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Interests: International politics, (military) history, human rights, wolves of North America, role-playing games and amateur dramatics, the application of the scientific method in everyday life.<p><a href=""><img src="" width="147" height="99" border="0" /></a> <a href=""><img src=""></a>
Recent Activity
I'd like to remark, by the way, that upon first seeing the term "deepity," I thought it was a portmanteau of "Deepak" and "deity"; that is, the kind of vague, impossible-to-disprove (and impossible to distinguish from non-existent) oh-so-sophisticated model of deity Deepak Chopra claims to believe in.
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Regarding item #3, I find it difficult to imagine that Jews would have been persecuted as much as they have if it weren't for the pervasive notion that the Jews were notionally responsible for the death of Jesus Christ. And even if we can point to some very mundane motives underlying the Crusades, it's doubtful they would have gathered the same degree of popular support if it weren't for the claim that "God wills it." And would have Osama bin-Laden's getting bent out of shape at the American military presence in Saudi Arabia been quite as vehement if not for the status of Mecca and Medina as "holy cities"? Sure, for every atrocity that has been committed in the name of religion, we can point to underlying mundane motives, but I don't think anyone can honestly argue that inserting a religious aspect into the conflict doesn't facilitate and exacerbate such behavior by allowing the perpetrators to assuage their objections and salve their consciences with the idea they were doing God's work.
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I think the point needs to be made that publicly stating one's religious beliefs of any kind is confrontational in the sense you describe. Your gay Catholics, evangelicals and certainly the folks with the big rainbow cross on their float are being no less confrontational than you are; that rainbow cross is in effect telling every non-Christian in the world--muslim, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, atheist, (neo-)pagan/Wiccan, animist, whatever--"your religion (or lack thereof) is wrong." And "acceptance of others' beliefs" in an ecumenical context does not mean actually accepting that the other person's beliefs are correct; ecumenicalism is essentially no more a mutual agreement not to scream "heretic" at each other.
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I have to disagree with your characterization of Rhode Island as a "state specifically founded as a place of religious freedom, as a response to religious persecution," Greta. The fact is that the Puritan colonies of New England were founded as places of religious freedom for Puritans, not for anybody else. In fact, people deemed heretics by the Puritans, such as Quakers, were liable to be tortured and banished (which is a major factor in William Penn's founding of the "holy experiment" of what would become Pennsylvania; everybody had it in for the Quakers back in the 17th & 18th centuries). The Establishment Clause is based in no small part on the fact that the thirteen colonies contained adherents of several religious sects, each of which regarded the others as heretics, and none of which trusted the others with worldly power.
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Re: Beth's point concerning the addictiveness (or lack thereof) of marijuana, I read a study commissioned some years ago by the Dutch ministry of justice (and I wish I could find it again) concerning chronic, heavy users of cannabis, and the findings were that such individuals almost to a man had several other substances and/or activities (notably tobacco, alcohol and gambling) they also indulged in compulsively. The report therefore tentatively concluded that the cannabis itself wasn't the main problem, but rather the personalities of the users.
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Mar 15, 2010
Yep, definitely a live one.I am not even sure about why you would want to throw it up in GOD's face that the world only has two commandments.Read it again, because that's not what Skeptico said. He said that only two commandments are reflected in American law, thus putting the lie to the claim that "the Ten Commandments are the historical foundation of American law." Just for a laugh, let's compare the first three Commandments (common Protestant version) to the Bill of Rights: 10C: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" BoR: "Congress shall pass no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof [...]" 10C: "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth." 10C: "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain [...]" BoR: "Congress shall pass no law [...] abridging freedom of speech, or of the press." Right off the bat, the Ten Commandments and the Bill of Rights stand in direct opposition to each other. How could the former possibly be the basis for the latter?
Toggle Commented Feb 27, 2009 on Ten Commandments Moron at Skeptico
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Isn't it odd how ley lines only exist in Great Britain, and nobody have ever detected (let alone mapped) them anywhere else?
Toggle Commented Jan 16, 2009 on Imaginary Illness? Try Imaginary Therapy at Skeptico
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Which Murphy-esque law is that again, that states "if your premises are incorrect, but your logic is correct, your conclusion will be invalid; if your premises are incorrect, and your logic is also incorrect, you have at least a chance of accidentally reaching a valid conclusion"? Seems the Congressman provided an empirical example of that. At least, I think so, since I can't make sense of the phrase "you can't be fallen from that design," despite reading the rest of the interview for context. In engineering terms, when a design fails to function as intended, that is because the design was flawed, i.e. the designer made a mistake. It is not the fault of designed artifact. Souder continues:As an evangelical Christian, I believe the premise of a fall being at the core of reforming lives. I believe the concept of grace and forgiveness comes from having fallen from something.Okay... Let's try putting evangelical YEC worldview in software terms: God the Designer releases Man v1.0. As it turns out, Man v1.0 suffers from the "Original Sin" bug, though this is not due to the design being flawed, or even user error, but because the software "fell from its design." Despite having knocked out Man v1.0 in under six days, the Designer then takes 4004 years to come up with the Man v2.0 (aka "the Son of Man") patch. But the Designer leaves the decision to the software itself whether or not to accept the patch! This is Intelligent Design?
Toggle Commented Jan 16, 2009 on Mark Souder Gets It. Or Not at Skeptico
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Frak me, is the admission price for Browne's show seriously $82.50? This for a matinee that was practically not advertised, and in (apparently) one of the smallest auditoria in Las Vegas?
Toggle Commented Jun 27, 2008 on Rob Lancaster sees Sylvia Browne at Skeptico
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