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Posts posted by -Demosthenes-

  1. This is ridiculous. Just saying something will happen doesn't satisfy the burden of evidence. Birthrate has been going down for decades, showing a strong correlation with urbanization. As more of the population becomes urban birthrate will only continue to fall. Just because you can reason out something in your head doesn't mean it's not bull #&^$


    One more thing. Human evolution also plays a role' date=' and certain aspects of it can become evident much faster than many people realise due to simple natural selection over a few generations. If humans are "encouraged" to have fewer offspring, the ones that are more "resistant" to being encouraged will tend ot have more offspring. The gene pool will then tend ot accumulate progressively more genes that favor higher fertility rates in spite of actions by the government. In many ways genetics can have a strong influence on behavioral propensities. If for example condoms are given to all the me, the ones who do not like to use them, or are less responsible and do not always use them, will potentially father more children. Over several generations, the male sexual organ could become less sensitive, to the point that use of a condom would not allow as much sexual pleasure. More men would prefer not to use condoms. This is just one example, and there are countless other potential ways natural selection could become counterproductive to population control efforts.[/quote']


    You'd have a hard time showing any evidence that these traits are very heritable. Again, just because you can reason something out in your head doesn't make it true. In a world where one identical twin can have MS and the other be completely healthy, complex subtle psychological attributes really mean very little genetically.

  2. There's a distinction made in academia between "racialism" and "racism". Racialism is just categorizing humans into races, whereas racism is turning the categorization into a hierarchy of value. There can be racialist judgements that aren't racist.


    That's interesting. Whatever academics want to call it -- it's judgment based on race. Some get discriminated against because of their race as they apply for a college. I'm not saying this is bad or good. I just want to call a spade a spade. Whatever discussion there is in the public about theses issues should be a lot more open and honest.

  3. So you're saying that there's positive racism?


    Maybe, I don't know. Any judgement based on race is racism (obviously). Questions about which types racism are good or bad are subjective. The point is that American culture has a long history of racism and some want to fix it with a different flavor of racism. I'm not saying it is good or bad, merely observing it.

  4. It's bad enough the Republicans are supporting Creationists but this guy is even further out there, he believes in Dragons!





    Substitute any nationality or skin color for the word "women" and you should have your answer.


    What Romney (and Hoveland, apparently) have forgotten is the word "qualified". If people are equally qualified for a position, using race or gender or any other metric that has nothing to do with capability is unproductive and discriminatory.


    Whoa whoa whoa... you don't believe in dragons?

  5. It's obvious Mitt will say anything he thinks voters want to hear. But the thread brings up some interesting points.


    Why shouldn't private entities be able to practice discrimination? I don't know, maybe because it's really lame. Ideally, in the world where ultraconservatives live, society would take care of itself without major government intervention. Discriminatory businesses would be boycotted and driven out of business. This is, however, not the case. The people can then use the government to make laws to solve these problems.


    Ironically, in order for a law to protect a racial or gender group it must single out the group. Race or gender based protection is just that, race or gender based. So we have the Grutter v. Bollinger case that ruled colleges can consider the race of potential students. Does a college that preferentially accepts minorities racist? Perhaps, but maybe not in a negative way. Is a law that creates equal pay for women discriminatory against men? Perhaps, but it would exist in a world where men already benefit from discrimination more often than women do.

  6. The only reason the Republicans will be "fiscally conservative" this Congress is because Democrats still control the senate and the presidency. If they ever regained control of congress and the executive branch they would show their true colors... hypocritical spendthrifts.


    It would seem conservatives are just generally unhappy when liberals spend money, period. There's no other reason to dislike the stimulus. It accomplished its goal of stimulating the economy, and as a result tax revenues are up and the deficit is down, even if spending increased. What's the problem? Seriously, what's the problem? I keep asking this and all I get back is irrational hatred of the stimulus because it spent money. It spent money on infrastructure. It is an investment in this nation. It lowered the deficit. What exactly is the problem.


    Sometimes I wonder how many conservatives (or even self-labeled "moderate" conservatives of the variety of the forum moderator here) are actually capable of admitting that sometimes, when liberals spend money, it actually accomplishes good things, and can even bring down the deficit like it did under Obama.


    There's money in it now. Tax revenue is up. The goal of the stimulus is not some hypothetical thing that will happen ten years from now. It's happening now. If anything, we need more stimulus.


    The #1 thing that powers our money is consumer confidence. When people are afraid to spend money, the economy slows down, tax revenue goes down, and the deficit goes up. When people aren't afraid to spend money, the economy picks up, tax revenue goes up, and the deficit goes down.


    I completely loathe this myopic idea that all spending is bad, or more specifically, that all spending when Democrats are in power is bad. When Republicans are in power, it's okay for them to go completely nuts cutting taxes and throwing us into unnecessary, expensive wars. That spending is totally cool! Spending money on killing people is fine. Spending money on rebuilding America's infrastructure? That's BAD. Very BAD! The spending is out of control!


    The blatant hypocrisy here is really infuriating, and worse, extremely prevalent among American conservatives.



    No, especially not on these forums. True fiscal conservatism is politically impossible in America. The Democrats like to spend. The Republicans like to spend while chastising the Democrats for spending. The only people who would actually cut spending are either completely unelectable, unable to convince the rest of the government to do it, or were they actually able to bring it about would spell political disaster.


    This is by and large pretty true. Most republicans are not that fiscally conservative (except when it suits them). Both parties are fiscally liberal, thus the tea party backlash.


    If I might bring up a point that to me is the "Elephant in the Room". I'm quite willing to be declared wrong as I'm not from the US, but this is something that seems rather glaring from the outside.


    Which one? You are a Union of States. Americans seem to consider themselves (politically) part of the nation "America" only when it suits them, if it suits them better then they are "Carolinans" or "Texans", or whatever. This means that a national problem that needs to be solved nationally can't be because you would have to override State rights.


    You really need to decide what you are, a collection of pissant little nation states or a single Nation. If you're a collection of nation states then you can't expect the Federal govt to solve national problems, but if you're a Nation then the Federal gov has to have the right to squash "State rights" to solve National problems. The problem isn't Republican v Democrat, it's Federal responsibility v State Rights.


    Your health care is a shambles because you have 50 State govs all writing their own versions of the law. If President Obama came up with the best health care plan since sliced bread, cheaper, better, more effective, a real "Nobel Prize in politics" effort, there are only two ways to get it passed. Either convince 50 separate govts to give up some of their precious "Rights" (good luck on that one Mr. President.) or to have the Federal power to force the States to toe the line. Neither of these options are currently possible and the mess remains. The same thing applies to all your "National" problems.


    So are you a Nation, or not?


    The United States used to be A LOT more state government controlled (rather than federally controlled). We have historical figures like Lincoln and FDR who we can thank for changing that. Obviously, now there needs to be more federal control (See how conservatism affected the Guided age, etc)


    However, I think a fact missed by many Europeans and other developed nations is the shear size of the US population. Being five or six times the size of the UK, just the state of Texas is bigger than Australia, California has more people than Canada, and like two and a half times the size of the Netherlands. The United States is perhaps more usefully compared to the European Union is some cases. In this respect we have MUCH more control from the federal government than the EU has over it's member nations. States really need to administrate their own issues, in fact I think even more so than they do now.


    As far as health reform, as least this last bill, it was passed by federal congress and signed by the president. Everything in it is within federal control, I don't think it necessary to 'convince 50 separate govts to give up some of their precious "Rights"'.

  7. We can increase the pool of people that could be elected by changing our voting system to one where you don't lose your vote if you vote for a losing candidate. For example you could be allowed to vote for several candidates, or your vote could be carried on to your second choice (and third,...) should your favorite candidate lose. This would allow you to vote for candidates that you like even if you don't think they have a high chance of winning, since you won't be throwing away your vote for doing so. And that would allow many more candidates to run and more choice of how to vote.


    Or a ranking system.

  8. All the Republicans I know always vote republican and all the Democrats I know always vote democrat... every time. This is only what I've noticed, but it seems that partisanship isn't an interesting trend in the US politics, it actually IS US politics. I know SO MANY people that don't even know what conservative or liberal means, they don't know who their state's senators are, etc. All they know is they are a Republican/Democrat and they take that to the poll. The small amount of Independents always have the deciding vote because no one else cares. When they do care it's because they think it will affect their bank account. Boo American Voter, Boo.

  9. State/local issue.


    Hmmm, the conservative in me loves this.


    My version of a limited government includes the part of the government that is the military. Think withdrawal plans for all offensive troops not on assignment from the UN. Think the US actually pretending it's in the UN. Think lowered recruiting quotas.


    While obviously nit picking your idea, I can't help but suggest that this might have some interesting effects. The US has troops everywhere. There are huge contingents (like tens of thousands) in places like Korea, Germany, or Japan, and as many as ten thousand in places like Italy or Britain. I don't know know a lot of the effects of discontinuing these installments would be. I'd rather expect if the US cut back the UN would come forward. A lot of neo-con ideas can come out, but the seas and air are safer for trade because of a lot US military presents/actions. To what extent I'm not sure. But I'd expect something to fill the power vacuum, hopefully someone benevolent (more neo-con "benevolent imperialism" -- sry guys).


    There's an interesting comparison to public schooling. As opposed to "phantom socialism" (mentioned by swansont), the government does have substantial control on at least a few sectors of industry. Just because these services have traditionally come from government sources doesn't mean that those same services could not come from private sources. Any time a government exerts any control by legislation or displacement of services it is socialism. I don't think that these are necessarily bad things, but there's no reason to forgo the socialism label, as it applies.


    Anyways, I've thought that whole charter school controversy has been interesting. Public schools get so much money and they teach children, but charter schools that are privately operated are given the same amount of money and their children usually preform better. The interesting comparison is that private mangers in this case have out-preformed their public counterparts. They got more return for their money (usually). This is often the case for other services the government offers. The government often inefficiently offers services, which cost everyone more money (because the government is obviously is publicly funded). What's worked in this case is government money with a private extension to manage that money and offer services. Applying this to your idea the government could put money up for a business, let it be privately operated, and take a cut. But that almost resembles our current tax system more than your original idea.


    I'm probably just rambling now, but I don't think the inefficiencies are inherent in government. I rather think it's a symptom of a cultural disinterest in education and activism in real politics -- as apposed to the more exciting and dumbed down version of politics (most people in the US actually think that this is politics) rhetoric and partisanship.

  10. Lemur - why is all bullying a speech act? A significant proportion of bullying is non-verbal. Additionally, not all speech acts are necessarily constitutionally/state protected actions under a freedom of speech provision. Freedom of speech laws tend to operate by removing barriers to expressing one's opinions - they very rarely act by allowing all speech (as Marat pointed out above). I do not know of any freedom of speech legislation that does not preclude intimidatory speech (either implicitly or explicitly) - but that does not render the legislation a dead letter.


    The expression of a political opinion is normally the very object that is protected by freedom of speech legislation and I cannot see how anti-bullying legislation will affect this - you seem to be equating the expression of a differing viewpoint as potential bullying which will be trammelled by new legislation. To say that A disagrees with B is by no means equivalent to saying A is bullying B. Of course, at the limit this disagreement may transcend the debate and become oppressive; but for it to become bullying is possible to envisage but unlikely outside imagination. Anyhow, at that point the bullying legislation would come in and freedom of speech might be limited.


    I'd have to agree with lemur, bullying is some form of communication (and the freedom of "Speech" is obviously not merely about verbal speech). That being said I think that there are bigger sociocultural trends at work here. Western culture used to be very community based, and there were a lot of social norms. Society regulated itself more. More and more each generation rejects social norms as irrational and want to make more of their own decisions (which isn't necessarily bad, just different). Maybe it's about adapting to a more diverse culture with more people and more connections and influxes of other cultures, or maybe it's just what societies do over time (or urbanization, etc who knows).


    The culture is more and more based on rationalism and individualism and less and less traditionalism and community. As a result individuals have more and more extreme behavior. Flawed logic/rationalism can cause this as much as flawed traditionalism can cause the opposite, blindly doing whatever the rest of society does. Society has to enforce some sort of rule anyways because some of these extreme behaviors hurt others, unfortunately it's not just seen as "unacceptable" -- it has to be legislated. So we see more and more legislation to control what people do because there are no unwritten laws anymore (or rather not as many). Specifically, we see freedom of speech slightly hindered because legislation is needed to keep a society form hurting itself.

  11. Why can't Paul's experience on the road to Damascus be both epilepsy and a divine vision?


    I don't see any reason why not. Although according to observable evidence it is more likely that it was an neurological episode, further it is even more likely that the story is made up/exaggerated and Paul is based on a real person with a exaggerated/fabricated story.


    This kind faith based scientific argument is purely speculative. It assumes that the Bible (or something else) is true, and builds a scientific argument on top of it. I'm an extremely religious person, but I know what what science is, and if one of your premises is that something is true that is not observably and experiential true is not really science. Don't get me wrong I do it all the time, my first post here was about how God could have created the earth out of other worlds (which I got slammed for by the way by Sayo). But my point is that there is no difference between my theory and Paul's epileptic theory except mine would not be published the "Journal of Neurology" or whatever. Neither are science, and both are completely speculative.


    What am I getting at? The difference is that this epileptic theory is merely a shot a Christianity. That's why it perpetuates in intellectual circles. There's no other difference to any intelligent design theory, etc.


    Paul was the person who took the teachings of Christ to the Roman Senate, although in handcuffs. The Romans were rational and cynical so to reach them, one needed a different approach beyond the religious appeal of faith. Christ was addressing a different audience, spreading a message of faith, love and hope. But when you address Romans; when in Rome.


    Paul talks about the pitfalls of the law of commandments contained in ordinances. He goes on to talk about the psychological effects that law creates. One would not know about a particular sin, if the law did not point it out and tell us it is a sin. Once you know it, some will be experiment. Sin taking opportunity through the command, then produces sin of every kind.


    As a modern example, the alcohol prohibition made drinking a social sin. Once that commandment was created, violence and corruption then appear centered on alcohol. Then he says, sin is not imputed when there is no law. It was not a sin before we made it so. Once prohibition was repealed, and the social sin was removed, the violence and corruption centered on the commandment disappear. Now it was not a sin to have a drink, so the level of sin goes down.


    After his reasoning, he says Christ removed the burden of law by nailing it to the cross. The righteous shall live by faith apart from the works of law. That part made the Romans nervous since what about Roman law? After that the Christian were not tolerated by Rome the same way as the time of Christ, less they teach others to ignore even Roman law. Ironically, once Rome created their new prohibition against Christianity, sin increased; persecution, murder,etc. It only proved the point that Paul had been making. Even in modern times, this wisdom is beyond most people, since many seem to repeat the same mistake over and over again.


    According to tradition Paul went to Rome, but that is not recorded in the Bible. Paul wrote to MANY different places -- look at the epistles. Early his audience were Jewish Christians (were Jews then Christians) and then later more Gentile Christians mixed in. It's an interesting trend in the Bible (looking at the epistles chronologically rather than the order they are in most Bibles). Anyways, I guess most of these people are under Roman control, and he even wrote at least one epistle to Rome (See Romans, although he probably had other contact with them other than what we have left in the Bible), but he did not address the Senate. Paul did have a different audience, however it's much more expansive than the Roman Senate, or even "Rome".


    The "rational and cynical" ideas you speak are addressed by Paul, but this is mostly Greek Philosophy (which the Romans ascribed, which is almost the basis of western culture if you think about it). But this is merely one of the major topics he addresses, which probably appears less than say, Paul's reaction to Judaizer ideas (which would be a big part of the Paul-Peter interaction everyone is talking about).

  12. I think you want two rails right next to each other with currents going in opposite directions. If I'm not mistaken if you put a conductive material across the two it should send it flying... or it'll just get really hot :P I would watch some youtube videos. I'm pretty sure the current going through the projectile is acted on by the magnetic fields (induced by the current going through the rails) and according to the right hand rule (the force is perpendicular to the original direction of particle and the magnetic field, or b field) it's sent down the rails. But it can go either direction depending on the direction of the currents in the rails, so be careful!

  13. Astronauts have to exercise to combat the muscle-wasting effects of zero gravity. We die because our bodies become more inefficient with time and tissues aren't replaced as effectively as they were originally.


    Does muscle atrophy necessarily cause problems unless the astronaut (or whatever) goes back into an environment with gravity (like earth).

  14. They can theoretically share no genes, if I'm not mistaken. Half of my genes are from my mother and half from my father, and half of my brother's genes from from his mother and half from his father, but not the same halves. Every gamete (sperm and egg) contain half the genome of the parent, but a random half. So I can be genetically closer to my sister than my brother -- if she happened to get a more similar gamete (similar to the gamete I got or came from whatever) from our mother or father or both. And the opposite can be true as well.

  15. [Me: Paul Quoted Jesus] Where?


    I don't know all the places but I read 1Cor 11 this morning where Paul says what Jesus Said about the Sacrament (the bread and water). Of course Paul doesn't quote anything from the Gospels word for word (I don't think, that would be quite a coincidence), he probably wrote most of his epistles before the gospels. The books in the Bible aren't organized chronologically. In fact that quotation from Jesus about the sacrament looks to me the earliest quotation of Jesus at that event (the synoptic gospels being almost definitely written after 1 Corinthians). At least chronologically. In the NIV it actually has Quotations marks around it as well.


    Is mainstream Christianity's interpretation to hold that Jesus meant for the law not to be followed after his death?


    If you're talking about the Law of Moses then, pretty much. That's why most Christian Churches don't practice the law of Moses.


    Right, but I'm asking why most of Christianity would believe this. There's lots of things they believe that have little Scriptural support whatsoever.



    Do you have specific examples of when Paul states that works are necessary to gain entrance to Heaven (or to eternal life, or salvation, or whichever eschatology you believe)?


    It actually makes more sense to me this way. Sometimes when Paul is talking about "the Law" he's referring to the Law of Moses, as he is addressing Christian Jews a lot of the time. So you are not saved by "the Law"(Law of Moses) but by "grace". This is the biggest difference between Judaism and Christianity, as the Early Christian Church was predominantly Jewish in culture this makes complete sense. It's easy to see how it would be hard to understand from our western cultural point of view.


    A good counterexample is when he's talking about the "law" in a more general sense, say, in Romans where he might be addressing a more general audience (he compares Jewish and Greek/Roman ideas a lot in early Romans). When he talks about this "law" he actually says we need to follow it to be saved, like in vs. 13 of chapter two (KJV):


    "For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified."


    Actually Romans 2 gives a very good idea how God used the word "law". He says in vs 25 (KJV):


    "For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. "


    Being circumcised would be following the "law"(law of Moses) but not necessarily the "law"(general law of God).


    vs 28 (KJV):


    "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:"


    When Paul de-emphasizes works he's talking about doing outward things just to look pious. That's the culture he came from, he was a pharisee! That's his whole point that it's not about the works, it's about the "inwardly" intent.


    vs 29 (KJV) (Please feel free to read the whole chapter and some surrounding chapters for some context so you can see it better):


    "But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God."


    Works will not saved you, only the grace of Jesus. This is ONE of the messages of Paul. Another being: the doers of the law (general) are justified. It's complicated, but comprehensible.

  16. It is so different that Paul doesn't even seem to know what they are. Nor does he quote Jesus.

    Paul Quotes Jesus in the Bible.


    Have you established that all of these passages are genuine and written by who you claim wrote them?


    In the Letter of Peter to James, have you established who is the man who is Peter's enemy and of what specific doctrine he objects and what distortions and interpretations he takes?


    In the Homily I don't see any specific doctrine to which this writer objects. I only see a frail human displaying jealousy to another that claims he holds a special position. Perhaps you can find a passage where Peter describes these differences and can show that Peter's interpretation is consistent with Jesus' actual teaching while Paul's is at odds.


    Welcome to the exciting world of Pseudepigrapha. You can quote a lot of things from a lot of places, but you'd be hard pressed to find writings more difficult to attribute actual historical authorship in Western culture than Biblical writings (or more correctly non-Biblical writings, Pseudepigrapha, that are associated with the Bible and claim to have authentic Apostle/Prophet Authorship). The vast majority were written in the wrong time period or have obvious philosophical leanings and are obviously not written by the actual author. It's funny how some skeptics have a problem believing if the actual authors of the Bible wrote the books in the Bible, but will read a a manuscript claiming to be penned by Peter, Paul, etc but with obvious gnostic sound to it or has been dated to the 4th century and still believe it's true.


    The conflict is undisputed. Peter was the rock upon which Jesus said the Church was to be built.


    That point is rather contested.


    It's not really relevant HOW Jesus will fulfill the Law, since He EXPLICITLY told us when He will Fulfill the Law.


    "Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until ALL is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."-Matthew 5:17-20


    It's abundantly clear that either, according to Jesus, the Law still stands or the Second Coming has already occurred. In fact, Jesus quite explicitly teaches several times that works are absolutely necessary to enter the Kingdom.


    While a perfectly valid interpretation (the Bible is VERY unclear about A LOT of things), this is however not Mainstream Christianity's interpretation.


    Is there Scriptural support of Jesus teaching that he fulfilled the Law and the Law would no longer be required?


    There's Biblical passages that can "prove" anything. However, this is close to the interpretation that most of Christianity believes.


    Well, the difference is that Paul denies the importance of works entirely, whereas Jesus believes they are essential.


    This is a rather simplistic view of Paul's writings. Paul often goes back and forth when he writes.


    There's a billion ways to interpret the what Paul says in the Bible. The interpretation of Main Stream Christianity, that the Bible teaches (including Paul) that Jesus fulfilled the Law and Christians did not need to follow the Law of Moses but still needed to do works, is just as valid as anything else.


    As far as the OP, it's interesting to to speculate what might have happened to Paul. But as far as Science goes there's no real testable Scientific Hypothesis. Scientifically, it's rather more likely that the story was made up.

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