it.

    That's a good post explaining your position but a far cry from supporting any characterization of anything anywhere in this thread suggesting "Palestinians have screwed up and now everyone there deserves to be bombed?"

  10. 24 minutes ago, StringJunky said:

    We aren't looking to prevent another Israeli-focussed  'Holocaust', which is not the issue, we wish to avoid seeing a repeat of NAKBA 1948.

    ...do you also feel or believe in characterizing Israel claim of a right to defend itself as "Palestinians have screwed up and now everyone there deserves to be bombed?".  Is it helpful in that regard?

    For the record, I don't think you do, nor do I think CharonY does, and I think INow is just trying to defend it.

    But that's one nasty take if anyone honestly believes it.

    Fortunately the stakes on this forum are far less than for those charged with trying to solve the issue.

  11. On 11/6/2023 at 3:45 PM, pzkpfw said:

    I know what I say when I hit my thumb with a hammer.

    When Jesus was young he came running into Joseph's workshop saying "Dad, did you call me?"

    Joseph replied "No, sorry, I just hit my thumb with my hammer!".

  12. I guess this comes down to the fact that Science can't answer questions that Religion claims to answer. So if you are pondering the unknowable, Religion has something to offer where science does not.

  13. 4 hours ago, zapatos said:

    Do they have to do more than all Arab countries? They are not oppressing all of Arabia, only all of Palestine. Doesn't the give and take only have to happen between the Palestinians and the Israelis? Israel has made a separate peace with individual Islamic countries, can't they do similarly with the Palestinians?

    Most directly, Iran supports Hamas and it's terrorist activities. Hezbollah in Lebanon as well. Other Arab countries have supporters of Hamas. And as I mentioned Israel is outnumbered by the Islamic population 200 to 1, so a relatively small percentage of support becomes quite significant. Given that, Gaza is not quite as powerless as it might seem especially given the willingness to resort to terror and to hide behind civilians.

  14. 23 minutes ago, CharonY said:

    The idea of the longshots is to look at potential scenarios because the only other ones I have seen in this thread is basically Israel commits genocide or the Palestinians submit fully to Israeli rulership in a rather nebulous but forever peaceful way.

    Saying that killing any number of Gazans of any age is alright because Hamas does nothing except to make folks feel better about the ensuing suffering. The US is currently urging Israel to switch to more targeted "commando-style" attacks (similar to what some of the folks in the above link suggested. 

    I was critical of the longshots individually but not the idea of bringing them up. +1 in fact.

    As I said maybe they will help someone somewhere come up with something that might work.

  15. 1 hour ago, geordief said:

    Seriously,or did you just mislay the sarcasm emoji?

    I didn't think it was required. Kidding, but serious that NATO countries should not get directly involved, other than perhaps peacekeeping along with non NATO countries after Hamas is removed aside.

    1 hour ago, dimreepr said:

    The reality in this case is, hamas poked the bear and now it just wants to kill the humans.

    Like I said many pages ago, a far more aggressive approach to the situation is to smother their army with pacifism, that's heroism; killing babies is much easier, because the cowards among us demand it... 

    As long as they don't have to look...

    If somehow some elements of your suggestion could be incorporated in a pragmatic solution, that would be a very good thing.

    26 minutes ago, zapatos said:

    This is my opinion only and it may be misguided in part but...

    The Palestinians feel oppressed by the Israelis. They seem to have two options wrt to Israel; accept the limits placed on them by Israel or lash out. They cannot take land by force, limit the movement of Israelis, cut off food or water for the Israelis, control communications or trade of the Israelis, etc. About all they can do is lash out periodically then take the beating that follows.

    By comparison the Israelis are the more powerful of the two groups and as such have more options. All of the things the Palestinians cannot do, the Israelis can, and much more.

    The Palestinians basically have one thing they can offer; a cessation of hostilities. The Israelis can offer the same, as well as freedom of movement, land, trade, money, political support, and all the other things a successful nation has at their disposal.

    The natural tendency of many third party observers is to expect that the party in power, who has more options, to work toward resolution. And thus that is why we put the onus on Israel to do more than the Palestinians; because the Israelis CAN do more.

    Both sides need to concede to some extent if they want peace, but the Israelis have more and thus are going to have to give up more than the Palestinians if they want that to happen. Israel is suffering less than the Palestinians and thus can live with the status quo more easily.


    They can do more than the Palestinians, but unfortunately they cannot do more than all of the Arab and Islamic countries, which in population outnumber them 200 to 1. So if just 1% are willing to continue to act against them they are outnumbered 2 to 1.

    The Palestinians are isolated by all other nations in peace, but not in war, nor in acts of terror.

    Also add that it seems very unlikely to me that in numbers Hamas represents only 1% of the Gazan Palestinians. Surely many more condone their actions. I don't think they would have survived as long as they have if that was the case. Though I don't know

  16. 14 hours ago, CharonY said:


    Ehud Olmert:

    Suggesting NATO countries take over from the IDF? At what point? Near future?

    Make it their job to root out Hamas and bring those criminals to justice?

    Under the auspices of the UN?

    Maybe after the war Hamas started is over?

    14 hours ago, CharonY said:


    Limor Yehuda, Omar Dajani, John McGarry:


    This also requires Hamas removal from the equation

    14 hours ago, CharonY said:

    Peter Beinart

    This suggests Israel promoting their choice of leadership to the Palestinians.

    I guess it's good to look at the better possibilities even if they seem like longshots.

    Might help eventually lead to a plausible solution where none seem workable at this time.

    But right now it seems like Hamas's removal is essential as a start, and only Israel is willing to do that. Until it's done or a reasonable proposal to take on that task by others willing to do it no one should be requiring any more of Israel than abiding by agreed laws of war to the degree that protects civilians (which unfortunately will never be sufficient even with other countries stepping in to take over the task of Hamas's removal). Insisting on Israel abiding by a truce they haven't agreed to, in a war declared by Hamas, requires a commitment to upholding the peace that no one is currently willing to offer.


    I will say though, that the rules of war could use significant improvement. I just don't know how.

    Maybe though as a start, a commitment to sanctions not just against obvious aggressors, but to those unwilling to sanction them or continue to support them...

    If NATO does form a task force to take over from the IDF to root out Hamas and bring the criminals to justice I think a good name for the operation might be "The Final Crusade".

  17. 2 hours ago, TheVat said:

    I think we agree on this.  

    Having friends and a spouse who gain something from their Abrahamic practices, I will offer my observation that not everyone is shackled.  Individual people aren't binary where either they attend church and wear cognitive shackles or they are enlightened freethinkers soaring grandly over the intellectual landscape.   The problem with stereotyping believers is that not everyone who attends a service has signed on to every page of dogmatic boilerplate.  Stereotypes can also be strawmen.  I fear a hypocritical douche like Mike Johnson, but I didn't fear a Daniel Berrigan or a Thomas Merton.  

    I think I probably could have best left that last paragraph out on my praise of Phi's post...but overall I think his post was a little more tolerant and achievable of progress than some previous.

    Tolerance where possible, and working toward achievable progress, I think are two of the keys for humanity needed right now.

  18. 28 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

    It is a bit of a paradox. The only group of folks I find intolerable are those that can't tolerate whole groups of people. But I don't need to set up your oppressive hierarchy. I don't need to ban religions entirely. That's just more straw.

    I want to remove the toxic influence of the Abrahamic religions from our governance. Do I need to ban them to do that, or can I just enforce what the US Constitution says about separating church from state? I don't need to remove the churches as long as I can get the transparency I need to keep them from molesting children, again a crime we already have provisions for. I don't need to ban the teachings as long as those who use it for violence can be dealt with by the law, which has been difficult in the past.

    I don't need to emulate these religions with an oppressive hierarchy. Instead, I'd really like to move forward with some relief for all the people Jesus is supposedly weeping for, and maybe work on alleviation of suffering instead of embracing it as part of our sinful heritage. I'd like to remove the oppressive hierarchies Judaism and Islam inflict on those outside their faiths, too. I should be able to do that again by simply enforcing existing laws against the promotion of human suffering. Keep your religion, but stop using it as a shield to keep harming others.

    It's tiring trying to see the trees through the forest of strawmen, but ultimately I think it's time to admit we have shackles on all of us, put there by the Abrahamic religions, and kept in place with our own minds thousands of years after the original con was engineered. It's embarrassing, I know, but we should be smart enough to rise above it. Science can show us we should just bookmark this fiasco and move ahead with educating ourselves in the natural world. 

    I am certainly onboard with that. +1

  19. I didn't say that. I said some of them were the basis of some of our better laws.

    11 minutes ago, Phi for All said:


    Also, I'm willing to support my assertions to the best of my abilities, but please understand I'm not talking about the "guaranteed success" of them.

    I did mention guaranteed success, but wasn't claiming you were suggesting any guarantee, just a strong belief that without religions alone man was capable of "heaven on Earth", which you now have explained means something considerably less to you than utopia.

    On 12/10/2023 at 7:13 PM, J.C.MacSwell said:

    Do you really believe we are capable of that just through elimination of religious beliefs?


    On 12/10/2023 at 7:28 PM, Phi for All said:

    I do. I think religion is the single most dangerous, evil, superstitious, dehumanizing practice we have ever allowed to be perpetrated on decent humans, and I think the vertical morality it engenders has held us back for millenia. I would argue that the Abrahamic religions alone have stunted our growth as moral intellectuals, and that without them we'd have a much firmer grasp of the importance of this very thin band of atmosphere that holds every bit of life we know about.


    21 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

    I get that you're OK with only half of them being applicable to everyone. I hope you still feel that way when they figure out how to monitor how covetous you are.


    I didn't say that. I said some of them were the basis of some of our better laws. That's hardly the same thing.


    24 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

    I'm done tolerating such bullshit. Just because those religions provided a way for conquerors to subjugate and oppress doesn't mean we need to keep allowing them to interpret their god's will any way they please. 

    If you are going to oppress and control peoples freedom of thought you might need to set up an oppressive hierarchy to do so...the very thing you are speaking against. I think it might be better to just focus on any resulting negative actions rather than ban religions entirely, which you seem to be in favour of.

    2 hours ago, Phi for All said:

    Stuck with it in our DNA? Citation, please.

    I think this behavior is exactly the kind of thing that can be overcome with intelligence. Better education, more emphasis on science and less on beliefs from the Bronze and Iron Ages. But it will be difficult because there are many who think like you do, and believe it's inevitable that we'll always think only like other animals. 

    Any consistent human tendency, both good bad or both, obviously is allowed to manifest from some capability that is supported by our DNA. You might think the concept that some people are more worthy than others stems only from religion, without which no negative hierarchies would naturally arise but they are everywhere, some necessary and some not, and over time they tend to get abused by those in power. 

    One of my examples was this forum. It certainly requires a hierarchy, and it's mostly good, but it's there. (I don't know which religious zealot among your staff set it up...but I'm sure you will turf them when you find them given your new found intolerance...that or maybe it's just inherent in human nature...😄)

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