Open Conversation Part 2

Who knows what topics will come up next?

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825 thoughts on “Open Conversation Part 2”

  1. Verse of the day..

    1 Corinthians 2:14

    The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.

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  2. I actually thought it did look like a moth. Looked at any ink blots lately?

    As to the question of sin? I’m keenly aware that I am flawed. I strive to be better, but remain flawed nonetheless. I was born that way. Why should I believe that the punishment for being born in a way that is imperfect merits eternal torment? I do not mean to sound like an ingrate. However I did not ask to be born. Had I not been I wouldn’t be any the wiser. It’s not a favor to me to ne here.

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  3. Ruth, Dave & Kathy

    Having installed hundreds of security cameras over the years, the first thing that came to my mind was a symptom called “bleed over”. This can occur when 2 wires are crossed or the video combiner / switcher malfunctions causing 1 or more signals to bleed over on another signal.

    Looking at the video again, there were 13 separate cameras he was monitoring on 1 screen alone. Had they bothered to have a security company come and look at the “ghost” on 1 camera, they would have viewed recordings of the other 12 at the exact time this occurred to determine if anyone was walking in much the same pattern as the “ghost” on any of the other 12 cameras..

    The news report never mentions the Police Dept having a Security Firm analyze the video. I have seen this phenomenon more than once . It’s not all that unusual.

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  4. Actually, the universe does point out your sins, as morals come from what is perceived to be beneficial for community and survival. It’s an imprecise system that can sway in different directions, but if you are willing to look, that is what you are likely to find.

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  5. “gliese2475

    Kathy,

    What do you hope to achieve with your statement that there is no empirical evidence for evolution? Statements like that are why I made it a point to learn more about evolution. I wanted to understand it for myself, and to be able to respond coherently. Alas, I have found that my understanding only helps me to be solidly unswayed when presented with comments such as the one you made. ”

    I don’t know what you mean by what I hope to achieve.. it should be pretty obvious by now that I want to debate the points.
    And you misunderstood my point here.. I didn’t say that evolution has no evidence, I said MACRO evolution has no EMPIRICAL evidence/ proof.

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  6. Ruth,

    “I actually thought it did look like a moth. Looked at any ink blots lately? ”

    If you look closely, which is another way of saying.. “objectively”.. you’ll see that the figure
    goes behind an object at the end and then reappears after passing the object.

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  7. To better understand MACRO evolution, I would suggest looking into how fossils/bones were found that follow the raptor dinosaur evolving toward becoming a bird.

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  8. Ruth, why do you feel you’re flawed? What are you measuring yourself against?

    And speaking of sin, where does the concept of sin come from?

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  9. Here is what wiki refers to crosstalk / bleed over. Notice what it produces. (ghosting effect)

    In stereoscopic 3D displays, “crosstalk” refers to the incomplete isolation of the left and right image channels so that one leaks or bleeds into the other – like a double exposure, which produces a ghosting effect. (wiki)

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  10. “Actually, the universe does point out your sins, as morals come from what is perceived to be beneficial for community and survival. It’s an imprecise system that can sway in different directions, but if you are willing to look, that is what you are likely to find.”

    I would agree.. but it’s not nearly as specific and critical.. so it’s much easier to be humble.

    God is very specific.

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  11. “To better understand MACRO evolution, I would suggest looking into how fossils/bones were found that follow the raptor dinosaur evolving toward becoming a bird.”

    Similarities are not proof. All of creation has similarities to some degree. And it’s because we are made up of the same basic ingredients of life.

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  12. “I would agree.. but it’s not nearly as specific and critical.. so it’s much easier to be humble.

    God is very specific.”

    Yes he is. Stoning people for picking up sticks on the Sabbath . Stoning for adultery. Killing everyone in a village except the young virgins which you can keep for yourself.

    The specific list goes on……….

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  13. Ruth,

    “I’m keenly aware that I am flawed. I strive to be better, but remain flawed nonetheless. I was born that way. Why should I believe that the punishment for being born in a way that is imperfect merits eternal torment? I do not mean to sound like an ingrate. However I did not ask to be born. Had I not been I wouldn’t be any the wiser. It’s not a favor to me to ne here.”

    Well, you are sounding like an ingrate Ruth. I guess you never or very rarely have joy in your life? I don’t believe that. Life is not a “favor”.. it’s a gift… that very few truly want to return.

    And being born as a sinner doesn’t excuse your sin. You have free will to choose not to sin. You, all of us, make the choice to sin every day.

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  14. “Crosstalk from 2 or more cameras would also produce this effect but with different images being combined to one screen.”

    What makes you think a person who watches security cameras for a living isn’t aware of these things? Just like they’d have thought of an insect being the cause.

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  15. ““I would agree.. but it’s not nearly as specific and critical.. so it’s much easier to be humble.

    God is very specific.”

    Yes he is. Stoning people for picking up sticks on the Sabbath . Stoning for adultery. Killing everyone in a village except the young virgins which you can keep for yourself.

    The specific list goes on……….”

    Yes, and He was also very specific about sacrificing Himself to pay for our sins.

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  16. Kathy, I’m not talking similarities. There are actual transitional skeletons that have been found. That is why I suggested you should look into it to understand.

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  17. “Ruth, why do you feel you’re flawed? What are you measuring yourself against?

    And speaking of sin, where does the concept of sin come from?”

    Do you ever watch the news Nan? It’s pretty obvious that sin and evil exist.

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  18. “Kathy, I’m not talking similarities. There are actual transitional skeletons that have been found. That is why I suggested you should look into it to understand.”

    I know there are fossils that are similar. But where are the fossils that show macro evolution? Where a species evolved from another species?

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  19. “What makes you think a person who watches security cameras for a living isn’t aware of these things?”

    Because he only watches cameras, Kathy ! He hasn’t a clue how they work !

    You watch your computer monitor for hours. Can you tell me how the images get on your monitor ? Please feel free to be specific……..

    .

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  20. The NEWS, Kathy???? Watch the news to find out if sin exists? You’ve got to be kidding. Now get serious. Where does the concept of sin come from?

    ***********
    And being born as a sinner doesn’t excuse your sin.

    We are NOT born as sinners. According to early Judaic teachings (and maintained in modern-day Judaism), everyone is born innocent; that is, they enter the world free of sin. Throughout life, people may make choices that lead to sin, but it is not part of their inherent nature. To the Jews, sin is a violation of the divine commandments and is seen as an act (thought, word, or deed), not a “state of being” or part of the human condition. Further, God explained in Ezekiel (18:20) that sinners will be punished for their own sins, not for the sins of others (i.e., Adam and Eve).

    In case you missed it, it’s the Judeo-Christian religion.

    The idea that sin is inherent to all humans is something that Paul dreamed up.

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  21. “Because he only watches cameras, Kathy ! He hasn’t a clue how they work !

    You watch your computer monitor for hours. Can you tell me how the images get on your monitor ? Please feel free to be specific……..”

    He’d have seen this before, he’d have suspected this possibility.. he most likely has asked all kinds of questions of people with more experience and also security companies.

    I called an electrical company when my lamps were going on by the themselves looking for a technical explanation.. he didn’t have an answer for me.

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  22. “And being born as a sinner doesn’t excuse your sin.”

    Kathy , this was the big lie that bit Christianity on the butt. During the enlightenment period it was also discovered that man alone did not create life but woman had an egg which combined with the man’s sperm created an embryo.

    Scholars then realized that Jesus must have been born to sin as well since his Mother (Mary) was a human female.

    To avoid further embarrassment , the Catholic Church had to invent something called, “The Immaculate Conception”

    Ever heard of it ???

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  23. “He’d have seen this before, he’d have suspected this possibility..”

    No he wouldn’t Kathy ! A Security Company technician who works on hundreds of cameras for hundreds of customers would not be surprised at this but 1 police officer watching 13 cameras most likely never had this happen before .

    Were your lamps the touch type that came on when you touched them? If they only came on by turning a switch, it is highly unlikely they came on by themselves. Either someone was playing a trick on you or you were dreaming.

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  24. Nan,

    It’s just another way of saying nobody’s perfect. We all do things which are socially unacceptable or fall short of our own personal standards. When I get more angry than I should about something, or judge someone, or am catty, or rude I feel like those are flaws. There are things in my evolutionary genetic makeup that are flaws.

    I am a happy person and I do have joy in my life, but were I never born I wouldn’t know that. Whether or not I’m flawed because of my evolutionary make-up or I was born into sin, I don’t have a choice in the matter. Even your NT tells us we are born with a sin nature, Kathy. That God would punish people for being born into a condition over which they have no control is asinine.

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  25. “Kathy , this was the big lie that bit Christianity on the butt. During the enlightenment period it was also discovered that man alone did not create life but woman had an egg which combined with the man’s sperm created an embryo. ”

    You mean it didn’t tip humans off that the offspring coming OUT of the woman meant that a human female was involved? They didn’t realize this until the .. um “enlightenment”?

    What is your evidence that the Church invented Jesus’ immaculate exception?

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  26. “What is your evidence that the Church invented Jesus’ immaculate exception?”

    Kathy, it’s time for you to go study before you comment any further. The Immaculate Conception was about the birth of Mary NOT the birth of Jesus.

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  27. kc,

    I had heard of that cross-talking before within electronics. It’s sort of like when you’re listening to a radio station and can faintly hear another station at the same time. Or at least that’s the way I picture it. I’m not an electrician and didn’t know the terminology for it but that seems like the most plausible explanation for it.

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  28. “I’m not an electrician and didn’t know the terminology for it but that seems like the most plausible explanation for it.”

    I don’t think Kathy has any expertise in this field either, but she would like to believe the ghost explanation over a scientific one. Ugh

    Thank you Ruth for using reason in your comments. 🙂

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  29. “And being born as a sinner doesn’t excuse your sin.”

    More circular reasoning I have never heard. Being born a sinner precludes any option to do otherwise.

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  30. Thank you Ruth for using reason in your comments.

    Sometimes I can be reasonable.

    Now I have a question: wasn’t the immaculate conception referring to Mary’s becoming impregnated while still a virgin?

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  31. The Bible gives us no reason to believe that Mary was sinless. In fact, the Bible gives us every reason to believe that Jesus Christ is the only Person who was not “infected” by sin and never committed a sin (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:23; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5).

    The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception originated out of confusion over how Jesus Christ could be born sinless if He was conceived inside of a sinful human female. The thought was that Jesus would have inherited a sinful nature from Mary had she been a sinner. In contrast to the Immaculate Conception, the biblical solution to this problem is that Jesus Himself was miraculously protected from being polluted by sin while He was inside Mary’s womb. If God was capable of protecting Mary from sin, would He not be able to protect Jesus from sin? Therefore, Mary being sinless is neither necessary nor biblical.

    The Roman Catholic Church argues that the Immaculate Conception is necessary because without it, Jesus would have been the object of His own grace.

    Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/immaculate-conception.html#ixzz3EejjEydn

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  32. “No he wouldn’t Kathy ! A Security Company technician who works on hundreds of cameras for hundreds of customers would not be surprised at this but 1 police officer watching 13 cameras most likely never had this happen before .

    Were your lamps the touch type that came on when you touched them? If they only came on by turning a switch, it is highly unlikely they came on by themselves. Either someone was playing a trick on you or you were dreaming.”

    Interesting.. I’m glad you asked.. here’s what happened..

    There were 3 incidences within a one week period.. the first happened when I was watching tv, the lamp next to me flickered on and off twice within a few seconds time.. it was during the day so the lamp was not on. I did check the lamp to see if the turn switch was loose or in a half way position.. anything to explain what I just saw but it seemed normal.

    The 2nd incident a day or two later happened when I went to check on my daughter before going to bed.. like I always did. She was about 8 or 9 at the time I think. Anyway, her lamp next to her bed was on and she was sound asleep. This NEVER happened before. When she went to bed I turned her lamp of and it stayed off.. I always left the hall light on so it wasn’t completely dark in her room. It was odd enough that I had to wake her up and ask her if she had turned her lamp on.. she was half asleep but said no. I did ask her again the next day.. I really wanted to find an explanation.

    And the 3rd time was during a thunder storm, I was in my bedroom and yes, that lamp was a touch lamp.. the others were not. I always knew there could be an explanation for that one.. but with all 3 incidences, they never happened again.. and they all happened within a weeks time of each other.

    And I should add that this is the home I grew up in, both of my parents passed away while living there but only my dad passed away in the home.. in the bedroom where the touch lamp went on.

    Naturally, I wanted to believe that it was one or both of my parents. But, after talking to people more knowledgeable than me about Christianity and the Bible, I was told that it wasn’t them, but demonic spirits wanting to deceive me into believing it was them.

    Needless to say, I’ve been paranoid ever since.. hoping that whatever it was it didn’t follow me to my other homes that I’ve lived in since then. So far so good… except for one other strange incidence that happened in the parking garage of my next home.. a condo.. there was a newspaper rack next to the elevator.. significant because my dad was a newspaper carrier for most of his working life, along with other side businesses. The door of the rack was moving back and forth.. it was lightly jiggling. And I couldn’t and still can’t figure out an explanation for that.. it wasn’t windy. The only rational explanation would be that some sort of creature was inside.. but I didn’t hear anything other than the noise of the door.

    Anyway, that’s my story, and I’ve found that a good percentage of others also have a story of their own or know someone who does.

    I thought it was interesting that Ruth never addressed if anyone she knew had a story when I asked her about that.

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  33. “You mean it didn’t tip humans off that the offspring coming OUT of the woman meant that a human female was involved? They didn’t realize this until the .. um “enlightenment”?”

    Karl Ernst von Baer discovered the mammalian ovum in 1827, and Edgar Allen discovered the human ovum in 1928. The fusion of spermatozoa with ova (of a starfish) was observed by Oskar Hertwig in 1876.[5][6] (wiki)

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  34. ““That God would punish people for being born into a condition over which they have no control is asinine.”

    Well said, Ruth !”

    Not well said.. we have free will. This is completely overlooked. We DO have control over sinful acts. And those are the sins we are punished for.. or receive salvation from.

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  35. “Karl Ernst von Baer discovered the mammalian ovum in 1827, and Edgar Allen discovered the human ovum in 1928. The fusion of spermatozoa with ova (of a starfish) was observed by Oskar Hertwig in 1876.[5][6] (wiki)”

    Again, nothing “new”.. no “enlightenment”.. it was pretty obvious that the female had something to do with procreation.

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  36. “And the 3rd time was during a thunder storm, I was in my bedroom and yes, that lamp was a touch lamp”

    OK The thunderstorm explains this one .

    “The 2nd incident a day or two later happened when I went to check on my daughter before going to bed.. like I always did. She was about 8 or 9 at the time I think. Anyway, her lamp next to her bed was on and she was sound asleep. ”

    You could have become distracted and forgot to turn it off. I have done this more than once. Who hasn’t ?

    “first happened when I was watching tv, the lamp next to me flickered on and off twice within a few seconds time.. it was during the day so the lamp was not on.”

    The switch could have actually been stuck in the middle. A vibration (big loud truck going past the house) could have triggered it to flicker.

    “Naturally, I wanted to believe that it was one or both of my parents. But, after talking to people more knowledgeable than me about Christianity and the Bible, I was told that it wasn’t them, but demonic spirits wanting to deceive me into believing it was them.”

    Exactly ! You WANTED to believe it was a deceased loved one.

    Reason cannot convince you if you WANT to believe something else.

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  37. I thought it was interesting that Ruth never addressed if anyone she knew had a story when I asked her about that.

    I did. I even related one of my own. That particular post downloads to my computer very slowly so I’m not going to go copy and paste my comment here.

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  38. ““No he wouldn’t Kathy ! A Security Company technician who works on hundreds of cameras for hundreds of customers would not be surprised at this but 1 police officer watching 13 cameras most likely never had this happen before .”

    Ok, so you’re saying that the police officer never bothered to ask the security technician or anyone else about this?

    And, also, no one has a response to my point about the figure going BEHIND an object on the screen and then reappearing?

    These explanations aren’t good enough.

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  39. “I thought it was interesting that Ruth never addressed if anyone she knew had a story when I asked her about that.

    I did. I even related one of my own. That particular post downloads to my computer very slowly so I’m not going to go copy and paste my comment here.”

    Yes, you shared your experience.. but you didn’t address if you knew anyone else who had a story. This was as much a part of my point as your own personal experience(s).

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  40. This has again become a “Kathy Conversation”

    I’m not wasting any more of my time with her. I will be happy to exchange comments with others.

    No offense Kathy. I don’t think you are interested in logical conclusions.

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  41. Right, Kathy, I think we may need to agree to disagree about this. You believe the Bible to be the divinely inspired word of God and I do not. We’ve discussed the reasons why I believe what I believe and why you believe what you believe. I don’t think there’s sufficient evidence to conclude divine inspiration. Clearly you do. I do not believe I’m a sinner in need of salvation. You believe that you and everybody else is. The entire thing is circular. We’re born sinners but we have a choice to never sin? Which implies that we could live perfect, blameless, lives According to your own ancient writ this is an impossibility.

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  42. but you didn’t address if you knew anyone else who had a story. This was as much a part of my point as your own personal experience(s).

    Yes, I related a story about my uncle. I really don’t want to go back down this trail of being accused of not answering your questions.

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  43. “We’re born sinners but we have a choice to never sin? Which implies that we could live perfect, blameless, lives According to your own ancient writ this is an impossibility.”

    Which is why I never stated that.

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  44. “Yes, I related a story about my uncle. I really don’t want to go back down this trail of being accused of not answering your questions.”

    oh yes.. the “crazy” uncle.. of course.. so, no one else Ruth? You never said yes or no.

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  45. “I’m not wasting any more of my time with her. I will be happy to exchange comments with others.

    No offense Kathy. I don’t think you are interested in logical conclusions.”

    Yep, all my fault again.. I ask questions and hope for answers.. silly me.

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  46. “And being born as a sinner doesn’t excuse your sin. You have free will to choose not to sin. You, all of us, make the choice to sin every day.”

    Ruth, here is another Kathy contradiction . She says, ” you have free will to choose not to sin. ”

    You said, “Which implies that we could live perfect, blameless, lives According to your own ancient writ this is an impossibility.”

    She now says, “Which is why I never stated that.”

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  47. So, it seems kc, that you’ll only engage with me when you feel like you can “win” the point?

    sigh…

    Nothing I stated was untrue.. we have the free will to not sin.. but, say you’re 3 or 4.. it’s not likely you’re going to make the sinless choice. This again has turned into a silly debate of technicalities.. aka desperation.

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  48. “What answer did you give for the figure going behind the object and then reappearing??”

    If the signal dropped out then reappeared. This would cause it, but this would be too logical.

    “we have the free will to not sin.. but, say you’re 3 or 4.. it’s not likely you’re going to make the sinless choice.”

    Really Kathy ???? I have never had a Minister say he thinks children 3 or 4 are capable of sinning. I was always told there was an “age of accountability”

    You are proof why so many Christians become confused by statements like this and eventually de-convert.

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  49. I ask questions and hope for answers.. silly me.

    As has been stated a NUMBER of times before, you have been provided answers but you refuse to accept them and instead go back to harping on the same old things … over and over and over again. It’s just gotten old, Kathy.

    I join with KC … and I hope others do too. It’s time to move on.

    And since this is an “open conversation,” did anyone watch Scorpion? Would you want to be that smart?

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  50. “OK The thunderstorm explains this one .”

    I acknowledged this.. you DIDN’T acknowledge the peculiar timing of this event and that the lamp never did it since.. although I will admit that I eventually got rid of it and never got another one..lol..

    “The 2nd incident a day or two later happened when I went to check on my daughter before going to bed.. like I always did. She was about 8 or 9 at the time I think. Anyway, her lamp next to her bed was on and she was sound asleep. ”

    “You could have become distracted and forgot to turn it off. I have done this more than once. Who hasn’t ?”

    Yep, but again, you fail to acknowledge the circumstances.. this is just not likely.. I lived it, I know the circumstances and again the peculiar timing and that it never happened again.. you ignore this, you just slap on any explanation that gets you buy and move on.

    “first happened when I was watching tv, the lamp next to me flickered on and off twice within a few seconds time.. it was during the day so the lamp was not on.”

    “The switch could have actually been stuck in the middle. A vibration (big loud truck going past the house) could have triggered it to flicker.”

    Nope, it flickered twice. And there was no loud truck, I’d have noticed that .. as I explained I SEARCHED for an explanation, I checked the turn switch.. it was tight and in the off position.

    “Naturally, I wanted to believe that it was one or both of my parents. But, after talking to people more knowledgeable than me about Christianity and the Bible, I was told that it wasn’t them, but demonic spirits wanting to deceive me into believing it was them.”

    Exactly ! You WANTED to believe it was a deceased loved one.

    Again, you ignore that I changed that belief when I learned about scripture. It was NOT what I wanted to believe.. I definitely didn’t want to believe it was a demon.

    Reason cannot convince you if you WANT to believe something else.

    I was convinced of something else.

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  51. Kathy,

    Of course you are trying to debate, but why? What do you hope the outcome will be? I just don’t get it. I am not one for debating, really, but I will gladly answer whatever questions you may have that will afford you a greater understanding of what atheism is. You seem to be curiously curious about it.

    I have to ask myself from time to time why this is such an important topic to me, why I have spent hours upon hours “debating” theists (almost invariably Christian). My answer is that Christians have the power to enact legislation and develop/implement policies that affect us all. I think people need to know we atheists exist and are not going away.

    I grew tired of feeling like I need to apologize for existing and for feeling like an outsider. I do not want to convince anybody that he or she should not believe as you do. I wish you and other Christians happiness in your journey. I have much respect for Christians, and theists in general, who can just be content on their paths and let others be on theirs. What I don’t understand is why what we believe or don’t believe is so important to you.

    Would it make you happy if I said I believed, but didn’t? I do that occasionally with the elderly people with whom I work, because what I believe is irrelevant in that context. These people are sick and often close to the end of their lives; they need their faith. Is that what you need? Are you fighting to keep it? I don’t think people want to take your faith away from you. Why is it so important for us to share that faith?

    If you have the ability to mindfully observe your actions and question your motives, you might find you can move beyond this place where you seem to be stuck. I am trying to continue to be where I want to be, which is in a place of acute awareness and peace. Your path will not work for me; I have my own.

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  52. “And since this is an “open conversation,” did anyone watch Scorpion? Would you want to be that smart?”

    I watched it Nan, quite by accident. I would NOT want to be this smart and I have nothing to worry about. 🙂

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  53. “If the signal dropped out then reappeared. This would cause it, but this would be too logical.”

    Do you understand odds? Those are pretty amazing odds.. and when you put it together with all the other steps you claim explain it, you’re the one who isn’t being very logical or reasonable.

    “we have the free will to not sin.. but, say you’re 3 or 4.. it’s not likely you’re going to make the sinless choice.”

    Really Kathy ???? I have never had a Minister say he thinks children 3 or 4 are capable of sinning. I was always told there was an “age of accountability”:

    We weren’t talking about accountability, we were talking about sin.

    “You are proof why so many Christians become confused by statements like this and eventually de-convert.”

    You are showing what happens when there is no objectivity.

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  54. Kathy, I’m not sure what you’re after in asking if I know anyone else who has a story. Yes, I know other people who have stories. All the ones I know of have perfectly natural explanations, it’s simply that the people involved want to believe there’s some providence involved.

    My close friend, who is a devout Christian and believes in demonic possession, the power witchcraft, and who also believes she’s seen another realm where angels and demons are warring, swears that she was watching a tv preacher and he asked that those at home put their hands to the tv against his while he prayed for healing for them or their loved ones. She swears this cured her child’s ear infection. The truth is she’d taken her child to the doctor and she’d been given antibiotics for her infection.

    The same woman believes that, even though another of her children had been under the care of a doctor and had received treatment for scoliosis, the laying on of hands by the deacons in our church during a healing service was responsible for her spinal correction.

    I guess our other friend who had cancer and received that same laying on of hands wasn’t in God’s good graces, or she didn’t have enough faith, or she wasn’t righteous enough, or any number of things. She died from her ailment. So did another friend who had a brain tumor despite the same healing service. His wife swears that when she got home from the funeral there was a yellow rose on her bed and that God put it there. So God’s in the business of handing out yellow roses to grieving widows, but not healing their husbands so that they didn’t die of cancer?

    I’m not suggesting that it should be God’s business to make us all live forever. I’m simply suggesting we stop attributing small things, while significant to us, to a deity. I’m suggesting that perhaps we have a lot of wishful thinking.

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  55. Kathy,

    I once brought into my place of work pictures of veal calves stuck in their pens. I wanted to get people to not eat veal because of how cruel the process of creating veal is. One of my coworkers said she was going to eat more veal as a result.

    This relates to you posting a verse of scripture – you are working against yourself. Want to attract people to Christianity? Then make it look appealing. Live your principles, respect your deity, be happy and peaceful. I know at least one Christian who actually scares me she is so good at this. Of all the Christians I have ever encountered, she is the one who has been able to make it look good. She is one of the most joyful, kind people I have ever met. She knows me well, and she doesn’t push it. She has respectfully engaged me in conversation, but has not proselytized.

    I am not a wishy-washy atheist – I am not sitting on any fence. She has been able to get me to a point of vulnerability where I could envision the next step towards attempting to develop some kind of faith. I went there willingly, thinking I was being open-minded. In the end, she blew it by giving me a cd of a sermon from her pastor in which he laid out how to properly evangelize one’s friends. I don’t know why she thought that was a good idea, but it wasn’t.

    As an aside, she also gave me a book called The God Question. I did not read it for at least a year, but I did read it because she gave it to me. It must have seemed like it put forth convincing arguments for the existence of God, but I knew all the arguments and counter-arguments already. It used big words that might have been able to convince somebody who, for instance, doesn’t understand a bit about how evolution works, or who has passed a legitimate high school Earth Science class.

    I felt a bit betrayed, but I still care deeply about her and will engage in conversations with her about God any time. Such is the strength of her character. It might behoove you to find someone like that and bask in his or her presence for a while.

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  56. Ruth, I have often wondered if these healings which take place in Churches are real, would it not make more sense for Churches to liquidate and set up shop in every hospital in the world. Now that would be a testimony.

    Like

  57. Gliese,

    You misunderstand me. I’m not trying to force you to do anything. I’m only here to reason with those who desire the truth.
    Have you noticed the title of this blog? Yet, the creator of it along with everyone else here is always puzzled and annoyed when I am only doing what the blog claims is it’s purpose.

    The only way to find truth is through debate/ dialog. And what is key here and also unfortunately despised is disagreement and questions that challenge the popular beliefs on this site.
    This certainly isn’t how to find truth. It has nothing to do with truth actually. It’s about something else entirely. I think Nate should seriously consider a new name for this site.

    “I have to ask myself from time to time why this is such an important topic to me, why I have spent hours upon hours “debating” theists (almost invariably Christian). My answer is that Christians have the power to enact legislation and develop/implement policies that affect us all. I think people need to know we atheists exist and are not going away. ”

    Atheists have the power to do the very same.. implement policies that affect us all. There is no difference, and we all have the right to vote how we feel.

    That right there is a good reason to engage in debate about this issue. I don’t know why this puzzles you. Finding truth (literally, not pretend).. is incredibly important to our society. What else could be more important than Truth?

    Like

  58. I ask questions and hope for answers.. silly me.” – translate that, “I ask questions and hope for answers, get them, but refuse to accept them because they don’t agree with what I want to hear.. silly me.” Indeed.

    Like

  59. jasonshaw – thanks for the blast-from-the-past video! We always wondered what happened to Uncle Fred – he just went out one day for a pack of smokes, and we never saw him again. After 150 million years, we had almost given up hope.

    Like

  60. KC, I’m half-way through God’s Debris. Fascinating! The old man makes some really good points. I would suggest that Kathy read it, but I’m afraid she wouldn’t understand the concept. What do you think?

    Like

  61. Looked at any ink blots lately?

    A guy goes to a psychiatrist for an evaluation. The psychiatrist shows him a series of ink blot tests.

    Psychiatrist: “What does this picture remind you of?”
    Guy: “Sex!”
    Psychiatrist: “And this one?”
    Guy: “Sex!”
    Psychiatrist:: “And THIS one?”
    Guy: “Sex!”
    Psychiatrist: “Sir, it seems to me that you are obsessed with sex.”
    Guy: ME?!YOU’RE the one with all the dirty pictures!

    Sometimes we see what we want to see, and in some cases, refuse to accept that it could ever be otherwise.

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  62. Arch,

    Kathy admits that she knows little to nothing about electronics. Electronics has been my entire career in one form or another. Yet when I tried to explain to her how these things she brought up had a natural explanation she said my answers weren’t good enough. Translation = your answers are not what I wanted to hear or was looking for.

    Most of the answers WE collectively have given to her fall into the same category . They are not what she wanted to hear or was looking for.

    The funny part was when she said, ““Naturally, I wanted to believe that it was one or both of my parents. But, after talking to people more knowledgeable than me about Christianity and the Bible, I was told that it wasn’t them, but demonic spirits wanting to deceive me into believing it was them.”

    Translation = I wanted to be one Supernatural Explanation but after talking to more knowledgeable Christians , I decided to believe in another Supernatural Explanation. 🙂

    Like

  63. Debate and dialogue can be helpful in finding truth, but connecting legitimate evidence tends to be far more effective. Like how it was discovered that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Oh right, Christianity wasn’t receptive to that truth either as it was at odds with Genesis.

    Pretty sure in that case, debate actually prevented understanding of that truth. That tends to be a common trend with Christianity. Just like your hesitance to accept evolution without a full observation of it, which we now have.

    Like

  64. Great story Arch !

    Nan, glad you are enjoying the read. I doubt that Kathy would entertain reading the book . The Old Man gives a great explanation of why people are religious and I think he is equally on track why skeptics are skeptics.

    Like

  65. Yes, I know KC – I’ve read everything so far on this latest entry. I tried a computer-free day, but withdrawal symptoms drew me back.

    I wonder if Kathy can show me, in the OT, where demons are mentioned before 300 BCE. I ask, because that was the approximate date when Alexander the Great conquered the Levant. To the best of my knowledge, it was the influx of Greek culture that first introduced the Greek concept of daemons.

    Like

  66. Kathy,

    Of course you have a point that the name of the blog indicates dialog is expected. We’ve all had this discussion multiple times, with multiple people over the years. What is the purpose, I wonder? If you think we should ask ourselves that very question, don’t worry. I am asking myself that right now.

    If you actually wanted answers you could have found them here.

    Like

  67. Their absence before that time period would be a good indication that the concept is not part of the Judaic religion – Laurie might be able to help us with that, but you can never find a Messianic Jew when you need one – rather, it would seem to have been introduced by the Greeks.

    Like

  68. What?? No, it hasn’t been that long! Besides , you’d only need to read chapter 5. Or send me an email and I’ll refresh your memory.

    Like

  69. Since this is an “Open Conversation,” I’m going to introduce a Kathy-free topic I stole from a friend (Hey, if you can’t steal from your friends, who CAN you steal from?):

    Psychopaths aren’t evil, they simply have defective brains. Yet, while they are only 1% of the population, they are 20% of prison inmates. Worse, they account for 50% of violent crimes. Thus, one of the most productive things we could do to make society safer, would be to do something about psychopaths.

    But what?

    Since the physical cause of psychopathy was discovered, a puzzling fact became clear: Many psychopaths go through life without committing any major crime, much less a violent crime. In fact, the scientist who actually identified the area and condition of the brain causing psychopathy discovered, by accident, that he himself is a psychopath! So, even he, a scientist who has forwarded our understanding of psychopathy, is a psychopath. Anything we were to do to control psychopathy might, if handled improperly, prevent the good a psychopath can do.

    Confused? Well, what are the symptoms of psychopathy? (Even if you don’t read them all, there is further discussion after the list of symptoms.):

    1. GLIB AND SUPERFICIAL CHARM — the tendency to be smooth, engaging, charming, slick, and verbally facile. Psychopathic charm is not in the least shy, self-conscious, or afraid to say anything. A psychopath never gets tongue-tied. He can also be a great listener, to simulate empathy while zeroing in on his targets’ dreams and vulnerabilities, to be able to manipulate them better.

    2. GRANDIOSE SELF-WORTH — a grossly inflated view of one’s abilities and self-worth, self-assured, opinionated, cocky, a braggart. Psychopaths are arrogant people who believe they are superior human beings.

    3. NEED FOR STIMULATION or PRONENESS TO BOREDOM — an excessive need for novel, thrilling, and exciting stimulation; taking chances and doing things that are risky. Psychopaths often have a low self-discipline in carrying tasks through to completion because they get bored easily. They fail to work at the same job for any length of time, for example, or to finish tasks that they consider dull or routine.

    4. PATHOLOGICAL LYING — can be moderate or high; in moderate form, they will be shrewd, crafty, cunning, sly, and clever; in extreme form, they will be deceptive, deceitful, underhanded, unscrupulous, manipulative and dishonest.

    5. CONNING AND MANIPULATIVENESS: the use of deceit and deception to cheat, con, or defraud others for personal gain; distinguished from Item #4 in the degree to which exploitation and callous ruthlessness is present, as reflected in a lack of concern for the feelings and suffering of one’s victims.

    6. LACK OF REMORSE OR GUILT: a lack of feelings or concern for the losses, pain, and suffering of victims; a tendency to be unconcerned, dispassionate, coldhearted and unempathic. This item is usually demonstrated by a disdain for one’s victims.

    7. SHALLOW AFFECT: emotional poverty or a limited range or depth of feelings; interpersonal coldness in spite of signs of open gregariousness and superficial warmth.

    8. CALLOUSNESS and LACK OF EMPATHY: a lack of feelings toward people in general; cold, contemptuous, inconsiderate, and tactless.

    9. PARASITIC LIFESTYLE: an intentional, manipulative, selfish, and exploitative financial dependence on others as reflected in a lack of motivation, low self-discipline and the inability to carry through one’s responsibilities.

    10. POOR BEHAVIORAL CONTROLS: expressions of irritability, annoyance, impatience, threats, aggression and verbal abuse; inadequate control of anger and temper; acting hastily.

    11. PROMISCUOUS SEXUAL BEHAVIOR: a variety of brief, superficial relations, numerous affairs, and an indiscriminate selection of sexual partners; the maintenance of numerous, multiple relationships at the same time; a history of attempts to sexually coerce others into sexual activity (rape) or taking great pride at discussing sexual exploits and conquests.

    12. EARLY BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS: a variety of behaviors prior to age 13, including lying, theft, cheating, vandalism, bullying, sexual activity, fire-setting, glue-sniffing, alcohol use and running away from home.

    13. LACK OF REALISTIC, LONG-TERM GOALS: an inability or persistent failure to develop and execute long-term plans and goals; a nomadic existence, aimless, lacking direction in life.

    14. IMPULSIVITY: the occurrence of behaviors that are unpremeditated and lack reflection or planning; inability to resist temptation, frustrations and momentary urges; a lack of deliberation without considering the consequences; foolhardy, rash, unpredictable, erratic and reckless.

    15. IRRESPONSIBILITY: repeated failure to fulfill or honor obligations and commitments; such as not paying bills, defaulting on loans, performing sloppy work, being absent or late to work, failing to honor contractual agreements.

    16. FAILURE TO ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR OWN ACTIONS: a failure to accept responsibility for one’s actions reflected in low conscientiousness, an absence of dutifulness, antagonistic manipulation, denial of responsibility, and an effort to manipulate others through this denial.

    17. MANY SHORT-TERM RELATIONSHIPS: a lack of commitment to a long-term relationship reflected in inconsistent, undependable, and unreliable commitments in life, including in marital and familial bonds.

    18. JUVENILE DELINQUENCY: behavior problems between the ages of 13-18; mostly behaviors that are crimes or clearly involve aspects of antagonism, exploitation, aggression, manipulation, or a callous, ruthless tough-mindedness.

    19. REVOCATION OF CONDITION RELEASE: a revocation of probation or other conditional release due to technical violations, such as carelessness, low deliberation or failing to appear.

    20. CRIMINAL VERSATILITY: a diversity of types of criminal offenses, regardless if the person has been arrested or convicted for them; taking great pride at getting away with crimes or wrongdoings.

    Some of our most cherished ideas about psychopaths are flat out wrong. While bad parenting often results in violent, dysfunctional people, it is easy to find violent psychopathic monsters who were raised ideally in every way. Nurturing environment, loving parents, and yet one day they commit some horrific crime.

    So, the question is this: now that we know and can identify the brain condition that IS psychopathy, what can or should we do to prevent that 50% of violent crimes which they cause.

    Strangely, we often admire and appreciate psychopaths. Many of our leading politicians, athletes, and business leaders are psychopaths, as are people run charitable programs. Successful doctors are often psychopaths because they can set emotions aside and make starkly practical decisions.

    There’s another question to be answered, and it’s primarily an ethical one. Since psychopathy is a dysfunction of the brain, to what extent can we hold psychopaths responsible for any crimes they may commit?

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  70. Gliese,

    “If you actually wanted answers you could have found them here.”

    I already have the answers, but most here disagree.. hence the need for
    debate, so all can know the truth.. again, I don’t understand why this is
    so hard to grasp.

    Like

  71. kc,

    “Yet when I tried to explain to her how these things she brought up had a natural explanation she said my answers weren’t good enough. ”

    Did I give reasons WHY I said your answers weren’t good enough? I did. Did you respond to those reasons? You did not. Instead you make an unsupported accusation..

    “Translation = your answers are not what I wanted to hear or was looking for.”

    Sorry kc, this isn’t how it works.

    Like

  72. I already have the answers, but most here disagree.. hence the need for debate, so all can know the truth..

    What could possibly convince a middle-aged (if you live to be 100!) high school dropout that they possess THE TRUTH?

    Like

  73. Jason,

    “Debate and dialogue can be helpful in finding truth, but connecting legitimate evidence tends to be far more effective. Like how it was discovered that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Oh right, Christianity wasn’t receptive to that truth either as it was at odds with Genesis.
    Pretty sure in that case, debate actually prevented understanding of that truth. That tends to be a common trend with Christianity. Just like your hesitance to accept evolution without a full observation of it, which we now have.”

    It’s important that the evidence is objectively processed.

    Your example of “Christianity” not being receptive to the truth is a poor example.. where in the NT does is prove this about Christianity? And where is it “at odds” with Genesis about the Earth and the Sun?? That’s more of that false atheist/ liberal propaganda.

    You’re talking about the Catholic Church I believe.. they don’t define Christianity. They did many things that were not in line with NT teachings.

    Like

  74. Or send me an email and I’ll refresh your memory.” – translation: “I’ve tossed your email address, arch!”

    I’ll send it in the am Nan, I’m weary.

    Like

  75. You’re talking about the Catholic Church I believe.. they don’t define Christianity.

    The Catholic Church defined Christianity for over 1600 years – it even decided which books would be in the NT, and which would not. As usual, you lack knowledge.

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  76. Of possible interest:

    An exaptation is just one example of a characteristic that evolved, but that is not considered an adaptation. Stephen Gould and Elizabeth Vrba proposed the vocabulary to let biologists talk about features that are and are not adaptations:

    Adaptation
    A feature produced by natural selection for its current function (such as echolocation in bats).

    Exaptation
    A feature that performs a function, but that was not produced by natural selection for its current use. Perhaps the feature was produced by natural selection for a function other than the one it currently performs and was then co-opted for its current function.

    For example, feathers might have originally arisen in the context of selection for insulation, and only later were they co-opted for flight. In this case, the general form of feathers is an adaptation for insulation and an exaptation for flight.

    The Knowledge Guild

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  77. Ruth, I have often wondered if these healings which take place in Churches are real, would it not make more sense for Churches to liquidate and set up shop in every hospital in the world. Now that would be a testimony.

    Well, I think their answer would be that this healing is only for believers and not everyone in the hospital is a believer. And I do think the Bible says that the ill person should request this of their elders.

    That having been said, none of the healings that I am personally aware of have been miraculous in nature. Rare on occasion, but still with perfection natural explanations.

    My friend who tells her story about her child with scoliosis fails to mention in her testimony that the healing service was the week prior to her child’s final visit with the specialist, where he had already told them she was making progress and that he thought her spinal correction therapy should be coming to a close. They were praying for a result that had already been predicted.

    The two people who had cancer that I mentioned? Their physicians had already given the little hope and only months to live.

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  78. If someone being “healed” or getting over an illness is god’s grace and mercy, then when sick children die, is that the opposite of god’s grace?

    If suffering and dying children are not a sign that god has abandoned them or that he has refused to heal them, then why do we suggest that people getting well has anything to do with god?

    So think of all people you know who were sick but got better. Now imagine all the children with horrible and painful diseases that suffer and die. If god looks out for the physical well being of some, why doesn’t he take care of the children?

    I’m only suggesting that people who eventually get over their illnesses are in no way good or compelling evidence for divine healing.

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  79. Macro evolution has much more empirical evidence than the bible has for being from god.

    at a quick survey glance, macro evolution has:

    1. DNA
    2. Fossil record. Older species being deeper, with transitional species being not as deep, with modern species being at the top. Additionally, similarities that one would expect through macro evolution are present.
    3. observable evolution on a smaller scale (micro evolution) – which shows us in real time that species evolve.
    4. correct predictions, both made and observed from, and through, the above

    and for the bible’s divine claims:

    1. a book, written by men, that claims to speak for god, which has more that 41,000 recognized interpretations…

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  80. “I realize that there could be possible explanations.. but what are they? It’s like turning the atheist’s argument around.. what would it take for you to believe it’s something of a supernatural source? Clearly, video will never be enough.” – Kathy

    Kathy, it would take about the same that it took for those in the bible – witnessing first hand some indisputable supernatural event – like a loved one rising from the dead, or growing limbs back onto a legless or arm-less person I knew, or parting the red sea, or fire from heaven that consumed an alter I built, or the sun moving backwards after asking god to do that, etc…

    You know, the typical stuff.

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  81. “They all attempt to, but they fail. Christianity is the only religion (faith) that gives a reasonable explanation (for our existence).” – Kathy

    Kathy, you’re just making a baseless claim. What are the reasonable explanations?
    Are you referring to genesis 1 and 2? Where god made the universe in 6 days, less than 10 thousand years ago, when all the physical evidence points towards the earth being millions and millions of years old? Are you referring to genesis 1 and 2, chapters that cant agree on where god brought the birds from?

    Or are you referring to a perfect god, who needs and lacks nothing, that wanted or needed to create people to worship him, telling him how great he is? a god who made man fallible, and decided to punish them for being fallible, and then made a rule where he had to sacrifice his own son, who is also himself, to save all of mankind, while only saving some and condemning the rest?

    In what way does the bible giver a reasonable explanation?

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  82. 1 Cor 2:14 seems a lot like the “Emperor’s New Clothes” and may be only written there to try an explain why the bible doesn’t make sense.

    “oh, it’s just that it doesn’t appear to make sense to sinful people, while righteous people will understand it perfectly… you are righteous aren’t you? If you were sinful, that would be bad, but you look very righteous, so i am sure you understand what I’m talking about…”

    “oh, it’s just that foolish people cant see the clothes I’m making, because these clothes are so special, that only the wise can see them. You do see them right? You’re not an idiot are you? You look smart, so i’m sure you see how marvelous these clothes are…”

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  83. 1 Cor 2:14 seems a lot like the “Emperor’s New Clothes” and may be only written there to try an explain why the bible doesn’t make sense.

    Or another way of saying, ‘you have to believe in order to believe’.

    Like

  84. Some friends and I take trips snowboarding in Victoria, Hotham. This year we went to Falls Creek instead.

    Love the feeling….although I have never dropped off slopes like that! 😛 I’ve drilled myself on far less impressive runs…fell off a box onto my wrist.

    Kind of like this, but in the snow….and admittedly more swearing :/

    So much fun though. Most favouritest sport. Managed to do every run on the mountain while we were there 🙂

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  85. Or are you referring to a perfect god, who needs and lacks nothing, that wanted or needed to create people to worship him, telling him how great he is? a god who made man fallible, and decided to punish them for being fallible, and then made a rule where he had to sacrifice his own son, who is also himself, to save all of mankind, while only saving some and condemning the rest?

    Makes perfect sense =)

    Like

  86. When is it ever acceptable to:

    1.)Take young virgin girls as your prize of war ?

    Numbers 31:31-40 (NLT)
    31 So Moses and Eleazar the priest did as the Lord commanded Moses.
    32 The plunder remaining from everything the fighting men had taken totaled 675,000 sheep and goats, 33 72,000 cattle, 34 61,000 donkeys, 35 and 32,000 virgin girls.
    36 Half of the plunder was given to the fighting men. It totaled 337,500 sheep and goats, 37 of which 675 were the Lord’s share; 38 36,000 cattle, of which 72 were the Lord’s share; 39 30,500 donkeys, of which 61 were the Lord’s share; 40 and 16,000 virgin girls, of whom 32 were the Lord’s share.

    2.) Have a man take your wives and have sex with them in public for all to see ?

    2 Samuel 12:
    11 “‘Because of what you have done, I, the LORD, will cause your own household to rebel against you. I will give your wives to another man, and he will go to bed with them in public view. 12 You did it secretly, but I will do this to you openly in the sight of all Israel.'”

    I have had many Christians admit these events are totally unacceptable but will say , “God’s ways are not always explainable , we just have to trust and believe”

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  87. My wife is a Christian and I showed her the surveillance video of the supposed “ghost” and she was not very impressed. I don’t think she is going to worry about ghosts lurking about anytime soon.

    There are plenty of normal explanations for it:
    1. Something small on the lens of the camera.
    2. Cross-video feed as Ken explained sounds reasonable (I don’t see the “ghost” going behind anything.)
    3. The guy wanted to get on TV and doctored the videos. Sitting watching cameras all day must be pretty boring.

    Why should we add so many assumptions when something is not readily explained? Dead people coming back to life (or demons) walking around police stations? Does God give them the power to control small amounts of atoms so they can appear like foggy humans walking around?

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  88. I have had many Christians admit these events are totally unacceptable but will say , “God’s ways are not always explainable , we just have to trust and believe”

    Well, yeah, kc. God’s ways are higher(?) than our ways. You can’t possibly understand his reason for commanding these things. He is God and you have no right to judge him. You have no excuse not to worship him.

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  89. if videos of “ghosts” are good evidence for the supernatural, then video of UFO’s and Aliens are good evidences of intelligent Extra terrestrials and ancient aliens.

    This actually illustrates how poor the evidence for the bible is. Most people dont even find video to be convincing for ridiculous things like aliens, bigfoot, nessy, ghosts, miracles or magic – yet we’re supposed to simply buy off on the wild claims of men, whom we dont know, and who do not provide any evidence beyond their claims?

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  90. What? William, you don’t believe that footage of Big Foot and Nessie is real?!? I’m…well, I just don’t know what to say about that. It’s all right there on camera.

    :/sarcasm

    I think someone put razor blades in my cereal this morning.

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  91. Ruth, I did take your earlier comment as sarcasm. Thank you for the link about the ghost video. I’m sure this WON’T be good enough evidence for Kathy because it excludes the supernatural, but it’s good enough for the rest of us. 🙂

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  92. one video of a supposed ghost walking around gets all this media attention, but numerous dead people rising from their graves and walking around Jerusalem after jesus’ death isnt noteworthy enough for anyone other than Matthew to record… and matthew doesnt even record it until many years later?

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  93. “Why should we add so many assumptions when something is not readily explained? ”

    Good point Dave ! I would add, “Why are many of the assumptions supernatural?”

    When do we ever read a headline which says, ” Insect walks across camera lens simulating a ghost”

    Supernatural “Sells”

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  94. Ruth,

    A couple of problems with the insect theory.. 1st, you can see legs in the image.. legs that are a lot bulkier than insect legs would be in proportion to the overall size.

    2nd, again, the image goes behind the transformer at the end and then reappears again.. what did the insect go behind on the lens?

    Also, how do we know ghosts cast shadows? It would seem that they wouldn’t considering they can go through objects.

    And would the image of an insect on the lens be white?

    Too many problems with the insect explanation.

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  95. “Too many problems with the insect explanation.” – kathy

    so we can safely rule out insects and ghosts – since there’s a lot of problems with the ghost explanation…

    Like

  96. I find it interesting, William, that except for the Jesus myths, the more sophisticated Mankind got, via association with other cultures, the more the grandiose miracles, like sea-parting and pillars of fire, dwindled off.

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  97. agreed, and eventually whittled down to “well, if you don’t have faith, then i cant work my miracle…”

    great evidence. Jesus gave this excuse not to perform miracles so that many might believe.

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  98. oh, problems with the ghost explanation? well, the first would be the “ghost” part.

    and if the ghosts can manifest enough of an appearance, then it stands to reason they’d have some type of shadow.

    KC’s explanation makes the most sense, and if we;re saying that ghosts don’t need shadows and that they can walk through walls, then that’s simply making things up as you go and is all guess work and conjecture.

    besides, why are you advocating ghosts anyways? Didnt the story of Lazarus and the Rich man that jesus told show that god didn’t let people come back?

    what, besides the this questionable video and the word of a few superstitious people, is there that gives credit to the ghost story?

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  99. Kathy,

    Did you even read the article? Did you watch the video linked in the article?

    The “ghost” doesn’t disappear behind anything. It’s on top. And if an insect was crawling across the lens it would be distorted. I’ve watched and watched that video and I still haven’t found those legs. It looks like it could be wings fluttering. But, yeah, you’re right the bug theory has way more problems than the ghost theory. Whatever. You’re convinced it’s supernatural. Carry on.

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  100. Yeah, and as far as the ghost walking behind something, it’s just a light, whitish blur that either moves in front of or behind and bright white spot on camera…

    It could merely be that white gets lost in white, and not that anything is walking behind something else.

    anything known and natural makes more sense that ghosts.

    I mean really? if vampires cant be caught on camera, why would ghosts – Am I right?

    it was an alien bigfoot wearing predator camouflage. It’s right there on camera – try to deny it.

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  101. Ruth, your comment at the end implies a bias/ lack of objectivity. You clearly favor a “rational” explanation.

    And the figure doesn’t go “over” the transformer.. it’s taller than the transformer, so you see the top portion.. but the bottom portion disappears and reappears.

    And I think you’re the only one disputing what appears to be legs.

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  102. You clearly favor a “rational” explanation.

    Hahahaha! As if that’s a bad thing. Yes, I am biased toward a rational explanation rather than the irrational ghost one.

    You didn’t answer my question. Did you read the Discovery article? Did you watch the video?

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  103. Because of the distortion the image is a bit opaque, which means if it walks on top of something light colored you’re not going to be able to see it.

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  104. Why Kathy, THERE you are! Missed you last night – I hoped thought you’d been raptured —

    how do we know ghosts cast shadows? It would seem that they wouldn’t considering they can go through objects.

    It’s simple, Kathy, but then you’d have to know things that aren’t in the Bible in order to understand it, so I can see why you don’t. The only way we can see the object – call it a “ghost” if you like – is because it reflects light back to our eyes. For every particle of light that strikes our eyes, there is a similar space on the other side of the object that isn’t lighted – put enough of those together, and you have a shadow.

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  105. Also, how do we know ghosts cast shadows? It would seem that they wouldn’t considering they can go through objects.

    Kathy, since you are the expert on ghosts here, riddle me this: If the ghost can walk through objects (like the fence in the video), how come it is walking on the ground? Shouldn’t it pass through the ground too?

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  106. Seriously though.. the entire video and the object in question is way too blurry to tell whether it is something walking on two legs or not.

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  107. That’s amazing – I put out material last night on at least two good new topics – I thought the bit about psychopaths was killer (pun intended) – and here we are, still arguing about Kathy’s ghost on videotape. Am I sensing the subtle hint of a co-dependent relationship here? No wonder she hangs around. I have a similar relationship with a stray cat that drops by my place periodically for handouts.

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  108. What problems with the ghost explanation?” – well, there ain’t no such thing as ghosts, for starters —

    Like

  109. As far as new topics, what about the Persian Empire. Was it the Medo-Persian Empire, or simply the Persian Empire?

    Arch, can you tie this into cats and killers?

    Like

  110. Arch, everybody appreciates a good ghost story….sigh. Meanwhile, I’m still laughing.

    Anyway I did read your info on psychopaths and have done a couple of posts in the past about psychopathy and/or sociopathy. I think we all display at least some of those characteristics so it would be difficult without proper evaluation by a psychiatrist to diagnose such a thing. Even if you are a psychopath but are not sociopathic it might not be such a bad thing. Many people who are driven or ambitious have those characteristics. While it may make social interaction a bit more difficult but that can be overcome as well.

    Like

  111. I may have broken a rule. The referenced I cited says WARNING: Do not cite! I didn’t notice that before so, Nate, take it away. Please.

    Like

  112. Ruth, your comment at the end implies a bias/ lack of objectivity. You clearly favor a “rational” explanation.” – Yeah, Ruth, what’s wrong with you, preferring a rational explanation to an irrational one! What’sa matter you?!

    Like

  113. Ruth, I’ve tried researching the medo-persian thing, but I cannot tell if the sources like you referenced only say it is sometimes referred to as “medo-persia” because the bible does, or if there are other sources.

    I know the book on Daniel and Esther make reference in one way or another to the Medes and persians, but as far as i can tell, all of secular history, to include the Persians’ history, only refer to the Persians who conquered Media and many other nations.

    I think Daniel was written after the Persian Empire had fallen, so is Daniel’s reference to Medes and persians an error copied from Esther? and was Esther even wrong when it cites “the Law of the Medes and Persians?”

    I think there’s other issues with Esther, but for now I am curious about a medo-persian vs persian empire,

    Like

  114. As far as new topics, what about the Persian Empire. Was it the Medo-Persian Empire, or simply the Persian Empire?

    Arch, can you tie this into cats and killers?

    The Persian cat caught a mouse.

    Like

  115. William,

    I did a Beth Moore Bible Study on Daniel. She talks a lot about the Medo-Persian Empire being the silver part of the statue that ole Neb saw in Daniel 2 and the Bear in Daniel 7. I’ll have to dig that study book back out and see what’s in there. I’m sure I remember that the study covers how the Medo-Persian Empire came about. I’ll let you know what I find.

    Meanwhile, here’s a picture from the study book:

    Like

  116. Since I owned a security business in my past, I happen to have 10 security cameras at my residence which is a house , garage, and a 30 x 60 metal building all on 10 acres of wooded land. All of my cameras have night vision. The 5 outdoor cameras are also mounted close to floodlights which in warm weather draws insects (at night).

    YES Kathy, insects appear to be WHITE when viewed from cameras equipped with night vision when viewing them AT night !

    Why do you continue to argue with people who give answers based on their expertise and/or experience when you have NO expertise in the subject ?

    http://youtu.be/Bwz5gC–hK0 See how WHITE this spider looks !!!!!

    Like

  117. Yeah, Ruth, what’s wrong with you, preferring a rational explanation to an irrational one! What’sa matter you?!

    I dunno. Call me crazy.

    Wait…

    Like

  118. Ruth, how the hell did you do that? I’ve been trying for a year now to post an image to a WP blog – I followed Nate’s advice to the letter, and even HE conceded that maybe only administrators can do it. Yet here it is! Dish, Girl! I gotta know!

    Like

  119. Ruth, I recall the story from Daniel and Neb’s vision.

    Nate actually did a series, or a copy of a series on Daniel that’s pretty interesting. It suggest that Daniel was actually implying that the Median and Persian Empire were the first two empires, not just the first.

    Daniel mentions all the other nations except for Rome and after Alexander died, the greek empire splintered into 4 separate nations.

    The one ruling over Judah was especially hard on the jews and eventually led to the Maccabean revolt.

    Another thing of note is that Daniel’s history is pretty bad until he begins talking about the time after Alexander’s death. It’s worth reading. If this view is correct, then rome was not predicted by Daniel and the kingdom should have been restored prior to them taking power and well before jesus.

    However, the mention of Medes and persians in Esther may interrupt part of that view of daniel, if it’s even legit at all…

    The Persians conquered Media and then Conquered Babylon. media didnt willfully join persia and there was no mistaking that Cyrus the Persian was in charge.

    Like

  120. I didn’t know you could do that either. When I was trying to link to Nate’s “How to Format Comments” page the other day for Carmen the instructions were there. This is the first time I’ve used it.

    Like

  121. Why do you continue to argue with people who give answers based on their expertise and/or experience when you have NO expertise in the subject ? – KC

    Me! Me! Let me answer that! Because she LIKES to argue!!! Hasn’t that become obvious by now? It’s her way of being “objective.”

    Like

  122. Why do you continue to argue with people who give answers based on their expertise and/or experience when you have NO expertise in the subject ? – KC

    I actually think it’s due to a huge bias toward the bible. In this case, she is making a connection between the bible and ghosts because they can both be said to be supernatural.

    I think that in her mind, she thinks that if she can get a nonbeliever to admit to the possibility of ghosts, then that admission somehow will give her room to claim that you’re only discounting the bible because you want to be sinful, and due to real skepticism, since you already admit to belief in the supernatural.

    If this theory about her is right, then she doesn’t even realize that ghosts and the bible only share that very loose and weak connection. It’s almost like saying the USA and north korea are the same since they’re both places on earth.

    but, the ghost video is silly and the bible was written by men.

    she basically admitted to leaning toward the supernatural and criticized ruth for her bias toward the rational… I’m not sure kathy understands what is going on.

    Like

  123. “I’m not sure kathy understands what is going on.”

    duh…, do you think?

    the TRUTH is, she knows exactly what is going on,
    she’s using you as part of her game.
    she thinks you are all idiots
    and she’s making your blog all about Kathy and her nonsense.

    one day, you’ll learn that and stop engaging her.

    Like

  124. I think your theory is Valid, William.

    Saint Paulie, your point is well taken.

    Nan, you’re right on target !

    I guess I continue to engage her because it is hard for me to believe someone can be that ___________ (fill in the blank) 🙂

    Like

  125. it really is all of our loss.

    do you think maybe Kathy is a ghost?
    she haunts the internet. (?)
    she appears as a big white blur on video. (?)

    logic and reason say “NO”,
    but my pride and ego says “YES”

    Like

  126. This is good training. I am not sure what it is good training for, but I am sure it will prove useful.

    Kathy, do you know there is a very small parasite that lives only in human eyelashes? It is fascinating and disgusting. You have some on you right now. Oh yes, you do.

    Why, do you think, would a deity DO that? It doesn’t seem necessary for an omnipotent being to have done that.

    Like

  127. I’ll check on it KC, I’ve been a bit busy today over on John Zandt’s site.

    It’s been my personal experience that Neuro doesn’t need any help – I’ve only feared two women in my life, Victoria Neuronotes and Carla, from Cheers.

    Like

  128. where is Kathy, you ask?
    well, ironically she is harassing a mormon on twatter,
    claiming that joseph smith is false prophet,
    when Kathy herself follows a false prophet.

    and hysterically, she is doing it with a @greggutfeld attachment,
    even though he wisely banned her for stalking him.

    oh, lol,

    Like

  129. Ghosts in the Bible:

    11 Then the woman asked, “Whom shall I bring up for you?” “Bring up Samuel,” he said. 12 When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out at the top of her voice and said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!” 13 The king said to her, “Don’t be afraid. What do you see?” The woman said, “I see a ghostly figure coming up out of the earth.” 14 “What does he look like?” he asked. “An old man wearing a robe is coming up,” she said. Then Saul knew it was Samuel, and he bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground. 15 Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” “I am in great distress,” Saul said. “The Philistines are fighting against me, and God has departed from me. He no longer answers me, either by prophets or by dreams. So I have called on you to tell me what to do.” 16 Samuel said, “Why do you consult me, now that the Lord has departed from you and become your enemy? 17 The Lord has done what he predicted through me. The Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hands and given it to one of your neighbors—to David. 18 Because you did not obey the Lord or carry out his fierce wrath against the Amalekites, the Lord has done this to you today. 19 The Lord will deliver both Israel and you into the hands of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. ~ 1 Samuel 28:11-19

    Like

  130. When I was a kid my parents would not let me be a ghost for Halloween. I should have asked to be Samuel from the Bible.

    Like

  131. Here, she’s having an all-caps hissy fit:

    #
    Kathy ‏@kayms99 Jun 11

    @YourGodsAMyth MY GOD REAL.. I CLAIM IT IS CORROBORATIVE EVIDENCE FOR GOD’S EXISTENCE. Extremely COMPELLING EVIDENCE.

    #
    James D. Webber ‏@DeathbyRuRu Jun 11

    @kayms99 @YourGodsAMyth Wow. Screaming. There is corroborative evidence for a lot of things, doesn’t make them true.

    Like

  132. @kayms99 @YourGodsAMyth Wow. Screaming. There is corroborative evidence for a lot of things, doesn’t make them true.

    Oh my! Where have I heard that before? But her claim is her evidence, you see.

    @JZ

    Hilarity!

    Like

  133. I know there are fossils that are similar. But where are the fossils that show macro evolution? Where a species evolved from another species? ~ Kathy

    Check out this photo: Basilosaurus. When the first Basilosaurus fossil was discovered it was mistakenly identified as a land animal, probably because of the legs. However, it was an aquatic animal that used it front legs as paddles and the rear legs are leftover from it’s land-dwelling ancestors. For comparison, look at this photo of an earlier, land-dwelling animal: Malacetus.

    Not sure if this is what you are looking for or not. Jasonjshaw gave an example above as well. You’ll never find a hippo giving birth to a whale. That’s just not possible. You have to look for small changes over time. Macro evolution is just lots of small micro evolutions.

    Here is more information about whale evolution: link

    Like

  134. They are the best kind of aliens though 🙂 I’d be all for them.

    I mean the little green ones on the video

    I don’t think they are meant to represent non believers..to me they represent everyone 🙂

    Like

  135. they’re not green Portal, they are grayish

    Paul,

    I can’t say you didn’t see them, after all I wasn’t there 🙂

    I’m a fairly open minded person I think, but I am sceptical.

    I don’t mean any disrespect

    Like

  136. Ryan,

    I’m a fairly open minded person I think, but I am sceptical.

    Good, so you can relate. Try to imagine someone telling you that you will be punished for eternity for being sceptical and then you’ll get a little better idea where we are coming from.

    Like

  137. portal, it doesn’t matter if you are skeptical. most people are. I don’t feel disrespected.

    it pretty much is one of those, “you have to see it to believe it” type things.

    and I’ve seen it, and touched it, so I believe it.

    I just wish they would come back and get me the hell outta here. 🙂

    Like

  138. This is my first time to insert an image, so not sure if it will work. If it does, I thought it would be something most of you would enjoy. If it doesn’t, then I guess I need lessons like Arch. 😉

    Like

  139. I just wish they would come back and get me the hell outta here.

    Hey Paul, don’t say that

    then I wouldn’t have met you digitally 🙂

    or you would be directly beamed into my brain from their mothership…

    either/or

    Like

  140. Sorry Howie just saw your comment…

    Yeah def can see where you are coming from.

    during my short life I’ve spent time thinking about God….not necessarily any more than other people, I don’t know what goes on inside them, but its been a focus for me.

    I think you can be both sceptical and open to God. To me, God is Love. He loved us first.

    Like

  141. @ Nan,

    I’m working on something, myself. But am quite certain I’m on a list of prayer chains even as we speak. “Why?”, you might ask. I have a feeling I’ve got a demon at least attached to me. o_O

    Like

  142. “To me, God is Love. He loved us first.”

    Translation: Momma is love. She loved you first. Fed you, clothed you, came to you when you cried. Comforted you in her bosoms. The fact that you identify god with a male appears to be an indoctrination of sorts. And/or — it’s you — you are identifying with one of your hemispheres more so than the other. We have two senses of ourselves.

    Like

  143. Translation: Momma is love. She loved you first. Fed you, clothed you, came to you when you cried. Comforted you in her bosoms. The fact that you identify god with a male appears to be an indoctrination of sorts. And/or — it’s you — you are identifying with one of your hemispheres more so than the other. We have two senses of ourselves.

    For sure, I love my parents, where did my parents come from? We didn’t place ourselves here. I am so blessed to know my mum, and she did a terrific job raising us…acknowledging God to me is an extension of this, since people do brilliant things, but they do brilliant things because they find themselves here to respond to those around them.

    God is Spirit. No one has ever seen God. I believe God gives us self awareness and capacity. I also believe He revealed Himself physically in Christ.

    Like

  144. Haha, Ryan — no, not unless you want to. Btw, I love dance/trance/techno music. This one you posted, not so much, lol. I use trance to entrain sometimes. Releases lots of endorphins. That one video you posted the other day I loved. Not the lyrics but the music. I think you have good taste in music, btw.

    Here one of my favs, but I have many.

    But if you have problems falling asleep, I’ll turn you on to some effective brainwave entrainment to lower your brainwave.

    Like

  145. I’ve always liked the sound of “mum” Ryan.

    As far as the God that you believe in, do you have an opinion on whether it’s a She, He, or It? Ever thought about where the He may have come from?

    Like

  146. Victoria, listening to it now, I like it 🙂

    Yeah I’m a big fan of trance. I really like the group faithless, despite the name haha 🙂

    My friend got me into brainwave entrainment. I find Delta and Gamma brainwaves really interesting. Don’t know heaps about it though.

    I was reading up on them awhile back. Alph, Beta ect 🙂

    have you heard of these guys

    I find them relaxing.

    Like

  147. @Ruth — not sure what you’re referring to? Did I miss something?

    I was referring to the demonic possession in your pie chart. I have a friend who I’m certain had me on every prayer chain in the county, and maybe even the surrounding counties, by sundown Sunday afternoon. We had a conversation in which she….well….everything is potentially demonic.

    Like

  148. not to give the wrong impression

    also just to clarify, I don’t do drugs now despite what the music might suggest 🙂 I just like the music.

    Not that I really ever did anything often before anyway…

    Like

  149. also just to clarify, I don’t do drugs now despite what the music might suggest 🙂 I just like the music.

    Not that I really ever did anything often before anyway…

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Nobody’s judging you, Ryan. 😛

    Like

  150. Ahhh, I see. Well, you know, you have to watch out for those sneaky demons. They’ll grab you every chance they get! Must always remember to think “pure” thoughts. *snicker*

    Like

  151. Ruth,

    I’m pretty hyper sensitive, those times I did experiment in the past were pretty intense, and it was not even the “hard stuff”.

    I figure if I’m seeking truth artificial chemicals are just going to distort and distract me from that.

    Like

  152. I’m pretty hyper sensitive…

    Don’t be so sensitive, Bubble Boy. I was just razzing you. 😛

    Seriously, drugs and alcohol aren’t my thing either. I drink socially and I’ve never done any illicit drugs. I don’t even take pain meds when they’re prescribed.

    Like

  153. “not to give the wrong impression

    also just to clarify, I don’t do drugs now despite what the music might suggest 🙂 I just like the music.”

    Ryan, just for the record, we all do “drugs”. Drugs release dopamine. Studies show that male ejaculation parallels the rush of heroin and from the same parts of the brain. http://www.jneurosci.org/content/23/27/9185.abstract

    Some people do Jesus — and get huge hits of dopamine. Studies show that dopaminergic activation is the leading neurochemical feature associated with religious activity. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16439158

    Some eat lots of fatty or sugary foods and get into thrill seeking (novelty). Some do all of the above and are “dope” junkies. 😀

    Like

  154. Hey arch, apparently if you just post the link to an image, WP pulls it in for you. That’s all these guys were doing…

    Just like posting a video

    Like

  155. Ruth,

    yeah 🙂

    I’m the same, I don’t take panadol ever, thankfully haven’t needed to.

    I also steer clear of alcohol and pot now. But that’s just me 🙂

    I do caffeine.

    Sometimes I’ll black out from a night of espressos, and wake up in the middle of the city,

    with no shoes…and a tattoo of Jimmy Rogers

    go figure.

    Like

  156. Ryan,

    Jimmy Rogers or Jimmie Rodgers? And why him? Good lord, man, you need to find yourself a better tattoo artist. One who won’t let you ink yourself while your high. 😉

    Like

  157. I think there is a difference Victoria.

    I agree with you that there are natural chemicals that our body produces….and dopamine is one of those.

    My understanding and limited experience is that certain drugs distract and distort our understanding of reality, this kind of prevents me from seeking what’s true, hence why I try to steer clear of them…

    Not all drugs are equal though….and it really depends on the concentration. Anything chemical concentrated enough becomes poison

    Like

  158. “Not all drugs are equal though….and it really depends on the concentration. Anything chemical concentrated enough becomes poison”

    Exactly right, Ryan. These hard drugs release dopamine, lots of it. That’s what people are feeling, not the actual chemical but the release of their own bio-chemical. And too much dopamine can do the same thing you mentioned. Here’s what the studies show — and it’s no different than what can happen to a hard-drug addict’s behavior:

    “Too much dopamine can disrupt normal cognition and emotion, leading to gross errors of judgment and imperviousness to risk, not to mention huge egocentricity and lack of empathy for others.” Dr. Ian Robertson

    People who have certain common neurological disorder, and become hyper-religious are given medication to curtail dopamine.

    Like

  159. Jimmie* Rodgers

    sorry Ruth, Caffeine does that to you,

    starts off as that cheeky cup out on the town…then pretty soon your downing lattes before 12….

    then come the affogato’s….next thing you know..

    your living in a cardboard box, with no legs…broken by little Ronnie and his gang of starbucks thugs.

    sometimes you think of going down to decaf and cleaning yourself up….

    cans of instant littered across the pavement. your only remaining possession….1 busted up carton of full cream milk….

    BTW we don’t really get starbucks here, when I was in the states I found its coffee terrible

    Like

  160. Did anyone see this? http://thinkprogress.org/sports/2014/09/30/3573748/husain-abdullah-muslim-prayer-nfl/

    From the article: Whereas Christian NFL players such as Tebow, Robert Griffin III, and Russell Wilson can openly perform their religion in ways that elicit praise, athletes like the Abdullah brothers must constantly explain and re-articulate their faith to others, and sometimes even fight for their right to express it during games.

    IOW, it’s OK if it’s Christian, but bad, bad, bad if it’s some other religion.

    Like

  161. People who have certain common neurological disorder, and become hyper-religious are given medication to curtail dopamine.

    I agree with you Victoria,

    But the existence of disorders doesn’t mean there is no God, at least I don’t see it that way.

    I really must go to bed,

    thanks for the conversations, keep safe 🙂

    Like

  162. Ryan,

    then come the affogato’s….next thing you know..

    your living in a cardboard box, with no legs…broken by little Ronnie and his gang of starbucks thugs.

    sometimes you think of going down to decaf and cleaning yourself up….

    cans of instant littered across the pavement. your only remaining possession….1 busted up carton of full cream milk….

    Jesus H. Christ, Ryan:

    https://i.chzbgr.com/maxW500/233065216/hDDD5364C/

    Btw, I’m not a big Starbucks fan, either. Way overpriced and entirely overrated, IMHO.

    Like

  163. Ruth,

    “You clearly favor a “rational” explanation.

    Hahahaha! As if that’s a bad thing. Yes, I am biased toward a rational explanation rather than the irrational ghost one.

    You didn’t answer my question. Did you read the Discovery article? Did you watch the video?

    Ruth
    September 29, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    And I’m serious. That really did make me laugh. I’m still laughing.”

    I’m glad you’re “still laughing” Ruth, but it only shows your lack of understanding of my comment (and quotation marks). And since it’s about objectivity, this doesn’t surprise me at all.

    Like

  164. Kc says..

    “Why do you continue to argue with people who give answers based on their expertise and/or experience when you have NO expertise in the subject ?

    http://youtu.be/Bwz5gC–hK0 See how WHITE this spider looks !!!!! ”

    This is also very typical of the liberal minded.. people who don’t have your “advanced” “knowledge” clearly should NEVER question you.. wow..

    And thanks for sharing that video kc.. it makes it very clear that the image is NOT an insect
    on the lens. There is no similarity except for the color.

    Like

  165. Kathy,

    Do you have an answer for why, in your opinion, a deity would have created tiny parasites that live in human eyelash follicles? I am asking because this is seriously something that I wonder about.

    Like

  166. If it doesn’t, then I guess I need lessons like Arch. 😉” – I hate ALL of you picture-putter-uppers! With a capital hate! Almost as much as I hate WordPress!

    Like

  167. And thanks for sharing that video kc.. it makes it very clear that the image is NOT an insect on the lens. There is no similarity except for the color. ~ Kathy

    Because a huge spider that is in focus would look just like a small, out of focus bug crawling across the camera lens. Yes, glad we can rule that out.

    Like

  168. apparently if you just post the link to an image” – that’s what I did last time, on the express advice of Mz Victoria Know-it-all-Neuronotes, and nothing happened!

    This is me, pasting the URL from where the image currently resides, somewhere, presumably, in space and time:

    Like

  169. “that’s what I did last time, on the express advice of Mz Victoria Know-it-all-Neuronotes, and nothing happened!”

    Arch, I explained to you that you left a ( ” ) at the end of that link you posted. That’s why the image didn’t post. Now behave.

    Like

  170. “This is also very typical of the liberal minded.. people who don’t have your “advanced” “knowledge” clearly should NEVER question you.. wow..”

    Kathy , as you do 99.9% of the time, you didn’t take the time to read what I wrote before you opened your MOUTH.

    Asking questions or even challenging comments is healthy . Arguing over something YOU know NOTHING about only shows YOUR lack of objectivity !

    Like

  171. Hey Mr Arch

    Hope I didn’t offend you before with the laughing man from kidsloveanimals.com

    I can’t really talk anyway, since I’m, not really heaps computer literate….yet 🙂

    Have a good night,

    I’m going to enjoy my afternoon

    Like

  172. I know it will be hard to believe, but I am an American, yet I have never had a Starbucks coffee. Until the mid-90’s, Denney’s made the best cup of coffee in the world, then they switched to a cheaper brand, and I haven’t been to a Denney’s since.

    Like

  173. You accidentally posted an ” at the end of your link. I used the same link you posted without the “

    You think you’re SOOOOOOOOOO smart, don’t you?
    (hangs head) Yeah, I noticed that —

    Like

  174. Arch,

    Count yourself fortunate you have never the bitter beverage of discontent that is Starbucks…

    Never had Denny’s though,

    I’ll leave you with this, because I suppose Mr. Fawlty drank copious amounts of coffee sometimes…

    Like

  175. Arch, you have never called me Victoria before.” – I tried calling you “Vicky” once, and THAT pissed you off at ME! We really didn’t get off to the best of starts, especially considering that I couldn’t see your “N℮üґ☼N☮☂℮ṧ” as being a decipherable name. I think we’ve come a long way, Baby —

    Like

  176. Arch, I explained to you that you left a ( ” ) at the end of that link you posted.” – but I didn’t read that until just a short while ago, because I was a little busy LIVING MY LIFE!

    Like

  177. You could never offend me, Portal – I love you like a brother from another mother – it’s not your fault you’re young and delusional —

    Like

  178. Portal, would you get your butt to bed? You are NOT going to blame ME for dragging your ass around all day tomorrow!

    Like

  179. It’s like 3:30pm where I am. I’m about to go to work” – I can only hope that you’re employed as a mattress tester —

    Like

  180. Dunkin’ Donuts has better coffee than Starbucks. I’ve only had Starbucks a few times. It’s not very prevalent here. I don’t do all those lattes and frappupcino flavored coffees dealios. I just want my coffee to taste like coffee. Fully leaded please.

    Like

  181. I’m glad you’re “still laughing” Ruth, but it only shows your lack of understanding of my comment (and quotation marks). And since it’s about objectivity, this doesn’t surprise me at all.

    Yes, clearly I’m the one here who lacks objectivity. You got me, Kathy.

    Now, I’m glad you could take the time to make this strawman argument but you still didn’t answer my question.

    Did you read the Discovery article? And did you watch the video linked in the article?

    I won’t hold my breath waiting for an answer. We all know you don’t like to answer questions.

    Like

  182. thanks William.

    Ruth, Kathy is currently on twitter demanding that a nice morman woman answer all of Kathy’s questions. you are right, she never answers a question, unless it is with another question..

    the only questions Kathy answers are the ones you have to answer to get food stamps,
    and I’m sure she lies when she is doing that.

    Like

  183. @ SaintPaulieGirrrll!,

    I’m not a twit so I haven’t checked it out. But I did see where you’d posted that she’d found a new pasture to fertilize and someone else to harass help find their objectivity.

    Like

  184. Truth.

    If someone is giving an account of an event they witnessed or feeling they experience, only they know if it’s actually truth or not.

    we, as the listener may have doubts or we may believe the person’s account – but we can’t really speak on the truth of the matter if it’s something we can’t investigate – like claims of certain events in the past or regarding a person’s feelings, etc.

    The bible, being a book of claims, is not something that we can KNOW is “truth.” Many people claim they are telling the “truth” when they share the gospel, but all they’re doing is espousing what they believe to be “truth,” which is based on the claims of the authors.

    believed truth and actual truth can be very different.

    So when kathy or anyone else speaks about such things, saying it’s “truth,” they’re only making unsubstantiated claims – trying to give the illusion of validity.

    this all goes without saying.

    Like

  185. Ken,

    I just finished reading the book you recommended, God’s Debris. It was very interesting, thanks. While I understand it is fiction, like the parts about god dust disappearing and reappearing, there were plenty of mind-bending ideas that made me question my understanding of reality. Here are some take-away thoughts I got from the book:

    If a God exists and is all powerful it must have the ability to end it’s existence. Therefore, it must constantly choose whether to continue to exist or not. (spoiler: the name of the book is based on the idea that everything we see is part of “God’s Debris” because God decided to try non-existence out.)

    An all-knowing God would know it’s own future and this would make it impossible to choose things or have free will.

    An all-knowing God would certainly know the future of every human and since our futures are already known we are all deluded with the idea of free will.

    I wonder what everyone else thinks about free will? Have you read Sam Harris’ short book on free will? Do you guys think free will is real or an illusion?

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  186. The philosophical definition of Free Well (Dictionary.com) is: “The doctrine that the conduct of human beings expresses personal choice and is not simply determined by physical or divine forces.”

    I tend to lean towards this definition. Perhaps because I don’t believe in supernatural entities; thus, there is no outer space being that is influencing my decisions and/or personal choices.

    Haven’t read Sam Harris’ book. Should I?

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  187. I believe in Free Will.

    Of course there are a lot of factors that may influence our decisions, but at this moment, i fully believe I am capable of making free choices.

    I do agree, if there were a being that knew all future events, It would seem like to me that the future is predetermined. And if there is a predetermined future, then it would seem like to me that free will would be a fiction.

    But if there were a being who knew future possibilities or future events that were fluid, becoming more defined and absolute with each passing event, then perhaps free will still exists.

    But again, i dont believe in the god of the bible nor do I believe in set future events, so currently, I think there is free will.

    I do wonder, does the the bible even expressly say that god knows all future events?

    if the bible were really deities inspired word, then i suppose that deity would be flawed. Perhaps he is not all powerful or all knowing – just very powerful.

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  188. “this all goes without saying.”

    Right. Why do you think I’m claiming anything else than it’s what
    I believe to be the truth? This shows how intimidated atheists are
    when Christians claim truth.. they feel compelled to “clarify” when it’s
    not (shouldn’t be) necessary.

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  189. “Right. Why do you think I’m claiming anything else than it’s what
    I believe to be the truth?” -kathy

    I dont. I’m sure you believe it’s true.

    “This shows how intimidated atheists are
    when Christians claim truth.. they feel compelled to “clarify” when it’s
    not (shouldn’t be) necessary.” – kathy

    Except no one’s intimidated. I was merely explaining that when you act as if it’s “absolute truth” that there’s no way you could verify it’s “absolute” or even “true” but only that you “believe it’s true.”

    see?

    Are you intimidated? is that why you always “claim truth” as if it’s a matter of indisputable fact? It’s okay if we disagree. You’re convinced my martyrs that christianity is truly divine, and I do not find that convincing.

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  190. Ruth,

    “Yes, clearly I’m the one here who lacks objectivity. You got me, Kathy.”

    Assuming this is sarcasm, could you give the evidence of proof of my lack of objectivity Ruth?

    I provided proof of your lack of objectivity with your very own words.. so don’t you think you should do the same? Instead of just vague accusations without proof?

    “Now, I’m glad you could take the time to make this strawman argument but you still didn’t answer my question.

    Did you read the Discovery article? And did you watch the video linked in the article?

    I won’t hold my breath waiting for an answer. We all know you don’t like to answer questions.”

    Ruth, I never answered your question because it didnt’ make sense.. I responded to your video and article.. of course I watched and read it.

    Is there a follow up questions? I hope so..

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  191. Free will is a really interesting topic. I agree that we have it, at least in the way that we typically mean it. But I also think there’s a case to be made for the idea that each decision we make is influenced by everything that came before it — all our past experiences, our knowledge about a given situation, our emotional state, our hormone levels, our level of education, our level of intelligence, whatever events are happening around us at the time, etc. Considering all of those factors, is it really possible that we would ever make any decisions differently?

    There’s no way to ever know this, but it’s definitely interesting…

    Like

  192. “Except no one’s intimidated. I was merely explaining that when you act as if it’s “absolute truth” that there’s no way you could verify it’s “absolute” or even “true” but only that you “believe it’s true.”

    How am I “acting” like it’s “absolute truth”?

    And why is it when you or anyone else here makes statements of what you believe, the same doesn’t apply?

    In other words, what EXACTLY am I doing differently than anyone else here??

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  193. @Nan

    I’m still reading, but what I find most interesting thus far is that Scott Adams would write such a book …

    Nan, yeah, definitely not what I expected from someone who writes comics.

    I tend to lean towards this definition. Perhaps because I don’t believe in supernatural entities; thus, there is no outer space being that is influencing my decisions and/or personal choices. Haven’t read Sam Harris’ book. Should I?

    I agree. I don’t think deities or aliens are messing with our brains since there is no evidence for this. Only read Harris’ book if you like to entertain ideas that seem counter-intuitive, it can kind of throw your mind for a loop. Harris says free will is an illusion and claims that we cannot control what thoughts are going to pop into our heads next. I think he has videos on the subject that sum up the book.

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  194. I responded to your video and article.. of course I watched and read it.” – I don’t believe you Kathy, prove me wrong by giving Ruth a brief synopsis of each.

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  195. How am I “acting” like it’s “absolute truth”?

    By everything you say! It’s all hot or cold, i.e., your way or no way.

    What exactly are you doing differently? You don’t give anyone the benefit of doubt. Instead, you claim anyone that doesn’t agree with you as “wrong” (along with being a liberal or atheist) and in jeopardy of being judged by God for being wrong (which, BTW, you do NOT have the credentials to even make this threat).

    And DON’T ask me to provide you with something you have written to prove this. It’s not just individual words or sentences or paragraphs. It’s your entire demeanor on this blog. (And, from what Paul says, on every other place you frequent).

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  196. “How am I “acting” like it’s “absolute truth”?- kathy

    when you say things like, “you reject god due to your pride.” or atheists get upset when you show them them truth” stuff like that.

    “And why is it when you or anyone else here makes statements of what you believe, the same doesn’t apply?” – kathy

    it does apply – unless I can back it up. If I told you that I witnessed a tree fall on a turtle in the woods, it could be true or may not be. If no one else was around, and if there’s no video tape, etc, then there’s no way you’d know for sure what the truth is. it would all be a belief on your part. But there are levels to belief. It’s not so hard to believe that a tree fell on a turtle in the woods, but it is something else to say that a space alien fell on a turtle in the woods.

    One has much more plausibility than others. So taking the bible, where a “virgin” was having a baby boy, I dont buy it. There’s no proof and besides that, it is totally against nature or anything else in the known world – so I do not believe that claim. You have asked several times before whether anyone could prove the bible was false… I guess i may not be able top prove it’s false absolutely, but the level of plausibility is very low.

    “In other words, what EXACTLY am I doing differently than anyone else here??”- kathy

    you’re one of the worst at answering questions (by that I mean at dodging) and one of the worst at saying others are bad at not answering questions.

    You do seem to have a hard time correct uses of certain words…

    and you say stuff like “my claim is my evidence…” Which is clearly poor reasoning and arguing skills. you cant seem to understand that a person’s devotion to something is only evidence at how much they’re devoted to something, and not in the validity of that something.

    You make bad or unclear points and then say it’s the other person’s fault for missing your point.

    you try to link politics and religion. You accept things for your religion that you dont for others (like martyrs as one example).

    stuff like that.

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  197. Kathy, the plain facts are you want to fight, to argue, to disagree, to criticize. You come onto a blog that you know is frequented by atheists and non-believers and then try to “convince” everyone they are wrong in their thinking. Did you really, deep down in your little Christian heart, expect anyone to change sides? If so, you are more brainwashed than I thought.

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  198. Agreed, Nan. Especially considering the quality of her “evidence.” For someone who has spent so much time “debating” over the years, I would have expected much more.

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  199. ““How am I “acting” like it’s “absolute truth”?- kathy

    when you say things like, “you reject god due to your pride.” or atheists get upset when you show them them truth” stuff like that.”

    I’m stating a belief.. just like you do.. again, I’m doing nothing different than you all.. except when I state my believe, I actually include your OWN words to back up my claim.

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  200. You know, If I’m to be completely honest, although Kathy still is far from becoming “one of us,” as some theists, such as Portal and Laurie have, she HAS toned down her rhetoric a great deal since she first began, and seems to be trying a bit harder to fit in.

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  201. Arch! And Nate! Have you been reading the same Kathy comments as I have?

    I will admit, she does seem to have brief moments where she seems to be more moderate in her thinking, but it isn’t long before the “old” Kathy jumps in and slaps all of the “liberals” and “atheists” in the face.

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  202. Nan, go back to Kathy 1, read a few, compare, contrast, then get back to me. Toothaches don’t stop all at once, they taper off.

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  203. I believe in Free Will. Of course there are a lot of factors that may influence our decisions, but at this moment, i fully believe I am capable of making free choices. ~ William

    William,

    I would like to agree with you. I find it unsettling to consider the possibility that free will is an illusion, but there are those who think it is just that. They make some good points: (3 min. video by Sam Harris). There are others like Dan Dennett who disagree with him.

    It seems to me that we have a version of free will over our spoken words and actions because we can “filter” our thoughts and ask ourselves “do I really want to say this?”, “do I really want to do this?” before we actually do something. So at that level we do have a “choice”. But, as Harris points out, we don’t really get to choose our internal thoughts to begin with. We can’t think of something before we think it and decide whether to think it or not. Things just pop into our minds and we have no idea why.

    Free will is a really interesting topic. I agree that we have it, at least in the way that we typically mean it. But I also think there’s a case to be made for the idea that each decision we make is influenced by everything that came before it — all our past experiences, our knowledge about a given situation, our emotional state, our hormone levels, our level of education, our level of intelligence, whatever events are happening around us at the time, etc. Considering all of those factors, is it really possible that we would ever make any decisions differently? ~ Nate

    Yeah, I find it interesting too and wonder the same thing about all of those factors. Perhaps the neurological expert here can weigh in on the topic 🙂

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  204. Hey Dave,

    I’m glad you took the time to read the book. I’ve read a lot of Sam Harris material but have not read his work on free will. Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll check it out.

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  205. In regards to freewill,

    I think it depends on what people mean when they say freewill,

    For example, I like to have a healthy body as long as possible,

    For this reason, even though I might prefer to smash a tub of vanilla ice cream at a later point, I instead might practice free will by instead eating porridge and all bran in the morning with fruit. Since I know the fibre will fill me up and I would diminish the craving for sweet food later as a late night snack.

    Doesn’t always work mind you 🙂 I still at times give into the preference for craving sugar, but my point is that freewill is the choice between limited options.

    The preferences I have are based on what have been exposed to and how I’ve developed (family, culture, tradition, genetics)

    However out of these preferences I have certain choices that trump others.

    For example, say I only had tuna, a tomato and bread in the fridge.

    My free will (creativity) and conditioning might prompt me to use all or some of these ingredients to make a sandwich. For me, I see the free will in the different choices different people make to create their sandwich, out of the ingredients they have available.

    And preferences are not binary, they trump one another based on the values of people and their goals. Free will is complicated.

    For example, a smoker might have a biological and psychological addiction to smoking. In certain moments they have a preference to smoke, but in other moments they are still smoking, although there is also a struggle within them to stop. But the guarantee that ensures a smoker to stop smoking is if they have 0 cigarettes to smoke.

    But even if cigarettes are available, some smokers find alternatives and replace smoking with something else, or stop altogether.

    The replacement of one action with another is to me is freewill,

    Since despite the biological pull in smoking, the opposing forces of social pressure, self preservation and family responsibility pulls the other way. If free will in this sense did not strictly exist, there would be only life long smokers.

    Animals also seem to express free will. Our dog for example, has been torn between chasing her ball and having her dinner.

    The ball in this case won out, and she neglected her food.

    Despite the biological pull and priority to eat over playing fetch, our little canine still preferred to remain fixated on the ball. I could see the process of her being torn between two desires, and one desire trumping the other, since to continue acting, one desire must eventually win out.

    I admit there are a lot of factors involved, in the example above the meal was in the other room, and the ball was readily available to be seen, giving the ball immediate attention. But she could still smell the food, and I assume could hear it being prepared. If my little dog was more hungry, or another plate of food was available, then perhaps she would have responded differently.

    Freewill to me is the capacity we each have to prefer one action out of a number of choices. It is the capacity to choose how we use the resources available to us, based on what we are given.

    Free will is making a “sandwich” out of the ingredients we have at any given time.

    Our creativity and traditions and practicality (do we cut the crusts off, brown/white bread, salt, pepper) depend on our capacity to acquire ingredients, based on what’s provided and available.

    Our creativity in itself is coloured through our upbringing, and the choices we make is what we do with all these conditions and how we use them. Which preferences are most valued.

    I mean, sandwiches themselves have taken on a very western identity and a very western way to organise food.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandwich#History

    Free will to me, is the choice we have to act on our preferences, and by acting on our preferences we give value to some over others.

    Even if those preferences we do act upon are not the best for us or for others, and are actually to our detriment. Like smoking.

    Or in other cases some preferences acted upon are simply not based on Maslow’s needs, but on other needs like social interaction. I think we all share the same desires, but how we go about meeting them is freewill.

    Whether those approaches are effective in meeting these needs or not, freewill is involved in placing and replacing one action over another.

    Like my dog abandoning her meal to chase a plastic ball 🙂

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  206. Also,

    observing a dog hesitate before jumping from a couch suggests to me that animals also have a form of freewill (choice) involved in the way they process things…

    Like

  207. Thanks, Portal – now you’ve got me craving a tuna sandwich, and I don’t have any tuna. Your god’ll get you for that!

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  208. Arch.

    you could exert some will power and creativity and drive to the service station 🙂

    or you might just have to wait until morning when the shops are open….

    or if your vying for a cheap alternative you could mix spam with and

    if you squint your taste buds it might slightly resemble tuna…

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  209. Service station? I live MILES from the nearest service station, and it closed 4 hours ago. No, I’d rather just sit back and watch your god get you – could you get your next of kin to upload a pic of the charred corpse?

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  210. wow….that’s not a very nice thing to want for another person….I mean that’s pretty mean

    do know what would would help? more cowbell….

    good night, live long and prosper

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  211. The conversation about free will has been interesting to read. A lot of thought-provoking comments. Generally speaking, when believers are talking about free will they generally mean the choice between “good and evil”. “Sin” or evil is up to interpretation based on their belief system. So, as Ryan said, the concept of free will is complicated. A dog might be torn over which instinct to satisfy, chasing a ball (prey instinct) or eating, but he/she’s biology is trying to determine which of those two will be the most rewarding (dopamine).

    I also think that sometimes free will gets mixed up with discipline and indoctrination. We can train a dog to not poop in the house, so the dog learns to go outside instead. He will be discipline (usually in the form of pain or scolding) if he poops in the house. Choosing to poop outside — was that free will?

    When believers decide to remain celibate until they get married, is that free will or indoctrination? The individual may have had his/her brain wired to think that having sex outside of marriage goes against his god’s will and that going against god’s will may cost him a reward of eternal life.

    I haven’t watched Harris’ clip yet, but I have read a good bit of his opinion on the subject, and I tend to agree with him. Sure, we can choose to not do harm to another, but not always. Both men and women have a gene dubbed the “warrior” gene, but it’s a romantic way of saying an aggression gene. It gets passed from the mother’s X chromosome, and the gene has a greater likelihood of being turned on in males depending on the environment. Was that free will?

    Studies show that females subjected to mild chronic stress during gestation produce offspring with larger hindbrains (brutish) and smaller forebrains (executive function). So they come out with fight or flight behavior. Was that free will?

    In triplets or other multiple births, males who are situated between females will have a stronger sex drive because of hormones, giving them a much stronger urge to procreate with multiple females to pass on their genes. Is that free will?

    Children who experience early damage in the prefrontal cortex tend to never completely develop social or moral reasoning. Individuals with adult-acquired damage are usually aware of proper social and moral conduct, but are unable to apply such behaviors. The forehead is the most common place for injury, and considering that every 15 seconds someone sustains a traumatic brain injury in America should give us pause. According to the Brain Injury Association, traumatic brain injury is the most frequent cause of disability and death among children and adolescents.

    cont.

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  212. Then there is indoctrination of a culture. So for example, Moses hears god telling him to gather an army and go out a kill every man, boy and married women in other tribes that don’t bow to Yahweh, but keep the young girls for themselves as sex slaves. They are also commanded to split the plunder among themselves. Was that free will? When men and women go to war, they have to go through boot camp to have their brains rewired to kill another person — to dehumanize them. When they dehumanize another person after intense religious indoctrination, is their behavior free will?

    Has anyone ever read the studies on the Stanford Experiment? Was that free will?

    When someone is in power for too long, studies show their brain changes which profoundly affects their behavior. Is that free will?

    Two thought provoking videos I recommend are “The Brain and the Law”. Neuroscientist, David Eagleman considers some emerging questions relating to law and neuroscience, challenging long-held assumptions in criminality and punishment. He discusses the concept of “free will”.

    http://youtu.be/EREriwV71mA

    and a Stanford lecture by world renown psychologist Philip Zimbardo. He reveals parallels of the Stanford Experiment and the abuses by military guards at Abu Ghraib. He also explains how the environment can highly influence decision making.

    http://youtu.be/cMoZ3ThW6x0

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  213. “The only one around here Kathy, who’s intimidated, is you when Paul Williams shows up!”

    so true arch.
    Kathy knows that I can discredit her using her own words,
    something she just claimed no one does,,
    I’ve been doing it for 6yrs.
    she actually stopped responding to me about 3 yrs ago,
    because she knows she can never get away with anything,
    I know what she’s going to say before she even says it,

    therefore, no such thing as free will. lol.

    I stalk her on the internet because so many well meaning atheists, liberals and Mormons get in to honest debates with her, unaware of Kathy’s real motive, not realizing that every one of the thousands of questions Kathy asks, has already been answered before.

    and it’s just a lot of fun, too.

    Portal, are you a good looking man?

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  214. I have a hard time with the notion of determinism vs. freewill. I’d like to think I have freely made some of the choices I’ve made in life. I’d like to think I’m free to choose yogurt or ice cream, coffee or tea, the mountains or the beach. At the same time I recognize there are all sorts of things that influence my thinking at any given time such that the events that happen preceding a any decision contribute to whatever choice I might make. So then I wonder if it’s really freewill at all.

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  215. and pardon me, but I would also like to share a word from Kathy’s pastor,
    in his ” daily devotional” for today,
    his desperate pleas for money, in all caps:

    “THE ONLY WAY SATAN CAN NEUTRALIZE IN ANY WAY OUR WORK HERE, SLOW IT DOWN, OR SILENCE ME IN ANY WAY IS THROUGH OUR FINANCES! I DON’T NEED MILLIONS OF DOLLARS SINCE LIVEPRAYER DOESN’T OWN BUILDINGS, PRIVATE JETS, LUXURY CARS, MANSIONS, NOR DO I LIVE LIKE A HOLLYWOOD CELEBRITY. IN A MODERN DAY FISHES AND LOAVES MIRACLE, GOD USES THE $65,000 WE REQUIRE EACH MONTH TO ENABLE US TO MINISTER TO THE 2.5 MILLION PLUS PEOPLE WORLDWIDE WE REACH DAILY ONLINE AND OUR NIGHTLY TV AUDIENCE OF APX 300,000.

    FOR LESS THAN $800,000 A YEAR, THE APX BUDGET OF A LOCAL CHURCH WITH LESS THAN 1,000 MEMBERS MEETING ONCE A WEEK, LIVEPRAYER IS NOT ONLY ABLE TO IMPACT LIVES AND SAVE SOULS WORLDWIDE EACH DAY, BUT USE OUR PROVEN MINISTRY VEHICLES ONLINE AND ON TV TO HELP LEAD OUR NATION BACK TO GOD AND HIS TRUTH BEFORE WE SEE THE FINAL WRATH AND JUDGMENT OF ALMIGHTY GOD POURED OUT ON OUR LAND FOR OUR SIN AND REBELLION!

    TODAY, I AM COMING TO YOU AND ASKING YOU TO PRAY ABOUT WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP ME. I AM ONLY ASKING TO KEEP IN PLACE THE EXISTING MINSITRY TOOLS ONLINE AND ON TV WE REQUIRE TO FULFILL HIS WORK HERE EACH DAY. WE DESPERATELY NEED TO COVER THE $53,000 FROM SEPTEMBER THAT IS CRITICAL TO OUR ONGOING OPERATIONS. $25,000 OF THAT BRINGS OUR INTERNET OPERATIONS CURRENT THROUGH THE END OF SEPTEMBER, AND THE OTHER $28,000 IS DESPERATELY NEEDED TODAY TO INSURE WE DON’T LOSE OUR TV CONTRACT IN CHICAGO THAT I BELIEVE IS CRITICAL TO OUR WORK IN THESE FINAL DAYS OF 2014!!!”

    Kathy, I really should thank you for the many years of laughter you and your cult leader have given me.

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  216. “I’d like to think I’m free to choose yogurt or ice cream, coffee or tea, the mountains or the beach.”

    Right, but those really have nothing to do with morality, do they? When we are discussing free will, isn’t it generally about morality, or our interpretation of morality? We have studies showing that empathy is intrinsic and our mirror neurons tend to kick in around age 4 when we can recognize ourselves in the mirror. But child development studies have shown that even babies show empathy and recognize injustice towards others. So, was that free will or was it intrinsic, instinct?

    All of this is very humbling. It shows us that when we make prosocial decisions, we really can’t take a whole lot of credit for it. We are getting rewarded, neurologically, to do good towards others, and ourselves. But what drives us to do good towards others is based on our survival instinct and our empathy. An infant who smiles and makes eye contact more often has a greater likelihood of having his/her emotional and physical needs met. A normal parent is flooded with oxytocin and vasopressin (bonding hormones), and this parent(s) becomes a slave to the child, risking limb and life. So we say that this person is a good parent, but was that free will?

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  217. “I’m stating a belief.. just like you do.. again, I’m doing nothing different than you all.. except when I state my believe, I actually include your OWN words to back up my claim.” – kathy

    well, you at least include your own words to back up your claims about the validity of the bible….

    and every time I respond to you, i copy and paste your own words…. as do many of the others here

    this is one of your problems that has already been pointed out – your hypocrisy.

    in light of things like this, you are not taken seriously, you are not intimidating, and when you insist on tangential points like this at the expense of the bigger conversation you come off as slightly annoying like an obnoxious child – but you don’t have to be and we all wait and hope that at some point you’ll interact with everyone else in a more adult-like manner.

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  218. Right, but the same mind that chooses between yogurt or ice cream is the same one that chooses between any two options.

    I’m not making an argument for freewill here, I just find the concept of determinism hard to wrap my mind around.

    I’m listening to that first video you linked now.

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  219. Well, sure, we all have influences, both internal and external.

    I guess in that sense we don’t have “absolute freewill.” I guess ryan is right, it depends on how we’re defining it.

    I guess I’ll say “limited freewill” as we do have influences, but I do not agree that each decision we make was the only decision we could make.

    I think in the common usage, we do in deed have freewill. If we’re getting extremely specific, then of course we have influences and some limitations.

    as you pointed out dave, i am free to choose how i act or choose what I say. I may not always be able to choose what i think, but think in many instances were are free to ‘will’ that as well.

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  220. “Right, but the same mind that chooses between yogurt or ice cream is the same one that chooses between any two options.”

    Yes, quite true. But that choosing between going to the beach or the mountains was not much different than Ryan’s dog deciding whether to eat or chase a ball. It was about which decision was going to be the most rewarding. So, my point is that you are still making this decision based on biological urgings. David Engleman states that our reality depends on what our biology is up to. And based on at least 10 years of independent research, I’d say that our biology is based on what our environment is up to. Dr. Robert Sapolsy states that the environment and our genes are intertwined (nurture/nature).

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  221. why would an influence negate freewill?

    If you’re wanting freewill to only mean making decisions in a vacuum, then i think that definition is much more than it was intended to be.

    We have choices and we make choices. My fate is not predetermined – except death, but not the how or why.

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  222. So, my point is that you are still making this decision based on biological urgings.

    This does not explain why I’ve chosen to do less rewarding things sometimes because it was the right thing to do verses something more rewarding – at least in the immediacy.

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  223. “This does not explain why I’ve chosen to do less rewarding things sometimes because it was the right thing to do verses something more rewarding – at least in the immediacy.”

    OK, so why did you decide to do a less rewarding thing verses immediate gratification? Anticipation is more rewarding that the thing itself. So did you decide to to the less rewarding thing because ultimately it had a rewarding outcome long-term?

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  224. if there is no freewill, then no one can be held responsible for anything… except those who hold them responsible anyways do so because they cant help themselves either.

    If i think i have freewill, when i do not, then it’s not my fault I think that way – I just do. i was made to or nurtured to.

    I can buy off on limited freewill, in that we make choices, but we are also influenced a great deal by many things – biology, environment, etc.

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  225. that’s not a very nice thing to want for another person….I mean that’s pretty mean” – Portal, you can’t blame me for how your god works. It’s pretty mean to have kids shredded by bears for calling a bald guy bald, but that’s just the kind of mysterious ways your god works in.

    Did you know that cowbells actually damage cows’ hearing? We can put a man on the moon, but we can’t we make quieter cowbells?

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  226. So did you decide to to the less rewarding thing because ultimately it had a rewarding outcome long-term?

    It did not, unless you count the self-respect of honoring a prior commitment more rewarding. But it didn’t really even leave me with that. I didn’t have any “feel good” about it in the long-term.

    If you are attempting to prove to me that there is no freewill based on this, though, I think I’ll have to do some more study on the matter. I’m inclined to lean toward some form of compatibilism at the moment, but haven’t reached what I think is a final conclusion on it.

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  227. “So did you decide to to the less rewarding thing because ultimately it had a rewarding outcome long-term?”

    I am certain this is the case most of the time, but i wouldnt say it is all the time. When someone does something they thing is right to stranger, it could be that you do so at your own expense. If it;s a stranger and person you think you’ll never see again, then what is to be gained in the long term or short term?

    the satisfaction of doing good? maybe, but then you also have the disappointment of whatever it was that you gave up. You make a choice and any decision you make will have it’s share of consequences and rewards – they typically always do.

    I’m not sure how influences negate freewill… unless freewill means “free of influences,” but I think it means “free to choose,” as in not hardwired in every action like a machine.

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  228. “When men and women go to war, they have to go through boot camp to have their brains rewired to kill another person — to dehumanize them”

    I’ve been through basic training. some people do appear to be brainwashed, but i can assure you that i was not. was pulling the trigger in combat a hard thing to do? no. but look at nature and the history of our species – it is violent. I think we are inherently violent – yet we have someone begun to overcome that predisposition in many cases, no?

    would I kill or try to kill as freely outside of combat. absolutely not. But then, even when i was willing to kill in combat, i wasnt willing to torture.

    I do agree that there are influences, but there is also still a choice, and we are free to choose in line with those influences or against them.

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  229. “If you ask anyone, what is morality based on? These are the two factors that always come out: One is reciprocity, … a sense of fairness, and the other one is empathy and compassion.”
    — Frans de Waal —

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  230. ,/cite>We have choices and we make choices. My fate is not predetermined – except death, but not the how or why.

    William, I was reading about something that most people aren’t aware of (I wasn’t until yesterday) that the first and only time in American history, there was universal childcare. It was during WWII. It only lasted a few short years, but those children who experienced this made better choices as adults and were more likely to complete a college degree. Mamas got out of the house more and around more adults, not having to stay at home 24/7 tending to the stress that comes with raising children pretty much alone. This not only had a positive effect on the mother’s well being and outlook, but also her children.

    http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/09/30/3573844/lanham-act-child-care/Mama

    The CDC did an extensive study on adverse childhood experiences, and it definitely had a significant influence on the choices these children made as they grew into adulthood. It played a major role in determining risk taking, substance abuse, heath and time of death.

    http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy/findings.html

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  231. I totally agree we have influences. I dont doubt that one little bit. I firmly believe that many influences carry very much weight in everything we do.

    But are they impossible to overcome? It may even be rare to overcome, but i dont think that’s the point.

    I agree that even with a choice, we are not fully aware of all the choices available or all the potential outcomes.

    But if we’re defining freewill as zero influence and perfect knowledge of all possibilities and potential outcomes, then I guess I’d say that freewill does not exist, even though i find that definition to be far too strict.

    If that is the case, I will rephrase my position to be: we have the ability to act or not act, and to speak or not speak, even while still heavily influenced by multiple factors – in other words, our futures are not pre-written.

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  232. “would I kill or try to kill as freely outside of combat. absolutely not. But then, even when i was willing to kill in combat, i wasnt willing to torture.”

    William, I suggest that when you have time, watch Philip Zimbardo’s lecture. Why did those all American, kid-next-store soldiers torture? I say you should count yourself fortunate that conditions were not right in your environment for such antisocial behavior.

    We are far more influenced by our environment that people are willing to admit because we want to think we are in control. As Zimbardo stated, civilization is but a thin veneer — it’s not the “bad” apples, it’s the environment.

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  233. Are you suggesting that people are not culpable for their actions? Do you believe we have no choice but to act the way we act in any given moment?

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  234. “We are far more influenced by our environment that people are willing to admit because we want to think we are in control. As Zimbardo stated, civilization is but a thin veneer — it’s not the “bad” apples, it’s the environment.”

    true, and it may be because I thought long an hard about such situation before I ever joined. It could also be because i sat through base level psychology course in college that went over things like this as they related to Nazi’s and WWII germans.

    But in high school sports, i didnt haze younger guys even when peers and those older thought it was a good idea.

    I can tell you that i would have tortured or even humiliated prisoners of war, because I have made my determination. I am quite used to going against popular opinion and find little appealing about receiving acceptance from those i do not respect.

    of course, my tendency has always been to take the opposite approach to those around me, so maybe i’m hardwired to be abrasive and argumentative.

    I think that despite environment and despite natural tendencies, we have the abilities to overcome those and that we have the capabilities to free ourselves from those bonds.

    it may be hard to do so. it easier to take path of least resistance, but it can usually be rewarding to take the path of great resistance. are you saying that people are pre-wired to take whichever path they are on?

    that a person who is born with a short temper, who works to over come that and does, didn’t really over come anything but only changed as what was mandated by his influences?

    To me, I find that i influence myself at times…

    do we even disagree?

    do you think I’m wrong here:

    If that is the case, I will rephrase my position to be: we have the ability to act or not act, and to speak or not speak, even while still heavily influenced by multiple factors – in other words, our futures are not pre-written.

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  235. An Intrinsic Reward

    “A few years ago, economist Bill Harbaugh of the University of Oregon wanted to know what rational calculations play into people’s charitable giving choices. He and psychologist colleague Ulrich Mayr presented subjects with opportunities to donate to a food bank from a fund of $100. An fMRI scanner recorded what areas of their brains were activated as they chose.

    When subjects decided to donate their money, Harbaugh and Mayr found, brain areas involved in processing rewards lit up more than they did when the decision to donate was not their own, but was instead dictated by the experimenters.

    One such area was the nucleus accumbens, which contains neurons that release the pleasure chemical dopamine. This area “keeps track of rewards, whatever kind they are,” Harbaugh says. Some subjects, whom he calls “egoists,” showed less such activity at the prospect of seeing their money go to charity. Those he calls “altruists” showed more. The results, he says, suggest that at least for some people, giving money to others provides an intrinsic reward that is neurologically similar to ingesting an addictive drug.”

    http://discovermagazine.com/2013/september/11-what-makes-a-hero

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  236. tendencies can influence choices, but I do not think they dictate actions.

    acting toward a tendencies may be like taking the path of least resistance. acting in spite of a tendency may be like taking the road less traveled – why would that negate freedom of choice, freewill, etc?

    does having tendencies and influences mean that there is no choice?

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  237. I think that despite environment and despite natural tendencies, we have the abilities to overcome those and that we have the capabilities to free ourselves from those bonds.

    it may be hard to do so. it easier to take path of least resistance, but it can usually be rewarding to take the path of great resistance. are you saying that people are pre-wired to take whichever path they are on?

    William and Ruth, my personal opinion, based on years of research, is that it is intrinsic to be prosocial, and that selflessness yields both mental and physical rewards whether one is conscience of it or not. But ultimately, selflessness translates to selfishness. I do agree that we can rewire (trains) our brains to be more altruistic, empathic and compassionate, even to the point where it looks like we are self-sacrificial.

    But my point in all this is why? Why are we doing so?

    When I went through my deconversion, I became aware that my desire to serve god and love others was based on factors related to my own well being whether I was conscious of it or not at the time of my belief. But there was even more motivation in the fact that anticipation of a reward, i.e., heaven, is very rewarding neurologically speaking. So believers who purport that they are good because of their god are not aware that they are “good” because they are selfish, but I don’t mean to indicate that this kind of selfishness is negative.

    William, you chose to not go along with the crowd because doing what you thought was right was more rewarding than being acknowledged by the “in crowd”.

    Ruth you chose to make sacrifices, but are you saying there was zero reward for you in this behavior? When you made these sacrifices, was it for the reason of knowing it was (in your mind) the right thing to do?

    Based on everything I’ve read about human behavior, everything we do is reward based in some form or another. Psychopathic serial killers were interviewed and asked if they felt bad about what they had done. They said they couldn’t wait to do it again. They found pleasure (neurological reward) in their actions. Now we know that the brains of psychopaths are damaged or circuitry is malfunctioning in the frontal lobes.

    So, while we may think we have choice or free will, ultimately it appears that all our actions, behaviors are driven by attaining reward in one form or another. So naturally, I question the concept of free will.

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  238. For clarification, those first two ‘paragraphs’ in my comment were from William. I didn’t put them in quotes. I forgot that when citing (), you have to do it with each separate paragraph when spacing. The second paragraph “it may be hard to do so. …, etc, was from William.

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  239. I can buy all of that, except I think many times our choices are not between “reward” or “no reward” but rather most choices each their set of rewards and consequences.

    I fully believe that we all have tendencies and are all influenced. I still think we have the ability to choose. perhaps it’s hard to do so, but hard does not equal impossible in every case.

    we may be speaking of freewill in different ways. I think i’ve explained my view.

    I dont think that you believe that people are helpless in the choices they make. I dont think you believe that people’s actions are predetermined.

    If that is right, then i am wondering if we’re even apart on this issue.

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  240. Based on everything I’ve read about human behavior, everything we do is reward based in some form or another.

    Victoria, I tend to agree. I think we would like to think we are making choices and performing actions based on our “free will,” but it actually boils down to what is the most pleasing to us, physically and/or psychically. IOW, we are being influenced by factors that we’re most likely not even aware of.

    As Nate wrote sometime back … all our past experiences, our knowledge about a given situation, our emotional state, our hormone levels, our level of education, our level of intelligence, whatever events are happening around us at the time, etc. — each of these play a part.

    Could the reason we like to think it’s all about “us” as we make our decisions and choices be our resistance to being “controlled” by outside influences/circumstances?

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  241. I don’t think it is nearly so simple. Certainly we know that the brains of psychopathic serial killers are damaged. That says nothing about people whose brains are not damaged. Not everyone suffers from brain damage. Not only that but it is suggested that these people can be rewired. Can they be rewired without their complicity? Is that not a choice?

    No, I’m not saying there was zero reward in the behavior for me. I see what you are saying about that, but the long-term reward is not always more rewarding. The right thing to do is not always the pleasurable thing, even if there is the promise of some reward[even if not the most rewarding]. So while we may do a thing that is less rewarding, but still rewarding, that does not – in my mind – negate freewill.

    What if you have a choice among equally pleasurable things?

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  242. One definition of free will is this: The power of making free choices unconstrained by external agencies

    Considering all the factors being discussed, it would seem Sam Harris and Stephen Hawking are correct. Essentially, free will is an illusion since we are never free from those “external agencies.”

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  243. And if people don’t have a choice in how they act are they culpable for those actions? Is a psychopathic serial killer culpable?

    If we have no choice then I had no choice in the way I reacted to this nor what I have typed to this point.

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  244. Nan wrote: “we are being influenced by factors that we’re most likely not even aware of.”

    That’s how I see it too, Nan. So does Stephen Hawking. From Paul’s link, Hawking states:

    “Though we feel that we can choose what we do, our understanding of the molecular basis of biology shows that biological processes are governed by the laws of physics and chemistry and therefore are as determined as the orbits of the planets. Recent experiments in neuroscience support the view that it is our physical brain, following the known laws of science, that determines our actions, and not some agency that exists outside those laws.”

    Nan wrote: “Could the reason we like to think it’s all about “us” as we make our decisions and choices be our resistance to being “controlled” by outside influences/circumstances?”

    It could be, Nan. We tend to think about other people controlling us, but I think it may have more to do with the fact that we are/have been exceptionally vulnerable to nature, i.e., natural disasters.

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  245. “I don’t think it is nearly so simple.”

    Ruth, if I’m coming across as saying that it’s simple, then I have communicated poorly. It’s not simple by any means but I think that people tend to take a complex subject as free will and say that because I made the decision to write this comment this is proof of free will.

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  246. I haven’t read every single comment yet, but wanted to jump back in the conversation anyway.

    I think we do have free will in the sense that we make our own decisions. But the real question is could we have ever made a different choice than the one we made?

    Let’s take Ryan’s example of his dog as a simple illustration. His dog chose to chase after a ball rather than eat dinner. It was the dog’s choice to make — no one was forcing him to choose the ball. But if you could rewind, and all the circumstances were still the same: the dog’s love of chasing the ball, his current hunger level, the aroma of his food, etc, would he still make the choice of playing with the ball, or would he choose the food?

    I think if everything is exactly the same, it’s hard to say that the dog would choose differently. And this is why some people question whether we have free will or not. If your choice would turn out the same every time, based on all the factors, then are you really making “free” choices, or are you just reacting?

    I’m not saying I agree… but I do think it’s an interesting question.

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  247. Ruth, if I’m coming across as saying that it’s simple, then I have communicated poorly. It’s not simple by any means but I think that people tend to take a complex subject as free will and say that because I made the decision to write this comment this is proof of free will.

    I certainly am not qualified to even argue the merits of freewill or determinism because I have not studied it enough.

    I find the concept of complete determinism hard to wrap my head around. Did you have a choice in whether or not to write your comment?

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  248. The thing is, in most cases, the factors (at least for humans since our lives are so much more complex than animals) are not the same every time. Would you agree?

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  249. I think the thing I find the most difficult about complete determinism is not the idea that the things that there are things(environment, hormones, chemicals, etc.) that influence decisions. It is the implications of that which bother me. It isn’t even that I have a problem not throwing people into prison for raping, killing, etc. I have long thought that rehabilitation was the way to go. But according to this philosophy, that we do that which is most rewarding, how do you rewire a person’s damaged circuitry so that ‘they can’t wait to do it again’. Do addicts who overcome addiction (even in the face of a strong urge to relapse) not have to be making some kind of choice?

    Are we wrong to bash fundamentalist extremists?

    Are we wrong to be angry at rapists?

    What about domestic violence?

    What about ISIS’?

    What about murderers?

    What does it mean to be held accountable for our actions? Are we?

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  250. Ruth, determinism denies the possibility of free will. I cannot see this as being totally true. IMO, we do have “choices,” but they are influenced by outer circumstances. True, it’s a fine line.

    I think when we say that free will is an illusion, we’re actually saying that “strict” free will is non-existent in that we have to acknowledge other factors come into play when we make our decisions.

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  251. Psalm 139:16 New Living Translation
    “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”

    doesn’t sound like free will to me.

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  252. In fact, I think that’s the very thing that I’m arguing when I say we don’t have a choice in whether or not to sin[according to scripture]. That has been determined for the individual. In Christian theology they shoot themselves in the foot when they say we’re born sinners yet can choose not to sin.

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  253. Ruth, determinism denies the possibility of free will. I cannot see this as being totally true.

    Then I don’t think we disagree. I’m fully aware, because of my work with addicts, that we are heavily influenced by our environment, nurture, chemicals, etc. But I also have seen these things overcome. I believe there is some choice in this.

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  254. And when I say ‘my work with addicts’ this is not in a professional capacity. This is completely anecdotal and observational.

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  255. Ruth, you should know by now that in Christianity, it’s all about picking and choosing the verses that support your particular belief. As we’ve been discussing to great extent on this blog, the bible is full of contradictions, but believers simply can’t (or won’t) see them.

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  256. Let’s take Ryan’s example of his dog as a simple illustration. His dog chose to chase after a ball rather than eat dinner. It was the dog’s choice to make — no one was forcing him to choose the ball. But if you could rewind, and all the circumstances were still the same: the dog’s love of chasing the ball, his current hunger level, the aroma of his food, etc, would he still make the choice of playing with the ball, or would he choose the food?

    I see your point here.

    Hence that saying ‘if I could go back knowing what I know now’.

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  257. nan, exactly,
    everytime I get into a discussion with a xtain, they deny god ordained slavery, murder and rape.
    when I reference the verses, they say that was man’s free will, not god’s orders,
    which clearly it states, “and the lord spoke to moses”.

    it is truly insane.

    Kathy will go so far as to say that the slaves actually wanted to be slaves.

    no one can tell a lie quite like a xtian,
    but it’s the only way they can rationalize the nonsense.

    oh, and speaking of nonsense, I caught this movie this morning on hbo,
    this is really effed up.

    http://virgintales.com/en/film/

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  258. whenever I have heard the term freewill used, I never thought that it meant “choices made without zero influence,” but rather, “the ability to choose.”

    Again, if we’re saying that freewill is only a choice made in a vacuum, then there is no such thing.

    I dont think that’s what freewill is, but I dont feel like arguing over terms, so I think whatever we do is more like, we have the ability to act or not act, and to speak or not speak, even while still heavily influenced by multiple factors – in other words, our futures are not pre-written.

    we’re not really talking about the either 1) all decisions are made in a vacuum – because I dont think that was the original intention of the word ‘freewill’ and 2) no one really chooses anything but only acts in the one and only way that they can act.

    I think there is middle ground, the ground I that i always understood freewill to be, but again, if freewill is much more involved than that, then fine, but people still make choices – even if heavily influenced.

    “It was easier to do this because….(whatever)” – I can get that, but that doesn’t mean that couldn’t have and shouldn’t have gone the tougher route. My disdain for such arguments doesnt not even mean that I always do what’s right all the time, despite consequences – because i certainly do not.

    I can admit that I act out of selfish motivations most of the time, and maybe all the time, but this is an argument of convenience and I think no better than those who say that they only act out of selflessness…

    one will point to the parts that may be pleasing to the person, while the other will only point out the parts that may be dissatisfying. I think very little is truly that cut and dry but that most things are a combination of good and bad, positive and negative.

    I have the ability to make choices. I have changed my behavior over years.

    I still dont see how influences negate decisions, although i can see how they influence them.

    This almost seems like the middle school lunch table discussion about america not really being free because we cannot do whatever we want whenever we want – well yeah, that’s true, but then the definition of a free society is being stretched to mean something it was never intended.

    i’m fine saying that we have freewill, because I am not forced to behave a certain, predetermined way, without any ability to alter any course of action.

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  259. Nan, I agree with what both you and Nate wrote. No matter what our ‘choices’ may be, they have been determined by other factors.

    Here’s an example with regard to our brains being hardwired for xenophobia.

    ” Some brain-imaging studies have appeared to support this view in a particularly discouraging way. There is a structure deep inside the brain called the amygdala, which plays a key role in fear and aggression, and experiments have shown that when subjects are presented with a face of someone from a different race, the amygdala gets metabolically active—aroused, alert, ready for action. This happens even when the face is presented subliminally, which is to say, so rapidly that the subject does not consciously see it.

    More recent studies, however, should mitigate this pessimism. Test a person who has a lot of experience with people of different races, and the amygdala does not activate. Or, as in a wonderful experiment by Susan Fiske, of Princeton University, subtly bias the subject beforehand to think of people as individuals rather than as members of a group, and the amygdala does not budge.”

    http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/peace_among_primates

    This changed behavior has also been seen among primates, i.e., baboons.

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  260. Kathy will go so far as to say that the slaves actually wanted to be slaves.

    Actually, this is a fairly common Christian belief. That slavery was God’s provision for people to work off their debt and they sold themselves into slavery for this purpose. They forget the God-ordained taking of slaves:

    43Thou shalt not rule over him with rigour; but shalt fear thy God. 44Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. 45Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession. Leviticus 25

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  261. It’s been really interesting to read all the comments on free will. I think the big question is, given all the factors, could we really do anything differently? I guess to some degree it does not matter because we will never be able to reproduce a choice made at a particular moment along with all of the factors including our own memories.

    Here is one relevant paragraph out of the book “God’s Debris”:

    The brain is composed of cells and neurons and chemicals and pathways and electrical activity that all conform to physical laws. When part of your brain is stimulated in one
    specific way, could it respond any way it wants, or would it always respond in one specific way?

    This is a very low level way of looking at it. Like looking at a computer’s binary code. Here’s an interesting question: Could we ever give a computer enough thinking capacity that it could one day make a decision on it’s own? Or would the decision always rely on the circumstances, inputs, etc?

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  262. this sounds like my old middle school lunch table rants about how a free society wasnt really free because you literally couldnt do anything you wanted…

    yeah, well, that’s true, but it’s also stretching ‘free society’ to mean something different than it was intended.

    everyone is influenced, yet we still choose. How could you even test such a thing? find one of those people who have complete short term memory loss like what’sherface on Adam Sandler’s 50 first dates?

    put that person in the exact same simulations every day for years and see if that person ever chooses differently?

    If there is no choice at all, then I suppose fate and destiny arent out the window. If everything that happened was always going to happen, then everything that will happen will have to happen, then everything is mapped out.

    even these discussions. our agreements and disagreements. Surely you all arent saying that we’re all helpless and have to act the way we act and there’s nothing we can do about it?

    that the murderer isnt really at fault, and that that executioner is also predetermined to execute the murderer who couldnt help but murder. This isnt what we’re talking about it, is it?

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  263. Ewwww, Paul. That video is stomach-turning. I don’t have any objections if a girl (or guy) wants to remain “pure” until their wedding day, but to do it for religious (i.e., Christian) reasons? Just more manipulation and brainwashing.

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  264. This is what wiki has to say about free will:

    An excerpt:

    Free will is the ability of agents to make choices unimpeded by certain factors. Factors of historical concern have included metaphysical constraints (such as logical, nomological, or theological determinism),[1] physical constraints (such as chains or imprisonment), social constraints (such as threat of punishment or censure), and mental constraints (such as compulsions or phobias, neurological disorders, or genetic predispositions).

    I think it largely depends on what your definition of freewill is.

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  265. “Just more manipulation and brainwashing.” – nan

    what parents dont brainwash their children with “this is right and this is wrong?”

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  266. and I was predisposed to be christian. had devout parents, devout siblings. friends in the church. habit of going, etc.

    how is it that people like us (on this blog) left the fold, when everything in our environment predisposed us to stay?

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  267. If there is no choice at all, then I suppose fate and destiny arent out the window. If everything that happened was always going to happen, then everything that will happen will have to happen, then everything is mapped out.

    William, I may be way off-base, but I don’t think fate and destiny is what we’re talking about here. IMO, we’re discussing individual choices and decisions … or how we would react to the external things that happen in our lives. Whether or not these external things are predestined is, IMO, a whole other subject.

    But I could be wrong. 😉

    Brainwashing, manipulation, and teaching are all different things. I believe parents are teaching their children what is right or wrong. Of course, then the discussion becomes “what is right and what is wrong?” It’s never-ending.

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  268. how is it that people like us (on this blog) left the fold, when everything in our environment predisposed us to stay?

    But not everything. I can’t speak for you William, but even though I was raised religiously, I was also raised to ask questions and think for myself. I was taught to honor the values of honesty and the responsibility to try to see things clearly, whether we like them or not. While my parents used that within a religious framework, I can easily see how it “predisposed” me to skepticism. It actually turned out to be a perfect primer.

    I loved your middle school lunch room example, btw 🙂

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  269. If every action a person does is only done based upon the events and influences in that person’s life, then every event in history is set and predetermined. It may not be fate written out by a creator, but it’s close enough, because we have no real say in anything.

    I dont believe that. I dont think it makes sense. I realize we’re influenced, but each of has overcome our religious influences if nothing else.

    I think we can choose. I think we do choose. It may not be between every possible choice our out of knowledge of all possible outcomes, but i it’s still a choice.

    Perfectly free – of course not, but we’re free to choose with what info we have. It’s a choice. act this way or act that or dont act at all. It’s free in the sense that we are not forced to a single action.

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  270. that the murderer isnt really at fault, and that that executioner is also predetermined to execute the murderer who couldnt help but murder. This isnt what we’re talking about it, is it?

    No… and yes. 🙂

    I don’t think it would be right to argue that no one has personal responsibility, but I do lean toward thinking that if you could replay an event over and over again, say a dozen times, then the same event would probably happen.

    Let’s say Bob murders Jerry. Bob’s motivations are complex, the timing of his opportunity also has a lot to do with his decision to murder Jerry. If we could replay that moment again and again, he’d likely still murder Jerry, because everything, every detail in the chain of events and circumstances leading to this moment are identical. Even if there were a moment right before the attack where Bob asked himself if he should go through it, whatever reason pushed him over the edge would still be there when it’s replayed.

    But I don’t think we could use this line of thinking to say that Bob should somehow be innocent of his crime. Instead, maybe we should try to focus on what caused him to commit the act and try to correct that. In fact, incarceration or rehabilitation will be a factor that influences whether or not Bob ever does anything like this again. So people are definitely changeable. But if you isolate a particular moment from their lives, could it really have ever gone a different way?

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  271. Am I being too simplistic to say that being able to make a choice isn’t necessarily freewill? I think in it’s purest form freewill would be:

    the ability of agents to make choices unimpeded by any factors.

    I don’t think that any of us believe this to be the case. So perhaps we’re conflating ‘choice’ with freewill?

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  272. Using that definition, how can there even BE such a thing as free will? Do any of us make choices that are not influenced by other factors?

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  273. Using that definition, how can there even BE such a thing as free will? Do any of us make choices that are not influenced by other factors?

    It kind of sounds like that’s what some here are saying – the we don’t really have freewill; that it is an illusion. I may be misunderstanding what’s being said. That is entirely possible.

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  274. well, nate, point taken, but do you have siblings and other family members who were also taught like you? did they all leave the faith? did your parents?

    what’s interesting is if there is no real choice at all, then this whole discussion is pointless, yet we cant help but have it anyways. Even if you’re right, and I never come around, and you realize it’ snot my fault for coming around, you may not be able to help yourself for being annoyed that I haven’t come around to seeing your way, when you know that I cant help but stick to this position…

    I think we’re taking influences and saying that they unfairly alter or influence our decisions. I think they influence us, but i dont care so much about fairness.

    making one choice may be very difficult, like leaving a faith even if that meant leaving family, but doesnt mean it’s impossible. we cant go back, like dave said, and redo what we’ve done – so in a sense there’s no way to test this.

    the tests that Neuro brought up show that people are influenced. While many of the reactions could be predicted given the influence, I doubt those conducting the study that their sample group represents 100% of the population. While going against the grain is unpopular, it doesnt mean that it;s impossible.

    sitting on nails or sitting on pillows is an easy choice (doesnt mean there is no freewill, just because one choice outweighs another), but many things in life end being more like sitting on this bed of nails or that bed of glass – or laying on these pillows or those pillows…

    It seems like you’re all saying that if a guy sat on the yellow pillow, then he’d always sit on the yellow pillow over the blue pillow. I disagree.

    many times our influences pull us in different ways yes? Our influences are part of the decision process, they do not negate it. How could you even have a decision to make without influences or external factors?

    I think it’s like saying that volcano dont erupt, it’s the lava – I think that a volcano without lava is just a mountain. the lava is part of the volcano. Our influences are part of our decisions, but only part and not the whole.

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  275. “But if you isolate a particular moment from their lives, could it really have ever gone a different way?” – nate

    is there a way to test that?

    I’m thinking no.

    I know for myself, there are many times I think hard about actions I take. Sometimes very trivial ones. I try to weigh the options and end up not sure which is better than the other. I make a choice that could have easily gone either way, almost like flipping a coin or rolling the dice.

    as a child it was about going to the bathroom during the sermon. I was fascinated that god knew whether I was going to get up or whether i would sit and hold it. How did he know what i was going to do before I did it, and before i knew what I was going to do? I wasnt sure if i’d hold it or get. I wasnt about to pee my pants, so this is one example of rolling the dice. I didnt always get up and I didnt always stay put.

    Now, take the murderer you were talking about and if we were able to replay each even, in exactly the same way a dozen times, we might all be comfortable in saying he’d do the same thing every time. What if replayed it 1000 times or a million or a billion? would you be as sure that there would be no deviation if we could replay it that many times?

    To me, it there were a single deviation in behavior, however long it took to see it, then we’d have choice.

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  276. “how is it that people like us (on this blog) left the fold, when everything in our environment predisposed us to stay?”

    William, studies showed that most people are followers. They flock like sheep. There is a small percentage who don’t. But that appears to be predetermined in our genetic makeup.

    “Their research suggests that humans flock like sheep and birds, subconsciously following a minority of individuals. The study at the University of Leeds shows that it takes a minority of just five per cent to influence a crowd’s direction – and that the other 95 per cent follow without realising it.”

    http://www.leeds.ac.uk/news/article/397/sheep_in_human_clothing__scientists_reveal_our_flock_mentality

    Then there’s cerebral automatism, related to the learning process, which gives the majority of people the propensity to line up to majority opinion even when it contradicts evidence. This would help explain, at least in part, why Nate’s siblings continue to follow tradition. i realize there are other factors involved, but my point is that I think your decision to come out from among them had more to do with your genetic makeup (and other influences) besides just making a choice to do so.

    You have clearly demonstrated in your comments that you are not a follower. I asked questions a lot when I was a kid. Questions that took my parents out of their comfort zone. But asking questions came at a cost to my well being so I stopped. That propensity to continue to ask questions started again in adulthood. My siblings never questioned. Why not? We me?

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  277. “William, leaving “god” out of it, why do you think you got up one time and stayed put on another time?” – nan

    I really dont know. For those instances, it was use the restroom, or wait. If i used it, then i got some relief and got to stretch my legs. if i held it, it wasnt really painful or too uncomfortable and got to listen to teh sermon and avoid being a disturbance – and although my parents never said anything about it, i always assumed they’d prefer us kids stay seated.

    the point, i guess, is that many decisions we are like this – each with their own set of pros and cons that we often feel are equal. It could have and often did go either way. I dont see how such choices are predetermined.

    I think bigger decisions are similar just more or less complex, depending on how you view it. we weigh the pros and cons depending on our influences and decide. I get the influence, but i think there’s so much influences acting in very different directions that is is too simplistic to say that every action is the the only action you have taken given the circumstances. I think we can predict but i dont think those predictions would be 100% certain – therefore not set in stone, therefore some form of choice, what i call freewill, but may start calling limited freewill.

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  278. bladder control — which illustrates the point about external factors influencing one’s decision (free will). 😉

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  279. Neuro,

    I do agree that we are influenced. sorry to sound like a broken record.

    I do imagine that our genes play a huge role, and that every encounter we have influences one way or another on us.

    I know we’re limited by our knowledge, etc…

    did you choose to quit asking your parents, or were you essentially forced to by the circumstances?

    I will say that I dont we are free to choose our belief. I’m talking actions. I didnt choose to disbelieve in religion, that happened over time as a result of my efforts. I chose to investigate, but was powerless to the conclusion i reached in so doing.

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  280. “did you choose to quit asking your parents, or were you essentially forced to by the circumstances?”

    Both. My choice was based on what I mentioned earlier. My well being. Asking questions that seemed like a form of rebellion was discouraged. It meant that I could get spanked and/or sent to my room. Children tend to have more of a voice today then when I was a kid.

    “I chose to investigate, but was powerless to the conclusion i reached in so doing.”

    Same here, William, but my genetic makeup played a major roll in giving me the determination (a stubborn streak?) to do so. Unlike Nate’s parents who encouraged questioning, mine did not. So where did this determination come from when doing so could come at a cost to my well being? I didn’t like pat answers. For me, I found it more rewarding to understand than to get acknowledged (as in acceptance) by my parents (and a god).

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  281. but bladder control isnt really what we’re talking about.

    We can all hold our bladder to a degree. No one would argue that we lack freewill because we cant go on living if we stop breathing or after we let all of our blood out.

    Do we have the ability to decide?

    Are all of our actions predetermined by external factors? I think the answer is no, because our internal mind is also a factor at work. It may work in conjunction with many other factors, but we are not prisoners and forced to act one certain way based upon our external influences.

    Paul may have been born gay and i may have been born a heterosexual, but i can choose to forego intercourse, despite my attraction to women and a healthy flow of testosterone. True, I have not made a lifelong commitment to celibacy, but i have gone extended periods of time by choice.

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  282. I don’t have any objections if a girl (or guy) wants to remain ‘pure’ until their wedding day” – I can’t imagine anything funnier than two virgins in bed: “You wanna put that thing WHERE?!

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  283. nate, even when abstaining from women, i abstained from, uh.. debating…

    not surprisingly, there are some build ups that cant be contained. Despite my efforts, life finds a way… even if it’s onto your own sheets…

    it’s like the bladder discussion, the mind can only control the body so far.

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  284. what parents dont brainwash their children with ‘this is right and this is wrong?’” – Me. I raised my children with a single rule: “You can do anything you like, as long as you don’t hurt yourself or anyone else.” It was up to me to demonstrate how a particular behavior hurt someone – no “dassen’t-do’s” handed down from previous generations of archaeopterxes —

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  285. in regards to rearing children, I’m just not that critical of other parents. I think most do the best they can. Some use reason, some use religion, others use a form of both…

    Something teaching your kid to be skeptical of god is bad and others think it’s right.

    Saving oneself till marriage? I actually think it’s best, although i didnt do that. But with STD’s and what have you… Plus, if you test drive a car you cant afford, you may never really be happy with what you can.

    one parent believes that god wants you stay pure and r another parent just think it makes sense…. i dont get worked up over it. Are they indoctrinating their kids? sure, but nonreligious parents can do that too. where’s the line? I dont want to draw it for others in most things.

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  286. “True, I have not made a lifelong commitment to celibacy, but i have gone extended periods of time by choice.”

    William, my point, which I tried to make earlier is that all our actions are reward based in one form or another. Those who chose to be celibate, i.e., monks, are getting a neurochemical reward in other ways. People who are exceptionally religious tend to get more physically excited by looking at religious words than sexual words. These people also tend to have a low sex drive because they are getting dopamine and other reward neurotransmitters by other means. There’s an excellent BBC documentary titled “God On The Brain” that discusses this in one of their segments.

    So what was the reason for you choosing to be celibate, if that’s not too personal? Did you see any possible reward in choosing celibacy for those times in your life?

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  287. All this talk about whether choice is an illusion or determined by outside factors made me think of this[warning, this clip contains subtitles which may offend some sensitivies; i.e. language, slang]:

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  288. Neuro,

    I think I understand your point, and I agree that we seek rewards. But often, if not always, each decision is between a group of pros and cons on either side. Whatever we choose and whatever we do there is both pro and con associated with it.

    I chose A becuase it had pros… I didnt chose B even though it had pros. It had cons too, but hen so did A.

    When i was celibate? I was a viral high school and early college aged kid. I was very attracted to women, but was a believer at the time. I didnt masturbate or have sex.

    This was not a period that extenuated years. and hopefully you’ll forgive how personal this is getting, but somewhere around 2 weeks was all i could manage. Now, i went more than 2 weeks without masturbating or having sex, but it was coming out at some point… you get me?

    that’s basically why i stopped trying, because i felt like it was futile… and messier.

    But yeah, i believed lust was wrong and I thought it took lust to masturbate, so I tried stopping.

    and the dreams cause by the celibacy were quite vivid. I was lusting in my sleep.

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  289. The only thing I ever abstained from was abstention.

    I don’t think they’re talkin’ about hittin’ the sauce, arch.

    I am now thoroughly confused as to whether I have a choice about things or if I’m just deluded into thinking I have.

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  290. Ruth, LOL @ the video. 😀

    “But often, if not always, each decision is between a group of pros and cons on either side. Whatever we choose and whatever we do there is both pro and con associated with it.”

    Exactly. Pro = reward.

    Con = no reward.

    William, I really appreciate and respect your openness on such personal matters. I made similar decisions myself after my partner died. I was a believer, but chose not to sleep with men. It’s not that I had the urge to go out and “cat around”. I didn’t — but I was lonely and wanted to feel that intimate connection with another human. I struggled with the urge to masturbate, but I was taught that it was sinful, and I didn’t want to disappoint god. So my decisions were reward based for a number of reasons. One, I didn’t want to use men for their bodies (though they would have liked me too, 😉 ) and two, I didn’t want to displease god and come out from “his” covering, protection.

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  291. i think we still have choice, although it is influenced by many external things or things beyond our control.

    I may can sympathize with a decision someone has made, even if i think it’s the wrong one, because i can see where they’re coming from, but i do not believe they were helpless and HAD to act that way.

    we each choose to participate here – we could choose not to.

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  292. this is a discussion that i think has little point.

    if we put this in a religious context, we could talk about freewill in heaven like,

    1) is there any?
    2) if so, and if freewill means you’ll eventually sin, then will you eventually sin in heaven?
    3) if people could sin in heaven and if god cant be around sin, then would all the saved end up condemned – just like the devil and his angels were cast out?
    4) if you can have freewill without sin, then why didnt god make it that way on earth and how did the angels sin in heaven in they cant or lack nothing up there?

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  293. William, there may be little “point” to the discussion of free will, as you say. Nevertheless, it’s a fascinating topic. And personally, I appreciate the feedback that’s been offered. It’s given me something different (and more intellectual) to mull around in my head instead of the crud we’ve previously been discussing with you-know-who.

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  294. “Neuro, yes I understand. But you still chose one set of pros over another, and still chose to accept one set of cons over another.”

    Indeed, William. Ultimately one set of choices offered more reward than the other.

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  295. neuro have you never made a decision where you thought that the potential rewards were virtually equal?

    I can say that I think i’ve made decisions that i really think offered me the least reward. I get that we can just say, “but if you chose it, then what little reward there was, meant that little reward meant more to you at the time.”

    we could say that about anything, and i could just be saying the above, so it’s not a proof I’m trying to make – just asking a question.

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  296. Every decision is based on a number of different factors. The other day, I really wanted some Doritos, but I knew that I didn’t need them, and I managed to withstand the temptation all day. The Doritos would have “rewarded” me with awesome flavor, but the idea of being healthier won out. From a strict “reward” basis, I would have been more rewarded by the Doritos than by abstaining, but only in that moment. A longer-term reward was to abstain.

    There were moments where I almost gave in yesterday (there’s a bag in the pantry), but I really pushed myself in those moments to be distracted by something else. If yesterday could be replayed, I imagine my choices would still be the same. Even though I felt that I could go either way in the moment, something swayed me to skip the Doritos. I see no reason to think it wouldn’t do the same thing were I to replay everything exactly.

    We’re still making choices. And if I had eaten the Doritos, that might have made me feel guilty enough to do something much healthier later. So we can definitely change behavior too. But I think if you could “replay” your life without any additional knowledge, the choices would end up the same.

    I agree with Nan… it’s an interesting conversation. And if we could replay this day, I’m sure I’d still agree with Nan 🙂

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  297. Okay, I agree with everything you just said, Nate. But even though, if we went back, we wouldn’t> make a different choice does that mean we couldn’t make a different choice?

    Keep your Doritos. Ice cream doesn’t stand a chance!

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  298. neuro have you never made a decision where you thought that the potential rewards were virtually equal?

    I can say that I think i’ve made decisions that i really think offered me the least reward.

    Well, perhaps they appeared to be equal, meaning I could get immediate reward, but down the road there could be consequences. I was looking at long term when I made those choices. The decision to not sleep with men had to do with my feeling of not wanting to be used by men — kinda the Golden Rule. So empathy was involved in that decision.

    But all those decisions were based on my perception of morality at the time and my belief in god. Now, I know that masturbation can be quite healthy and is perfectly natural. I didn’t at the time. Even if I had been presented the research, I still would have chosen to abstain because I would have likely believed that I was being deceived.

    These were conscious decisions based on conscience, which ultimately was based on the perception that reward was involved even if I wasn’t consciously aware of it at the time.

    Did that answer your question?

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  299. But even though, if we went back, we wouldn’t make a different choice does that mean we couldn’t make a different choice?

    This is the key right here! Great question/point! Yes, I think we could have made a different choice. So in that way, we have free will. However, there was some decision, some emotion, some catalyst that pushed us in one direction over another. And since that would still be the same, I think we’d still make the same decision.

    We’re responsible for our decisions… but the events that lead up to them (including our own thoughts/feelings) all inform our decision.

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  300. If yesterday could be replayed, I imagine my choices would still be the same.” – so no Bill Murray, Groundhog Day for you, Nate?

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  301. Okay, because in my muddled mind I thought we were saying that we held people responsible for choices they didn’t actually make. If we have no freewill then our ability to choose seems like merely an illusion.

    Where I was going with this:

    In my mind holding people responsible for choices they had no control over seemed eerily similar to God sending people to hell/punishing them/holding them accountable for sin when they don’t have a choice about whether to sin or not.

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  302. “In my mind holding people responsible for choices they had no control over seemed eerily similar to God sending people to hell/punishing them/holding them accountable for sin when they don’t have a choice about whether to sin or not. “

    Ruth, your last paragraph is representative of a light bulb moment for me when I started researching the causes of antisocial behavior. It started out as a way of trying to understand why some serious crap had happen to me by others. It started out as a venture — to find forgiveness — authentic forgiveness. But that forgiveness, in my mind, had to come with understanding. Not just forgive by “faith” or was commanded that I had to forgive. What became apparent to me during this research was just how very human and illiterate Yahweh and Son were. This revelation was the beginning of my deconversion.

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  303. It started out as a venture — to find forgiveness — authentic forgiveness. But that forgiveness, in my mind, had to come with understanding. Not just forgive by “faith” or was commanded that I had to forgive. What became apparent to me during this research was just how very human and illiterate Yahweh and Son were. This revelation was the beginning of my deconversion.

    Right, but what about action? See, I think the thing that is a question in my mind is this: if the person doesn’t have a choice how am I to react to that? I’m not talking about forgiveness. I’ve long since forgiven. My question is, then, how are we to respond to that individual? Or do we even have a choice in whether to respond or even extend forgiveness?

    Basically, what would that forgiveness look like?

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  304. It’s raining (and hailing) this afternoon Neuro, so I finally had time to watch the video you offered me, How the Brain Works, with Neil Tyson, and I’m at the part about how some people see different letters in different colors. I have a friend, who calls herself “Strega” on blogsites, who is that way, and I would love to get her to discuss that with you. Unfortunately, she is English, living in the US on a green card, and her mother was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer, so she has flown home to be with her. It is my feeling that it would be inappropriate to disturb her at this time, but maybe someday —

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  305. Nate (& others), your comments about the Doritos situation got me to thinking. What about people who can’t “control” their urges? Like alcoholics or people who suffer from anorexia or workaholics or the overly obese? What comes into play? These individuals may know they’re damaging their body, yet they continue. Is this also about rewards?

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  306. Right, but what about action? See, I think the thing that is a question in my mind is this: if the person doesn’t have a choice how am I to react to that? I’m not talking about forgiveness. I’ve long since forgiven. My question is, then, how are we to respond to that individual? Or do we even have a choice in whether to respond or even extend forgiveness?

    Basically, what would that forgiveness look like?

    I can only speak for my own experiences, but I’ll share one example with regard to action, if I understand you correctly, I set boundaries and sought to understand. When I experienced cyber fraud/identity theft, the guy got 12 years in the pen. I had met him online and over the course of several months he wooed me. This was back when the Internet was just getting started with message boards. I was too trusting and not aware that this activity was possible. His actions devastated my life. It was a huge sum of money — over 6 figures. He was a 1st Gulf War veteran who had sustained PTSD and blast-related TBI, an effect of over-pressurized shock waves that ripple out from explosions.

    This can affect regions of the brain associated with impulse and empathy. He was exposed to depleted uranium as well which can also cause brain damage. But the courts never took any of that into account even though he was on disability, honorably discharged. At the time, i was not aware of how exposure like this could cause antisocial behavior. That was over a decade ago. He’s out of prison and has not been rehabilitated. He’s active online seeking out another victim. I know this because he has the same moniker and a blog. I had a chance to talk with his parents at the time of his arrest and they told me that he had never behaved like this before the war.

    So action for me, is not only setting boundaries but seeing to understand (educate myself) why things like this occur. Our “justice system” is as archaic and barbaric as our belief systems.

    Arch, I’ll be back in a bit to address your comment.

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  307. “I have a friend, who calls herself “Strega” on blogsites, who is that way, and I would love to get her to discuss that with you.”

    Arch, my guess is that she probably knows more about synesthesia than I do since she lives with it. Has she been diagnosed with synesthesia? I think it would be totally cool to have that “disorder”. 😀

    Lucky you that it’s been raining. It’s been very warm and muggy here. July weather in October. Go figure.

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  308. It would seem, Neuro – and I’m not agreeing nor disagreeing, merely asking – that you’re implying that absent a massive rewiring job, criminal rehabilitation is impossible? Which would further imply that prisons should operate as rewiring labs, or failing that, serve merely to keep the perpetrator out of society and away from potential victims.

    Also, on the subject of AI – the female Human pelvis has reached its limit of expansion. Babies with much larger brains than those with which we’re contemporary, simply couldn’t pass through the average woman’s birth canal. So computers, and by extension, AI, has come (seemingly) fortuitously, just in time to enhance our intelligence without further physical evolution.

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  309. Lucky you that it’s been raining.” – too little, too late, last month went down as the driest September in the history of record-keeping.

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  310. It would seem, Neuro – and I’m not agreeing nor disagreeing, merely asking – that you’re implying that absent a massive rewiring job, criminal rehabilitation is impossible?

    Yes, it’s possible but not with everyone. The problem is, Arch, the criminal ‘justice’ system provides a massive reinforcement of that wiring (if it’s caused by wiring) when people go to prison. Violence experts state that prisons don’t rehabilitate, they make things worse and punishment does not prevent violence — again — it makes things worse.

    (two minutes)

    serve merely to keep the perpetrator out of society and away from potential victims

    Yes. But that’s all it does.

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  311. Watching the segment on TMS now, and as the late Walter Brennan used to say on The Guns Of Will Sonnet, “No brag, jest fact.”, I rarely feel pain. I also rarely get sick, except when the kids, and later the grandchildren, bring the flu home with them during the holiday vacations. So is that due to my frontal cortex blocking the pain signals? And couldn’t that prevent me from realizing when something is seriously wrong. like a marathon runner running on a sprained ankle, or (extreme example) a broken leg?

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  312. Arch, with regard to pain, you might want to read this link — it’s quite complex. But here’s an excerpt.

    “If you step on that rock after you have a fight with your wife, your response may be very different than it would if you had just won the lottery. Your feelings about the experience may be tainted if the last time you stepped on a rock, your foot became infected. If you stepped on a rock once before and nothing terrible happened to you, you may recover more quickly. You can see how different emotions and histories can determine your response to pain.”

    http://pain.about.com/od/whatischronicpain/a/feeling_pain.htm

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  313. Now watching the segment on how, under some circumstances, some people seem to perceive time as moving more slowly. This happened to me the first time I rolled a car – I had absolutely no fear of death (but then, I was 25, and still likely under the misimpression that I was invulnerable), and I still recall, in minute detail, the exhilaration of rolling over – it was fascinating, it all happened in slow motion. I was punctured on each side of my spine by the crumpled roof, but felt no pain. I caught a ride back to town, got my other car, drove back and made arrangements for a tow truck to pick up the vehicle, then drove three hours to my parents’ house, before realizing, when my Mom pointed it out, that the back of my shirt was drenched in blood. Good times.

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  314. Dang, Arch. Do you think that you didn’t feel pain because you were in shock or has this always been the case — not feeling pain? You feel no pain?

    Have you ever been kick in that “delicate” area between your legs? If so, did you moan like a woman in intense labor and have a near-death experience? 😉

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  315. Of course, when pricked by a pin, I hurt (although I knew a girl once who swallowed a thumbtack when she was six, and didn’t feel the prick til she was sixteen, but I digress –) – I attribute it to the adrenalin rush.

    Have you ever been kick(ed) in that ‘delicate’ area between your legs?” – if you mean the cajones, no, I’ve never allowed that to happen.

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  316. Yeah, like I really need 4 minutes and 28 seconds of Man’s greatest nightmare, thanks —

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  317. I don’t know, Mz V, if you currently hold a BA/BS or not – why do you not pursue a Masters and follow that with a Doctorate? You’re still a relatively young woman. Yes, it’s only pieces of paper, but it’s also credentials, and that would make your word more valuable in the eyes of those to whom such things matter. And face it, for the most part, they rule the world.

    If it’s just a matter of money, hey, we could rob a bank, they’re insured by FDIC! I could plan it during one of my (according to Ruth) drunken stupors, what could possibly go wrong?

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  318. I mean, with your obvious intellect, your vast reservoir of knowledge, and your uncanny ability to research, if you could just repress your tendency toward snarkiness, you’d be unstoppable!

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  319. “If it’s just a matter of money, hey, we could rob a bank, they’re insured by FDIC! I could plan it during one of my (according to Ruth) drunken stupors, what could possibly go wrong?”

    So Arch, did you say you got a “bump” on the head? 😛

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  320. “if you could just repress your tendency toward snarkiness, you’d be unstoppable!”

    I have a great teacher. Why would I want to repress the hours of training from the Master of snarkiness? 😉

    Are you hitting the ba ba tonight?

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  321. The best example of freewill that impresses me is self sacrifice for the benefit of others. When a person gives themselves to another who does not know them yet. Gives their time, their resources and even their lives.

    When a person gives that part of themselves, even while the very people they are giving to critique, revile and dismiss them. Those very people who misunderstand and hate them, they seek to give themselves to. So that one day those people may not be strangers and understand.

    That to me suggests freewill, especially in cases where the person is choosing to take on harm and abuse for the sake of others.

    Because that choice goes against their very self preservation.

    I plan to go camping this week, so I’ll be away for a few days.

    Hope you all stay safe 🙂

    I’ll leave with one last video for today, hopefully not the last day though 🙂

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  322. That to me suggests freewill, especially in cases where the person is choosing to take on harm and abuse for the sake of others.

    Because that choice goes against their very self preservation.

    Unless, of course, that person’s daddy happens to be king of the Universe, and the person knows that after one really bad day and a three-day nap, he’ll get to live forever in paradise.

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  323. So are we saying that if there’s any reward in a choice at all that nullifies freewill?

    Or even if there is no reward at all?

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  324. So action for me, is not only setting boundaries but seeing to understand (educate myself) why things like this occur. Our “justice system” is as archaic and barbaric as our belief systems.

    I have, in the past, had issues with empathy. I let it extend too far over into sympathy which leads to not setting appropriate boundaries and giving a bazillion second chances. But you already know that.

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  325. “I have, in the past, had issues with empathy. I let it extend too far over into sympathy which leads to not setting appropriate boundaries and giving a bazillion second chances.”

    Agreed. Sociopaths, psychopaths and narcissists target certain personality types — humanitarians — those who tend to be empathic/sympathetic towards the plight of others.

    What Christianity did was to teach people that they should turn the other cheek and allow this behavior — forgive 70 x 7. IMO, that is treading in dangerous territory when you teach children this message. Do you know that after I experience this identity theft ( I mistakenly wrote 6 figures, but it was actually just over 7 figures) I was told that God had allowed this to happen; that I was the sacrificial lamb who was to “witness” to him and lead him to Christ. I kid you not.

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