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09/08/2009

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Call Your Senators 202-224-3121

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The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of government and peace there is no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom to order it

And to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless!

They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.

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Notion of a Means) to what they would have, and then the means to that, and so by a train of Phantasms

Chicken ran from her through a little hole that was in a Gate, through which she could not follow them

first she looks to fee if she could sty to the top of the Wall, which was the nearest way and means, but upon Trial finding that unfeasible, and spying at some distance a Pent-House

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But at present there was nothing more to be said. Mr. Woodhouse very soon followed them into the drawing-room.

To be sitting long after dinner was a confinement that he could not endure. Neither wine nor conversation was any thing to him; and gladly did he move to those with whom he was always comfortable.

While he talked to Isabella, however, Emma found an opportunity of saying,—'And so you do not consider this visit from your son as by any means certain.

I second Cham's call for exemlpas and also call for Vox to provide any exemlpas of this supposed atheist conspiracy.While it's nice that Helen still has the presence of mind to be able to question what she sees, hears, and reads, it's kind of sad to see that she is resorting to attacking what she disagrees with in such a reflexive and shallow manner."Beware of studies that show free will to be more and more of an illusion", but only because we say so, and not because we've provided you with any kind of logical reason for doing so, studies that disprove the studies that we're reflexively opposed to, or even a simple example of why they're wrong. Such an argument is no different than religious people who insist on telling others to believe in their ridiculous fairy tales just because they say so and not because what they're saying makes any sense at all or because what others are saying is wrong.While it's true that "free will" is non-falsifiable because "free will", like ghosts, souls, gods, the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, and so on, is not measurable or observable (as of yet) and therefore ought not be the subject of scientific inquiry (as of yet), it's not true that the idea that people make subconscious choices that can be altered via regulation or probably will make conscious choices that ought to be prevented via regulation is a bad idea - because people do make subconscious choices that can and probably should be altered via regulation (or by some other means) and probably will make conscious choices that ought to be prevented via regulation.For example, the default position for most people, as for most, if not all, animals, is to do less work, not more work to achieve whatever it is that they're trying to achieve. Most people - even inner-city dwellers - could easily grow some of their own foodstuffs and cook their own food, but they don't. They could grow (or pick) and preserve many of their own fruits, herbs, and vegetables and make their own breads, cheeses, butter, and other foods that they eat on a regular basis. Why don't they? Because getting these things by way of trading has been made easier because of the market economy that we live in. The downside to all of this is that people are less-connected with where their food comes from, how it's produced and how it's prepared and are increasingly becoming more and more helpless around the kitchen, thus causing them to turn to processed foods more often (or entirely) - which is one major cause of obesity, which is causing a huge number of problems.We could easily ignore any studies that show a causal link between eating more processed foods, obesity, and obesity's externalities (like increased fuel usage by airlines, buses, and automobiles (all that extra fat is causing the fuel economy of plains, buses, and automobiles to decrease), increased food consumption (while heavy exercisers do eat much more than the average person, so, too, do the fatties), pollution, and more) and the subconscious choices that lead to such behavior and results and ignore those who call for regulations intended to affect the kind of behavioral changes in individuals needed to prevent such behaviors, and thus prevent such behaviors' results; we could do that on the grounds that the idea of large numbers of people responding to incentives in a predictable manner is stupid just because we don't like the fact that we live in a political world where everything we do affects someone else in some way. We could do that...but why would we? Simply because we don't like reality? Such a blind reaction deserves the same ridicule that so many of us atheists heap upon people who would attempt to base laws upon religion (which, over the past couple thousand years, have produced cynically-hilarious results).

"You must have missed the rfereence to Open Theism or not understood it. There is no direct claim to an "all-knowing" God in the Bible, Calvinism and conventional Sunday School theology notwithstanding. Ergo no incompatibility."His statement is a denial of the living religion. Which means that Christianity should get zero credit for any moral advances beyond what is in the bible.So do you Chuck think Vox is a Christian or not? Apparently Vox doesn't think the Amish are Christians since their entire community is based on living traditions invented well after the bible was written. Who else aren't Christian?Are you the arbiter of who is Christian and who is not.Do you or do you not believe that the bible is inerrant?Seems to me that the bible is like an instruction manual that contradicts itself. It's like instructions on a hair dry that says not to use near water but also claims to be waterproof and suggests that it be used in the shower.I would hold the manufacturer and seller of such a dryer responsible for any accidents that result from following such instructions. Even more so if they claimed the instructions were inerrant and that they have god working in the technical writing department.The reason why Christianity is responsible for some of the atrocities committed in it's name is that it is easy to interpret the instructions given by the bible and the living religion as sanctioning those atrocities.The belief in "love thy neighbor" is only one component of Christianity. You have to look at the whole machine. Sure it might act as a brake on human behavior if it was installed in the correct location in the machine. However the bible doesn't say where to install the brake. The living tradition of the Amish quite apparently have it installed in the correct location to have an effect. Which Vox would not give them credit for if it wasn't exactly spelled out in the bible. Otherwise Vox would have to either be Amish or disavow them as being Christian (given his statement).Other components of Christianity in the bible tend to act as accelerators towards violence, and some of them are at the heart of Christianity (via the bible or the living traditions).Many of the atrocities of the Inquisition and Spanish conquest of the Americas were sanctioned on the belief in the existence of hell. The idea being that someone who is not on the right path to Christ, like you, was in danger of an eternity in hell. Not only that belief, but that your heresies would endangering others who might also end up in hell. It is quite clear that any punishment that the inquisitor could met out is minor compared to the danger you are putting your soul in. The bible is inerrant so therefore, we true Christians have carte blanche to torture you to the point of redemption.So the brake of "love thy neighbor" can be improperly installed, and it can also be over powered by the accelerator of "fear of hell".The reason for this is that the bible is not the word of some infallible all loving deity but the work of a committee of ethical primitives. The quality is so low that I've seen better instruction manuals translated from Chinese non-English speakers.

"Normally, when a person calls hislmef a compatibilist he believes both that free will and determinism are compatible with each other, and that they exist."Wrong. It's merely the belief that they are compatible. I believe that Islam is compatible with terrorism. I don't believe in either."As far as "Well?" I see I struck a chord. I take your touchiness as proof of my point: ethics is not a solved problem."You didn't make a point. You were just being lazy, which is irritating. At least now you have made a statement that is addressable. It's clear that you are confused. Ethics is a category like science. Do you think it would make sense to state "science is not a solved problem"?Your expectations are strange, as are your questions. What's your criteria for determining when "science" or "ethics" are solved problems? Also what does this have to do with the original claim that about coherence? Coherence is a different criteria that "solved". In fact, something can be coherent and false. I readily admit that my ethical beliefs may be false in any particular or as a whole, just like scientists admit that their theories may be false on any particular.I wouldn't get too excited about my irritation with both Vox and your ignorance. It is not evidence that you are correct. I get irritated with Muslims, Wiccans, Scientologists, and objectivists too. Let's start with some philosophical background upon which I base my ethics. To begin with I'm a pan-critical rationalist. Which is a coherent philosophical tradition."Two experiments. First, stock a parole board with people who are convinced the surest sign that an inmate has abandoned the kind of thinking that leads to crime is that he has embraced rationalism and atheism, and see that the inmates get word of this."They don't gather the statistics at the parole board hearings. Also it's against the law to release prisoners based on religious affiliation. Are you claiming that atheists are being unjustly detained for longer periods in jail. Wouldn't this prejudice of parole boards also play out during trial and sentencing, and wouldn't that tend to cause more atheists to be thrown in jail? Are you telling me that being an open atheist like I am is likely to result in my unjust incarceration, due to the religious bigotry of judicial institutions?Why the large conversion rate to Islam if you think that inmates try to sway predominately Christian parole boards?"Second, compare the percent of regular churchgoers who end up in prison to the percent for non-churchgoers."Why is church attendance inside prison at the same rate as outside prison? It's not like all the prisoners are flocking to church on the inside. If there really were some expectation that church gets you out then one would expect attendance to be very high. It isn't.Your response is the "no true Scotsman" fallacy. The fact is that people who believe that god exists commit crimes all the time.

Nothing is more dangerous than a naisissrct with power and Ovomit is a perfect clinical example of a truly deranged naisissrct. This non-believer has taken up serious prayer. May God save our Republic, a republic foolishly delivered to a psycopath on November 8, 2008.

I cannot scubbrise to the idea of free will.As I've gone through life and studied human behavior I've gone from "people to crazy thing" to "I understand why he did that" and looked to a person's past to discover what events of learning went towards the decision that he made at the time given the knowledge he likely had. I've become very proficient in this art of predicting human behavior. Anytime I'm surprised by a decision someone makes, I can often track it back to a lack of knowledge about them that I had (of course, once knowing that about the person their decision makes sense).Even if you don't have this experience, all you needs to do is pick up a good book on Cognitive Therapy and you will get the basis of how decisions are made, sometimes almost automatically, and how they relate to past events:It's really as simple as asking yourself a question... "why?".Why did you come to this blog today? What motivated you to do so? Where did those motivations come from? What events caused those motivations to form in your life? As you dig deeper and deeper, you'll find much of what made up even the simple decision to view this blog today was predestined.But now comes the tricky part ;)Even though I understand humans (and therefore I) don't have free will, I have to trick myself into believing that I do and that I can change. Without at least the illusion of free will, what is the point of existence?Now, Re: responsibility. I don't believe that a lack of free-will removes the aspect of responsibility. Without responsibility, everything breaks. The reason why is that part of the decision making process is calculating the risk. You can take the same person (same pre-determination) and place them in front of two similar decisions and watch them make different decisions based on the expected outcomes of those decisions. Part of it has to do with the risk-aversion that the decider has, and the other with the actual risks themselves. e.g. a person who would accept the risk of a paper-cut shuffling cards wouldn't risk a severed finger from shuffling razor blades due to the risk. Now, if we removed the risk of the criminal system punishment, we'd watch lots of people make other decisions than they are currently making.But even when we change the risk/expected outcomes slightly, we can watch behaviors change. If 90/100 people would have no problem speeding under the current rules and we increased the fines, perhaps we'd now find 70/100 speeding. Let's say that we removed all fines and we find 99/100 speeding. those 20 people (9 in the second change) are what's called boundary cases. As we change the environment, we change the behavior of those boundary cases.Bell curves and boundary cases... that's what "free-will" comes down to.

Pt. 3Chuck Pelto;"The ones driven by 'deterministics' are the ones that 'drive on' into the croc infeetsd river.The ones with 'free will' are the ones who, despite their instinct to 'drive on' across the river, stand away. Because of their better sense of reality."But having a better sense of reality is still a cause, just as much as a drive to cross the river. They're free in exacty the same sense, of doing what they want.David Baker:"After all, even I would like to believe that my choice for lunch is my own, rather than the expression of some inner directive."But a choice that is your own in any real sense is the same thing as an inner directive. This is the essential incoherence of incompatibilism; you want to make a choice, yet have it be free of your own pre-existing personality and desires (which you know to have been formed by circumstances outside of your control, e.g., being born where and when you were rather than, say, early medieval Central Asia). But if is not caused by your personality, etc, how is it your own?nse is the same thing as an inner directive. This is the essential incoherence of incompatibilism; you want to make a choice, yet have it be free of your own pre-existing personality and desires (which you know to have been formed by circumstances outside of your control, e.g., being born where and when you were rather than, say, early medieval Central Asia). But if is not caused by your personality, etc, how is it your own?"You must have missed the reference to Open Theism or not understood it. There is no direct claim to an "all-knowing" God in the Bible, Calvinism and conventional Sunday School theology notwithstanding.""The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good." One of the Proverbs, forgot the chapter and verse numbers.Not to mention Romans 9, where Paul directly asserts almost everything that would later be called Calvinism. Sorry, if Christianity is true then predestination is too.JG;The people around you may not be able to care a hundred years from now, but I suspect they care right now.

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