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ficino last won the day on April 18 2015

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About ficino

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  • Birthday February 26

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    New York, NY
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    literature, philosophy
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    ancient texts

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?

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  1. LovelyChantel - I come from parental abuse as well, but nowhere near this level. As a stranger just reacting to reading what you wrote, I think you should stay away from your parents. There are a lot of twisted, abusive situations where there is also a form of love - that's what keeps them going. I think you are right to stay away and develop your own strength. It may not be a good time to be too closely involved with your sister's needs, if you get sucked back in. As on an airplane, you have to make sure your oxygen mask is on you correctly, and oxygen against years of this sort of abuse will probably take time to get flowing fully. Big hugs, f
  2. Welcome, Bobzilla! I am glad you are out of the hateful system of Calvinism. I was a Calvinist too and was in a Calvinist seminary. I'm also glad that you don't have to hate me anymore for my being gay/bi (or ... hmm, I guess that really means bi), heh heh! A Hindu friend of mine maintains that polytheism is more in line with reality than what he calls henotheism or henologies like Christianity and Islam. Although India seems to be ramping up a sort of Hindu fundamentalism as a political tool, there has traditionally been a wide range accomodated within it. One of our members here, Bhim, is a former Calvinist of Indian heritage who describes himself as Hindu but, as I recall, he doesn't think he believes in God.
  3. So far, I think about the peer reviewing system that it's like democracy as Winston Churchill talked of it: the worst system except for all the other systems that have been tried. I am vastly grateful for external reviewers. First, because they have challenged my own writing and forced me to come up with something better. I prize those journals, for example, that send the author the reviewers' comments. Two articles I published in European journals of note were each my fourth try ... keep chugging ahead and trying to improve, and one hopes, human knowledge is advanced. Second, because ... what better do we have? "My cousin knows a guy who works with a guy who has equipment in his mother's basement..." OK I exaggerate. But there is a reason, methinks, that some scholars win their peers' approval, if not always of their conclusions, at least of their methodology. And other people don't and fall by the wayside. "Rusticity" in scholarship was not cool even in the eyes of Aristotle. When people from different continents and different historical cultures agree on some finding - say, about meteorology (heh heh) - I consider that pretty fuckin awesome and to be discounted only with distinctly obvious counterevidence.
  4. Is The Fine Tuned Universe (Argument) Leaky..?

    She already blinded me with science, but my ears are all open, BAA! Looking forward to what you plan on posting next.
  5. A bit OT: did ancient astrologers generally believe that the heaven w/ fixed stars rotates by nature to the right or left? And the sphere of the planets rotates the opposite direction? So there is an absolute right and left in the heaven/cosmos, as well as even an absolute forward and backward and absolute up and down? I assume they held the earth occupies the center.
  6. A modern prophecy interpreter. Wrong about Jesus' return 52 times. But still publishing interpretations of prophecy.
  7. Burden of Proof

    I'm in agreement, disillusioned. As to Eve Keneinan's posts, I think she tries artificially to narrow the scope of the applicability of burden of proof demands. One way to look at religious claims is on a model of sales pitches. Someone is trying to sell you something. Someone else is trying to sell a rival product in the same industry. And so on. Whose product are you going to buy - the Baptist's, the Catholic's, the Muslim's, the Buddhist meditation cult guy's ... ? i think it's intuitively obvious that it is irrational for the consumer of religion not to demand some justification that one religion's claims are true - let alone that the others' are false. Don't call it burden of proof, I don't care. But don't come onto my front porch selling me your religion and then refusing to take up some burden of justifying your claims.
  8. I've been an external reviewer for one book and a number of articles in a range of publications. But my field is Classics, where grant money is scant. maybe I would have been on the take had I been in, say, mining. I am glad that you got a handle on the diabetes.
  9. Burden of Proof

    The blogger at Gone Nova does a reprise of Keneinan's post: This blogger seems to conflate two positions, which he (?) imagines the atheist as holding. As far as I can see, Keneinan puts those two next to each other but does not conflate them, for she says one or both may be false. Gone Nova, on the other hand, talks as though the skeptic argues: 1. the Christian is the one who must meet a burden of proof 2. the atheist position is the default position Gone Nova seems to think that the atheist derives 2 from 1. I'm not sure Keneinan foists that reasoning onto the skeptic. Anyway, 2. is an assertive claim about a position, so it must meet a burden of proof. 1. is true if it's true that the Christian is making a positive assertive claim and the skeptic is not. Then the skeptic on Walton's model (see above) must clear the lower bar of a burden of doubt, i.e. showing reason why the Christian's case is not proved. Does the skeptic need to establish 1 beyond what I've just said? In other words, to take Walton's model as an example - does the skeptic have to proof IT? I guess discussions can keep going backwards to more and more general principles. A start might be to investigate the consequences of denying something like Walton's model. Even the Bible says, "be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you" (I Peter 3:15). This means a Christian should be able to offer a justification of his/her belief. That implies some standard of what counts as a justification. A burden of proof is to be taken up. Keneinan wants to restrict assigning burdens of proof to three situations: legal cases; formal disputations; some third thing, I forget what now. I don't see why we can't demand proof in informal discussions and disputations. BTW in the "card" that LF included in the screenshot of his OP, Keneinan talks about skeptics who say the person who makes the positive claim faces a burden of proof. On Walton's scheme, it's the person who makes an assertive claim, whether positive or negative, i.e. "that P" or "that not P." Keneinan is to be lauded for posting atheist Matt McCormick's response here:
  10. LF's burden topic comes up here. A paper published in an international, scholarly journal is going to start out with more cred in my eyes something self-published, because we don't know that any referee process occurred with the self-published stuff. BO, I'm guessing that you may want to push back against scholarly peer review processes. As far as I can see, they're the best we've got. It doesn't follow that some external reviewers don't do bad jobs. It also doesn't follow that they subscribe to the author's conclusions.
  11. Burden of Proof

    Here's a paper by Walton about burden of proof, which I liked. I don't remember whether he "proved" what he says about burden of proof! BTW note that Walton is clear on negative assertive claims' need to meet a burden of proof. To assert not-P is on the order of asserting P, logically. In the case of assertions about existence of individuals, the negative assertion usually fails to rest on the kind of empirical evidence on which a positive assertion would rest. Obviously. But this is why "I don't see sufficient reason to believe in God" is so much easier to argue for than "God does not exist." Heh heh.
  12. Burden of Proof

    Hi LF, thanks for posting. I haven't come across Eve Kenainen before. Her name sounds Finnish. I have read things by people she quotes: Christians Plantinga, McInerny, atheist Parsons (he's often posting over on The Secular Outpost on Patheos)... I am not a professional philosopher. I'm a professional Classicist, but one of my main areas is ancient philosophy. Having just read through Kenainen's post once, my reaction is that she's trying to block skeptical arguments by refusing to concede the skeptic anything about methodology. I'm guessing that if the skeptic appeals to some methodological principle, she'll bring out what one of my profs called "the old philosopher's trick" and demand that the methodological principle be applied to itself and proved. OK, it may be possible to prove some methodological principles by appeal to a "higher" science, in Aristotle's sense. The principle about burden of proof is not a factual claim - at least, not an empirical claim. If it's going to be supported, it will be supported from principles higher than it is. Eventually in any inquiry you reach basic laws of thought that are so basic we have to take them as axioms. They cannot be proved by appeal to anything more fundamental than they are. E.g. the principle of non-contradiction, or law of excluded middle. You can't argue for them without already using them. I'm sure you're familiar with this issue. Something like principles about burden of proof, or Karl Popper's falsification principle as applied to scientific theories (which Eve thinks has been exploded), are probably less basic than the "laws of thought," so a justification may lie in the domain of what Aristotle tries to get at by referring to "first philosophy" - an inquiry into principles that are basic for the various sciences, which themselves use the principles rather than establish them as principles. Douglas Walton, who works on informal logic and fallacies, distinguishes a burden of proof from a burden of casting doubt. The person who asserts a claim, that P or that not-P, faces a stiffer burden than the person who merely casts doubt on that claim. Skeptics like to inhabit the easier position of casting doubt. Kenainen is trying to take that position away from the skeptic by saying that what Walton calls the burden of casting doubt (i.e. showing that it's rational to reject a claim as not proved) collapses into a burden of proof. But the skeptic isn't arguing, "no, you said P, but it's really not-P." The skeptic is only saying, "I am not convinced that you have proved your case that it's P." Somewhere in the discipline of logic or philosophy of logic, perhaps, lie the tools to tackle Kenainen's argument. I'll say in passing that I'm put off by her tone, which seems to be overly polemical and talking down. Why does she put into symbolic form a very simple Modus Tollens and not just say it? We are to be impressed by her use of symbolic notation? Well, this is all I can do now. Later, f
  13. Kris, please listen to this and think. I believe it is best to step away from the details and look at religious/prophetic systems as a whole. What are they trying to accomplish among their audiences?
  14. There are Christians who are in the prophecy BUSINESS. It's an income stream. Trying to debunk each new claim as it gains publicity is a form of whack-a-mole. They are ALWAYS going to claim some astounding fulfillment of this or that. Kris, you've gotta work out more general principles for what you are going to consider plausible about religions in general. These claims will never stop coming. Both my parents suffered from psychological stresses/illnesses that manifested themselves in involvement with prophecies, alleged miracles, etc. I saw the harm done in both their lives and in our family. You have the advantages of having seen through to the falsity of what my parents never stopped believing. But you're terrified/obsessed over "but what if..."s. The "what ifs" will literally never stop if you try to unravel each one separately as it comes. They'll never stop because prophecy is a business, and someone will be selling it. That'll probably be more and more true as our world becomes more and more stressed. Under stress, I think we hear more about prophecy. When the Peloponnesian War was starting, between Athens and Sparta and all their allies, under that stress, "There were all kinds of prophecies and all kinds of oracular utterances being made both in the cities that were about to go to war and in other places as well. Then, too, there was an earthquake in Delos just before this time - a thing that had never happened before in the memory of the Hellenes. This was said and thought to be a sign of impending events; and if anything else of the same kind happened to occur, its meaning was always carefully examined." Thucydides, book 2.8 I know there are differences between the ancient Greek oracle business and the modern prophecies of the end times business. But I think you get the idea. The prophecy sellers always have some excuse for why what was prophesied didn't pan out but why it's totally going to happen in future in the way they say.
  15. Long, but very relevant to this thread, on Christian leaders' scare tactics right now about the hurricanes, and on the kind of God their religion sells.