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Everything posted by SkinWalker

  1. Hmm... yes, I essentially used a double negative which turned the statement around! I'll rephrase: there are numerous bad reasons for believing in the Christian god; but there are also many good reasons not to believe as well.
  2. Of course a blastocyst is human. I don't think Achilles is denying it or arguing otherwise. It has human DNA. What a blastocyst isn't is a person. Its a ball of cells with no brain. It has as much right to live as the bacteria in my bowels.
  3. Well then. See. I revise my position. I no longer agree with the conclusion that Libby was the leak. Armitage admits he was the traitor. Its a good thing he didn't work for the Bush administration or anything.... By the way, this will be the only time I'll tolerate simply posting a link. This isn't a blog. So if you (or anyone else) posts just a link without commentary or opinion and it disappears....
  4. Yes, but what good reason is there to believe in the Christian god? Just hoping for something greater/bigger than one's self or some deity that protects one in hard times could be anything. It could just as easily be the god Mpmmphf. If I say all hail and bow to Mpmmphf, and that Mpmmphf will answer your prayers, doesn't is this a good reason to believe in Mpmmphf? Face it. There simply is no logical, rational or legitimate reason to believe in the Christian god. There is no good reason to believe in the Christian god and invoke this apparently made up entity for human concepts like morality, justice, human rights, etc. A god had nothing to do with these things. Indeed, the Christian bible is the worst place to look for morality due to the flaws, contradictions, and immorality that the main characters portray.
  5. There are a lot of things one cannot disprove. Not being able to disprove something is not a good reason to believe in it. Indeed, it is the worst reason. Now. Let's get the thread back on topic: What good reasons are there to believe in the Christian god? Anyone?
  6. Since this thread is about the Christian god, I would contend that there are numerous bad reasons to not believe in it. If I'm asked to provide examples, I only ask first: how many would be sufficient?
  7. It was a favorite snack of the Messiah (Elvis). :)

  8. Whatever the respondent thinks qualifies as "good" is satisfactory for me. It would, at least, be a starting point. Please either participate or not.
  9. Which shows that I'm both willing to revise my position, should a qualified person present better evidence that that which I've already observed, and that you're not very good at rational discussions. I have no preconceived conclusions about Libby or Cheney. The preponderance of evidence presented appears weighted against them, but should different evidence be shown by a qualified person(s), I'm willing to revise my position. So, again, I ask that you support your apparently erroneous and fallacious (tu quoque) contention.
  10. You clearly didn't read my whole post. You're making yourself look silly. You could try to say the same. But saying something doesn't necessarily make it so. What, specifically, do you claim of my statements is "ideological rhetoric?" It looks more as if you are simply projecting. An argument from ignorance. Yet another logical fallacy in your attempts to participate in a discussion. You're clearly interested only in rhetoric and not discussion. Again, I've provided some very lengthy and thought-filled posts on several points -yours included. All I get in return is, "oh, yeah!?" This is a red herring. Please start a new thread on this assertion and we'll debate it. You should begin by citing a peer-reviewed source that states this so we can have primary source(s) to work with. In this thread, however, its off-topic. I can appreciate this is perhaps a typical tactic for you, but it won't work here. Either participate in intelligent discourse or stick to your ideological rhetoric in your political threads.
  11. I've responded to irrational claims and implied assertions in this thread (including your demand for an explanation for the Exodus myth) at length. Obi began two threads which made an a priori assumption on the existence of his particular take on a god to which he objected to any critical inquiry or challenge. I began this thread to be that challenge. And for my willingness to provide at-length, detailed rebuttals, I get either silence from someone who claimed he could answer critics; undereducated assumptions from someone who thinks there are chariot wheels at the bottom of the red sea that "prove" exodus; and semantical red herrings about what one means about "good reason." So forgive me if I don't believe you really have a argument or rebuttal, but I'm curious what it is, precisely, that I've taken out of context. Rather than make general, unspecified and spurious assertions, why not be specific enough to maintain intelligent discourse? Is there no room in your postings here at the Senate for an actual, rational discussion as opposed to hyperbole and ideological rhetoric? That's a legitimate question in my opinion. My answer would be: how is a bad argument okay? If believing Elvis is alive and well but in hiding on the International Space Station provides someone with comfort, I say good for them. As long as they aren't willing to set public policy or demanding others to accept their Elvis beliefs, they're fine believing whatever they like. I'll make them a peanut-butter and banana sandwich. But if your suggesting that the only thing keeping someone from "going postal" is a belief in the supernatural, I'd tell you this is a fuse that's burning regardless. How many people go "postal" each year who think their god whispered instructions in their ear?
  12. Quite the contrary. I'm very open to revising my conclusions regarding religion. The religious need only demonstrate where my conclusions are incorrect and why. If their arguments are rational and sound, what choice would I have but to revise. This attitude is hardly consistent with having a preconceived conclusion. Furthermore, I was once a believer in the Christian god and religious superstition. In the face of rational thought and evidence, I've revised my conclusion to now take the position of an agnostic-atheist. But, please. Cite the place I've demonstrated a preconceived conclusion to which I'm only willing to see that data which are supportive. The closest thing you might be able to come to is my assertion that Cheney's office and Libby in particular was responsible for the treasonous act of revealing the identity of an intelligence asset. For this, I admit to being trusting of the Justice system in place but I'm willing to revise should evidence sufficient enough to sway that system the other way be presented. I defer to the legal system and the special prosecutor, who are experts in the field. I'm not.
  13. If you'd care to demonstrate this successfully, I'm ready and willing to revise whatever conclusion I've arrived at in the face of evidence. If not, would you simply be baiting?.... Or, perhaps I truly detest politics enough to not care and, thus, couldn't be bothered. I doubt I can improve upon the results of what the independent prosecutor already demonstrated, nor am I qualified to think so. More baiting?....
  14. Not a chance. She's a hopeless romantic. And I'm able to suspend disbelief sufficiently that I remain faithful and a loyal friend. Still, if Summer Glau ever...... sorry. Just watched Terminator. It was getting interesting.
  15. Ultimately, its all about passing DNA on. If I love my wife, I've found someone with whom I can reproduce effectively. If I continue to love her, then I've found someone with whom I can share the responsibility of parenthood and raise a child to adulthood. If I love my daughter, I'm going to be protective of her because I'll want the best possible partner for her when she's an adult and she can pass on my DNA. Hopefully the best parts. If I love my neighbor, I'm positioning my self for favor in the future -politicking so that I'm looked upon favorably and, thus, adding another "friend" to my social network. Friends are beneficial in times of need (large needs and small needs). And so on. All this occurs behind the scenes, under the guise of "love," but all with the ultimate aim of reproducing and raising/protecting that reproduction; positioning that reproduction for the best possible future. Or, at least, its my educated opinion.
  16. Again, good is a common English word and your insistence to "define" it is a red herring. I'll settle for whatever colloquial definition suits the respondent. If you're not interested in debating my assertion that there are no good reasons to believe in gods, please don't bother with the thread. If you'd prefer, I can start a new thread, splitting out your posts, so that you can discuss the nuances and esoteric meanings of "good."
  17. Yes. I would agree that love is irrational. Love is a trick of DNA to get humanity to procreate. What we call "love" is a combination of biochemical reactions chiefly in the brain.
  18. errm... a reason that's good. I don't think so. If I were using jargon or coining a term, I'd agree with you, but I purposely kept it simple and straightforward. "Good reason" is written in very plain English. I used no terminology which is ambiguous or subject to equivocation. Playing the "define the boundaries" role is to create obfuscation and a red herring, so I'll avoid semantical fallacies like this if you don't mind. Either you have a good reason for your beliefs or you don't. I'm asking for "good reason" and that's it. My assertion is that there are no good reasons to believe the Christian god exists. If I'm wrong, I'm asking respondents, which you apparently see as potential "victims," to correct me. If there are good reasons to believe in a god, I'll provide a rational response to the supernatural. You seem to object to "supernatural," but I know no other term that is more accurate. I invite you to correct this as well. My response will be rational, even if it is to acknowledge or acquiesce to the reason. Why shouldn't it be? I don't think I've ever made my atheism or anti-theistic positions secret, so I don't know why it should surprise you. I'm an agnostic-atheist. I have several anti-theistic positions but I'm not one who hates those who are religious any more than I would hate the illiterate just because I have anti-illiteracy positions. Nor would I hate those afflicted with HIV/AIDS just because I'm opposed to unsafe sex. That's quite an accusation. I've certainly not desired to be perceived of as disingenuous so I'd appreciate some elucidation on this. Where, precisely, have I been disingenuous?
  19. The point is that in other threads, debates and issues that are discussed and posited here and elsewhere, the attempted rationale for taking one side or another of an given argument is related to the belief in a personal god. Most often, in Western discourse, it's the belief in a Christian god. My challenge is to posit what good reasons there are to believe in such a god. With these reasons not forthcoming, it would stand, therefore, that there are no good reasons for believing in a god. This conclusion then becomes a premise leading to the next conclusion which is belief in one or more gods is irrational.
  20. You have noted that I'm an archaeologist haven't you? You should be careful what you wish for. Exodus: The Biblical Claim The claim is, in a nutshell, this: 600,000 “children of Israel” escaped from Egypt where they were the slaves of the pharaoh. These Israelites were chased by the pharaoh’s armies who were unable to catch them. The entire band of 600,000 former slaves “wandered” the desert, camping at various locations, encountering various peoples and kingdoms, and finally settled to form a new nation. All of this occurred, ostensibly, in the 15th century BCE. We “know” this because I Kings 6:1 tells us Solomon’s temple was constructed in the 4th year of his rule, 480 years after Exodus. 966 BCE + 480 years = 1446 BCE. Exodus 1:11 mentions two cities of Egypt: Pi-Ramesses and Pithom as forced labor projects of the Israelites. The first pharaoh named Ramesses is the son of Seti I and reigns in the year 1320 BCE, so even the 480 years of I Kings doesn’t work. Pi-Ramesses was built in the Nile Delta during the reign of Ramesses II (1279-1213 BCE) and Egyptian records indicate Semites were used in its construction. Who Were the Hyksos? Often in discussions of Exodus and Israelites in Egypt, the Hyksos come into the picture. This is because the Hyksos were Semite in origin, specifically Canaanite. The same progenitor peoples of the modern day Israelites and Palestinians. The Nile Delta, a.k.a. Lower Egypt, was frequently inhabited by migrating peoples and nomads who sought to find refuge in the relatively stable delta ecology, particularly in times of drought and famine. From about 1668 - 1565 BCE, Canaanites occupied the Delta and ruled Lower Egypt. Manethos referred to the them as heku-shoswet, and, Hellenized, it became “Hyksos,” which means rulers of a foreign land. This later became a general Egyptian term for Asiatic foreigners. The Hyksos had a distinctive Canaanite pottery and architecture, which is present in the archaeological record and, according to the Turin Papyrus, they ruled Lower Egypt for 108 years. One of the most prominent of their rulers was Apophis and their capital was Avaris, known today as the archaeological site Tell Daba’a. Pharaoh Ahmose I (18th Dynasty) sacked Avaris and chased the Hyksos to southern Canaan to their fortress, Sharuhen near modern day Gaza. Ahmose laid siege to the fortress for three years before he stormed it. From that point, the Egyptians maintained tight control of the border between Eastern Egypt and Canaan. For those that are quick to pick up on the similarities of the Hyksos and the Exodus tale, it’s important to note that the dates also don’t line up with the I Kings account and the difference is more than 130 years. Moreover, there is no “Ramesses” for whom a city can be named at this point. Though, the correlation is one to not be quickly dismissed. What if the Exodus Story Were Concocted? What if, indeed? Why concoct such a tale and how would we know it was either concocted or true. Believers in Christianity and Judaism assign varying degrees of trust in Old Testament mythology: some willing to accept it as myth at one extreme; others taking great umbrage to the use of the term “myth” at the other. But if we hypothesize for a moment that the Exodus narrative (I’ll stick to this term) is one that was invented by the authors of Genesis, then what might we expect to find to corroborate the hypothesis? First, we might expect that narrative be limited to only what the authors knew. Assuming that they didn’t have Iron Age archaeologists excavating sites, we can assume that their knowledge was limited to the geography and politics of their time. Second, if the narrative is an invented one, we would fail to see corroboration in Egyptian texts of it. Third, if, indeed, this is a narrative invented by a much later author or set of authors, we would not expect to find archaeological evidence that supports it. Guess What? The sites mentioned in Exodus are real. The problem is this: the sites mentioned were sparsely populated by a few pastoralists or otherwise completely unoccupied during the alleged period that Exodus occurred in the Late Bronze Age (13th century BCE). A few were well-known and occupied much earlier and certainly much later than the Late Bronze Age, but during the Exodus period, nada. They were unoccupied at precisely the time they were reported to be by Exodus. Not only that, but Egyptian texts don’t mention “Israelites” at all. If 600,000 slaves escaped the pharaoh, they were so stealthy they slipped past all the border stations that were put into place following the Hyksos expulsion, snuck past each of the fortifications used to supply soldiers along the “Ways of Horus,” the 250 km route between Egypt and Gaza. And they successfully eluded Egyptian soldiers that were already present in Canaan, which was controlled by Egypt from the 13th through the 7th centuries BCE. The only mention of “Israel” is on the Merneptah Stele where Merneptah (1213-1203 BCE) boasts that “Isrir lies in waste its seed no more.” The lack of a country determinative in the hieroglyphs clearly indicates Merneptah was referring to a people not a country and the depiction of the Israelites on the stele was consistent with Canaanite hair style. Addressing the third point above, regarding archaeological evidence, it must be recognized that there has been extensive work done in archaeology in the Levant, particularly in the Sinai desert where the “children of Israel” (all 600,000 of them) were said to “wander.” Biblical stories are very much responsible for this archaeology as “biblical archaeologists,” searched -and still search- for evidence that supports their beliefs. 600,000 Wandering Jews? Let’s put the number into perspective. Fresno and Mission Viejo, both in California have populations of 500,000. Bakersfield is only 250,000. Vancouver, Canada has a population of 600,000. Not a single archaeological expedition, and there have been a great many, has discovered evidence of any substantial group of people subsisting off of the land in the Sinai desert or in or near any of the sites mentioned in Exodus. According to the biblical narrative, the equivalent of the population of Vancouver was moving around and camping in the desert for 40 years. Not only were they stealthy (not encountering the Egyptian armies who recorded even encounters with a few nomadic pastoralists tending their flocks); but they were frugal! Not a single pot sherd has been found! Not a single campsite or site of occupation has been found with the exception of the well-documented coastal forts and stations of the Egyptian army for the period of Ramesses II or for any of his immediate predecessors or successors. There have been repeated archaeological excavations at the site of St. Catherine’s Monastary in the Sinai, where Moses is supposed to have spoken to a burning bush, but the results have always been negative evidence. Not a single sherd or indication that the site was occupied in the Late Bronze Age. Modern archaeological techniques can trace the remains of hunter-gather and pastoral nomads all over the world, but cannot find a population the size of that of Vancouver in a barren desert! Indeed, the activity of a small population of pastoralists is present in the 3rd millennium (2000-3000) BCE, as well as in the Hellenistic and Byzantine periods. But the evidence is NON-EXISTENT for the Late Bronze Age. Tell Arad East of Beersheba there is the remains of a great Early Bronze Age city that spans about 25 acres. A “tell” is a mound of past human habitation that has since eroded from mud bricks to a pile of dirt, often built upon again and again over many generations. This tell also became an Iron Age fort, but there are no remains for the Late Bronze Age when Exodus is alleged to have happened. This directly contradicts the biblical narrative since the king of Arad “who dwelt in the Negeb” attacked the Israelites who appealed for divine intervention to destroy the Canaanite cities (Num. 21:1-3). There’s no evidence of Arad anywhere in the Beersheba valley (Negeb). Tell Heshban The wandering Jews supposedly did battle here with the Ammorite king, Sihon, who tried to block there passage (Num. 21:21-25). Excavations here reveal NO Bronze Age city. Not even a village. Eddom and Ammon were alleged to be full-fledge states ruled by kings on the Transjordan plateau, yet the evidence shows that the plateau was sparsely inhabited by pastoralist populations in the Bronze Age. Not a single sedentary population is evident in the archaeological record. Conclusion Exodus was probably a story written by authors in the 7th century, or possibly as late as the 6th century, BCE. The place names mentioned above existed by the 7th century but not in the Bronze Age. Iron Age authors would have known of the many public works created by the Saite Dynasty in Egypt’s 26th Dynasty, who employed the largest numbers of foreign settlers. A large community of immigrants from Judah was present from the 7th through the 6th centuries. Pithom, mentioned in Exodus 1:11, was built in the 7th century. Migdol, mentioned in Exodus 14:2, was built in the 7th century. Exodus apparently did not happen in the period or in the manner in which it is portrayed in biblical mythology. References: Beitak, M. (1996). Avaris the capital of the Hyksos: recent excavations of Tell el-Daba. London Finkelstein, I. & Silberman, N.A. (2001). The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and The Origin of its Sacred Texts. New York Oren, E.D. (1987). The “Ways of Horus” in North Sinai. In Rainey, A.F. (editor), Egypt, Israel, Sinai: Archaeological and Historical Relationships in the Biblical Period. Tel-Aviv Redford, D.B. (1992). Egypt, Canaan and Israel in Ancient Times. Princeton Redford, D.B. (1987) An Egyptological perspective on the Exodus narrative. In: Rainey, A.F. (editor), Egypt, Israel, Sinai: Archaeological and Historical Relationships in the Biblical Period. Tel-Aviv Redford, D.B. (1973). Studies in Relations between Palestine and Egypt during the First Millennium B. C.: II. The Twenty-Second Dynasty. Journal of the American Oriental Society, 93(1), pp. 3-17. As is apparently typical of your critical thought skills, you only see that data which are supportive to conclusions you already have. While there is some practice of Egyptian rulers removing written texts and accounts of some things they're not proud of (or writing their participation in a more favorable light), there are some fallacious problems with your argument. First, it assumes that Hebrews and the Canaanite culture they originate from are unwilling to the same. They did. Second, there are examples of this practice in nearly every single culture since writing was invented through today and no single culture appears to significantly stand out as doing it more than any other that I'm aware. Third, very little of the evidence against the biblical myth of Exodus relies on written records.
  21. So are you implying that slavery is "relatively moral?" Or that beating someone so that they die a slow death is acceptable given the situation? I'm a little confused. I can't say I'd agree that we can simply say, "well, it was a different time so some really bad things were okay then." The advice is not to not beat them to death, but to not beat them immediately to death. Agreed. Which is why I say that considering such a flawed and poorly written set of texts as the "inerrant word" of a god both preposterous and dangerous. Which highlights some flaws, because there is the no-small-matter of what is written in the NT. Jesus, the alleged christ, is alleged to have stated: "It is easier for Heaven and Earth to pass away than for the smallest part of the letter of the law to become invalid." (Luke 16:17 NAB) I can agree with that. It has clearly become distorted, both intentionally and unintentionally. I also note that we're in agreement that biblical mythology is not the inerrant word of a god. Not according to Jesus, the alleged christ. See above.
  22. LOL. If it means that much to you.... knock yourself out. I'm just not that fanatical about politics to be bothered.
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