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America is inherently violent
Sugarfree
Cynic; I detect an element of sophistry in your above comment...
Im here to learn too, i personaly believe that the process of argument, whether fair and ordered point to counter-point discussion or charotic ranting, is a valuable way of learning too, perhaps not about the chosen subject, but about the way other people arrive at their own conclusions, about how they express themselves through language and so on.
I for one find that fascinating at times. As a matter of fact i admire many of your posts for their linguistic eloquence and am often tempted to quote from you in my classes! Everything we ever say or do affects other people, and in the end thats all education is, is what rubs off from one onto the people around one, or what one recieves from people around one in turn. A. E. Housman once said "All knowledge is prescious whether or not it serves the slightest human use", im inclined to agree, somewhat.
 
RayvenAlandria
Sugarfree, please try to ignore Cynic. He is not representative of the people on this site.
 
seeker
Cynic wrote:

After reading -- and responding to! -- my rant below about people not recognizing or acting on obvious cases of synergy, do you honestly not smell the sarcasm here?


The sarcasm isn't lost on me, I'm just curious that you chose to indict the entire board for the difficulty you atr having with one poster.

Cynic wrote:

Then why bring it up? You doubt I was saying everyone, and as it turns out, I wasn't. No one ever means everyone, even when they say it.

This is exactly what I mean. Someone puts time and effort into trying to articulate a point and what they get in return is a superficial complaint at right angles to the obvious intention of the argument. Slippery slopes and strawmen are one thing, but sometimes I wonder if such an accusation would be assigning too much credit.


Again this is a rather broad brush.


Hey, I'm entited to my own hyperbole too. Cool

Here's the thing though. I didn't say everyone did it -- and obviously wouldn't have meant it if I had. I said it happens every time. There's a difference. It so happens it just happened again. It's like arguing with my wife, where every point is met with something that inevitably boils down to "your absolute statement has exceptions". People talk ill of herding cats, but at least they can be herded. And if you pull out a laser pointer, they'll damned well follow it too. Humans, you just end up burning the point into their retinas out of spite.

So I (try to) make some point about a trend I see and don't like and rather than talk about it, I'm immediately what I'm faced with is talk about the brush I'm using, which basically means "your absolute statement has exceptions". If I'd actually made an absolute statement, I'd be forced to agree, but...


Not a problem Cynic. I think its ironic in a way. Think about what is happening here and I'm sure you'll see the same irony. I'm actually not trying to make you defend anything, merely seeking clarity


Cynic wrote:

And again, at what point did I suggest it was realistic to expect all people to be objective? Never. "Cynic, your absolute statement has exceptions." Third base, woooooooo! "Everyone's" first assumption seems to be that they other person doesn't just have a differing opinion, but is in fact insane and incapable of flexible thinking, so obviously it's reasonable to assume the worst and respond accordingly.


I think you are reading more into it than it really is Cynic. Just because people throw in a different view diesn't always instantly mean they disagree. Not every different view is mutually exclusive or an attack on the original. This is a good example, you clearly saw my post as an attack while I was merely offering a viewpoint.

On this particular subject, the Middle East, I believe that most of the viewpoints out there aren't entirely rational because most of the information we get about events in that region is propaganda. Discussions about events in the region get divisive because that is how the evidence is presented by both sides. In presenting that I'm not trying to invalidate your statement but suggest an explanation of what you are seeing.


Cynic wrote:
But this isn't supposed to be tic-tac-toe, let alone global thermonuclear war. It's supposed to be chess -- at least! My stated goal is to learn. Do you see how "just letting people rant" doesn't accomplish that? Or how suggesting that an attempt to defend the legitimacy of a given point of view is necessarily tantamount to spewing rhetoric isn't insulting? Or, if we're on the subject of insulting, equating someone's observation as an old tyme racist pardigm that's too comfortable to allow to slip away, just because the view expressed doesn't also include a full list of solutions and a top 100 list of probable influential causes?


That all depends on whether you are actually analyzing what is being posted or not.

Since you brought up my comparison with the racist 'black violence' paradigm I'll start with that. i brought up the parallel because it is an exact parallel, a lot of the discussion about Muslims, in my view, follows the same pattern. I brought it up because I don't think a lot of people (as I indicated above) have really thought about the information they read about this subject and how its presented. The point wasn't that anyone here is or isn't racist but that things that are later understood to be tacitly racist aren't always obvious from the beginning.

I do agree with you, the level of rhetoric can get overly heated but I find it ironic that you have brought this up in defense of your admittedly hyperbolic statement. I think sometimes you have to realize that the rhetoric is nothing more than that and sometimes is just a cover for the other person's not really having any real argument to make.

Cynic wrote:Anyway....

It's difficult to know what an objective opinion is sometimes. Like the legitamcy of the concepts of the "state" of Isreal or Palistine. Talk to enough people and you'll discover that neither ever existed there. Or they both did. Is it more objective to look back over the whole of known history and make some sort of determination from that? Or is it more objective to ignore all that as irrelevant and focus only on what is?


That's really the essence of the whole mess. The problem is that there are so many layers of propaganda laying over any option you choose that there may not really be any good choice.
 
seeker
RayvenAlandria wrote:
Sugarfree, please try to ignore Cynic. He is not representative of the people on this site.


I like to think Cynic is a good representation of the site. Cynic is pretty thoughtful guy. We don't always agree on everything but Cynic usually manages to disagree politely and he's not afraid to have his own opinions. If you are talking about philosophy I don't think there is anyone who posts here who knows the subject better.
 
RayvenAlandria
I respect your right to have that opinion, I don't share it though.
 
cheshiredragon
seeker wrote:
RayvenAlandria wrote:
Sugarfree, please try to ignore Cynic. He is not representative of the people on this site.


I like to think Cynic is a good representation of the site. Cynic is pretty thoughtful guy. We don't always agree on everything but Cynic usually manages to disagree politely and he's not afraid to have his own opinions. If you are talking about philosophy I don't think there is anyone who posts here who knows the subject better.


Agreed, back in the day that only few remember. About 2yrs ago, it was Cynic whom was the only one that came to my defense. I had commented on a thread and it set several people off the deep end. As I thought, my comment was completely misinterpreted. Cynic, knew what I was trying to say and came to my defense. He and I see on the same level and I like his debates.

Now days I probably would NOT make a comment like that OR completely reworded. I am a very different person now.
That's right, I said it...
 
RayvenAlandria
CD, that doesn't make any sense. I have no idea what it is you're referring to or what the comment was, but if you say that you are a different person and would not say the same thing now, then doesn't that mean that what you said was shitty and the people who took offense were the ones in the right, and not you and Cynic?

I'd have to see the old thread to know what is is you're referring to though.
 
catman
Well, CD did say "OR completely reworded". I've learned to be more precise in how I state my opinions since I started posting on atheists.com, so as to lessen the possibility of being misinterpreted. I think many of us have.


"If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." - General Sheridan
 
JohnH
I would like to make a few comments.

I think that one of the mechanisms that lead to acrimony is the quote and response sort of reply to others. The very form implies the belief of the quoted statement being wrong and the reply being correct even when the dispute is subtle and both statements have validity.

I am slowly learning that I agree with Seeker that discussions on the internet should be carefully handled. I had to do all sorts of explaining some time ago about my use of the term “nigger” and how it was for effect and did not represent my beliefs. And, my original post in this thread was far too obtuse for people to understand its intent. People will read things quickly and not necessarily catch the full meaning. Sarcasm and other things that may depend on facial expression or body language or tone for understanding can be lost when it is only words on a screen.

JDHURF, this is long and somewhat complicated and I am afraid my comments might not be clear. I will say what I have said before here, that I for the most part agree with you politically and it has nothing to do with that.

The day I knew the Vietnam War was over I was gathered in the Panhandle of Golden Gate Park ready to march toward the Civic Center. This was circa 1969 or 1970 so I was obviously a little optimistic on timing but I still contend I was correct in analysis. The area between Baker St. and Masonic Ave. was at least ½ to 2/3’s full. I would estimate a minimum of 500,000 to as many as 750,000 people. This represented something like 10% of the population of the region. But it was not the number of people but the type that told me the war was over. Included was a woman I knew intimately (she was a current or former girlfriend, too many years ago to remember exactly) for whom this sort of activity was way outside the norm. Included were obvious suburban families. People were in suits for the occasion. Included in the crowd were many ordinary, not necessarily liberal or radical, people. The general American public was willing to demonstrate their disagreement with that war.

I know that the most of the American public has turned against the “War on Terror”. I wait for a more obvious demonstration of the fact. My personal sign for anti-war demonstrations has been sitting in my front window unused now for well over a year.

To be honest I think one of the major problems has been the fact that the anti-war movement has tended toward the more radical left and has made no attempt to be inclusive. One only needs to listen to the typical speakers at these events. I know that the suppression of Native Americans and of African Americans is perpetrated by the same state that wages war. Does discussion of those facts help end the war. Ending the war should be the intent, focus on the immediate prize.
 
seeker
RayvenAlandria wrote:
I respect your right to have that opinion, I don't share it though.


LOL
 
JohnH
I should probably edit my above post but chose not to.

One of the first essays by Noam Chomsky that I read was an analysis of the use of words in describing the Israel-Palestine conflict. It was rather telling. As I have continued to read about this conflict in the standard press I am troubled at how consistent the use of neutral or sympathetic words for Israel is and how negative and unsympathetic the use of words for Palestine is. The pro-Israel propaganda is so strong that a close, and generally well informed, friend did not know that the number of Israeli deaths, during the long years of conflict, is much lower than the number of Palestinian.
 
Cynic
Sugarfree wrote:
Cynic; I detect an element of sophistry in your above comment...

Im here to learn too, i personaly believe that the process of argument, whether fair and ordered point to counter-point discussion or charotic ranting, is a valuable way of learning too, perhaps not about the chosen subject, but about the way other people arrive at their own conclusions, about how they express themselves through language and so on.


It's kind of like sex -- if you can't take anything valuable from it, you aren't doing it right. ;-)

First, allow me to amend my statement -- if Descartes were an honest man, he couldn't have gotten past the second meditation, not the first. It's the third meditation (in which he lulls us sleep and then pulls a god out of his ass while we're not looking) that he falls down on.

I think there's a place for sophistry. As he states the problem, he's absolutely correct: it might all be an illusion, except himself. The trouble is, as information goes it's kind of useless. You can't apply it to anything external to yourself because to do so violates the whole concept. It's basically the wrong tool if you're trying to figure out the rest of everything. There's nothing inherently "wrong" about a rubber chicken, it's just that if my goal is to chop down a tree, I'd rather have a chainsaw.

Consider this bit from the third meditation (paragraph 27). It comes from John Veich's 1901 English translation, because I can't read French.

Descartes wroteYet, on looking more closely into the matter, I discover that this cannot be; for, in the first place, although it were true that my knowledge daily acquired new degrees of perfection, and although there were potentially in my nature much that was not as yet actually in it, still all these excellences make not the slightest approach to the idea I have of the Deity, in whom there is no perfection merely potentially [but all actually] existent; for it is even an unmistakable token of imperfection in my knowledge, that it is augmented by degrees. Further, although my knowledge increase more and more, nevertheless I am not, therefore, induced to think that it will ever be actually infinite, since it can never reach that point beyond which it shall be incapable of further increase. But I conceive God as actually infinite, so that nothing can be added to his perfection. And, in fine, I readily perceive that the objective being of an idea cannot be produced by a being that is merely potentially existent, which, properly speaking, is nothing, but only by a being existing formally or actually.


(Emphasis mine.)

Notice that he has, up to this point, set up a train of thought that things and ideas cannot stem from things and thoughts that are less real or less perfect than that which they caused. Setting aside the notion of emergent properties, he goes on to conclude that since he has this notion of perfection, and notions must be caused by something at least equal to themselves, there must therefore be something that is perfect. He later goes on to "prove" that this something cannot be himself, and therefore must be his god, which is necessarily separate from himself.

But it's clear from listening to him talk about these concepts that he doesn't have a clear understanding of them himself -- such as the bolded text on infinity. That being the case, his flawed notions of things like infinity and perfection would only require something equally flawed to cause them, and he fits the bill just fine for that.
 
JohnH
Cynic, thank you for your quote from Descartes. It reminds me of why I avoid philosophy. In general I have found philosophy not intent on trying to explain anything. It seems more a forum for well educated people to make it clear that they can expound on and obfuscate the meaning of things.
 
cheshiredragon
RayvenAlandria wrote:
CD, that doesn't make any sense. I have no idea what it is you're referring to or what the comment was, but if you say that you are a different person and would not say the same thing now, then doesn't that mean that what you said was shitty and the people who took offense were the ones in the right, and not you and Cynic?

I'd have to see the old thread to know what is is you're referring to though.


It was a long time ago(Atheists.com BEFORE the POS CMS system) and I remember EXACTLY what was said. It was in reply to a comment catman had made. I am not going to get in it because it was in the past and details don't need to be specific. I should have been more clear in explaining it but, didn't want to beat detail, bloody. If I said now what I said then, it would have been more carefully published, better grammar being the big one and that was exactly why a few people flipped out. IF I had put more attention to grammar it would not have been that bad. My very next post said something along the lines of, "Ahhh, the faceless of the internet strikes again: Text takes away the emotion of what is being said." What JohnH and seeker have both mentioned. You just need to be careful of how things are said in text. Without the facial cues and body language. Sometimes I get bent out of shape when my roomie txts me something. I ask later why she said it like that and then she says it in person and it is a completely different conversation.
We have all done this at one point or another. Some more than others. I work in an environment that is dominated by emails, txt and IMs. If someone writes something that sounds bitchy, I just shrug it off until they come around. If they ARE bitchy then something is up, if they are in a good mood then I just read the email wrong. That is why I never get pissed when I am writing in text unless I say that I am. I am so mellow and laid back one would check me for a pulse every few minutes to verify I am still alive. There is no point to getting worked up, just get even if anything. That is what I learned from that thread, just stay chill and don't get worked up over simple things. If we were all in the stickam room more often, you'd see how different I am from my posts.

*edited for grammar Pfft
Edited by cheshiredragon on 12/04/2008 19:06
That's right, I said it...
 
Sugarfree
RAlexandria; I certainly shall not ignore Cynic! I agree with Seeker here. Cynic and i are buddies. I dont know if you were a member at atheists.com when it was still up and running but both Cynic and i were for quite a long time each, so its cool you dont need to protect me, i know who im dealing with! Pfft

Cynic; We agree when it comes to Descartes i think. Its easy to get a sense that he is really in way over his head and should take more time to think about things. I get so frustrated with Descartes. Its like he was too enthusiastic to get his thoughts into writing and be one of the great philosophers. Which i fine i suppose, but he should have chosen a better role model than Anselm!
 
Sugarfree
Cynic; I refer you to CD's post just above mine ^^^ The last two sentences in particular. He learnt something from that disaster of a thread. It was a thread that almost certainly didnt follow its intended course yet the potential to learn was still there, and he seized on it. SEE! Pfft
 
RayvenAlandria
CD, I am not sure which thread it was or what was said, that's why I asked. Your explanation here wasn't logical and it contradicted itself.

I do agree with what you just posted about text messages. Text does many times come across the wrong way. There are times people has gotten angry at something I've said because they assume I said it in a mean tone of voice when I was actually trying to be funny. I've done the same to other people. There have been times I thought someone was being a total jerk and then later realize they did not mean it the way I read it.

Here's a good example that is very recent, I told one of the guys here he was full of shit and he then posted something about me being full of vitriol....when I read that I was scratching my head and wondering why he thought that. Then I realized he thought I was saying he was full of shit in an angry tone. When I wrote it, I was laughing, not angry. It was done in an "OMG, yer so full of shit *shove to the shoulder*" kind of way. Obviously my mood did not come across without the body language that accompanied it. Things like can happen easily when our communication is in text and has no facial expression or body language attached to it.

It's also very possible to think a person is being calm and helpful when in fact they are speaking to you in a condescending and passive aggressive tone. Sometimes words that appear reasonable in print are actually dripping with venom. Some of the most abusive people are ones who never raise their voices. (They scare me more than a person who yells when they get upset.) These*calm* people tend to be stone cold and calculating. Did you know that almost all serial killers are quiet, polite, and never show anger or yell? Not everyone who seems *nice* in print is actually nice.

Sugarfree, yes I was around at the old Atheist.com but I was not active during the end of it. I was around a lot in the beginning.
 
seeker
Sugarfree - Rayven was around well before you came on the site. Brings back memories actually, I think she and Darthraven showed up not long adter we switched from the original atheists.com. The original atheists.com site had no passwords so people could sign on as anyone. Theists used to sign on as members and really get wild.

The little spats we have these days are really nothing compared to the free-for-alls that old site produced.
 
cheshiredragon
RayvenAlandria wrote:
...Your explanation here wasn't logical and it contradicted itself...


I am lost, please explain.
That's right, I said it...
 
seeker
You are somewhere in Texas.
 
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