B5 and Religion

Babylon 5 – America Online
B5 And Religion Folder # 1
Subj: Re:For example
Date: 96-03-26 23:58:40 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

Evan wrote:

>>Red,

I like you. You are nice. Please do not do that again. I am not ready for such differential equations on this board.<<

I kinda liked them(but, then again, I AM a physics major, one of the few confirmed types of “freaks of Nature”)

Subj: Re:For example
Date: 96-03-27 11:15:27 EDT
From: StarFuryD4
Posted on: America Online

Kevin,

Thank you for the “reprint” of Mr. Steiger’s article. I have but one question.

“Where is the *conversion process* (outside of the living creatures/plants/etc.) that allows for all that solar energy to be effectively used in order to bring about an upward progression (evolution) from a downward trend (entropy)?”

BTW, it will probably take me a year to fully understand the equations. I work with 9th & 10th graders who can hardly master basic math, let alone Algebra, so I’m having a little difficulty making the re-adjustment.

Thanks again, though.

Dave
Delta4 out

Subj: Re:Fallacies, Creation, etc.
Date: 96-03-27 13:50:54 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

HFMoon:
Well, this is one of those good and bad situations. Good that we *kinda agree. Sorta.* Bad that we’ve probably taken it as far as we can, and damn, I love a good argument!
All I can say now is that I can’t give much creedence to pantheism, that God may be the sum total of creation. If we are all God or in God, where does that leave Free Will? By definition, every act commited would be the Will of God, and I do believe we’ve got a Real Choice in what we do and say and how we act. Perhaps God is outside us? I can’t buy that either. Doesn’t seem much point to creation if the Creator isn’t going to participate in it. It appears we are at an impasse.
But by gum, we gotta dig up somethin’ else to rag on each other about.
Marty.

Subj: Re:Fallacies, Creation, etc.
Date: 96-03-27 13:51:27 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

Red,
I must say you’ve hit the proverbial nail on it’s proverbial head. Yes, what I say debases your POV. Yet so also does deflating everything to one’s POV debase what I say. But I take these things as a given: whether it seems so or not ( and I recognize it probably doesn’t seem so ) I argue and debate and cajole because I want to KNOW. I really think you and Vib and so forth do, too. So it strikes me as convenient and self-serving to merely say something like, “you’re entitled to your opinion ” and leave it at that. I don’t think that helps any of us.
I know I come on strong. I mean to. But I mean you to, too. For what it’s worth, I’d rather be called wrong than, shall I say, agree to disagree. That just begs the questions we ask in our search for the Truth.
I try to play by two rules ( among others ):
1). We all, when we argue, believe we’re right and the other guy’s wrong, and on a much more significant level than personal opinion. It’s only decent to admit as much. It’s patronizing to say otherwise.
2). I won’t concede a point just because an alternative point exists. I don’t expect you too, either. If I’m wrong, prove the error, and I’ll try to do so with you.
All the same, I’ll try to tone it down in the future.
Marty
Subj: Re:Fallacies, Creation, etc.
Date: 96-03-27 13:51:52 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

Evan,
People not doing what they should doesn’t mean words lack absolute value. It just means people are less than perfect. And it is sublimely ironic that you use words to prove words lack perfect validity. Trust them, Evan, while looking out for fools and charlatans. Their, ahem, words will show them out.
Marty

Subj: Re:Fallacies, Creation, etc.
Date: 96-03-27 21:09:40 EDT
From: Songokuten
Posted on: America Online

>>Well, obviously it hurts to be called unreasonable. You seem pretty sure of
yourself, and as to the “obviously true” statements that you make, the bummer
is that they only seem obvious to people who already believe in God. <<

But don’t you get it? Martycos is *chosen* 😉

Sorry, but his statement sounded too close to CTI for me not to mention it.
(“Who are you? Why don’t you believe in what I believe?… after all, I
belive in the TRUTH and you believe in something silly. I’m right, can’t you
see how stupid you are for thinking for yourself?”)
Subj: Re:Words and their validity
Date: 96-03-28 02:40:11 EDT
From: YaxPac
Posted on: America Online

Marty,

You have not answered one whit of the substance of my point about why I can use words to critique the revelatory power of words. You repeat your point that you *have faith* in them. I really have no response to that. Please tell me what the word “game” means, if I can trust it so easily. Please tell me what someone means when they say they “coded” someone. Please tell me what the Hebrew word Nephilim means (Dan, feel free to jump in 2).

Please tell me, in concrete terms that I can apply to ways that I behave in my life, what the meaning of “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God, and the word was with God.”

This seems to be me to be so much essentialism and mumbo-jumbo. OTOH, if you can show me how this sentence allows me to do my job better, how it makes my family happier (not the Bible attached to it, mind you, just THIS ONE phrase) then maybe we’ll be able to get somewhere.

Repeating what you believe to be true due to your faith is noble, but it isn’t very enlightening.

Evan (just mistyped it and it came out Rbsm :-)

============================================================
====================================================================
For what purpose humanity is there should not even concern us: why you are there, that you should ask yourself: and if you have no ready answer, then set for yourself goals, high and noble goals, and perish in pursuit of them! I know of no better life purpose than to perish in attempting the great and the impossible…

Nietzsche, unpublished note from the 1873

Subj: Re:For example
Date: 96-03-28 02:59:43 EDT
From: JVibber
Posted on: America Online

Red
Let me add my approval. Let me also add that my eyes hurt. Still, it was a nostalgic trip down memory lane, recalling all those physics and chemistry classes.

Will “overwhelming evidence” accomplish anything? Only time will tell.

— Jim
Subj: Re:Fallacies, Creation, etc.
Date: 96-03-28 03:03:53 EDT
From: JVibber
Posted on: America Online

<< But don’t you get it? Martycos is *chosen* 😉 >>

Actually, a friend of mine (who is Jewish) pointed out that it is the Jews who are _chosen_. That’s why they don’t evangelize. There’s no way to “become” chosen. She also pointed out that this is just one of MANY different Jewish viewpoints on Judaism, depending on whether you’re Orthodox, Reform, Ultra-Orthodox, Latter-DayLackadaisical, etc.
Subj: Re:Words and their validity
Date: 96-03-28 13:43:51 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

Evan,
Why define game, only to have you question the words in my definition? It would serve no purpose. The best response would be something like the following:
I don’t understand what you’re asking. I’m not sure I read anything on the screen. Were they words or just characters? What are characters anyway? Who am I to ask this? Who am I? Am I talking to someone? What do I mean? What do I mean by what do I mean? Am I here? Did I ask that question? What’s a question? What’s what?
-OR-
“So you see, class, that words have no final meaning.”
“What do mean by that, professor?
“I don’t know; I can’t know.” ( This happened to me in an Education class ).
Then what’s your point?
The point is, then, as Mytho’s said, that a structure is created solely for the use of the constructor. That is not conducive to debate.
Marty.

Subj: Re:Fallacies, Creation, etc.
Date: 96-03-28 13:52:05 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

Songo:
Never thought I’d say much to you again, but hey, Life’s short.
Marty makes no claim on being chosen, but he thinks you may be talking tongue in cheek anyway. But I do want to point out I’ve always kept this line of thought philosophical, not religious. What you appear to be attempting is to put me in a religious vein so that you can more easily ( in your mind ) dismiss my philosophic arguments. An neat move, I must say, but one that won’t wash.
For the record, I don’t say that those who disagree with me are *stupid*. But they may be in error, and there’s no sin to pointing that out. Further, as I tried to relay in my post 3/27 towards RedQueen5, I’m just trying to be decent enough to say I’m certain you’re wrong when you’re wrong. You people are certain I’M wrong, but lack the courage of your convictions to say it bluntly. I’d respect you more without the pretense. And I’d be more fully convenced you actually believed in SOMETHING.
Marty

Subj: Re:Words and their validity
Date: 96-03-28 15:29:28 EDT
From: YaxPac
Posted on: America Online

Marty,

First of all, thanks for the informative reply. This gives us a substantive debate on which we can move forward, I appreciate it.

Secondly you state that you can’t<<define game>> because I will <<only … question the words in my definition>> which of course I would because they would be inadequate to encompass all the meanings we have for the word, wouldn’t they. You feel that attempting to do so <<would serve no purpose.>> Why? I keep asking you to defend the validity of words (with words BTW, yes, with words, and you keep saying, “I can’t because you have words that would scare my words off and then you wouldn’t see the real meaning behind them because you’re too stubborn to see what’s “self-evident.”

Piffle.

Then you do attempt to give a dramatic rendering of a potential response <<like the following:>>

I will attempt to answer your questions.

<<I’m not sure I read anything on the screen.>> Good, we’re making progress. You’re pretty sure, but you might be wrong. I like it, it’s not dogmatic, it allows for the possibility that we are deluded. It doesn’t mean we are *for sure* deluded, but it keeps us from that harsh certainty that not only strikes people as grating, but almost always “goeth before a fall. << Were they words or just characters? What are characters anyway?>> Words and characters are useful building blocks that members of the human species use to accomplish tasks like building houses, roads, cooking fine tortellini quattrofromaggio, picking the kids up from school, asking for the remote control to switch the TV to Babylon 5. They are not, however, houses, roads, tortellini, kids, or remote controls. They do not exist as separate entities from the humans (and other potential sentients) who use them. That one’s easy. <<Who am I to ask this? Who am I?>> Tough questions for me to answer with words, aren’t they. Hmmm, Zathras think these words no so good. << Am I talking to someone?>> Depends on how you’re using the word “talk.” Is typing on a keyboard “talking?” How do you know that Yax is Evan? <<What do I mean? What do I mean by what do I mean?>> Love it. You’re getting the point.<< Am I here? … What’s what?>> And here, you reach the heart of philosophy. It’s all in the Socratic method. Keep peeling away the onion layers of your dogma and you do come to koan-like questions that must be answered with a mindset that words cannot fully encompass. I call this “the leap of faith.” You may call it what you will, but your words can’t explain it.

However, you’re little closing vignette I take issue with.

<<“So you see, class, that words have no final meaning.”>>

This does *not* mean that words have *no meaning* it just means they are useful tools for human beings to do things with. Words can be right, frinstance, “Marty is a nice guy.” But they lose all meaning when divorced from their origin, human beings. Explain the concept of a knife without using any reference to human beings. Explain TV without reference to human beings. Words can also be wrong “Brooklyn is in France.” The city we usually mean when say Brooklyn is not in the country we usually mean when we say France. However … relativity rears its ugly head. What if you have a friend whose first name is Brooklyn who is in France? Woops, then it’s right again. No FINAL meaning, but plenty of meaning nonetheless.

<<“What do mean by that, professor? “I don’t know; I can’t know.” (This happened to me in an Education class).>>

I suppose I would be revealing my biases to sit here and shake my head and say “of course it happened in an Education class.” I will say that your professor was peculiarly weak headed; I hope the concept that he was trying to get across I got across above. If you need more explanation as to why words have no *final meaning* let me know.

<<The point is … that a structure is created solely for the use of the constructor. That is not conducive to debate.>> But it is. For if I know why you say what you say as a human being, we talk.

Evan

Subj: Re:Words and their validity
Date: 96-03-28 20:41:46 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

Evan,
I appreciate your reply. But am I being too much of a smart aleck to point out that I was being a smart aleck with all those questions? I didn’t intend for an answer. I intended the point that it is silly to speak of words as not having final meanings: the questions themselves would have no meaning, leading only to sillier and sillier questions.
Words have final meaning. With regards your effort on Brooklyn in France, you’re simply dealing with separate situations of equal validity. In one, Brooklyn, New York, is most definitely not in France. In the other your friend Brooklyn is in France. But Brooklyn, New York is absolutely Brooklyn, New York, and your friend Brooklyn is definitely your friend Brooklyn. Both final meanings.
An English teacher friend of mine put it this way: all words have up to three types of meaning, a denotational meaning, a connotational meaning, and a meaning in jargon. There may submeanings within each realm, or a given word may have no meaning in a given category, but no matter. The meaning is definite regardless of precisely where it fits in the schema. And its why we often must read things in context, to determine which type of meaning applies.
Another Education professor once asked us students about busing. When the argument he knew would arise ensued, he laughed and with a shake of his head explained that he meant a system of public transportation, not the movement of schoolers across a school district against parental will ( a big issue in Michigan at the time ).
Did his word have no meaning, or was he trying to mislead?
The point is, mistakes happen in understanding words either because of human error or intent to deceive, not that the words themselves are without firm base.
BTW, ARE you biased against ED profs? I know I am: the biggest group of lunkheads I’ve ever had to deal with. Complete morons, almost without exception.
Marty.

Subj: Re:Words and their validity
Date: 96-03-29 01:47:37 EDT
From: YaxPac
Posted on: America Online

Marty,

First of all, I think the world would be a better place if all departments of education were abolished … as of today, this minute, and never allowed to develop again. I have never seen a group of “scholars” who are so susceptible to fashion, and have fewer accepted truths. They are a group of people who know nothing about nothing trying to tell people who know something about anything how to explain it. We can definitely agree on that.

But ummm, I knew you were joking with the questions. I was trying to point out that what you considered telling a joke was in reality a profound statement about inadequacy. Your statements about connotation, denotation, and jargon serve to add to my point. Look, if words had true meanings, they would be universally applicable. The fact that they serve multiple purposes and are put to the uses that people consider the most valuable at the time is what causes this. How do you explain the existence of homonyms? Or did writing get created at the same time as spoken language. Could God not run the world of ideas without letters and sentences?

In your summary paragraph … you state categorically that <<The point is, mistakes happen in understanding words either because of human error or intent to deceive, not that the words themselves are without firm base.>> Human error. Hmmm, we are not perfect vessels, those of us who use these words. Tell me, who else uses language? If human error inevitably leads to misunderstandings, strikes me logic would dictate that words are not perfect means for communication. Let me add, BTW, that there *is no* perfect means, unless maybe you’re Lyta and Kosh … but who knows what the heck they’re doing.

You still won’t define game, even though you say words have definite meanings. Please, if you would, give me the connotative, denotative, and jargon meanings for the word.

Havin’ a ball,

Evan
==========================================================
If happiness is activity in accordance with excellence, it is reasonable that it should be in accordance with the highest excellence.
Aristotle

Subj: Re:Fallacies, Creation, etc.
Date: 96-03-30 00:23:49 EDT
From: RedQueen5
Posted on: America Online

Okay Marty, your wrong; so is Mytho, Filops and Starfury. You’ve been blinded by your faith and consequently dismiss the overwhelming amount of evidence (testable, repeatable experiments) that contradict most if not all of the Bibles creation myth. Why? because it is convenient for you.

BTW, here are a couple of interesting tidbits I picked up off the web: Even Pope John Paul II, in his address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences before its meetings on Cosmology and Cosmogony in October 1981, reaffirmed the statement of Pope Pius XII that the universe was created “millions of years ago” directly contrary to creationists views. The Pope declared that “The Bible itself speaks to us of the origin of the universe and its make-up, not in order to provide us with a scientific treatise…”

and,

In the resolution from the 67th General Convention of the Episcopal Church acted in September 1982 to “affirm its belief in the glorious ability of God to create in any manner,” rejected “the rigid dogmatism of the ‘Creationists’ movement,” and supported “scientists, educators, and theologians in the search for truth in this Creation that God has given and entrusted to us.”

Later,
Red

 

Subj: Re:Words and their validity
Date: 96-03-30 04:41:06 EDT
From: JVibber
Posted on: America Online

<< The point is, mistakes happen in understanding words either because of human error or intent to deceive, not that the words themselves are without firm base. >>

Actually, I think this is an oversimplification. One of the things we do when we read a story is to imbue words with meaning that is at most HINTED at in the story. Otherwise, the story resembles one of those bad, high-school level concoctions with twenty adjectives in front of each noun (because the teacher told us adjectives were good). Things like, “She brushed back her fine, honey-colored hair with her bejewelled left hand, the one with the emerald set in a silver ring, and shook her head coquettishly and gently laughed — just like the chuckle that her sister used to make when she won at a long, late-night game of solitaire with the 51-card deck of Bicycle cards that her grey-haired old grandfather had left her to play with on Sunday afternoons…” Well, you get the idea.

At the other extreme is things like, “Someone entered the room and sat in the chair.” Now, who was the someone — male or female, or even more than one person (as we often use someone to mean a group). What kind of chair was it? A big plushy one, or a spare, wooden chair. Did the person plop into it, settle easily into it, sit backwards on it? Was there a DOOR to the room, or was it open? What is this, anyway? A living room, a police interrogation room, a doctor’s waiting room?

Now, you may think this is just an exercise in unnecessary sparseness, but stage plays are written this way. Some stories are written this way just to force you to fill in the details yourself. To allow you to imagine anything from a starkly empty room with nothing more than a chair to an elaborately decorated boudoir, or a palace.

So are the words, “Someone entered the room and sat in the chair” meaningful, meaningless, misleading? Or are they an empty vessel waiting to be filled with our imaginations?
Subj: Re:Words and their validity
Date: 96-03-30 13:06:38 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

Evan,

I opened my morning paper today, and you shoulda seen the headline: extra, extra,YAX AND MARTY IN COMPLETE AGREEMENT! WORLD PEACE EXPECTED NEXT! POLLUTIONLESS CARS DEVELOPED! DOGS AND CATS COME TO TERMS! Right on, bro, on education. Glad to hear it.

Unfortunately, we must proceed.

On my joking, Yax, I figured you knew I was, but I was merely a bit uncertain. But hey, my system does allow uncertainty. It just doesn’t live uncertainty, and contends uncertainty isn’t the fault of the words we use.

<<Look, if words had true meanings, they would be universally applicable.>>
Yet there is a universality to words which gives denotational and connotational meanings a permanence. If this weren’t so, we’d never understand what others meant when they spoke to us.

<<Could God not run the world of ideas without letters ans sentences?>>
When you put God into the equation you’ve perhaps taken us out of the world of words. But note, and this may be my Faith speaking, In the Beginning was the Word says an awful lot. Words mean things. The theologian and the philosopher agree.

<<If human error inevitably leads to misunderstandings,…>>
I don’t say inevitably, I merely say it can. And a lot of human *error* isn’t that, but obstinacy or ( I don’t mean this towards you, Evan, or anyone else on this board ) evil intent.

<< You still won’t define game, even though you say words have definite meanings.>>
Nope, I haven’t and I won’t, Yax. I stand by my earlier post. You’ll just question the words I use in my definition, and I’m not going to board a roller coaster just for the ride. Sorry.

Marty

Subj: Words and their validity
Date: 96-03-30 13:23:47 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

JVibber,
I think they represent empty vessels waiting to be filled. Yet they hold some hint of meaning and therefore can be filled. I’ve heard of a lot of writers who started just that way, with great success.

I agree with your approach to the problem, on the whole. A good way to put it.

Marty

Subj: Re:Fallacies, Creation, etc.
Date: 96-03-30 13:24:17 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

RedQueen5:
Thank you for your frankness. I firmly believe that such an attitude is more conducive to finding Truth in the long run than a more murky approach.
That said, allow me to point out that I haven’t been arguing for a Creationist POV. I know others have and I respect that. Personally, I don’t care if we were created or evolved. The same God would’ve done it. Arguments about the validity of either approach I prefer to leave to persons more knowledgeable.
Now I know, Red, I’ve said other things you’re willing to call wrong and that your point applies to me. Again, it is welcome. I rather think it freshens the air. The other approach stagnates. I’m willing to trust you want to know Truth as much as I.

Marty
Subj: Re:Words and their validity
Date: 96-03-30 16:24:06 EDT
From: YaxPac
Posted on: America Online

Marty,

Just goes to show that we can all find that common ground once we find a common enemy :-).

You go on to add that in your system, words are certain but people are not (I think) by saying <<But hey, my system does allow uncertainty. It just doesn’t live uncertainty, and contends uncertainty isn’t the fault of the words we use.>>

Then whose fault is it? Please, let me know. I want to know. If I could blame uncertainty on something other than the fact that the symbols we use to construct our multiverse were not perfect, I’d have a scapegoat whenever I was inaccurate. Go for it Marty … I look forward to the peregrinations you’ll go through whether you succeed or not.

Responding to my concern that words don’t have universal validity you suggest that <<there is a universality to words which gives denotational and connotational meanings a permanence. If this weren’t so, we’d never understand what others meant when they spoke to us.>> Your statement is simply false. Words that we use today mean the exact opposite of their original definitions. How would you define the word “liberal” in Russia? In America? In France? The word “bad” can mean its original meaning, or it can mean a guy or thing who is really dangerous but kind of cool (like Garibaldi). This is a new and added meaning to the word. Language is fluid and is based on the necessities of the locale around it and what is fashionable to say to get across a given idea. This is how dialects form, and then become separate languages (or did that all happen and Babel?). At one level, when speaking of abstractions, we never do know *exactly* what someone else is telling us. When I say I hate someone, it has a different *total* meaning for me, than it would for you or someone else. Have you ever talked to someone’s whose words all are abstract and not grounded in facts (education professors for example) you end up going, “Huh?” His words may all have meanings … but they’re not *final and forever*. Do you think the greek Logos has the same meaning exactly as the English Word?

You then suggest that <<When you put God into the equation you’ve perhaps taken us out of the world of words. But note, and this may be my Faith speaking, In the Beginning was the Word says an awful lot. Words mean things. The theologian and the philosopher agree.>> And I agree that they mean things. The closer they get to the actual material facts of our lives, the more certain those meanings are, and the further we get from those material facts into internal perceptions and sensations and mindsets, the less accurate they are. It’s like a ruler. It’ll give you great accuracy for measuring paper, and a window, and the floor, but it’s useless at measuring atomic distances. Does this mean it’s inaccurate … depends on what you’re using it for.

You concede defeat on my asking you to define a simple and commonly used word by saying <<Nope, I haven’t and I won’t, Yax. I stand by my earlier post. You’ll just question the words I use in my definition, and I’m not going to board a roller coaster just for the ride. Sorry.>>

Why is it a roller coaster ride when the word has definite meaning? I really think this looks like turning tail and running. Pretty weak, really, and you’re better than that. Find any word you like then, and define it. Your definition will either be tautological … or it will be based on exemplary data from the material world. Period. Good luck.

All my best!

Evan
==================================================================
When liberty is mentioned, we must always be careful to observe whether it is not really the assertion of private interests which is thereby designated.
Georg Hegel (1770-1831), German philosopher

Subj: Re:Fallacies, Creation, etc.
Date: 96-04-01 01:02:40 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>You’ve been blinded by your faith and consequently dismiss the overwhelming amount of evidence (testable, repeatable experiments) that contradict most if not all of the Bibles creation myth. Why? because it is convenient for you. <<

Note, it only really contradicts Genesis if you take it as absolute literal truth. If you see it in a figurative light(and I’ve been told that the Hebrew speaking people of the time were often quite figurative in their story-telling), then it fits fine.

Subj: Re:Fallacies, Creation, etc.
Date: 96-04-01 10:59:15 EDT
From: StarFuryD4
Posted on: America Online

Guys, Guys, Guys,

If I take the Bible as literal, then I have only to figure out which parts are prose, which parts are poetic, and which parts are allegory/parable/metaphor. It’s not *that* hard to do.

BUT, if I take it as being only *one* of the above, then there will never be any rhyme or reason to it, since it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell you that it is *much* harder to find “the truth” in a myth, than it is to make a “myth” of the Truth.

Besides, If I don’t take it as literal truth, then the very God who says of himself, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life…” is a LIAR, because HE Himself supported the Creation account to His contemporaries, and they did *not* gainsay Him on the point.

Just another day…

Dave
Delta4 homing in..

Subj: Re:Words and their validity
Date: 96-04-01 13:30:10 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

Evan,

Ouch! <<Turning tail and running.>> Well, I guess I deserve that after calling you unreasonable. But I stand by self-evidence just the same.

When you spreak of words like ” bad ” you’re crossing over from denotational into jargon meanings. The word doesn’t lack that universality of which I speak, its only that the speakers understand that the context has changed. Also, I never deny that meanings can’t be added, only that once they’re added you must be careful of their context ( connotational meaning ).

I gotta disagree with you strongly, Evan, in one way on education profs. Their words have no real meaning. The speakers are just fools.

I still refuse to define game for you, on the original grounds. If I read you right, you want me to give you a definition of a word without using valid words. I can’t do that. But then, I don’t have to. I accept their universality.

Marty.

 

 

 

Subj: Re:Words and their validity
Date: 96-04-01 15:46:16 EDT
From: StarFuryD4
Posted on: America Online

Do you guys realize what it is you are doing to yourselves?!?

By agreeing that not *only* do words no have any inherant meaning, but you are *also* now decrying the very source of your educations, the professors; among whom are the very same scientists that teach the “absolute knowledge” of evolution!

You have effectively cut your *own* legs out from under yourselves. Therefore, no one need ever take **ANYTHING** you say to be of import, because you have no reliable information. It has all been written by those same professors who you declare to be of no value!

I will be posting part 1 of “The Duel- Top ten lists”, but you have made my job MUCH easier, by telling me that you have no reliable means of refuting *ANYTHING I SAY*!

Thank you very much for finally coming out and clarifying this for me.

( ; ^{D} –>> HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Dave
Delta4 out
Subj: Evidence That Demands …
Date: 96-04-01 22:04:02 EDT
From: StarFuryD4
Posted on: America Online

Evidence That Demands…

Here we go, guys. This is it! The real McCoy!

Just to reiterate, this information is provided in accord with the assumption
of “gradualism,” which is defined, for the purposes of this text, as being a
belief that all of the processes observed by man are continuing in the same
fashion as they have since the beginning of the universe. Finally, I wish
to remind you, Gentle Reader, that my job here is to provide a “reasonable
doubt” as to the veracity and probability of Macro-Evolution, or the belief
that life came into being, against improbable odds, by random chance alone,
through a time span of millions and billions of years. It will be my task
to examine the claim to all those years. To determine, by the facts, whether
they are required or even available; for without all those years, the theory
becomes untenable, and must be discarded, or at least, severely reexamined.

And so:

Top Ten reasons for believing in a Young Earth:

10) No water in the “Age of Fishes”.

According to the *gradualistic* way of thought, water came into
existence on the earth mainly, if not solely, through Juvenile Water, or
water spewed out by volcanoes as steam, later condensing into liquid. The
biggest problem with this theory is this; there are only approx.
340-350,000,000 cubic miles of water upon the surface of the earth. We know
from modern measurement that about 1 cubic mile of water is added to the
earth each year due to current volcanic activity (And it is commonly believed
among Evolutionists that Volcanic activity was greater in the past, so it is
possible that water could have accumulated much more quickly). If we
extrapolate backwards, according to this measurement, then approximately 350
million years ago, or even more recently, there was no water. The importance
of this is that this date falls directly into the middle of (or even
post-dates) the accepted time frame of the “Age of Fishes” (Devonian period-
approx. 286 – 408 million yrs)! How can this be?! It is known that without
water, there would be no life on earth. Therefore, the Earth must be younger
than 350 million years. [source: “Scientific Creationism”, by Henry Morris,
p.152, 1974]

9) Erosion (Or, Slip-Sliding Away).

According to present rates of erosion, there should be 30 times
more sediment in the Oceans than there is now. Where is it? If the
*presupposition* of a billion-year-old ocean is true, then why isn’t there
enough sediment?
As if to add insult to injury, it has been discovered that, at
current rates, the entire surface of the earth would be worn down to
sea-level in only 14 million years! But there is no evidence that this has
occurred, leading us to the result that the earth is only thousands of years
old, given the sharp, angular appearance of most of the earth’s mountain
ranges. Therefore, the Earth must be younger than 14 million years. [source:
Ibid, p. 155]

To Be continued…

Subj: Evidence That Demands…Pt B
Date: 96-04-01 22:05:39 EDT
From: StarFuryD4
Posted on: America Online

8) Atmospheric Helium (Or, Up, Up, and No Way Out).

Helium 4 is produced by the decay of uranium, and migrates through
the rocks, escaping into the atmosphere. There is, however, a drastically
smaller amount of H4 in the atmosphere than is expected by evolutionists. In
his article entitled “Where is the Earth’s Radiogenic Helium?” (Nature, Vol.
179, p.213, Jan 26, 1957), Melvin Cook asserts that the annual accumulation
of H4 is approx. 3 x 10^9 gms, he also assumes that there must be H4 escaping
into space, and that the amount of H4 in the atmosphere (assuming no original
helium in the atmosphere) can be accounted for by the following equation:

3.5 x 10^15 (the total amount of H4 in the atmosphere)/10^20 (the
amount of H4 supposedly escaping into space) x (5 x 10^9) (the assumed age
of the earth) = 1.75 x 10^5 years (actual possible age of the atmosphere)

It would seem then, that by gradualistic standards, the atmosphere can, at
most, be only 175,000 years old. However, since there is no actual proof
that H4 escapes into space, and, in fact, there is ample evidence that H4 is
*entering* the atmosphere *from* space; this would increase the amount of H4
accumulated each year to approximately 3 x 10^11 gms/yr, which would decrease
the maximum age of the atmosphere to less than 20,000 years! [source:
Scientific Creationism, by Henry Morris, p.151, 1974]

7) C-14 and C-12 not going steady in the Radicarbon Dating Game.

Carbon-14 (C-14), being the radioactive element considered to be
most reliable for dating fossils and other archaeological finds, is assumed
to be in a state of equilibrium with its stable cousin, Carbon-12 (C-12). For
this reason it is assumed by evolutionists and gradualists that the results
from C-14 datings are accurate when they give readings indicating ages of
hundred-thousands and millions of years. However, studies have been done
which would conclude, based on the evidence, that a state of equilibrium has
not yet been reached. In fact, the findings show, that out of the 30,000
years that is assumed required to reach equilibrium, only about 5,000 –
10,000 years have passed. In his article entitled, “Do Radiological Clocks
Need Repair?” (Creation Research Society Quarterly, Vol. 5 (Oct. 1968),
p.70), Melvin Cook concludes that the formation rate of C-14 is 18.4 atoms
per gram per minute, and the decay rate is 13.3 atoms/gram/minute. This
gives a ratio of .72 (13.3/18.4); showing that the formation rate exceeds the
decay rate by 38%, which gives the indication that equilibrium has not yet
occurred. In addition to Cook’s results, Robert Whitelaw (Nuclear Consultant
and Professor of Mechanical Engineering – Virginia Polytechnic Institute and
State University) concludes in his article entitled, “Radiocarbon Confirms
Biblical Creation” (Creation Research Society Quarterly, Vol. 5 (Oct. 1968),
p. 80), that there is reason to modify the formation rate to 27 atoms/gram/minute instead of 18.4. If this is correct, the ratio changes to .49 (13.3/27), and the formation rate is concluded to be over twice the rate of decay, which would allow for an age of the earth of not much more that 5,000 years. [source: Scientific Creationism, by Henry Morris, p.161-166, 1974]

6) Mississippi Delta accretion.

The Mississippi delta is enlarging at a known rate each year. There
is no indication that any of this silt has ever been carried far out to sea.

At this rate, the delta could have accumulated in only 5,000 years.
But science acknowledges that the river has been bigger in the past, which
would only shorten the accumulation period. [source: The Geologic Age of the
Mississippi River”, by Benjamin Allen, Creation Research Quarterly, Vol. 9,
Sept. 1972, pp. 96-114; as cited in “Unlocking the Mysteries of Creation”, by
Dennis Petersen, Vol. 1, p. 38, 1986]

And again…

Subj: Evidence That Demands…Pt C
Date: 96-04-01 22:06:49 EDT
From: StarFuryD4
Posted on: America Online

5) Niagara Falls erosion.

This most famous of waterfalls has provided a very reliable
geo-clock for our examination. The rim of the falls is wearing back at a
well documented rate each year. Geologists recognize that it has only taken
about 5,000 years to erode from its original precipice. To assume otherwise
would be to allow Niagara to have been eroding from a starting point many
miles out into the Atlantic ocean, possibly all the way from the English
Isles! ; ) [source: “The Biblical Flood and the Ice Epoch”, by Donald
Patten, pp. 194-224, 1966; as cited in “Unlocking the Mysteries of
Creation”, by Dennis Petersen, Vol. 1, p. 39, 1986]

4) Oldest living things.

The Bristlecone Pine has one of the longest, if not the longest,
lifespans of known flora. There have been several specimens found with
growth rings numbering up to 5,000, but none have been found with more. Given
the possibility that there could be a disparity between the number of rings,
and the actual number of years of life (assuming the rings stand for growth
or seasonal periods which may not coincide with the calendar year), there is
still no evidence that these trees have lived for more than 10,000 years.
Redwood Trees and Sequoias have also been examined with growth rings
numbering several thousand. If the earth were as old as many think, why
aren’t there any specimens with more than 5,000 rings? It would be ludicrous
to think that the growth rate was as slow as one ring every 200 years, just
to say the specimen was one million years old. No botanist would ever agree
to that slow a growth rate. Therefore, the Earth must be younger than 10,000
years. [source: “The Genesis Flood”, by Henry Morris and John C. Whitcomb
jr., pp. 392-393, 1961]

3) Oil Deposits and Pressure.

One of the most interesting claims of gradualistic evolution is that
they claim millions of years for the formation of the oil deposits found
under the earth’s surface. The claims become all the more amusing when
scientists also take great accolades for the fact that high grade oil (and
gas) has been created out of *garbage*! And in just twenty minutes! So,
vast time is *not* required for these deposits to accumulate or form, but
could have been accomplished by sudden depositing of sediment, under pressure
of the great weight of the vast waters of a Global Flood, just as is written
about in the Bible.

Add to this the reality that all sedimentary layers of rock are
porous, and that the pressure which is evidenced during the discovery of
these deposits does dissipate over time. It is only plausible that most, if
not all, of the existing pressure would have already dissipated were they
older than approximately five thousand years old. [source: “The World That
Perished”, by John C. Whitcomb jr., p. 123, 1988] And Finally…

Subj: Evidence That Demands…Pt D
Date: 96-04-01 22:07:49 EDT
From: StarFuryD4
Posted on: America Online

2) Real Population Explosion.

If Man is as old upon the Earth as Evolution would have us believe,
then why is the concern over population only recently of importance? If man
has been on the face of the planet for the full million+ years, then the
current population of the Earth would have exceeded 10^2100 people, at a
growth rate of only 1/2%/year, with a period of 40 years between generations.
This is comically impossible, as this exceeds the absolute limit of universal
volume of 10^130 electrons! It is *far* more likely that the current
population has accumulated over a period of only about 4,000 years, or the
approximate length of time since the end of The Flood. [source: “Scientific
Creationism”, by Henry Morris, pp.167-169, 1974]

1) There’s no Such Thing as a Populated Magnetic Star!

The Magnetic Field of the Earth has been measured, tested and
documented for the last 135 years, and it has been reasonably concluded that
the Earth’s Magnetic Field has a functional half-life of approximately 1400
years. This is a very important fact, because, just 10,000 years ago, the
strength of the field would have been about 128 times the current strength,
or the same as a Magnetic Star! [source: “Origin and Destiny of the Earth’s
Magnetic Field”, by Thomas G. Barnes, Institute for Creation Research, p. 64,
1973; as cited in “Scientific Creationism”, by Henry Morris, p.152, 1974]

There have been several attempts to theorize that the Earth
“repolarizes” **by itself**, which is supposed to account for the extreme age
of the earth without frying its occupants in the process. But as it has been
stated, we cannot accept this theory because is simply another part of the “Let’s
Pretend ” game that some scientists play with each other in order to
‘prop-up’ their theories, for there is no proof available to support this
theory. Certainly, if scientists are as oriented to “just the Facts” as we
have been repeatedly told on this board, this fact alone provides an
opportunity for them to display this quality. Will they reformulate their hypotheses to match the facts, or simply play fast and loose with those facts, as they have for the last on and a half centuries?

Any one of these facts is enough to discredit evolution. But
together, they provide a long overdue death-knell for a theory that should
have been pronounced DOA over 150 years ago. And these are just for the
Earth! Tune in for more in Part 2 of Evidence that Demands a Verdict, as we
move out into the Universe!

Dave
Delta4 on Patrol
Subj: Re:Words and their validity
Date: 96-04-01 22:21:25 EDT
From: YaxPac
Posted on: America Online

Dave,

I’m sorry for you. You seem to trust words so much that you feel free in ignoring ones that show that your point of view is inaccurate. Again … let me reiterate … words have meaning! The meaning that words have is given them by a group of carbon-based life forms with a larynx capable of making exquisitely varied modulations of sound accompanied by lingual, glottal and labial motions that create a dizzying number of potential combinations. These words are symbol constructs that have community-based definitions that allow these creatures to manipulate objects and individuals in their environment. THEY HAVE MEANING, but only insomuch as the definitions of those words are agreed upon by those using the vocabulary. I don’t see how this is controversial.

Go to Egypt and speak in English … only people who speak English will understand you, but even *they* won’t understand you as well as people from your hometown do.

Thus, if one person “means” something different than someone else understands them to mean when using the same set of sounds or letters, there is a failure to communicate. Both people can be “correct” in their interpretation of what was said. Both can be “wrong” in their interpretation. It entirely depends on the frame of reference that they operate within. If I walk into a room and it’s freezing in the room, I may say “GOD, it’s cold in here.” I am not, by saying this, affirming a belief in the Deity, nor am I addressing the problem to Him. Both I and my close friends understand that I am saying that it is VERY cold in here.

Someone who did not know me, might, upon overhearing this statement, assume that I was a believer. They would be wrong about me. Whether they were right about what my words meant wouldn’t really matter, would it?

<<By agreeing that not *only* do words no have any inherant meaning, but you are *also* now decrying the very source of your educations, the professors; among whom are the very same scientists that teach the “absolute knowledge” of evolution!>>

This is so simple-minded, I’m embarrassed to be answering it, but 2 objections must be made. First, if words have *inherent meaning* … where the heck does it come from? Second … anybody who is telling you about *absolute knowledge* of evolution is just as silly as you are. I, certainly, have never argued that any knowledge can be “absolute.” Absolutism is our enemy. It kills discussion, opposes alternative points of view without hearing them (like saying that if words have no *inherent meaning* then they have *no* meaning), and makes speech itself a waste of time. Why bother to correct someone … their words are correct … they have inherent valid meaning and cannot be questioned? Why have a sermon in church? The words of the Bible are there. They are perfect, they need no interpretation by our words … or they would not have inherent meaning.

Sorry Dave, get real, get a life, and look at what really happens. The meanings of words change over time, slowly, but they change (kind of like species). IF they change, the meanings are not inherent in the words themselves. They are added by human beings … us. Why’s that such a tough concept?

Evan
==================================================================
“When *I* use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean–neither more not less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you *can* make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master——-that’s all.”
Lewis Carroll, _Through the Looking Glass_ p. 94 Centennial Ed. Random House, NY 1965

Subj: Re:Words and their validity
Date: 96-04-01 22:25:18 EDT
From: YaxPac
Posted on: America Online

Marty,

<<When you spreak of words like ” bad ” you’re crossing over from denotational into jargon meanings. The word doesn’t lack that universality of which I speak, its only that the speakers understand that the context has changed. Also, I never deny that meanings can’t be added, only that once they’re added you must be careful of their context ( connotational meaning ). >>

Just one question then, how do new languages develop? Or do you think that all the languages that exist on the earth now existed always. How come I can’t read “Beowulf” in the original Old English? Did the word Windows have the same meaning before Bill Gates? Is Windows jargon? What did “gravity” mean before Newton? Does it mean the same now?

You postulate that words have a stated meaning from some extra-human source, I assume. How then, do we find this non-human arbiter and let her decide which of us is “right” when we think words mean two different things in the same context?

Evan

Subj: Re:Gradualism
Date: 96-04-01 22:40:03 EDT
From: YaxPac
Posted on: America Online

Dave,

First of all, your evidence that demands … strikes me as whining. Sorry, it just does. Secondly, my college Biology and Chemistry professors who were all creationists had *much* better arguments than you do.

But let me begin critiquing your relatively poorly thought out evidence. I will not have time to get through it all tonight, but I hope that you will give me the same patience we all gave to you while you dug up your facts.

You state <<Just to reiterate, this information is provided in accord with the assumption
of “gradualism,” which is defined, for the purposes of this text, as being a
belief that all of the processes observed by man are continuing in the same
fashion as they have since the beginning of the universe.>>

This is where most of your arguments plummet to the ground at breakneck speed. Science has as one of its basic premises that the rules governing the behavior of material objects have not changed over time … but nowhere would they, or could they argue the above. It’s ludicrous on the face of it. You could never turn on a light bulb, or chop down a tree, or have a rain storm. Sorry, not even close. Old-earth arguments specifically abjure this kind of thinking, postulating an early earth history that is *very* different from the processes that we now observe. I don’t accept gradualism, and I don’t have to in order to believe as I do. Just ‘cuz you want me to can’t make me.

<<Finally, I wish to remind you, Gentle Reader, that my job here is to provide a “reasonable doubt” as to the veracity and probability of Macro-Evolution, or the belief that life came into being, against improbable odds, by random chance alone, through a time span of millions and billions of years>>

Once again, nope. Your job is more difficult. It is your job to convince people who believe on the basis of the most credible and commonly accepted scientific evidence coming from *many* lines of inquiry that that entire structure of belief is false by explaing all the data in a more satisfactory manner … especially anomalous data. I do not feel that Old-earth arguments are 100% all-of-a-piece true, they do, however have the proponderance of the evidence to support them and are so far not contradicted by overwhelming evidence against them. Thus, they are the current best explanation.
Evan

Subj: Re:Water and fish
Date: 96-04-01 22:47:04 EDT
From: YaxPac
Posted on: America Online

You claim that there wasn’t enough water on the earth during the Devonian period and then argue that it’s so because <<there are only approx. 340-350,000,000 cubic miles of water upon the surface of the earth.>> Cool, I agree.

<<We know from modern measurement that about 1 cubic mile of water is added to the earth each year due to current volcanic activity (And it is commonly believed among Evolutionists that Volcanic activity was greater in the past, so it is possible that water could have accumulated much more quickly). If we extrapolate backwards, according to this measurement, then approximately 350 million years ago, or even more recently, there was no water.>>

Sooo, no water is lost to the system or gained from the system due to hydroxylation reactions or oxidative phosphorylations and reductions. There is no equilibrium or state in which water tends to be created and state in which water tends to be taken out of the system. The polar ice caps do not act as a buffer to the system. Just do some simple (minded) math and give no explanation as to why you think this is valid and I’m supposed to go “OH, gee. Well, now I agree with you.”

Your argument is like saying that a child currently weighs 60 pounds now. He gained 4 pounds last year. Therefore, he is 15 years old. Sorry, too simple, too silly.

Evan

Subj: Re:Erosion
Date: 96-04-01 22:53:05 EDT
From: YaxPac
Posted on: America Online

Point 9 for you is that << According to present rates of erosion, there should be 30 times
more sediment in the Oceans than there is now. Where is it? If the *presupposition* of a billion-year-old ocean is true, then why isn’t there enough sediment?>>

Because the continents keep turning it into land, and volcanoes keep spitting stuff out through it. Also, why are present rates of erosion static? Soft dirt erodes more quickly than hard rock. Hard rock will eventually erode to soft dirt over time … increasing the total amount of dirt in the system, until it turns back into *voila* sedimentary rock, and getting harder to erode again. Also, current rates of erosion are much higher since we started doing agriculture. We do affect these things, you know.

<<As if to add insult to injury, it has been discovered that, at current rates, the entire surface of the earth would be worn down to sea-level in only 14 million years! But there is no evidence that this has occurred, leading us to the result that the earth is only thousands of years old, given the sharp, angular appearance of most of the earth’s mountain ranges. Therefore, the Earth must be younger than 14 million years.>>

Nope, the Earth just has to be adding mountains and dirt to the continents at roughly the same rate it is eroding. Volcanoes and continental drift combined more than adequately explain this for me.

I’d love to keep going, but I’m not without other tasks tonight. Jvib? Red? Wanna take a few of these?

Evan

Subj: Re:Fallacies, Creation, etc.
Date: 96-04-02 00:16:26 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>Besides, If I don’t take it as literal truth, then the very God who says of himself, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life…” is a LIAR, because HE Himself supported the Creation account to His contemporaries, and they did *not* gainsay Him on the point.<<

First question: Just who the heck were God’s “contemporaries”?

second: Why is the literalness of the entire Bible(IYO) based solely on the literalness of the first chapter?

Let me put it this way. Jesus was the son of God, right? So that means God had sex with Mary, right? No.

Now, that’s just one part that is not totally, utterly literal, yet it’s accepted. How, exactly is interpreting Genesis to fit with Big Bang theory and Evolution(especially considering that it was the imperfect Humans who did the actuall writing and, more importantly, translating) completely and utterly wrong?

Subj: Re:Words and their validity
Date: 96-04-02 00:23:43 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>By agreeing that not *only* do words no have any inherant meaning, but you are *also* now decrying the very source of your educations, the professors; among whom are the very same scientists that teach the “absolute knowledge” of evolution!

You have effectively cut your *own* legs out from under yourselves. Therefore, no one need ever take **ANYTHING** you say to be of import, because you have no reliable information. It has all been written by those same professors who you declare to be of no value!<<

Dave. If confirming that “words no have any inherant meaning” hurts your argument alot more than it does mine. You are the one who says that Creation myths are totally literal.

And saying that the public education system of this country sucks compared to what it could be is hardly “decrying the very source of your educations, the professors; among whom are the very same scientists that teach the “absolute knowledge” of evolution!”

(and I was never in a sci class that taught “absolute knowledge” All the things I learned I either had to experimentally confirm or call theory)

>> Therefore, no one need ever take **ANYTHING** you say to be of import, because you have no reliable information.<<

You seem to have a talent for taking small comments out of context and twisting them to seem like huge statements. One hopes that you’ll stick more to your promises of “sticking to the facts” in “The Duel”…
Subj: Magnetism
Date: 96-04-02 17:30:45 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

As a few of the other points have been answered by others who did it better than I would of, I’ll start out with the one point that disturbed me the most. #1(Magnetic Star)

>> There have been several attempts to theorize that the Earth
“repolarizes” **by itself**, which is supposed to account for the extreme age
of the earth without frying its occupants in the process. But as it has been
stated, we cannot accept this theory because is simply another part of the “Let’s
Pretend ” game that some scientists play with each other in order to
‘prop-up’ their theories, for there is no proof available to support this
theory.<<

When I saw this, ahem, “Statement”, I had to leave my computer for a few moments. Just where, Dave, have you been getting your facts?

The idea that the Earth’s magnetic poles switch places periodically did not grow out of, as you say, a need to “prop-up” other theories. In fact, the theories that lead to repolarization helped bring about much of what we know about the Earth’s magnetic field(and which you state to be “true”).

Have you ever heard of Ferromagnetism? When a Ferromagnetic ore is heated to a specific point, it loses it’s magnetic properties. As it cools, it goes through a phase transition back to it’s magnetic state, orienting itself to match the dominamt magnetic field in the area(save for a few late spots, the transistion is not always uniform, which get messed up by the forming fields around them.) Long before much was known about the magnetic field of Earth(besides North and South), ferromagnetic ores were found, at regular intervals(geologically speaking) which were oriented in The Wrong Direction! This mystery befuddled geologists and physicists alike, untill the idea came about that the magnetic field somehow reorients itself at these regular intervals(it was the realization of this, BTW, which lead towards finding a reasonable half-life for the Earth’s magnetic field, not the other way around). Now, how it reorients itself, and why it reorients itself are still mysteries, but make no mistake, it does indeed appear to do so.

Subj: Magnetism2
Date: 96-04-02 17:31:35 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>Certainly, if scientists are as oriented to “just the Facts” as we
have been repeatedly told on this board, this fact alone provides an
opportunity for them to display this quality. Will they reformulate their hypotheses to match the facts, or simply play fast and loose with those facts, as they have for the last on and a half centuries?<<

Perhaps you should finish your research before you ask for this “reformulation”, because certainly you would not have scientists reformulate the theories they’ve been working on for decades because you got bad information? ;->

Subj: Population
Date: 96-04-02 17:32:38 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>If Man is as old upon the Earth as Evolution would have us believe,
then why is the concern over population only recently of importance? If man
has been on the face of the planet for the full million+ years, then the
current population of the Earth would have exceeded 10^2100 people, at a
growth rate of only 1/2%/year, with a period of 40 years between generations.<<

Perhaps you should look into taking some classes on population dynamics.

1st: Where do you get the idea that the growth rate is so comically stable? Maybe you’re still working on that odd idea you had a while ago that “gradualism” implies no disasters, but I thought you had realized that this was an unbased and wrong assumption(especially considering it’s an assumption about a topic you don’t study). One good disaster(say, a two-or-three-generations-long flood, such as when the last Ice age ended) and the nice growth curves(which are more readily represented by wildly jagged lines anyway) are screwed.

2nd: Populations stabilze. Look up(or even do) the research, and you see that population growths, of any ecosystem, are not infinite exponential lines, but tend towards stable, flat, lines after a period of growth(this is in a stable ecosystem, BTW, not one where the grass unexpectedly dies out, which happens often). If you look at the estimated population growth rate of Humans, you see that it is not an infinite exponential line either. The second to last big population climb was the European colonization of the Americas(htough it decimated the Native population, there were less Natives to kill then there were Europeans to be born, so you get a net upward climb). Before tha, the population of the world appears to have been disgustingly stable at a few hundred million(as opposed to the 100 million it theoretically was in Gaius Julius Ceasar’s day). The last big population explosion(not the Baby boom, believe it or not) came with the invention of refrigieration(mostly) as well as various vaccines and rapid transport. Suddenly, many more people were able to live on less land. The result is that in the last century the population of the world has gone from just over a billion to well over 5 billion(which, by StarFuryD4’s arguments, leave us with No population 130 years ago). Population growth is not a stable thing, Dave. Stop assuming it so just to fit your arguments.

Subj: Bristlecone Pines
Date: 96-04-02 17:33:10 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>> The Bristlecone Pine has one of the longest, if not the longest,
lifespans of known flora. There have been several specimens found with
growth rings numbering up to 5,000, but none have been found with more. Given
the possibility that there could be a disparity between the number of rings,
and the actual number of years of life (assuming the rings stand for growth
or seasonal periods which may not coincide with the calendar year), there is
still no evidence that these trees have lived for more than 10,000 years.
Redwood Trees and Sequoias have also been examined with growth rings
numbering several thousand. If the earth were as old as many think, why
aren’t there any specimens with more than 5,000 rings?<<
I have but things things to say in response to this. Things Die. Which is more logical, Dave? To assume that because we find no tres older than 10,000 years that their life spand probably caps off around there? Or to assume that since we find no trees older than 10,000 years that the world didn’t exist before then.
*Because, of course, the Pine standing over there was the third thing God created, right?*

Subj: Niagra
Date: 96-04-02 17:33:40 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>> This most famous of waterfalls has provided a very reliable
geo-clock for our examination. The rim of the falls is wearing back at a
well documented rate each year. Geologists recognize that it has only taken
about 5,000 years to erode from its original precipice. To assume otherwise
would be to allow Niagara to have been eroding from a starting point many
miles out into the Atlantic ocean, possibly all the way from the English
Isles! <<

Because, of course, Niagra has been around since the begining of time. Gee Dave, you don’t suppose maybe that Niagra might only be 5,000 years old, do you? Heck, Angle Falls(which I find to be slightly more spectacular, IMO) is thought to be only a few hundred years old. But, of course, of the few things that are eternal, Niagra is one, right? Come on.

Subj: Mississippi
Date: 96-04-02 17:34:10 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>The Mississippi delta is enlarging at a known rate each year. There
is no indication that any of this silt has ever been carried far out to sea.

At this rate, the delta could have accumulated in only 5,000 years.
But science acknowledges that the river has been bigger in the past, which
would only shorten the accumulation period.<<

See my earlier response to the Niagra falls post. What I want to know is, where the heck is your evidence that the age of the Earth hinges on the age of the Mississippi river?

Subj: Erosion
Date: 96-04-02 17:34:38 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>According to present rates of erosion, there should be 30 times
more sediment in the Oceans than there is now. Where is it? If the
*presupposition* of a billion-year-old ocean is true, then why isn’t there
enough sediment?<<

Oi. I guess we’ll have to bring up that old topic again. WHat was the title, oh yeah, Plate Tectonics. You know, that silly Vulcanism thingy? That you seem to be conviently ignoring here. Oh well.

>>As if to add insult to injury, it has been discovered that, at
current rates, the entire surface of the earth would be worn down to
sea-level in only 14 million years! <<

That would be true, if 1)the rate of erosion was constant for all substances, at all times; and 2)we didn’t have volcanic activity. Unforunately, 1 is wrong and 2 we have, so your argument falls flat. Again I ask, where are you getting your science?

Subj: Water
Date: 96-04-02 17:35:12 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>According to the *gradualistic* way of thought, water came into
existence on the earth mainly, if not solely, through Juvenile Water, or
water spewed out by volcanoes as steam, later condensing into liquid. The
biggest problem with this theory is this; there are only approx.
340-350,000,000 cubic miles of water upon the surface of the earth. We know
from modern measurement that about 1 cubic mile of water is added to the
earth each year due to current volcanic activity (And it is commonly believed
among Evolutionists that Volcanic activity was greater in the past, so it is
possible that water could have accumulated much more quickly). If we
extrapolate backwards, according to this measurement, then approximately 350
million years ago, or even more recently, there was no water.<<
Huh? This only works if you assume that all the water that has ever formed on this planet so far has stayed nice and put in the ocean. Sorry, doesn’t work that way. There is a net balance of water on the planet that is continually recycled and reused. Most of this recycling goes on in the water cycle, modern vulcanism taking such a minor role it’s not even funny. The cubic mile provided by vulcanism annually is mostly water(or hydrogen and oxygen as hydroxide and H2) that was absorbed by the Earth’s crust eons earlier. It’s a continuing cycle, not a linear progression.

Subj: Disappointment
Date: 96-04-02 17:36:01 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

Okay, I know I got a little carried away. And I’m probably going to get more carried away right now.

Dave, if anything, this was a disappointment. How is it that you have, for months on this board proclaimed that evolution was a product of “Bad Science”, and then try to prove your point with such a collection of half-read theories and partial facts? This was some of the worst “science” I have ever seen, my friend.

It’s like your argument using the Second Law of Thermodynamics. It keeps feeling like you’re reading the first part of the law and ignoring the details that come afterward. You’re latching onto only half the fact(the half that fits your claims) and ignoring the rest(that is, whatever you don’t like). Your invertation of the re-polarization idea shows this.

It seems to me like a High School physics student claiming to be able to completely disprove Relativity. Or perhaps more relevantly, like an atheist who, after reading but 20 pages of the Bible, claims to be able to sound Christianity’s death-knell. You cry out that evolution is Bad Science and that scientists ignore facts, and then you jump at whatever half-truths and misread theories make your statements look good.

I could respect supportation of creationism that went past the science, such as Filops’. I didn’t agree with it, but at least he had the guts not to ignore the evidence. I would suggest, Dave, that if you intend to continue to use science(so far really bad science) to try to disprove evolution, that you take some classes, notably some physics, chemistry, and biology. Otherwise you’re just shooting yourself in the foot, my friend.

Listen, I’m sorry if I’m getting a little harsh, but it pains me to see someone mis-understanding science like this. Many of these assertions(such as the Nigra Falls and Mississippi river delta statements) don’t even fit into common sense.

Oh well. I look forward to “Evidence…pt2!”, though perhaps less than I did before. I just can’t wait to see how you’ve interpreted Cosmology.

Subj: Let Me See…
Date: 96-04-02 22:22:42 EDT
From: StarFuryD4
Posted on: America Online

…if I have this straight.

Because I didn’t provide a post equal in stature to a doctoral thesis, even if it’s because I don’t *have* a PhD, I’m doomed to be downspoken and insulted for having done something that hasn’t “converted” anyone. Well, DUH! I didn’t expect anyone to roll over and cry out, “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner”.

I guess the bottom line is that we have reached an impasse of religious belief: My creationist christianity vs. Your evolutionist humanism/atheism/moral relativism. So, no I don’t expect anything grand; in fact, I fully expected the response I have, indeed received. Which would seem to preclude any further postings, wouldn’t it? It is mighty hard to argue with God, or an evolutionist. But only one of them is always right.

But I did do what I promised to do,…

…even if it was ill-received.

No regrets,

Dave
Delta4 out

Subj: Re:Let Me See…
Date: 96-04-02 22:43:53 EDT
From: YaxPac
Posted on: America Online

Dave,

Dave, Dave, Dave, Dave. Don’t you get it?

You decry the poor reception your “duel” received. Yet, while claiming excellent science, you give *no* substantive rebuttal to the claims against yours.

You state <<Because I didn’t provide a post equal in stature to a doctoral thesis, even if it’s because I don’t *have* a PhD, I’m doomed to be downspoken and insulted for having done something that hasn’t “converted” anyone. Well, DUH! I didn’t expect anyone to roll over and cry out, “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner”.>>

Here is the crux of the problem. First, nobody expected you to have a PhD. Nobody wanted a dissertation. They wanted clean, credible facts that weren’t explainable within the structure of an Old Earth. Why? Because that is what the majority of the available evidence points to. It is your scientific responsibility if you are using science to refute the dominant position to give anomalies that are *unexplained* by the current system, like some of Dennis Gentry’s stuff. You didn’t even find *that* which is a little tougher to explain, given the time it took you to post.

Second, I didn’t think the intent of your post was evangelical. That is not the spin you advertised it with. You suggested that credible scientific evidence suggested that the world was young, evidence that was *more credible* than that which shows an Old Earth. When we aren’t convinced … it’s not that we’re rejecting God … we’re rejecting the arguments.

<<I guess the bottom line is that we have reached an impasse of religious belief: My creationist christianity vs. Your evolutionist humanism/atheism/moral relativism.>>

Sorry … I don’t think I’ve ever labelled myself an “evolutionist”, a “humanist”, an “atheist”, or a “moral relativist.” In fact, I have shown how morals can be static within a given frame of reference without any *inherent* God-given force behind them. For the record, I am an agnostic … about most everything. I do not argue that your point of view *cannot* be true, I argue against your certainty that it *must* be true. HFMoon, on the other hand, appears to be a theist who believes that God created life using the mechanism of evolution. Neither of us were impressed with your arguments.

<<So, no I don’t expect anything grand; in fact, I fully expected the response I have, indeed received. Which would seem to preclude any further postings, wouldn’t it? It is mighty hard to argue with God, or an evolutionist. But only one of them is always right.>>

WRONG. It’s *easy* to argue with “evolutionists”, if they are people, because you can hear their answers and respond to them. It’s God who isn’t talking back. If He’s always right, He’s keeping the reasons for it to Himself, at least since about 90 CE, right? I don’t know anybody with adequate training in science who puts forward ideas with *incontrovertible certainty*. The barest understanding of the history of science would preclude such hubris. On the other hand, the scientific conception of truth is more one of highly warranted assertability (problem is, that’s a mouthful to say) which for (here we go again) *practical* reasons they assign the value of “truth” to.

<<But I did do what I promised to do,… …even if it was ill-received.>>

Both of these points are still open to debate IMHO.

<<No regrets>>

Sounds like the title of a play by Jean-Paul Sartre.

Evan
====================================================================
“Pride ends in destruction; humility ends in honor”

Proverbs 18:12, Living Bible.

Subj: New person
Date: 96-04-02 23:11:57 EDT
From: Lala412
Posted on: America Online

If I wasn’t making myself late to work by logging this entire folder to read tommorrow, I would add something, but for now could someone tell me why I can’t read messages from the 12th to the 21st?? Is it just me or is there another reason? Did I miss anything important? I missed the ones with reference to Joseph Campbell, who I like – were they interesting?
Subj: Re:Let Me See…
Date: 96-04-03 00:26:01 EDT
From: RedQueen5
Posted on: America Online

Dissapointed is right. But is anyone surprised?

No dis Dave, but it’s just not worth taking the time to write responses to such nonsense. I don’t blame you, we all know a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, especially when those that have it use it to promote their own agenda –again, not you Dave (I hope) but those disseminating such poorly thought out scientific trash. I am glad, though, that you opened the forum. Truly, no question is a bad question. So, in that light, I would like to strongly suggest (in an effort to help elevate your knowledge on these subjects) that you visit “Talk Origins” at http://rumba.ics.uci.edu:8080/ Here, you will see all of your criticisms, and many more “young-earther” arguments, *completely* refuted. In addition, lots of exciting religious/scientific ideas and theories are explored thoroughly, including a very positive article on Theistic Evolution (that is, how Evolution and God –or a creative transcendental force– are not mutually exclusive)….HFMoon will certainly enjoy it ;-).

Later,
Red

Subj: Re:Let Me See…
Date: 96-04-04 01:30:38 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>But I did do what I promised to do,…

…even if it was ill-received.

No regrets,

Dave
Delta4 out<<

No, you didn’t, Dave. You promised to provide scientific evidence that showed it to be unlikely that the world is billions of years old. Instead, you provided incorrect statements(such as the repolarization wreck) and incomplete facts to try and show how “dumb” that billion years idea was. Your points about Bristlecone Pines, Niagra Falls, and the Mississippi defied even the most basic common sense. You neglected facts that were taught to most of us in High School(such as the water cycle).

It has nothing to do with it not being up to PhD standards. It has everything to do with it not being up to High school term paper standards.

I will always defend your right ot your opinion and your beliefs, neither of which need to conform to anyone else’s. But if you say you’re going to use scientific evidence to proove your opinion, don’t say “it’s just sour grapes” when people point out that your “science” is faulty.

What I’m saying is that you can never do enough research, and you can never over-check your facts. Clearly, your paper needed more of both.

Subj: Re:Let Me See…
Date: 96-04-04 01:32:24 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>HFMoon, on the other hand, appears to be a theist who believes that God created life using the mechanism of evolution. Neither of us were impressed with your arguments.<<

Which is why I lable myself an agnostic. Thank you. :-)

Subj: Re:Let Me See…
Date: 96-04-04 02:54:14 EDT
From: JVibber
Posted on: America Online

I think it’s all been said. I, too, was very much disappointed but not surprised. As I read through “The Duel,” all I could think to myself was, “This is IT?” Everything assumes a steady-state earth, no interaction with the rest of the solar system, no recycling of anything from one part of the planetary crust to another — everything starting from an initial state and wearing down.

HFMoon and YaxPac, you bore the brunt of answering just about everything. I was away for a couple of days, and when I looked back the argument was over! Red, I agree that the web site on science vs. creationist arguments is a good place to study for anyone who would attempt something like “The Duel” ever again. At least, one should do oneself the favor of finding out whether the arguments have been put forward before, and how they have been answered by the scientists. I saw nothing new, earthshaking, or convincing in “The Duel.”
Subj: Hey, Dave…
Date: 96-04-05 01:05:10 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

IF I’ve been insulting, I apologize. Nothing personal meant, I assure you.

I was just wondering if you were going to post the second part of “The Duel”? The “out in he Universe” section? I actually would be interested in reading what you were going to say.

Subj: Re:Hey, Dave…
Date: 96-04-05 02:30:24 EDT
From: YaxPac
Posted on: America Online

I’d just like to add that there was no personal attack meant in any of the response to anybody here, Mytho, Marty, or Dave.

I suppose this silence is supposed to indict the board as having been taken over by vicious “moral relativists” who demand on keeping Londo’s pronouncements on the Minbari from having “inherent meaning.”

Sorry guys, I really thought we were getting somewhere … was it my breath?

Evan

Subj: Re:Hey, Dave…
Date: 96-04-05 12:54:15 EDT
From: JVibber
Posted on: America Online

<< I suppose this silence is supposed to indict the board as having been taken over by vicious “moral relativists” who demand on keeping Londo’s pronouncements on the Minbari from having “inherent meaning.” >>

Whether that’s true or not, there are still a lot of things to discuss BESIDES whether the Judeo-Christian biblical story of the origin of the earth is true, or whether one should be a Christian (and what KIND of Christian) in order to be saved.

I also think that there is little to be gained by going over and over the issue of why and how “The Duel” failed to convince anyone who was not already convinced. Dave, if you’re lurking out there, what you’ve done is simply to make yourself look foolish in public. As I tell my kids, it’s not the first time, and probably won’t be the last, so set it aside and get on with your life. Or should we talk about your failure for the NEXT 5000 years. Frankly, I don’t think it was, er, spectacular enough to warrant that kind of notoriety.
Subj: Minbari Lip Service
Date: 96-04-05 13:07:01 EDT
From: JVibber
Posted on: America Online

So by now I think it is safe to talk about “Severed Dreams,” and Delenn’s confrontation with the Grey Council. One thing she brought out was the challenge that the Council was paying no more than lip service to the purpose for which it was founded. “We stand between the candle and the star. We stand between the darkness and the light.” And yet, when the prophecies of the coming war with Darkness started coming true, they ignored the signs, turned away, kept to their own safe and self-serving ways. “The problems of others are no concern of ours.”

The Grey Council is a prime example of many individuals and entire religious sects here on earth where the people only go through the motions, but do not believe in their hearts what their ceremonies represent. For that matter, how many people celebrate the Fourth of July in the United States, and yet forget that it represents an event when people, fed up with their government, rose up and overthrew it?

It seems to me an example of how people can “believe six impossible things before breakfast” (a reference to the White Queen in “Alice’s Adventures Through the Looking Glass”) — we attach no IMPORTANCE to what we say we believe. I think that in many ways, this is one of mankind’s greatest strengths and also one of its greatest weaknesses. It is the source of our ability to tell stories of things that never happened and care about them. It is the source of our ability to make the best of a bad situation, develop a new tool, design a helicopter, or find a creative solution to a disagreement. It is also the source of our ability to tell people to “do what I say, not what I do”, to make a “binding” treaty and at the same time plan to break it later, and to believe in a political philosophy or a religion that is at odds with the way we actually deal with the universe.

The Minbari’s shortcomings (and strengths) are our own. This is a human story all around. Perhaps, because it is being told by a human to humans, and we would have difficulty caring about TRULY alien characters. I would find it greatly interesting if at some point JMS could present the Shadows in a way that they are more than just “boogy men” — what do THEY really want, and should we care about THEM?
Subj: Re:Let Me See…
Date: 96-04-05 20:59:57 EDT
From: JunieFuFu
Posted on: America Online

I am a friend of HFMoon who had to hear about what was going on here. The comment that was said about God creating life thru the mechanism of evolution is a wonderful comment. I’m making my confirmation at the Easter vigil. But before I could I had to decied if I really believed in what I was going to do. I had a question “Can I still keep my scientific view and be catholic?” My religious instructor said Yes. She said that as long as I believe God is there somewhere that’s enough.
Although I read the comment I talked about off of HFMoons post I want to thank who ever wrote it. You have brought clarity to my beliefs. It is the day be fore I make my confirmation and now I can see that it was a good choice.

Subj: Re: “The Duel”, Pt. 2??
Date: 96-04-05 21:02:08 EDT
From: StarFuryD4
Posted on: America Online

Hey Guys!

I’ve been out of town for a coupl’a days on an unexpected opportunity (all fun, of course). Will probably be at Syndi-Con in SF next weekend, working for Splitting Image, a growing acting troupe known for doing “character appearances”. If you care to meet face to face…

I’ve read the board: don’t hold your breath for Pt. 2 (at least no public apearances are planned, E-mail discussions possible). It’s not so much that I “feel embarrassed”; been there, done that.
I just don’t see any pressing need to continue making myself a “Online Punching Bag”, since it’s pretty clear that y’all aren’t going to do much else but dismiss what I write anyway, whether insultingly or politely. No barbs intended, just is what goes on around here.

Anyway, am still wanting to have gathering for “War Without End, Pt 2″ the end of May. Anyone in the CA – Sacramento/Bay area is welcome. PLEASE RSVP! So my wife doesn’t freak out.

Later guys,

Dave
Delta4 out

Subj: Re: “The Duel”, Pt. 2??
Date: 96-04-05 22:56:06 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>I just don’t see any pressing need to continue making myself a “Online Punching Bag”, since it’s pretty clear that y’all aren’t going to do much else but dismiss what I write anyway, whether insultingly or politely.<<

Okay. I can accept that. I just hope you realize WHY we dismissed what you wrote. Do you?

Subj: Re:Minbari Lip Service
Date: 96-04-06 13:44:52 EDT
From: Kylinn
Posted on: America Online

From: JVibber
>>So by now I think it is safe to talk about “Severed Dreams,” and Delenn’s confrontation with the Grey Council.<<

NO IT ISN’T. __Please__ don’t post unprotected spoilers again!

There ARE people – lots of us – who do not get to see each Babylon 5 episode
until SUNDAY. That means that the only polite thing to do is to post SPOILER
warnings on any post about an episode that has aired within the last 7 days.

If there were a substantial number of British fans here, as there are on the newsgroup,
it would not yet be safe to post any messages about any 3rd season episodes.

Spoilers are one of the main reasons I don’t read/post here very often: being one of the
unfortunates who get my B5 from Boston, I don’t get to see the episodes until Sunday.
It’s just too darn hard to try to pick out threads that talk about stuff I’ve seen and avoid
the spoilers at the same time.

Subj: Londo and polytheism
Date: 96-04-06 14:56:27 EDT
From: YaxPac
Posted on: America Online

Folks,

Maybe it’s time to change the discussion a little, so here goes.

As most of us are now aware … the Vorlons appear not to have any meta-self that they project to the Centauri when they are seen outside of their encounter suits. Londo didn’t “see anything” in TFoN when Kosh rescued Sheridan. All the other races appeared to see the “executive officer” of their respective beliefs, with Sheridan not naming the being that he saw. All of the other races, though, appear to have hierarchical religious structures.

Londo, on the other hand, is a follower of a family and clan-oriented Centuari pantheon that allows each group to have a god to whom they plead for favors and non-maleficence. Thus, from the little that I’ve heard, the Centauri are eudaemonistic and even a bit epicurean in their outlooks. Yet they have no “core beliefs.” I believe at one point Londo stated that the Centauri are always on duty to the empire, so they see joy as one of their cardinal duties.

My question to the forum would be, is Jms trying to say something about people whose sense of duty is to themselves and their in-group to the exclusion of others having a necessarily narrower frame of reference? Would Vir possibly have seen something from the Vorlon, as he is more open to the “selfhood” of the others on the station? Is there something “messy” about polytheism that the Vorlons can’t manipulate as easily as they can mono- or oligotheism?

Secondly, are societies that are monocultural inherently more stable than pluralistic ones like Earth and Centauri? The Minbari are the only group in whom there is only one religion of the four younger races highlighted in the show … and they are the only ones not yet devastated in one fashion or another, either by association with an ally they can’t control, or by internal civil discord, or by an enemy who has crushed them because of their failure to listen to their own people.

For the ball to get rolling, let me say that I think that pluralism is preferred, and that I think there *is* a way to have a single “culture” with multiple “religious beliefs” within it. I think that religions serve a valuable purpose and meet a deep need within us, and that societies that tolerate religious dissent in one form or another have IMHO been *more* stable than those that don’t.

What do y’all think?

Evan

Subj: Re:Londo and polytheism
Date: 96-04-07 10:46:53 EDT
From: Kylinn
Posted on: America Online

>>As most of us are now aware … the Vorlons appear not to have any meta-self that they project to the Centauri when they are seen outside of their encounter suits. Londo didn’t “see anything” in TFoN when Kosh rescued Sheridan.<<

Doesn’t necessarily follow. Londo must have been deliberately blocked from seeing
anything, or a simple lack of projection would simply have allowed him to see Kosh’s
true form. Also, Londo’s involvement with the Shadows may be the reason why Kosh
blocked him from seeing _anything_. As you said, we still don’t know what another
Centauri, like Vir, would have seen.

>>For the ball to get rolling, let me say that I think that pluralism is preferred, and that I think there *is* a way to have a single “culture” with multiple “religious beliefs” within it. I think that religions serve a valuable purpose and meet a deep need within us, and that societies that tolerate religious dissent in one form or another have IMHO been *more* stable than those that don’t.<<

Nice idea – I like it. That could also be expanded to cover other nonviolent dissent too,
like speech, etc. The more tolerant society is less rigid, more capable of adapting.
Also, has more variant opinions/skills/outlooks to draw upon in case of trouble.

Look at what Clarke &c. are trying to do on Earth – cut out all dissenting opinions, turn
things into a monolithic structure. Just the opposite of the receiving line at the end of
“Parliment of Dreams”, where it was the very diversity of the human religions that was
celebrated.

Subj: Re:Minbari Lip Service
Date: 96-04-07 13:49:26 EDT
From: JVibber
Posted on: America Online

<< There ARE people – lots of us – who do not get to see each Babylon 5 episode
until SUNDAY. That means that the only polite thing to do is to post SPOILER
warnings on any post about an episode that has aired within the last 7 days. >>

Oops! Sorry about that. I had debated about the issue of spoiler warnings on that post, and see that I chose wrong.

<< If there were a substantial number of British fans here, as there are on the newsgroup,
it would not yet be safe to post any messages about any 3rd season episodes. >>

As regards British fans, I can’t tell you how many there are on this newsgroup. But I think that if you argued that way, we could effectively justify shutting down the entire B5 board until the entire series had finished airing.

Meanwhile, does ANYBODY else have any interest in discussing the connections between Babylon 5 and religion, or does everybody but me think that the purpose of this folder is to discuss the pros and cons of Christianity vs. science?
Subj: Re:Minbari Lip Service
Date: 96-04-07 19:34:34 EDT
From: YaxPac
Posted on: America Online

Vib,

<<Meanwhile, does ANYBODY else have any interest in discussing the connections between Babylon 5 and religion, or does everybody but me think that the purpose of this folder is to discuss the pros and cons of Christianity vs. science?>>

Had you read the two posts before yours when you said this? Or was my attempt to change the conversation so pathetic that it warranted a Johnnie Cochran-like “No comment” response?

Let me know.

Evan

Subj: Delenn and the Grey Council
Date: 96-04-07 22:54:31 EDT
From: YaxPac
Posted on: America Online

spoiler for SD
*
*
*
*
*
*
*

I haven’t read Revelation in a while, but Delenn’s speech to the Grey Council sounded so much like my memory of the council to the church of Laodicea (sp?) that I wondered if any of our biblical scholars on line had noted a similarity as well. There is some reflection in this in Maj. Ryan’s description of the Earth response to martial law.

Evan
Subj: Mythological Archetypes
Date: 96-04-08 00:28:02 EDT
From: RedQueen5
Posted on: America Online

Well said JVibber and Yax, time to move on to more appropriate topics. Since this is the “B5 and Religion” folder (or how about the “B5 and Myths” Folder), I thought you all my appreciate this repost of some comments Jms recently made regarding the mythological underpinnings of the B5 Universe.

<<Subject: Nature of Army of Light
Fm: J. Michael Straczynski 71016,1644

Well, if you’re going to look at heroic epics, sure, the Arthurian story is
a classic…but the earliest and best of these remain the Illiad and the
Odyssey. Homer was definitely hitting all cylinders with that.

If there’s an aspect that informed B5’s development, it’s the arc of that
heroic epic, which if you look at it dispassionately, is as much about the
people *around* the hero as the hero himself. And all too often, the hero
achieves the goal, but falls or falters or is changed by the end of it.
Much of what passes for contemporary “heroic epic” assumes that it means
the Good Guys Win. Heroic here as a term goes back to its much earlier
origins, a “heroic effort” is something that takes everything you have,
against terrible or impossible odds.

Yes, you achieve the goal…but you fall in battle in the fields of Troy.
Yes, you create Camelot, but in the end you are destroyed and Camelot
falls. There’s tragedy and mistakes side by side with the glory and the
gains. The accounts of Arthur’s meeting with Mordred at Camlan field, and
how the final battle began is classic ironic drama, a tragedy of great
proportions…and an aspect of that fed directly into the development of
the B5 backstory, as you’ll learn later this season.

Histories are written about the soldiers who won their battles; but songs
are sung about the soldiers who fell in battle struggling for a greater
cause. What inspires us is the unfinished work, the dream of picking up
the fallen standard and taking it ten more feet up the hill, knowing that
even if you fall, the next man in line will take it another ten feet,
until finally the hill is taken. Humans are constantly throwing their
lives away on causes logic tells us are hopeless…but which in time
become real for that reason.

It’s a dangerous romance with myth, heroism, and death. On the one hand,
it inspires an Arthur…on another, it inspires a car bomber to blow
himself and 27 bystanders to bits en route to an appointment with Allah.

What makes the heroic epic work is that it taps into all the myths and
archetypes that have been with us for all of recorded history, and much of
its oral history. Where B5 gets into this area is in trying to look at the
kinds of myths and epics that have gone before, and finding not the
specifics, but the themes which are universal, the *sense* and the feel of
it, which are intangible, and which is what makes doing an epic so hard.
Either you feel the structure, or you don’t; if you try to hammer it down
into a formula, a step-by-step process, it turns to quicksilver in your
hands and slips away. You have to take it all in, then listen to the inner
voice and write accordingly.

I remember a stanza from a poem I read a long time ago; “Love will die if
held too tightly; love will fly if held too lightly; lightly, tightly, how
do I know, whether I’m holding or letting love go?” This kind of fiction
operates on the same basis. Substitute the word epic or story for love,
and the logic holds.

So the epic hero or story can’t be a *model*, to use your phrase; it can
only be an inspiration for what has gone before…an echo in the back of
your mind that whispers and guides you through all the dark places.
jms >>

I must say that I’m really interested in exploring this further. Comparing B5 to the Illiad, or Star Wars for instance, and breaking it down from there … who is the hero, what does it mean to be heroic, and what of the heroes companions?

Red

Subj: Re:Minbari Lip Service
Date: 96-04-08 15:56:29 EDT
From: Kylinn
Posted on: America Online

>Oops! Sorry about that. I had debated about the issue of spoiler warnings on that post, and >see that I chose wrong.

<< If there were a substantial number of British fans here, as there are on the newsgroup,
it would not yet be safe to post any messages about any 3rd season episodes. >>

>As regards British fans, I can’t tell you how many there are on this newsgroup. But I think that if >you argued that way, we could effectively justify shutting down the entire B5 board until the >entire series had finished airing.

Sorry; what I meant was that it wouldn’t be safe to post anything about the 3rd season
that wasn’t protected by spoiler warnings. Not that it couldn’t be discussed at all.
Subj: Re:Londo and polytheism
Date: 96-04-08 23:25:32 EDT
From: YaxPac
Posted on: America Online

Kylinn,

You mentioned that <<Londo must have been deliberately blocked from seeing anything, or a simple lack of projection would simply have allowed him to see Kosh’s true form. Also, Londo’s involvement with the Shadows may be the reason why Kosh blocked him from seeing _anything_. As you said, we still don’t know what another Centauri, like Vir, would have seen.>>

What I wonder is why none of the Centauri that were there made any comment though. Lots of them would have been there to hear Sheridan apologize for his attack on their government’s ship. So they obviously would have been either able to see something or they wouldn’t. Of course, you are right that we only have Londo’s reaction to compare. I think there *is* something to the idea that polytheism with familial deities would not lend itself as easily to the kind of pan-religious hegemony that the Vorlons appear to have created on several of the other worlds.

As regards tolerance and open societies … since we both agree, I’ve gotta say “Way to go Kylinn!”

Evan
===================================================================
When liberty is mentioned, we must always be careful to observe whether it is not really the assertion of private interests which is thereby designated.
Georg Hegel (1770-1831), German philosopher

 

Subj: Centauri Polytheism?
Date: 96-04-09 14:14:43 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

AS it regard to why Londo saw nothing of Kosh, I wonder if what the Centauri have can be thought of as polytheism. Could it in fact be more of a “nontheism”? Both of the other two “big” races(the Minbari and the Narn) have shown off their religions, and their theism(though with the Minbari it’s a little odd…).

When the Centauri showed-off their “religious ceremony”, it was in fact a feast celebrating the conflict with the other intelligent species on Centauri Prime. There was, in fact, very little “religion” about it, and more about simply counted how many were left alive at the end of the year.

Could it be that the Vorlons simply never had a nice mythology to latch onto in the Centauri? With no angels(Or G’lan/G’quon/Droshala-types), how would the Vorlons manipulate them? Could this be why the Shadows found them easy to latch onto?

Subj: Re:Londo and polytheism
Date: 96-04-09 23:18:41 EDT
From: JVibber
Posted on: America Online

<< Had you read the two posts before yours when you said this? Or was my attempt to change the conversation so pathetic that it warranted a Johnnie Cochran-like “No comment” response? >>

Actually, no, I DIDN’T see the two posts you mention. Near as I can tell, the “Find New” button skipped me right past them! When I logged on today, the first message I saw was my second one followed by yours, YaxPac, asking whether I had seen them. I suddenly have a little disrespect for AOL’s user interface.

<< Is there something “messy” about polytheism that the Vorlons can’t manipulate as easily as they can mono- or oligotheism? >>

I don’t see any particular reason why Londo wouldn’t have seen an image of his favorite personal god (or whatever) — which I think is represented by the hermaphroditic statue we always see in his quarters. Especially if Kosh is “reading” his onlookers and then projecting what they would perceive as an “angelic” presence, it really wouldn’t matter whether the religion was monotheistic or pantheistic. The only main reason I would expect this to fall down would be if the only religious image available represented too powerful an entity for the onlooker to believe in. For example, if the ONLY religious image Kosh could send a human was Yahweh — because the individual believed in only one, most powerful being — it might not be possible to convince the onlooker that God the Almighty was right there in front of him. If, on the other hand, it was sufficient to return an image of an angel, the Virgin Mary, G’Lann, or Betty Crocker (a demi-goddes and cultural icon in her own right), that might be more believable.
Subj: Re:Mythological Archetypes
Date: 96-04-09 23:25:21 EDT
From: JVibber
Posted on: America Online

<< Comparing B5 to the Illiad, or Star Wars for instance, and breaking it down from there … who is the hero, what does it mean to be heroic, and what of the heroes companions? >>

Star Wars makes an interesting choice. Most of us SF fans know the Star Wars saga from its beginning (i.e. Episode 4) with “Star Wars, A New Hope”, which introduces the series with the classic heroes Luke Skywalker and Han Solo. (And, of course, the Princess, Chewbacca, Ginger, MaryAnn, and the Howells). So most of us see either Han Solo or Luke Skywalker (yea!) as the hero of the series.

I have a few friends whose first experience with Star Wars was with “Return of the Jedi”, and they have an interesting interpretation of who the hero is — Anakin Skywalker! They see him as a tragic hero gone wrong, who redeems himself at the very end of the story — somewhat like Siegfried in the “Ring of the Niebelung.”

It will be interesting to see whether Sheridan follows the Luke or the Anakin mold, whether he’s more like Han Solo or like Arthur Pendragon (and who, may I ask, can we compare to Morgan Le Fay?).
Subj: Empty Shares & Empty Folders
Date: 96-04-15 00:16:25 EDT
From: JVibber
Posted on: America Online

I wandered around the great cathedral in space. It appeared to be deserted, and I seemed to be the only one who had been there for a long time. My footsteps echoed past the pews, up to the stained glass windows, through which streamed the cold light of space made warm by the rosy panes of some artist’s religious ecstasy.

“Hello!” I called.

“Hello! Hello! ‘Ello! ‘Lo!” came back my own voice.
Subj: Polytheism vs. Monotheism
Date: 96-04-15 00:25:18 EDT
From: JVibber
Posted on: America Online

YaxPac, you asked the question whether monotheism was somehow more “stable” than polytheism. A good question, and I’m not sure it’s ever been answered on this planet. At the risk of engendering another “flame war,” I want to make the following suggestion. That on Earth, we tend to go in cycles of monotheism and polytheism, and that during our more monotheistic stages, we still have a polytheistic culture: essentially one “big” god and lots of “little” gods.

An example that I know a LOT of people will disagree with is the saints in the Christian (particularly Catholic) churches. Yeah, I know that nobody THINKS of them as gods. If anything, they come from a tradition that is more akin to the feudal system. If you need a favor from the King, it helps to have the ear of one of his courtiers. Similarly, if you need help from God, it helps to be on good terms with one or more of his “favored” buddies — the Saints. But, interestingly enough, many of the saints seem to have gravitated to roles that previously were held by “gods” in the previous pantheistic culture of Rome. For example, St. Christopher is the patron saint of travelers — much as Mercury was the patron *god* of travelers. The Virgin Mary is very much a “universal mother” figure for people around the world. As I said, I know that nobody thinks of them as gods, but they function in peoples’ belief systems in much the same way.

So if you want to know whether the idea of one god or the idea of many gods is the more stable, I would have to suggest that, on Earth at least, the “big God, little gods” culture is the kind we see more of. Whether that makes it stable is another question.
Subj: Re:Polytheism vs. Monotheism
Date: 96-04-15 21:11:22 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

Ah, it’s ggod to be back.

I agree with you, JVibber, about the cycles of poly-monotheism(Hey, I’ve got a Catholic girlfriend, and I’m a student of the Roman Republic, and the way JVibber put it sounds alot like the way I thought it out).

But, as for one being more “stable” than the other? We need to define stability. Judeism(sp?), which is definitely monotheistic(though for a long while they did accept the existance of other gods) has been around for millenia, though saint-less Christianity only lasted for a few centuries(not counting the current saint-less sects, which actually do count). Islam has lasted for as long as Hinduism, which is quite polytheistic.

Many of the “old” polytheisms didn’t die from religious instability but more from the death and conqeust of their peoples. The Persian Gods died under the bootheel of Islam, just as the Great Mother and Horned God of the British Celts died under the spread of Christianity.

Subj: Re:Polytheism vs. Monotheism
Date: 96-04-15 23:10:42 EDT
From: YaxPac
Posted on: America Online

Guys!

Thought it was gonna be a long, hot summer! Good to see there’s still some life in the old folder.

What I meant by “stability” was that such a society was capable of modifying its structures and systems of belief without scrapping them entirely over a long period of time. I would argue that Xianity has done this (well, most of it anyway) in relation to the facts of science. Most Xians I know don’t worry too much that the Bible has the sun stopping for an hour so that the Hebrews can kill some more Canaanites for an hour, they think that it’s allegory or hyperbole, and it doesn’t change the substance of their belief in a risen Christ who substitutes for their sins. Whether Xianity is monotheistic … more open to debate.

On the other hand polytheisms seem locked into the particulars of a given time and place. Most moderns don’t really desire a god of crops, or fertility, or health … since science occupies the part of our existence that is taken up with those kinds of things. Then again, maybe MD’s are our current “gods of fertility and health.”

Sorry, rambling. Got too little sleep last night.

Good 2 C ya all again!

Evan

Subj: Re:Polytheism vs. Monotheism
Date: 96-04-15 23:18:56 EDT
From: JVibber
Posted on: America Online

<< On the other hand polytheisms seem locked into the particulars of a given time and place. Most moderns don’t really desire a god of crops, or fertility, or health … since science occupies the part of our existence that is taken up with those kinds of things. Then again, maybe MD’s are our current “gods of fertility and health.” >>

There are a couple of other areas where modern equivalents may be substituting for a polytheistic society.

1. How about them Aliens? That is, the position that aliens occupy in most UFO-fancier’s world view seems VERY similar to a belief in “little gods” — or even “big gods.” The idea that extraterrestrials are going to “save us from ourselves” is a lot like a redemption myth, and the idea that the aliens are behind everything from helping the Egyptians build pyramids to actually designing terran lifeforms is a lot like a creation myth.

2. Belief in our “institutions.” The position held by “Mom, Apple Pie, and the Flag” has DEEP religious undertones. People invoke the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence as documents that established the only right and good way to live — even if they have absolutely NO idea what ideas are contained in those documents. Again, this seems a lot like the “little gods” aspect of a modern polytheism.
Subj: Re:Mono vs. polytheism & Mom
Date: 96-04-17 19:54:26 EDT
From: YaxPac
Posted on: America Online

Jvib,

Gotta agree with you about UFO’s and the constitution. Maybe the Narn and the Centauri are our “little gods” with the Shadows and Vorlons as the “big ones.”

But MOM? Mom is very real to me. She used to beat me up when I was bad a lot more than any UFO or TeeVee show ever did. Nope. She’s real.

Evan

Subj: Lead Balloon
Date: 96-04-20 13:45:04 EDT
From: JVibber
Posted on: America Online

Well, that went over like a proverbial lead balloon.

I’m convinced that the problem is the bad reputation this folder has gotten for flame wars and the whole Christianity vs. Science runaround. I’m going to see if I can start another folder, such as Babylon 5 Mythology or Babylon 5 Legends, and see if we can get a discussion going!

Subj: Folder List Is Full
Date: 96-04-20 13:54:46 EDT
From: JVibber
Posted on: America Online

Well, so much for that idea — for the present at least. The list of folders is full, because we have a couple of folders on ships, an entire folder devoted to Za’Ha’Dum (which would have been a very appropriate topic for a folder on Babylon 5 Legends), and lots of duplicate topics all over the place. I guess I’ll have to wait awhile.

Subj: Re:Lead Balloon
Date: 96-04-20 23:21:08 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

Well, I tried responding and posting a few opinions of my own, but no one answered. I guess, since all the Christians left(except the few and the proud), there are about four of us left in the Universe who read this folder. Crying shame…

Subj: Re:Lead Balloon
Date: 96-04-21 13:01:01 EDT
From: JVibber
Posted on: America Online

<< I guess … there are about four of us left in the Universe who read this folder. Crying shame…>>

Seems that way. What’s frustrating is that all over the board are people talking about Londo’s dreams, Vorlon manipulation, Minbari and Centauri prophecies — all the stuff we can’t get a discussion going about in this folder!

Subj: Re:Lead Balloon
Date: 96-04-21 18:41:02 EDT
From: Songokuten
Posted on: America Online

I think the only thing that kept this folder going was the Great Christians-Heathens Flame War. Now that the bloodshed has stopped, no one cares. (I would be posting more often myself, but hey, who wants to read the crap that comes out of my mind….)

Subj: Re:Fallacies, Creation, etc.
Date: 96-04-21 21:36:57 EDT
From: RPillow
Posted on: America Online

Songokuten,

I’ve been gone for over a month and I see that you have managed to keep everyone on this board squarely on your back. Do you enjoy having people attack your ideas? I just read your post about not being able to *prove* the existence of God. Ya see, that’s why we Christians (and all other religions) have this little thing called *FAITH.* As I stated before, if the work of God could be comprehended by reason, it would no longer be wonderful.
In any case, I am here to save your butt. Isn’t it nice to know that there’s at least one person on these message boards who isn’t totally against you? It’s time for me to drop the bomb of Truth on you. Keep your eyes open all through the remainder of the folders.

RPillow

Subj: Re:Fallacies, Creation, etc
Date: 96-04-21 21:40:12 EDT
From: RPillow
Posted on: America Online

Songokuten,

Like the Bible says, God is a jealous God.

RPillow

Subj: Re:Fallacies, Creation, etc.
Date: 96-04-22 07:57:05 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

RPillow;
Do you mean comprehended in any way, shape, or form by reason, or comprehended fully by reason?

Subj: Re:Fallacies, Creation, etc.
Date: 96-04-22 20:58:16 EDT
From: Songokuten
Posted on: America Online

Uh… You should probably catch up off line by logging (too late?)…

Subj: Re:Fallacies, Creation, etc.
Date: 96-04-24 17:06:40 EDT
From: RPillow
Posted on: America Online

Martycos,

I mean both. Yes, there are some things that God does that *seem* to be able to be comprehended by reason, but God is a being beyond reason, and therefore cannot be comprehended in such a way. I don’t think I can explain it to you in a way you can fully understand with words. Too bad we haven’t evolved to the point where we can communicate with each other telepathically…………..*yet.*

RPillow

Subj: Re:Fallacies, Creation, etc.
Date: 96-04-24 20:30:43 EDT
From: YaxPac
Posted on: America Online

RPillow,

You said <<I mean both. Yes, there are some things that God does that *seem* to be able to be comprehended by reason, but God is a being beyond reason, and therefore cannot be comprehended in such a way. I don’t think I can explain it to you in a way you can fully understand with words. Too bad we haven’t evolved to the point where we can communicate with each other telepathically…………..*yet.*>>

“Go for it man!” he said, stepping aside to watch the sparks fly as yet another debate over the external validity of words begins.

Subj: Folders and such
Date: 96-04-25 13:40:14 EDT
From: C12kyd
Posted on: America Online

Well I’m new to this area tho I have been enjoying B5 for several years ! ! (except of late, forgive my ignorance on new episodes … I have this thing called ..roommates who don’t know how to watch tv while I am recording 😛 )

Anyway … To me it is perfectly clear that the whole book is based upon good versus evil and isn’t that what life is all about anyway??? Didn’t we see the greatest hits on the movie market make it because good *always* prevails over evil ! ! (and I think Lando saw something but was afraid to speak of it not because of some veil that was over his eyes ! ! )

Lucifer against God… question is..
Whose army do you side for…
in this space war! ! !

Subj: Re:Fallacies, Creation, etc.
Date: 96-04-26 17:51:46 EDT
From: SueBury
Posted on: America Online

um,mr.RPillow,you said something like,”if the work of god could be comprehended ,it would not be as wonderful.”well,it might not be as great,but we might be able to help him get together his grand scheme or whatever faster,if we knew what he wanted to do. um,please excuse punctuation,etc, but im recovering from a broken arm, and being in a full-arm cast for 7 weeks does things to your typing skills.

 

Subj: Re:Folders and such
Date: 96-04-26 23:04:16 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

C12kyd:
I couldn’t agree with you more. But for some reasons some B5 fans think that too passe. Go figure.

Subj: Re:Fallacies, Creation, etc.
Date: 96-04-26 23:05:41 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

RPillow:
I would like to hear more about your God and reason hypothesis. It seems so incomplete as you’ve posted thus far.

Subj: Re:Folders and such
Date: 96-04-28 05:28:58 EDT
From: C12kyd
Posted on: America Online

why does God have to *seem* so complex? Are we so bored that we have to create situations that are clear to us if we only would open our eyes both physically and spiritually? Look at Lando as a perfect example of making life *way* to complicated when it should not be ! !

Hey God likes us to think but to try and outguess him ? ! ? ! *Not*

Subj: off to sunday school
Date: 96-04-28 20:16:02 EDT
From: HubertL905
Posted on: America Online

Getting “Passing thru Gesthemane” ready for my adult sunday school class next week…..not much one can cut to get enough time for comment!

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-04-28 21:07:45 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

HubertL905:
Maybe not-but the episode’s worth the time!

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-04-28 22:24:42 EDT
From: STUKEINNH
Posted on: America Online

I agree – this episode artfully addressed the inherent difficulties of forgiveness, both towards other moral agents and towards the self. It did a remarkable job of exploring the moral frailty of being human. Gabriel Marcel once wrote that forgiveness is illusion – after watching this episode I hope that he was wrong.

This episode has to be mentioned in any viewer’s top five episodes list.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-04-29 11:57:29 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

Top Five? I’d say Top One. But I realize there’s some awful close calls to make.
Actually, I can’t see how JMS is a true athiest or agnostic or whatever and do such an episode. There’s too much God in it.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-04-30 09:02:29 EDT
From: HubertL905
Posted on: America Online

reviewing the show, I only found two or three spots that could be cut…the whole show is THAT tight!

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-04-30 13:44:47 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>Actually, I can’t see how JMS is a true athiest or agnostic or whatever and do such an episode. There’s too much God in it.<<

I kinda find this comment almost insulting.
Anyway, there was much less God in it then there was Faith. And Faith is a personal thing, not something learned in catechism.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-04-30 19:43:34 EDT
From: KBates3918
Posted on: America Online

I don’t find it hard to believe that JMS is an atheist. He has stated that when one thinks this is the only shot at life, that life becomes that much more precious. (this was somewhere in the lurker’s guide episode list comments) If we focus on this life as the only one, it doesn’t preclude examinig the mysteries of life that many religious traditions deal with. We can still be in awe at the universe, still be in awe of the incredible potential of the human mind, of the role of humanity in this wondrous universe, still ponder the nature of self-reflexive consciousness, still celebrate the turning of the seasons and the grace of human compassion, still be horrified at evil, etc. NONE of that depends on a belief in a transcendent deity. The only reason people seem to think that these topics are indicative of deity is that our culture is so ingrained in thinking that the universe is animated and directed by something outside of it. All we really know is that we are here now, no matter what we believe. To me that indicates that we should push the borders and potential of our experiences in the here and now. I happen to buy into the idea that the earth, as a self organizing system, in a much larger self organizing system, is experimenting with self reflexive consciousness as a way to appreciate itself. But self awareness brings with it the potential for changing the nature of things, for trying to go beyond its role in appreciating life to controlling life, hence evil. That doesn’t lead me towards mooning over some future life……..which brings me back to JMS dealing with others’ religious/spiritual belief systems. Why not?

KB

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-01 12:55:03 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

KBates3918:

You comments are quite interesting. At the risk of re-opening a can of worms, I’ll comment.

<<We can still be in awe of the universe…be horrified at evil, etc.>>
<<NONE of that depends on a transcendent deity.>>
And what difference does ANY of that make if we live until we die and that’s that? It’s where JMS, quite frankly, is wrong. If we’ve only got one such shot at life, life is meaningless. What’s the point of my being considerate and awestruck if it doesn’t matter in fifty years that I was even here? Why should anyone care about me, or I of them, now or in the future?

<<Al we really know is the here and now, no matter what we believe>>
Not true. I know I’m going to die, and you knew people would read your message, and neither item is truly ” here and now”. The purely here and now is unknowable because we course through Time. The purely here and now organism wouldn”t know enough of itself to realize it was <<only>> here and now.

<<(the universe) is experimenting with self-reflective conciousness as the way to appreciate itself.>>
Really? How does it know this? In its own way and on its own terms? Sounds like a God to me. Which makes it somehow outside of itself or into a God, which you don’t see as necessary.

Marty
Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-01 12:55:41 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

HFMoon:
No insult at all. Faith is nonsense if there isn’t in fact a God. A sense of the eternal has no basis without a God. Therefore, as evidenced by the show, I’m willing to argue that JMS is not actually an atheist. There’s to much God showing through.

Marty

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-01 22:03:13 EDT
From: KBates3918
Posted on: America Online

Martycos:

You’re correct about the time thang, but my point was that compared to those philosophies that focus on the afterlife, THIS life is pretty full of mystery and awe inspiring events.
<<And what difference does ANY of that make if we live until we die and that’s that? It’s where JMS, quite frankly, is wrong. If we’ve only got one such shot at life, life is meaningless. What’s the point of my being considerate and awestruck if it doesn’t matter in fifty years that I was even here? Why should anyone care about me, or I of them, now or in the future?>>

As far as this life is meaningless because we won’t be here now attitude, my response is that if one chooses to live life without pushing the limits of consciousness and enjoying the universe, then perhaps self reflexive consciousness IS a failed experiment/accident after all. But somehow I doubt it. If one needs a deity in order to be good and appreciate life, then we are in a sorry condition after all. Personally, i believe that deity animates the universe, but I can see how JMS can play with these ideas without that belief.

SORRY IF I OPENED UP AN OLD CAN OF WORMS – I am relatively newto this discussion…..

Kim

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-01 22:53:54 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

KBates3918:

<<As far as this life is meaningless because we won’t be here now attitude, my respomse is that if one chooses to live life without pushing the limits of consciousness…>>
But my question is, what’s the inspiration for a reflective attitude if nothing is to come of it? So I push the limits of my consciousness…and die and that’s it. Kinda makes life go thud,IMHO.

<<If one needs a deity in order to be good and appreciate life, then we are in a sorry condition after all.>>
I sometimes think we’re in a sorry condition after all. That’s part of the reason we *need* the deity. Too many folks aren’t good or properly appreciative of life in all its manifestations. Here may be an interesting question: are we being reflective if we don’t consider the possibility of a deity?

<<SORRY IF I OPENED UP AN OLD CAN OF WORMS->>
No, I’m the one who’s sorry. On reflection <<cough>> I don’t believe I worded myself the best way. We have discussed some of this on the board, but for me anyway newcomers and new concepts are welcome for further talk. If I made it sound like that isn’t what I want, I’m terribly sorry. Post on, on whatever suits you.

Could you explain to me how the deity animates the universe? Is it conscious or not? Does it influence our behavior or just let us go it alone? I’m just asking.

Marty

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-02 01:14:36 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>><<We can still be in awe of the universe…be horrified at evil, etc.>>
<<NONE of that depends on a transcendent deity.>>
And what difference does ANY of that make if we live until we die and that’s that? It’s where JMS, quite frankly, is wrong. If we’ve only got one such shot at life, life is meaningless. What’s the point of my being considerate and awestruck if it doesn’t matter in fifty years that I was even here?<<
So I guess the fact that it means something RIGHT NOW(that’s including the immediate future and past, you silly wittle exestentialist, you!) has no bearing?

Should I only do nice things and be generally nice because, “in the future, it will matter”?

Why can’t I do these things for the good feelings they give me and my fellows right now?

Even if we do only get one chance at life, why should that mean it has no meaning? This makes no sense. It speaks to me of the ideal, “Since no one’s going to give me credit for being a nice guy, I wont be a nice guy”

If you have a chance to save a wild deer out in the woods, but you know you’re going to die before you reach civilization, should you just let the deer die because you won’t get “credit”?

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-02 01:22:26 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>HFMoon:
No insult at all. Faith is nonsense if there isn’t in fact a God.<<

It seems to all come back to the “Proof denies faith” argument.

Faith is meaningless without a God. And yet, without any definitive proof of a God, millions still ahve faith.

If it turns out that there isn’t a God, did all these people make fools of themselves? Are you a Fool?
Whoa, off the subject.

Here, in the real world, there may or may not be a God(I’m not going to get into this debate again, as no one ever seems to understand my view on the point), yet, there are people with a very strong sense of Faith.

If jms were to say something to the effect of, “I don’t believe in God, so therefore none of the characters in my universe will REALLY believe in God.” he would be doing us, his fans, a great disservice. He would, instead of creating a world like our own, with people of the Christian faith, the Muslim Faith, Agnostics, Atheists, and all the rest, be creating a world filled with bad imitations of Joseph Michael Strazynsky. Needless to say, he’s done an excelent job of making a living, breathing world.

Real writers know how to create characters with different beliefs than themselves.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-02 01:24:32 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>So I push the limits of my consciousness…and die and that’s it. Kinda makes life go thud,IMHO.<<

Jezz, you’re making some really wild assumptions here, aren’t you?

Why are you so constrained by the need to know what comes next? I have no idea what happens after we die. I’ve heard a hundred different stories, and only a few of them come anywhere close to being somewhat similar.

I realize the unknown is scary, but so’s riding a bike without the training wheels.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-02 12:42:35 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

<<Proof denies Faith.>>
Nope. Proof affirms Faith. And there are definitive proofs of the existence of God. I posted them months ago; you must have seen them, Moon.

<<If it turns out there isn’t a God did all these people ( of Faith ) make fools of themselves? Are you a Fool?>>
Well, at the very best they’ve merely wasted their time.
Am I a Fool? Dunno. Ask my wife; no, don’t;) No, I’m not. Because there is a God. Your point about real writers is quite right, but as to JMS, I just don’t see how his writing could be so profound without God speaking through or with him somehow.

<<Whoa, off the subject.>>
Nice try there, guy. But I ain’t a lettin’ ya git away with it. You get your say, I get mine.

Marty
Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-02 12:42:59 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

<<Why are you so constrained by the need to know what comes next?>>
Because it is imperative to our moral health. If I’m born then live then die and that’s it, there’s nothing to live for. At the least many depraved people will interpret it that way, and live any way they want. The only possible result is anarchy.

Marty

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-02 12:43:20 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

<<Why can’t I do nice things and be generally nice for the good feelings they give me and my fellows right now?>>
You can, of course. But such doesn’t address whether said feelings have meaning or not, except in the proximate sense. That’s not much of an inspiration, because in the next proximate instance you may feel different, let alone how you’d feel in fifty years.

<<Should I only do nice things and be generally nice because in the future it will matter?>>
Partly, quite honestly, yes. But also because it matters now. The two do run together, and I hope I haven’t put a wall between them.

But really, how do you know your feelings are good? Why save a deer unless you’re presupposing that saving the animal is good? Who says the feelings are good? You? Well, I can justify my acts too, when I’m the sole judge of their value. What can such thought mean? Only that a relative non-entity decided he liked what he did, nothing more. Do you want to be that isolated from full reality? God tells us, if we listen, when we’re right or our feelings proper. The spirit of the moment is only that: how we feel, accidently, at this time. That’s, at the very best, merely inocuous. At worst, a living Hell.

Finally, this isn’t about getting credit, but about the point/pointlessness of human action. If we only have the here and now any action is ultimately pointless, for the above reasons.

Marty

 

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-02 20:42:33 EDT
From: YaxPac
Posted on: America Online

Marty,

Heaven forbid that we venture back into the wilds of your proof for the existence of God, but with your recent postings about life’s essentially nihilistic character without Him, let me ask you this:

If you have a toothache, and it is hurting you really badly *NOW*. Do you not worry about it because you know that in a few weeks you will go to the dentist and he will take care of it?

If you are doing something intensely pleasurable (I leave it up to you to imagine what) do you find it completely uninteresting because you *know* that the sensation will eventually end and you will be back to your baseline level of physical pleasure?

When you are hungry on the road, do you ignore it because you know that eventually you will get to your destination and then you can eat, thus abolishing the sensation of hunger?

Let me know,

Evan

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-02 20:44:13 EDT
From: HubertL905
Posted on: America Online

Interesting back and forth…I can only hope the middle-agers I present the show to at church will get into as interesting a discussion! BTW, I think I’m really a foundationist…….

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-03 17:16:30 EDT
From: KBates3918
Posted on: America Online

Marty,

I have to agree with YaxPac, there are some things we may do because it’s in our nature. We don’t need to justify living a fulfilling life and enjoying this beautiful universe with the thought that something comes after we die. We can enjoy it, celebrate it, reel from the pain of it, without reference to the future. In fact, we could define deity as the energizing source of the universe, without reference to a personal deity, or spirituality as the inner nature of the univers accessible through meditation or ecstatic states of consciousness, and so be “spiritual” or “religious” without reference to live after death. I am not trying to say that such a view of reality is better than the view that only a personal god who promises life after death (or many lives after each death). I am just saying it is possible to have a deep understanding of spirituality without necessarily believing in a god who promises such things.

I think the thought provoking pieces on B5 demonstrate that JMS has such an understanding of these issues. I suspect that he and I differ substantially in our personal belief systems, but I still honor him for bringing these issues to the airwaves in such a meaningful fashion. If only there were more thought provoking shows out there!!! Or maybe I should say that I hope b5’s successs inspires more thought provoking shows….

Anyway I think we should agree to disagree, although I certainly enjoy any excuse to bore you with my opinions.

HubertL… I hope your class comes up with some interesting stuff, although I hope they don’t get too polarized, just as I hope this folder doesn’t get too polarized….

Kim

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-03 19:43:00 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>And there are definitive proofs of the existence of God. I posted them months ago; you must have seen them, Moon.<<

Yes, I saw them, and they were all very open to very wide interpretations.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-03 19:44:19 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>Your point about real writers is quite right, but as to JMS, I just don’t see how his writing could be so profound without God speaking through or with him somehow.<<

Funny, I can see how he would be able to use his talent without God’s help. I’ve been seeing him do so for the last three years…

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-03 19:49:00 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>If I’m born then live then die and that’s it, there’s nothing to live for. At the least many depraved people will interpret it that way, and live any way they want. The only possible result is anarchy.

Marty<<

Why assume that there is nothing? That’s my point. You don’t seem to want to try assuming that you don’t know whats next.

And what about the people who won’t cause anarchy? What about the people who are completely secure with the idea of not having all the answers?

Could it be that you are agreeing with what I’ve been saying since this board started up? That no one set of beliefs will work for every single person in the world?!? Are we actually agreeing?!?!?

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-03 22:58:21 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

Yax,

I do not contend that the here and now doesn’t matter at all, and I said so in a post 5/2. I do however argue that it doesn’t matter outside of an eternal context. Even your examples serve this truth analogically. I can tolerate my hunger and my toothache because, in knowing more than the here and now, I know they’ll be relieved. I know pleasure can recur for much the same reason ( oh that word! ).But if all you know, literally, is the here and now, then your hunger or toothache will likely drive you crazy as you won’t know, in fact could not know, if they would ever be ended.

So my conclusion? As experience teaches us of continuity on this earth, there is continuity into eternity. All is tied into all, hand in hand with no one hand hanging limp as would be the case without eternity, and everything matters. And don’t try to say my premise is only MY premise. We all experience and accept the reality of time. Anyone who says they don’y is a fool or a liar.

Marty

 

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-03 23:19:33 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

Kim,

<<Anyway I think we should agree to disagree, although I certainly enjoy any excuse to bore you with my opinions.>>
A good discussion is never boring. Post anytime you like and see what happens: you’ll get a good talk more often than not, I think. Agree to disagree? Yes, probably. But why let that get in the way of the fun?

<<I hope this folder doesn’t get too polarized.>>
Actually, it already is. But that’s better than a mamby-pamby we’re all right in our own way situation, IMHO.

I have to say, Kim, that I don’t understand your point about being spiritual without an eternal Spirit. Perhaps my last post would explain why I don’t believe such is possible.

BTW, I agree completely that JMS’ writing is meaningful and thought provoking. It’s what makes the show soooooo good. The only one I watch regularly on network TV.

Marty.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-03 23:19:52 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

HubertL905:

Good luck with sunday school. Perhaps some of these postings would help kick off discussion, too? Forgive my little bit of arrogance; I’d like to know how things went (go?).

Marty.
Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-03 23:20:07 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

HFMoon:

<<Why assume there is nothing?>>
I’m not. I thought you were. If I mistook that, my apologies.

<<And what about the people who won’t cause anarchy?>>
What about them? They’d be no more justified than the anarchists. Indeed the latter would be more likely to win. Undiscipline is easier to attain and maintain than discipline. Besides, my point is that no one would be justified, not that any one group would be, in a world of the shallow here and now doctrine.

<<You don’t seem to want to try assuming that you don’t know what’s next.>>
I don’t have to. I know what’s next, at least basically. It would be absurd of me to try otherwise.

<<Could it be that you are agreeing with what I’ve been saying since this board started up?>>
Wow, Moon, that’s a pretty big jump based on what I’ve posted. No, I don’t think we agree on this, unless I’ve missed something in your interpretation.

Marty

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-04 01:16:11 EDT
From: YaxPac
Posted on: America Online

Marty,

<sigh>

<<I do not contend that the here and now doesn’t matter at all, and I said so in a post 5/2. I do however argue that it doesn’t matter outside of an eternal context. Even your examples serve this truth analogically. I can tolerate my hunger and my toothache because, in knowing more than the here and now, I know they’ll be relieved.>>

I’m asking you if you don’t go to the dentist or don’t eat … not if you can tolerate them. There are pains that *don’t* go away until you’re dead … could you not tolerate those? I’m looking for how you really live your life here Marty, not how you justify what you did afterwards.

<<I know pleasure can recur for much the same reason ( oh that word! ).But if all you know, literally, is the here and now, then your hunger or toothache will likely drive you crazy as you won’t know, in fact could not know, if they would ever be ended.>>

Actually, no. If *all* you know is the here and now … you already are crazy. A danger to yourself and others, unable to make sense of the likely outcomes of your actions. But to extrapolate a limited knowledge of local likelihoods in the near future into certain knowledge of the ultimate outcomes of remote events strikes me as hubris. Pain bad enough will drive you crazy even if you’re positive it will end. Like we say in medicine, all bleeding stops.

<<So my conclusion? As experience teaches us of continuity on this earth, there is continuity into eternity. All is tied into all, hand in hand with no one hand hanging limp as would be the case without eternity, and everything matters. And don’t try to say my premise is only MY premise. We all experience and accept the reality of time. Anyone who says they don’y is a fool or a liar.>>

So my conclusion? The sun goes around the earth. Experience teaches it to me every day. It goes over the land starting in the east in the morning, and setting over the west at night, recharging over the night to resume the next day. We all accept and experience this reality. Anybody who claims to have any other knowledge is a fool or a liar. And don’t try to come at me with some namby pamby physics … I know what I see darn it.

** disclaimer — the above is an ironic attempt to show the faulty syllogism of Marty in a dramatic fashion and not my actual belief **

Unfortunately … sense experience is just a lousy guide to the way things really are. If you think time is such an immutable reality, please review Einstein’s general theory of relativity. Please don’t confuse locally perceivable “truths” with valid and universal theories.

Missed ya man!

Evan

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-04 01:49:17 EDT
From: JVibber
Posted on: America Online

<< But my question is, what’s the inspiration for a reflective attitude if nothing is to come of it? So I push the limits of my consciousness…and die and that’s it. Kinda makes life go thud, IMHO. >>

If you tell someone else about what you have found out and thought, those ideas live on after you. We see this kind of thing all the time on planet Earth: books, poems, philosophies — even religions — continue long after the original authors, poets, philosophers, and preachers have died. It is not necessary for the individual to continue in some “afterlife” for the knowledge and understanding to be able to grow.
Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-04 03:27:40 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

JVibber:

But my point is it doesn’t matter if knowledge grows if there is no eternity. What do I care, what should I care, to contribute to humanity if I fall down go boom and that’s it? I have no reason to care because all would be no better than inocuous.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-04 03:38:41 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

Yax:

Well, I missed ya too, but these posts simply prove KBates is right. Agree to disagree.

Dismissing sense experience is like dismissing self-evidence. You do so at the risk os shooting your philosophy in the foot. You destroy whatever you say you stand for. That’s part of the reason I quit posting. No point to it when we obviously don’t both believe in self-evidence, etc.

I just love how we’re supposed to accept scientific “theories” as fact. But philosophy, which is above science, is dismissed the instant it becomes, as it must, abstract. BTW, Evan, a faulty syllogism does not disprove a true one. Sense experience is a lousy guide? Puhleese! Do you go ’round stickin’ yer hands in fire to see if it’ll burn THIS time?

As to the dentist, etc., I thought I made it obvious by inference I’d use them. Also BTW, it is valid local truths which lead us to universal truths.

Marty

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-04 03:50:28 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

Yax:

One more BTW: Isn’t it possible that new or better understood sense experience lead to disproving the sun goes around the earth? I rather think so. Knowledge went forward because of better understanding of sense data. The first explanations based on such data were merely erroneous.

Just a thought.

Marty

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-04 14:45:52 EDT
From: YaxPac
Posted on: America Online

Marty,

<<I just love how we’re supposed to accept scientific “theories” as fact. But philosophy, which is above science, is dismissed the instant it becomes, as it must, abstract. BTW, Evan, a faulty syllogism does not disprove a true one. Sense experience is a lousy guide? Puhleese! Do you go ’round stickin’ yer hands in fire to see if it’ll burn THIS time?>>

Actually … you aren’t supposed to accept them as fact … if you can come up with something that explains anomalous evidence better, you’re supposed to challenge them, it’s only if you can’t that you should accept them. If you syllogism is true please lay it out in form:

a. We experience time

b. We can imagine eternity

c. Therefore, time goes on into eternity

I’m not saying that’s your syllogism, just giving you the format. Please improvise as you see fit.

BTW … some things burn at low enough temperatures that you *can* stick your hand in them without burning it. Just takes some scientific theory and experiment to figure out which ones :-).

See ya Marty!

Evan

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-04 23:57:17 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>><<Why assume there is nothing?>>
I’m not. I thought you were. If I mistook that, my apologies.<<

It’s been a common misconception. Apology accepted, mein freund

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-05 00:07:18 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>JVibber:

But my point is it doesn’t matter if knowledge grows if there is no eternity. What do I care, what should I care, to contribute to humanity if I fall down go boom and that’s it? I have no reason to care because all would be no better than inocuous.<<
This seems rather selfish if you ask me. It sounds(and please correct me if I’m misinterpreting here) like, “Why should I do ‘A’, if I don’t get to directly benefit from it?”

If Galileo, or Van Gogh, had known that he would be long dead before anyone even gave their life-works the barest thought of the credit they deserved, should they have said, “Well I just won’t do it, then.”
Who gets the benifit from their work? It certainly ain’t them.

It’s us. The rest of the Human race, who benefit.

Shouldn’t we all have celestial balance boards, checking off the good deeds that count, and ignoring those that don’t?
When I do something good, am I wrong for doing it for the good feeling it gives me(and yes, I’m sorry, but a “good feeling” is a personal thing. I’d love to read a concise definition that works for every person on the planet), or should I worry more about if I’ll get credit for it in the “afterlife”?

I rather we teach our kids that good is helping out those around you for the good of them, rather than good is what get’s counted in the afterlife(if there even is one….)

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-05 00:16:20 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>Dismissing sense experience is like dismissing self-evidence.<<

Don’t start this again. When are you going to realize that your opinions, while quite well thought-out and very inteligent, are but opinions?

Sense experience? Can you name one single person that has anything like anysort of experience with what happens after you die? No one!!

We all have experience with the world around us. But Death is one of the only truely, completely unique experience. Once you’ve done it, you’ve done it. And, unfortunately, what stories we do have of over there seem to keep contradicting themselves(even within individual religions!)

My stand-point is, why care? Why waste one’s time worrying about death instead of worrying about life?
Probably because the unknown is scary. Oh well.
Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-05 00:17:52 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>I just love how we’re supposed to accept scientific “theories” as fact. <<

And yet it seems perfectly acceptable to you that we all accept religious “theorie” as fact? Isn’t that a little hypocritical?
Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-05 00:21:50 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>BTW, Evan, a faulty syllogism does not disprove a true one. Sense experience is a lousy guide? Puhleese! Do you go ’round stickin’ yer hands in fire to see if it’ll burn THIS time?<<

What I love is the way you use “sense experience” to explain everything. Just because you know what the fire will do to your hand, does that mean you know what diving underwater for three hours will do to you? Or what going into orbit will do to you?

Part of the problem with what you like to call “sense experience” is that second word, experience. it seems silly to me to use your experience of one set of events to assume what will happen in a completely different set of events.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-05 00:30:51 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>Yax:

One more BTW: Isn’t it possible that new or better understood sense experience lead to disproving the sun goes around the earth? I rather think so. Knowledge went forward because of better understanding of sense data. The first explanations based on such data were merely erroneous.

Just a thought.

Marty<<
And yet you use what trifling amount of experience you have on this single planet to postulate the exact happenings of the afterlife??????????????

Am I going crazy, or are you contradicting yourself here?

I agree with you that if we were to start “experiencing” evidence that the sun was going around the earth, then we might just revise our view of the situation. It’s happened numerous times (especially in the last century).

Ancients assumed Light to be instantaneous. They had little to show other wise. Then evidence began cropping up that light was not instant. The view of the situation was revised. More and more evidence piled up. Soon it could be shown that light was a wave. Based on all that we knew about waves, the idea of the Ether was born, and scientists began designing experiments to either prove or disprove this theory. Michaelson and Morley invented the interferometer, which, though they had not intended it to, showed the non-existance of the Ether. The view was revised.

Want more? I can get into QM if you wish.
See, that’s the way science works. Evidnce is collected, a theory is dreamt up, and the theory is tested. It’s not as many creationists would have you believe, that scientists are out to trick us. Scientists very regularly change their view of the Universe. How many of us can say the same?

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-05 00:46:34 EDT
From: YaxPac
Posted on: America Online

Marty,

<<One more BTW: Isn’t it possible that new or better understood sense experience lead to disproving the sun goes around the earth? I rather think so. Knowledge went forward because of better understanding of sense data. The first explanations based on such data were merely erroneous.>>

Ahh, just my point. Skepticism about what is “self-evident” develops truth. Skepticism about what we now believe to be “unquestionable” will lead to more truth, and improvement of our current theories. My system welcomes such skepticism, even about the validity of such commonly utilized things as logic, reason, and words. Not because they should be destroyed, but because we should understand them for what they are, tools. Period. Thanks,

Evan
Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-05 22:34:22 EDT
From: HubertL905
Posted on: America Online

The show was well received,and there was some fairly good commentary regarding capital punishment. It was observed early on that one’s own genes might be an overriding factor which could render ‘mind wipe’ ineffective.
Unfortunately we only had a few moments to talk about it before the hour was up….but everyone paid attention and got a lot out of the episode.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-05 23:13:38 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

Yax:

Yes, to a degree. But you seem all to willing to dismiss everything just for the sake of dismissing it. At what point can we stop? Or can we never stop? If we can never stop we can never know. And if we can never know how do we know that even our skepticism is enlightening? Sorry, Evan, Moon, et al., it all comes down to trust. If we choose not to trust the evidences present us, what more can be said? If your idea of intellect is playing ostritch, play on. But while your head’s in the sand you’ll miss an awful lot of good, clean truth.

Marty.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-05 23:36:15 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

HFMoon:

You miss my point entirely. For one thing, I don’t claim to know the exact happenings of an afterlife. But I know it is against creation to destroy, and as we’re created, we must life forever in some form, that’s all. The details do in fact become matters of Faith.

As to being selfish, you’re absolutely right. IF there is no ultimate reason to be good, WHY BE GOOD? Because it helps those around me? WHY SHOULD I CARE? It’s a necessary reflection of why individuals are like electricity: they follow the least resistence. With no eternity the strong will prey on the weak precisely because they can, and what’s to stop them? An appeal to something other than themselves? But such had better be something greater than themselves. They almost certainly won’t see that in their fellow men.

Aquinas taught, for example, that property ought to be private because men won’t take good care of what isn’t theirs. But give them a vested interest and they more likely will take care of business in a manner generally acceptible to the community. It’s a shame it has to be that way, I’ll concede, but it’s better than hoping the guy next door won’t feel like killing me today.

So quite frankly your good feelings mean nothing if your neighbor’s bad feelings won’t heed you appeals. Remember, in the here and now scenario you’re only his equal.

For the record, I agree that you should do the right thing because its the right thing without regard to any scorekeeping. Yet even with “scorekeeping” there’s still a lot of grief in the world. There’ll only be more without an ultimate appeal possible. Read CSL’s The Abolition of Man. Good Book.

Marty.
Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-05 23:36:26 EDT
From: YaxPac
Posted on: America Online

Marty,

Bravo!

<< Sorry, Evan, Moon, et al., it all comes down to trust>>

You wouldn’t mean … “faith” would you? Like, “faith” that God exists. Not proof, mind you, but faith. The evidence of things unseen, belief in things hoped for? Not a shaft of light illuminating the hidden facts we can’t perceive in the “cave” of our existence, but the belief that there is a world out there that we do not and cannot perceive.

If this is what you mean, if “self-evidence” boils down to “faith” that there is such a thing, then you and I agree. But the thing is, see, faith is only compelling as an argument to those who have it. It’s a poor logical or rational tool. It is a incredibly ameliorating to lots of troubles that arise intrapsychically to human beings, but that doesn’t make it false. It also doesn’t prove it.

Think we’re breakin’ through here Marty.

Evan

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-05 23:36:37 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

HFMoon:

When we you allow yourself to accept what’s around you and build on it? Opinions are like…noses. We want the Truth, don’t we, and not just the pleasure of listening to ourselves talk?

Marty

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-05 23:42:23 EDT
From: YaxPac
Posted on: America Online

Marty … sorry, saw more meat in your text that I’d better respond to …

<< But you seem all to willing to dismiss everything just for the sake of dismissing it. At what point can we stop? Or can we never stop?>>

We dismiss what doesn’t *work*. We stop when it becomes dangerous to be skeptical. F’rinstance, it is not wise to be skeptical that driving your car at 100 MPH into a brick wall will kill you. Nobody and nothing can stop you from doing so, but your skepticism about it will die with you.

<< If we can never stop we can never know. And if we can never know how do we know that even our skepticism is enlightening?>>

We can never *know* much that gives our lives meaning with the kind of certainty that you seem to want, unless we just accept that we have a non-rational, non-logical *knowledge* (faith). We know our skepticism is enlightening because it has led to the world we live in now. The world we’re in has its faults, but you and I live more amusing, longer, and healthier lives than the Roman emperors as a group did. If that’s not better … well, then abandon skepticism for medievalist appeals to authority. I’m not gonna.

Evan

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-05 23:48:14 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

Evan:

Don’t write me off too lightly. Why should’t I trust what I taste and hear and smell and see? I mean trust on a much deeper plane than you seem to. I mean that the computer in front of me is absolutely, without doubt, beyond reservation, the computer in front of me. I see, feel it, hear it, manipulate it. etc. And that my wife downstairs wanting me to get offline and come to bed is equally real. I see her, I …whoops. No debate: they’re there. And once I have those facts, and I mean Facts, not mere opinions, I can build scientific and philosophic schemes which I am certain are true based on them.

No Faith involved, but Truth beheld. Faith is the triune God, and I admit that. But we can know things of this earth without admitting such doctrine.

Marty

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-06 18:12:15 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>Sorry, Evan, Moon, et al., it all comes down to trust. If we choose not to trust the evidences present us, what more can be said? If your idea of intellect is playing ostritch, play on. But while your head’s in the sand you’ll miss an awful lot of good, clean truth.

Marty.<<

Geez, this is self-congratulating, isn’t it?

I never said we should ever ignore any evidence. I don’t. Just because my interpretation of the evidence before us is different thatn yours does not mean I’m ignoring it. By your definitions, you could be seen as ignoring a hell of alot of evidence that points towards evolution and cosmology.

I rather think that you are, rather than ignoring it, simply interpreting it differently than I am. I wish you could give me the same credit.

Millions of people around the world see the same things as you every day and yet they don’t agree with you on these topics we’ve been discussing.
I guess they are all ignoring the “facts” as well?

 

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-06 18:13:21 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>But I know it is against creation to destroy, and as we’re created, we must life forever in some form, that’s all.<<

So i guess all those supernova’s are flukes, right?
Look around, entropy is everywhere.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-06 18:15:57 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>With no eternity the strong will prey on the weak precisely because they can, and what’s to stop them?<<

What? WITH an eternity(many of them, actually) The strong prey on the weak. That’s been one of the truths about every culture on Earth, whether rabidly religious(Spain) or officially atheist(U.S.S.R.)

The idea of eternity has been around for thousands of years, and I have yet to see it stop selfishness of ANYONE in power.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-06 18:21:57 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>When we you allow yourself to accept what’s around you and build on it? <<

When will you?

See, I believe(much as you do) That I already have. I see life around me. I’ve also seen various accounts of death, though none have presented anything but their story and many have been down-right contradictory.

And each of them had one big flaw. They were written by the living.

We wouldn’t give a second thought to an account of Viet Nam given by a man who’s never been anywhere outside of Islington and was just guessing, and yet we give full credence to whatever we might dream up?

I agree with you to a point. There might be some sort of eternity after death. And then again there might not be. So far as we can tell(i.e., what all the evidence shows us), there just about nothing in the universe that is eternal. Even the most long-lived of stars die.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-06 18:23:56 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>And once I have those facts, and I mean Facts, not mere opinions, I can build scientific and philosophic schemes which I am certain are true based on them.<<

Now show me one, single, irrefuttable, solid, concrete, cast-iron, in-front-of-your-face FACT that has anything to do with an afterlife.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-06 18:26:38 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>But we can know things of this earth without admitting such doctrine.<<

hmm, interesting phrase there. “of this earth”. Very true, very true. I would expand that to include, “of this universe”. So, now the question comes down to this,

What can we know of Death besides what goes on on “this earth”? Is the afterlife(if there is one as such) part of this earth? This Universe? Can it be observed? Does it affect the Universe in anyway?

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-06 18:55:41 EDT
From: Songokuten
Posted on: America Online

>>No insult at all. Faith is nonsense if there isn’t in fact a God. A sense of the eternal has no basis without a God. Therefore, as evidenced by the show, I’m willing to argue that JMS is not actually an atheist. There’s to much God showing through. <<

That was even more insulting. Why can’t someone who doesn’t believe in god understand some ‘eternal concept’ that only a religious person can get for some reason? Your limited (at best) understanding of what JMS is saying is just not the only way it has to be. Faith is faith because you don’t know until you die if there’s an afterlife or God. If there isn’t, then faith would be hollow and even more meaningless. A sense of the eternal is so abstract that someone else might describe it as ‘an urge to sneeze’. You can’t use your opinion as fact and expect to get away with it; do you really think that all atheists are really closet-theists who are doing this just to fool you?

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-07 01:46:39 EDT
From: YaxPac
Posted on: America Online

Marty,

<<Don’t write me off too lightly.>>

First off, I would *never* write you off. I might back off for a while, but my system doesn’t allow me to write people off … they’re the only thing I’ve got.

<<Why should’t I trust what I taste and hear and smell and see?>>

Depends on what you mean by trust. On a day-to-day superficial level, you can usually trust it. Those lakes that appear on the road on a hot day aren’t really there, and Abe Lincoln’s hat is as long as it is wide in that optical illusion, but usually, for getting food, navigating the roads, and recognizing friends and family, your senses are good. When you get to a deeper plane though, they’re usually just flat wrong. We think time is constant, but it’s relative. We think matter is solid, but it’s mostly vacuum. It looks like the sun goes around the earth, but it’s really the other way around … on and on and on, skeptics have shown that our senses are inaccurate for things that they aren’t designed to show us.

<<I mean trust on a much deeper plane than you seem to. I mean that the computer in front of me is absolutely, without doubt, beyond reservation, the computer in front of me. I see, feel it, hear it, manipulate it. etc.>>

What is it, specifically, about the thing that you are in front of, that makes it a “computer?” What could you take away from it and still have it be a “computer?” For instance … if it was just a monitor hooked to a mainframe miles away by modem … would it then be a computer? If it had no hard drive, would it still be a computer? If it was just a chip on a mother board with no power source, would it be a computer? Hmm … the computer’s reality seems to be drifting …

<<And that my wife downstairs wanting me to get offline and come to bed is equally real. I see her, I …whoops. No debate: they’re there.>>

Well … I’m not one to split hairs … but Berkeley showed pretty convincingly IMHO, that all that you can be sure is there, is your ideas of the things. The things in themselves are unavailable to your mind. If you don’t believe this … go talk to someone who’s had a hypothalamic stroke. They won’t know that you’re there … even if you may be.

<<And once I have those facts, and I mean Facts, not mere opinions, I can build scientific and philosophic schemes which I am certain are true based on them.>>

Schemes, sure, schemes and theories and ideas about the nature of things. Fine, all well and good. But universally *certain* dogmas? Never. You can’t even be *dogmatic* about the fact that anything other than you exists … and even there a really good skeptic can put logical, rational doubt into play about the certainty of one’s own existence. The difference comes in the level of *faith* (I say it again) that people have in the outer world, its benevolence or lack thereof, its randomlessness or order, its unity or multiplicity. None of these things are within the grasp of proof, they are all objects of *faith*.

<<No Faith involved, but Truth beheld.>>

Until you can refute the above, I’m merely going to gainsay this one.

<<Faith is the triune God, and I admit that. But we can know things of this earth without admitting such doctrine.>>

We sure can. But our knowledge … by its very nature … is limited, incomplete, and asymptotic. Sure, we believe that it gets better with time. But pick a time when you think it’s complete, and watch your truths evaporate into lies with evidence and time. We are in a process of progressively more refined pattern recognition, not discovery of eternal, unchanging verity. And if you ask me, I think the first process is infinitely more fun. Everything’s in play …

Evan

 

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-07 12:50:40 EDT
From: C12kyd
Posted on: America Online

So basically you are saying that there is only the *flesh* realm and no spiritual realm….your example dwells upon flesh and not upon the unseen … look into space what do you see??

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-07 12:56:13 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

No, I’m saying the spiritual world is discernable from the world of the flesh.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-07 12:56:36 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

Evan,

Trusting on a day to day basis is not superficial. It is quite profound as it demostrates the existence of things.

You’ll notice that your examples of inaccurate sense perceptions fall flat under scrutiny. The ancients mistook their senses: the correct interpretation of the sun/earth scenario is that they had incomplete rather than inaccurate data. They noticed motion but jumped the gun philosophically. They went beyond their evidence, which will happen. Same with regards solidity or the lake shimmering in the road. The closer we came to the truth the clearer our eyes saw ( so to speak ). Our vision of the road is a true vision blurred by real heat waves that we actually see ahead of us, but when we’re close enough for the rays to not interfere we see it is really the continuation of the road. At no point did our senses decieve: we actually saw some reality. I don’t say our senses tell us the whole story. But they do get us started.

My computer isn’t my computer? Geez, Evan, a child can see through that. So you’ve discovered its component parts are as real as the assembled computer? Of course they are: there’d be no computer without them. Man, that sounds as bad as anything my Professors of Education have said.

Someone who’s had a stroke? Their ability to percieve is interfered with, not the reality itself. I’m still me if no one else knows it.

Finally, I don’t claim our knowledge is perfect. I claim it is real and verifiable. You seem to say that since we aren’t perfect we can never know. A hasty generalization, sir.

Marty
Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-07 12:57:03 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

HFMoon:

Sure, it’s self-congradulating to a degree. But so is what you say. What’s you’re point, that because we each believe what we say we can never know objective truth? Doesn’t make sense.

You don’t have to die to come to the philosophic truth of eternal life. All you need are at least on hard, sentient Fact and rationality.

I allowed in an earlier post that awful acts are commited even with the world as it is. What I was saying was it would be worse without a sense of eternal justice. Evil would have no one to answer to, and would become profuse.

Regards supernovas, you’re confusing change in the universe with acts of pure creation. Forms can and do change in our universe. Things weaken and die. What I’m talking about is annihilation, the complete obliteration of something, its being sent out of existence. That can’t happen. Nothing is created for the sake of its annihilation.

BTW, I’ve never argued against evolution. Just for the record.

Marty

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-07 13:12:19 EDT
From: C12kyd
Posted on: America Online

>>Songukuten
<<<you don’t know until you die if there’s an afterlife or God. >>> Whooaaa!! I happen to know personnally there is a God….and that is in this life ! ! Why wait until your dead to experiance what is here in life???

B5 is *the* prime example of good and evil, alive and well in the flesh..pay attention unless you miss the lesson…even JMS is used unbeknownest to him !!!

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-07 19:35:27 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

Songokuten:

I just want to Amen the post before this. Men and women are used unbeknownst to themselves all the time. JMS has some of the Spirit in him or he couldn’t write what he does on the level he does. That’s why I’m not too alarmed at Kosh and the Vorlons perhaps manipulating humanity. So long as they’re good and intend our good, no big deal. Except if you’re too proud.

Marty

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-07 20:02:33 EDT
From: YaxPac
Posted on: America Online

Marty,

<<Finally, I don’t claim our knowledge is perfect. I claim it is real and verifiable. You seem to say that since we aren’t perfect we can never know.>>

Let me get this straight. “Our knowledge” (whatever that is) is *not* perfect. I assume this means it admits mistakes occasionally, is not capable of certainty on any one topic when there may be evidence presented in the future to contradict it. We aren’t perfect, you’re right, so we can never *know* without holding onto the possibility (not the probability mind you) that we are wrong.

You claimed a while ago that your knowledge of God was real and verifiable, now you’re using your computer. I note again … that while you ridicule my critique of your concept of what your computer is … you fail to take up the challenge of giving me a complete definition of just what your computer would be. Am I wasting my time responding to each of your charges if you’re not gonna be upfront with me and answer my questions?

Marty, you’re a cool guy and I like you. But let me know again … is it your computer, or God that has the certain and verifiable knowledge that requires only a teeny tiny bit of trust (faith, in my book)?

Evan

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-07 20:53:54 EDT
From: Songokuten
Posted on: America Online

>>You don’t have to die to come to the philosophic truth of eternal life. All you need are at least on hard, sentient Fact and rationality.<<

And just what ‘Fact’ is this based on? I haven’t heard anyone, religious or otherwise, ever claim that the Bible was unimportant to them but the Facts convinced them. I don’t see any ‘Facts” that point to any eternal life, let alone the Christian concept of the afterlife. And if a Fact is “sentient”, shouldn’t it be defending itself? Tell me how I can see this ‘”afterlife” without dying…. and how, if I’m ever convinced it’s possible for a living person to visit Heaven, you can still call it an *afterlife* when it is ‘self-evident’ that someone went there before they died.

I allowed in an earlier post that awful acts are commited even with the world as it is. What I was saying was it would be worse without a sense of eternal justice. Evil would have no one to answer to, and would become profuse.<<

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-07 21:00:18 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>What’s you’re point, that because we each believe what we say we can never know objective truth? Doesn’t make sense.<<

No, my point is that we can’t ever know the objective truth about something we have never experienced. After we die, I expect we’ll know what’s up, but right now I still don’t see any evidence supporting any of the stories I heard.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-07 21:03:04 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

Evan:

I’m not going to get into any useless debate about terminology. Forgive my insistence and my French, but you know damn well what my computer is and what its composed of without even seeing it. With all due respect, if you want to talk about a waste of time think about all the time lost to good discussion when/and/or/if we have to define literally every word that crops up. I haven’t asked you to define Berkeley or Evan or the myriad of high-falutin’ words you often employ. I take them as having validity. What I think you’re doing is attempting to frame our correspondence in such ambiguity that you can make it into anything you please. That serves only your purposes, whatever they may be. I suspect they are that you don’t want permanent truth so that you can justify whatever you do. But whether you believe it or not, there is such a thing as Truth; it is outside of me or anyone else; it is knowable; and I want to behold it as far as I am able. The first step towards Wisdom isn’t admitting your ignorance but employing the gift of your faculties. Ambiguity isn’t truth; it is a swamp from which we can’t escape unless we want escape. And I can’t for the life of me figure out why anyone would want to live in a swamp.

Are you wasting your time? Yes, I’d have to say you are. But I rather believe that’s more your fault than mine. I like you too, guy, but until we’re both willing to debate on an honest intellectual plane we aren’t going to get anywhere.

Marty

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-07 21:03:26 EDT
From: Songokuten
Posted on: America Online

Oops, I forgot to answer this part….

>>
I allowed in an earlier post that awful acts are commited even with the world as it is. What I was saying was it would be worse without a sense of eternal justice. Evil would have no one to answer to, and would become profuse.<<

Worse? Hah! Without this ‘eternal justice’, people would be forced to take responsibility into their own hands. We would all be more careful to stop those who would hurt us. People would form big groups to protect each other, because with no Hell, it’s up to us to not turn a blind eye to criminals. Those with the lack of morals to commit a crime would just shrug off eternal justice with “If I’m going to Hell, then I might as well do any other nasty thing I want.” With no ‘eternal justice’ there would be no excuses such as “we are chosen”, “They are Heathens”, or “The Lord will deal with them.”
People would not be strapping bombs to their chests to rack up points for the afterlife. People would do anything to extend the lives they know they have regardless of what may happen after they die– especially behave, because misbehavior will only bring their trip to a close. People would value and respect each other, not proclaim them savages or heathens.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-07 21:07:28 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>Things weaken and die. What I’m talking about is annihilation, the complete obliteration of something, its being sent out of existence. That can’t happen.<<

An example?

So, because we can never create nor destroy energy(and therefor matter), Spirit is eternal?
When a dog dies, decomposes, and is absorbed into the dirt, plants, and other animals, is it still, in any way form or manner, a Dog?

I see forms destroyed and created every day. No form is forever.
If our “spirit” after we dies, ceases to be a spirit the same way our flesh ceases to be flesh, is it destroyed?

You see, you’re still confused about my point. I’m not saying there absolutely is nothing after death. Far from it.

What I’m saying is that I have no idea what happens after death. I’ve heard plenty of stories, but little evidence. It seems that there is, in fact, no evidence for what happens after death.
BTW, sorry about the spite in the “self-congatulating” comment. We, of course, are both doing it.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-07 21:09:24 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>Whooaaa!! I happen to know personnally there is a God….and that is in this life ! ! Why wait until your dead to experiance what is here in life???<<

Oh, here we go again.

How about reading some of the posts. They explain our view-points well.

 

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-07 21:09:50 EDT
From: Songokuten
Posted on: America Online

>>I just want to Amen the post before this. Men and women are used unbeknownst to themselves all the time.<<

OH, I get it! You’re being used to prepare us for the future and ensure that we know our debate skills, our intellectual skills, and how to stick to our own beliefs or risk becoming one of the “crowd”. So you’re being used to amuse and strengthen us, and I bet you didn’t even know it! (Of course, we are being used to prepare you for the same things, and maybe teaching you how to ignore having an open mind–after all, one *must* be being used by God for them not to see why you are right and the world is wrong, right?)

>> JMS has some of the Spirit in him or he couldn’t write what he does on the level he does. That’s why I’m not too alarmed at Kosh and the Vorlons perhaps manipulating humanity. So long as they’re good and intend our good, no big deal. Except if you’re too proud.<<

I say I think he just has talent. Tomato/Tomahto….

Subj: Sorry, Marty, but…
Date: 96-05-07 21:45:19 EDT
From: MythoPhile
Posted on: America Online

<<What I think you’re doing is attempting to frame our correspondence in such ambiguity that you can make it into anything you please. That serves only your purposes, whatever they may be. I suspect they are that you don’t want permanent truth so that you can justify whatever you do.>>
You’re just figuring this out? 😉

<<Are you wasting your time? Yes, I’d have to say you are. But I rather believe that’s more your fault than mine. I like you too, guy, but until we’re both willing to debate on an honest intellectual plane we aren’t going to get anywhere.>>
Oo, you’re gonna pay for that one…

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-08 04:40:57 EDT
From: YaxPac
Posted on: America Online

Marty,

<<I’m not going to get into any useless debate about terminology. Forgive my insistence and my French, but you know damn well what my computer is and what its composed of without even seeing it>>

Nope, sorry, I don’t. I don’t know if you’re running a 586, 486, 386, power Mac, or you’re running AOL off of some mainframe with a modem that you have hooked up in your house. I don’t know whether you have a CDROM, or a floppy drive, or a sound card, or a graphics card, or any of that stuff. I assume you have a PC, because you seem intelligent, but you could have an obsolete Mac. You could be doing all this with old punch cards if you had enough patience and the right equipment. What blows me away is that people who believe in “objective truth” when they are pinned down and asked to define a simple, commonly used word, that is supposedly pretty concrete will wiggle, wrangle, spit, cough, splutter, and say bad things about my motives but will *never* just sit down and define that word. Seems so easy to me … if there’s an “objective truth” at all.

The point, Marty, is that debates about terminology are not *useless* and they are *especially* not useless when you’re talking about things like God, that nobody I know has ever seen, touched, or produced a hair follicle that we can do DNA analysis on. For me to know what you’re saying has concrete, undoubtable reality, I have to know *exactly* what it is you mean. Remember, I’m just a silly old person, I don’t have a mainline into some deified realm where all questions about existence melt away. I have to figure out what’s going on *down here* and sometimes that’s tough if you mean one thing by a word and I mean another. What’s so tough about telling me what your computer is?

<<With all due respect, if you want to talk about a waste of time think about all the time lost to good discussion when/and/or/if we have to define literally every word that crops up. I haven’t asked you to define Berkeley or Evan or the myriad of high-falutin’ words you often employ.>>

Go right ahead, I’ll give you my best shot. I can’t assure you that I’m giving you the absolute truth, cuz I don’t believe there is such a thing, but I can get you as close as I am usually. (BTW, Berkeley was an Anglican bishop who thought he had proven the existence of God by standing Locke’s empiricism on its head, Evan … just me. High-falutin’ … hmmm, can’t help you there.)

<<I take them as having validity.>>

To paraphrase Norbert Goon here (no disrespect intended) So what? Why should I? Unless you can define your terms to someone else, it is *you* who have abandoned the quest for this eternal truth, not I who have forced you out of it.

<<What I think you’re doing is attempting to frame our correspondence in such ambiguity that you can make it into anything you please. That serves only your purposes, whatever they may be. I suspect they are that you don’t want permanent truth so that you can justify whatever you do. But whether you believe it or not, there is such a thing as Truth; it is outside of me or anyone else; it is knowable; and I want to behold it as far as I am able.>>

Please, let me know *why* this section is true. I’m not attempting to frame anything here. I’m trying to get you to say something that’s verifiable. Is that outrageous? If there is such a thing as Truth … why isn’t it very compelling? Why should you *want* to behold it as far as you are *able*? I would think something that started with a big capital letter like that would be manifest for all.

To be cont.
Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-08 04:49:10 EDT
From: YaxPac
Posted on: America Online

Continued …

<< The first step towards Wisdom isn’t admitting your ignorance but employing the gift of your faculties. Ambiguity isn’t truth; it is a swamp from which we can’t escape unless we want escape. And I can’t for the life of me figure out why anyone would want to live in a swamp.>>

Yeah, swamps are cold, wet, and icky. But deserts are clean, pure, windswept and lifeless. I could suggest that your “objective truth” was a desert that admitted none of the myriad ambiguity of life, but I won’t cuz I think the swamp analogy is silly. What faculties am I supposed to employ to be wise, my ability to recognize your vaunted “self-evidence” that I just have to “trust” even though it’s “self-evident truth?” Hmmm … I’d rather not be Wise then, but just practical. If ambiguity isn’t truth … is light a wave or a particle? I’ll be impressed if I get a straight answer to any of the questions I’ve asked in either of these two posts.

<<Are you wasting your time? Yes, I’d have to say you are. But I rather believe that’s more your fault than mine. I like you too, guy, but until we’re both willing to debate on an honest intellectual plane we aren’t going to get anywhere.>>

Yeah … I feel really dishonest and all, answering all of your questions, never hiding or ducking one, and then having you get all upset at me for asking you what your computer was made of. We are certainly not going to get anywhere when you keep making the terms of the debate up, and then chastise me for not keeping your high standards. Sorry … I’m gonna take a 10 min. break from this one and cool off … you have the courage of your convictions, and I admire that … but you need to allow for the possibility that you could be wrong. Pride goeth before a fall … and all.

Please … if you answer one question, answer this one. What would someone who is “intellectually honest” do when asked what their computer is?

Evan

 

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-08 12:34:29 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

HFMoon:

An example of annihilation? I can’t give you one. But I don’t see that I have to. I’m speaking in the realm of Philosophy, of abstract truths which can be built from physical reality. The principle of creation is that you don’t create in order to annihilate. It seems prohibitively cruel for a God to create sentient beings only to take away their sentience at some later date.

Do we have to see to believe? I know what love is, but I can’t really give you an example. The best I can do is explain what it is, based on reason and experience, and rely on your reason and experience to comprehend. There’s simply no physical reality we can detect which we can call love. But, ahem, love is real.

As to forms, I think forms in the universe in which we live do change while their component parts somehow continue to be. Perhaps I should be more specific: I expect sentient beings to live forever, not necessarily rote matter or the dumb animals.

Marty
Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-08 12:34:48 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

Evan:

<<What faculties am I supposed to employ to be wise, …your vaunted self-evidence…?>>

Yeah, I’d say you’ve got that about right.

Marty
Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-08 12:35:03 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

Evan:

You answer all my questions? Hardly. You’re keen enough to answer that which is historically proveable, but generally you only address my questions with more questions. It’s like getting into the ring with Muhammed Ali, running around in circles so that he can’t land a punch, then claiming you’re a better boxer when he tires. But you’ve never actually boxed the man.

The computer issue, indeed any issue of the validity of words, is simply one big red herring. Really, a flaming scarlet herring.

Words mean things. We could not talk if they didn’t. Now, when there’s a genuine confusion we can use other words to clear it up. But you know what a computer is, you even know reasonably enough what I’ve got. The details of the particular machinery involved are unimportant. What are you going to do, take my definition and demand a definition of the words in the definition, then definitions of those words? That’s pointless gainsaying, not intellectual honesty. The insistence of defining terms, as a general rule, is done in eighth grade, not adult conversation.

Now, Evan, if you’re content not knowing what you’re talking about, and the only logical conclusion is that you don’t know what you’re talking about if words have no inherent validity, fine. But don’t presume that your willful blindness means the rest of us must not see, either. That’s a grandly hypocritical proposition.

BTW, I’m not upset. I mean it when I say I enjoy these debates.

Marty

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-08 21:22:55 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

<<I assume you have a PC, because you seem intelligent, but you could have an obsolete Mac.>>

Look out now, Evan. The apple-cores of DOOM are out for you….

…something fruity this way comes…..

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-08 21:25:32 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>An example of annihilation? I can’t give you one. But I don’t see that I have to.<<

No, an example of the lack of annihilation. Unless you mean that we can never destroy the smallest component parts of a thing, you and I disagree.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-08 21:31:04 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>I expect sentient beings to live forever, not necessarily rote matter or the dumb animals.

Marty<<

So you expect, you don’t know? You mean you don’t have access to the absolute, undeniable Truth of the matter?

>>I’m speaking in the realm of Philosophy, of abstract truths which can be built from physical reality.<<

Abstract truths? No Absolute truths? What happened?

Philosophy is a wonderful tool. But it rarely yields pure facts. But since it’s rarely used for fact finding, and more for finding abstract truths that fit a situation, that’s fine.

But no philisophical discussion will ever give you unequivocal proof of anything, that’s not what it’s for. Philosophy finds beliefs, not facts.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-08 23:51:22 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

HFMoon:

<<So you expect, you don’t know? You mean you don’t have access to the absolute, undeniable truth of the matter?>>

Yes, I do. Sentient beings will live forever. I don’t see how saying *expect* dilutes the point. You know something’s going to happen, therefore you expect it. It’s kinda the same with absolute/abstract truths. An abstracton can be absolutely true.

<<Philosophy is a wonderful tool. But it rarely yeilds pure facts. But since it’s rarely used for fact finding, and more for finding abstract truths that fit a situation, that’s fine. But no philosophical discussion will ever give you unequivocal proof of anything, that’s not what it’s for. Philosophy finds beliefs, not facts.>>

Man, I have to strongly disagree with you on that, Moon. Philosophy answers what Science cannot. Science deals only in fact; Philosophy in meaning, to wit, what do the facts mean? The answers are really more *factual* than what Science gives us because they are thus from a higher plane. I dare say a deeper reality. On a more practical level ( listening, Evan? ) it gives us logic to determine truth. Or, I should say, proof ( or lack thereof ).

Marty
Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-08 23:51:41 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

HFMoon:

Oh, yes, I forgot. I think we agree on the question of the smallest particles of matter. The forms may change but the components don’t.

Marty
Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-08 23:54:17 EDT
From: Songokuten
Posted on: America Online

>>No, an example of the lack of annihilation. Unless you mean that we can never destroy the smallest component parts of a thing, you and I disagree<<

What about a quantum black hole? You know, neutronium that’s crushed itself below the Shwarzchild radius. (I got all that from Niven…. I’ve asked all my teachers what in Muad’dib’s name a ‘Swarzchild Radius’ is, but the closest I got to an answer was “A certain radius where matter approaches from attractive and repelling forces..” or something *vaguely* like that [I paraphrase a lot.] Anyone here know?]

…Next thing you know, the Ms will tell us that they have objective proof that Eric Magnus Lensherr is the Kwisatz Haderach…….. Don’t tell me he’s not!

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-08 23:54:48 EDT
From: Songokuten
Posted on: America Online

I think I’ve been reading the Dune appendices for FAR too long….

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-09 14:58:18 EDT
From: C12kyd
Posted on: America Online

Half Moon

I have read….and I can see you all going round and round in circles never getting anywhere because you aren’t *willing* to give in any area of your own opinion..That my dear is where we have experianced Hitler, Stalin and the good ole US of A…

Do we read between the lines or do we look at all things face value… IMHO

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-09 15:08:44 EDT
From: C12kyd
Posted on: America Online
<< What about a quantum black hole? You know, neutronium that’s crushed itself below the Shwarzchild radius. (I got all that from Niven…. I’ve asked all my teachers what in Muad’dib’s name a ‘Swarzchild Radius’ is, but the closest I got to an answer was “A certain radius where matter approaches from attractive and repelling forces..” or something *vaguely* like that [I paraphrase a lot.] Anyone here know?]>>>

Just a holding tank…

 

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-09 17:49:11 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>Science deals only in fact; Philosophy in meaning, to wit, what do the facts mean?<<

And what they mean to you could just be different from what they “mean” to me. Meaning is subjective.

To us, someone spitting at your feet is insulting, but to Bedouins it is a sign of respect.

To you, the fact that we can never create nor destroy energy means that human “spirits” will live forever. To me it means that we can’t destroy the most component parts of the universe.

You say that “facts” show you that intelligence(or spirit, or soul, whatever you wish to call it) is eternal. You still have yet to state any of these facts besides the fact that energy is undestroyable. I don’t believe that our inteligence is “elemental”. For some reason, this seems to make me a fool in your eyes. And yet it is just an opinion, whereas you seem to feel your opinion is pure fact.

Interpretation is just that.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-09 17:50:30 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>HFMoon:

Oh, yes, I forgot. I think we agree on the question of the smallest particles of matter. The forms may change but the components don’t.

Marty<<

So you consider our “spirits” to be elemental? I have yet to see such an utterly complex elemental particle.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-09 17:54:54 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>What about a quantum black hole? <<

Read some Hawkings. Quantum Black holes boil themselves away through radiation of virtual particle pairs(Hawkings Radiation), continually losing mass and momentum, untill they annihilate them selves rather violently.

Oh, and the Schwartzchild radius is the point at which the escape velocity from a body reaches and then exceeds the speed of light.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-09 18:01:29 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>Half Moon

I have read….and I can see you all going round and round in circles never getting anywhere because you aren’t *willing* to give in any area of your own opinion..That my dear is where we have experianced Hitler, Stalin and the good ole US of A…<<

First of all, it is Not “Half Moon”. Nice guess, but no correct.

Secondly, of course none of us is willing to give in on our opinions(at least you call them what they are, opinions), that’s the point of a debate, isn’t it? To throw around opinions like darts?
Circles are simply a euphenism for Debate(a much uglier word), but I do think it a great disservice to equate any of us here with those three. Were we to act on our opinions, say such as firebombing the home of one who disagrees with us, then I would say the descriptions were accurate.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-09 21:20:10 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

HFMoon:

We have lost our bearing somewhere, or at least I’ve lost mine. I’m confused by your use of the term elemental. Could you explain the concept in more detail? I don’t think I can comment further until I better understand you point. I thought I understood, but am now quite sure I don’t. And BTW, Yax, if you’re there, the confusion is mine, not the word’s. Moon means something concrete and I’m somply not grasping it.

Marty

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-09 21:20:31 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

HFMoon:

Please, Moon, I emphatically do not mean to imply in any way, shape or form that you’re a fool. By all indications your comments show you’re taking our line(s) of thought seriously enough. Forgive me if I seem to believe otherwise.

<<Meaning is subjective.>>

Well, the type of meaning of which you speak is generally subjective. It’s what I can temporal meaning. But there is another which is true for all times and places. Such is transcendent meaning, and is objective. Like so: murder is always wrong ( transcendental ) but Jones killing Smith? The question which needs asking is, Is it murder? ( Temporal or situational application of the universal truth ).

Marty
Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-09 21:20:48 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

HFMoon:

We can debate until we’re until blue in the face whether A is fact or opinion. I look at it thus: if A is outright wrong, only vaguely accurate, or a matter of taste, it is mere opinion. But if A is absolutely true, it is fact. We distinguish fact from opinion through our power to reason. And yes, I take our power to reason as self-evident.

Proper use of this power leads us to fact. The real problem, I’ll wager, and I’m as guilty as anyone according to the situation, is human frailty. Our very humanity gets in the way of our power to understand and accept. Anger, jealousy, or obstinacy, for example, lead us to skewer our reason. That’s not indicative of an inability to Know, but an unwillingness to Know. And note again I admit my all-too-often guilt. I don’t want people to think I’m casting stones. I’m only observing.

Marty

Subj: RE: Off to Sunday School
Date: 96-05-10 15:07:25 EDT
From: KURTSTUKE
Posted on: America Online

Interesting epistemological debate – reads alot like Hume. But what is the reality of human compassion or forgiveness as broached in the Gethsemane Episode?
Kurt

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-10 15:32:23 EDT
From: C12kyd
Posted on: America Online

<<First of all, it is Not “Half Moon”. Nice guess, but no correct.>>

oops sorry..It’s the name of my boat and I was subconsciencely thinking that…

secondly Ok so my descriptions were a bit broad, but isn’t fire bombing a bit extreme of a description also?….anyway..yes we all are entitled..I’m still waiting for the end result ! !

 

Subj: Re:RE: Off to Sunday SchoolI
Date: 96-05-10 15:34:32 EDT
From: C12kyd
Posted on: America Online

<<Interesting epistemological debate – reads alot like Hume. But what is the reality of human compassion or forgiveness as broached in the Gethsemane Episode?>>

Amen Brother ! !

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-10 22:33:38 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>I’m confused by your use of the term elemental.<<

When I use elemental, I refer to basic, fundamental, component parts. The bits and pieces, in other words.

We used to think neutrons and protons were the most elemental particles. Then we found Quarks. Now, experiments, mostly by the FermiLab, have shown evidence of even smaller particles which make up quarks.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-10 22:39:26 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>Like so: murder is always wrong ( transcendental ) but Jones killing Smith? The question which needs asking is, Is it murder? ( Temporal or situational application of the universal truth ).<<

Okay, general meaning can be universal, but then you’ve got the problem of defining that generality for different situations.

Murder is wrong. Now, were the sacrifices made by the Aztecs and Mayas murder? Were the thousands of deaths caused by colonists and conquistadors?

We can both agree that things are eternal, but where we disagree is in the definition. If by afterlife, you are refering to the fact that the energy and minute particulars of us continue long after we are dead, then we agree.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-10 22:51:14 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

<<We distinguish fact from opinion through our power to reason.>>

No, we distinguish fact from opinion through trial and experiment.

It was popular opinion that Light traveled through the “Ether”, until experiment(Michaelson & Morley) showed this to not be the case.

The existence of an afterlife, God, so on and so forth, are currently the realm of opinion. We can debate all we want, but untill we can show, through fact, one way or another, they’ll continue to be opinion.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Subj: Science, Religion, B5 (pt. I)
Date: 96-05-11 11:50:26 EDT
From: Bill S9946
Posted on: America Online

After wading through a lot of discussion about science and reality, faith and reason, philosophy and Gestalt (actually I skimmed most of it and downloaded a lot of it for reading at leisure) I’m wondering if anyone cares to discuss religion and mythology as it relates to Babylon 5.

One of the most exciting aspects of the show is its delving into myth and spirituality in a way I’ve never seen on any other television show in recent times. While everyone else is off creating a sort of Speilbergian suburban sterility, B5 comes through by trying to do what good science fiction and good drama should do … getting behind the things we usually consider behind the scenes.

Myth and religion are as important to us in understanding the world today as it was 20,000 years ago with the cave painters. We haven’t changed in the way we physically perceive the environment or ourselves. Science has given us a powerful tool to understand our universe and we live in a unique age. But scientific understanding is portrayed in the media and in schools as useful primarily in giving us more technological and consumer gadgets, rather than in incorporating hard won knowledge into our ideas, the belief of our place, in our ‘dreams’ of the universe. That so many people in this forum are unable to include physical reality into their world view is probably a testament to both our poor education system and our inability to put science where it more firmly belongs – not as a tool of consumerism, but a tool of philosophy.

Many people of our poor nation have been unable to grasp the importance of spiritual understanding in the scientific realm. With few exceptions we’ve confused science with technology and gadgetry. It would be better if we ‘confused’ it with transcendence of thought, of our interaction and respect, of old ways that are no longer serving a purpose. How disappointing to turn on PBS’s Nova for a program about star formation or origins of the universe just to get a diatribe on the spacecraft and equipment used to gather the data (and how much more disappointing when the program turns out to be another PR hour for the military). Of course people turn away from science when all it means is machines and federal dollars! The sciences aren’t about finding cures for cancer, mining the asteroids, or finding any number of idiotic ‘practical applications’ – those are spinoffs.

We’re all going to die; 98% will never reach the Nirvana of wealth. But while we’re alive and poor we *can* investigate our lives’ purpose. Maybe *life* has no purpose (even in Christianity life basically has no greater purpose than its perpetuation in heaven) but here we are anyway! Investigation has – even 20,000 years ago – and will determine the best way for us to live and interact with each other and the world around us. Died in the wool Christians even do investigation, some just stop at one set of instructions, their interpretation (or an interpretation given to them) of the Bible. The rest of us have a multiplicity of fact, theory, religion (including the many forms of Christianity), spirituality, philosophy, drama, comedy, history, politics, and just plain living. There’s enough to keep us busy and happy for a long, long time.

[Cont. on ‘Science, Religion, B5 (pt. II)]

Subj: Science, Religion, B5 (pt. II)
Date: 96-05-11 11:52:29 EDT
From: Bill S9946
Posted on: America Online

[Continued from ‘Science, Religion, B5 (pt. I)]

When pioneering work was done on electricity the earliest researchers weren’t interested in making electric motors and toys and machines for the industrial revolution. They thought they were investigating the life giving force of God himself. (In some ways they weren’t too far from the truth either, were they?) They were investigating themselves, their relation to the universe (or to God – and even whether there was a God) and how to best live to live the proper life. (Already in the seventeenth century the Bible alone was not providing the answers society needed to function. The Bible was not alone in informing society even during the Middle Ages.)

We’ve strayed far from the precepts of those earlier pioneers and have not only forgotten our heritage – the thoughts, ideas and hopes of thinkers before us – but no longer even know they even existed. At least where I went to high school, most of the teachers were more interested in coaching of chasing around than in their subjects. No wonder we’re so easily swayed by this politician or that TV preacher, confused by our own media and industrial concerns. Far from an ‘information age,’ we are entering a technological dark age. An age of instant information that fits into no context and has no meaning. Ted Koppel once said (paraphrase as best I can – sorry Ted!) ‘We live in an age when there has never been so much information about everything, and yet words written 2,000 years ago [by the early Christians, Plato, the followers of the Buddha, Lao Tsu] are as important and resonant today … .’

Back to Babylon … the attempt, and I think successful one, to fuse myth into the show in such a blatant way is wonderful, exciting. After each episode I enjoy fitting the stories into a framework I think the producers are trying to get across. A lot of what finds its way into Mimbari spiritualism, Centari politics, or Narn psychology has roots right here, somewhere or some time in human society. Giving those thoughts and emotions breath and life has been a great triumph of the program. I think the producers and writers, whether you agree with them or not, have a lot to say. They’re saying things that have been lying around, gathering dust for decades. Some of them are the very things we’ve been looking for.

And … end of lecture. I hope I haven’t been boring – if you’ve read this far presumably I wasn’t *too* bad! Am I interested in your thoughts? Of course I am! I wouldn’t have written all this if I didn’t think it would hit someone somewhere. Naturally I’d like to have the weaknesses of my argument pointed out to me — but please, be kind … please! 😉

Write me at BillS9946, or leave a post if you like. ‘I’ll be back.’

Bill

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-11 17:48:47 EDT
From: Songokuten
Posted on: America Online

>>
Read some Hawkings. Quantum Black holes boil themselves away through radiation of virtual particle pairs(Hawkings Radiation), continually losing mass and momentum, untill they annihilate them selves rather violently.

Oh, and the Schwartzchild radius is the point at which the escape velocity from a body reaches and then exceeds the speed of light.<<

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-11 17:50:08 EDT
From: Songokuten
Posted on: America Online

I meant Thanks for that last message. (my pc is completely screwed up… I hit a button on the keyboard and the next thing I know, it is OK that my message has been posted….. how odd)

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-13 12:45:10 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

Bill S9946:

On the whole, I agree with your comments. JMS gives us much to think about, and in a very profound manner. I suppose what gets us so off the subject is a concern that we on the board understand things to the fullest degree. Man, Aristotle rightly teaches, wants to Know. Further, many of the religious aspects of B5 cannot be discussed on a routine level. I think we have to tie ourselves in to the ultimate reality of which I believe JMS alludes to. We can’t talk about the nature of the universe without talking about the nature of its Creator. This will invariably lead to dispute, but personally I welcome them. Better to speak of ultimate questions openly if sometimes angrily than never speak of them at all.

Marty.
Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-13 12:45:26 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

BTW, posters, I just rewatched Babylon Squared from the first season and was struck by Delenn’s position before the Grey (sp) Council. She said that human are better than they think, and know more than they often allow. Delenn’s right, and what she says applies well to current times. We are better than the idle thought we so often display. We are more than we allow ourselves to be. And I think that is one of the greatest things religion teaches us. We can be greater than we think: if we let ourselves be.

Marty

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-13 12:47:16 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

Bill S 9946:

And one more thing: your comment about Science being a tool of Philosophy is very appropriate. Science answers material fact: Philosophy builds on this to abstract Fact. I like that.

Marty

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-13 21:30:44 EDT
From: STUKEINNH
Posted on: America Online

Marty,

When you say:

>>And one more thing: your comment about Science being a tool of Philosophy is very appropriate. Science answers material fact: Philosophy builds on this to abstract Fact. I like that.<<

you have committed an historical error. Not all philosophy is akin to the species of philosophy to which you are alluding. For instance, consider the Vienna Circle and the Logical Positivists. What about the British Empiricists? Both schools thought of their philosophy as fact. Hell, most current philosophy denies the possibility of fact.

Kurt
Subj: RE: Science, Religion, B5
Date: 96-05-13 21:45:07 EDT
From: STUKEINNH
Posted on: America Online

BillS9946,

Hi Bill, I read your posting with interest. If you look back to the beginning of the *off to Sunday School* messages, you will see that they begin with a noting of the *Gethsemane* episode. I believe that the *Gethsemane* episode is a fertile starting ground for a discussion concerning spirtuality amidst an information culture. Specifically, how will our technology, and the information technology of the future, effect a moral agent’s spirituality?

In *Gethsemane*, the brother Ted character (I’m guessing on the name) cannot escape the brutality and visciousness of his past actions precisely because of information technology. It was technology in the first place that helped him avoid or not confront his culpability. I guess you could call his condition an inverse clockwork orange condition – he cannot avoid avoiding his past.

I wonder if normative ethical theory and theology will have to accomodate technology. Perhaps technology will have to accomodate normative ethical theory and theology…

Is this a direction you would like the conversation to take?
Kurt

Subj: Re:RE: Science, Religion, B5
Date: 96-05-14 08:29:55 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

Kurt:

I appreciate your comments in regards to the historical accuracy about small-p philosophy. But as to Philosophy, I agree with my parish priest: Philosophy ends with Aquinas. Trust nothing since then.

Marty

Subj: Re:RE: Science, Religion, B5
Date: 96-05-14 08:31:58 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

Kurt:

Or better yet: philosophy which denies Fact is not philosophy, but plain old error at best and evil doings at worst.

Marty

Subj: Re:RE: Science, Religion, B5
Date: 96-05-14 10:24:00 EDT
From: KBates3918
Posted on: America Online

Marty,

Only someone who believes that god revealed “himself” at one point in history (eg in the middle east, speaking old arabic 2000 years ago) could *possibly* believe that philosophy ends with Acquinas!

How could the “revealed” truth of a very foreign culture a very long time ago *possibly* take into account everything that has gone on since then without some passing nod to other cultures/worldviews,
technological change,
the change and growth of the universe since then?

And how can we possibly have an intelligent disucssion of the spiritual themes in B5 is we reject everything since Acquinas in terms of philosophy/spirituality?

No offense, darling, but I think you are limiting your frame of reference a tad bit too much, as well as potentially limiting the rest of us whose arguments are dismissed if they don’t fit into your centuries old framework. You are also limiting your own spiritual tradition, if I presume that it is christianity. IMHO some of the greatest christian writers, Hildegard von Bingen, Julian of Norwich, Meister Eckhart came after Acquinas. Also, some argue that Acquinas has been patently mis-interpreted to fit with the fall-redemption tradition in christianity rather than the creation-centered christian tradition – M. Fox wrote a great book on Acquinas recently. If you’re a fan you might want to check it out……. :)

Subj: Re:Science, Religion, B5 (p
Date: 96-05-15 02:40:18 EDT
From: JVibber
Posted on: America Online

<< After wading through a lot of discussion about science and reality, faith and reason, philosophy and Gestalt (actually I skimmed most of it and downloaded a lot of it for reading at leisure) I’m wondering if anyone cares to discuss religion and mythology as it relates to Babylon 5. >>

Good luck! It hasn’t worked here yet!

Try the “Babylon 5 Legends and History” folder, instead.

Subj: Re:RE: Science, Religion, B5
Date: 96-05-15 12:04:11 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

KBates3918:

” But evil of itself would never reach a worst: for evil is fissiparous and could never in a thousand eternities find any way to arrest its own reproduction. If it could, it would no longer be evil: for Form and Limit belong to the good. “”
C.S. Lewis, from The Pilgrim’s Regress

I appreciate your advice and will look up the people you suggest for their commentaries on Aquinas and/or Christianity. I need to know as much as I can about the two. But I want to limit my frame of reference: doesn’t anybody who honestly seeks the good and the true? Once they are found, where more is there to look, and what more is there to seek? An unlimited frame of reference is no real reference at all, but rather only how one feels at the moment. Indeed, I must say we can have no intelligent discussion of B5 or anything else without a common, true frame of reference. It would all be a chimera, a trick with mirrors, a mere game.

And for the record, God did reveal Himself 2000 years ago. It is other cultures and worldviews and developing technologies which must reconcile themselves to Him. The obligation is very much a one way street.

Marty

Subj: Re:RE: Science, Religion, B5
Date: 96-05-15 21:43:38 EDT
From: STUKEINNH
Posted on: America Online

Marty,

Re your claim:

<<And for the record, God did reveal Himself 2000 years ago. It is other cultures and worldviews and developing technologies which must reconcile themselves to Him. The obligation is very much a one way street.>>

Might I suggest a perusing of the history of the Society of Jesus, i.e. the Jesuits. They gave up the sort of *parochial* view you are suggesting a long long time ago. Unfortunately, the Church had already committed too many egregious acts to recant before the view was abandoned.

If you are not into reading, then check out the movie *The Mission*. It has Liam Neison and DeNiro.

Your parish priest is probably kidding with you if he claims that philosophy ends with Aquinas. At least, I hope so.

pax,
Kurt

Subj: Re:RE: Science, Religion, B5
Date: 96-05-16 00:54:08 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>But as to Philosophy, I agree with my parish priest: Philosophy ends with Aquinas. Trust nothing since then. <<

Forgive me, but I don’t believe that you believe this, Marty. Just about everything you’ve said the last few weeks is in direct contradiction to this statement.

If Philosophy is as useful as you’ve said(and I think it is, but in different ways), then it most definitely does not end at Aquinas. It is a constantly evolving thing, moving forward with new knowledge. To say that a philosopher who died centuries before the printing press was invented is the end all be all of philosophy is cutting off the nose to spite the face.

Subj: Re:RE: Science, Religion, B5
Date: 96-05-16 07:53:04 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

Kurt:

Sorry, But I stand by my view. The world is obligated to God, not God to the world.

The Mission is a heretical movie.

And my priest was not kidding. He’s right on the money. There may be worthwhile commentaries on Aquinas since his time, but his philosophy yet rules. I’m not saying it is perfect in every detail, but it is a great Christianization of Aristotle, himself ” The Master of Those Who Know. “.

Marty

Subj: Re:RE: Science, Religion, B5
Date: 96-05-16 07:58:31 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

HFMoon:

There’s a connection between the printing press and pure human thought? Between technology and a true understanding of our world? I don’t think so. I wonder sometimes if people confuse Aquinas’ non-philosophic thought with his pure philosophy. For example, and I hate to bring this up again but it fits, his proofs for the existence of God. As valid today as ever. Simply that someone lived a long time ago doesn’t mean he’s archaic. Maybe we’re simply arrogant.

Could you tell me something I’ve said that makes you think I’m counter-Aquinas? I don’t see it.

Marty

Subj: Re:RE: Science, Religion, B5
Date: 96-05-16 08:01:03 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

Kurt:

Your reference to the Jesuits reminds me of a joke a priest told on me once. When he found out I graduated from the University of Detroit, a Jesuit institution, he asked ” Well, have you been to confession yet? ”

Well, I like it anyway :)

Marty

Subj: Re:RE: Science, Religion, B5
Date: 96-05-16 09:12:27 EDT
From: KURTSTUKE
Posted on: America Online

Marty,

I completed my Masters (in philosophy) at St. Louis – a Jesuit institution. Actually, the joke is somewhat accurate :)
I must disgaree with your assessment of the movie *The Mission* as heretical. Maybe from a pre-Vatican II point-of-view…hell, maybe from a pre-Vatican I Council point-of-view

pax,
Kurt

Subj: Re:RE: Science, Religion, B5
Date: 96-05-16 17:56:30 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

Kurt:

S’kay.
We can agree to disagree. I probably am pre-Vatican II anyway.

Marty

Subj: Rel., B5, Gethsemane (pt. I)
Date: 96-05-17 00:39:32 EDT
From: Bill S9946
Posted on: America Online

Kurt,

Sorry I’m so long winded – another long post.

Yes – I think I would like to see discussion along the lines you suggested in your post “RE: Science, Religion, B5″ of 5/13/96. Not that I haven’t enjoyed the reading the ‘religion vs. science’ argument and would like to see that continue also. For anyone interested there’s an ‘evolution vs. creationism’ board in Scientific American (you’ll have to look for it, I’m not sure of the directions to that particular board anymore). The argument is going on in the ‘Religion’ areas of AOL too – I suppose you know that. Where isn’t this debate shaping up?

I’m not sure, Kurt, whether I’m totally familiar with the episode you’re talking about (*Gethsemane*). I’m afraid I don’t know each episode by name – not yet anyway. But I think you’re talking about the episode in which a Catholic monk keeps having flashbacks of some terrible crime, and by the end of the program he discovers he was a killer who underwent a ‘mind wipe.’ The monk himself is murdered, and his killer is also given a mind wipe. The head of the order, still mourning for the dead brother, takes the monk’s killer as an initiate.

That was a powerful episode, and I applaud the producers for using Catholic monks, who have a recognized history that adds to the show, rather than some fanciful ‘Neptunian Order’ or some such thing, which is really partly the Catholic Church in sanitized disguise and partly a ‘Roddenburyized’ vision of what Catholic spirituality would be. I think the episode brought out the question of the role (or a role) of Christianity or Christian philosophy in a secular, technological world. The monks understood the crippling of a man who’s identity has been destroyed, and offered a *human* hand, rather than an administrative one. They were able to see a person as a person, and had conciously taken the position to see fellow beings in such a way. Commander Sheridan learns the difference and the connection between legal punishment and human forgiveness.

In that episode Sheridan, and we, are forced to move away from the comforts of black and white answers and into the world of gray areas, contingencies, and what if’s. It’s an often foggy place where easy answers are not given and the search must be active, where mistakes can be made and are made and sometimes have disastrous consequences. In a black and white world friends are easy to spot and evil can be punished rightously. Sheridan, especially, a strongly ‘system’ oriented individual at first, entered the human domain of compassion, and where he’s going compassion is necessary for understanding, and understanding ultimately required for survival.

The episode used Christian monks to good effect, reminding us of compassion from the cross (which is ‘real’ mythologically whether the Biblical story is taken literally or not), and of death and rebirth. Certainly a ‘mind wipe’ is tantamount to violent death and execution (crucifixion? baptism?), and a new individual is simultaneously ‘reborn’ from the ordeal. It was also refreshing to see the monks portrayed as positive characters with a pragmatic view that was inclusive of a genuine spirituality. They possibly represented the tradition of Christian humanism. I live not far from St. John’s University in Minnesota, and among the monks are many PhD’s. They are a far, far cry from the shrill voice of Christiandom so often heard today, and really do seek to understand the universe (whether physical or social) while realizing and coming to understand better the teachings of Jesus and/ or of Christian philosophy. They’re certainly willing to admit ‘new data,’ and in fact are active in their fields to seek it out. I don’t believe there are many ‘Creation Scientists’ there, but I’ll ask if anyone wants me to.

cont. on next post …

Subj: Rel., B5, Gethsemane (pt. II)
Date: 96-05-17 00:42:42 EDT
From: Bill S9946
Posted on: America Online

(cont. from pt. I)

On the surface *Gethsemane* dealt with crime and compassion, so I’ll stay with that theme. The questions are – for we viewers – can *we* extend a ‘human’ hand in a technological, legalistic, consumer oriented, mass society? Can we punish offenders and give victims their ‘rights,’ their due sympathy, and even their revenge, and still see the punished as human, as a human individual? In even carrying out a sentence we may be *unjust,* yet compelled to carry it out anyway. Can we realize that we are not always righteous and that in our best intentions we may commit unspeakable acts which cry out to be acknowledged? Is the punishment of an individual by society as horrible as the crime committed? (That in fact, the horror of the punishment is designed to equal the horror of the crime in order to act as a deterrent.) Does the saying, “As long as one man is imprisoned I am not free,” mean anything to us in this age? Should it? How far does our own compassion go?

In *Gethsemane* we are actually allowed to identify positively with a man who turns out to be a serial murderer. In our day to day life, driven by the media and our social norms and by what many believe is our religious heritage, anyone who has committed as spectacular a crime as serial murder has given up his rights to the term ‘human.’ Fury, hate, and vengeance for all sorts of wrongs and crimes are allowed to pile up on top of him, on top of his ‘case.’ Society heaps a great deal on these individuals and the concept of ‘circus’ applied to criminal justice is common enough. Tension surrounding the individual and his impending death builds. How will he die? When? What will it look like? What did he do? In a sensational crime tension builds nationally, and tension wants release. Of one man many thousands of images are built in the minds of we who take interest in his story. He is celebrity. He can come to represent what is worst in the world, in our society and system, in our own selves.

There are ‘mass murderer’ trading cards now. A ‘lucky’ few death row inmates may have a TV ‘Movie of the Week’ made about them. Then a ritual well know from TV and movies is presumably enacted as the condemned is lead to his death, and he is destroyed (in capitol punishment states anyway – this analogy breaks down somewhat in non-capitol punishment states). When the prisoner is dead it is all over, not only for him, but for us, like a fairground the day after the midway leaves. The victims feel vindicated, the media records the tears of joy and release, the people surrounding the event go home satisfied. Even for those protesting capitol punishment the spectacle is over and it’s time to move on, to start the cycle again. Something happens in Bosnia and a the national attention moves on. But in a very real way, we in America today apparently have need of and do in fact conduct blood sacrifice for reasons not dissimilar to pagan (though I prefer the term ‘traditional’) societies in the past. The trappings of religion surround the Event and give The Tradition a rational to exist. The sacrifice of God’s son and His forgiveness therein, it seems, was not enough. The lesson of that compassion has not held. And what does our own compassion come to when we bay in a nocturnal trance of another’s death at our own hands?

end of pt. II, pt. III (final) is cont. on the next post …

Subj: Rel., B5, Gethsemane (pt. III)
Date: 96-05-17 00:44:00 EDT
From: Bill S9946
Posted on: America Online

(cont. from pt. II)

Since we use blood sacrifice and seem to need it, can we own up to it? Can we consciously perform human sacrifice for its own sake or will we always need a pretext, such as ‘justice?’ Knowing the mechanism involved in the need for human sacrifice – the need to cleanse and purify oneself in a dirty world, to release pent up and frustrated energy in a workaholic-or-be-downsized consumerist society, to unfetter one’s ‘spirit’ if only for awhile – would cause the need for human sacrifice to evaporate like … like shadows under the glare of light. Sacrificing people outright would destroy our beliefs about ourselves. Maintaining a pretext allows the practice of sacrifice to continue, but at a price. If the need for a death is a psychological one for the living (and it certainly isn’t ‘for’ the prisoner) instead of justice served, then we live a lie. The dirt, so to speak, stays under the carpet – and we just start being careful about not lifting that particular rug. The second is the most likely path we’ll take, of course. The dialog about punishment and sacrifice – that message – would be the undoing of institutions, cause the collapse of banks, bring the stock market down five hundred points and let the Japanese dominate the computer chip industry.

This, in fact, is exactly what is happening in the world of Babylon 5. The principle characters have been forced to look into themselves and out into the universe, to seek the unseekable, to look at the invisible, to hear what is unheard, to learn. The result in their world is literal civil war. The adventures of B5’s crew hasn’t eked out one square foot of new territory for the people of Earth (as in stories of exploration and galactic conquest), but has increased the knowledge, wisdom, and capability of the command staff. Londo, cut off from this learning curve, believes he has life’s answers in his political climbing and dreams of empire. But the web he’s created – and fallen prey to – of intrigue, political grandstanding, pragmatic solutions that destroy worlds, revenge, and threats rip at him more and more with each plot development. A compassionate blow hard at the beginning of the series, Londo is now capable of quite deadly deeds, without thinking or feeling. His world remains small, like the circle mentioned earlier by YaxPax,** and he’s trapped in it unaware of the larger conflict. While Darkness seeks to tear apart, the command staff are learning to *bring together* on spiritual and intellectual as well as political grounds. They are still much closer to Darkness than to Light but they have the tools necessary to carry on their battle with enveloping Darkness. These are the same tools we need in our battle as well. Perhaps, eventually, Babylon’s crew will have the opportunity not just to fight the Darkness, but to seek the Light.

Bill

** From YaxPax; Subject, Re:PS; posted 3/5/96
Subj: RE: Rel, B5, and Gethsemane
Date: 96-05-18 12:35:54 EDT
From: STUKEINNH
Posted on: America Online

Bill,

You write extremely well. I particularly liked part I of your correspondence. I believe you are correct in your distinction between the shrill fringe element and the learned element of christiandom – BTW, have you heard the music of the monks near your home? They are quite talented.

I am not sure what to make of the *blood sacrifice* theme within your writing. I think you are correct in your assessment of human nature, i.e. there exists a *dark* side that is in conflict with a *light* side. I agree with Hobbes in his assessment of human nature. He described human life as being *nasty, brutish, and short.* Left alone, man is in a constant state of war and strife. It is the construction of the state, a literal *Leviathan*, that lifts us from our natural state into a sort of forced detente. There are lots of other models employing a realistic depiction of human nature, to deny the darkness, in my opinion, is to ignore overwhelming historical evidence.

I think you agree with me. You write of the characters of B5 looking inside themselves and facing the beast. In the B5 universe, the result of this introspection is civil war. I would like to turn the focus from the macro-level to the micro-level. What I found so moving about the *Gethsemane* episode was the artful expression of human moral fragility.

Do you remember the conversation Ted had with Delenn. He spoke of the fragility of human nature. He described how Christ was afraid and asked for the *cup to be taken from him*. To me, this moment of fear, of paralyzing weakness, is a metaphor applicable to all human moral agents. When asked to sacrifice our needs for the many or the greater good, when asked to take a moral stand, we are stricken with resentment and terror. Most of the time, we simply yield. We take the path that is in our self’s interest. Brother Ted did not balk. He faced the dark side of his nature, actually, he faced the anger and hatred that were a consequence of his actions. He knew the price of his courage – yet he endured. In the end, he found peace.

I believe the fragility of our nature also underlines the need for compassion. At the end of *Gethsemane*, Sheridan is forced to confront the murderer of Brother Ted. I believe his first instinct is to strike him down. But because of the abbott’s instructions, Sheridan opens his heart to the possibility of forgiving the murderer, now a novice.

Kurt

Subj: Re:Fallacies, Creation, etc.
Date: 96-05-21 10:59:04 EDT
From: RPillow
Posted on: America Online

SueBury,

Actually what I said was “If the work of God could be comprehended by reason, it would no longer be wonderful.” As for us being able to “help” God with his grand scheme for the Universe, don’t worry, we will, and a lot sooner than you think.

RPillow

Subj: Re:Fallacies, Creation, etc.
Date: 96-05-21 11:01:32 EDT
From: RPillow
Posted on: America Online

Martycos,

Thanks for your interest. If I were to try and post everything that I have discovered here, it would more than fill the entire B5 message center. E-mail me and we will set something up. This is vital information, and I will be posting more of it here as “time” goes along. Truthfully, these B5 message boards are the *perfect* forum for me to put the message I am here to deliver out there.

RPillow

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-21 11:10:36 EDT
From: RPillow
Posted on: America Online

Guys and girls, come on! What is with this “Time” thing? Time, as we recognize it, is a nonexistant concept. The physical lives we are now living are not all their is to existence, in fact, they are only the beginning. Think of the 3rd dimension as our “gestation period.” There is *much* more to life, existance, and the Universe than any of us can currently comprehend. I realize that most of you do not know these things as I do. I don’t mean that to sound as if I’m coming off as “holier than thou”, but it’s the simple Truth. All of us will be made aware of the true nature of our existence in the future.

RPillow

——————————————————————————————————————————————–
“IF God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.”
“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
–Voltaire

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-21 11:19:33 EDT
From: RPillow
Posted on: America Online

I think that most of you non-religious people (not necessarily atheists) think that those of us that have Faith and believe in God rely blindly on Him to take our hand and lead us every step of the way. Let me clear this up once and for all. The people that I have talked to who believe in God do take responsibility for their actions in this life, as do I, and we are more than capable of making our own decisions and living with the consequences of those decisions. I can’t fathom how you guys and girls come to the conclusion that this physical life is all their is to our existance or why some among you find it so difficult to believe that there is a God, but that’s just me. It doesn’t matter if you believe in God per se, as long as you believe that there is some greater force than yourself. What we know of Creation is less than nothing compared to what’s out there, and if these material lives were all there was to our existance life would be, well, vastly incomplete. I’d like to hear more about what those of you who don’t believe in God do believe in. Just because something isn’t tangible doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

RPillow

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-21 11:26:24 EDT
From: RPillow
Posted on: America Online

Songokuten,

I’m not dead yet and I know for certain that there is a God and an afterlife, or is it a previous life, or a return to our true state of existance, or is it just passing into a new level of being in another dimension… I’m certain that you do not believe me, of course, and if I were to tell you how I learned this you would consider the methods impossible. So I can only suggest that you pay attention to what those of us with Faith say and keep an open mind about it.

RPillow

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-21 11:56:21 EDT
From: RPillow
Posted on: America Online

Songokuten,

After reading your post on 5/7 I may have to rescend what I said before about you having an open mind. Whether you care or not is of no concern to me. What you told someone about being used by the future to prepare Humanity for the change that is coming, or rather your blatant disrespect of this person’s beliefs, shows how truly close-minded you are. Well, that’s on your soul and we will leave it to fate and history to deal with you. How can you say that someone isn’t aware that their purpose is to prepare Humanity for the future? I have that same purpose and I am very aware of it. There are more people being “used by God”, as you put it, for this very purpose and they are becoming consciously aware of what is going on with them. Man, your audacity astounds me!

RPillow

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-21 11:57:01 EDT
From: RPillow
Posted on: America Online

Songokuten,

I think I’ll start calling you Sebastian the Inquisitor from now on.

RPillow

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-21 11:58:59 EDT
From: RPillow
Posted on: America Online

Songokuten,

Tsk, tsk, tsk. Both a scientist and logical to the end. Pity.

RPillow

Subj: Religion and B5
Date: 96-05-21 14:23:44 EDT
From: C12kyd
Posted on: America Online

Haven’t seen religion in this post area in a while…all the sadder….I was kinda looking forward to a real discussion involving enlightment not debate about your religion versus my religion..

Peace and love
Patrice

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-22 15:38:18 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>It doesn’t matter if you believe in God per se, as long as you believe that there is some greater force than yourself. What we know of Creation is less than nothing compared to what’s out there, and if these material lives were all there was to our existance life would be, well, vastly incomplete.<<

Agreement, complete.

And yet, when I say things like, “I do not know what comes after death because we do not have any information”, I’m accused of ignoring “self-evidence”.

I’ve never said anything to the effect that the very religious are “being led by the hand”. If anything I have said has been interpreted as such, then I apologize for not making myself clear.

What gets to me is this, even with the realization that we do not know diddly(relatively), groups of people claim to know everything and look down on those who admitt that the universe isn’t an open book. I believe in continually looking for answers, however you choose to. I reject the notion that just talking about the Universe gives you all the “truth” you’ll ever need. Discussion(i.e. philosophy) can yield personal truths that are perfect for those in the discussion, but rarely does just pure discussion yield absolute, perfect truths for everyone. That is why it’s called discussion, not fact-finding.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-22 15:39:25 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>I’m not dead yet and I know for certain that there is a God and an afterlife,<<

Too bad you can provide no proof. Oh, yeah that’s why it’s called Beliefe, isn’t it?

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-22 16:22:38 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

Moon:

Why don’t you believe in reason and logical proof?
Material things are merely scientific: they may prove certain things but they don’t prove all. Why not accept what our logic can teach us instead of only what we see, hear, touch, and so on?

Marty

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-22 21:54:09 EDT
From: STUKEINNH
Posted on: America Online

Marty,

I thought you were a Thomist! Yet you speak of truths beyond the senses.Now you sound more like Anselm and a Platonist.

But if you truly are a Thomist then you must live by his axiom of “Nothing in the intellect that was not first in the senses.” Even if you were to allow for some sort of abstraction stemming from sense data, you must not allow that abduction or abstraction to grant you knowledge of God. As Aquinas writes, the mode of knowing is related to the species of being. As a finite creature (whom exists in potentia)you are a finite knower. You can never know God ( Whom exists Ipsum Esse) in any real way. You may argue to the existence of God from His causes, but you can not know or even predicate of God. Even when you speak of God (as a Thomist), you are not speaking univocally but merely analogously. After all, if I claim Marty is good and God is good, I have made two entirely different claims…

Maybe you are one of those darned Transcendental Thomists – but that is a 20th century school of though and you said philosophy stopped with Aquinas…

Quid est Altum, O Amice Mie :)

Subj: Re:Religion and B5
Date: 96-05-23 03:23:50 EDT
From: JVibber
Posted on: America Online

<< Haven’t seen religion in this post area in a while…all the sadder….I was kinda looking forward to a real discussion involving enlightment not debate about your religion versus my religion.. >>

Yeah, this folder has about as much to do with B5 as did the now departed and unlamented folder named “I Fear For the Future.” And the discussion is making about as much progress.
Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-23 15:44:09 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>Why don’t you believe in reason and logical proof?<<

Ah, but I do. What I don’t believe in is your version, where a group of people come to a common agreement about things they have never come close to experiencing and decide that this is “truth” that fits all humans everywhere.

Ultimately, we can only prove the meanings of things personally. That is, I can find out, for certain, what a topic means *to me*. Any attempt I make at discerning what meaning of a Mauri marriage ceremony has for a certain Mauri is just speculation.

Similarly, any decisions you or I make about what happens after we die is just speculation, not proof. We can only know the “whole truth” when we die, as that is the only way we can varify our speculations.

We agree in certain areas. Science looks for fact, philosophy for meaning. Where we disagree is where you equate meaning with absolute truth. Meaning is a personal thing.

Maybe it’s just the way we’re using our words. When I say, “I know for certain”, I usually mean that I have verification. Wehn I say, “I believe” it usually means I don’t have any proof, but this is where my personal philosophising has pointed me.

I believe that there are great mysteries to our universe, that there are forces higher than us. I do not know these things for certain. That’s why they’re called beliefs.

I know that the nuclear Strong force is the strongest natural force known to us. I know that light is both a wave and a particle. I believe that we most likely do not simply cease to exist after we die. But I do not know this. I believe that we will never, while we are living *Know* this.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-23 21:54:32 EDT
From: Songokuten
Posted on: America Online

>>After reading your post on 5/7 I may have to rescend what I said before about you having an open mind. Whether you care or not is of no concern to me. What you told someone about being used by the future to prepare Humanity for the change that is coming, or rather your blatant disrespect of this person’s beliefs, shows how truly close-minded you are.<<

Blatant disrespect? Well, maybe I mocked a little, but I have considered such a thing before. And I did state that it was entirely possible that *I* was being used, unknowingly, in the same manner. That would weaken *my own* argument. It’s kind of like if Ivanova were to say “Oh, sure, and some tall, obsessed guy in the 20th century is writing out my life for me!”
>> Well, that’s on your soul and we will leave it to fate and history to deal with you. How can you say that someone isn’t aware that their purpose is to prepare Humanity for the future?<<

I didn’t say that at all… The other person said JMS was being used and probably not aware of it. That’s where I got that idea.
As for the future, I’ve always had a feeling that I will play some role in something big yet to come. I think this may stem from an overgrown ego, but I’ve always had that feeling. I also have certain other reasons to think that I am to be ready for the future… but I won’t get into that. One can believe in the future without believing in God necessarily, let alone Martycos’ version of God. And one can believe that they have something unique without needing a deity to give it too them.
>> I have that same purpose and I am very aware of it. There are more people being “used by God”, as you put it, for this very purpose and they are becoming consciously aware of what is going on with them.<<

…. The ability to predict the future does not necessarrily mean that one’s purpose is given by God. I don’t believe in the same God, but I do believe in telepathy and other ‘gifts’ that would indicate a divine destiny.

>> Man, your audacity astounds me!<<

It’s about time. (Sorry, I’m tired today. I am open to beliefs, but not to debates. Some of the things I say are shifted to be more extreme so they’ll have greater impact in the debate.)

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-05-23 21:56:44 EDT
From: Songokuten
Posted on: America Online

>>Songokuten,

I think I’ll start calling you Sebastian the Inquisitor from now on.

<<

Funny, that’s what I was trying to imply to Marty…. I think you may have taken serious something that was intended to be ironic. I don’t know. I usually only write to parallel my opponent; the more Jack-like they are, the more I mirror it in hopes that they’ll catch their reflection..)

Subj: Re:Religion and B5
Date: 96-05-23 22:00:05 EDT
From: Songokuten
Posted on: America Online

>>Yeah, this folder has about as much to do with B5 as did the now departed and unlamented folder named “I Fear For the Future.” And the discussion is making about as much progress.<<

Yeah, thanks to the Man! (just a joke… calm down… )

Subj: To BillS and the non-insane
Date: 96-05-24 18:40:45 EDT
From: STUKEINNH
Posted on: America Online

BillS9946,

You have not responded to my post. Granted, you are a better writer than me, but what do you think of what I have posted?

Since our conversation, the mailings here have turned to religious fanaticism. Is it possible to ban the insane, e.g. “any one who claims to be appointed by god and who claims to know the future…”

Until reading the posting by RPillow I was impressed by this forum. Now, I am not sure what to think… Is there another forum out there that is immune to the intellectually challenged?

To RPillow: you obviously think that Jesus is a three syllable word and that the South will rise again. My advise to you is to stay away from automatic weapons and to seek professional help!

Hello – is any one out there?
Kurt

Subj: Reason and B5 and Religion
Date: 96-06-01 09:43:11 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

Hello, posters!

I know I shouldn’t do this, but the board seems dead anyway, and it does fit into things said here weeks ago.

Writes St. Justin, Martyr:

” We are taught that Christ is the firstborn of God, and we have shown above all that He is the reason ( Word ) of whom the whole human race partake, and those who live according to reason are Christians, even though they are accounted athiests.Such were Socrates and Heraclitus among the Greeks, and those like them. ”

Including JMS, dare I ask?

Sorry, folks, I couldn’t help myself.

Marty

 

 

Subj: Creation, Fallacies, et al
Date: 96-06-18 02:44:29 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

Hey, folks:

Anybody here? Just curious,
Marty

Subj: Re:Creation, Fallacies, et al
Date: 96-06-18 15:58:30 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

I don’t think so Marty. I have no ideas anyway. Oh well, it was good while it lasted(I still want StarFuryD4 to post the second part his “Duel”. Schucks!)

Subj: Re:Creation, Fallacies, et a
Date: 96-06-20 16:49:27 EDT
From: Songokuten
Posted on: America Online

I’m sorry I missed so much of the action here. Now that it’s gone, I wish we could all start arguing again. Call me sentimental…

I said “*senti*mental”!

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-21 11:56:51 EDT
From: RPillow
Posted on: America Online

HF Moon,

I never claimed I could provide absolute proof that there was a God and an afterlife, but can you provide proof that there isn’t? Just because something isn’t immediately tangible doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

RPillow

Subj: Re:To BillS and the non-insa
Date: 96-06-21 12:14:51 EDT
From: RPillow
Posted on: America Online

STUKEINNH,

Sticks and stones, Kurt, sticks and stones. “Ban the insane (e.g. those who claim to be appointed by God and know the future)..religious fanaticism.” Really? So I guess Edgar Cayce was also insane? I fail to see how you can tell me what my mental state is, especially since you know nothing about me except what I choose to tell you. Say what you will, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with my mental health. I am just as sane as you are, whatever that means. You know nothing about what I’ve experienced in my personal life, so how can you tell me what I do or do not have experience with? And why is it that whenever someone comes to this message board with some religious ideas you scientific types accuse them of being religious fanatics? If being a religious fanatic means believing in God and in Heaven and having faith in these things, then yes, I’m the biggest religious fanatic who ever lived!

In any case, this folder used to be a lot more interesting. I used to be able to come here and discuss things very eloquently and professionally. But now it’s been reduced to name-calling, judging, and back-biting. I’ve tried to be nice, but that time is over. I have no quarrel with anyone on this message board, but it’s people like you, Kurt, who deliberately go after people like me that makes me have to get nasty. I am in no need of counseling, and if I had an automatic weapon right now you’d be my target!!! No, just kidding, I am not a violent man. I suggest you lay off the presumptions, though.

RPillow

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-21 19:16:28 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>I never claimed I could provide absolute proof that there was a God and an afterlife, but can you provide proof that there isn’t? Just because something isn’t immediately tangible doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.<<

Oh, of course not. And I never said I could. Heck, “proving” that there isn’t an afterlife or a God was never my intention. All I wanted to make clear was that there was *no proof* either way, but belief shouldn’t have anything to do with faith anyway.

I think I got cheesed off at some point when I pointed out that I didn’t believe in the Christian God nor did I believe that we would ever know what happens after we die, and someone else mentioned how dumb those beliefs were because of all the “proof” of their existance and how simply “self-evident” the existance of those things is.

Subj: Re:To BillS and the non-insa
Date: 96-06-21 19:19:45 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>But now it’s been reduced to name-calling, judging, and back-biting.<<

Well, actually, it seems to have been reduced to blank spaces, but I agree with you RPillow. I too remember the time when this board was about discussion, not name-calling. Things broke-down rather quickley, with many people pulling out suddenly.
I’m sure that I had as much to do with the decline of this board as anyone. I am human, after all. But I still enjoy discussion.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-21 20:04:30 EDT
From: RPillow
Posted on: America Online

HF Moon,

I cannot provide proof of God, Heaven, or an afterlife for *you*. Religion, spirituality, and faith are very personal things. I can and have provided proof of Heaven, God, and an afterlife for *myself*, although I cannot put into words just how I did this. It is something deeply profound and completely spiritual, something that each individual must experience for him or herself. From what you’ve said, it’s clear to me that you have not had such an experience. I have no problem with you stating that you don’t believe in the Christian God or in an afterlife (Heaven, as we call it), but I don’t think it’s right for you to go around saying that God and Heaven don’t exist just because you personally don’t have any proof that they do or because you haven’t had a personally spiritual experience that would prove to you that these things do in fact exist. That’s all I’m saying. Now, if we could just get people like Kurt to understand this instead of saying that people like me need therapy for saying stuff like this, maybe the world would be a little better place! :-)

RPillow

Subj: Re:To BillS and the non-insa
Date: 96-06-21 20:10:05 EDT
From: RPillow
Posted on: America Online

STUKEINNH,

Oh, and Kurt, I am *NOT* intellectually challenged. If anything I’d bet you all the money in the world that I’m *at least* as smart as you are, although I’m absolutely sure that I’m smarter. Keep your little snide comments to yourself, unless you want this to get *REALLY* nasty! You have been warned!

RPillow

Subj: Another B5 bulletin board
Date: 96-06-21 20:22:58 EDT
From: RPillow
Posted on: America Online

Hello again guys and girls. I know this is supposed to be the B5 and Religion folder, but just about everything else on this message center has gone to hell, so what difference does it make if I post a message that doesn’t have anything to do with religion? If anyone here is interested, there is a really cool, really fun B5 bulletin board over on Pathfinder. You have to become a member of Pathfinder, but don’t worry it’s completely free and completely painless. The URL for this BBS is as follows:

http://pathfinder.com/@@CKro*UOnggIAQPW2/cgi-bin/boards/nph-read/98

I’ve been over there for quite a while, and although no members of the production staff or the crew of B5 visit there as they do here on AOL, it’s still a lot more fun than this board currently is. We’re currently in the middle of starting a PRPG (PC Role-Playing Game) set in the B5 universe, but without any of the stuff that goes on in the show. Everyone comes up with their own race, where their race’s power base is located, what type of technology they have, what they look like, and what kind of physical or mental powers they have. As I said we’re still in the early stages, so anyone who would like to join in would be more than welcome. I hope some of you guys and girls will come on over.

Not you though, Kurt. No, I’m just messing with you. :-) Your previous post directed at me has been all but forgotten, but I bet you’d like to think that you’d gotten to me, wouldn’t you??? Since God knows and I know that I am in perfect mental health and therefore in no need of professional help, that’s all that matters to me! So come on over to Pathfinder or don’t, Kurt, it makes no difference to me. But I really do suggest you lay off messing with me, because if you continue you’re going to find out *REALLY* quickly that you’ve picked the wrong brother to f#@k with!!!

RPillow

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-22 17:12:16 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

<< I can and have provided proof of Heaven, God, and an afterlife for *myself*, although I cannot put into words just how I did this.>>

Dude, we are seeing so much eye-to-eye here that it’s sick for this folder! YES!!! I HAVE FOUND SOMEONE WHO SEES MY POINT!!!!!!!!!
>> but I don’t think it’s right for you to go around saying that God and Heaven don’t exist just because you personally don’t have any proof that they do or because you haven’t had a personally spiritual experience that would prove to you that these things do in fact exist.<<

Oh, hey, I never did anything like that. If anything, I’ve been striving for the same thing you want with Kurt. The realization(that some people just won’t get) that “what you believe” refers only to “you” and to no-one else.

Subj: Re:To BillS and the non-insa
Date: 96-06-23 17:45:14 EDT
From: Songokuten
Posted on: America Online

>>And why is it that whenever someone comes to this message board with some religious ideas you scientific types accuse them of being religious fanatics?<<

Actually, I don’t mind discussion of religion, as long as one stays rational and out of the “Because GOD SAID SO, you moronic heathen!” or “Oh yeah, I KILLED God!” regions of debate.

>> If being a religious fanatic means believing in God and in Heaven and having faith in these things, then yes, I’m the biggest religious fanatic who ever lived!<<

I don’t think of you as a fanatic or a psycho even after reading your theories on the upcoming doomsday because you stay rational and just state it as your belief. I can see why you might get that from some people, but different beliefs are not the same as fanaticism.
Those who I call fanatics are those who shove their religion in your face and say you’re stupid/crazy for not accepting their God/belief. At my school, during the year, there was a girl who would always say things to me like “Trust Jesus and you’d know better”, “Us Jesus freaks are happier” and “You’re not really as smart or happy as you think you are if you deny Jesus”. It got to the point where, yes, I would call the police and describe her as fanatic if the period lasted just one more minute.

Subj: Re:To BillS and the non-insa
Date: 96-06-23 17:46:31 EDT
From: Songokuten
Posted on: America Online

>> I am in no need of counseling, and if I had an automatic weapon right now you’d be my target!!! No, just kidding, I am not a violent man. I suggest you lay off the presumptions, though.<<

I feel the same way… Hehehehehehnhhehehehehnhehehmpfheheheheh

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-23 17:48:48 EDT
From: Songokuten
Posted on: America Online

>>I think I got cheesed off at some point when I pointed out that I didn’t believe in the Christian God nor did I believe that we would ever know what happens after we die, and someone else mentioned how dumb those beliefs were because of all the “proof” of their existance and how simply “self-evident” the existance of those things is.<<

Same thing cheesed me off. I don’t want to name name, but we all know that it was ——–. And I hope someone saved a copy of the Duel, ’cause I lost mine.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-23 17:51:35 EDT
From: Songokuten
Posted on: America Online

>> but I don’t think it’s right for you to go around saying that God and Heaven don’t exist just because you personally don’t have any proof that they do or because you haven’t had a personally spiritual experience that would prove to you that these things do in fact exist. That’s all I’m saying. <<

Here’s the problem in communication. HFMoon never said that. I don’t know who did, but you are agreeing with what he said and disagreeing with someone else. Let’s not get violent here, I just had the carpet cleaned.

Subj: Re:Another B5 bulletin board
Date: 96-06-23 17:55:49 EDT
From: Songokuten
Posted on: America Online

>>I’ve been over there for quite a while, and although no members of the production staff or the crew of B5 visit there as they do here on AOL, it’s still a lot more fun than this board currently is. We’re currently in the middle of starting a PRPG (PC Role-Playing Game) set in the B5 universe, but without any of the stuff that goes on in the show. Everyone comes up with their own race, where their race’s power base is located, what type of technology they have, what they look like, and what kind of physical or mental powers they have. As I said we’re still in the early stages, so anyone who would like to join in would be more than welcome. I hope some of you guys and girls will come on over.<<

Um, if you create your own races, tech and timelines, how is it a B5 RPG? Wouldn’t it be SF in general? Or did you want to keep the station and jumpgates?
>>Not you though, Kurt. No, I’m just messing with you. :-) Your previous post directed at me has been all but forgotten, but I bet you’d like to think that you’d gotten to me, wouldn’t you??? Since God knows and I know that I am in perfect mental health and therefore in no need of professional help, that’s all that matters to me! So come on over to Pathfinder or don’t, Kurt, it makes no difference to me. But I really do suggest you lay off messing with me, because if you continue you’re going to find out *REALLY* quickly that you’ve picked the wrong brother to f#@k with!!!
RPillow<<

I think you need to calm down and let this guy go for now… You’ve worked yourself up, way up, and he hasn’t said anything in quite a while.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-24 12:48:51 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-23 17:48:48 EDT
From: Songokuten

>>I think I got cheesed off at some point when I pointed out that I didn’t believe in the Christian God nor did I believe that we would ever know what happens after we die, and someone else mentioned how dumb those beliefs were because of all the “proof” of their existance and how simply “self-evident” the existance of those things is.<<

<<Same thing cheesed me off.>>

Look, folks, if you don’t want to believe in self-evidence, then don’t. Such is on your head, not mine. But at the risk of starting the flame-ups all over again, what cheeses me off is the insistence of the blind that no one else must be able to see, either. Even things such as Faith, which is a word tossed about quite flippantly on this board, mean nothing without proveable truths to support them. And nothing, no thing whatsoever, is proveable without self-evidence. If the whole idea of debate, as some on this board through the evidence of their remarks appear to believe, is to avoid useful conclusions, we aren’t debating at all. We’re gainsaying. That it not intellectual. It is merely knee-jerk.

Marty

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-24 18:09:36 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

<< And I hope someone saved a copy of the Duel, ’cause I lost mine.>>

You want a copy? I distributed it out as comedy once, and I still have my copy.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-24 18:17:49 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>Look, folks, if you don’t want to believe in self-evidence, then don’t. Such is on your head, not mine.<<

I just don’t buy your version of “self-evident”, which seems to be “Well, I believe it, so it’s truth!” For all your posturing about self-evidence, you have not yet once posted one single bit of evidence that didn’t depend on you personal faith.

>> But at the risk of starting the flame-ups all over again, what cheeses me off is the insistence of the blind that no one else must be able to see, either.<<

When did I ever say this? I think personal beliefs are what help define us. But what people keep forgetting is that first word “Personal”. That’s all. You’ve had different experiences than me, and that’s led you on the path you now travel. Is that wrong? Absolutely not! What is wrong, though, is when you imply that I’m a blind idiot because I haven’t “seen” the same “truths” as you. Sorry bud, but if that’s the way you want to see things, then you must be pretty depressed. I mean, imagine, living in a world with over three and a half billion blind idiots! Where as I think there are actually quite a bit fewer idiots, and most of them drive cars in my college parking lot. Wait, I’m babbling now, and I apologize.
Anyway.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-25 00:25:53 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

<<I just don’t buy your version of “self-evident”, which seems to be “Well, I believe it, so it’s truth!” For all your posturing about self-evidence, you have not yet once posted one single bit of evidence that didn’t depend on you personal faith.>>

Well, maybe I’ve missed something, Moon, but you seem not to buy any self-evidence at all. Further, accusations of self-evidence depending on what Marty says are your words, not mine. I exist; my computer is in front of me; your response to my latest post is on the corner of my screen as I type my response to that. These are not dependent on my faith but are true in and of themselves. Its more like, ” It’s the truth, so I believe it. ” and emphatically not the truth because I believe it. We build our knowledge from such unassailable facts. Its a very straightforward point and I don’t see how people can confuse it.

>> But at the risk of starting the flame-ups all over again, what cheeses me off is the insistence of the blind that no one else must be able to see, either.<<

<<When did I ever say this?>>

No, Moon, you haven’t, and I didn’t mean to include you in that slam. The trouble with the boards is that we can’t always include all necessary disclaimers. But there have been those on these boards who’ve said as much, and I stand by my words. Still, my apologies to you personally. You have been more fair to me than any others I’ve disagreed with.

<<What is wrong, though, is when you imply that I’m a blind idiot because I haven’t “seen” the same “truths” as you.>>

Geez, Moon, see the above. Again, you seem generally more open to true debate than many others around. You’re certainly not a *blind idiot* in my book. But I’ll confess I often find your views hazy; no offense intended, honest.

<<I mean, imagine, living in a world with over three and a half billion blind idiots!>>

Really, I think most people believe the same essential eternal truths. Its just that, for one reason or another, the issues are obfuscated. The devout Buddhist and the devout Christian are actually on the same road. In short, our differences are often less than they appear: I’m no ( forgive me, Filops and StarFuryD4 etcetera ) raving fundamentalist. Yet I find it invigorating to argue the details. It shows that ( A ) we’re interested in truth and ( B ) the details count, too.

Marty

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-25 16:14:08 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

Sorry I went off a little there in my last post. Thank you, Marty, for the clarification.

<<Well, maybe I’ve missed something, Moon, but you seem not to buy any self-evidence at all.>>

Not true. I, too, find it self-evident that you are using a computer to compose and transmit your posts. I also find it self-evident that your computer uses semi-conductors. What is not self-evident is, say, you are using a Mac. This might not be true. Now, things that are self-evident have certain irrefutable evidence that show them to be thus(hence the term “-evident”). What I’m saying is that, on this board(and other places), terms like self-evident have been used to “prove” things for which there is no evidence, one way or another.

For instance, on the issue of an Afterlife(BTW, I simply cannot wait for that game), I was continually told that I was being blind in not seeing how “self-evident” it was that there was an afterlife. To a point, I agreed that component particles do continue one long after our death, but that was all the self-evident I could see. It certainly didn’t say anything about what happens to our intelligence(soul, whatever). I was then denuded again because I was ignoring the “self-evident”.

Things are continuously pointed out here as being self-evident. But when the time comes to actually state the evidence, the only things that are posted are wildly disputable and have been wildly disputed for the entirety of Human civilization.

BTW, debate-shemate. What I come here for is Discussion! Whether or not we actually debate something that might have an “answer” is secondary to simply sharing ideas.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-25 20:12:05 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

BTW, I just thought of something else. Martycos has said that:

“And nothing, no thing whatsoever, is proveable without self-evidence.”

There are many things I can think of off the top of my head that are not self-evident, and yet are proveable.
Light, for instance. It is not self-evident that light is a wave, nor is it self-evident that light is a particle. Only by experimentation and trial can it be proven that light is a wave(or light is a particle, depending on what you’re looking for).
Similarly, it is not self-evident that hydrochloric acid is bad for you. Cursory evaluation shows it to be simple water(colorless, odorless, and, ick, tasteless). Through experimentation and trial, you can find that HCl is not water, and if ingested in enough quantity at high enough concentration, can kill you.

These are but two examples of things in nature that are not self-evident, yet proveable. There are more.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-26 01:09:45 EDT
From: MythoPhile
Posted on: America Online

<<What I come here for is Discussion! Whether or not we actually debate something that might have an “answer” is secondary to simply sharing ideas.>>
This really says it all, IMHO. It took me awhile to figure out that what cheesed off the opposition most of all was the thought that, far from sitting back and sounding profound to one another about the Imponderable, the questions might actually have answers.
What’s the bloody good of asking questions that don’t have answers? To impress each other? Or of insisting that there can’t be answers, known or otherwise (the “all religions are true” BS).
The world, and especially these modern times, really hates people who insist that they really know what they believe. Ever since the 60’s, the politically correct thing is to insist that everyone is right and pat oneself on the back for one’s open-mindedness.
P.S. This comment is directed simply and solely to anyone to whom it happens to apply, the above launching-point being only that.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-26 12:05:48 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

HFMoon:

I don’t mean to say that all truth is self-evident but that all truth is ultimately based on self-evidence. I agree with you about light waves and the harm of hydrocloric acid. But notice that light was seen ( self-evident ) before it was studied, as was HCL. From self-evidence we employ trial and error and reason ( among other things, perhaps ) to form valid proofs of more complex truths.

Marty.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-26 15:43:39 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

<< What’s the bloody good of asking questions that don’t have answers? To impress each other? Or of insisting that there can’t be answers, known or otherwise (the “all religions are true” BS).>>

What’s the bloody good of saying “Here is the answer” to questions that have baffled countless minds for thousands of years? What makes you think we can find the ultimate answers? What’s wrong with sharing our ideas and increasing our understanding of the questions without being so hell-bent on find the “one, true” answer that has eluded the entire species(as a whole, mind you) since the begining of civilization? yeesh…

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-26 15:46:54 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

<<But notice that light was seen ( self-evident ) before it was studied, as was HCL. From self-evidence we employ trial and error and reason ( among other things, perhaps ) to form valid proofs of more complex truths.>>

I’m sorry, but what does this mean? Yes, light was seen, so therefor it’s nature is self-evident? Or is it self-evident that it exists? If it’s the second, well, that’s just silly. And it doesn’t help your argument.
To get back to specifics, the afterlife. It’s been said that it’s self-evident that there is an afterlife. I whole-hearedly disagree, and the fact that no evidence for it’s existance(or nonexistance) exists kind of precludes the self-evidence of it, doesn’t it?

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-27 00:42:44 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

<<Yes, light was seen, so therefor it’s nature is self-evident? Or is it self-evident that it exists? If it’s the second, well, that’s just silly. And it doesn’t help your argument.
To get back to specifics, the afterlife. It’s been said that it’s self-evident that there is an afterlife. I whole-hearedly disagree, and the fact that no evidence for it’s existance(or nonexistance) exists kind of precludes the self-evidence of it, doesn’t it?>>

Hard knowledge is silly? Gee whiz, guy, I don’t know what to say. If you hadn’t seen light you could never have questioned the specifics of light. You built your knowledge on a self-evidence, which by definition would be obvious. It reminds me of my education professors who said memory was the lowest and least important ( almost silly ) form of knowledge. Yet how important is it if you’re on trial for your life ( or when your wife’s birthday’s coming up?:).

The afterlife may not really be self-evident, I suppose, yet I think it is. But it can be perceived through our intellect through rational consideration of sentient life. To create sentience only to destroy it is not reasonable: intellect deserves more respect than that. Ergo, an afterlife.

Marty

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-27 00:48:27 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

<<What’s the bloody good of saying “Here is the answer” to questions that have baffled countless minds for thousands of years? What makes you think we can find the ultimate answers? What’s wrong with sharing our ideas and increasing our understanding of the questions without being so hell-bent on find the “one, true” answer that has eluded the entire species(as a whole, mind you) since the begining of civilization? yeesh…>>

We can find ultimate answers because we have an intellect we can trust. We need ultimate answers so that we know in our proximate worlds right from wrong, the good from the bad. As I’ve said before, if there are no final answers then all debate is mere gainsaying and therefore meaningless. If everybody COULD be right, nobody CAN be wrong, and we waste our time by debate. And the one true answer really only eludes those who don’t want to find it.

Marty

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-27 19:09:18 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

<<Hard knowledge is silly? Gee whiz, guy, I don’t know what to say.>>

Ah, no. That’s not what I said. What I was refering to is the idea that you’re using “self-evidence” in an oddly broad way. Yes, it is self-evident that light exists. There is nothing else that can be said about the self-evidence of light.
What I’m saying is silly is the idea that everything provable is first self-evident, and then afirming that idea by saying “It’s self-evident that light exists, therefor all our knowledge of light is based on self-evindence”.

Let’s put it another way. Anything proveable first has to exist. There, that’s obvious. It’s also silly to make it a major point of discussion, since the self-evidence of the existance of ANYTHING apparently depends on it first existing. Why bother with these circles?

>>The afterlife may not really be self-evident, I suppose, yet I think it is.<<

Okay, this is now beliefs we’re discussing here. That’s fine, as long as we’ve moved away from the “It self-evident, you fool!” style we were in.

>> But it can be perceived through our intellect through rational consideration of sentient life. To create sentience only to destroy it is not reasonable: intellect deserves more respect than that. Ergo, an afterlife.

Marty<<

Oh boy. Now you’re applying rationality to nature? That’s dangerous. We don’t really have a broad base of study, though, do we? We only know of one(count ’em, 1) sentient species, right? And yes, while it does grate on most of us to think of simple destruction of such elegant and bueatiful creations such as ourselves, there’s no evidence that nature(God, whatever you wish to use here) feels the same. Numerous beutiful things in nature are rendered non-existant.

Besides, the idea that “To create sentience only to destroy it is not reasonable: intellect deserves more respect than that.” is most definitely a philosophical one. Arguments like it can do wonders for our beliefs and morals, but do bupkis for our factual knowledge.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-27 19:16:06 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

<<If everybody COULD be right, nobody CAN be wrong, and we waste our time by debate.>>

And yet if ONLY I am right, then debate is pointless. There is no point in me even paying attention to your arguments because I am possesor of the “Ultimate Truth”(BTW this is a philosophy that has hurt the discussion on this board to no end, though no one here now seems to be a victim of it).

However, if we choose to share Ideas without worrying about “ultimate Truths”, our personal philosphies can be helped along, as, say, mine has been.

And there’s the final problem. What if, after you’ve found the “Ultimate Truth”(this is your interpretation, when you start blanking out every other philosphy), you find out, jarringly, that you’re wrong?

I’m ready for it, are you?

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-27 19:16:53 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

One last thing…

<< And the one true answer really only eludes those who don’t want to find it.>>

or, similarly, those who think they’ve already found it.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-28 03:08:56 EDT
From: JVibber
Posted on: America Online

The horse is dead.
The horse is dead.
The horse is dead.
The horse is dead.
The horse is dead.
The horse is dead.
The horse is dead.
The horse is dead.
The horse is dead.
The horse is dead.
The horse is dead.
The horse is dead.

Now, will you stop beating it?
Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-28 18:58:50 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

Oh, fine. Just ruin all our fun. I guess that’s the end of this round of discussion(what little we were having)….

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-28 19:04:55 EDT
From: Songokuten
Posted on: America Online

>><< And I hope someone saved a copy of the Duel, ’cause I lost mine.>>

You want a copy? I distributed it out as comedy once, and I still have my copy.<<

Yes please!

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-28 19:08:58 EDT
From: Songokuten
Posted on: America Online

>>Further, accusations of self-evidence depending on what Marty says are your words, not mine. I exist; my computer is in front of me; your response to my latest post is on the corner of my screen as I type my response to that. These are not dependent on my faith but are true in and of themselves. Its more like, ” It’s the truth, so I believe it. ” and emphatically not the truth because I believe it. We build our knowledge from such unassailable facts. Its a very straightforward point and I don’t see how people can confuse it.<<

Marty, what he’s saying is you haven’t even MENTIONED the blasted facts yet, whether or not they’re provable. Those that you have mentioned, you’ve admitted to basing on faith. So what facts do you want to tell us. We’ve been arguing over whether or not something can *be* self evident; just tell us what facts you have so we can argue about something new!

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-28 19:10:47 EDT
From: Songokuten
Posted on: America Online

>>The devout Buddhist and the devout Christian are actually on the same road.<<

Except that a Buddhist doesn’t believe in Jesus..

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-28 19:14:22 EDT
From: Songokuten
Posted on: America Online

>>Similarly, it is not self-evident that hydrochloric acid is bad for you. Cursory evaluation shows it to be simple water(colorless, odorless, and, ick, tasteless). Through experimentation and trial, you can find that HCl is not water, and if ingested in enough quantity at high enough concentration, can kill you.<<

I’d like to know how you found this one out… (“Anyone want to make some quick money taste-testing water?”)

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-28 19:20:36 EDT
From: Songokuten
Posted on: America Online

>>The afterlife may not really be self-evident, I suppose, yet I think it is. But it can be perceived through our intellect through rational consideration of sentient life. To create sentience only to destroy it is not reasonable: intellect deserves more respect than that. Ergo, an afterlife. <<

As self-evidence, I find this to be somewhat shaky (at best). As a faith, I understand, but one cannot prove that, because something deserves respect, it gets an afterlife. Besides, Rodney Dangerfeild would have some words on the respect part and Dennis Miller would take the intellect section.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-28 19:25:24 EDT
From: Songokuten
Posted on: America Online

>>The horse is dead.
The horse is dead.
The horse is dead.
The horse is dead.
The horse is dead.
The horse is dead.
The horse is dead.
The horse is dead.
The horse is dead.
The horse is dead.
The horse is dead.
The horse is dead.

Now, will you stop beating it?<<

“Wiiiilbur, dial 9 1 1!”

Subj: Re:Rel., B5, Gethsemane (pt. I
Date: 96-06-29 01:33:52 EDT
From: Ckekjk
Posted on: America Online

Hello,

This is my first post on this forum and I shall be brief, with none of the shrillness evident in my posings on other boards. I read Bill’s thoughts on “Getsemane” with avid interest and wish to add neither opinion not knowledge as I disdain the one and lack the other. However, I see a possible conflict arising within “Geths” regarding the platonic ideal of the teleological goal of punishment being the healing of the afflicted soul in question, which is predicated upon the assertion that in any injutice it is the perpetrator that is the most unhappy of all parties(See Plato Laws, Gorgias, et Boethius Consolatio), and the modern ideal of punishment as primarily a means of “balancing the books” and for mollification and edification of society outside of the criminal party per se, (See Machiavelli, Hobbes “Leviathan”), which also centers itself upon the basis that the victim is paramount, upon which all modern discussions of punishment are conducted from analyses of comparative victimization (Nobody would dare say on TV that Ted Bundy received mercy in the form of death). The death of personality seems to fufill all of Plato’s desires for what is to be done with the terminally ill soul, however this solution inevitably raises a problem in that the object of aggreivement still exists in the physical person of the criminal, creating a magnet for the opprobrium of the aggreived party whether individual or group. It really bring the clash of these two world views on the nature of the just into sharp relief. Please write with help for me, a man of little learning and scanty talent, I appreciate it and need it.
Tim
Vale!

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-29 11:48:10 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

<<Ah, no. That’s not what I said. What I was refering to is the idea that you’re using “self-evidence” in an oddly broad way. Yes, it is self-evident that light exists. There is nothing else that can be said about the self-evidence of light.
What I’m saying is silly is the idea that everything provable is first self-evident, and then afirming that idea by saying “It’s self-evident that light exists, therefor all our knowledge of light is based on self-evindence”

Let’s put it another way. Anything proveable first has to exist. There, that’s obvious. It’s also silly to make it a major point of discussion, since the self-evidence of the existance of ANYTHING apparently depends on it first existing. Why bother with these circles?>>

Well, Moon, you understand this. But many who have posted on this board don’t. Yes, something so obvious sounds silly to the thinking mind. But we can’t help sound a little silly when we run up against those who say that the self-evidence of my existence is unreliable. We have to affirm even obvious truths when they’re denied.

BTW, I still think the afterlife is obvious. But i think it proveable, too, for those who won’t accept the virtual self-evidence of the question.

<<Oh boy. Now you’re applying rationality to nature? That’s dangerous. We don’t really have a broad base of study, though, do we? We only know of one(count ’em, 1) sentient species, right? And yes, while it does grate on most of us to think of simple destruction of such elegant and bueatiful creations such as ourselves, there’s no evidence that nature(God, whatever you wish to use here) feels the same. Numerous beutiful things in nature are rendered non-existant.>>

Ah, but nature is reliably rational. Things must do what they’re made to do. How else do we know comets will return or acid will burn or wood will hold up houses? Nature is perfectly rational: it follows patterns. We’re the ones who get irrational.

And philosophic truths are just as important as hard factual truths. It’s how we realy get to know ourselves and our responsibilities to others.

Marty.
Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-29 11:49:10 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

<<And yet if ONLY I am right, then debate is pointless. There is no point in me even paying attention to your arguments because I am possesor of the “Ultimate Truth”(BTW this is a philosophy that has hurt the discussion on this board to no end, though no one here now seems to be a victim of it).>>

The fact is that once right has been establish open debate is pointless. The only thing left is instruction. But notice here the insinuation that Marty believes he’s right and others wrong. It is partly true; but I give you the same credit for yourself. But it partly isn’t. I debate to find the areas in which I’ve erred so I can correct myself. What I’m arguing for is open-mindedness on open questions but close-mindedness on closed. Not, whether you believe this or not, whether I personally am right.

<<However, if we choose to share Ideas without worrying about “ultimate Truths”, our personal philosphies can be helped along, as, say, mine has been.>>

We’ve helped each other not one iota. We’ve made ourselves cynical, self-satisfied, and arrogant, because none of us are wrong.

<<And there’s the final problem. What if, after you’ve found the “Ultimate Truth”(this is your interpretation, when you start blanking out every other philosphy), you find out, jarringly, that you’re wrong?

I’m ready for it, are you?>>

But with all due respect, you aren’t ready for it. By refusing to prepare for the future on the grounds that you don’t know what the future holds in store, you aren’t ready for anything. Better to take the chance and postulate so far as possible on the ultimate end of humanity. At least you’d be ready for something.

Marty

 

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-29 13:04:10 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

<<I’d like to know how you found this one out… (“Anyone want to make some quick money taste-testing water?”)>>

Well, let me just say that bases are quite slippery(especially when on the outside of the container), and titration of acids and bases can be a , um, dangerous experiment.
(You should have seen me, though. I looked like a fool shoving my mouth under the rinsing sink…)

Subj: Re:Rel., B5, Gethsemane (pt. I
Date: 96-06-29 13:05:49 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

<<Please write with help for me, a man of little learning and scanty talent, I appreciate it and need it.
Tim
Vale!>>

Well, you kicked my butt. Nice post.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-29 13:06:52 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

<<BTW, I still think the afterlife is obvious. But i think it proveable, too, for those who won’t accept the virtual self-evidence of the question.>>

How? Show me one thing(based on facts, not faith) that makes it obvious?

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-29 13:08:15 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

<<Ah, but nature is reliably rational. Things must do what they’re made to do. How else do we know comets will return or acid will burn or wood will hold up houses? Nature is perfectly rational: it follows patterns. We’re the ones who get irrational.>>

That’s an interesting definition of rational, but, for the sake of argument, I’ll buy it. Yes, Nature does follow it’s own rules, so yes, it is Rational. But what, pray tell, makes nature Reasonable?

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-29 13:11:01 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

<<And philosophic truths are just as important as hard factual truths. It’s how we realy get to know ourselves and our responsibilities to others.

Marty.>>

Yes, Marty, that’s exactly what I said. What I also said was that Philosophy is needed for knowing *ourselves*, but facts are what are needed for knowing our surroundings. What I thouroughly object to on this board is the ease with which philosophical deductions and factual evidence are interchanged, leading to statements of absolute factual proof based on faith.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-29 13:13:43 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

<<The fact is that once right has been establish open debate is pointless. The only thing left is instruction. But notice here the insinuation that Marty believes he’s right and others wrong. It is partly true; but I give you the same credit for yourself.>>

Oh, certainly. And, for the record, I was more refering to those who refuse to get into discussion than I was you.

<<But it partly isn’t. I debate to find the areas in which I’ve erred so I can correct myself. What I’m arguing for is open-mindedness on open questions but close-mindedness on closed. Not, whether you believe this or not, whether I personally am right.>>

We agree greatly here. One point, though. Would you care to define for us exactly what are the “Closed” questions?

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-29 13:14:53 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>><<However, if we choose to share Ideas without worrying about “ultimate Truths”, our personal philosphies can be helped along, as, say, mine has been.>>

We’ve helped each other not one iota. We’ve made ourselves cynical, self-satisfied, and arrogant, because none of us are wrong.<<

Well, quiet simply, I disagree. I hope that we all have made each other think about our beliefs, if nothing else. Changing another’s beliefs is not the point.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-06-29 13:16:00 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

>>I’m ready for it, are you?>>

But with all due respect, you aren’t ready for it.<<

Well, that’s your opinion, and I’ll disagree with it.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-07-01 20:44:42 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online
<<That’s an interesting definition of rational, but, for the sake of argument, I’ll buy it. Yes, Nature does follow it’s own rules, so yes, it is Rational. But what, pray tell, makes nature Reasonable?>>

Well, I don’t really mean that nature is reasonable. I’ll concede, too, that the term rational is probably too anthropomorphic. But nature must act as she’s made to, and reason has nothing to do with it. Now, you could ask for the reason behind creation. But that must be answered more on a case by case basis. Although we can have some general conclusions when sentience is a part of one’s nature: hence the conclusion there is an afterlife.

Marty.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-07-01 20:48:10 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

Closed questions, eh, Moon?

The existence of God.

That man is a rational, political, and social animal.

That 2001: A Space Odyssey is the greatest movie ever :).

Geez, this could take awhile, Can we start with these?

Marty.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-07-02 16:55:30 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

<<Although we can have some general conclusions when sentience is a part of one’s nature: hence the conclusion there is an afterlife.>>

Of course, we only know that sentience is is a part of our nature while we are alive. We have no evidence for any other part of our “cycle”(i.e., pre-birth, life, after-death). With no evidence for any other situation than that of life, we can make any conclusion we want about an afterlife or a prelife.
No evidence, hence, no self-evidence.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-07-02 16:56:46 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

<<The existence of God.>>

Well, that’s just annoying. We obviously are not going to agree about these closed questions..

(well, except that 2001 one…)
Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-07-02 22:57:01 EDT
From: MythoPhile
Posted on: America Online

<<No evidence, hence, no self-evidence.>>
Well, that’s an interesting piece of sophistry. I, for one, have no “evidence” that 1+1=2. This is PRECISELY what makes it self-evident, insofar as it’s true at all.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-07-03 19:27:49 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

<<I, for one, have no “evidence” that 1+1=2. This is PRECISELY what makes it self-evident, insofar as it’s true at all.>>

Oh boy. You have no evidence that 1+1=2?(so much for all those math classes) Yet it’s self evident? Interesting.
Yet, by what you’ve said, 1+1=2 is only “self-evident” if it does exist. How do you prove it exists? Well, you carry out the experiment(that is, you add one of anything to one of anything else and check to see if you have two.)

So, then how is 1+1=2 self-evident? By the fact(evidence) that you add one and one and get two.

So, tell me, how is the existence of an afterlife self-evident?

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-07-03 19:30:35 EDT
From: Ckekjk
Posted on: America Online

I really hate this line of discussion for one reason:

The reason is that all philosophical systems must start from a series of “self evident” postulates as all perceived sensory “fact” can be ontologicall challenged. Ontology is fun,but in the end a fairly vain and useless exercise. please stop and focus on meatier questions on right, wrong, and the just.

Here’s a good topic: If the Narn are a dying race is Vir’s wife right in saying that they are inferior in that they may lack a certain virtue necessary to their continued survival vs. the other powers.

Or:
The centauri are a declining empire. What is the exegenesis of imperial decline, and is our beloved country or civilization succeptible to it, or is it underway already?

PLEASE MORE INTERESTING TOPICS!!!!!!
VALE!, Zaijian!

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-07-03 19:35:11 EDT
From: Ckekjk
Posted on: America Online

I expect the next posts to be much better, I already gave a good start to a good discussion regarding “Gethsemane”. If nobody starts a better topic I shall begin with both of the above. However, I shall be very dissapointed in all of you!

Waiting with anticipation

CKEKJK

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-07-04 00:37:16 EDT
From: MythoPhile
Posted on: America Online

<<Oh boy. You have no evidence that 1+1=2?(so much for all those math classes) Yet it’s self evident? Interesting.>>
Moon, I’m not going to start up with you again, because all you do is gainsay without any interest in rational debate. You know perfectly well what I’m saying. Axioms = self-evidence = things that cannot be proved because without assuming them we can prove nothing
My only point was that self-evidence is the opposite of evidence, and that you are using the English language to make a point that the real meaning of the words, regardless of unfortunate terminology, does not support. I suspect you know this perfectly well, and in any case keep your little “oh boys” to yourself. To me they translate, “Oh, wow! He finally said something I can jump down his throat about if I twist it around.” That’s precisely why you’re not worth it. (FYI if I do not respond to your response do not taken it as a sign of victory, only exasperation and a reminder of why I don’t bother anymore and of how this folder was murdered by sophists)

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-07-04 00:57:23 EDT
From: MythoPhile
Posted on: America Online

Interesting question, Ckekjk. (What’s a nice guy like you doing in a seedy neighborhood like this? 😉 )

<< If the Narn are a dying race is Vir’s wife right in saying that they are inferior in that they may lack a certain virtue necessary to their continued survival vs. the other powers.>>
Well, the only evidence we have that the Narn are a dying race is from a guy who says things to confuse people rather than to relay information, and he also said that the Centauri were equally a dying race, so there’s no sense of superiority there.
I think history is full of examples of the superior falling to the inferior (the Greeks were superior to the Romans in many fields, just not fields that lended themselves to stopping an invasion. The Romans in turn were leagues ahead of the German barbarians who totalled them). The idea that lack of survival = inferiority is, IMHO, that “worship of success” stuff that I posted on in one of the Trek-bashing folders. Whatever the scientific truth may be, I for one do not believe in the Wagnerian-Darwinian “evolutionary” philosophy of the last couple hundred years which basically says that what comes later is better than what came before, that things are always basically improving. (For most of the history of the world, until the Rennaissance, people believed the exact opposite)
The Narn may lack some quality it takes to survive, but this is not necessarily a deficiency of virtue. Self-sacrifice is a virtue, blind self-preservation generally is not. Then again the fall of the Narn (if it happens at all) may just be due to bad luck and circumstance, not any fatal flaw at all.

<<The centauri are a declining empire. What is the exegenesis of imperial decline, and is our beloved country or civilization succeptible to it, or is it underway already?>>
This one’s pretty simple. People get spoiled rotten. Is our society? Is there any question? Can we turn it around? Sure. There are some promising signs. But the “bread and circuses” attitude has got to give. Douglas Adams said it best and most succintly: All societies pass through three phases, the how, why, and where phases – as characterized, for instances, by the questions: “How do we eat?” “Why do we eat?” and “Where shall we have lunch?”
My attitude is that turning around this pattern is a VERY difficult thing to pull off, that it was only done c. 500 years ago by the discovery of two new continents and the consequent release of a tremendous social pressure, a revitalized optimism and age of discovery, but that on the other hands we Americans have a precious, unique attitude that lends itself to turning things around just when they look their blackest.
Of course, Robert Graves could be right in “I Claudius” when he says that “It will have to get much worse before it can get any better.” People don’t otherwise make sacrifices very easily. As for the B5 situation, I think it’s pretty obvious this statement is the general rule, that it will all end in fire before any hope of a new beginning.

Subj: Rre:off to sunday school
Date: 96-07-04 08:57:45 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

Ckekjk:

All I can say is that if we can’t establish real truth via self-evidence we cannot establish right and wrong in any circumstance. That’s why the point of self-evidence is so necessary. Without it, we have nothing.

Marty.

Subj: Re:Rre:off to sunday school
Date: 96-07-04 11:14:48 EDT
From: Ckekjk
Posted on: America Online

<<All I can say is that if we can’t establish real truth via self-evidence we cannot establish right and wrong in any circumstance. That’s why the point of self-evidence is so necessary. Without it, we have nothing.>>

I agree. However it is one thing to start from self-evident postulates, and another to engage in pancretic debate worthy of Ion or Gorgias. As I said, Ontology is fun, but ultimately pointless. Let’s move on.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-07-04 14:27:26 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

<< You know perfectly well what I’m saying. Axioms = self-evidence = things that cannot be proved because without assuming them we can prove nothing>>

Then your use of the 1+1=2 example is quite faulty, as the fact that 1+1 does =2 is quite provable, and proving it is one of the first things you learn about arithmatics in grade school.

If you are of the opinion that self-evidence applies only to that which we cannot prove, then you and I will forever be in disagreement, as I fell that your idea of self-evidence is flawed.

<<Moon, I’m not going to start up with you again, because all you do is gainsay without any interest in rational debate.>>

That’s really kind of funny, Mythophile, since I felt that Marty and I were debating just fine. But if you feel the need to use your favorite words again, go ahead. Meanwhile I’ll keep debating with Martycos.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-07-04 14:29:15 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

BTW, if anyone is interested in reading my response to the second part of Mythophile’s post are just going to be disappointed, as I think this has become a matter of personal email and I will not trouble any of you with my problems.

Subj: Ckekjk’s topics
Date: 96-07-04 14:43:38 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

Ckekjk, maybe you’re right, maybe we should start something new.

I promise to give my opinions one you topics, but not right now. I’m having a hard time thinking straight right now.

Subj: On Punishment
Date: 96-07-04 17:21:09 EDT
From: Ckekjk
Posted on: America Online

In review of “gethsemane” I am struck by the realization that JMS was not aware of the modern/classical clash he created through the “Death of Personality”. This seems evident in the discussion between Delenn and Garibaldi on capital punishment. Garibaldi seems to take a Machiavellian view in that “A leader who does not punish a subject in such a way that said subject will not transgress again is either foolish or cowardly,” but spins it in clearly modern sense in that he wants a “Balancing of the Books” to favor the victim. This modernism informs the entire debate on punishment today. All arguemnts are couched in 3 forms (Deterrence: Will this punishment frighten other would be offenders into good behavior, or won’t it?;Compensation: What about the feelings/rights of the victim?; and Victimization: Is the entire concept of crime and criminal valid or flawed? And if the punishment is for the benefit of the victim, and assuming the perpetrator has also been victimized by others, is not the prior cause of greater culpability a priori?
I dissagree with all of these arguments as in my thinking (faulty as it is) all three of these rationales create a disfunctional system through treating the symptom (the executed action of the guily party) and missing the cause (this being either, lack of means for survival, desire for things not needed for survival, or pursuit of a greater pleasure)(Petty theives, serious criminals, and Tyrants or Psychopaths). These in turn may be cured through 1. provision of means, 2. Correction of faulty thought and 3. Same as 2, but in more cases than not, death, as the mind or soul is terminally ill from pursuit of a fals eros.

Subj: Re:On the Narn
Date: 96-07-04 17:31:57 EDT
From: Ckekjk
Posted on: America Online

Actually, I have deliberately poisoned this topic through the use of the word “virtue”. By this I do not mean the chastity of a woman, nor the original meaning of the manliness of a man. A better word would either be the Greek “Arete” or Chinese “De”
Arete meaning a sort of power or excellence providing comparative advantage, and “de” being an ancient cognate of another “De” meaning to obtain or achieve, and signifying that power which does achieve something. In this sense the Narn are like a favorite friend who is intelligent, handsome, wealthy and in all respects beautiful and good, but for whom nothing really goes right. And yet in the end it is the NArn who will outlive the Centauri, as their civilization seems to posess other qualites that allow them to adapt and persevere in an environment where the Centauri are more or less in a perpetual state of decline form within. Even if this decline is not directly manifested in the extemt of empire (See Gibbon)

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-07-04 19:18:29 EDT
From: Songokuten
Posted on: America Online

>>Well, let me just say that bases are quite slippery(especially when on the outside of the container), and titration of acids and bases can be a , um, dangerous experiment.
(You should have seen me, though. I looked like a fool shoving my mouth under the rinsing sink…)<<

“Boy is he thirsty!”

My titrations were always fun. The lab group next to mine mixed two indicator-laden fluids (one an acid, one a base) in their measuring pipet. Five minutes later, their layered, swirling pipet stopped fizzing.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-07-04 19:20:59 EDT
From: Songokuten
Posted on: America Online

>>That 2001: A Space Odyssey is the greatest movie ever :).<<

I agree! (I’ve been rewatching the space scenes for the thrills!)

Subj: Re:Rre:off to sunday school
Date: 96-07-04 23:40:12 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

Ckekjk:

Point taken. After my vacation, I will ( move on ).

Marty

P.S. Well, Maybe :)

Subj: Re:On Punishment
Date: 96-07-05 13:22:07 EDT
From: JVibber
Posted on: America Online

I think that part of the scene in which Garibaldi and Delenn discuss “death of personality” was as much to establish their characters as to discuss any real philosophical underpinnings of punishment vs. deterence. Garibaldi, the security guy, has a very strong sense of justice and guilt (he certainly beats himself up enough over things he has done “wrong” in his life). Delenn, on the other hand, is the ultimate caregiver — ready to sacrifice herself for anybody that truly needs saving (in whatever sense you might imagine).

But to the philosophical issue, I think that one of the main functions of the “catch them and do something to them” criminal system is to protect the rest of society from “dangerous people.” Now, what marks somebody as “dangerous” varies a lot from one society to another, and throughout history. Sometimes it is religious heretics or witches — who must be removed from the world immediately before they pollute the righteous with their dangerous ideas or sinful ways. Sometimes it is political heretics — who are usually incarcerated or banished from the country in an effort to avoid them becoming martyrs. (This tends not to work too well: witness the returns of Napoleon, Vladimir Lenin, etc. to overthrow the governments of the countries from which they were ejected). And of course, there are the killers, thieves, rapists, and con artists against whom are directed the greater bulk of criminal law. Incarceration is expensive — especially in modern, sensitive times, where criminals are housed at a cost far exceeding a lower middle-class income. Various efforts have been made to make prisons pay for themselves — road gangs, making license plates, taking in laundry (I’m serious, here), and working farms. But in general, they are expensive things to run. Our current 3-strikes policy is straining the prison budget in every state and federal region. So it quickly comes down to the questions of things like: do we execute criminals to reduce costs, do we find a way to rehabilitate them and turn them loose to do more good than harm, do we decriminalize certain things to reduce the burden in the first place, do we alter our educational focus so that fewer people become criminals? And, as Garibaldi expressed, what about the victim? Who compensates the victim? How does the victim “get his own back” either financially, emotionally, or even physically? If a criminal cuts off your finger, can you get one of his transplanted onto your hand? Will that make you feel better, or worse? If a serial killer undergoes “death of personality” and returns to your community as a schoolteacher, would you feel more or less confident about your child’s future? There are some deep questions here regarding justice, revenge, and simple expediency.

 

Subj: Re:On Punishment
Date: 96-07-05 17:17:34 EDT
From: BluuDragon
Posted on: America Online

The concept of “revenge” deals strongly with the Shadow personality, in that the “victim” risks “giving in” to his or her own hatreds, to become a criminal himself or herself. However, such criminals are much harder to detect in society than the socially-defined ones. A Star Trek: The Next Generation episode about a “witch hunt” (I forgot the name of it) basically stated that “villians who twirl their mustaches for all to see are quickly spotted, but the self-righteous, “hidden” criminals who hold respectable positions are the true challenge to fighting shadows. In this episode, a female admiral was on a self-righteous “witch hunt” to (psychologically) heal her own emotional wounds regarding a past injustice. The problem, however, is that she carried it so far that innocent, honest, and VALUABLE members of starfleet command were being accused, interrogated, and basically having their rights VIOLATED.

However, this was a starfleet admiral, a woman to be respected, and her actions were allowed to continue until it was painfully obvious to everyone. Honest people who supported her found themselves being accused, not realizing what she really was – a SHADOW, couched in “socially acceptable” clothing. In effect, her “witch hunt” was very destructive to society, in terms of harming valuable personell, and her self-righteous “high horse” soapbox crusade was seen for what it really was.

Everyone has a dark-side, and those on the side of “justice” are not immune – in fact, psychologically, those who don’t LEARN to CONTROL it, in terms of socially acceptable behavior, can actually end up doing more harm than good in disciplinary situations, because of THEIR OWN hatreds, prejudices, stereotypical beliefs, past injustice, etc.

In short, two wrongs don’t make a “right” – you just have two instead of one to deal with….

Subj: Re:On Punishment
Date: 96-07-05 17:26:27 EDT
From: BluuDragon
Posted on: America Online

>>>I dissagree with all of these arguments as in my thinking (faulty as it is) all three of these rationales create a disfunctional system through treating the symptom (the executed action of the guily party) and missing the cause (this being either, lack of means for survival, desire for things not needed for survival, or pursuit of a greater pleasure)<<<

I agree with you; according to the episode that I described, the admiral was treating what looked like SYMPTOMS of a problem to be dealt with, but they had NO BASIS in fact, as far as the reasons behind them were concerned. The result, again, was that VALUABLE people were being harmed, in effect turning the “justice” system in this case into a societal SELF-DESTRUCT mechanism. (Society was only being harmed, ultimately, in this “witch hunt”).

So, if the symptoms were pursued, but the CAUSE had no solid basis, what was the cause? Where was the cause of all this needless persecution?

The cause was in the ADMIRAL – SHE/her personal “hang-ups” can be awarded the prize for starting all of it. Fortunately, in this episode, she got what she deserved (uh, oh, that’s my shadow talking!)

Subj: Re:On the Narn
Date: 96-07-05 17:53:09 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

<<And yet in the end it is the NArn who will outlive the Centauri, as their civilization seems to posess other qualites that allow them to adapt and persevere in an environment where the Centauri are more or less in a perpetual state of decline form within. Even if this decline is not directly manifested in the extemt of empire>>

I would disagree with this, that is, in and of itself.

I would agree that what’s left of the Narn Regime(not much, if you ask me) will probably outlast the Centauri Republic, but I have my doubts that the Narn, as a people will outlast the Centauri as a people.
Though, if Vir(twenty years in the future) acts as Emperor as he acted as Liason to Minbar, perhaps the Republic will not fall completely.

Subj: Re:On the Narn
Date: 96-07-05 20:06:59 EDT
From: BluuDragon
Posted on: America Online

NO Empire lasts forever, just as no human being can expect eternal life in the material world. Every empire in humanity has had a rise, a peak, and a decline and/or Fall. A GOOD Emperor should not only be aware of, but ACCEPT this fundamental fact of life – everything in our world is impermanent, and preparation for inevitable death is essential. Hey, there are all kinds of ways you can kill an Emperor – it’s something every ruler has to deal with on a daily basis…. The important thing, to quote from “The Coming of Shadows,” is NOT “where (or how….) I *DIE,*” but the message I have to give….

I know, maybe not today, but one of these days….

aw, who cares?????

Subj: Re:On the Narn
Date: 96-07-05 20:49:59 EDT
From: SibyrTiger
Posted on: America Online

The Emperor in this episode had a much more “Gandhi”-like approach to ruling; more of a passive resistance, showing the world the injustices of Londo by sacrificing himself for a “higher” cause. Londo, on the other hand, was so obsessed with power that he was consumed by his own shadow.

What the Dragon is trying to say is that such a man is BETTER OFF DEAD than trying to “convince” to join the forces of darkness; you may have his DEAD BODY, but NEVER his “obedience.” Londo, of course, took full advantage of this situation…. Anyway, BluuDragon shouldn’t have wandered in here…. it’s a ‘bad’ habit of his, I can see…. gee, we really need a vacation from writing all of our poetry, don’t we? Still, though, the scene of Londo and Vir reminds me of the end of the first half of “Full Metal Jacket”….

Today is a GOOD day to DIE…. and the Day is NOT yet over…. anyway, we’re history, sorry about this….

Subj: Re:On Punishment
Date: 96-07-06 15:34:53 EDT
From: SibyrTiger
Posted on: America Online

A quick synopsis on Morality-Theory and Levels of Advancement:

Pre-Conventional
Stage 1 = Pure Egoism
Heinz just wants the drug because he NEEDS it – nothing else is in play, and the drawbacks to this are fairly obvious.

Stage 2 = “One Hand Washes the Other.”
Heinz would try to “bribe” the druggist by offering something other than money that the druggist finds desirable in exchange for the drug. The result is that the needs of both are satisfied, and this is the basis for corruption. Simply buying the drug using money would be on this level.

Conventional
Stage 3 = The “Golden Rule.”
This basically involves “doing unto others as if one would have them do unto you.” If one wanted to “help others” or “leave others alone”, one would hope that others would treat that person in the same way. The problem with this is that many PROJECT onto others what they think their desires SHOULD be so that they can satisfy their own (actually selfish) needs; there is no real desire to see things from the OTHER PERSON’S point of view. PERHAPS THE DRUGGIST WOULD NOT ASK HEINZ TO GIVE HIM A DRUG IF HIS WIFE WAS DYING. (If, however, the druggist would want the drug for free, or if Heinz would not have given a druggist a drug if he were in the druggist’s position, then they would have broken the “Golden Rule.”

Stage 4 = “Law & Order / The “Team Player.”
This level involves the idea that “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or of the one.” This results in a varying degree of sacrifice of individuality for the “good of the group.” The drawback to this is that the allegiance to the “group” is more important than allegiance to the “truth”, or other “less-important” groups. An example of this can be found with President Richard Nixon, who chose to put those who were loyal to him above the “good of society”, or the “truth.”
According to society, Heinz’ desire to satisfy his needs is no excuse for breaking the law, as this violates the “needs of the many.”

Post-Conventional (“Principled)
Stage 5 = “Social Contract.”
Everyone agrees to “sign a contract” to obey the laws of society. Heinz’ desire to break the laws of society would be a violation of his “contract”, but “negotiations” would be permissible. The drawback to this level is that society may have “unjust” laws that are harmful or a perversion of the “universal ethical principles.” During the VietNam War, many people thought that our government betrayed its people, and they responded by “dodging the draft” and fleeing the country.

Stage 6 = “Universal Ethical Principles.”
In this case, there is a possibility that Heinz’s desire to take the drug may be the MORAL thing to do in saving, as long as NO ONE ELSE IS GRAVELY HARMED in the process. There would be no moral point in saving people’s lives by destroying that of someone else, unless that other threatened them. The drawback to this is that, even though someone may be in touch with these principles, he or she may REJECT them and be “reincarnated” on level 1, that of PURE EGOISM. This sort of person would be the worst type of character that society would ever have to contend with.

Subj: Re:On Punishment
Date: 96-07-06 15:37:50 EDT
From: SibyrTiger
Posted on: America Online

(It’s based on the idea that Heinz needs a DRUG to CURE his wife, and his consequent exploration of morality as a result of the fact that he CAN’T GET IT through socially accepted channels: he can’t AFFORD it).

Ok, now let’s take a hypothetical example of someone WITH THE DRUG, on the highest level of moral development, who has reverted to EGOISM because he feels society is UNJUST, WORTHLESS, and FULL OF CRAP. He couldn’t care less if those in charge die a horribly painful death, and he has no fear of death himself. In fact, he goes out of his way to VIOLATE the laws of society, in order to DIE. (I mean FOR REAL, not metaphorically/symbolically, here). Because he feels the laws are unjust, he holds them in complete disregard. This is NOT “Gandhi” passive resistance, but an aggressive assault on the framework of society in general, because he feels he has NOTHING TO LOSE, at that point, and holds society in COMPLETE DISGUST & CONTEMPT. To him, he feels THEY deserve to DIE (slow and painfully, to be sure), but he knows he can’t kill the world, so he looks for a way out by finding a way for THEM, TO KILL *HIM.* Now, society might well say, why not? Let’s blow the back of this guy’s skull out, and make an “example” of him, ourselves? Kill him! Kill him! Kill him! If that’s what he wants, then why not?

Uh, oh – it turns out that this guy is VERY VALUABLE to society he has the DRUG that his wife *****CRAVES!!!!!*****- this presents a problem. Oh, no! What to do? We need him, but he wants to *KILL* US!!!! Not a pleasant situation, to say the least. If we DON’T kill him, he’ll KILL US, so we *MUST* kill him, right? It depends…. IF this guy is worthless, as I said, use him as FERTILIZER; if he’s valuable after all, then some kind of a compromise must be reached, such that the guy with the DeathWish and society agree…. Uh, oh, it turns out that society isn’t flexible in this regard – that is to say, the authorities don’t want to give up their power – they look upon it as a threat to them….

Ok, then ask the people in general who they want MORE – some OLD FARTS who have ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE ALREADY, OTHERWISE WORTHLESS, even DESTRUCTIVE to society’s interests? or the so-called PsychoPath who wants to REFORM the system? Again, it depends on what’s BEST FOR SOCIETY

IF THE OLD FARTS CAN DO WHAT THE DEATHWISH GUY CAN DO, THEN LET THEM KEEP THE LEADERSHIP, AND *ICE* the Tiger. IF NOT…. the UNDERTAKEER WILL *STILL* HAVE SOME NEW BUSINESS….

You see? (Almost) everybody wins – and it may even be fair…. the FARTS shouldn’t take it so hard though…. if there are NO LOSERS, nobody gets to be a WINNER, Right?

ok, ok, I think it’s time to take my medication (HaHa)….

Subj: Re:On Punishment
Date: 96-07-07 03:56:00 EDT
From: MythoPhile
Posted on: America Online

<<A quick synopsis on Morality-Theory and Levels of Advancement:>>
You forgot stage seven: suicide. (At least that’s what happened to the guy who made all this up.)

Subj: Re:On Punishment
Date: 96-07-07 13:01:25 EDT
From: SibyrTiger
Posted on: America Online

>>> <<A quick synopsis on Morality-Theory and Levels of Advancement:>>
You forgot stage seven: suicide. (At least that’s what happened to the guy who made all this up.)<<<

If you’ve taken Logic, you’d know that an *AD-HOMINEM* attack does NOT InValidate Kohlberg’s argument – what he did with his life is a personal matter, not a philosophical one. Still, I think you’re right – oh, well, at least he contributed something Constructive while he was alive…. when you gotta GO, you GOTTA GO….

Subj: Re:On Punishment
Date: 96-07-07 13:33:07 EDT
From: BluuDragon
Posted on: America Online

To sum up the ideas of the Tiger, beaurocrats in government, on an almost certainly lower state of moral advancement (“law & order,” usually), in their well-known proclivity for wasting time, the taxpayers money, and valuable resources, turn a VALUABLE member of society INTO A *CRIMINAL,* simply because he does not conform to their ways of thinking.

Again, if this person was of no value, then the society might not mind very much (this does differ from society to society, I agree), but with the Tiger’s model it fits into a stereotypic model that evryone is familiar with: the rulemakers and ruleenforcers that never seem to get anything done in government, bleed resources to line their own greedy pockets, and hypocritically pervert the system such that the producers are harmed, and the needers are given resources at the expense of the producers.

This may sound moral, to bleed the producers, but not if you bleed them dry. You can’t squeeze blood from a stone, and when you wake up and find that your “needers” have NOTHING, because the “Producers,” in an attempt to “reform” them, are all deemed criminals, put in jail, or somehow get killed, you have nowhere to go, but to hit “ROCK BOTTOM”….

Subj: Re:On Punishment
Date: 96-07-07 17:33:52 EDT
From: TheLip77
Posted on: America Online

Actually, if you have read Kohlberg’s writings (not secondary sources), you would would know that he wrote of a metaphorical stage 7 to explain the moral convictions of individuals like Jesus of Nazareth and Ghandi (Essays on Moral Development, 1981). Prior to his suicide he suggested that their actions stem from the answer to the question “Why be moral in an immoral world?” The answer requires going beyond the universal ethical principles of stage 6 (i.e. justice) to a cosmic perspective of the meaning of life and death and how one relates to the infinite (that is to say God). But because stage 7 had no definable structure and was not defensable in a logical cognitive way, Kohlberg did not consider this a true stage of moral development. It is a stage that is overtly mystical.

If you are going to invoke Kohlberg, consider all of his work. His suicide does not invalidate his thinking. Remember that he was extremely ill for serveral years before he took his own life.

Subj: Re:On Punishment
Date: 96-07-07 18:33:04 EDT
From: Ckekjk
Posted on: America Online

Very Interesting. I have never read kohlberg, however he sounds extremely modern, especially with such a linerar, non-teleological dialectic. What I would have to object to in the arguements as they are presented to me is that they do not prove any inherent “level” of morality per se, but are simply outlines of various contracts at differing levels of order and complexityand are rendered in almost Hobbeseian fashion. They do not advance any idea of the just life as the best or worst life, nor do they clarify the happiness of the parties involved. Frankly, Aristotle and Plato still win.

Subj: Re:On Punishment
Date: 96-07-08 01:33:11 EDT
From: MythoPhile
Posted on: America Online

<<If you’ve taken Logic, you’d know that an *AD-HOMINEM* attack does NOT InValidate Kohlberg’s argument – what he did with his life is a personal matter, not a philosophical one. >>
It wasn’t meant to be an attack. I have no problem per se with those stages – they’re as good as any one is liable to come up with by trying to apply scientific methods to human nature. (IMHO a waste of time, the defining characteristic of pseudo-science, and morally questionable, since it reduces people to the level of objects.) It was merely a *joke*, and a very old one to anyone who’s studied Kohlberg’s theories.

Subj: Re:On Punishment
Date: 96-07-08 01:44:36 EDT
From: MythoPhile
Posted on: America Online

Chekjk, I agree with your assessment of Kohlberg – ie, the modernism. He starts with the *mega* assumption of the modern world which we’ve beaten to death here, namely a denial of the doctrine of objective value. So his whole theory is an answer to question, “Ok, since morality isn’t objectively real and overarcing us whether we acknowledge it or not, what scientific fundamentals of human psychology account for the basic similarity of moral codes in all cultures?” “Ie, this can’t be real, so why do people keep coming up with it?” Then the hazy stage seven as a way of dealing with the fact that a very few people do seem a little better than scientifically explainable automatons. That he should spend his whole life coming to the conclusion that *some* very few people actually subscribe to some *higher* authority beyond his cozy little world of “science applied to humanity” is really kinda pathetic. It reminds me of Hilary Clinton’s comment at the tender age of 40 that she’d finally come to the conclusion that “There are things bigger than yourself” – as if no one ever figured that out before at their mother’s knee. That these people should spend their lives belaboring over such things only to end up baffled by something totally obvious to anyone not a slave to the materialistic viewpoint of life makes them really to be pitied… and may not, if we can get serious for a moment, be totally separable from Kohlberg’s ultimate decision.
Emily Dickinson said it best. “We murder to dissect.” If you’re going to treat people as things, then things they will be. As I say, from a scholarly psychological viewpoint, the theory’s as good as anything people will come up with. But I for one wish these people would quit the ivory halls and stick to clinical psychology. No good will come of their assumptions or their results.

Subj: Re:On Punishment
Date: 96-07-08 02:29:18 EDT
From: LyndonN
Posted on: America Online

>>>But I for one wish these people would quit the ivory halls and stick to clinical psychology. No good will come of their assumptions or their results<<<

People don’t “walk the ivory halls” of theory just for the fun of it – theories are a set of beliefs or principles that happen to fit the current body of facts, but most importantly, they are used to predict the future.

This is the constructive value of scientific theories, regardless of the branch of science in question. Theories in clinical psychology, likewise, describe patterns of personality types and dysfunction, as well as a predictable treatment that works. Without theories to fall back on, people would be prone to do exactly what you describe: feel “baffled” by a chain of events that, using psychological theories, are so easily predictable.

A case in point is Londo: the TechnoMage told him that he was “touched by Darkness,” which would grow in time, and the people “calling his name” would be his VICTIMS…. He was given MANY chances to avoid this; in “The Coming of Shadows,” his advisor told him that “There’s NO GOING BACK, once you start down that Road”…. He didn’t listen, however; his ego’s lust for power gave him no choice. He found out, supposedly, at the very end, with Vir at his throat.

Now, if he could have predicted that this would or could happen, he would have tried to avoid it every chance he could have, unless, he somehow KNEW, WANTED it to happen…. but I don’t think so in his case

Subj: Re:On Punishment
Date: 96-07-08 10:04:37 EDT
From: BadgrHaart
Posted on: America Online

>>>Now, if he could have predicted that this would or could happen, he would have tried to avoid it every chance he could have, unless, he somehow KNEW, WANTED it to happen…. but I don’t think so in his case<<<

In terms of Kelly’s Constructivist Psychology, it’s really nothing more than basic, rational common-sense

Theories are used to explain and organize a body of evidence, but also to predict or explain areas that are not known for certain. Speculation and extrapolation are their greatest value, in terms of giving the area of science some direction in which to go.

Now, if you find that your predictions come true or are somehow validated, then you know you have a good, workable theory that can equip you with a great deal of *FORESIGHT*

If your predictions DO NOT come true, then it becomes obvious, to a varying degree, that the theory needs revision in order to try to glean this ability for foresight; theories that don’t work essentially “leave you in the dark” as far as future data in your field of science is concerned.

Since this is a discussion about punishment, let’s take various theories on punishment and relate them to the effectiveness of their intended goal (isolate dangerous people from society in some way, and/or try to rehabilitate them so that they are NO LONGER dangerous to society).

Quite simply, if your “punishment” system MAKES CRIMINALS out of INNOCENT CITIZENS, then you have a Self-Destructive theory, as Chekjk brought up. If your system acheives its intented goals, then the system works.

Ok, according to Kelly, Psychological MENTAL ILLNESS is a function of, quite simply, the use of a theory about some area of science/life that DOESN’T WORK, to a varying degree. Such people, like Londo, continue to make a bigger and bigger mess out of their lives, and the lives of those around them, simply because their idea of how things are or should be explained, just doesn’t work.

So, WHY WOULD PEOPLE CONTINUE TO USE A THEORY THAT DOESN’T WORK? THEY’RE ONLY HARMING THEMSELVES AND THOSE AROUND THEM…. why not revise the theory?

The answer, in Londo’s case, has to do with his ego. His ego drives him to take control and command, even though he ENDS UP DESTROYING WHAT HE HOPES TO SAVE/PROTECT.

Subj: Re:On Punishment
Date: 96-07-08 10:13:09 EDT
From: BadgrHaart
Posted on: America Online

Oh, he sees his error eventually, and that’s the great tragedy. He DIDN’T see it when HE COULD HAVE *PREVENTED* IT from happening, BEFORE any harm was done. No, as a matter of fact, his ego probably DIDN’T ALLOW himself to see it, until it was SO PAINFULLY OBVIOUS, that no one with two eyes that work could ignore the FIRES of his MESS.

It’s sad but true, that “HindSight” is the BestSight, but that’s exactly where theories come into play.

If you can somehow anticipate it, then you can try to “nip it in the bud,” so to speak, before it becomes a total Fiasco.

Still, you’re just one person who’s part of a system. Sure, you can try to help others prevent it, and do what you can to avoid a catastrophe, but you can’t live other people’s lives for them. If they decide to mess up their lives, there’s really nothing you can do to stop them.

According to Kelly, what would a “MESS” be defined to be? Quite simply, did you get what you WANTED, or not? Did Emperor Londo get what he wanted in his quest for power? No, it took him years of growing to old age before he could truly see what he did to himself and his people.

And, because of his lack of foresight, he could ONLY see his own “BURNING CITY” when it was TOO LATE….

Subj: Re:On Punishment
Date: 96-07-08 10:28:16 EDT
From: KatiaKoala
Posted on: America Online

>>>The answer, in Londo’s case, has to do with his ego. His ego drives him to take control and command, even though he ENDS UP DESTROYING WHAT HE HOPES TO SAVE/PROTECT.<<<

Perhaps a basic, more “common sense” explaination is quite simply that Londo couldn’t admit that he was WRONG.

Instead of accepting defeat and cutting his losses regarding the Shadows, he continued on his self-destructive course until he had nothing left to protect, and nothing left to lose.

Because he didn’t cut his losses and change before it was too late, he lost it all….

Subj: Re:On Punishment
Date: 96-07-08 10:43:22 EDT
From: BluuDragon
Posted on: America Online

If a person in a psychologically professional situation actually comes out and tells you that “Life is just Messy, and that’s that,” there’s probably some reason for him to say it.

Such a person, whose own life may or may not be a mess, would certainly not subscribe to psychological theories that seek to integrate the human mind – they probably didn’t work for him, in any case….

A “CommonSense” question? Would, COULD anyone who thinks that “Life is Messy” EVER make ANYTHING, BUT a MESS? Would they have made anything BEAUTIFUL in their lives? Can they even CLEAN UP a MESS, they’ve MADE?

If they WOULD/COULD, they wouldn’t think as they do….

Subj: Re:On Punishment
Date: 96-07-08 10:46:34 EDT
From: BluuDragon
Posted on: America Online

Now, do you know what the WORST part of all, is?

IT’S A PERSON WHO MAKES A MESS, AND CANNOT ADMIT THAT HE’S *WRONG*

And so, he goes on to make more and more messes, because he can’t/won’t change because of denial, and consequently won’t adapt to try to beautify the world, instead of mess it up.

Somehow, these people need to get the message; what’s unfortunate is that a CATASTROPHE is needed to finally get through to them….

Subj: Re:On Punishment
Date: 96-07-08 11:06:55 EDT
From: LyndonN
Posted on: America Online

And so, you See, CLINICALLY/PSYCHOLOGICALLY, Messes caused by Faulty CONSTRUCTS can LITERALLY *MAKE PEOPLE MENTALLY-ILL*

Believe me, I’ve SEEN it….

But, it’s by recognizing that there are theories other than yours out there, BETTER Theories and Constructs that can MAKE THINGS BEAUTIFUL, that is the KEY to *MENTAL HEALTH*….

Subj: Re:On Punishment
Date: 96-07-08 14:20:38 EDT
From: BadgrHaart
Posted on: America Online

*****IF….***** a Clinical Psychologist’s Theories and Constructs were making *HEALTHY* individuals MENTALLY ILL/UNSTABLE, wouldn’t that be grounds for saying that they’re *INCOMPETENT?*

Doesn’t that make sense to everyone? Creating a system of punishment/psychotherapy that is DESTRUCTIVE to the Community?

Subj: Re:On Punishment
Date: 96-07-08 20:03:28 EDT
From: SibyrTiger
Posted on: America Online

>>>*****IF….***** a Clinical Psychologist’s Theories and Constructs were making *HEALTHY* individuals MENTALLY ILL/UNSTABLE, wouldn’t that be grounds for saying that they’re *INCOMPETENT?*<<<

Well, I just want to convey my Deepest RESPECT for the Local POLICE, who exhibited a great deal of TOLERANCE for my driving. You see, one of them did witness me driving through a light that was clearly RED…. at 75mph on Route 9, and yet he decided to “let it go.” I must admit, they showed more foresight than the so-called “professionals” that presided over The Creator’s psychological condition. You see, I thought someone’s BRAINS had to be SPLATTERED across the Front Page of a Newspaper, to get these MORONS to finally, well, “see the light”…. YES, The Creator WAS in a potentially SUICIDAL mood, if anything because of these “geniuses” who did a GREAT job of screwing the whole thing up….

Still, it would definitely be better for them and the Nash Family, considering that he would have turned his PoetryEngine into a MEAT-GRINDER, basically “slicing and dicing” like it was FREE, and his PERSONAL MISSION IN LIFE! Ah, community psychology, what a field….

In any case, it was the COMMUNITY, NOT the psychologists, who put everything back to “normal” – Hey, I don’t even need to take Mellaril anymore…. Oh, well, I thought I had SOMETHING in common with Kate Mulgrew….

Subj: Re:On Punishment
Date: 96-07-08 20:31:14 EDT
From: KatiaKoala
Posted on: America Online

Oh, you BAD, BAD BOY! Sinner Repent! Who’s going to have to give you your punishment? Oh, well, I guess The CREATOR’S Brains splashed across the Front Page would have been enough…. talk about “curing the disease by KILLING the PATIENT”…. didn’t they try it before????….

I don’t know, maybe it works for them…. but I’ll be watching YOU, so watch out!

Subj: Re:On Punishment
Date: 96-07-08 22:25:22 EDT
From: TheLip77
Posted on: America Online

MythoPhile & Chekjk–Kohlberg actually began with the Platonic value of justice as an objective or absolute value when he framed his theory of moral development. His theories are to mrality & ethics what Piaget is to cognitive development. Please do not assume that Kohlberg is a modernist. His views strong;y reflect the thinking of Plato.

His stages of moral development are explanation of the stages one goes through as one matures in a moral/ethical sense. There are of course other theories backed by research (Jerome Kagan) but none are as strongly held as Kohlberg’s. I have not taken the time to review this entire folder so I may have missed your answer to the following question. “What drives one individual to sacrifice his/her life for another?” Kohlberg might suggest that individual has an understanding of of his/her role in the big picture that others don’t. Why was Socrates willing to be put to death unjustly? What was it that drove Kosh to his decision? Why was Sheridan willing to die for Delenn? These are the questions Kohlberg attempted to answer, and he began with the classic greek philosophies.

Subj: Re:On Punishment
Date: 96-07-09 00:05:03 EDT
From: Ckekjk
Posted on: America Online

<<Kohlberg actually began with the Platonic value of justice as an objective or absolute value when he framed his theory of moral development. His theories are to mrality & ethics what Piaget is to cognitive development. Please do not assume that Kohlberg is a modernist. His views strong;y reflect the thinking of Plato.>>

Unfortunately I have never had a chance to read Kohlberg, and I was only able to go on what you had written for our benefit previously. Actually, I would like you to do us a favor. please tell us from exactly which points in Platonic philosophy he generates his system. From what you wrote I can see little basis for not calling him modern.
My major question is this: All of the stuctures you outlined are contractual in form, and are oriented to a specific contingent end. In Platonic philosophy the end of all justice is pleasure (See: Republic), the philosopher being both the most just and happiest of men, independent of the attitudes of others, and as such both his justice and pleasure are non-contractual as they are pure, not admixed with the non-deliberative parts of the tripartite soul, and not contingent upon outside actors.

Subj: Re:On Punishment
Date: 96-07-09 00:06:36 EDT
From: Ckekjk
Posted on: America Online

Please outline in greater detail where his thought reflects Plato.

Subj: UNIVERSALprinciples
Date: 96-07-09 09:44:07 EDT
From: BluuDragon
Posted on: America Online

OK, here it comes: I agree with everything everyone has said about Stage 6; that Kohlberg was influenced heavily by Plato’s idea of universal, absolute “Forms,” that are HIGHLY ABSTRACT, and hence UNPROVABLE and UNTEACHABLE using logic or other rational means. However, they CAN be experienced by the individual, and that is basically how the final stage is reached (references other than Plato are included, but after all, these forms are UNIVERSAL in Nature:….

VIRTUE – THAT WHICH CAN BE SOUGHT, BUT NOT TAUGHT
In his writings and dialogues, Plato brings up the concept of virtue and exactly what it means. Through Socrates, Plato makes a point of showing the difficulty in confining virtue by definition. In Plato’s dialogues, Socrates uses the “Socratic Method” to discredit an individual’s argument. Usually, Socrates would go out of his way to disprove the ideas of men who thought they were totally secure about their thoughts on virtue. This mode of reasoning dictates that the individual first make a general statement or take a certain position on a subject that he wholeheartedly supports. Socrates then asks the individual more questions about different beliefs, until he makes an assertion that contradicts his first statement. When Socrates confronts the individual with this contradiction, the individual usually retracts his first statement. In this way, Socrates has been able to successfully refute many sophist’s hypotheses on virtue. In general, these men have tried to proscribe rules, use examples, or employ behavioral characteristics to define virtue, a practice that Socrates proves to be completely invalid. However, this leaves the concept of virtue without a definition. In Plato’s Meno , Meno bluntly asks Socrates if virtue can be taught. Socrates replies that he cannot answer the question because he doesn’t fully understand the nature of virtue. In other words, Socrates is very good at recognizing false definitions of virtue but cannot supply one of his own. He has observed that some men of very low social status (he questions a slave) possess some virtue, while some sons of virtuous men have none at all. This leads him to believe that virtue is a quality of the soul, an assertion which makes him wonder whether virtue can be taught or not. Finally, he notices that there don’t seem to be any teachers or learners of virtue, and therefore assumes that it cannot be taught, but draws no final conclusion. The question remains, then – can virtue be taught? If so, then who are the teachers? If not, then how does one attain it?

First of all, in Plato’s Apology , Charephon claimed to have heard the Delphic oracle say that Socrates was the wisest of men. Despite this, Socrates could not understand the nature of virtue. This implies that the nature of virtue is beyond human understanding. Surely, if Socrates could not comprehend it, then no one could, at least not at that time. Even Protagoras, the greatest of sophists, admitted in Plato’s Protagoras that he didn’t really know what virtue was. Eventually, Socrates concluded that the oracle was right: whereas others are unaware of or unwilling to admit their limitations, Socrates at least knows and acknowledges his own ignorance. This realization is closely related to a classic axiom of wisdom: that only a fool would be presumptuous enough to consider himself to be wise. Certainly, men like Euthyphro in Euthyphro , who thought they knew the first and last word on virtue, were completely ignorant of it. Nicias, who thought himself to be courageous yet had himself and his men massacred at Sicily, clearly illustrated the difference between virtue and foolhardiness. There is a verse in the Chinese Tao-te Ching which states: “He who thinks he knows (the ultimate truth), doesn’t know. He who knows that he doesn’t know, knows.” In this context, to have a final conclusion about virtue is to be wrong, and to admit that you cannot know the absolute nature of virtue is to be wise.

Subj: Re:UNIVERSALprinciples
Date: 96-07-09 09:46:04 EDT
From: BluuDragon
Posted on: America Online

Basically, the concept of virtue is perfect and therefore is a Platonic “form” to be sought after. Because it is so perfect, it transcends human thought. It even transcends its own name, because it is even more perfect than we think it should be. “The name that can be named is not the eternal name”, according to the Tao-Te Ching . The name “virtue” doesn’t represent the form, but rather it implies and suggests it. Time and space (in a Kantian sense) form the sensibilities that our experiences are based on. Our senses are enclosed in the three dimensional field of time and space, and our minds are enclosed in the frame of our categories of thought. Within this field, man cannot avoid causing evil for someone through his everyday actions, meaning that man cannot be totally without vice. The ultimate definition of virtue that one wants to understand, however, is not enclosed in this realm. One tries to enclose it as one tries to grasp it. The transcendent transcends all of these categories of thinking. Existence and nonexistence are two of those categories – the meaning of the word “virtue” transcends these categories, although the word itself is found inside them. In short, Kant would say that “virtue” cannot be seen “in itself” – it therefore cannot truly be “known.”

While the total concept of virtue might not be attainable in its entirety, Socrates proves in Meno that there are many people who obviously have some virtue. It is also obvious that there are a few people who have a great deal of virtue. As a matter of fact, some of these few people have been romanticized to the point where they have come to represent virtue in history. For example, Mahatma Gandhi, the man who was instrumental in the liberation of India from the British Empire, has come to be known as one of the most virtuous men that ever lived. This is because he was able to separate India from the British Empire while not engaging in or endorsing any form of violence. These “champions” of virtue have become very close to it, as they have devoted all of their lives to it. A typical “champion” usually starts out as a normal person that has had something dear to him taken from him, or simply feels that there is something missing in the normal rituals that are found in his respective society. This person then takes off on a series of adventures beyond the ordinary, either to recover what was taken from him or to find that answer to life that he desperately needs. In order for the “champion” to go on this search for virtue, a man must first sacrifice much in order to facilitate the journey. He might perhaps leave his family and friends, be prevented from earning as much money ashe has the potential to earn, and perhaps even remain celibate for the rest of his life. Basically, the “champion” sacrifices the pleasures of life to a higher ideal that transcends life. The ultimate trial for the “champion” is to lose himself in this search, to give himself, body and soul, to this inward end. By paying this price, the “champion” opens the door to an understanding of virtue that is far greater than any normal man could have.

 
Subj: Re:UNIVERSALprinciples
Date: 96-07-09 09:47:30 EDT
From: BluuDragon
Posted on: America Online

Obviously, this search is not an easy one; rather, it is filled with suffering and pain. However, this is part of the reason why the “champion” goes on the search to begin with. The adventure that leads to the answer that the “champion” seeks is in itself a reward, because through it the “champion’s” knowledge of the world is increased and his character strengthened through suffering. Suffering is a very important experience for the “champion”, because it is an integral part of life for so much of humanity. Through suffering, one gains wisdom on the virtue of justice, because it broadens one’s point of view so that he can see things in a more objective light. There is an example that illustrates the fact that social status can determine man’s view of justice – it involves three fishes. There is a small fish in front, and a larger fish is just about to eat him from behind. Behind the larger fish is a huge fish that is about to eat the larger fish. The small fish says that there is no justice in the world, the larger fish says that there is some justice in the world, and the huge fish thinks that there is definitely justice in the world. Also, the “champion” can be aided in his understanding of compassion, for only through suffering can the “champion” truly understand and have empathy for what the destitute and impoverished must go through in their daily lives. As a matter of fact, the word “compassion” literally means “suffering with”; that is to say, it means the act of participating in suffering with one’s fellow man. (In Protagoras , Socrates would say that, because one chooses to suffer, suffering must be “pleasant”! This statement is obviously irrational, but one could say that the choice is a reasoned one in that one wants to gain wisdom through suffering.) In short, there are a few men in this world who are or were very virtuous in their lives. They have achieved that level of virtue through a difficult and painful search for an understanding of virtue that they think should be part of their lives, yet was initially absent. If anyone is qualified to teach ordinary people the value of virtue and to show them the path to inspiration, then it is this “champion” of virtue.

However, there are those who, through impatience and/or a lack of wisdom, try to attain virtue without really doing anything. This practice of “cheating” virtue is not only dangerous to the individual but also to those around him, because when the individual lives under false impressions about virtue, he is risking disaster. In other words, there are two paths that the individual must choose. The good path is very difficult to follow but leads to the ultimate meaning of virtue. The evil path is very quick and easy to travel on, but the deception that it preaches can destroy the individual’s life. A good analogy of this phenomena is the difference between sexual lust and true love/marriage (similar to Platonic love). Lust is a shallow, primitive desire that exists only for its own sake and nothing else. It is very fickle, and can disappear almost as soon as it arrives, leaving nothing but the result – children who are, in some cases, illegitimate. True love/marriage, however, requires a much deeper commitment, involving sacrifice on the part of both partners. Consequently, if it is well planned, true love/marriage lasts a great deal longer, as much as the rest of the couple’s lives. It also involves a very deep understanding and relationship between them, providing both with a long-lasting sense of inner satisfaction with life.

 

Subj: Re:UNIVERSALprinciples
Date: 96-07-09 09:48:13 EDT
From: BluuDragon
Posted on: America Online

Putting virtue in this context, there are many who wanted to attain virtue for shallow and superficial reasons; Nicias in Plato’s Laches was one of these men. Nicias didn’t want to know the meaning of courage in order to have a deeper understanding of virtue and therefore better understand man and his relationship with the universe. Nicias simply wanted to look courageous in order to impress those around him, as well as himself. He didn’t really need or want the inner meaning of virtue, but rather just the admiration that a true “champion” of virtue would naturally receive. (It should be noted that true “champions” of virtue only care about the wisdom they gain – they never have a desire for the corruptible and fleeting vices of power and glory.) Consequently, Nicias came to a very simple and therefore obviously false conclusion about the virtue of courage, because he had no knowledge to show him his error. Nicias somehow thought that, in order to be brave, one merely does not retreat in battle and fights to the death. Now, according to the ancient Chinese military philosopher Sun Tzu (who wrote The Art of War ), one should fight only on one’s own terms; one should always choose a time and place for battle that is to his advantage. One should attack only at a point where he is strong and the opponent is weak, and use the terrain to give oneself a good strategic position. When the battle situation is not to one’s advantage or perhaps even unwinnable, the wise general will retreat and regroup to organize a new and more favorable attack. The phrase, “He who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day”, applies here. This is not an act of cowardice; it is simply based on the fact that one wants to win the war, and that fighting a battle on the enemy’s terms is exactly what the enemy wants. Such an attack would definitely result in the loss of the battle, and probably even the war. None of this ever occurred to Nicias, however. The only thing that Nicias thought courage meant was that, once the die is cast, one can never retreat and not be condemned as a coward. The result was that Nicias’ army was wiped out like so many steers waiting in line to be slaughtered. There was no bravery involved; the attack was petty, mindless, and cheap. The only motivation behind the whole thing was to massage Nicias’ ego by making him appear to be a “champion”. (Sun Tzu said that one should never fight when angry or for egotistical purposes, because one’s ability to think and reason is clouded when one is in such emotional states as these.)

In the end, however, Nicias got what he deserved. Instead of being remembered and admired as a military hero, Nicias has been recorded in written history as one of the most incompetent generals of his time, and the battle that he led is considered to be the biggest flop in Greek history. In short, misconceptions about virtue gained through evil means can only result in disaster. The only way to have at least some understanding of virtue is through a great deal of thinking on the individual’s part until he knows inside that he has found the true meaning. When one blindly accepts another person’s idea of virtue without question or simply invents a shallow and false meaning for it, he has compromised himself as a thinking man. This is because he has adopted a system that his heart does not know to be true, or, even worse, he has derived and accepted a simple conclusion about virtue that must be false.

 

Subj: Re:UNIVERSALprinciples
Date: 96-07-09 09:48:41 EDT
From: BluuDragon
Posted on: America Online

While the premise that only true “champions” are best equipped to teach virtue might be easily derived, the ability of people to truly learn from and absorb their wisdom is somewhat questionable. Because the wisdom concerning virtue is very abstract, conventional teaching techniques will not be effective. Memorization of the ideas obviously cannot work here, because this is only indicative of a good memory, and not the understanding of virtue. Virtue is not knowledge in a conventional sense, but rather a form of wisdom and insight, and it cannot simply be transferred from the mind of the teacher to the student like moving data on computer disks. It is not a set of rules; rather, it determines the rules for any given specific situation. The logic of mathematics doesn’t apply, because virtue doesn’t have any concrete answers that any equations might result in. The mouse in the maze who figures out, after it bumps its head trying to move right, that it might get through by moving to the left, isn’t the kind of reason that’s needed here, either. The kind of thinking necessary to search for the meaning of virtue has to do with finding the ground of being and the fundamental structuring and order of the universe in a purely philosophical sense. Because virtue represents how man should think and act in life, he needs to strive for the meaning of man as a person, as a society, as a culture, as a people, and how that fits into the fundamental character of the universe. In Book VII of The Republic, Plato uses the myth of the cave to show that the true understanding of the light of knowledge can only occur through personal fear and suffering in order to allow one’s consciousness to pass into a new state of awareness. (After painfully moving one’s limbs and staring into the fearful light, one’s “eyes adjust”.) In other words, in order to truly learn through this type of thought, the answers to these questions must come from only one place, if at all – from within the individual’s soul. The individual must burst forth in recognition of the wisdom of the teacher, or otherwise it means nothing. The individual must never take for granted that what the teacher says is correct, for indeed not even the teacher can fully understand virtue. Rather, the individual’s very sense of being must light up within him, and the result is that the individual knows in his heart that what the teacher says is true. Unless the individual has this ecstatic feeling of enlightenment, the lesson is wasted because the individual has only learned to repeat what was conveyed to him.

 

Subj: Re:UNIVERSALprinciples
Date: 96-07-09 09:49:29 EDT
From: BluuDragon
Posted on: America Online

The problem here is that, without “virtuous experiences”, the individual will not be able to comprehend and identify with what the teacher is trying to impart to him. There needs to be a training based on “experiences” to help the individual “open his eyes” so that he can think metaphorically and not concretely. Freud said that the real message of myths are received in the unconscious mind, which one does not have any direct control over. The challenge is for the individual to reach inside oneself and in doing so enable his conscious mind to “see” them. The person who has had such an experience knows that all the concrete, symbolic expressions of it are faulty. The symbols don’t render the experience, they simply mark its existence. In The Republic, Plato says that what we perceive to be the true good is like a shadow on the wall of a cave that is cast by the true light, which man cannot see. If you haven’t had the experience, how can you fully appreciate what it is? For example, it would be impossible to explain to a man who had been blind since birth what the nature of color is. This is because the man has absolutely no conception of what the notion of color is, as he has never experienced it. This line of reasoning is also true with virtue. There has to be an experience to catch and reinforce the message that the teacher has given, or the individual will not really hear what’s being said. In short, those who would be qualified to teach the nature of virtue must obviously hold great wisdom, but they do not actually teach the individual. Rather, the teacher points the individual in the right direction, so that he might achieve illumination based on his own “virtuous experiences”. This is the only way that the individual can be certain that what he has been taught is true, because his own sense of inner being confirms it. Without this confirmation, all that the individual has been taught is worthless, because the insight holds no meaning for him.

This is an explanation for the fact that some students turn out to do evil instead of virtuous works. Gorgias in Plato’s Gorgias said that he was not necessarily responsible if his students use his teachings on justice for evil purposes. In reply, Socrates said that all those who are just must perform just acts. Both Gorgias and Socrates are right, but Socrates has missed the point because Gorgias’ unjust students were never just to begin with. Rather, they perhaps heard what Gorgias had had to say, but their souls didn’t listen and therefore have some perception of justice. This might be because they didn’t have the experience to understand what the teacher was saying, or because they never had the character necessary to become virtuous to begin with.

 

Subj: Re:UNIVERSALprinciples
Date: 96-07-09 09:49:59 EDT
From: BluuDragon
Posted on: America Online

How does one attain virtuous experiences, then? One could follow the journey of a “champion of virtue”, but this is not an acceptable answer for most people, as they only need a limited explanation of what virtue is and encompasses. Rather, the answer is to be found in stories that are designed to impart some virtuous idea. These “myths” are usually about the adventures of fictitious heroes, but one will find that these mythical “champions” have undergone the same basic process to arrive at an answer that the real “champions” have. Examples of such imaginary men are Heracles, Perseus, Odysseus, the Knights of the Round Table, etc. All these men have undergone suffering and tribulations to reach their goal, and have gained much wisdom in the process. Some of these myths were created in part for religious purposes, but the individual need not be concerned with this. While the spiritual connotations of myths, be they modern or ancient, might go easily out of date, their messages about virtue in relation to man’s character are timeless. This message in myths is encapsulated in them in order to teach the reader a moral lesson without his having to go through the tribulations himself. For example, Prometheus in Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound displayed the virtue of sacrifice by stealing fire from the gods and giving it to man. However, since this theft was a dishonest sacrifice (sacrifice and honesty are unrelated virtues; see page 17), the gods condemned him to be bound to a rock and have vultures eat out his liver every day. While the reader must also try to attain the virtue of honesty, the myth still teaches the value of the virtue of sacrifice because of the potential benefits that it could reap for Mankind. Jesus of The Bible can be said to have made the ultimate sacrifice to “save” Man by dying on the cross, and did it honestly. If a teacher in ancient Greece simply told an individual that sacrifice, although painful, will start him on the road to virtue, he might not agree because he can’t connect the teacher’s general statement with a personal, specific experience that he has had. After the individual reads Aeschylus, however, he is at least given the chance to elevate his comprehension of the teacher’s hypothesis.

 

Subj: Re:UNIVERSALprinciples
Date: 96-07-09 09:50:19 EDT
From: BluuDragon
Posted on: America Online

Myths in general are stories of man’s search through the ages for the meaning and significance of virtue. They are clues to the virtuous potentialities of the human mind, clues to what the reader is perhaps capable of knowing and experiencing within. They are not forced on the reader, nor should they be. If the reader does not get anything out of the myth, then he was not ready to know the intended answer to begin with. Rather, the reader has the freedom to take what he wants from myths, when he wants to. Myths are direct substitutes for actual “virtuous experiences”, because they have in them the same answers that one would find if he were to actually set off on a search for virtue. Myths give the reader the tools he needs to turn inward, and to begin to get the real message behind the symbols that represent virtue. The facts of the myth are not important, because they didn’t actually happen to begin with; euhemerism misses the point. Rather, they are metaphorical representations of man’s potential to seek and find the answers that he needs in order to enjoy life. They reflect the wisdom in the reader’s life that he had not previously recognized, which is of course very real. They help the reader to meditate on the notion of virtue, and to transform his consciousness about life and place it on a much higher plane of existence. The reader will find that the general themes of myths are the same no matter where they come from – they are different only to fit the respective cultures and time-frames from which they come. Eventually, the myths are discarded because they come in conflict with cultural shifts, new technology, etc., and a new revised mythology is created. This new mythology is essentially the same as the old, except that it is structured so that the current people can identify with it. In short, myths provide the reader with the next best thing to original experience. With original experience, the individual must sacrifice and usually suffer a great deal in order to gain that precious wisdom he desires. While myths are a more convenient approach, they are still the same as original experience in that they are not pre-digested. That is to say, myths require the reader to figure them out and take from them that which he finds.

 

Subj: Re:UNIVERSALprinciples
Date: 96-07-09 09:51:19 EDT
From: BluuDragon
Posted on: America Online

Lastly, many in ancient Greece, including Socrates, have wondered about how different virtues fit together and if there is a sense of unity to them. Socrates thought that all the virtues were one and the same, and represented a single universal concept that was applicable to all things in the universe. As a matter of fact, in Protagoras he tried to make some statements describing how courage and wisdom were actually the same thing, but they didn’t follow a logical format. Protagoras, on the other hand, thought that a person could possess some virtues without any of the others. My idea of the structure of virtue is loosely based on one that I found in a philosophical game called Ultima IV, by Lord British. It revolves around the three undefinable “forms” of truth, love, and courage. From these three forms come the eight virtues, which are also undefinable except by the fact that they are derived from different combinations of the forms. This idea of using a trinity is roughly analogous to Plato’s tripartite conception of the soul: truth represents the white horse of reason, love is the white horse of platonic love (mortals have the black horse of lust), and courage is the charioteer which controls them. The forms and the virtues are organized in an orderly pattern which shows their relations to each other called the “Codex of Infinite Wisdom.” One will notice that the virtues can contradict each other in certain specific cases. One example in the game was when a knight was ordered by his lord to guard the castle from a surprise attack while he went off to battle. The knight could see from the castle that his lord was losing, and was forced to choose between “honor”ing his lord’s command and showing “valor” by rushing to his aid. This case further indicates the fact that virtue can’t be totally understood by the mind of man; he can only attempt to gain limited insight on it, at best, because its complete structure seems paradoxical to his limited train of thought. Lastly, this model offers an explanation to the argument in Protagoras between Protagoras and Socrates about the relationship between justice and spirituality. Protagoras thought they were totally separate but Socrates pointed out that this would mean that to be spiritual was not to be just. With the “Codex”, justice and spirituality are separate but are related to each other in that both use the forms of Love and Truth. This model is, of course, by no means supposed to be the ultimate and true structure of virtue, but rather an interesting and thought-provoking idea of how the virtues might be organized.

Subj: Re:UNIVERSALprinciples
Date: 96-07-09 09:56:37 EDT
From: BluuDragon
Posted on: America Online

In conclusion, no one can simply “tell” or “teach” an individual the nature of virtue, even if these teachers are the “champions” of virtue that are solely qualified to do it. This is mainly because no man can fully grasp the meaning of virtue, as it transcends man’s comprehension and even its own name. Also, the teacher can only guide the individual towards virtue, because such insight can only spring forth from that individual’s own consciousness, or it is nothing but valueless parroting. An individual can at least attempt to strive for virtue through “virtuous experiences.” For most people, this involves the study of myths, which give the individual the tools he needs in order to meditate on the subject. Myths are basically direct substitutes for actual tests and trials that a “champion” must undergo in order to have a better understanding of virtue. They are metaphors which represent that which can be known, but not told. The search for virtue is, above all, a very personal experience, as illumination can only be achieved when the answers emanate from the depths of the individual’s soul. The success of the individual in his search for virtue is, of course, dependent on his wisdom and understanding of the conclusions he reaches.

I think this explains the *MYSTICAL* nature of stage 6, in which Universal Ethical Principles, like InSight or internalized psychological dynamics, CANNOT be proven, but can be self-validated.

In psychology, everyone knows that classical constructs (id, ego, superego) are merely theories about the workings of the human psyche, which cannot be measured, tested, or identified in the material world. However, if you see these dynamics as having some validity in your life, then you have validated their existence. This is in stark contrast to behaviorism, where external behavior is all that is looked at.

Still, this is what makes behaviorism an approach that takes humanity to a “LOWER” level. After all, even dogs and cats can be trained behaviorally, by using primitive rewards. Forms, prinicples, and internal constructs are NOT easy to access, measure, or prove, but it is these Mystical, Elusive morsels of *WISDOM* that ELEVATE humanity to a spiritual, human, perhaps even SUPER-HUMAN level of development, both philosophically and psychologically….

Subj: Re:On Punishment
Date: 96-07-09 10:39:07 EDT
From: BadgrHaart
Posted on: America Online

Ok, now BACK to CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY: Obsessive-Compulsive Personalities (OCP’s, for short – not to be confused with OCD, though) CANNOT THINK on an ABSTRACT LEVEL. To “step into their shoes” for a moment, their approach to the world is on a very “concrete” level of thinking – bear this in mind if you deal with any. Because of this, they DO often treat the Behavioral SYMPTOMS, NOT the CAUSE, simply because the symptom is the ONLY thing that they can see, at the time. Because they can’t grasp the abstract motivations behind it, and therefore be CAPABLE of TREATING the CAUSE, they deal on a very BEHAVIORAL level. (Nicias might have been an OCP).

Now, the problem in TREATING personalities like this as “Patients,” is that insight-psychotherapy just doesn’t work. The Creator may be highly abstract, but he RECOGNIZES this limitation with them. No, these people have to be able to SEE the PROBLEM with “THEIR OWN EYES,” so to speak, and that can be problematic. Clinically, they are unable to see “The Big Picture.”

For you see, abstract warnings about self-destructive behavior patterns (OCP’s are well known for INFLEXIBILITY that leads to an INABILITY to complete a task – it’s at “the top of the list”). Hey, if you want to get two people together, and you end up KILLING one of them, I’d say that was inflexibility leading to task incompletion…. Insight can PARALYZE therapy, since their obsession with details prevents them from ever seeing “the crux/point.”

The best way to treat them, therefore, is on a level of behavioral changes and consequences.

So, now I’ll tie this all into the discussed subject of punishment: “If….” you deal with the possible consequences of a future “punishment plan” on an ABSTRACT level, don’t be surprised if an OCP can’t see what you’re talking about, and inflexibly go ahead and do it anyway.

But if you SHOW HIM WHAT HE’S DONE; let him SEE the *BURNING CITY* with HIS OWN EYES, he’ll have, YES, A CONCRETE *ANSWER*….

Subj: Re:On Punishment
Date: 96-07-09 10:58:20 EDT
From: KatiaKoala
Posted on: America Online

>>>Kohlberg actually began with the Platonic value of justice as an objective or absolute value when he framed his theory of moral development. His theories are to mrality & ethics what Piaget is to cognitive development<<<

Ckekjk,
Piaget put the “Formal Operations Stage” on the highest level of cognitive development, a stage in which abstract reasoning becomes possible. Kohlberg put this ability at the top of his list as well, since universal ethical principles are designed to integrate many, many concrete events by finding the “common thread” that runs through all of them.

Plato, of course, would agree with this – he believed in reincarnation, and that virtue is a function of how much in touch we are with the true forms that exist outside the universe as we know it. To use a Babylon5 metaphor, the forms are but “Shadows” on the wall of a cave (a symbol of an unconscious descent into a “haart of darkness”), which we can see, and use to try to grasp that “Magic Flame,” the source of the shadow-dance on the inner”walls” of the psyche….

Subj: Thank you
Date: 96-07-09 19:04:01 EDT
From: Ckekjk
Posted on: America Online

Thank you everybody, especially bluudragon. This is exactly what I was hoping for when we got started. BD, your exposition was a real eye-opener for me, I thank you for your clarity and effort. I shall review your writings and give a proper input later.
And Katia, I thank you as well. Upon further review I have found several formal and ideological parralells to platonic thought in the structures, as well as something similar to the Aristotelian God/beast phenomenon at the higher level. More hepl people, I appreciate it and need it

Subj: You’re welcome
Date: 96-07-09 21:24:49 EDT
From: KatiaKoala
Posted on: America Online

Your welcome, Ckekjk. You know, some people here might be ‘really’ surprised to know that The Creator wrote this paper over 7 years ago…. But it took a great deal of not just philosophy, but psychological “behavioral training” to get over my, umm, “Basic Instincts”….

I won’t tell you the grade I got on it…. but maybe I’d bee in for, hmm, an UpGrade….

Subj: Re:Thank you
Date: 96-07-09 21:55:23 EDT
From: TheLip77
Posted on: America Online

Yes, Thank you bluudragon. I trust your answer was something you have been thinking about for quite some time. You clarified several issues. You wrote the following:

<<The kind of thinking necessary to search for the meaning of virtue has to do with finding the ground of being and the fundamental structuring and order of the universe in a purely philosophical sense. Because virtue represents how man should think and act in life, he needs to strive for the meaning of man as a person, as a society, as a culture, as a people, and how that fits into the fundamental character of the universe. >>

This describes the essence of Kohlberg’s metaphorical 7th level.

Subj: Re:Thank you
Date: 96-07-09 22:33:35 EDT
From: KatiaKoala
Posted on: America Online

Oh, come now…. who says a girl can’t get a GOOD, *religious* education?….

We could debate deep issues all night, but I don’t think I’m in the mood….

Subj: Re:Thank you
Date: 96-07-10 12:41:15 EDT
From: BluuDragon
Posted on: America Online

Your psychologically Phallic-Narcissistic CoolDisdain/Sarcasm is palpable, Katia, but perhaps there is another way of putting it, that a Conscience can live with. It does involve a different way of looking at injustice, and consequently a different viewpoint regarding those who practiced it. In a StarTrek: The Next Generation episode, Picard accepts Q’s idea of going back into the past and rectifying a mistake that he regretted all his life: that he got involved in a fight, and had a sword rammed right through his back, out his front, impaling his heart. As a result, he has an artificial heart which almost took his life in one episode. So, going back to the past and making sure it didn’t happen would solve his “heart problems,” and everything would be perfect, right? WRONG! It turns out that this event was a test of COURAGE and valor in his life, and backing down, refusing to defend his own rights and the rights of those he cared about, effectually turned him into an ordinary junior officer who never did anything of positive significance in his life at all.

In other words, heros/heroines don’t magically get their title or skills handed to them on a silver platter: it MUST be EARNED, and there’s NO “Free Lunch.” As in the movie, “Scent of a Woman,” it’s when you’re “facing the FIRE” that your “True Colors” are revealed for all to see….

When we went to college, I must admit that, though I wasn’t very interested in many areas of philosophy, I RESPECTED the professors there for their abilities and their FAIRNESS. Like Wesley Crusher in another TNG episode, I made a *MISTAKE.* The difference with me and him, however, was that we STOOD UP and ADMITTED it, like MEN. Sure, we had to PAY for it, but it’s this test that forges a soul’s character. Like Picard and his Heart, my mistake for, shall we say, a “LACK OF ORIGINALITY,” was more than made up for, don’t you think?….

In short, to use a “Jurassic Park” metaphor, I’m not going to get into a debate about my professors in graduate school; let’s just say that THE TIGER WOULD NEVER BE WHO HE IS, WITHOUT THEIR, well, “HELP”….

*Eye* DON’T BLAME them for THEIR mistakes, but I DO ask them to do WHAT *I* had to do in College: “PAY” FOR THEM….

Oh, this they don’t want to do?…. Hey, there just making the Tiger’s “Point” that they’re JUST *BOYS,* FOR HIM! (They wouldn’t go and do that to themselves, now would they?….

To both of you, my warmest welcome and regards….

Subj: Re:You’re welcome
Date: 96-07-10 14:57:25 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

Just to echo, I’d like to thank everybody who’s been posting here. Though I haven’t been posting, I’ve been lurking and reading these great posts.

Subj: Hey Bluudragon
Date: 96-07-10 18:20:47 EDT
From: Ckekjk
Posted on: America Online

Great posts! Please tell me which versions of the Chinese thinkers you are using. The Dao De Jing is an extremely problematic and deceptive text that we still do not fully understand (I am a translator of both modern and classical chinese), I don’t necessarily dissagree with the statements, I’m just curious as to which translations you have read. I hope it was not Cleary, he’s terrible, particularly his Sunzi Bingfa (Sun Zi’s Art of War). He does not really respect Sun Zi as a military theorist, and puts far to much of himself into his translated text. IMHO

Subj: VirginBirths/”Floods”
Date: 96-07-10 19:34:23 EDT
From: BluuDragon
Posted on: America Online

My main Mentor was Joseph Campbell, and much of what I have said was adapted from his theories, to create my own. (He mainly talked about God in this context, as opposed to virtue and wisdom, but hey, God and virtue are supposed to be synonymous, right?) In any case, here is another paper I did on how mythology affects cultures over time:

SPIRITUAL BIRTH AND REBIRTH

In mythology, two types of myths deal with the notion of spiritual birth and rebirth; the myth of the virgin birth and the myth of the great flood. How do these myths deal with this theme and how are they linked together?
First of all, Christians firmly believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, the Virgin Mary. Apparently, she had conceived during meditation, and after she had the baby she became once again intact. This is obviously a critical part of Christian doctrine, because it supposedly proves that Jesus was indeed the son of God. The Christians don’t seem to realize the metaphorical significance of such an event, regardless of whether it really happened or not; they simply maintain that it definitely happened. As with any myth, it is the message that counts, and not the medium. They cannot do this, however, because they are too caught up in the struggle between biological fact and religious doctrine. Therefore, they don’t seem to see the virgin birth as a birth devoid of and completely divorced from the physical world. It is not a birth that has anything to do with the body or the material world, and its accompanying desires, wants, or needs. It is the birth of the spiritual nature of man – Jesus was a man of profound spiritual power with many messages to give the reader. He fits the definition of the mythic hero simply because he represents the wisdom that man is capable of attaining if he only discovers and develops the spiritual side of him. This birth cannot be brought about by physical action (sex), but rather by intellectual action (meditation). Thus the virgin birth is a plea to man to try to move away from thinking in only a material sense and allow his spiritual side to come forth. This concept of virgin birth is not reserved to Christianity, however; other cultures have need of the same message and therefore have analogous myths. One example that I found was of Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom. Athena was born not of a woman but of Zeus, the father of the gods. After devouring the Titaness Metis, Zeus was afflicted with a headache so terrible that he had the blacksmith god Hephaestus split his head open. Out of the open head sprang Athena, who had been prodding it from the inside with a spear. The point of this myth is that, in order to attain wisdom (the wisdom of Athena), one should devote more of one’s time to the mind and not the body (devouring women) in order to lead a proper life. If one does not do this, then great spritual pain (the headache) can be the result, as the spritual mind (Athena) tries to burst forth.

However, just as is the case with life itself, spirituality can die in a culture or civilization and be reborn; this is illustrated in the flood myth. In The Bible , the myth is that of the great flood and Noah’s ark (Genesis 6-8). Apparently, God had become so disgusted with the present conditon of man that he decided to wipe the slate clean and start anew; the only ones spared were Noah, his family members, and the animals that they had taken with them. After seven months and seventeen days, the ark settled on a mount Ararat and they left it to repopulate the world. Now, the Catholic Church is perhaps more concerned with looking for this mythical ark than with thinking about the metaphorical connotations of such an event.

Subj: Re:VirginBirths/”Floods”
Date: 96-07-10 19:35:32 EDT
From: BluuDragon
Posted on: America Online

Again, the idea of a flood doesn’t appear only in the Christian religion; it is found in Greek mythology as well. According to Hesiod, there came an age of such impiety and evil on the part of man that Zeus, the king of the gods, decided to destroy them in a great flood. The only survivors were Deucalion and Pyrrha, who escaped in a chest after being warned by Prometheus. Their chest also settled on a mountain, mount Parnassus, after the flood lasted only ten days – they then prayed to Zeus to create a new humanity.

In Babylonian mythology, the gods decided to hold a meeting to decide what to do about the human race in the face of their displeasing indiscretions. They finally came to the conclusion that everything was to be wiped out in a flood. Ea, the goddess of wisdom, however, wanted to save her friend Uta-Napishtim, his family, and all of the wild animals. She therefore told him to build a mighty ship in time for the rains. In this myth, the storms lasted for only six days, and then the ship landed on mount Nisir. Like its Biblical counterpart, however, the hero sent forth a bird (a raven) to find out if the waters had receded, but when it didn’t come back they left the ship. When Enil, the god of hurricanes, found out that some humans had been spared, he became very angry. Because of a sacrifice by Uta-Napishtam and Ea’s explanation, however, Enil was placated and in return he gave Uta-Napishtam eternal life.

In the Roman myth of Baucis and Philemon, there was a man and a woman of great piety and respect for the gods. When Jupiter and Mercury arrived in the land, they were refused food, drink, and refuge by its citizens. The only people who took them in were Baucis and Philemon, an elderly couple who lived a modest life. Because of this, the gods warned Baucis and Philemon that they should go up to a nearby mountain and take refuge there, for there was going to be a flood that would wipe out the impious of this land. After the flood, the gods transformed Baucis and Philemon’s house into a holy temple, where they would worship the gods together until the day they died together. On that day, however, Philemon was changed into an oak tree, while Baucis was changed into a lime tree.

Subj: Re:VirginBirths/”Floods”
Date: 96-07-10 19:36:16 EDT
From: BluuDragon
Posted on: America Online

Even though the four myths come from different cultures and geographic locations, they all teach the same important point, in my opinion, that wide-spread irreverance and immorality can only bring about general disaster for the society. It is a disaster because the current myth is obviously no longer potent as the maintainer of order in the said society; the gods are said to be displeased in the flood myths because they are no longer revered, and chaos is the result. However, in this disaster there is always a prophet, a hero, who is still pious. This hero then sets the tone for a new myth that eventually restores order to society, and everything is normal again. This cycle occurrs over and over again, as a myth inevitably loses the reverance of man because of science, culture, etc., and a new myth eventually succeeds it. This “flood”, when it occurs, is metaphorically analogous to hell. This is because a man exists in an environment that is completely devoid of the myths that he needs in order to stimulate his spiritual side and maintain order. When the current myth loses its potency because of cultural/scientific changes, social order is reduced to excessive indulgences and permissiveness that are of an entirely physical nature. This idea can be encapsulated in the quote from Dostoyevsky’s Brothers Karamazov , “If God does not exist, then everything is permitted”. This is the dreaded state that Nietzsche calls “nihilism”, the belief that basically anything goes in society. Many cultures, therefore, have tried to thwart this necessary cycle by trying at all costs to prevent their myth from being questioned. For example, the Chinese in pre-Confucian times thought that the wise man was one who keeps the spirits at a distance in order to preserve the precious division between the secular and the sacred. Those who did this pleased the spirits; those who did not made the spirits angry and caused great calamities to befall mankind. What would actually happen, however, is that the spirits would be called into question, and that can mean the disruption of society and the onset of chaos that the flood myth symbolizes.

In conclusion, the myth of the virgin birth deals with the birth of the spiritual side of man, which must be nurtured through meditation. The flood myth deals with the inevitable death of spirituality in man, as the myths of society are called into question because of science, changes in tradition, etc. This results in the societal chaos that the flood symbolizes. During this flood, however, there is a seed which survives to generate a new myth and restore order to society.

Subj: Re:Hey Bluudragon
Date: 96-07-10 21:15:17 EDT
From: BluuDragon
Posted on: America Online

I’ve forgotten the names of the translators of the texts I used at the time, but here is a paper I wrote in 1990 for Chinese Philosophy that fits in with our discussion on punishment: a contrast between “authoritative,” MORAL LEADERSHIP, and a more “authoritarian” CONTROL-ORIENTED approach that plays to humanity’s “lower qualities”….

5/10/90

Hsun Tzu vs. Han Fei Tzu on the Implications of Man’s Evil Nature

“Discuss the similarities and differences between Hsun Tzu’s and Han Fei Tzu’s conceptions of human nature, of what needs to be done to human beings to make them moral, and of the roles played by teachers and rulers in the process.”
First of all, Hsun Tzu and Han Fei Tzu are in complete agreement on the notion that man’s nature is essentially evil. Confucius did not have much to say about human nature, and this opened the door for men like Mencius, who said that man has a natural tendency towards good. Hsun Tzu strongly rejects this by stating that human nature does not have this proclivity. He does not agree with Kao Tzu, who said that human nature has no general direction, however; he does in fact believe that human nature is inherently evil. Han Fei Tzu, who was a student of Hsun Tzu, accepted this view of human nature.
To remedy this, Hsun Tzu states that man must reform himself though conscious activity (wei). To Hsun Tzu, man’s natural inclinations are basically to satisfy one’s desires (such as hunger, sex, etc.) without regard for the rights of others. These desires are regulated by the heart/mind (Hsin), which is the ruler of man’s psychology. The heart/mind deliberates and ponders the possible repercussions of the satisfaction of certain desires on society by the study (hsueh) of its code of conduct (li), and then renders a decision. This is very analagous to Freud’s conception of the id,the ego, and the superego. The id is the animal force, which seeks only gratification of its wants. However, if a person’s id were in charge of him, then he would engage in unacceptible activities such as stealing food to satisfy hunger, raping women when he felt lustful, etc. To prevent this, the ego deliberates whether or not it should engage in acts such as stealing food. It uses the superego (his conscience) to make the determination that it is not “right” to steal, (it goes against society’s laws (li,) which to Confucians contains yi within it) and hence he decides to go hungry. Thus the id represents Hsun Tzu’s idea of man’s natural inclinations, and the superego/ego is the heart/mind. Hsun Tzu believes that man’s evil inclinations must be held in check by the heart/mind through conscious activity, which takes the form of reflection and deliberation.

Han Fei Tzu, on the other hand, emphasizes the need for strict laws and severe punishments. While Hsun Tzu has much to say about how man can stay within the laws of society through individual conscious activity, Han Fei Tzu takes the other perspective of making the laws of society very unattractive to violate because of its code of punishments and benefits. The people of society are not inclined to obey the laws because they think it is “right” to do so, but because they receive benefits for doing so and are severely reprimanded if they depart from the law. In this way, Han Fei Tzu plays upon man’s self-interest instead of trying to control it. After all, man has an obvious desire for rewards and an aversion to punishment; by manipulating these two things Han Fei Tzu believes that government can keep society in order. In short, while Hsun Tzu wants the people to become moral through self-regulation in order to function in society, Han Fei Tzu believes that knowledge of the letter of the law is sufficient.

Subj: Re:Hey Bluudragon
Date: 96-07-10 21:15:47 EDT
From: BluuDragon
Posted on: America Online

Like all Confucianists, Hsun Tzu feels that the ruler should be a person of high virtue; this consists in the accumulation of knowledge through study, or hsueh. Hsun Tzu admires the ancient sage-kings as rulers who had accumulated a great deal of knowledge and were very proficient in li, which was used as the backbone for social order. Hsun Tzu believes that a ruler makes himself more moral and trustworthy in the eyes of the people if he does not reveal his personality too much; Han Fei Tzu also feels that the ruler should not make any display of emotion, but only because the people won’t have anything to use against him. Han Fei Tzu does not feel that the ruler should be a moral person; his job is to see that the laws are obeyed by the people and not interfered with through governmental favoritism. The law is the backbone of the state, but unlike li it has no moral value; it is merely to be obeyed. The effective ruler is one who successfully uses the system of benefits and rewards so that society remains orderly. This then allows the ruler to sit back and rule through non-action, or wu-wei. In short, Hsun Tzu’s notion of a ruler is a moral model for society to look up to, whereas Han Fei Tzu’s ruler is simply a man who is effective in “statecraft”.

In conclusion, the only major point that Hsun Tzu and Han Fei Tzu agree on is that human nature is essentially evil. While Hsun Tzu advocates hsueh in order to regulate man’s evil desires, Han Fei Tzu utilizes them through benefits and punishments in order to induce the people to obey the law. While Hsun Tzu believes that man should learn morality, Han Fei Tzu feels that knowledge law is all that is necessary. Although Hsun Tzu feels that the ruler should be a model of and a teacher of virtue, Han Fei Tzu’s ruler merely dictates the law, and the people are expected to obey.

Subj: Chinese Universal*LOVE*
Date: 96-07-10 21:19:10 EDT
From: BluuDragon
Posted on: America Online

On a *LIGHTER* note, this paper deals with the BENEFITS of ProCreating LOVE, not “punishment”….

Again, I don’t think there are many in my (former) family that knew of my knowledge of Chinese Thinking….

3/6/90
Universal Love vs. Jen

Mo Tzu (468-376 B.C) and the Moist school that he established stood almost directly against everything that Confucius (551-479 B.C.) and his Confucian school advocated. Specifically, Mo Tzu’s notion of universal love is quite different from the Confucian concept of jen. This includes the relations of jen to li and yi, as opposed to the Moist view and use of these terms.
First of all, the Confucian notion of jen refers to the love, knowledge of, and concern for people. It denotes kindness to others, especially the kindess that a ruler should show to his subjects. Specifically, it centers on love and concern for one’s parents; one should show them greater affection than one would normally show to friends or strangers. However, there is also a more general definition for the term that encompasses the entire human ideal, including loyalty, respect, seriousness, piety, endurance, wisdom, courage, humanity, etc. The general term jen is actually based upon two more narrow terms, jen and yi. Yi, which will be discussed later, represents respect and obedience to one’s elders. Jen, in the specific sense, represents filial piety. In short, the Confucians believed that jen represents kindness to others, but especially to one’s parents. Mo Tzu, on the other hand, stressed “universal love”. This meant that one should love everyone’s parents equally; no special attention at all should be given to one’s own father and mother. This obviously goes against nature and tradition; everyone has a natural and customary affection for one’s parents and relative indifference to those of complete strangers. However, Mo Tzu makes the point that if one were forced to leave his parents in the care of others, he would want them to love them as his own. Therefore, the Moist view states that one must get rid of traditional thinking and love everyone’s parents equally.

This brings up the relation between jen and li. Li, according to Confucius, stands for the rites and laws based on traditions that are necessary for a healthy society. Li provides the rules that one needs to focus his thoughts, but rules alone are nothing without jen. The mechanical observance of the rules is wrong; it is the genuine grief and/or reverence that is needed to complete the relationship. When this is done, a non-coercive “power” over the spirits results that is beneficial to man. This “effect” also works on people and is the basis for government; li, which provides the proper laws, and the te (virtue) of the ruler which is expressed to his subjects as jen provides this non-coercive transformation effect on the people and keeps society orderly. Jen, according to Confucius in the “third interpretation”, is not intelligible independently of and is constituted in observing li, although there are grounds for departing from it in certain cases. Mo Tzu, on the other hand , thought that “custom” (su) had no real independent value whatsoever. Rather, tradition may or may not advocate the ideal life in part, but it is the ideal life and not tradition that is to be focussed upon. This ideal life is, of course, universal love. It is ideal because it produces the most benefit (Mo Tzu uses li to denote this) in the form of public good, because if everyone practices universal love then everyone would be showing kindness to each other. By showing kindness to other people’s parents, one can expect others to be kind to his parents. This is the benefit that one will receive that provides the selfish incentive to practice universal love even though one’s partial (and evil, according to Mo Tzu) instincts are against it.

Subj: Re:Chinese Universal*LOVE*
Date: 96-07-10 21:20:27 EDT
From: BluuDragon
Posted on: America Online

Lastly, Confucius didn’t emphasize yi (righteousness) because it was expressed as li in most situations; again, there are reasons for departing from li in certain cases. Since Mo Tzu denounced custom, however, yi takes on much more of a major role in his philosophy. According to Confucius, jen and yi are complimentary to each other and prevented one from going to extremes. For example, one should show kindness (jen) to one’s child, but yi would prevent one letting the child harm itself (by taking drugs), even if it wants to. Conversely, one might do all the right things in being a good parent (feeding him, educating him), but this must be supplemented by jen so that the child doesn’t feel emotionally neglected. According to Mo Tzu, however, universal love and yi don’t complement each other. Rather, he uses yi to justify universal love; one should love everyone equally because it produces the most benefit in the form of public good, and this is what is “right” in life. Why is it right? Aside from the personal benefits such as social order through the absence of fighting that Mo Tzu describes, there is also a defense of universal love in the form of religion. Unlike the Confucian school, which believed in the “secular as sacred”, the Moists held that universal love had a foundation in Heaven (tien) as the right thing for man to do. Those who did not practice universal love, therefore, would risk being punished by Heaven for their misdeeds. Those who did practice universal love, such as the ancient sage kings, were allegedly rewarded by Heaven according to Mo Tzu.

In conclusion, Moism and Confucianism do indeed stand opposed to each other. The Moists want everyone to love everyone else indiscriminately, whereas the Confucians place the emphasis on one’s parents. While li (ritual) is a very important part of the Confucian way of thinking, it is ignored by the Moist school, which focusses on li (benefit) and the selfish motives that man has for obtaining it. Although the Confucians regard yi and jen to be complimentary, the Moists look upon yi as the reason for universal love, and the Moist justification for yi is, unlike Confucian reasoning, very religious in nature.

Subj: Re:Chinese Universal*LOVE*
Date: 96-07-10 21:34:22 EDT
From: BluuDragon
Posted on: America Online

In short, Moist thought seeks to bring “The *FAMILY*” and “The WORLD,” together, while Confucianism (in effect) seeks to DIVIDE it.

Uh, oh, what would Heaven say?
(a “Dragon” joke….)

Subj: Re:UNIVERSALprinciples
Date: 96-07-12 17:03:12 EDT
From: Songokuten
Posted on: America Online

I don’t know most of you new posters here, but I do know that this board needs some lightening up.

So I’ll just post this here:
This is going out to all the boards I post it on because everyone in Ca
should get a chance to see it. I appologize for “spamming”.
At the Comicon last weekend, a fan wearning a costume of the new B5
uniforms (complete with jacket) gave me an invitation to a B5 party. I’m
putting it out here so everyone who lives in the area can go.

“A DAY OF FUN IN THE SUN! A BEACH BLANKET BABYLON FIVE BEACH PARTY!
July 20, 1996
Bolsa Chica State Beach
Huntington Beach, Ca
12 noon ’til Beach closing 10 pm
Lifeguard tower #23

IT’S A WEENIE ROAST FOR THE FANS AND FRIENDS OF BABYLON 5. BRING YOUR
WEENIES, YOUR BEACH CHAIR AND LOTS OF SUNSCREEN.
…There will be signs. Remember, we won’t have everything so if you want
it, bring it.”

Email me for more info (such as directions). And anyone who has a B5
costume, please bring it! (I feel cheated from the sad quality of the
Comicon’s masquerade farce.)

Thank you.

Subj: Re:UNIVERSALprinciples
Date: 96-07-13 08:28:19 EDT
From: KatiaKoala
Posted on: America Online

I must say, I prefer “Riding the Waves” to a Day in the Sand….

But “Take a Bow,” and THANKS for the tip….

Subj: An Adapted Water-Myth
Date: 96-07-13 14:32:29 EDT
From: BluuDragon
Posted on: America Online

An Adapted Water-Myth

(excerpted from “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”)

>>>Subj: Cutting Down Trees
Date: 96-03-20 10:45:48 EDT
From: DLyulkin

( to Mira Furlan )

They lie in the yard
Silent, unmoving
Limp branches
Like human hair
All tangled up
Bodies twisted
Contorted
Lying on top of one another
A nameless pile
Of arms and legs
Mouths opened
In a cry of despair
That no-one will hear
No-one comes around
Only a lone seagull
Circles overhead
Observing the slaughter
With its black, dead eyes
And a maple tree
Still standing
Shivers in the wind
Awaiting its turn.<<<
It is an ANCIENT Mariner
With a Stone, one of THREE
By thy long gray beard and lifeless eye
Now wherefore stopp’st John, & thee?

The BrideGroom’s doors are OPEN WIDE
And she is next of kin
The guests are met, the FEAST is SET
“May”st hear the Merry Din

He holds her with his glittering eye
The Wedding Guests stood still
And listens like THREE years wild
The Guests will have their will

The Wedding Guests sat on Stones
Not choosing, but to hear
And thus spake that Ancient Man
The Ancient Eyes of the Mariner

The sun came up on the left,
Out of the sea came he
And showing bright, on the right
Went down into the sea

And now the StormBlast came, and he
The Tiger, Tyrannous and Strong
He struck with Dragon’s O’ertaking wings
And chased us South along

With sloping masts and dipping prow
As who pursued with yell and blow
Still treads the Shadow of his Foe
And forward bends his Virgin head,
The ship drove past, loud roared the Blast
And Southward, AYE, we fled

And now, North came both mist and snow
And it grew wondrous cold
And ice, mast-high, came floating by
As Green as EMERALDS

Through the drifts, the snowy clifts
Did send an Owl’s White sheen
Nor shapes of men nor beasts we see
The ice was all between

The ice was here, the ice was there
The ice was all around
It cracked & growled, roared & howled
Like noises in a swound

At length did cross a “Creator”-Albatross
Through the fog it came
As if it had been a Christian soul
They hailed it in God’s name

It ate the food it ne’er had eat
And round & round it flew
The ice did SPLIT with ThunderFit
The Lion steered them through

And a GOOD SouthWind sprung up behind
The Albatross did follow
And every day, for FOOD or PLAY
Came to the Mariner’s hollow

In mist or cloud, on mast or shroud
It perched for vespers NINE
Whiles all the night, through fog smoke or white
Glimmered like white MoonShine

God save thee, ancient Mariner?
From the fiends that plague US, thus?
Why look’st John so?
With his CROSS-BOW
He SHOT the Creator/Albatross!

Subj: Re:An Adapted Water-Myth
Date: 96-07-13 14:33:42 EDT
From: BluuDragon
Posted on: America Online

The Sun now rose upon the right?
Out of the sea, now came he?
Still hid in mist, and on the LEFT
Went down into the sea

And John had done a Hellish thing
And it would work’em WOE
For ALL averred, he had KILLED the Bird
That made the BREEZE to BLOW
Ah, WRETCH! said they, the Bird to slay
That made the BREEZE to BLOW

All in a hot and copper sky
The bloody Sun, at noon
Right up above the Mast, did stand
No bigger than the MOON

Day after Day, day after day
Voyager stuck, nor breath nor motion
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean

Water, water EVERYWHERE
And John’s boards did SHRINK
Water, water everywhere
Nor any drop for Voyager to drink

And every tongue, through utter drought
Was withered at the ROOT
They could not speak, no more than if
We had been choked with SOOT

Ah! Welladay? what EVIL looks
Had John from Old and Young!
Instead of the CROSS, the ALBATROSS
About his NECK, was HUNG

But *WE* listened, and looked sideways up!
Fear at my Haart, as a cup,
My LifeBlood seemingly sipped….
Stars to the brim, quick in the night
The Lions face by his Lamp gleamed white
From the WindSAILS the Dew did DRIP
Till climbing above the western BARRED
Her horned Moon, and dim star
WithIn a Tiger’s TIP

O Sleep! it is a GENTLE Thing,
BeLOVED from Pole to Pole!
To the Queen the Praise is given
Sending this GentleSleep from Heaven
That SLID into my SOUL

John’s silly buckets, on the deck,
That had so long remained
Hoping to match, catch some dew
But when *I* AWOKE, it “RAINED”

My Lips were wet, my throat hot
But my garments, all were dank
Drunken in Dreams, all BeSot
And still my Body Drank

And the coming Wind did more MORE LOUD
And the SAILS did SIGH, not hedge
The Rain POURED down from BluuClouds
The Moon, NOT at its “Edge”

The BluuClouds, cleft and still
The Moon was at its side
Like waters shot from some high crag
The Lightning Fell with NO jags
Into a RIVER, Steep and Wide

This Loud Wind never reach the VoyagerShip
For the Wind had MOVED ON
Beneath the Bluu and the Moon
The DEAD men have it “BLOWN”

Far under the Keel, 9 fathoms deep
From the land of mists and snow
The CreatorSpirit Slid; it was HE
Taht made the Ship to go
The Sails at noon left OFF their tune
And the ship stood still, also

B5’s harbor bays were clear as glass
So SMOOTHLY it was strewn!
And on the Bay, the MoonLight lay
And the shadow of the Moon

And the Baby was White with SilentLight
Till, rising from the same
Full many shapes, TigerShadow’s were
In CRIMSON “Colors,” the Wind CAME

Subj: Re:An Adapted Water-Myth
Date: 96-07-13 14:34:22 EDT
From: BluuDragon
Posted on: America Online

Kate and her Pooh FirstMate
I heard them howling fast
Dear Lord in Heaven? No Joy
That the DEAD men could not WindBlast!

Kate took the oars, a little girl
Who now doth crazy go
Wailed about CalmSails Furled
Her eyes went to and fro
Ha Ha, quoth she, full Plain, I SEE
The *DEVIL* knows how to ROW!

Shrieve me, Shrieve me, Holy Man
A Madonna looked a little Strained
What manner of man art thou, to STAND
Singing of a Daughter, More WATER: *RAIN?*

I pass, like night, from land to land
I have a STRANGE Power of Speech
That moment in her Face I *SEE*
I know the woman that must hear me
To her, JOHN, my tale I teach

Farewell, John, but this I tell
To Kate’s FailedFate as WeddingGuest
He Prayeth well, who *LOVETH* *WELL*
Both Man, OwlBird, CatBeast

He Prayeth Best, who Lovest Best
All things, both Great and Small
For the Dear GOD who LOVETH US
He MADE, and LOVETH, *ALL*

The Ancient One, his Eyes Bright
John’s Beard, his Age’s HOUR
Is GONE, Kate as Guest of a MESS
Turned to the open door

John went like one that might be stunned
For his Senses forlorn
A sadder, but a WISER man
He rose this day, to mourn

Subj: Re:An Adapted Water-Myth
Date: 96-07-13 15:58:37 EDT
From: SibyrTiger
Posted on: America Online

>>>Subj: Cutting Down Trees
Date: 96-03-20 10:45:48 EDT
From: DLyulkin

( to Mira Furlan )

They lie in the yard
Silent, unmoving
Limp branches
Like human hair
All tangled up
Bodies twisted
Contorted
Lying on top of one another
A nameless pile
Of arms and legs
Mouths opened
In a cry of despair
That no-one will hear
No-one comes around
Only a lone seagull
Circles overhead
Observing the slaughter
With its black, dead eyes
And a maple tree
Still standing
Shivers in the wind
Awaiting its turn.<<<

John tried with Dung, to “Turn the Tides”
He hath a Cushioned Rump
For it is his MESS, that Wholly HIDES
His own UnFit Spirit’s Old Oak STUMP

I don’t Mind, “Dancing in the Dark”
Trains of Thought, wrought in “RAIN”
Sons, Daughters, “Come UnDone” WaterMarks?
I don’t Care if I’m Good & BloodyRARE, FloodSTAINED

(Water is the ArcheType of the Unconscious, and Trees are the ArcheType of the Spirit – in effect, John’s Spirit was incapable of Healthy Love, and as such, made a “Mess.” That’s the DEEP explanation, anyway….)

Subj: Re:An Adapted Water-Myth
Date: 96-07-13 16:10:48 EDT
From: BadgrHaart
Posted on: America Online

The Mythological interpretation of this, is that of an attempt at a “Miracle”/something Good, but is MIS-GUIDED, for the aforesaid reasons, such that “CHAMPAGNE” is turned into “VINEGAR”….

Subj: Re:An Adapted Water-Myth
Date: 96-07-13 16:11:56 EDT
From: BadgrHaart
Posted on: America Online

Why couldn’t John see this coming, before it happened? The reason is simple: he was too “SHALLOW”….

Subj: Re:An Adapted Water-Myth
Date: 96-07-13 16:23:52 EDT
From: KatiaKoala
Posted on: America Online

Yes, but I see what he was trying to do (from a woman’s perspective….): trying to stop an ArcheTypal “Flood,” by POLLUTING the WATER….

The problem with this is, who wants to go swimming after they get through with you? hmmmmm?

Do you “catch my drift?”….

Subj: Archiving
Date: 96-07-15 19:12:16 EDT
From: B5 Online
Posted on: America Online

This board is being archived. Please continue the discussion in a new folder. :>

Subj: Re:Archiving
Date: 96-07-21 12:52:10 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

Where to? I’d like jump back in!

Marty

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-08-03 18:20:06 EDT
From: RedQueen5
Posted on: America Online

Hey everybody, sorry I haven’t been around much this summer but I’ve been *real* busy. Its great to see so many new faces here, especially Bluudragon (I’ve really enjoyed your posts and am also a big fan of Joseph Campbell).

Anyway, just wanted to make a quick correction. Mythophile, you stated in your post of 7/4/96 that
<<Whatever the scientific truth may be, I for one do not believe in the Wagnerian-Darwinian “evolutionary” philosophy of the last couple hundred years which basically says that what comes later is better than what came before, that things are always basically improving.>>

Gosh, I was pretty sure we had at least made that much clear (way back when in those religion/evolution debates) about the nature of evolution; that is, that evolution is not progressive. Evolution does not necessarily go from crude to refined, dumb to smart, or evil to good (you know, that old great chain of being).

I’ll try to keep this as simple as possible. As the environment changes, and it always has and always will, pressure is put on whatever organisms (you and me, even that slug at your feet) exist within it. Those organisms that have the capacity to adapt, or that may already be geared to succeed from preexisting adaptations (due to previous environmental changes) will exhibit a greater level of fitness (leave more offspring) than those organisms that do not. These selective pressures and the resulting changes (in the flora and fauna) are what evolution tracks. This does not mean that organisms which are successful today are any better than those that existed thousands of years ago, only that they are better adapted to the current environment. Which is, needless to say, no guarantee of any future success. In fact, it is entirely likely that any currently unsuccessful organism (which may have been extremely successful in the past) may again become the fittest organism around in the future.

Sorry to be so long winded. Hope this helps Mytho…BTW, your posts have kept me coming to these boards all summer long (I know that’s pretty pathetic, but true nonetheless……..I can’t get enough of that sarcasm 😉

Later,
Red

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-08-04 01:15:49 EDT
From: MythoPhile
Posted on: America Online

Clarification, Red: I wasn’t suggesting that the scientific theory of evolution is “improvement” – in fact, this is obviously impossible because objective science, we’re told, doesn’t make value judgments like that. Darwin himself later recanted of the term “natural selection” precisely because it made it sound “too purposeful.”
I was laying the scientific truth completely aside and addressing the whole climate in which evolution was born. True or not, the theory of evolution was a cultural godsend, and if Darwin hadn’t existed it would’ve been necessary to create him. (You can throw this into reverse and say that Darwin and Wallace and people like him were ideally suited by their cultures to look for and find certain truths – but either way there is a cultural dependence upon their discoveries, arguably, and certainly upon their mass acceptance.) In either phrasing, evolution was precisely the truth that people wanted to hear – a grand notion of how the universe slowly improves upon itself. Yeah, it had about as much to do with science as Thomas Edison, but that was the what the masses heard. Evolution was the scientific culmination of a philosophy that had already been prevalent for decades in the works of people like Wagner and Keats – a philosophy probably born of the Industrial Revolution and then retconned into the minds of the great Rennaissance figures.
This philosophy is still rather taken for granted today – not always explicitly, but certainly implicitly. It’s the cornerstone of most science fiction, esp. Trek, because most science fiction philosophy has its origins in the works of H.G. Wells. (This philosophy of improvement has been called Wellsianity, but it predates him) In our private lives we consider someone’s philosophy discredited if it’s a phase we’ve gone through – indeed, whenever we ourselves drift into some new philosophy or religion, we say of the old, “I’ve grown out of it” or “I’ve seen through that”, taking for granted that change is always for the better. We automatically tend to assume that whenever our age has fundamental philosophical disagreements with others, we’re in the right and they’re in the wrong – not just mere chronocentrism, but because we feel we’ve “outgrown” such ideas. (Interesting is the total lack of impact on most minds of the argument that learned people throughout the ages all agreed on something that we disagree on – as if, being in the past, they were dumber than ourselves. This might have SOME validity, not much, if we at least still taught the old classics.)
This idea that that what is coming must be more right, more justified, than what’s gone before is something that our culture has in common with communism and real sweethearts like Himmler. Hence I tend to reject any argument that seems to be saying, even implicitly, “This must be right because it’s going to happen” or “This must be right because it did happen.” At bottom, this seems to be what Delenn believes… and I for one find that scary. I suppose it’s a philosophy born of or encouraged by their victory in the last Shadow War… though it might be interesting to see that faith tested: Would the universe still “know what it’s doing” if the Shadows destroyed Minbar, for instance?

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-08-05 21:43:03 EDT
From: RedQueen5
Posted on: America Online

Well said, Mytho, we are in complete agreement (as to the means that is, not the ends–but that is another topic entirely).

Red

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-08-05 23:23:39 EDT
From: MythoPhile
Posted on: America Online

<< (as to the means that is, not the ends–but that is another topic entirely)>>
???

Subj: Religion, Myth, & the Bible
Date: 96-08-06 14:05:11 EDT
From: GuitarSoft
Posted on: America Online

“Once more into the breach . . .”

A lot of religous threads make their way onto the B5 chat circuit, so I thought I’d throw in my two credits worth.

I grew up in a VERY religious background: fundamentalist, “literal truth,” speaking in tongues, etc. Even as a kid, I had questions about the stuff thrown at me.

As an adult, I’ve been reading the Bible again–not for spiritual guidance, but to understand its impact on our culture.

I’m appalled.

This book is the basis of the entire Judeo-Christian culture. Yet, we should keep in mind:

1) It was written thousands of years ago, before many concepts we take for granted today even existed, such as historical accuracy, documentation, and numbers greater than a thousand.

2) It was written by MEN. (Not women, not God.) These men had their own agendas, whether it was the lowly Levites struggling for power against the more powerful houses, or Matthew trying to keep the story of Jesus alive among Jews and Romans who had their own mythologies. Much of the Bible that Christians take as literal truth is only opinion. Paul’s letters are a good example of this.

3) It was mostly written well after the events it portrays. For example, the four Gospels (about Jesus’s life) were all written several decades after Jesus died. Of course, this technique does make prophesy pretty easy.

4) It wasn’t compiled into a single work until three CENTURIES after Jesus’s death. It has been recompiled, retranslated, redistributed many times, each time according to the agenda of the publisher. (“Hmm, I’m sure God doesn’t want THESE letters of Paul’s included. Leave ’em out.”)

I’m sure my own opinion will be attacked by the circular reasoners: It’s in the Bible, therefore it must be true, because only truth is in the Bible.

But c’mon, folks; use the reasoning power your God gave you. Which makes more sense: That your loving, all-merciful, all-knowing God would order the butcher of entire cultures (Samuel), would sentence billions to eternal torture simply because they didn’t know or understand about Jesus (New Testament), would turn his back on his beloved children because of some bitching (Exodus), etc. etc. etc.

Or, that those words were written by priests and “prophets” who desperately wanted THEIR opinions to have the power of God behind them. Look around, it still happens today. From Falwell, to Jim Jones, to David Koresh, people still hide their own agendas behind the robes of God.

I no longer believe in the Christian definition of God, because I cannot accept that this all-loving deity would be far more cruel to His “children” than any human ever would be.

Would you slay or torture your own child because she disobeyed you?

But, hey, whatever you want to believe, more power to you. Just don’t force your beliefs into our laws, our schools, or our faces. You wouldn’t want to live under Muslim prayer or laws. Remember, “Do unto others . . .”

<deep breath>

Terry

 

Subj: Re:Religion, Myth, & the Bib
Date: 96-08-06 18:41:47 EDT
From: A12b
Posted on: America Online

terry you are full of it everyone knows who controls the earth
dave

Subj: Re:Religion, Myth, & the Bib
Date: 96-08-06 18:47:51 EDT
From: ACME BUYER
Posted on: America Online

All I was looking for was a nice, shallow sci-fi oriented discussion.

Incidentally, Terry, while I quite concur with you, slapping irrelevant opinions about the Bible into a B5 folder is another way of forcing your opinions on others.

Al

Subj: Re:Religion, Myth, & the Bible
Date: 96-08-06 19:18:17 EDT
From: WifeAgain
Posted on: America Online

Dear Terry, There are many people on this board who could answer your questions/comments much better than I, but I feel I must reply (knowing this is B5 which is the most **religious** science fiction television program I’ve ever known). I too use logic to consider life & all its ramifications (as a computer progammer/analyst it’s also part of my job!) Logically I find the Bible one of the most fasinating books I’ve ever read. As you said, it was written by a multitude of men over centries and yet so much agrees. It shows not only what God is like (through His son Jesus) but what men are like. Unlike every other “holy” book I know, it does not varish the truth or “reshape it”. The men (& women) of the Bible are strong, weak, giving, cruel & everything else just as we are. The ones who win look to God for their strenght & forgiveness. We are not perfect & neither are the people in God’s book. No matter how many times people have destroyed God’s Word or belittled it, the Good News is still here. Because it **is** good news. Please keep reading the Bible. God does not hate or punish people. He hates sin. Don’t try to follow the example of any preacher or the writer Matthew or even me…look closely at the words of Jesus & follow Him. May God bless you.

Subj: B5 portrayal of religion
Date: 96-08-06 20:24:28 EDT
From: SLV80
Posted on: America Online

I’m relatively new to this folder (I posted a message quite a while back, found out that no one agreed with me, and therefor have decided to keep my mouth shut on the subject of religion. I like a good debate, I even like being outnumbered, but two-hundred to one is a bit much even for me.)
Anyway, I just wanted to comment on religion *with relation to B5* (this is slightly different, and I’m hoping maybe everyone won’t have such a strong urge to tar and feather me over this)
I have heard lots of people in the past (not on this board, on others) praising B5 for its positive portrayal of religion, while I have heard others (especially after WWEII) complaining that the Sinclair/ Valen transformation was rather irreverent. I just wanted to say that I never got the impression that B5 handled religion in either a positive or negative fashion, and I think this impartiality is very refreshing. Too many TV shows either equate religion with fanaticism (this is totally inacurate, I know several very reasonable and very religious people) or show only Judeo-Christian religion, and this only from a rather stilted viewpoint. Those that show only fanacism usually portray religion in general as a bad thing, and those that think religion is synonymous with Christianity seem to always show religion and religious people as good and anyone and anything else as bad. This annoys me very much, because the entire world would be up in arms if a show portrayed some minority religion as evil, but no one says a word when shows blatantly malign those who chose not the believe. This is religious prejudice, but it is never recognized as such. B5, so far, has presented the impact of religions, several of them, in various situations, and has not tried to make them look either good or bad. It has also allowed that people may be decent human beings with being religious. It is one of the first shows that I have seen that deals with religion without either preaching or condemning.

Subj: Re:Religion, Myth, & the Bib
Date: 96-08-06 22:23:21 EDT
From: Rushylon 5
Posted on: America Online

First of all, the ten commandments also happen to be in the Bible. The spiteful, horrible God you speak of I do not see.

Second, historical works are generally (again, generally) given their due “historical” respect by finding how many of the oldest of the works exist. For instance, there are something like fifteen copies of the oldest known transcripts and exact copies of the works of (shoot, I can’t remember) Aristotle or Galileo. Anyway, whichever it is, the philosophies within (which are highly regarded) are given a great amount of respect because of the “volume” of work that dates so far back (geez, I’m confusing myself!). Well, there are something in the neighborhood of one thousand (according to Pastor Jack Hayford, a great and honorable man) copies of the oldest Bibles, which outdates (Aristotle or Galileo)’s works by centuries.

Given this and the fact that more often (much more often) than not archeaological digs are turning up hard evidence of the events of the Bible, isn’t it amazing how little respect the Bible gets in some scientific circles.

Rushylon 5 (sorry, but no B5 tie in came to mind while writing this).

Subj: Religion, Myth, & Bible II
Date: 96-08-08 03:26:48 EDT
From: GuitarSoft
Posted on: America Online

Whew! Nothing like stirring up a bit of controversy, eh? I feel I must respond to some of the comments.

I agree that perhaps this is not the place to engage in this debate. (I chafe, however, at being accused of forcing my opionion on others. I simply state my beliefs; I do not claim that I am repeating the words of God or that those who disagree will suffer eternal torment.)

Many other people have challenged jms on religous subjects, even going so far as to tell him what he “obviously” believes, given the context of his writing. I simply wished to add my own voice to the other side of the chorus.

I believe that jms portrays every(?) sentient race as having ancient mythologies in order to make a point. We all evolve from primitive origins, when the natural seemed supernatural through ignorance. Even with the advance of science and technology, beings will still seek a sense of purpose to the otherwise random flow of fate. And this is fine, until intolerance for others’ views arises. Since jms seems to think that Humans are NOT going to make any quantum leaps in character over the next few centuries (and I agree), he has infused his characters with different facets of the same behavior we see today: heroism, cowardice, compassion, intolerance.

In my opinion, intolerance is growing faster than computer hardware technology. But we can be kind, loving, compassionate, honest, chaste, loyal, generous, and heroic without believing in the Christian (or any other) God. Really.

I know there are many verses that portray God/Jesus as loving and merciful. And there are others that depict a jealous, angry, vidictive deity. That is my point: The Bible was written by men of various agendas. What is the truth?

One person suggested I ignore the teachings of others and listen to Jesus. Problem is, Jesus never wrote anything. All we have are OTHER PEOPLE’S writings about what Jesus said (and meant). (Paul apparently never even MET Jesus.) And even those were written from oral recollections decades after he lived. (For what it’s worth, I personally believe Jesus was a kind, humorous, tolerant person who basically taught, “Treat each other with respect and dignity.”–my quotes)

The Minbari, even the Narn, seem to be tolerant, even embracive, of other views, as perhaps Jesus was. The Centauri consider themselves “chosen” and anything they do is justified, as organized religion tends to be. Perhaps this has origins in their religion. After all, the Israelites, Muslims, Christians, etc. have all done similar atrocities in times past (and present).

Now, shall we debate evolution?

T

P.S. To respond to those of you who claim I am off-base in saying the Bible portrays the Christian God as intolerant and vicious:

“Whoever sacrifices to any god other than the Lord must be destroyed” (Ex. 22:20)

“When you take a census of the Israelites to count them, each one must pay the Lord a ransom for his life” (Ex. 30:12)

“they [Israelites] are a stiff-necked people. Leave me alone that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them.” (Ex. 32:10)

I chose Exodus because this is “direct” interaction between God and his chosen “children.” (Would you do this to your child for being rebellious?)

“Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants.” (1 Samuel 15:3-4)

“Anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven” (Mat. 12:32) I assume this portends going to Hell.

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother” (Mat. 10:34)

“No one can see the kingdom of heaven unless he is born again.” (John 3:3)
Yes, I KNOW there are verses that say the opposite. But what about these?

Subj: Re:Religion, Myth, & the Bib
Date: 96-08-08 15:26:58 EDT
From: Archer C1
Posted on: America Online

Bravo, Terry…. Anyone who disputes your portrayal of the Bible, especially the atrocitiies of the OT, hasn;t read it as carefully as they claim.

Subj: Re:B5 portrayal of religion
Date: 96-08-08 17:01:13 EDT
From: MythoPhile
Posted on: America Online

<<complaining that the Sinclair/ Valen transformation was rather irreverent. >>
To be honest, I never thought of the transformation as being irreverent, exactly. In the first place, it was obvious that Minbari religion was an uneasy fusion of two incompatible religions (pantheism and Roman Catholicism), as I’d commented somewhere in here ahead of time. In other words, the revelation wasn’t really out of the blue, but the logical fulfilment of everything we’d been told. It wasn’t irreverent within the story because Sinclair only did what he was supposed to do, followed “Valen’s” instructions as it were. It wasn’t irreverent on a literary level because the Minbari religion and the holiness of Valen, a fictional character of JMS’ invention, never had any pretense to objective truth. I don’t think that this explanation of Minbari religion was really intended to bash religion in general, because we know that Sinclair is a deeply pious man, and his time among the Minbari only seemed to strengthen that.
If I were to get into Sinclair’s head, I suggest that he saw becoming Valen as an opportunity to inject some of his Christianity into a weak religion (strict Pantheism, as I’ve shown, cannot take sides) that wasn’t up to the job of taking on the Shadows… and perhaps to bring the Minbari closer to what he saw as the truth? We don’t have to assume that “Valen” was a complete hypocrite in impersonating a “holy man”. It seemed pretty clear that Sinclair, by then, really was beginning to see himself as a holy prophet, destined to bring some small measure of his faith to the Minbari.

Subj: Re:Religion, Myth, & the Bib
Date: 96-08-08 17:05:40 EDT
From: MythoPhile
Posted on: America Online

Regarding the evolution debate (the words “Please not again” come to mind):
If certain recent scientific discoveries turn out to be on the level, we can pretty much throw out the window every theory of the origins of life on this planet.
But my personal opinion? What do the following items have in common?
(1) Piltdown Man
(2) Medicare Cuts
(3) Life on Mars
I’ll give you a hint: They’re three of the greatest _________ of the 20th century.

Subj: Re:Religion, Myth, & the Bib
Date: 96-08-08 17:23:09 EDT
From: MythoPhile
Posted on: America Online

And, for the record, Terry (this is really all I’m going to say on the subject), you’re not half as profound as you think you’re being. Many intelligent people have been Christians, Christianity based solely on the Bible, without being morons or hypocrites. All the issues you’ve raised are, frankly, as old as the hills, and everyone who turns away from a “Sunday school” understanding of Christianity passes through them. C.S. Lewis turned from such a Christianity into one of the most vehement atheists you’d ever want to meet (you haven’t lived until you’ve read some of his anti-Christian tirades), and guess what happened to him in the end?
With all due respect to what you’ve been taught, or at least what you’ve learned, Christianity is a religion focused around the New Testament, which expressly overturns the majority of the Old Testament, its regulations, its half-developed view of God, and so on. The Old Testament is the story of the culture in which Christianity was formed. As for the so-called left out stuff in the NT, if you took the time to read any of the Gnostic writings, you’d see why they were left out. They were light-years away from anything recognizable as the teachings of Christ or the words of real Christians – just neo-Platonic babble with Christ as spokesman. Same old, same old junk Alexandria was turning out well before Christ’s birth.
I’m sorry that you only seemed to pick up enough Christianity in your youth to be capable of bashing it with all the fury of the very fanatics you despise (guess what you DID pick up?), but if you took the time to seek answers rather than throwing tantrums, you’d see that many intelligent writers have addressed, over the years, all the issues you raise. This, however, is not the place to rehash it all. Enough said.

Subj: Re:Religion, Myth, & the Bib
Date: 96-08-09 04:18:32 EDT
From: MythoPhile
Posted on: America Online

P.S.
I also find it interesting that the Old Testament and God’s supposed vindictiveness and barbarism are always used as proof against Christianity, even though Christ explicitly rejected such a view, whereas they’re NEVER remotely, perish the thought, ever suggested as evidence against the truth of Judaism, where those books are infinitely more central to the faith.

Subj: Re:Religion, Myth, & the Bib
Date: 96-08-09 18:27:33 EDT
From: TheLip77
Posted on: America Online

Yes, one only needs to read the current issue of Sky & Telescope to realize that the current thinking regarding the cosmology of the universe (the Sun in particular) is being turned upside down by the data collected.

Subj: Re:Religion, Myth, & the Bib
Date: 96-08-11 17:41:56 EDT
From: Songokuten
Posted on: America Online

>> But my personal opinion? What do the following items have in common?
(1) Piltdown Man
(2) Medicare Cuts
(3) Life on Mars
I’ll give you a hint: They’re three of the greatest _________ of the 20th century.<<

Quite a blunt, simple opinion. Piltdown man was a hoax, yes. But not everyone believed in him as not all Christians believe Jesus visited North America. As for life on Mars, all I can say is that it looks tempting but I’ll wait for more proof.

Subj: Re:Religion, Myth, & the Bib
Date: 96-08-11 18:30:51 EDT
From: SLV80
Posted on: America Online

<< P.S.
I also find it interesting that the Old Testament and God’s supposed vindictiveness and barbarism are always used as proof against Christianity, even though Christ explicitly rejected such a view, whereas they’re NEVER remotely, perish the thought, ever suggested as evidence against the truth of Judaism, where those books are infinitely more central to the faith.>>

This is because Judaism, to the best of my knowledge, never claims that God is merciful and loving to anyone but his chosen people, and then only if they behave. Christianity is based on this concept. However, I realize that the purpose of much of the new testiment is to redefine God’s law, and therefore this arguement is not without its flaws.
Personally, I have no objection to anyone believing in whatever god they wish, reguardless of how vindictive or barbaric that god may seem to me. The way I see it, as long as a person is trying to do what they see as right, and they aren’t messing up anybody else’s life, that’s good enough for me. I am not a Christian, but I don’t have any problem with other people being Christians. I have several very Christian friends who have this annoying habit of witnessing to me every five minutes; they’re just trying to be nice, and I nicely tell them to back off, and everybody manages to live with it. It isn’t the end of the world. We learn from each other. We’ve figured out that we don’t have to like or even respect each other’s views to like and respect each other. Just because I’m agnostic doesn’t mean I feel the need to ‘disprove’ Christianity, and they don’t have to convert me in order to call me a friend. All this arguement about whether Christianity is “wrong,” the Bible is accurate, whatever, just seems so pointless to me. We are all working towards the same goal. It occurs to me that we might get a lot more done if we didn’t waste so much time agueing about how we’ll get there.
– Lynne

 

Subj: Re:Religion, Myth, & the Bib
Date: 96-08-11 20:36:20 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

Hear, hear, Lynne

Subj: Re:Religion, Myth, & the Bib
Date: 96-08-11 23:10:21 EDT
From: MythoPhile
Posted on: America Online

<<Piltdown man was a hoax, yes. But not everyone believed in him as not all Christians believe Jesus visited North America.>>
Puts me in mind of a joke (what the heck, it’ll probably do less harm than any of the other things we say in here): The Pope comes out on the balcony and tells the people, “I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is, God appeared to me in a vision last night and told me that Christ is coming again tomorrow at noon. The bad news is, He said to meet Him in Salt Lake City.”

Subj: Re:Religion, Myth, & the Bib
Date: 96-08-11 23:24:54 EDT
From: MythoPhile
Posted on: America Online

<<We are all working towards the same goal. It occurs to me that we might get a lot more done if we didn’t waste so much time agueing about how we’ll get there.>>
Unfortunately, many of the great quarrels have come about precisely because we’re working toward different goals. It’d be lovely world if everyone could respect everyone else’s views, I agree, and I think we could all go a long way in doing better. But whether we’re talking religion, politics, social issues, all the big disagreements are between people who believe very strongly and sincerely in totally opposite goals, which is why I really dislike the “Can’t we all just get along” crowd (profound words, from a man who just wants to be left to himself to go 90 miles an hour down the road while doped out of his skull). Politics and religion typically put people off precisely because of the violent arguments involved. But while not defending the (somewhat inevitable) MANNER in which those arguments are conducted (people being what they are and always will be), the fundamental disagreements are inevitable. How do Republicans and Democrats in Congress “just get along so they can work to their same goal” when one believes in liberating people by limiting government to its fundamental duties and the other believes in giving government as many duties as possible to (supposedly) protect people from themselves and the mistakes they would otherwise make? Likewise, how do, say, Christians (Christianity being apparently, to judge by these boards, the only viable, defensible, intelligent alternative to atheism-agnosticism; yes, this is a dig toward all you lurkers, and so was the Judaism remark, since it’d be nice to see something new) and atheists-agnostics-deists get along, when one believes the only important goal is the salvation of souls and the other believes the only important goal is improving the world around them? Sad to say, people who argue whether one human soul or a given terrestrial civilization is more lasting, durable, and important aren’t working toward anything like the same goal, so quarrels are inevitable, and a sign of deeply-held beliefs.

Subj: Re:Religion, Myth, & the Bib
Date: 96-08-12 14:56:48 EDT
From: Archer C1
Posted on: America Online

<<But my personal opinion? What do the following items have in common?
(1) Piltdown Man
(2) Medicare Cuts
(3) Life on Mars
I’ll give you a hint: They’re three of the greatest _________ of the 20th century.<<

Quite a blunt, simple opinion. Piltdown man was a hoax, yes. But not everyone believed in him as not all Christians believe Jesus visited North America. As for life on Mars, all I can say is that it looks tempting but I’ll wait for more proof.>>

Of course, who exposed Piltdown man? Creationists? Hardly! The Piltdown man hoax is a wonderful example of science’s self-correcting nature. The fraud lasted only until the technology existed to expose it as a hoax. In the meantime, several other finds have quite admirably taken Pilty’s spot in the ladder of hominid descent…

Subj: Re:Religion, Myth, & the Bib
Date: 96-08-12 15:43:46 EDT
From: Songokuten
Posted on: America Online

>> (Christianity being apparently, to judge by these boards, the only viable, defensible, intelligent alternative to atheism-agnosticism; yes, this is a dig toward all you lurkers, and so was the Judaism remark, since it’d be nice to see something new)<<

I wish for something new, too. If it helps, I was raised Jewish, Bar-Mitzvah and all. I know some Hebrew. The only thing is that I never was completely in agreement with what the Torah says, and my real beliefs are quite different. But I know the material!

Subj: Re:Religion, Myth, & the Bib
Date: 96-08-12 15:50:49 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

<<Sad to say, people who argue whether one human soul or a given terrestrial civilization is more lasting, durable, and important aren’t working toward anything like the same goal, so quarrels are inevitable, and a sign of deeply-held beliefs.>>

Well put, Mytho.

Subj: Re:off to sunday school
Date: 96-08-12 23:44:42 EDT
From: RedQueen5
Posted on: America Online

<< (as to the means that is, not the ends–but that is another topic entirely)>>
???

That the “genesis” of evolutionary thought was a product of the times does not discount the validity of its expression today.

<< Regarding the evolution debate (the words “Please not again” come to mind):
If certain recent scientific discoveries turn out to be on the level, we can pretty much throw out the window every theory of the origins of life on this planet.>>

The only thing not *of this planet* is your thinking, what are you talking about? Panspermia? Please………..

Later,
Red

Subj: Re:Religion, Myth, & the Bib
Date: 96-08-13 19:15:26 EDT
From: SLV80
Posted on: America Online

<<Sad to say, people who argue whether one human soul or a given terrestrial civilization is more lasting, durable, and important aren’t working toward anything like the same goal, so quarrels are inevitable, and a sign of deeply-held beliefs.>>

I suppose I was a little vague, and you do have a valid point. What I meant is that most people are trying to do what they see as the right thing, whether they equate right asn meaning right for themselve or right for the world or whatever. We’re all trying. Considering this an election year, I’ll use the Republican/Democrat example. Both parties are trying to make this nation a better and safer place to live. Both parties want want to uphold the constitution, as they see it. Both want to provide for the future, ensuring that this nation remains great. The same goals. And I’m beginning to think that it doesn’t matter which approach we take, it would have to be better than doing nothing.
Also with reference to elections and campaigns and pointless arguement, I’m thinking about Bob Dole’s ‘tolerance’ language with respect to abortion. Absolutely amazing – I didn’t know you could offend so many people in one breath. Oh well. I happen to be pro-life, and I like the idea. Granted, it was just political manuvering, but the thought was there. The concept is to seperate the person from the action, to be able to say that the republican party thinks abortion is wrong, being pro-choice is wrong, but a person isn’t bad for being wrong. I have heard two major arguement against this: 1. abortion is murder, how can you be tolerant of murder? – Dole isn’t proposing tolerance of abortion, but tolerance of people who wish to be tolerant of abortion. It isn’t the same thing. 2. The truely tolerant position is the pro-choice position, why bother trying to be tolerant while calling yourself pro-life? – there is a difference between thought and action, the pro-choice position being the thought, abortion being the action. Dole is proposing tolerance of the thought, not the action. This is one of the founding principles of the constitution, that people may believe whatever they want, reguardless how deplorable, but they do not have the right to force that belief on others. (okay, I know I’m going to here about that particular logic with relation to abortion ) This is the same concept I was trying to get across. I suppose if someone who has been in politics for fifty years can’t do it, probably should just give up. But that would be way too easy. -Lynne

Subj: Re:Religion, Myth, & Bible I
Date: 96-08-15 14:43:48 EDT
From: C12kyd
Posted on: America Online

ah….My poor child….you are looking soooo very hard for someone to prove to you that God is real so you don’t have to continue throwing this temper tantrum … trying to get God’s attention by denying him is always prevailant..and by being appalled..don’t you know that if you are created in the likeness of God then God must have emotions, feelings and…gasp!!!….jealousy!!! ..he protects those whom he loves..we as Americans protect what we love…If you child was unjustly taken advantage of..to the point of death as a parent would you not want to deal with that individual.

ah you whom are seeking for him … look out cause you just *might* find him!!!

Subj: Re:Religion, Myth, & Bible I
Date: 96-08-16 12:15:14 EDT
From: SLV80
Posted on: America Online

C12kyd –
Who are you talking about? There have been several people leaving vastly different messages under the same heading, so when you just leave a message and don’t either address it to someone or quote a specific message, it gets very confusing.
I’m not commenting on the message in general until I know what it refers to.

Subj: There are always Monks!
Date: 96-08-17 18:28:02 EDT
From: Kimsmeyer
Posted on: America Online

Ahhhh! I have had enough! There are way to many monks on B.5
Examples
1. The one episode with the brainwiped monk.
2. The monks who helped solve the mad bomber episode
3. The guy who was searching for the holy grail
Plus many more. why?

Subj: Re:There are always Monks!
Date: 96-08-17 22:07:25 EDT
From: MythoPhile
Posted on: America Online

What’s wrong with a few monks? Try counting archaeologists sometime! (Catherine, Morden, Anna, Franklin’s buddy from Infection, Talia’s husband, the woman who dug up the shadow ship… I think JMS has an archaeology fixation.)

Subj: Re:There are always Monks!
Date: 96-08-17 22:55:07 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

I think the monks simply are JMS’ way of showing the Religion will still exist in the future. Religion will still be around in an open and respected position.

Marty.

Subj: Re:Religion, Myth, & Bible I
Date: 96-08-18 06:13:49 EDT
From: C12kyd
Posted on: America Online

<<From: SLV80

C12kyd –
Who are you talking about? There have been several people leaving vastly different messages under the same heading, so when you just leave a message and don’t either address it to someone or quote a specific message, it gets very confusing.
I’m not commenting on the message in general until I know what it refers to.>>

Well now….it seems that maybe that message was just general enough for anyone to take it to heart..but…to set your mind at rest… if you see what the “IN RE:” was about you would recognize that it was to Guitarsoft. I haven’t been in here in a while and see that the debate still rages without end..ahhh.. such is life with those whom have questions within themselves…but forgive me if I seem as tho I am induglening small children or yet (eek) patronizing..just looking for those whom see the full picture..(sorry JMS even you don’t have that vision)..I’ll tell you I’m not that person either!!

Well forgive me as I babble on (no pun intended)….

Subj: Re:Religion, Myth, & Bible I
Date: 96-08-18 23:04:49 EDT
From: SLV80
Posted on: America Online

Technical stuff first:
<<if you see what the “IN RE:” was about you would recognize that it was to Guitarsoft.>>
Actually the heading was “Religion, Myth & the Bible,” a heading that has been hanging around for a few weeks and has gotten very confusing. I see now that you were refering to the first message, but it still wasn’t very clear.
Anyway, now that I know what you’re talking about, I will comment. (so much for just keeping my mouth shut about all this.) I really can’t see how you could think that the author of this message was searching for someone to prove the existance of God. I know, reverse psychology and all that, but I don’t buy it. What he wrote was an intelligent, though perhaps overly emotional, synopsis of the Bible, its authors, and the impact it has had on our society. He didn’t mention the existance of God once. I am also curious why so many people seem to take someone else’s stating their beliefs as an affront to their own. This board is supposed to be for discussion of religion, and you can’t really have a very intelligent discussion if no one is allowed to state what they believe. And do so many religious people seem to think that anyone without a clearly defined faith is undergoing so kind of inner turmoil? I happen to be agnostic and perfectly happy about it. Yes, I still have questions, but if I had figured everything out then I might as well be dead. For me, life is a process of constant discovery, learning, questioning everything I see in the hope of better understanding the world in general. I don’t want or need one easy answer; that would make life rather pointless. I realize that some, perhaps even most, people would go quickly insane trying to live along those lines, but it works very well for me. And yes, you were being very patronizing, but don’t worry about it, so is everyone else on this board (including me) most of the time. Actually, so are most people in the rest of the world, too. We’re all convinced that we’re right and the rest are just poor misguided souls; hence we have war and hate and nearly every other evil that plagues mankind. (See? There I go . . . ) Oh well, now I’m babbling, I guess I should shut up now . . . -Lynne

P.S. – to everyone out there is is going to think that I just haven’t found the light yet, I would like to mention that I was at one time a Christian. Not just a christian-on-Sunday, but a real Christian by the Bible’s definition. I no longer am because I wasn’t comfortable with the way I saw myself starting to think and act. It wasn’t me, and frankly, it scared me. I know many people who would have just kept on going to church and smiling about it reguardless, just because it is the politically correct thing to do. That also isn’t me; either I do something all the way or I don’t do it all. Which is why I am not doing it at all. For some reason this little story always freaks people out; perhaps someone could explain this to me? I really am not trying to offend anyone, I’m just explaining my viewpoint. I should probably also mention that I was aised primarily athiest, as my mother was raised. My father was raised Protestant but gave that up when he married my mother. When I was about eleven, my mom, for some odd reason, decided that we should start going to church. A few years and a lot of church politics later, she and my sister stopped going. My dad and I kept on going for a while, then he also gave up, though I think he is still a Christian, he just doesn’t attend church. I kept going myself for a while, reading the Bible, ect., until I had a little crisis of conscience. My mother has just recently decided we should start going to church again. She never ceases to amaze me. I’m not sure anyone really needed to know all this, but I’ve found it helps to know where a person is coming from. Anyway, this is just the abridged version. Go back a few generations and its starts to really get interesting. Oh well. I’m shutting up now, really.

Subj: Death of Personality
Date: 96-08-21 01:33:44 EDT
From: Friendlou
Posted on: America Online

This is the first B-5 episode I’ve watched, and I found the idea of forcible religious conversion rather disturbing. Suppose someone truly believes that he has been born again and that Jesus is the way to salvation — or has some other religious belief — but his faith is not real, it has been implanted in him by the government? Is faith just as valid if it has been imposed from the outside? Personality wipe would make a good missionary tool, wouldn’t it?

Subj: Re:Death of Personality
Date: 96-08-21 11:49:26 EDT
From: StarFuryD4
Posted on: America Online

Friendlou,

I think you’re confusing the the two. In Catholic teaching, one can work their way from hell to heaven, by “being good”, and receiving the sacraments. Rituals take the place of repentance/conversion, and one is justified by their woks and adherance to the teachings of the “church”.

On the other hand, Edward was not “conscripted” into conversion. Rather, he, having been mind-wiped and implanted with a personality geared to “doing good”, was requested for membership in a religious “rotary club”, where he would be set to doing “good deeds”.

There is really no conflict here.

But I agree with your ire over forced “conversions”. It don’t work. Not at the crusades, not by Islam, not at all.

Dave

Subj: Re:Death of Personality
Date: 96-08-21 12:25:17 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

Hi, Dave:

I rather think you oversimplify Catholicism. It is by faith and good works, not good works alone, that we can get to Heaven. That’s the official teaching of the Church. She recognizes that outwardly being a good boy and inwardly not meaning it means nothing to one’s salvation. But outwardly professing faith while not doing what faith requires is equally an error.

I’m not out to make this board any more overtly religious without regard to B5, folks, but just as a point of clarification.

Marty

 

Subj: Re:Death of Personality
Date: 96-08-21 16:55:11 EDT
From: MythoPhile
Posted on: America Online

Friendlou:
Neither Brother Edward nor Brother Malcolm were “forcibly” converted. Their personalities were altered by the state, which I find reprehensible, giving them a desire to “serve others” – but any religious conversions came afterward, the product of a free choice that the new self had as assuredly as the old. This was the beauty of that episode… that we see Edward first as Edward, a real, individual, solid person who makes real choices and has real opinions about his former life. The new personality was created much as any personality is formed by environment, upbringing, etc (and we can argue over the morality of doing such a thing deliberately and so completely), but once it’s in place, you have a person like any other.
And even if such “forcible” conversions did exist, the people who’d undergone them would still have free will and be able to pull out if they wanted. EA did not create automatons. (If they did, there’d be even less of a moral issue – since is it really evil to, say, sculpt a statue and say it’s a Christian?)
As to the theory that mindwipe is more humane than capital punishment, it speaks of a very warped mentality on the part of the earth officials who pushed for it (typical liberal – all easily assuaged conscience and no brain), since, by killing the personality, it presupposes that this mindless lump of human flesh has some inherent value.

Subj: Re:Death of Personality
Date: 96-08-21 23:37:02 EDT
From: Friendlou
Posted on: America Online

Thanks for your responses to my concern about “forcible conversion.”

I agree that Edward is presented as a real, solid person — even a good and likeable person. Was it a bad thing for the state to have created such a person? I can’t say that.

What bothers me is the fact that the state, having the power, is willing to go into a person’s mind and change his thoughts and memories. In B-5, is this power limited to the state?

Even the Inquisition, if I remember correctly, was not able to force people to convert. People were sometimes tortured and killed if they did not convert, but there was no way to put beliefs into people except by persuading them — force could not do it.

MythoPhile, are you sure that Edward’s conversion was his free choice? Do you know that his faith wasn’t installed by the state? Had Edward appeared before in the series, or was he presented for the first time in this episode?

What about the young man who killed Edward? His sentence seems to have been carried out rather quickly. I think I heard him say that he had wanted to belong to the order for a long time. Maybe he converted of his own free will after his sentence was carried out, but I got the impression that his new religious life was a part of his sentence.

If the state is willing to change people’s minds and personalities — even those of convicted criminals — isn’t it just a short step to using this on other people — political enemies, for example?

This is my first episode. I have no background. I find it fascinating. I want to watch more.

Coincidentally, the same night I watched Death of Personality, Star Trek Deep Space 9 reran an episode where a man (O’Brien) was implanted with false memories of a 20-year prison term. Watching the two shows addressing the same subject on the same night probably made each one more interesting to me than either one would have been by itself.

Subj: Re:Death of Personality
Date: 96-08-21 23:56:14 EDT
From: MythoPhile
Posted on: America Online

<<MythoPhile, are you sure that Edward’s conversion was his free choice? Do you know that his faith wasn’t installed by the state? Had Edward appeared before in the series, or was he presented for the first time in this episode?>>

Edward was awaiting relocation when a fire broke out and he just kinda vanished into the world. The new personality chose to enter the monastery, without earth authorities knowing about it. Whether or not he was given a Christian religious background isn’t clear, but it’s a far cry from having faith (which is a matter of the will, not the memory), and they had to give him SOME kind of background.

<<What about the young man who killed Edward? His sentence seems to have been carried out rather quickly. I think I heard him say that he had wanted to belong to the order for a long time. Maybe he converted of his own free will after his sentence was carried out, but I got the impression that his new religious life was a part of his sentence.>>

Justice was swift for Malcolm because he pled guilty. The way I read that scene, he had wanted (programmed memories) to “serve others” for a long time, and the authorities suggested the monastery to him after the change. I don’t think we’re meant to assume that Theo had anything to do with creating Malcolm, for the process was meant to be morally ambiguous, and I don’t think the episode was meant to cast doubt on Theo’s integrity. I’ve debated this with friends, some of whom think Theo comes off as a little sinister, but I think it’s unintentional.
I doubt earth government could get away with implanting a specific religious life. There’d have to be all kinds of regulations against this, and every religious authority on earth would scream bloody murder. (They weren’t all shipped off to the gulag on Mars like on Trek… at least I think it was Mars; you know, that Jewish shipyard/colony)

<<If the state is willing to change people’s minds and personalities — even those of convicted criminals — isn’t it just a short step to using this on other people — political enemies, for example?>>
I agree totally. The state using its resources to alter the character of the people goes against all common law and common decency. (On a totally unrelated note, AOL informs me that Clinton’s having tobacco declared a regulatory drug)

Subj: Re:Death of Personality
Date: 96-08-22 00:35:37 EDT
From: Friendlou
Posted on: America Online

MythoPhile, thanks for answering my questions. I don’t know why I’d never watched Babylon-5 before, but I’ve got to see more of it.

Here’s what bothers me the most about this personality wipe. According to what I’ve been taught, faith is at the core of religious life. Faith seems to come easily to many, yet others struggle throughout their lives to attain it. How to get it? Can one genuinely pray for faith if one doesn’t have faith to begin with?

If someone believes he has had a spiritual breakthrough — has been born again, for example — but his memories of this are false, does this count? Suppose being born again is absolutely necessary for salvation. This is not the teaching of my church, but just suppose.

Suppose I believe I am saved and bound for heaven, but my belief is based on false memories. Maybe I become complacent, believing myself in a state of grace, and stop striving for the reality.

The state is really taking a lot on itself here. Granted, we are all influenced by our environment. The concept of mind control is not new. This particular TV episode just gave it a new twist I hadn’t thought about before.

>>(On a totally unrelated note, AOL informs me that Clinton’s having tobacco declared a regulatory drug)<<

It’s been quite a few years since I smoked, but I can still remember the sensation of that first drag in the morning.

Subj: Re:Death of Personality
Date: 96-08-22 01:41:21 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

Dave wrote:
<<On the other hand, Edward was not “conscripted” into conversion. Rather, he, having been mind-wiped and implanted with a personality geared to “doing good”, was requested for membership in a religious “rotary club”, where he would be set to doing “good deeds”.

There is really no conflict here.

But I agree with your ire over forced “conversions”. It don’t work. Not at the crusades, not by Islam, not at all.

Dave>>

Gotta agree with the feeling of Dave’s post(even the part I didn’t quote for space saving). The facts are off(see below).

Friendlou wrote:

<<MythoPhile, are you sure that Edward’s conversion was his free choice? Do you know that his faith wasn’t installed by the state? Had Edward appeared before in the series, or was he presented for the first time in this episode?>>

Edward’s conversion was definitely of free choice(well, sort of.) It was told that the place he was assigned after the mindwipe burned down, and that he disappeared. He apparently joined the Brotherhood without government help. Save, of course, for the implanted desire to help others.
<<What about the young man who killed Edward? His sentence seems to have been carried out rather quickly. I think I heard him say that he had wanted to belong to the order for a long time. Maybe he converted of his own free will after his sentence was carried out, but I got the impression that his new religious life was a part of his sentence.>>

I got the idea from the Ivanova-Lyta scene that it had been at least a few weeks, if not a month or so(pure speculation). But in a sense I felt very good about his “joining” the brotherhood. Theo’s group seems very much less a “missonary” group as it does a “helping” group, not out to convert people as much as simply do good. Acording to the Laws of the time, apparently, the guy gave up his “privilige” to decide where his life would go as soon as he confessed. I look at it as an odd version of the Death penalty. Rather than simply killing the criminal, the person that committed the crime is “killed”, and a new person is created. One who will help put right what the former resident of that body put wrong(propagandic, I know. But hey, it’s me!)

<<If the state is willing to change people’s minds and personalities — even those of convicted criminals — isn’t it just a short step to using this on other people — political enemies, for example?>>

Scary, ain’t it? Wouldn’t at all be surprised if Clarke’s regime put it into use sooner or later, however quietly.

<<Coincidentally, the same night I watched Death of Personality, Star Trek Deep Space 9 reran an episode where a man (O’Brien) was implanted with false memories of a 20-year prison term. Watching the two shows addressing the same subject on the same night probably made each one more interesting to me than either one would have been by itself.>>

That was great! Two of my favorite episodes from two of my favorite shows. Both were my favorites because of the conflicts the stir within me, and the fact that neither provides “easy” answers.

Anyway, thanks for the good topic!

 
Subj: Re:Death of Personality
Date: 96-08-22 04:36:27 EDT
From: MythoPhile
Posted on: America Online

Friendlou:
<<According to what I’ve been taught, faith is at the core of religious life. Faith seems to come easily to many, yet others struggle throughout their lives to attain it. How to get it? Can one genuinely pray for faith if one doesn’t have faith to begin with?>>
C.S. Lewis said, “It is no flattery to God that we prefer Him to eternal torment, yet even this He accepts.” I’ve always been skeptical of any faith that seems to come too easily. The truly faithful always have doubts – in a great episode you must see (“Comes the Inquisitor”) holier-than-all Delenn actually becomes a likable character when she finally admits her doubts. (Made a nice change from rolling around the mud of a vineyard with her brother) The reason the memories thing doesn’t really bother me (from a theological perspective anyway) is that if it were possible it would surely be taken into account. (It is, for instance, a greater virtue for Hitler to resist killing someone than it would be for say, Ghandi. When things come easily, more is expected.) Faith is an affair of the present, not the past, and a conversion is simply a marker for when that will to remain close to God began. Unlike perhaps many fundamentalists, I take it for granted that faith can die, be reborn, etc if it’s not sustained in the present.

<<If someone believes he has had a spiritual breakthrough — has been born again, for example — but his memories of this are false, does this count? Suppose being born again is absolutely necessary for salvation. This is not the teaching of my church, but just suppose.>>
I think what would matter in that case would be the sincerity of the faith later on. Some people can be quite sincerely born again and end up threatening to kill themselves if they don’t get money. The question would be, “Is this so-called spiritual life largely an affair of the habits at this point, or is it renewed consciously every day?” Edward was clearly pretty spiritual.

<<The concept of mind control is not new. This particular TV episode just gave it a new twist I hadn’t thought about before.>>
That was what I thought the real beauty of this episode… it’s “backwards” quality. The so-called automaton/shouldn’t-exist person was the one we got to know, the one who had a perfect right to exist being what he was. Edward was a real person as far as Edward was concerned, however he got there. The point about the atrocity of doing it in the first place was still made, but it avoided being hopelessly trite.

Subj: Re:Death of Personality
Date: 96-08-22 12:21:58 EDT
From: Martycos
Posted on: America Online

Friendlou:

I hope you don’t mind my two cents worth, but I have to say your questions are quite intelligent and thought provoking. Faith doesn’t generally come easily, IMHO, and contrary to the beliefs in some quarters it isn’t always there even among the confirmed religious. But keep asking, and I might add praying, and the right answers will flow to you.

BTW, by all means watch more B5. I’ve never seen a show treat religion more intelligently. I’ll second Mytho’s recommendation for ” Comes the Inquisitor. ”

Marty

Subj: Re:Death of Personality
Date: 96-08-22 16:30:31 EDT
From: Songokuten
Posted on: America Online

>> (typical liberal – all easily assuaged conscience and no brain),<<

Hey, let’s not turn this into a political thing. There are enough cruel things being said already, and I don’t want to get CTS typing out offensive Republican jokes in return. Just watch it because my friends do have your FBI files… 😉

Subj: Re:Death of Personality
Date: 96-08-23 01:20:02 EDT
From: Friendlou
Posted on: America Online

Thank you all for your thoughtful responses to my questions. I appreciate not being put down because I’m a newcomer and don’t know much about the show.

I assume from what some of you have said that an earth government was responsible for the punishment by personality wipe. Does earth have a unified government in this time or are there still regional governments? Is Clarke a dictator or president or military leader, or what?

In spite of my misgivings about the use of personality wipe by the government, it might be an effective deterrent to crime. It seems more frightening to me than capital punishment or imprisonment. Loss of oneself is a nightmarish thought. True, personality wipe may make me a better person, but then I won’t really know it, will I? Or will I?

Subj: Re:Death of Personality
Date: 96-08-23 05:31:12 EDT
From: C12kyd
Posted on: America Online

<<Coincidentally, the same night I watched Death of Personality, Star Trek Deep Space 9 reran an episode where a man (O’Brien) was implanted with false memories of a 20-year prison term. Watching the two shows addressing the same subject on the same night probably made each one more interesting to me than either one would have been by itself.>>

oooooh…can that be *coinicidentantal*???…you are being mind wiped as we speak…t.v. radio..newspaper..billboards…your neighbors..your friends..do I continue..by aliens (tee hee)..yourself!! (yipes!!)

Subj: Re:Death of Personality
Date: 96-08-23 05:38:37 EDT
From: C12kyd
Posted on: America Online

Ok while we are on shows about personality wipes…then what about voyager?? melding two people into one personna..that person did not want to die in order to become the two that he orginally was..is it a conspiracy?? are all the sf series running around in circles?? <G>

Subj: Re:Death of Personality
Date: 96-08-23 14:31:02 EDT
From: SLV80
Posted on: America Online

<<(typical liberal – all easily assuaged conscience and no brain)>>
Hey! I’m liberal (on most issues) and I have a brain! Just because someone doesn’t see things as you do doesn’t make them blind. I would really appreciate it if you could try and be a bit more constructive with your criticisms (for example: “Liberal policies are impractical because . . . or “Liberals tend to be illogical because . . . as opposed to “Liberals have no brain”) Do you see the difference? I realize you are entitled to say whatever you want about whomever you want, but you should know that you’re being offensive to no purpose.
-Lynne

Subj: Re:Death of Personality
Date: 96-08-23 19:13:03 EDT
From: MythoPhile
Posted on: America Online

<<Hey! I’m liberal (on most issues) and I have a brain! Just because someone doesn’t see things as you do doesn’t make them blind. >>
Sorry, I stand by what I said. The essence of liberalism is “caring”, pure and simple. You may not like the way I said it (I could tell some tales myself, Lynne), but I really think this is unarguable. Liberals posture about how much they care, and then ignore the fact that their “caring” only makes the problem worse. If you don’t do this, then maybe you aren’t as liberal as you think. If you want proof of this definition, simply consider the standard liberal response in any argument when cornered by facts: “Oh, you cold-hearted monster, you just don’t CARE.” To be honest, I’m more concerned with solving the problems of this country than assuaging my little conscience.
This is really all I’m going to say on this subject here, because it’s off topic. (Yeesh, the people who turned more than one topic thread into a gay “rights” tirade should get a tenth of this grief.)

Subj: Re:Death of Personality
Date: 96-08-23 20:19:04 EDT
From: Songokuten
Posted on: America Online

>> To be honest, I’m more concerned with solving the problems of this country than assuaging my little conscience.<<

Actually, I’m liberal, too. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want what’s best for the country. I’m all for reducing social programs in order to make long range plans, like space exploring/resource exploitation. In about 100 years, when everyone’s eating soylent geen, we’ll wish we had the space to spread out. Overpopulation’s going to hit critical mass VERY soon; then we’ll see just how much people might care for others over their own life…

Subj: Re:Death of Personality
Date: 96-08-23 20:56:41 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

Well, since no one else seems up to answering Friendlou’s questions, I’ll give it a try.

<<I assume from what some of you have said that an earth government was responsible for the punishment by personality wipe. Does earth have a unified government in this time or are there still regional governments? Is Clarke a dictator or president or military leader, or what?>>

The Earth is united under the terms of the Earth Alliance, which seems to be kind of like a looser United States system. Regions still have their own government, but they are subserviant to the EA(sometimes called EarthGov).

Clarke is the “President of the Earth Alliance”, having succeeded the assasinated President Luis Santiago. Through his policy and the declaration of Martial Law through-out the EA and associated colonies, and the disbanding of the EA senate, though, he has become more of a Dictator, similar in many respects to what Octavius did after what I like to call the Ceasarian Wars(sorry, a bit off topic there).

Anything else?

Subj: Re:Death of Personality
Date: 96-08-24 01:01:46 EDT
From: Friendlou
Posted on: America Online

Thanks, HFMoon. I have talked with a co-worker who watches B5 and he gave me some background. But I do have more questions. If they’re not appropriate for this board, please ignore.

How many people on board? How does the station resupply? Do they trade? Is the captain responsible for running the station? Where does he get his authority? Can he enforce his decisions? Do all the shows take place on station? Are there children?

C12kyd: Yes, I too thought about the Voyager Tuvix episode in connection with Death of Personality. That must have been a hard decision to destroy Tuvix in order to restore Tuvok and Neelix. I thought Tuvix got the best of both personalities. Would it have been so bad to keep him? He had both their memories. I don’t know.

Plots do have a way of making the rounds. Next Generation Trek recycled Classic Trek plots thorughout its run.

Subj: Re:Population
Date: 96-08-24 01:08:51 EDT
From: ACME BUYER
Posted on: America Online

<<In about 100 years, when everyone’s eating soylent geen, we’ll wish we had the space to spread out. Overpopulation’s going to hit critical mass VERY soon; then we’ll see just how much people might care for others over their own life…>>

There’s an excellent book on this, entitled “Apocalypse Not”. It’s worth your time – though if reading opinions contrary to your own annoys you, avoid it. From what I’ve just read, Mytho, you’d enjoy it immensely.

Al

Subj: Re:Population
Date: 96-08-24 23:12:34 EDT
From: MythoPhile
Posted on: America Online

<<There’s an excellent book on this, entitled “Apocalypse Not”. It’s worth your time – though if reading opinions contrary to your own annoys you, avoid it. From what I’ve just read, Mytho, you’d enjoy it immensely.>>
The title alone sounds very promising. Paul “the world will end tomorrow” Ehrlich has been dead wrong in every important respect for two or three decades now, and STILL no one has laughed at Ted Danson for saying our oceans would be dead by now.
Fact of the matter is, I’m told the entire population of the world could fit comfortably (in real terms) into the state of Texas. (Course then the ozone hole would be over Shanghai instead of Antarctica – if that sentence made any sense to you then you are a liberal 😉 )

Subj: Re:Population
Date: 96-08-24 23:24:52 EDT
From: MythoPhile
Posted on: America Online

<< If they’re not appropriate for this board, please ignore.>>
Well, they actually mention Babylon 5, so of course they’re inappropriate. 😉 Nonetheless:

<<How many people on board? How does the station resupply? Do they trade? Is the captain responsible for running the station? Where does he get his authority? Can he enforce his decisions? Do all the shows take place on station? Are there children?>>

1/4 million. The station used to supply from earth, the source of the captain’s authority, but since B5 declared its independence from earth the situation has changed (I understand the station is considered enemy territory forbidden to all earth people except clerics and people who think they’ve come back from the dark ages) – the station now has to generate its own revenue and supplies and protection (the rumors last year at this time about the coming schism made this sound a lot more difficult than it proved to be – we were led to expect Sheridan with facial stubble and everyone wearing rags and eating worms).
The Captain was responsible for the running of the station and is also the earth delegate to the 5-person council that liasoned with the league of non-aligned worlds. With the league effectively dissolved, Narn conquered, earth out of the picture diplomatically, the diplomatic/legal situation has become very hazy. Sheridan is effectively a self-appointed military governor of an independent city-state in neutral space.
Oh, yes, Sheridan can enforce his decisions. At least while he has his military genious, lots of fighter planes, and a girlfriend who is once again the effective head of the Minbari Federation.
All the shows take place on the station, with very few scenes on other worlds – usually just enough to be teasers. Two or three have had plots in deep space.
There are children, but they never live long, fortunately.

Subj: Question
Date: 96-08-25 00:29:34 EDT
From: Friendlou
Posted on: America Online

Do the people on station know what is happening on earth? Can they communitate with friends there? Is earth at odds with other planet as well as with station?

I’m told Babylon 5 is projected to last five seasons. Are we seeing third-season reruns this summer?

>> There are children, but they never live long, fortunately.>>

I don’t care to see to see a lot of kids running around, but it would be nice to think there are some. How long have these people been on station? Can they get replacements?

I was looking forward to watching Babylon 5 tonight, but it was preempted on my station.

Subj: Re:Population
Date: 96-08-25 01:38:09 EDT
From: ACME BUYER
Posted on: America Online

<<STILL no one has laughed at Ted Danson for saying our oceans would be dead by now.>>

I have.

Actually, if the earth’s population was willing to live at Manhattan density, we could all live in the former Yugoslavia. I wouldn’t mind. I understand they like basketball.

Paul Ehrlich, I suspect, is lurking in the “B5 vs. Star Trek” board. It’s his kinda debate.

Al

Subj: Re:Question
Date: 96-08-25 03:44:37 EDT
From: MythoPhile
Posted on: America Online

<<Do the people on station know what is happening on earth? Can they communitate with friends there? Is earth at odds with other planet as well as with station?>>
The station seems to get earth info only through the ISN television network, now a division of Propaganda Inc. Everyone still seems to get mail from earth, curiously, but then the post office has always been a mystery to me.
Ok, here goes: the major powers are the Earth Alliance (EA), the Minbari (the bald ones and the frizzy one – but she was something back when season two started), the Centauri (the fan-hair), the Narns (lizards), and the Vorlons. The Centauri conquered the Narn midway through season two, and B5 is now a free port for Narns now cut off. EA and the Centauri formed a non-agression alliance. The Minbari are, uh, help here, anyone? I guess they’ve split up at this point (was never followed up on yet) – the Warrior caste is apparently neutral and the Religious and Worker castes are following Delenn’s holy crusade against the Shadows and apparently just hang out orbiting the station now.
But if you just basically assume that everybody’s at war with everybody else, you won’t go too far wrong. Basically over three seasons the whole intricate political situation has deteriorated into a free for all.

<<I’m told Babylon 5 is projected to last five seasons. Are we seeing third-season reruns this summer?>>
Yes, I think they’re all season three at this point. Everyone wants them to rerun season one episodes, but the BBC burned all those back in the 1970’s. Wait, what am I thinking of?

>> There are children, but they never live long, fortunately.>>

<<I don’t care to see to see a lot of kids running around, but it would be nice to think there are some. How long have these people been on station? Can they get replacements?>>
Oh, I imagine there are kids in the background. But people with families I imagine would tend to avoid going to a place like B5 (Dr. Franklin said something along these lines once, I believe), and even the diplomats (notably Londo and G’Kar) have left their families at home. (In Londo’s case it was the bright spot of an otherwise odious assignment) After all, this isn’t a starship getting sucked into anomalies and blasted by alien races and breaking down every week, so why would people want to bring their kids? They’d just get bored. 😉 Most of the people on the station are either diplomats, people running businesses, or EA personnel running the station. The latter can’t be replaced because, I think, they’re just kind of stuck there – I don’t think it’s exactly legal for humans to back and forth between B5 and earth anymore (though this doesn’t seem to have been strictly enforced for, ahem, people who come looking for Sanctuary.)

<<I was looking forward to watching Babylon 5 tonight, but it was preempted on my station.>>
Welcome to Babylon 5.

Subj: Re:Questions
Date: 96-08-26 00:28:55 EDT
From: Friendlou
Posted on: America Online

Thanks, everyone, for your help. I don’t have any more questions for now. I’m sure I will after I’ve seen another episode.

Subj: Re:Questions
Date: 96-08-28 01:18:45 EDT
From: JVibber
Posted on: America Online

<< Thanks, everyone, for your help. I don’t have any more questions for now. I’m sure I will after I’ve seen another episode. >>

Hey, Friendlou, I for one greatly appreciate your willingness to watch B5 and ask questions to try to catch up. I have a lot of acquaintances who simply say, “I didn’t start watching at the beginning, so I won’t bother.” They’re missing one of the greatest shows on television, and nothing I say seems able to convince them to take a look!

Subj: Re:Questions
Date: 96-08-28 20:49:41 EDT
From: MythoPhile
Posted on: America Online

<< I have a lot of acquaintances who simply say, “I didn’t start watching at the beginning, so I won’t bother.” They’re missing one of the greatest shows on television, and nothing I say seems able to convince them to take a look!>>
Yeah, I know a lot of people like this too – people who mocked, mocked, mocked the Star Trek Clone and now are eating crow but murmuring about how they’ll catch it when it’s finally complete. “When?” I say, those who aren’t part of the solution are part of the problem.

Subj: Re:Questions
Date: 96-08-30 21:22:48 EDT
From: Kydreamer
Posted on: America Online

FriendLou, I started watching babylon 5 midway through their 2nd season then the show was canceled after the third season ended :(. I keep up by coming here every week or so and using my imagination. I really miss this show. KyDreamer

Subj: Re:Londo and polytheism
Date: 96-08-31 15:00:50 EDT
From: TD Hawkes
Posted on: America Online

Your interpretation of Londo’s experience, or lack thereof, with Kosh’s appearance in TFoN is interesting, but I wonder if it has less to do with his “family and clan-oriented pantheon,” or pluralistic vs. monotheistic paradigms and the spiritual consequences thereof, than with the choices he has made so far in the story arc? I tend to believe that Londo has isolated himself from his own inner vision (spiritual core) by virtue of his choices, so that perceiving a naked, essentially spiritual being, such as a naked Vorlon, becomes impossible.

Subj: Dust to Dust
Date: 96-09-01 00:41:05 EDT
From: Friendlou
Posted on: America Online

Tonight I watched the episode about the drug which enhances telepathic abilities. In the two episodes I’ve seen, mind control was featured. Is mind control and/or telepathy a frequent subject in B5?

In the last scene, the Narn who had assaulted the Shintar (sp?) seemed to be fondling a snake, but I couldn’t see it very well. Is that right? Was it a pet? Was he trying to kill himself?

And who or what was that creature who turned and left at the end of the Narn’s telepathic encounter with the Shintar?

I wonder if the name Bester is a tribute to Alfred Bester, who wrote a novel about telepathic police.

Subj: Re:Dust to Dust
Date: 96-09-01 01:48:12 EDT
From: Friendlou
Posted on: America Online

Excuse me — Centauri, not Shintar.

Subj: Re:Dust to Dust
Date: 96-09-01 08:36:03 EDT
From: LynnRAllen
Posted on: America Online

The character is Londo’s quarters watching G’Kar’s assault on Londo was the Vorlon ambassador Kosh. He telepathically implanted the vision that G’Kar saw before stopping his rampage. In time, that intervention led G’Kar to become a more spiritual, less hostile character. Kosh seems to have used this type of intervention with many of the races in the past.

Subj: Re:Dust to Dust
Date: 96-09-02 13:25:18 EDT
From: RBeauch111
Posted on: America Online

<<I wonder if the name Bester is a tribute to Alfred Bester, who wrote a novel about telepathic police.>>

Absolutely!

 

Subj: B5 and Religion
Date: 96-09-02 19:47:29 EDT
From: Friendlou
Posted on: America Online

On Star Trek, the most nearly religious reference I’ve seen is an occasional “dammit!” Except for the Bajorans, nobody discusses religious beliefs or even makes reference to any religious connection.

On B5 Death of Personality the other night there was some discussion of religious beliefs, and I know there is a religious order — monks, I believe.

How about the main characters? Does religion play a part in their lives?

Subj: Dust to Dust
Date: 96-09-02 20:20:50 EDT
From: Friendlou
Posted on: America Online

So that was Kosh. I had been under the impression from a conversation with a co-worker that Kosh lived in a separate environmental unit. I’ve been reading some other boards and I see that Kosh is dead. Was this recent?

I think that I recognize all the major characters now, but I’ve got a long way to go to catch up.

Subj: Re:B5 and Religion
Date: 96-09-02 22:37:25 EDT
From: MythoPhile
Posted on: America Online

<<How about the main characters? Does religion play a part in their lives? >>
Okay:
Sinclair was Roman Catholic and raised by Jesuits (the religion of Minbar that he founded shows traces of this).
Sheridan is “directionless, adrift in an ocean of ecclesiastical possibilities” – he’s mentioned God and Buddhism a couple times.
Garibaldi is agnostic.
Susan is Jewish (but not what you’d call religious – she isn’t sure whether she believes in God)
Franklin is a Foundationist – fictional – we’ve only had a “Dick and Jane” explanation, but if you say Unitarian you’re probably not far wrong.
G’Kar follows G’Quon. Or did until he had a religious revelation from “G’Lann” – apparently these are two sects of Narn religion – GQ and GL were apparently on good terms but their followers schism’d.
Londo is every inch a pagan and proud of it.
Delenn worships Sinclair. Seriously, folks – we’ve debated Minbari religion quite a lot and it basically seems to be a belief that the universe invests its component parts with consciousness in order to understand itself – basically pantheism like Shaw or Skywalker.
Lennier worships Delenn.
I don’t think Zack ever really thought about what he believes.
Vir is kind of a benevolent pagan, I think – like the later Greeks.
Who’s left?
Religion plays a part in the lives of Sinclair, Susan, Delenn, Lennier, and G’Kar, all of whom have taken decisions based upon their religious beliefs or engaged in religious ceremonies. I don’t think it comes up too much in the lives of the others.

Subj: Re:B5 and Religion
Date: 96-09-03 11:02:32 EDT
From: SLV80
Posted on: America Online

<< Garibaldi is agnostic.>>
Actually, I believe Garibaldi is atheist, not agnostic. Sheridan could be described as agnostic, I think, thought it really depends on what he means by believing “a little of everything.”
<< Londo is every inch a pagan and proud of it.>>
I believe Centuari religion was described thus, though if you want a better explanation, check out the Encyclopedia Xenobiologia. The Centuari are polytheistic. The do not have a clearly defined idea of sin and virtue. Basically, one gets admission to heaven if one has been enough of a kiss-up to one of the many gods that s/he lets one in. Otherwise, one is reborn, over and over again, until eventually one of the gods takes pity on you.
Centuari religious beliefs were probably shaped a great deal by their early evolution. Centuari prime was initially home to two sentient races, the Centuari and the Xon. The fought continually until eventually the Xon were killed off. During the fighting, they had an annual ceremony to celebrate their continued survival, and this ceremony is still held today as a celebration of life. They are a very brutal people, with a very bloody history, and I would suspect that this is at least part of the reason why they ended up with such a religion.
Another interesting fact, though this doesn’t really fall under the catagory of religion. All Centuari, at aome point int their life, see how they will die in a dream.
<< Franklin is a Foundationist – fictional – we’ve only had a “Dick and Jane” explanation, but if you say Unitarian you’re probably not far wrong.>>
I think – correct me if I’m wrong – that Unitarianism is a branch of Christianity. Foundationalism was described as encompassing all religions, not just Judeo-Christian religion. A minor nit-pick, since the idea is roughly the same.
<< Delenn worships Sinclair.>>
Just to clear this up a bit – Sinclair went back in time, became Minbari, and is now (or was now? This time travel stuff and grammar just don’t mix) Valen, a great Minbari prophet and leader, who lead the Minbari to defeat the Shadows in the last great war. He also created the Grey Council, and instituted a thousand-year millenium-like period of peace for the Minbari. During that time, no Minbari ever killed another, and the previously warring castes liked in relative harmony. Delenn believes herself to be the fulfilment of certain prophacies written by Valen. Valen’s coming also began the transfer of Minbari souls to human bodies, presumably to balance out the loss sustained by the humans (since the Minabri believe that everyone is reborn, not just them) when Sinclair became Valen and his soul became Minbari.
While the “Universe figuring itself out” idea doesn’t seem to imply a strict moral code, the Minbari do have one. They prize honor above all things, are scrupulously honest, and hold all life as sacred. However, they are relatively tolerant of differing beliefs in others, provided that one is striving, as they are, towards greater understanding.
<< Vir is kind of a benevolent pagan, I think – like the later Greeks.>>
Vir seems to have picked up some Minbari beliefs, especially the belief that life is sacred, though I think he may have already believed this, and seeing others agreeing with him only reinforced the idea.

Okay, I think I’ve babbled for long enough. I’m shutting up now, really.
-Lynne

Subj: Re:B5 and Religion
Date: 96-09-03 21:11:26 EDT
From: MythoPhile
Posted on: America Online

<<Actually, I believe Garibaldi is atheist, not agnostic. Sheridan could be described as agnostic, I think, thought it really depends on what he means by believing “a little of everything.”>>
I think Sheridan believes in God, at least, if a generic God. The technomages episode suggests it. Garibaldi came across as an atheist in season one, but that was by comparison to Sinclair, and when he was in a coma Franklin described him as agnostic. (Remember Susan’s “half a prayer”?)
<<(Centauri) are a very brutal people, with a very bloody history, and I would suspect that this is at least part of the reason why they ended up with such a religion.>>
Yeah, but you gotta *love* that religion. (Any religion that can get Susan drunk must have *something* in it.)
<< I think – correct me if I’m wrong – that Unitarianism is a branch of Christianity. Foundationalism was described as encompassing all religions, not just Judeo-Christian religion. A minor nit-pick, since the idea is roughly the same.>> Can’t comment in detail on Unitarianism. I know as little about it as Unitarians do. 😉 Franklin believed in a “God” kind of, whose nature can’t be defined because it retreats the more you try to study it. (Basically a religion of Nothing Specific, like Unitarianism) Franklin descibed Foundationism as analogous to Zeno’s Paradox. (Don’t have the heart to tell him it’s a fallacy – just halve the time increment at each step along with the linear increment)

Subj: Re:B5 and Religion
Date: 96-09-04 10:22:26 EDT
From: SLV80
Posted on: America Online

<< I think Sheridan believes in God, at least, if a generic God. The technomages episode suggests it.>>
That’s pretty much what agnostic means – not quite the dictionary definition, but close enough. The popular usage of the word has come to mean someone who beleives in God or some kind of spirituality, but does not have a clearly defined religion. Someone who believes that there is something out there, but hasn’t figured out quite what it is, and doesn’t think that figuring it out is terribly important. I think Sheridan’s ‘a little of everything’ falls into this catagory, since he seems to believe in, as you said, a kind of generic god, but does not follow any religious doctrine.
<< Garibaldi came across as an atheist in season one, but that was by comparison to Sinclair, and when he was in a coma Franklin described him as agnostic. (Remember Susan’s “half a prayer”?)>>
Oops, guess I missed that one. I stand corrected. I thought I remembered JMS saying Garibaldi was atheist, but now I can’t find the message, so maybe that was some other character.
<< Yeah, but you gotta *love* that religion. (Any religion that can get Susan drunk must have *something* in it.)>>
*Giggle* Actually, I didn’t mean for that to be derogatory, I was just trying to figure out the origins of their religion. I love this kind of stuff. I’m probably the only person in the whole world who think history is fun.
<< Can’t comment in detail on Unitarianism. I know as little about it as Unitarians do. 😉 >>
Let’s try to be nice here. 😉
-Lynne

Subj: Re:B5 and Religion
Date: 96-09-04 23:36:43 EDT
From: Bill S9946
Posted on: America Online

>>>>>> << I think – correct me if I’m wrong – that Unitarianism is a branch of Christianity. Foundationalism was described as encompassing all religions, not just Judeo-Christian religion. A minor nit-pick, since the idea is roughly the same.>> Can’t comment in detail on Unitarianism. I know as little about it as Unitarians do. 😉 <<<<<<

I went to a Unitarian church a couple times and looked up some information on them. The Unitarians consider themselves to be good Christains – and more – though some denominations might have some trouble with them. Actually they’re the Unitarian-Universalist Church, and are the result of a merger of Unitarians (who believe there is one God, and do not believe in a trinity) and Universalists (who believe all religions have a kernal of truth in them, and that they strive toward the Truth, but that none have a monopoly on the Truth or have a corner on God. All major religions are worthy of study, including Christianity! Their approach is humanistic, and many members I met had high academic credentials and were deeply caring individuals).

I hope that helps! Foundationalism may well be Unitarianism in disguise. I wonder, could it also have anything to do with the ideas of Ayn Rand and ‘Objectivism?’ I’m not going on anything here other than that Foundationalism *sounds* like an Ayn Rand term – I know very little about her or her philosophy. Maybe I’m mixing her up with something else – didn’t Heinline do the Foundation Trilogy, which was a science fiction retelling of the Roman Empire?? Just grasping straws!

Subj: Re:There are always Monks!
Date: 96-09-04 23:57:54 EDT
From: Bill S9946
Posted on: America Online

I’ve wondered about the monks too … my feeling is they will end up playing a pivital role in the outcome of the Shadow War – but will also be a facet of the efforts of many groups and beliefs that follow the ‘light.’ Personally, I think we’re being shown a) Belief has an important place in our lives (as well as the lives of those in the future), b) Christianity will remain a thriving and living religion, but under condition c) that it take its place along with the beliefs of others, give where it can, incorporate where it can, and know it is one path among many groping toward the light. The people on B5 who have a strict black and white view of the issues – fundamentalists and fanatics if you will – are Earth Firsters, NightWatch, and other pawns of the Shadows.

“Good” Christainity, and other ‘good’ B5 faiths too, are generous and open to learning from one another and from the physical universe itself. From what I understand about Catholicism, monks – the more mystical group of people, searching more for personal and individual meaning and oneness with God – are more open than clergy, who are more concerned with ritual, theology, law, and ‘correct’ belief. (I know, I know, don’t pull this too far – the exceptions and all that) I think monks illustrate the message I think they’re trying to send on B5.

I’d heard a story about a group of Buddhists visiting a Catholic University and monistary in an exchange program. The monks were able to understand each other very well. It was the clergy and theologians who could not see eye to eye.

Will we see more monks on B5, and what role will they play???

Subj: Re:There are always Monks!
Date: 96-09-05 16:16:44 EDT
From: SLV80
Posted on: America Online

<< Personally, I think we’re being shown a) Belief has an important place in our lives (as well as the lives of those in the future), b) Christianity will remain a thriving and living religion, but under condition c) that it take its place along with the beliefs of others, give where it can, incorporate where it can, and know it is one path among many groping toward the light.>>
I don’t think we’re being ‘shown’ anything, in that sense of the word. JMS has said as much, that he tries to write objectively, and is not trying to tell anyone how to think, but is trying to encourage them to think for themselves. You’re right, though, we have seen lots of monks. I wonder if JMS isn’t overcompensating; he’s trying give a fair representation to religion, since he is not religious himself, and he just overdid it a bit. Anyway, I like the monks. They’re something we don’t see very much of in sci-fi.
-Lynne

Subj: Re:B5 and Religion
Date: 96-09-06 01:03:28 EDT
From: AcDec
Posted on: America Online

<< Maybe I’m mixing her up with something else – didn’t Heinline do the Foundation Trilogy, which was a science fiction retelling of the Roman Empire?? Just grasping straws!>>
The Foundation Trilogy was written by Isaac Asimov, and he was an atheist. Funny how I don’t see people attacking the Foundation universe’s relative lack of religion, while some people love to attack Trek on that basis.

–AcDec

Subj: Re:B5 and Religion
Date: 96-09-06 16:48:26 EDT
From: XCI inc
Posted on: America Online

Wow! First time on a forum and I’m responding to a Unitarian-post! Actually, I’m a member of the church and you’ve basically gotten it right. Just a tidbit: Unitarianism is as old as the Protestant revolution and started in Transylvania of all places (I got a laugh when I learned that one). The Unitarians merged with the Universalist Church (which is American-based). The Unitarians are more “cerebral” in their approach to religion (I have met quite a few atheistic Unitarians) and the Universalists are more spiritually inclined. Because of this, Unitarian-Universalist churches tend to have a wide spread of beliefs and attitudes from church to church, running the gamut between the two poles.

And now back to your regularly scheduled B5 forum…

Subj: Re:B5 and Religion
Date: 96-09-06 21:12:48 EDT
From: HFMoon
Posted on: America Online

AcDec wrote:

>><< Maybe I’m mixing her up with something else – didn’t Heinline do the Foundation Trilogy, which was a science fiction retelling of the Roman Empire?? Just grasping straws!>>
The Foundation Trilogy was written by Isaac Asimov, and he was an atheist. Funny how I don’t see people attacking the Foundation universe’s relative lack of religion, while some people love to attack Trek on that basis.<<

I’ve always had my little theory on this, in that in order to notice the lack of religion in The Foundation Trilogy, you have to be able to *read*…

(sorry, couldn’t help myself)

And, BTW, this is off-topic, but the Foundation Trilogy was *not* a sf retelling of the Roman Empire. The collapse of the Galactic Empire was inspired by “The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire”(can’t remember the author), Assimov once said, but very little other than that look anything like the Roman Empire.

(back to B5 now…)

9/9/96 10:07:24 AM Closing Log file.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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