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Everything posted by BTH

  1. Of course there are exceptions. That doesn't contradict anything. We don't base our medicine on the idea that people prefer projectile vomiting over just going about their lives. That is a simple fact of human well-being. We don't change our understanding of medicine based on the guy that wants to vomit or wants to die. That there are rare exceptions only proves that our moral rules need to provide for exceptions. Harris compares it to a chess game. In chess, it is a very good rule to follow to not lose your queen. But there are certain situations in which losing your queen is the best move you can make. Sometimes it's the only move you can make. That hardly makes the original rule valueless. I'm almost certain he believes in euthanasia by the way. Or at least, there are people that agree with him that strongly believe in euthanasia. Nobody is saying that we should develop a mathematical formula to determine what is moral. We will never manage to determine answers for many complex moral dilemmas. The point is that right and wrong answers to these questions exist, just as there is a right and wrong answer to the question of the number of digits in Pi (my example) even if we'll never be able to find the right answer. Once we admit this fact, it is easy to classify certain acts as immoral. Take Dahmer again as the obvious example. Much religious behavior too, like the forcing of women to live in cloth bags or the genital mutilation of girls, is almost equally unlikely to represent a peak on the moral landscape.
  2. 5-6 years, 6M or so. It's a lot to spend on a goalie but if there was a goalie I'd spend it on, it would be Price.
  3. I agree with all the examples in the OP. Gauthier has also made some good short term moves like adding Wisniewski and Moore. hab29retired - you always have to overpay during UFA. It's an auction and you don't necessarily know what the other teams are bidding. You try to throw them the lowest offer they can't refuse possible. If the Flames wanted to give 5M for 4 years, it makes sense that adding 1M and 1 year might be able to get it done. He's unlikely to accept the same offer in Montreal. Long term contracts are annoying but we should be grateful Gainey and Gauthier have avoided signing old players into the final years of their career (except Spacek which was only 3 years to a 35 year old, not a Chris Pronger type contract). At any rate, I think it's better to have the player at an overpayment than to not have him at all. It usually isn't that hard to deal a decent but overpaid player when they only have one year left on their contract.
  4. Remember, I told you my views on art were changed by Sam Harris (who I've referenced earlier in this thread)? It's him who answered this question for me. I highly recommend you watch his TEDtalk on Youtube. Of all the TEDtalks I've seen, his is my favourite. In his book The Moral Landscape, he tries to solve exactly this problem, by arguing that morality (without religion) is not something that is totally up in the air and subjective. Rather, and although he never uses this word, I wish he did, it is intersubjective. It is important to see subjectivity-objectivity not as a binary equation but as a continuum. Hmm.. I don't have much time to type a proper answer right now because I just realized I have to go soon. I'll just explain the basic concepts. Perceptions and experiences are subjective. Only you see them exactly the way you do. Empirical facts are intersubjective. We can not know their validity, but everyone seems to see the same thing. (e.g. people have two arms.) Truths (capital T) are objective. They transcend human perceptions. Harris points out that a foundation of intersubjective values has never been a problem for us in other fields. Every field is based on intersubjective values. His favourite example is that of medicine. Medicine is based on the values that living is better than being dead, that being comfortable is better than being in physical pain, that not vomiting is better than vomiting. There is nothing inherent in not vomiting that makes it objectively superior to vomiting. But if somebody were to suggest at a health conference that he did not believe not-vomiting was better than vomiting, he would not throw the field into anarchy, he would simply not be invited back to the next conference. Note that this does not mean that there is only one right answer to questions of health. When it comes to nutritious eating, there are several different diets that could be called healthy lifestyles. But that doesn't mean that there aren't facts to be known about nutrition, and that there isn't a difference between edible foods and poison. Science itself is based on certain values. The value that understanding the universe is good for us as a society. The value of empirical evidence. Etc. If somebody doesn't value evidence, there is no amount of evidence you can possibly show them that will convince them. Yet we do not consider science an arbitrary crossfiring of opinions. And if science is unscientific, then what is scientific? Harris equates morality with the attempt to maximize well-being. You might call this an arbitrarily stipulated definition, but, what is there that we can want that the word "well-being" doesn't imply? Jeffrey Dahmer's idea of a moral life was to murder boys and ejaculate on their corpses. We can safely confirm that this lifestyle does not maximize well-being. How can you pretend to know so little about human well-being as to say that his view is perfectly legitimate? And I have a lot more to say but I have to go! Just watch his video!
  5. Also the dogs the doom howling. The fellowship got chased to the gates of Moria by Wargs.
  6. Early in the thread, sakiqc asked me what I meant by religion and I said that I was specifically speaking of the monotheistic ones. My argument is that the texts where monotheistic moral values are derived from are bad places to look for moral guidance. I can call myself a Jew, take the Old Testament and say that the one and only thing I get out of it is that we need to live a humble, modest life. That would not automatically make me immoral or irrational. But it would be a pretty weak summary of the moral philosophy the book presents. If the principle themes, teachings, and values of the Old and New Testaments, the Koran, and the Hadith are summarized, as if one was writing a book report on them, then they would present three dangerous worldviews. The propagation of irrational beliefs is also detrimental to society, and the actions committed as a direct result of such beliefs are even more so. According to Harris's stats, which are pretty similar to what you'll find in most sources, over three quarters of American Christians hold some of these irrational beliefs. This shows that religious ideas that are both unnecessary and harmful are mainstream in the USA and that these facts have significant political implications (just consider the possibility of Sarah Palin becoming President of the United States, or that stem cell research is blocked under Francis Collins, Obama's appointment as head of the National Institute of Health). Further, even if you were right, the religious crazies themselves are a legitimate threat for public security, minority or not, and need to be taken seriously. Brushing them off as the rare crazies produced by moral and rational religions prevents this threat from being dealt with. Religions themselves should take responsibility for their nuts and condemn them. A double standard protects these views from being criticized and marginalized in the same way as comparable irrational beliefs and practices would be. Hence, the rules of conversation must be changed. The only contradiction there is is between the views I hold and the views you imagine I hold. From what that article says, the fine isn't because the meeting was "offensive" it's because it was against the law to hold it in that building. If there really is a law saying that activities related to worship are prohibited in municipal buildings, and then you have a religious meeting involving worship in a municipal building, you should not complain when you get a ticket. Complain that the law exists, not that you got penalized for breaking it.
  7. I just listened to those songs. Knowing that they make Tolkien references, No Quarter does seem to be a reference. "They're wearing steel that's bright and true They carry news that must get through. They choose the path where no-one goes. They hold no quarter. Walking side by side with death, The devil mocks their every step The snow drives back the foot that's slow, The dogs of doom are howling more They carry news that must get through, To build a dream for me and you They choose the path where no-one goes." It sounds like the fellowship trying to pass through Caradhras (the snowy mountain that blocks their entry and forces them to turn around and attempt to pass through the mines of Moria instead). It was suggested by the characters that Sauron was somehow controlling the weather from afar and causing it to snow on them. It could also refer to Bilbo, Gandalf, and the dwarves passing through the Misty Mountains but that doesn't fit as well.
  8. BTH


    Yeah. The Habs need to look out for themselves, Emelin needs to look out for himself.
  9. I've had Unfinished Tales sitting in my room for half a year and haven't read a page yet! I keep picking up other books before it, I don't know when I'll get to it. I have The Silmarillion too but I need to re-read it. I don't know any LOTR inspired music though. lol
  10. Religious moderates can be anybody that believes in a personal God (the kind that interferes in human interactions) but that doesn't take the Bible literally and who doesn't base all their philosophical and moral views on the teachings of their holy book and tradition. I have no problem with those people you described unless they wave away criticisms of religion, keep the double standards alive, and apologize for atrocities that have purely religious causes. Notice I named religious moderates alongside atheists. It is not their religious belief that is in question, it is that some of them foster the religious fanatics and offer them protection from outside critics. They prevent important issues from being taken as seriously as they should be.
  11. Now I understand. It reminds me of that quote, I forget where it's from, it goes something like: "Religion is deemed by the uneducated to be necessary, by the educated to be evil, and by those in power to be useful." A person that believes in God doesn't have to be religious. That's where we need to separate deists, from theists, from spiritual atheists.
  12. This, I think, is the source of our disagreement. You say that taking the texts literally is a misinterpretation. I argue that this is false, at least in the Old Testament, the one I know best. 1. Religious faith in what? If you believe that the Bible was man-made than why would you base your morality and worldview on it? If it's man-made, then it has no more value than any other book and it's moral teachings are not particularly important. If it's the word of God, then how can you not accept the whole? Nobody can say "Sorry, God, this law is inconvenient for me but I'll follow this other one that's more to my liking." The stupidity of fundamentalism is that they believe the book is holy. But if you believed the book was holy, then it is natural to follow it. Many of my points apply only to people that take their holy books literally (a vast sum of people). As the Old Testament claims to be written by Moses (copying down the words of God) then it is asking to be understood as the word of God and thus taken literally. If you reject all holy books, then which God are you faithful to? If "faith" simply means belief in a deity removed from any tradition, then this is spirituality more than it is religion. 2. Yes, they are detrimental to society. 3. Religious doctrines and beliefs encourage this behaviour. If the books are taken seriously, they are a clear source of evil. They are meant to be taken seriously. 4. This is true. But there is no reason to adapt a man-made book to modern culture unless you believe it to be holy or privileged in some way. If you do believe it to be holy or privileged, then how can you be arrogant enough to adapt it? See points 1-3.
  13. A theist would be religious because they (presumably) practice a religion.
  14. BTH


    It's totally understandable why he would feel this way though. I don't think you can blame him for preferring to be a rich star player at home than a benchwarmer in Montreal.
  15. BTH


    I haven't seen him play yet. Is Emelin on the bench because he's been our worst d-man or has his benching been controversial? I'm worried about him returning to Russia but if he isn't able to crack our top 6, who really cares? The concern is that he leaves before getting a fair chance to crack our top 6.
  16. Because not all Muslims are equally religious. I am saying something very similar to what you accuse me of here. The less religious one is, the less laws from the Koran he will follow. The more religious one is, the more laws from the Koran he will follow. The "most fundamentalist" of Muslims are the very religious ones that follow the most laws from the Koran. Some laws from the Koran are blatantly violent. I don't think the fundamentalists are misinterpreting the Koran. I think the fundamentalist position, in one way, is more sensible than the one who picks and chooses which rules to follow: if the book is the word of God, how can you possibly pick and choose? You need to reject the whole of it or accept the whole of it. So the fundamentalist accepts the whole and in doing so, there is no way around picking up outdated, wicked, and sometimes violent beliefs. Non-violent Muslims are Muslims who overlook the violent passages in the Koran and can therefore be said to be less religious than the violent ones. They might be more spiritual and more intelligent but certainly less religious and less observant of what they believe is the word of God. There are different degrees of harmfulness. The terrorists are harmful in a very obvious and significant way. Others are harmful in more discreet ways. By the way, here are some stats taken from Sam Harris's The Moral Landscape (2010). 57% of Americans think that one must believe in God to have good values and to be moral. 69% want a President who is guided by "strong religious beliefs." 42% believe that life has existed in its present form since the beginning of the world 21% believe that while life may have evolved, its evolution has been guided by the hand of God. 26% believe in evolution by natural selection. 78% believe that the Bible is the word of God (either literal or "inspired") 79% of American Christians believe Jesus will physically return to earth at some point in the future. (All from pages 146-150.) These definitely show that there is a huge religious presence in the USA and I definitely think it has major effects on those who aren't as religious (for example, the need for a President guided by religion). Their political power is obvious. Yes and as you know, there are 1000 other reasons not to believe in it. The fact that God feels emotions at all is a huge red flag, for one. That isn't what I'm disputing though. I can summarize the problem with religion down to two main points: 1) Fundamentalism (and beyond) is harmful for the rest of society even if non-fundamentalists tried their hardest to just ignore them. It is in the nature of religion to implicate itself in the lives of the non-religious. Therefore we should not tolerate those religious practices that cross this line. 2) The religious moderates and atheists who feel: "I don't agree with their beliefs but I respect their right to practice their religion, as long as I have the right to have my own beliefs" are protecting the fanatics, supporting the damage they cause to others (like forcing women to live in cloth bags), and keeping the situation at a stalemate. That second point is the key message behind New Atheism. It is not directed at fundamentalists, who can not be reasoned with or convinced, it is to show the intelligent people that defend the evils of religion that they have become part of the problem. I think the second point would make for a more interesting discussion, personally. I think all of us can agree, even you and PMAC, that the extremely religious are capable of terrible things and that society would be best off without such people (e.g. 9/11 bombers). But the religious moderates are the shade in which those fanatics lie, unassailable, because of the widespread belief that religion for religion's sake can not be criticized. That is what I accuse you of doing when you say that religion is a case of .01% make a bad name for the 99.9%.
  17. sakiqc - I'm still confused! A theist that doesn't belong to any particular religion, do you mean? I agree with this. It's the CONTROVERSY thread. There's no point getting offended or offensive. Trizzak pretty much nailed what I would have answered. You acknowledge to your kid that there is nothing objectively better about the Habs. You simply pick a team that you're going to enjoy following the most and if that teams stops interesting you... you can always switch teams. In religion, it's very different. The penalty for apostasy in Islam is death. In my post above I cited a passage from the Old Testament that says the same thing for Judaism/Christianity. You also don't teach your child that if he gives up the Habs, he will go to Hell. You don't teach him that people that don't cheer for the Habs are sinners that will go to Hell. You don't teach him that his life will be empty and meaningless if he cheers for the Leafs. The abusive part isn't that you're passing on knowledge you believe to be true, it's that you're stunting their critical thinking abilities because of the nature of this knowledge. To be fair, the word "abusive" is harsh and a controversial choice but I do think it's abusive to teach your children delusional beliefs in the same way as it is abusive to prevent your children from learning to read, which incidentally if often the case for little girls in Islamic countries (Sam Harries cites that females under the Taliban had a 12% literacy rate, 44 year life expectancy, and one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world). Now before you jump on this - I am not saying that it is on the same scale as preventing your children from learning to read, only that it is harmful in the same way: it limits the development of the child's mind, limiting his/her potential in life.
  18. Have you read the Old Testament? I'll provide you some quotes from the Book of Deuteronomy alone. 2: 31-35 And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have begun to give Sihon and his land before thee: begin to possess, that thou mayest inherit his land. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have begun to give Sihon and his land before thee: begin to possess, that thou mayest inherit his land. And the LORD our God delivered him before us; and we smote him, and his sons, and all his people. And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain: Only the cattle we took for a prey unto ourselves, and the spoil of the cities which we took. 3: 1-7 Then we turned, and went up the way to Bashan: and Og the king of Bashan came out against us, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei. And the LORD said unto me, Fear him not: for I will deliver him, and all his people, and his land, into thy hand; and thou shalt do unto him as thou didst unto Sihon king of the Amorites, which dwelt at Heshbon. So the LORD our God delivered into our hands Og also, the king of Bashan, and all his people: and we smote him until none was left to him remaining. And we took all his cities at that time, there was not a city which we took not from them, threescore cities, all the region of Argob, the kingdom of Og in Bashan. All these cities were fenced with high walls, gates, and bars; beside unwalled towns a great many. And we utterly destroyed them, as we did unto Sihon king of Heshbon, utterly destroying the men, women, and children, of every city. But all the cattle, and the spoil of the cities, we took for a prey to ourselves. 5: 17 Thou shalt not kill 7: 1-5 When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them: Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly. But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire. 7: 21-25 Thou shalt not be affrighted at them: for the LORD thy God is among you, a mighty God and terrible. And the LORD thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee. But the LORD thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed. And he shall deliver their kings into thine hand, and thou shalt destroy their name from under heaven: there shall no man be able to stand before thee, until thou have destroyed them. The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the LORD thy God. 12: 2-3 Ye shall utterly destroy all the places, wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree: And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place. 13; 1-5 If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee. 13: 6-10 If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. 22: 23-29 If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbor's wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you. But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die. But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbor, and slayeth him, even so is this matter: For he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her. If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days. [A version of this is still sometimes practiced in Islamic countries today.] --- I will stop here. This was me being lazy, skipping many extra passages about destroying nations, stoning people to death, and burning altars. Try to imagine how many millions of murders have been justified by these passages. Sure, Jesus said stuff like the Golden Rule. He also said stuff like (Luke 19:27) "But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me." If you're picking and choosing which parts you want to follow, you can take some good lessons out of it. If you believe this book to be the word of God, which people do, you are bound to evil doctrines. As for the Ten Commandments, they only applied to other Jews, as was demonstrated in Deuteronomy ("Don't kill.... okay, now go kill those guys"). They also just happen to leave out slavery, genocide, torture, free thinking, cruelty to children, and other valuable moral guidelines. I am talking about what is tolerated in Islamic society that would not be tolerated in atheistic or Christian societies. It is widely believe in Islam that it is legal to beat your wife (provided you do it in the right way.) (4:34: ""Men are guardians of women because God has favored some more than others and because they spend out of their wealth. (In their stead) righteous women are devoted and to guard what God has guarded even though out of sight (of the husband). As for those (women) on whose part you fear ill-will and nasty conduct, admonish them (first), (next) leave them alone in beds (and last) beat or separate them (from you). But if they obey you, then seek nothing against them. Behold, God is most high and great.") The meaning of this verse has been disputed, but it is widely interpreted as condoning "light" wife beating by prominent Muslims and there are many examples just on YouTube. Even alternate interpretations usually say that it is talking about beating your daughter, instead of your wife. You can't be serious. I won't have children but if I did, I wouldn't indoctrinate them in any religion. I am in favor of comparative religions being taught in schools so that students learn about different religions and are allowed to make up their own minds. Many children howewer, go their whole lives without learning anything about other religions. This is abusive parenting, and propagates closemindedness. People should never speak of a "muslim child" or a "Catholci child." Children are too young to know what Islam or Catholicism are, what philosophical views are attached to the terms, etc. It would be like calling my kid a "Marxist child" or a "deterministic child." How is there no basis in fact that a devaluation of critical thinking is harmful to society? Faith is belief without evidence or reason. It is clearly opposed to criticical thinking. Sure. But having the beliefs in the first place is dangerous because it can, and often does, lead to dangerous actions. I don't mean dangerous in the sense that you (not you, personally) are violent and liable to physically harm people in your surrounding. Dangerous in that 1) you are unpredictable, as was pointed out above, as almost anything can be justified by passages in scripture and 2) you spread the potentially dangerous ideas around. I'm sure the Koran does ban suicide. But it also (along with the Hadith) has passages like this: "Therefore let those fight in the way of Allah, who sell this world's life for the hereafter; and whoever fights in the way of Allah, then be he slain or be he victorious, We shall grant him a mighty reward. [4.75] ...fight in the way of Allah... [4.76] Those who believe fight in the way of Allah, and those who disbelieve fight in the way of the Satan. Fight therefore against the friends of the Satan... [4.77] ...when fighting is prescribed for them...Our Lord! why hast Thou ordained fighting for us?" [K 4:074-077 Set 15, Count 38-41 ] Qur'an (2:207) - "And there is the type of man who gives his life to earn the pleasure of Allah..." Bukhari (52:54) - The words of Muhammad: "I would love to be martyred in Al1ah's Cause and then get resurrected and then get martyred, and then get resurrected again and then get martyred and then get resurrected again and then get martyred." Muslim (20.4635) - "Nobody who enters Paradise will (ever like to) return to this world even if he were offered everything on the surface of the earth (as an inducement) except the martyr who will desire to return to this world and be killed ten times for the sake of the great honour that has been bestowed upon him." Qur'an (9:111) - "Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Qur'an: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme." It is easy to justify suicide bombings with these passages. Admittedly, I should have used a more black-and-white example though.
  19. I think there are some examples given in the post above. It's after midnight here, I'm not going to go into more depth on that tonight. What do I mean by "religion"? Traditions based on philosophical codes and sets of corresponding supernatural beliefs. Especially the main monotheisitic ones - Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. There's a reason why we'll never have this conversation about Jainists, Taoists, or the Amish. I am not talking about "spirituality," which is possible even without any belief in the supernatural. I'm not even talking about deism, which is the belief in a Creator but not in a personal God that watches over the world, listens to prayers, intervenes, makes micro-adjustments, sends you to heaven or hell, etc. It's when they involve a personal God that religions usually go from acceptable to harmful. Why do you ask?
  20. I already explained the difference. Hockey fans rioting is incidental. Hockey itself can not be blamed. This analogy is terrible. Religious people following religious doctrines is not in any way incidental. In condoning Islamic practice of the laws of the Koran, for example, you are directly condoning the suicide attacks that the Koran licenses. These attacks are not caused by misinterpretation of the text, they are caused by people correctly practicing Islam as the muslim religion understands it to be practiced. I didn't claim that being a fundamentalist means you will bomb abortion clinics either. That was clear in my post. You have deliberately misrepresented me. I claimed that fundamentalism is harmful to society. Blocking stem cell research (one of the most promising avenues of scientific research available to us) is harmful to society. Preventing homosexual marriage is harmful to society. Indoctrinating your children into a set of philosophical beliefs they aren't old enough to understand yet is abusive to them. Genital mutilation is harmful to your child. Domestic abuse (Islam only) is harmful to society. Preaching the value of faith over critical thinking is harmful to society. Making the lessons of the The Bible, a book that supports ethnic cleansing, slavery, misogyny, homophobia, etc., your moral center makes you harmful to society. Etc, etc, etc. These are mainstream practices. You may be right about the % of fundamentalists, I see a hundred different sources with different numbers, some saying an "overwhelming majority" of Americans believe in the literal truth in the Bible, others saying as few as 30% do. It's difficult to track such things with extreme accuracy. Still, there are a huge amount of Americans, many of them non-fundamentalists that practice and support the above. Also, even many that don't believe in the literal truth of all of the Bible still tend to believe in "the main story": that Jesus was the actual son of God, that he was born of a virgin, and that he will be resurrected in their lifetime, and such similar things. Dangerous beliefs.
  21. Every stat has flaws though. I don't see a problem with looking at more in-depth statistics. You'd think that over time, if they keep taking so many shots, the stats'll eventually even out. If you're consistently outchancing your opponents, there must be something to them.
  22. It's waaaaaaaay more than the .01% you claim (more than 50% of Americans take every single word of the Bible as literal truth, for example) and the damages done to society are vast no matter what the actual percentage is. You only choose to count "the crazies," the type to blow themselves up or to protest at a gay soldier's funeral but I think even mainstream religious beliefs and practices are dangerous for society. If for no other reason, because the propagation of mass delusion is obviously harmful to the development of critical thinking abilities and because faith in a supernatural realm can be, and is routinely, used to justify outrageous and wicked things. Even mainstream religious beliefs negatively effect society significantly in several ways* and since 9/11 there has been a growing movement of the opinion that we don't need to, in the name of cultural relativism, respect beliefs and practices that are looking more and more liable to spell the end of mankind (Islamic doctrines on martyrdom and jihad + modern nuclear weapons). I think religious moderates like you bear a responsibility to stop waving away criticisms of religious practices and to take seriously the threat of religion on international security. When you make apologies for the "99.9%" of religious people, you are encouraging the suffering of millions. Ordinary religious people have, for religious reasons, committed genocides, tortures, rapes, honour killings, murders of homosexuals, human sacrifices, practiced slavery, systematically abused children physically and psychologically, genital mutilation of children, oppressed tens of millions of women, etc... Many of these practices are the norm in their societies. We are not talking about the fringes of religion here, we are talking about the systematically taught doctrines taken seriously by people who really believe what they say they believe and who number in the hundreds of millions, if not billions. The comparison to Habs fans is not apt because 1) the people that riot generally are not even Habs fans and 2) they are not rioting because of some message openly being preached to them by the Canadiens organization or the NHL. When religious people do evil things it is because of their religion. The doctrines themselves are evil. The extremists are not misinterpreting their texts or misusing religion. They are the ones following it correctly. *Further explanation forthcoming if asked of me.
  23. I'm not sure I agree with what I think you mean (--> that there are multiple religions and a theist only believes in one, thinking the rest are nonsense, therefore he is "anti-religion." I think he would still have to qualify as religious because of the one he believes in). But if you explained yourself it wouldn't be very controversial of you.
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