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  #151  
Old 05-30-2019, 08:50 PM
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All that religion is is a codified view on our relationship with transcendence. I would posit that all government and society is based on our relationship to transcendence so to exclude a particular view just because it's more firmly codified and more specific in its views seems foolish at best.
  #152  
Old 05-30-2019, 09:09 PM
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Yeah. But I guess I'm using a weird definition of "religious":
Ah. That might explain something I've been puzzling over: I've been confused as to why you say you're not religious but you also say things like this:

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(sinful women are better than dead sinful women and dead innocent babies).


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Originally Posted by I Love Me, Vol. I View Post
That's not good time management.
Indeed.

I suspect that my continuing on in this thread is also not good time management.
  #153  
Old 05-30-2019, 11:22 PM
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Cite for something that does not appear in the bible? That's a tough one to do. How about you cite where abortion *does* appear in the bible, and we'll go from there.
No. You made the claim, please back it up.
  #154  
Old 05-30-2019, 11:26 PM
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That cite doesn't prove, why, anything at all.
  #155  
Old 05-30-2019, 11:55 PM
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Because religion is not a basis on which to build a just society. If you disagree, I challenge you to cite one country governed by religious doctrine that you would call a just society.


Hmmm. I wonder if we could find a country whose laws largely reflect the Ten Commandments...where killing and stealing are prohibited by law for example...
  #156  
Old 05-31-2019, 12:12 AM
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But "shouldn't be given a special position" isn't the same as "has no place in public debate". I disagree with religious arguments as well. I just don't see what makes them different from any other arguments I disagree with.

I disagree with instituting communism, for example, but it doesn't matter to me whether my opponents want communism because of what Marx said, or because of what Jesus said. I don't see why the latter argument should be singled out for "having no place" while the former is just a run of the mill disagreement. And if I base my disagreement with communism on what Ayn Rand said, or what Pat Robertson said, what difference should that make to my opponents?

If "Does religion have a place in public debate?" means "do you agree with arguments based on religion?" then no, I usually don't. But that doesn't seem to be what the OP is asking.
It is not about agreeing or disagreeing with them, it is whether the way the arguments are constructed is valid. You can agree or disagree with secular arguments, and in doing so you can examine the premises and the chain of reasoning. You can't do that with religious arguments.
If someone said, we should have universal healthcare because Jesus told me all people deserve the right to be well, I might agree about universal healthcare but still think this is a valueless argument for it.
And if a Communist supports Communism because Marx said it and I believe it, he is just as dumb as someone supporting it because Jesus said it.
I'm certainly not saying we should silence anyone, but in our current environment it is tough for anyone but rabid atheists to answer a religious argument with "so what." Which is what everyone should do.
  #157  
Old 05-31-2019, 12:17 AM
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Is Thomas Jefferson arguing from religious premises when he writes "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."?
I want to step back into the context. The Declaration of Independence is formally addressed to King George. This is the guy ultimately responsible for taxation without representation, global colonialism, the Church of England (in the New World!), and oppression in general. The religious theory of the guy Jefferson is addressing is the Divine Right of Kings. He gets to do whatever he wants, to anybody, no matter what, and do you know why?
SPOILER:
Because God says so!
So to say that men are equal and endowed with inalienable rights is completely counter to the Monarchial system. He is saying that We the People are not, by nature, subjects, but have every bit as much Divine Right as George, and so screw you, you can't tell us what to do. Positing this non-denominational Creator (it isn't even God. As Mueller would say, "If we had determined that the source of endowment of inalienable rights is God, we would have so stated.") and defining the nature of Man in such a way is really a casting off of religion. The Continental civilization isn't going to impose a State Religion because to do so would infringe on the nature of Man itself.

I think it is more than a refutation of the Monarchial system. That was tied up with the Ancien Regime, associated all the way back to the Roman emperors. At the end of the Empire, the emperors thought authority over the very consciences of their subjects was simply more virgin territory waiting for conquest. They imposed a new state religion with great prejudice towards the old, and the result was to further destabilize things to the point that the entire Western Empire fell.

In the system Jefferson is anticipating, it should be impossible for the government to assume such overwhelming power. The government is not to be the source of rights, but only the guardian of them. It very well may have been an historically auspicious time for a revolution- Rome switched religions, then fell; the British Empire split from the Pope, then America went AWOL. I'm not sure if I'm looking at a case of cause and effect in that last sentence, but the gist of history seems to suggest "freedom of religion."

It isn't some atheist regime. There's a Creator, but, well, there is clearly a Universe, and presumably it came from somewhere, and Man and History being what they are suggest Man ought to be free, so why not say it is meant to be? As opposed to the emperors telling you what to think on pain of death, or the King taking your money in exchange for jack shit. Nope, everyone can decide for themselves how to approach something so heady, is free to persuade others to see it their way, and at least ostensibly has a say in their own governance.

As nobody's subject! Not even God.
  #158  
Old 05-31-2019, 12:20 AM
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Of course, I agree that it the world today is "ethically superior" compared to history, but only if we use today's ethics. Or do you believe there is some universal sense of ethics?

And there are theories that ancient people, before the neolithic revolution, somehow had a highly ethical society (I do not subscribe to that notion).
Of course I don't believe in universal ethics, but we can have ethical principles that let us judge that specific things are more ethical than others.
And acknowledge areas which are debatable. Is eating meat ethical or not? I do it, but I can see the argument against it. Some god coming down on one side or the other has nothing to do with it.
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Religion is a reference guide to how people should behave because people make it a guide. The parts people decide to follow count. If no one coveted their neighbor's property, capitalism as we know it could not exist. I do not think that Christian societies of old were more just than our society today. And you should definitely pay attention to people who say "God said", because like it or not, they are your equals and you share living space and their opinions affect you.

~Max
Oh I pay attention to them all right, in the sense that I pay attention to someone who seems to be following me down a dark alley. But I think it is our duty to challenge people making religious arguments to either justify them without reference to deities or to provide evidence that deities both exist and agree with them. If you say you are not religious, you should take on this challenge also.
  #159  
Old 05-31-2019, 12:37 AM
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Hmmm. I wonder if we could find a country whose laws largely reflect the Ten Commandments...where killing and stealing are prohibited by law for example...
Babylon before the 10 Commandments existed, perhaps?
Check out the 10 commandments, and you'll see our laws don't largely depend on them. Having no god before Yahweh is not a crime. Adultery is not a crime. Coveting is definitely not a crime. Not honoring one's father and mother is not a crime.
Try again.
  #160  
Old 05-31-2019, 12:39 AM
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All that religion is is a codified view on our relationship with transcendence. I would posit that all government and society is based on our relationship to transcendence so to exclude a particular view just because it's more firmly codified and more specific in its views seems foolish at best.
Define transcendence, and then show us how government is based on some relationship to it.
  #161  
Old 05-31-2019, 06:02 AM
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Yeah. But I guess I'm using a weird definition of "religious":
I think this is true, your definition doesn't seem to include anything about the worship or recognition of a supreme being. Given that most people disagree with excluding God from religion, this is a stumbling point for this discussion.

I will state this as a given, if your "religious" argument doesn't rely on man's relationship with God in any way, then I would consider it "non-religious" and would not exclude it from debate.


Religious arguments (when they invoke the will of God) ultimately fall back to being arguments from authority. They are right because an authoritative figure (God) says they're right.


Religious arguments are also problematic because the following conversation is literally possible for nearly any modern topic upon which religions feel the need to speak:

Person 1 - God says X
Person 2 - God says Y (something that excludes X entirely)
Person 3 - God didn't say anything about X at all
Person 4 - You don't even have the right God in the first place
Person 5 - God doesn't exist and you all are arguing about the fables of some ancient goat herders.


Taking an argument and bolstering it with the input of a recognized authority is valid, but only if the debate participants agree that:
A) the authority figure actually existed
B) the authority is actually an authority on the subject matter at hand
C) the authority actually said the thing you claim, in the context you claim
  #162  
Old 05-31-2019, 08:40 AM
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So, how can debate be conducted on topics that do not appeal to authority, such as:

Religious organizations are corporations - they should be taxed as such

Religious schools should receive public funds

Religious liberty laws


These are recurring topics. How do religious folks make their case if not in the public debate?
  #163  
Old 05-31-2019, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by D'Anconia View Post
No. You made the claim, please back it up.
Please define the claim you feel I am making.

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Hmmm. I wonder if we could find a country whose laws largely reflect the Ten Commandments...where killing and stealing are prohibited by law for example...
Okay, 2 of the ten commandments are laws. 20% is not largely reflective.

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I think this is true, your definition doesn't seem to include anything about the worship or recognition of a supreme being. Given that most people disagree with excluding God from religion, this is a stumbling point for this discussion.

I will state this as a given, if your "religious" argument doesn't rely on man's relationship with God in any way, then I would consider it "non-religious" and would not exclude it from debate.


Religious arguments (when they invoke the will of God) ultimately fall back to being arguments from authority. They are right because an authoritative figure (God) says they're right.


Religious arguments are also problematic because the following conversation is literally possible for nearly any modern topic upon which religions feel the need to speak:

Person 1 - God says X
Person 2 - God says Y (something that excludes X entirely)
Person 3 - God didn't say anything about X at all
Person 4 - You don't even have the right God in the first place
Person 5 - God doesn't exist and you all are arguing about the fables of some ancient goat herders.


Taking an argument and bolstering it with the input of a recognized authority is valid, but only if the debate participants agree that:
A) the authority figure actually existed
B) the authority is actually an authority on the subject matter at hand
C) the authority actually said the thing you claim, in the context you claim
It's all about having a shared premise. If I get together with a bunch of other people who can share a premise, then we can agree to laws based on those premises. I don't want to be killed, and the majority of my community doesn't want to be killed, so we can agree on a prohibition against killing. This is not a given. I can imagine a situation where I don't mind being killed, and my desire is to get to kill other people. If there are a bunch of us that share that premise, then suicide would be prohibited (as that would take away someone to be killed), and murder would be legal.

It is not a coincidence that civilization and society grew up around people who shared the first premise, rather than the latter.

Most of us share a premise that we don't want to be stolen from. We don't want to be assaulted. That's why those laws seem rather simple to justify, there really aren't that many people who want to be murdered or stolen from or assaulted to object to those laws.

Social control is trickier. Half of leviticus reads like the health code manual. They made laws about what you could eat, because if you ate the wrong things, god would get mad and make you sick. This wasn't based on religious belief, but empirical data. The cause was misidentified, but the effect was correct. "See those worms coming out of your ass? That's God's punishment for you eating pork." (no, that's not actually the symptoms of trichinosis, but it sounds better that way.)

They also made laws about sexual mores. And it did make sense. With STD's and no reliable birth control, promiscuity was a threat to civilization. We didn't understand germ theory to understand STD's, so they seemed to be God's punishment as well.

We are still using these bronze age superstitions to continue to inform public policy. Just as we know that if you cook pork properly (or source it from somewhere that doesn't have trichinosis, you are not going to receive god's punishment, we also know how to have sex without incurring the wrath of a deity.

Religion forces us to accept these premises based on superstition as true. It is no different than banning walking under ladders or looking over your shoulder at the moon. They are based on premises that are no longer relevant.

Unless you can show how a bronze age superstition is relevant to our society, then it should not be used to inform public policy. If you can show how their beliefs are relevant, then you don't need to invoke religion to justify them.

Last edited by k9bfriender; 05-31-2019 at 08:56 AM.
  #164  
Old 05-31-2019, 09:36 AM
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One of my favorite writings by President Obama is his speech on 28 June 2006. If you will allow me to excerpt a bit of that:


More fundamentally, the discomfort of some progressives with any hint of religion has often prevented us from effectively addressing issues in moral terms. Some of the problem here is rhetorical – if we scrub language of all religious content, we forfeit the imagery and terminology through which millions of Americans understand both their personal morality and social justice. Imagine Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address without reference to “the judgments of the Lord,” or King’s I Have a Dream speech without reference to “all of God’s children.” Their summoning of a higher truth helped inspire what had seemed impossible and move the nation to embrace a common destiny.


But what I am suggesting is this – secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square. Frederick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, Williams Jennings Bryant, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King – indeed, the majority of great reformers in American history – were not only motivated by faith, but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause. To say that men and women should not inject their “personal morality” into public policy debates is a practical absurdity; our law is by definition a codification of morality, much of it grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition.

and also,

But a sense of proportion should also guide those who police the boundaries between church and state. Not every mention of God in public is a breach to the wall of separation – context matters. It is doubtful that children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance feel oppressed or brainwashed as a consequence of muttering the phrase “under God;” I certainly didn’t. Having voluntary student prayer groups using school property to meet should not be a threat, any more than its use by the High School Republicans should threaten Democrats. And one can envision certain faith-based programs – targeting ex-offenders or substance abusers – that offer a uniquely powerful way of solving problems.
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Last edited by Paul in Qatar; 05-31-2019 at 09:37 AM.
  #165  
Old 05-31-2019, 09:44 AM
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Define transcendence, and then show us how government is based on some relationship to it.
Transcendence is that which in non-material. It transcends the material. Government by practice if not by nature is completely tied up in the transcendent. A simple example in our own government is the concept of equal protection under the law. There is no physical law or empirical observation that dictates such a stance. There are examples of societies that don't believe in such a thing that are successful. We take a philosophical, non-material stance that equal protection before the law is an objectively "good" thing. These types of transcendent claims are completely woven throughout governments. Freedom, equality, democracy, value of life, obligation to each other and society, even the ideas of what is best for ourselves and each other is largely transcendent.
  #166  
Old 05-31-2019, 09:45 AM
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That cite doesn't prove, why, anything at all.
It is totally appropriate and useful, and much more than your asinine request deserves. Go to that website, search for the word "abortion" using any of the versions of the Bible available, and you get no hits. What the fuck more do you want?
  #167  
Old 05-31-2019, 09:50 AM
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Hmmm. I wonder if we could find a country whose laws largely reflect the Ten Commandments...where killing and stealing are prohibited by law for example...
I saw an episode of "I Love Lucy" where Lucy was a reflection of Harpo Marx...but in real life they had nothing to do with each other. If you are trying to claim that the Ten Commandments are where the idea of stealing and killing are wrong, then you must think little of civilization before those tablets supposed came down that hill.
  #168  
Old 05-31-2019, 12:17 PM
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Hmmm. I wonder if we could find a country whose laws largely reflect the Ten Commandments...where killing and stealing are prohibited by law for example...
Is it your contention that people simply didn't know that it was wrong to kill, steal and lie, until Moses came down from the mountain and administered a dose of moral code in tablet form?
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  #169  
Old 05-31-2019, 12:21 PM
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I read this as you saying the entire argument of "Does God Exist? (Show Your Work!)" needs to take place in its entirety any time religion is invoked in a public debate. That's not good time management.
Theists don't actually try to prove god exists when people demand that they support their arguments. They just insist that their dogma should be followed anyway just because.
  #170  
Old 05-31-2019, 12:33 PM
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Transcendence is that which in non-material. It transcends the material. Government by practice if not by nature is completely tied up in the transcendent. A simple example in our own government is the concept of equal protection under the law. There is no physical law or empirical observation that dictates such a stance. There are examples of societies that don't believe in such a thing that are successful. We take a philosophical, non-material stance that equal protection before the law is an objectively "good" thing. These types of transcendent claims are completely woven throughout governments. Freedom, equality, democracy, value of life, obligation to each other and society, even the ideas of what is best for ourselves and each other is largely transcendent.
So in your statement that was that religion is about our relationship with transcendence, you meant that religion is about equal protection?

Or is this more like "religion is about onions, government is about cake, and they're both about food therefore religion and government are about the same thing"?
  #171  
Old 05-31-2019, 12:41 PM
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Transcendence is that which in non-material. It transcends the material. Government by practice if not by nature is completely tied up in the transcendent. A simple example in our own government is the concept of equal protection under the law. There is no physical law or empirical observation that dictates such a stance. There are examples of societies that don't believe in such a thing that are successful. We take a philosophical, non-material stance that equal protection before the law is an objectively "good" thing. These types of transcendent claims are completely woven throughout governments. Freedom, equality, democracy, value of life, obligation to each other and society, even the ideas of what is best for ourselves and each other is largely transcendent.
I can see you really like that word, "Transcendent". It has a nice ring to it. Very evocative. I like "Numinous" even better. Happens to be a synonym.

Much better than simple words like, "ideas" and "laws", emarite?
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  #172  
Old 05-31-2019, 12:52 PM
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Is it your contention that people simply didn't know that it was wrong to kill, steal and lie, until Moses came down from the mountain and administered a dose of moral code in tablet form?
To be fair, they probably didn't. Not really. What was the consequence of murder, or of theft? These were nomads wandering the desert, even the code of Hammurabi would be probably mostly unknown to them.

How can you say that something is wrong if there is no consequence.

"You can't kill"

"Yes I can." *splat*

"You shouldn't kill"

"Why not?" *splat*
  #173  
Old 05-31-2019, 01:04 PM
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To be fair, they probably didn't. Not really. What was the consequence of murder, or of theft? These were nomads wandering the desert, even the code of Hammurabi would be probably mostly unknown to them.

How can you say that something is wrong if there is no consequence.

"You can't kill"

"Yes I can." *splat*

"You shouldn't kill"

"Why not?" *splat*
I'm sorry, I don't buy it. 10 commandments weren't handed down to every single human being alive in the world at that time. Somehow other civilizations more or less advanced than some direction challenged semites managed to figure out that indiscriminate killing was bad for their respective societies. To say nothing of the fact that immediately upon receiving the commandments, Moses ordered all the idol worshipers killed and then they went merrily on to commit genocide.
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Old 05-31-2019, 01:06 PM
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Is it your contention that people simply didn't know that it was wrong to kill, steal and lie, until Moses came down from the mountain and administered a dose of moral code in tablet form?
Hey Moses, keep 'em coming!
  #175  
Old 05-31-2019, 03:20 PM
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So in your statement that was that religion is about our relationship with transcendence, you meant that religion is about equal protection?

Or is this more like "religion is about onions, government is about cake, and they're both about food therefore religion and government are about the same thing"?
I would say that my statement is the government is dinner and some people want pasta and some want hamburgers and they may disagree, but there's no inherent reason to exclude any from discussion.
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Old 05-31-2019, 03:31 PM
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I can see you really like that word, "Transcendent". It has a nice ring to it. Very evocative. I like "Numinous" even better. Happens to be a synonym.

Much better than simple words like, "ideas" and "laws", emarite?
Sure. Transcendent ideas though are a subset of all ideas. Specifically ideas without empirical or physical evidence. Some ideas are materialist; eg "I think if I drop this ball it's going to fall." Other ideas are not, eg "Humans should be free to choose their own destiny" or "God values us all equally." Some laws are materialist eg "You can't hunt deer out of season because it's dangerous." (although this has some transcendent roots as well, namely that dangerous things are 'bad.') Some are mixes. "You can't fish for candy darters because overfishing will lead to their extinction and for an undefined reason we feel that a species has inherent value." Some are fully transcendent. "You can't use a helicopter to hunt deer because it's not fair to the deer."
  #177  
Old 05-31-2019, 03:43 PM
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To be fair, they probably didn't. Not really. What was the consequence of murder, or of theft? These were nomads wandering the desert, even the code of Hammurabi would be probably mostly unknown to them.

How can you say that something is wrong if there is no consequence.

"You can't kill"

"Yes I can." *splat*

"You shouldn't kill"

"Why not?" *splat*
The consequence is going to be that, between some of you getting killed off and the rest of you getting the hell away from the people who think killing is fine, your group disintegrates and you're out there all alone. Which a) drastically increases the chances that you'll also die soon and b) really drastically decreases the chance that you'll have any descendents.
  #178  
Old 05-31-2019, 03:46 PM
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I take it you identify religion with superstition: the absence of evidence, logic, and data.

I am not religious but it is my understanding that religious people necessarily disagree with you. What is your next step? Do you debate them on the merits of their religion?

~Max
Nope. You can't debate anyone who explicitly rejects the foundational basis of debate, which is facts and logic, with facts and logic. That clearly doesn't work. I can't tell you that your beliefs are wrong because you reply that they're confirmed by the voices in your head? Right. It's exactly like trying to debate someone who is clinically insane.

So you just assert the primacy of a secular society, with facts and logic as the basis of social policy. The religionists get to have the freedom to practice their religion as long as they stay within the law. They don't get to override the law because of something they read that turned out to be a tenth-generational re-interpretation of an ancient bad translation that become their holy book.
  #179  
Old 05-31-2019, 04:10 PM
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The consequence is going to be that, between some of you getting killed off and the rest of you getting the hell away from the people who think killing is fine, your group disintegrates and you're out there all alone. Which a) drastically increases the chances that you'll also die soon and b) really drastically decreases the chance that you'll have any descendents.
I get that, with an enlightened and educated philosophy. But, try explaining that to a guy that is both bigger and dumber than you. (not saying that *you* are dumb, but to be fair, the most educated and enlightened of the sages from that time was still far more ignorant than a modern elementary student.)

Even after the 10 commandments came down from the mountain, they still didn't see anything wrong with killing or stealing.

Killing or stealing from their own community, sure, that was "wrong", but the bible is chock full of them going out and killing and stealing from others.

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  #180  
Old 05-31-2019, 04:14 PM
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I'm sorry, I don't buy it. 10 commandments weren't handed down to every single human being alive in the world at that time. Somehow other civilizations more or less advanced than some direction challenged semites managed to figure out that indiscriminate killing was bad for their respective societies. To say nothing of the fact that immediately upon receiving the commandments, Moses ordered all the idol worshipers killed and then they went merrily on to commit genocide.
Mostly the people that wouldn't follow the social order went up into the hills and killed and stole from those who did. Even those who did follow the social order never considered a blanket ban on killing or stealing, just not killing or stealing from their neighbors, but other groups of humans were fair game.

Last edited by k9bfriender; 05-31-2019 at 04:15 PM.
  #181  
Old 05-31-2019, 04:40 PM
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Sure. Transcendent ideas though are a subset of all ideas. Specifically ideas without empirical or physical evidence. Some ideas are materialist; eg "I think if I drop this ball it's going to fall." Other ideas are not, eg "Humans should be free to choose their own destiny" or "God values us all equally." Some laws are materialist eg "You can't hunt deer out of season because it's dangerous." (although this has some transcendent roots as well, namely that dangerous things are 'bad.') Some are mixes. "You can't fish for candy darters because overfishing will lead to their extinction and for an undefined reason we feel that a species has inherent value." Some are fully transcendent. "You can't use a helicopter to hunt deer because it's not fair to the deer."
You might be amused to know that equal protection under the law wouldn't fall under the umbrella of "transcendent", then, because there are good solid empirical reasons to support it: creating an underclass of any kind increases the potential for social instability and lowered quality of life for all in the long run.
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Old 05-31-2019, 04:53 PM
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You might be amused to know that equal protection under the law wouldn't fall under the umbrella of "transcendent", then, because there are good solid empirical reasons to support it: creating an underclass of any kind increases the potential for social instability and lowered quality of life for all in the long run.
The Chinese government might disagree with you. The Roman Empire was the model of unequal protection and survived and thrived for millennia creating the basis of Western Civilization. The Ancient Greeks were horribly unequal and essentially invented the framework of science and philosophy. Prior to the Christian era essentially every non-tribal society had tiers of unequal treatment and quite a few were stable and had high life quality especially for the upper classes. Besides, that's at best sociology and not an empirical science. You are also making a value judgement that social instability is a bad thing and you're picking a random definition for quality of life.
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Old 05-31-2019, 05:00 PM
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The Chinese government might disagree with you. The Roman Empire was the model of unequal protection and survived and thrived for millennia creating the basis of Western Civilization. The Ancient Greeks were horribly unequal and essentially invented the framework of science and philosophy. Prior to the Christian era essentially every non-tribal society had tiers of unequal treatment and quite a few were stable and had high life quality especially for the upper classes. Besides, that's at best sociology and not an empirical science. You are also making a value judgement that social instability is a bad thing and you're picking a random definition for quality of life.
Oh, have no doubt that unequal treatment persisted into the "Christian era" - american slave owners were doubtlessly all good christians down to the last man.

And I never said that governments couldn't function if they ignored equal protection - governments have persisted while legalizing murder for a select cadre. I'm just saying that there are empirical reasons to support equal protection. It's not something one has to believe on faith, though some do.
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Old 05-31-2019, 05:29 PM
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Oh, have no doubt that unequal treatment persisted into the "Christian era" - american slave owners were doubtlessly all good christians down to the last man.

And I never said that governments couldn't function if they ignored equal protection - governments have persisted while legalizing murder for a select cadre. I'm just saying that there are empirical reasons to support equal protection. It's not something one has to believe on faith, though some do.
I think you do. There's no physicalist reason to prioritize wealth or stability over anything else. We simply ascribe transcendent value to those concepts. We say that wealth and healthcare is 'high quality of life' but that's not based on anything measurable. It's just something we take as a given. We may hide them behind such nebulous concepts as "wants," but wants aren't empirical. You can't hook up a person to a desirotron and see that the desire for stability measures 1.3 kilo-dreamias. We simply exist in a particular time and place that values accumulating things and living a long time. Those values though aren't appeals to objective physical evidence, but appeals to emotion at best and even more it's an appeal to the way things "should" be, which is an inherently transcendent argument.

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  #185  
Old 05-31-2019, 05:40 PM
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I think you do. There's no physicalist reason to prioritize wealth or stability over anything else. We simply ascribe transcendent value to those concepts. We say that wealth and healthcare is 'high quality of life' but that's not based on anything measurable. It's just something we take as a given. We may hide them behind such nebulous concepts as "wants," but wants aren't empirical. You can't hook up a person to a desirotron and see that the desire for stability measures 1.3 kilo-dreamias. We simply exist in a particular time and place that values accumulating things and living a long time. Those values though aren't appeals to objective physical evidence, but appeals to emotion at best and even more it's an appeal to the way things "should" be, which is an inherently transcendent argument.


I believe that there's empirical evidence that starving to death and/or dying in a civil war would suck. I believe that there's empirical evidence that being overthrown or having a population that is starving and untaxable is antithetical to superior government operation.

You may find it valuable to deny these things for the sake of your argument, but you're going to fail to convince me that I'd be better off being broke and dead.
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Old 05-31-2019, 06:13 PM
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Please define the claim you feel I am making.
You claimed that abortion wasn't a sin.

Ok, genius, the word "abortion" isn't in the Bible. Probably because the word itself didn't exist thousands of years ago.
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Old 05-31-2019, 06:17 PM
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I believe that there's empirical evidence that starving to death and/or dying in a civil war would suck. I believe that there's empirical evidence that being overthrown or having a population that is starving and untaxable is antithetical to superior government operation.

You may find it valuable to deny these things for the sake of your argument, but you're going to fail to convince me that I'd be better off being broke and dead.
The fact that you're talking about a superior vs one supposes inferior government is inserting non-materialist values into the conversation.

As regards being broke and dead, I have no interest in challenging your faith. The strength of your convictions though does not make them physicalist, anymore than the strength of Ayatollah Khomeini's convictions somehow make them non-transcendant. It's fine by me that you place your faith in health and wealth being "good." You're hardly the first or only person to do so. My contention though is that placing one's faith in adherence to a structured belief system is not inherently different, so thus should not be 'invalid' with regards to public policy discussions.
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Old 05-31-2019, 06:22 PM
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The fact that you're talking about a superior vs one supposes inferior government is inserting non-materialist values into the conversation.

As regards being broke and dead, I have no interest in challenging your faith. The strength of your convictions though does not make them physicalist, anymore than the strength of Ayatollah Khomeini's convictions somehow make them non-transcendant. It's fine by me that you place your faith in health and wealth being "good." You're hardly the first or only person to do so. My contention though is that placing one's faith in adherence to a structured belief system is not inherently different, so thus should not be 'invalid' with regards to public policy discussions.
Oh for the love of rational thought.

Have fun with that silliness.
  #189  
Old 05-31-2019, 06:30 PM
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You claimed that abortion wasn't a sin.

Ok, genius, the word "abortion" isn't in the Bible. Probably because the word itself didn't exist thousands of years ago.
This is actually a fair objection. The word "abortion" doesn't appear in the Bible, but the practice itself is described at least once, in Numbers:

16 “‘The priest shall bring her and have her stand before the Lord. 17 Then he shall take some holy water in a clay jar and put some dust from the tabernacle floor into the water. 18 After the priest has had the woman stand before the Lord, he shall loosen her hair and place in her hands the reminder-offering, the grain offering for jealousy, while he himself holds the bitter water that brings a curse. 19 Then the priest shall put the woman under oath and say to her, “If no other man has had sexual relations with you and you have not gone astray and become impure while married to your husband, may this bitter water that brings a curse not harm you. 20 But if you have gone astray while married to your husband and you have made yourself impure by having sexual relations with a man other than your husband”— 21 here the priest is to put the woman under this curse—“may the Lord cause you to become a curse[b] among your people when he makes your womb miscarry and your abdomen swell. 22 May this water that brings a curse enter your body so that your abdomen swells or your womb miscarries.”

What's missing, of course, is any sort of a condemnation of abortion. The upshot appears to be that, if you think your wife was unfaithful, it's totally okay to kill her fetus. Which gives the Bible the interesting distinction of taking a position on abortion that both sides of the modern debate would find abhorrent.
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Old 05-31-2019, 07:45 PM
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Transcendence is that which in non-material. It transcends the material. Government by practice if not by nature is completely tied up in the transcendent. A simple example in our own government is the concept of equal protection under the law. There is no physical law or empirical observation that dictates such a stance. There are examples of societies that don't believe in such a thing that are successful. We take a philosophical, non-material stance that equal protection before the law is an objectively "good" thing. These types of transcendent claims are completely woven throughout governments. Freedom, equality, democracy, value of life, obligation to each other and society, even the ideas of what is best for ourselves and each other is largely transcendent.
This seems to say that ideas and ethical principles are transcendent, and I'm okay with that. Do you agree that secular principles can be as transcendent as religious ones?
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Old 05-31-2019, 07:53 PM
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I would say that my statement is the government is dinner and some people want pasta and some want hamburgers and they may disagree, but there's no inherent reason to exclude any from discussion.
It is if some of them want food from a Dr. Seuss book. They need to show such food exists before I put it on my shopping list.
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Old 05-31-2019, 07:57 PM
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I'm sorry, I don't buy it. 10 commandments weren't handed down to every single human being alive in the world at that time. Somehow other civilizations more or less advanced than some direction challenged semites managed to figure out that indiscriminate killing was bad for their respective societies. To say nothing of the fact that immediately upon receiving the commandments, Moses ordered all the idol worshipers killed and then they went merrily on to commit genocide.
Better than that, in Exodus 2:11-22 Moses kills an Egyptian for beating a Hebrew, then hides the body. Long before he received the 10 Commandments. So he and everyone else had kind of figured out that killing was bad.
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Old 05-31-2019, 08:12 PM
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This seems to say that ideas and ethical principles are transcendent, and I'm okay with that. Do you agree that secular principles can be as transcendent as religious ones?
Certainly. Freedom, equality, value of the individual, human rights and many other things are not necessarily religious, but they are transcendent. The reality is that society may need transcendence to function. "If God didn't exist, we would need to invent Him." Some people invent God via other transcendent ideas because they're uncomfortable with a divine being so prefer divine concepts.
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Old 05-31-2019, 08:17 PM
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It is if some of them want food from a Dr. Seuss book. They need to show such food exists before I put it on my shopping list.
You are certainly allowed to be unconvinced by any of their arguments and appeals to their version of transcendence, just as they are allowed to be unconvinced by yours. This doesn't mean that they aren't even allowed to bring their ideas and reasoning to the table.
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Old 05-31-2019, 10:24 PM
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By all means, they should bring their reasoning to the table. But to say, "I don't need any evidence to support my claims because I have faith" is not reasoning. It is the rejection of debate in favor of demanding that others accept, on their authority, the bare assertion fallacy to accommodate their baseless claims.

I am not sure which part of that you aren't getting.
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Old 06-01-2019, 01:07 AM
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Certainly. Freedom, equality, value of the individual, human rights and many other things are not necessarily religious, but they are transcendent. The reality is that society may need transcendence to function. "If God didn't exist, we would need to invent Him." Some people invent God via other transcendent ideas because they're uncomfortable with a divine being so prefer divine concepts.
Or maybe it isn't that we're uncomfortable with a divine being, but that we're uncomfortable with a supposed divine being who doesn't seem to exist being the motivating fact behind laws.
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Old 06-01-2019, 01:10 AM
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You are certainly allowed to be unconvinced by any of their arguments and appeals to their version of transcendence, just as they are allowed to be unconvinced by yours. This doesn't mean that they aren't even allowed to bring their ideas and reasoning to the table.
They can bring their mud pies to the table for all I care. They just shouldn't expect me to eat any of it, or anyone else with any sense. I kind of think people should bring good arguments, and if they don't accept when their arguments are demonstrated to be bad. Religious arguments have the characteristic that if they come from a god, they can't be demonstrated as bad no matter what. Usury laws hurt economic growth and thus hurt people? Don't matter if god said getting interest is sinful. Just to pick one most Americans don't have problems with disobeying.
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Old 06-01-2019, 07:50 AM
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By all means, they should bring their reasoning to the table. But to say, "I don't need any evidence to support my claims because I have faith" is not reasoning. It is the rejection of debate in favor of demanding that others accept, on their authority, the bare assertion fallacy to accommodate their baseless claims.

I am not sure which part of that you aren't getting.
They do have evidence, it's just evidence you find flawed. There's a difference.

Regarding Voyagers statements, the question posed was not whether or not a particular person would find their arguments convincing, but whether they have a 'place' at the table. Whether you find them convincing depends largely on your presuppositions. If you presuppose that all religious arguments are wrong, you are unlikely to be convinced. A certain type of Neitzschean might find any appeals to fairness or equality fundamentally wrong-this does not mean that we arguments about fairness have no place in political duscussions. Simply because we all have different presuppositions does not mean that any assertion that relies on a particular subset of presuppositions does not deserve a hearing. If we disallowed any argument based on presuppositions that others might find flawed, no arguments would be allowed at all.
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Old 06-01-2019, 07:51 AM
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By all means, they should bring their reasoning to the table. But to say, "I don't need any evidence to support my claims because I have faith" is not reasoning. It is the rejection of debate in favor of demanding that others accept, on their authority, the bare assertion fallacy to accommodate their baseless claims.

I am not sure which part of that you aren't getting.
They do have evidence, it's just evidence you find flawed. There's a difference.

Regarding Voyagers statements, the question posed was not whether or not a particular person would find their arguments convincing, but whether they have a 'place' at the table. Whether you find them convincing depends largely on your presuppositions. If you presuppose that all religious arguments are wrong, you are unlikely to be convinced. A certain type of Neitzschean might find any appeals to fairness or equality fundamentally wrong-this does not mean that arguments about fairness have no place in political duscussions. Simply because we all have different presuppositions does not mean that any assertion that relies on a particular subset of presuppositions does not deserve a hearing. If we disallowed any argument based on presuppositions that others might find flawed, no arguments would be allowed at all.
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Old 06-01-2019, 08:29 AM
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Certainly. Freedom, equality, value of the individual, human rights and many other things are not necessarily religious, but they are transcendent. The reality is that society may need transcendence to function. "If God didn't exist, we would need to invent Him." Some people invent God via other transcendent ideas because they're uncomfortable with a divine being so prefer divine concepts.
And some people understand that transcendence is a feeling and emotion, not unlike some others in the human emotional spectrum. Often, those same people understand that abstract ideas and social constructs are not transcendent in any divine sense, eg.: math and sciences. They're just a way for social creatures to develop, express and share common goals and values which evolve over time out of our continued desire to survive and understand the universe in which we briefly live.
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