bloody hell. now den beste thinks evidence against atheism is physically possible. link

UPDATE: to be clearer, evidence like observations not philosophical arguments. no sensory input will make my a mystic. there are no faeries. even if we discover small pink winged things we name fairies. there is no God, even if we find some guy who ruins our ideas of physics, and call him god.

and no i'm not just being stubborn in the face of proof atheism is crap. the notions of God and faeries contain untestable bad (and by bad, i mean unspeakably horrific) explanations. when atheists say there is no god, (at least sane ones), it means the one that can't be criticised by any possible observation. and thanks to this shield, can't be confirmed either. he's just silly, like the invisible, ethereal (yet able to push) angel explanation of gravity.

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Rachel Lucas wrote something bad :-/

note esp this quote "the prof is super cool and just likes to see how stupid college kids are."

it is wrong for teachers to take joy in ridiculing students, in feeling their students to be inferior, or in harassing students (like they want this).

it's also wrong to put off-topic stuff on tests for credit.

btw, as trivia, ne1 wanna put the answers in comments? *g*

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if you like D&D, go here

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someone said the US is less free than Switzerland b/c in Switzerland tax evasion isn't criminal. are these people on crack or something?

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Posted to the TCSsociety yahoogroup (which you should join):

Taxes go to help an (imperfect) tradition do Good Things(TM) that *can't be done any other way*, but should be done. And also, that tradition is open to criticism, and thus improvement, and is actually the only feasible path currently available to a good, tax-free society. Now, being coerced by taxes requires an active "I don't want to pay taxes" theory while paying them. But one shouldn't have such a theory, because taxes are good. And thus taxes only coerce (in the TCS sense) people with hangups.

Laws are to create consent, just like rules in boardgames. Consent over what? What society should be like. And why should society be like anything, instead of just every doing what they like? The same reason that a chess board is more fun with rules. Because autonomy of action is pretty damn worthless; creating and realising good purposes is valuable.

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Remembered a nice line about atheism: "When you understand why you don't believe in every logically possible God, you'll understand why I don't believe in yours."

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Here's a good demonstration that asking the wrong questions is just as much a cause of mental masturbation as being a dolt. No offence to the author is intended, but this particular piece is mostly a waste of time, because it focuses on pointless questions (at least the bits I read -_-o).

See, it worries about whether atheism is *proveable* and other stuff about proof. But fallibility tells us that certainty isn't possible (and that this isn't not an obstacle to knowledge or truth). What matters is what the best explantion of reality is, and that's what a discussion of the truth of atheism ought to focus on.

Note that "fallibility tells us" is no more than arguing in terms of high-level concepts; it is *not* any sort of appeal to the authority of the principle of fallibility, and *not* an unsupported assertion.

UPDATE:

read a bit more. look at this "Within mechanistic atheism, you have people who think that atheism is somehow scientific and actually can be proved, and others who understand that atheism is a religious belief which is no more susceptible to actual proof than any other religious belief." *sigh*

and i should mention the focus on proof isn't the only manifestation of asking the wrong questions causing the piece to be mostly pointless. and also that it does have some truth in it anyway.

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Thanks to Elegance Against Ignorance for linking this Lord of the Rings themed Chomsky parody.

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A friend thinks it's an important implication of mechanist atheism (rightly construed) that we should not go looking for moral explanations in the supernatural. I kinda thought that was a bit "duh" to write. We shouldn't look for *any* explanations in the supernatural.

But I guess it *is* true that lots of atheists think morality is a religious concept, and cannot exist otherwise. *sigh*

UPDATE:

As David Deutsch points out:

That last sentence there is a special case of a more general thing, namely that religious people and scientistic people have this great area of agreement, namely that reason cannot reach beyond math and science. In fact, beyond mathematical proof or scientific prediction, most of them would say.

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Steven Den Beste, a mechanist atheist, writes:

And even among mechanists there's no particular consensus about such things as ethics, because the basic axiom of mechanistic atheism (that the only thing which exists is the material universe and the matter within it, which interacts according to the laws of physics) doesn't provide any kind of guidance in those areas.

Actually, mechanist atheism as defined here, does give guidance about ethics: it states that ethics (and more generally, explanations) do not exist. This comes from the simple premise that ethics are neither matter nor laws of physics.

A much better way to approach existence, is to consider things to exist if they are necessary to explaining reality. This still includes the laws of physics, and all the matter in the "material universe" and still fails to include God or faeries, but this time does include explanations.

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on Dawson's Creek this guy wanted his gf back, and gave a speech (over a loudspeaker at an airport, weeeeee) but anyway, nothing in his speech was contingent on the girl ('sides her name *g*). she's amazing. rocks his world. he loves her. he's sorry. he wants things to work out. he's sure they will. etc It's striking how little actual content the lives of any of the ppl on Dawson's Creek have (or many other similar shows too). But I suppose it is orders of magnitude harder to write the details, and might not actually be good for ratings either.

the lack of consent secured before attempting to kiss people also never ceases to amaze me.

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this *should be* uncontroversial:

The choice "shooting at a terrorist" is not the choice "killing an innocent" even tho ppl sometimes miss. Morality comes down to choices, not results.

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To be clear, every non-TCS blog I link to would find itself delinked if it wrote about children often enough. And don't tell me, "they're normal, get over it." Normal people are cruel to children, and I want to remain outraged by it.

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An Unsealed Room posted a response completely missing the point.

I've Just Been Accused of Child Abuse

No, cruelty to children. Child Abuse has connotations of doing something illegal, and getting children sent to a foster home by CPS (Child Protective Services in US) and such. Child abuse usually involves hitting children, or neglecting to feed them, or raping them or the like. Trying to paint my claims as absurd by changing them, is wrong.

Why? Because I have the audacity to complain about the schools being on strike on the heels of a 19-day vacation. (And it looks as if this strike could stretch beyond a week.)

Well, no. I wasn't supporting the strike. I was upset that Allison finds having her children home from school insane-making. And would deny them the pleasure they get from holidays.

[short snip]

Elliot Temple left the following comment: Doesn't it seem a bit perverse for a parent to moan and groan that he or she "has to" (gets to!) spend more time with his or her children? And don't you know how much children tend to like breaks from school?

I sure did. And though Allison knows every word I used, she still hasn't understood a sentence of it. (She doesn't find my comment worthy of a reply, either.)

Now he has ceremoniously delinked me from his blog because of my "cruelty to children." (he also didn't like that I let my son go on a field trip without a gas mask after the fall of Baghdad, but before the official "all clear" sign was given.)

No, my objection wasn't that she "let" her son go without the mask, (what is he a dog that you let run off leash...sometimes?) it's rather that her son *wanted* the mask, and she refused to stand up for him to the trip supervisor. She only does that if he's really hurt. Not merely distressed (coerced).

Anyone who would like to support me in the position that a month away from school is not something that a working parent who cares about their child's education should celebrate is welcome to do so....

It's notable that she appeals to the parental conspiracy for support. It's also notable that her appeal lies about what the issue is. She must know perfectly well my objection is not "children shouldn't learn".

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