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Bhim last won the day on June 15

Bhim had the most liked content!

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About Bhim

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    Jesus-hating idol worshiper

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    Religion and religious discourse, Hindu/Christian interactions, Christian proselytism, astrophysics, President Trump.
  • More About Me
    I suppose I'm somewhat unorthodox as far as ex-Christians go. I was raised Hindu. In college, specifically in 2004, I gave up my "heathen" ways and converted to evangelical Christianity. Six years later, in 2010 I realized the extent of my foolishness in being a Christian, and returned to Hinduism.

    I am a scientist with a PhD in astrophysics, but have defected from academia to industry. I am also a Trump voter.

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
    Hindu God/gods

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  1. Excellent questions. Let me address them in order. "Does our universe expand in all directions equilaterally?" I'm guessing you meant "equally." Yes, the universe does expand equally in all directions. This is related to the observational principle known as Hubble's Law, which states that the recession velocity of distant galaxies is proportional to their distance from earth. In astrophysics we make this determination using a sort of stepping stone approach. The distance to nearby stars can be determined using the Method of Parallax. The same star, observed six months apart, will appear in a slightly different position in the sky because the Earth has moved with respect to the sun. Using Euclidean geometry and the known radius of the earth's orbit, we can deduce our distance from the star. (Source: http://spiff.rit.edu/classes/phys443/lectures/parallax/parallax.html) But, some stars are far enough away that we can't detect the parallax. That's where a certain class of stars known as Cepheid Variables comes in. A Cepheid Variable, as the name implies, is a "variable star," in that its brightness as viewed from earth - or magnitude, as we astronomers call it - varies with time. For Cepheids, that magnitude has a predictable period. It turns out that the luminosity of a Cepheid variable depends on its period, as shown in the below diagram: (Source: https://socratic.org/questions/why-is-a-cepheid-variable-star-referred-to-as-a-standard-candle) We don't know - a priori - how far away a distant star is. So a dim star that is very close to earth could have a smaller magnitude* than a bright star that is very far away. But in the case of Cepheid Variables, we can measure their distance and their magnitude, and thus infer their luminosity, i.e. the total amount of light emitted by the star (if you know how far away a star is and you know how much light you are receiving at Earth, you can know the luminosity). The period-luminosity relationship was determined by looking at Cepheid variables for which we have parallax measurements. That means that if a Cepheid is far enough away that we can't measure its parallax, we can still know its distance by measuring its period. That lets us look at Cepheids in other galaxies, and know how far away are those galaxies! Finally, we can look at Cepheids in galaxies that are at moderate distances, and determine their distances based on the periods of the Cepheids. We can also look at the energy spectra of light emitted from those galaxies, and look for spectral signatures. For example, we know that hydrogen electrons emit light at specific frequencies associated with electronic transitions. We know the frequencies by observing hydrogen in a lab. But if the hydrogen atoms are moving at high speeds close to that of light, those emission frequencies are shifted. By observing the new frequencies, we can know the speed of the hydrogen atoms. It turns out that if you look at galaxies that are sufficiently far away, the galaxies are always moving away from Earth. by looking at the nearby galaxies and determining their distance from the Cepheids, you can learn the mathematical relationship between distance and recession velocity. So now you can look at galaxies that are much further away - at distances where you can't resolve individual stars - but you can still know how quickly they are moving away from us based on the spectral signature. See the following diagram for an illustration of this effect: (Source: http://hosting.astro.cornell.edu/academics/courses/astro201/hubbles_law.htm) This effect isn't necessarily true for close by objects. For example, I am not receding from you, and the nearby Andromeda Galaxy is not receding away from us (in fact it is rushing toward us). But at larger distances where the expansion of the universe is more important, all galaxies move away from us. So to your second question: does this mean the Earth is the center of the universe? No! The interesting thing about this observation is that it is fully explainable by Einstein's Theory of General Relativity. Said theory shows that if you lived in one of those distant, receding galaxies, you would observe all galaxies moving away from you. It would appear that you were the center of the universe. You have probably heard that according to the Theory of General Relativity, space and time are viewed as a single entity, which can be likened to the malleable fabric of the universe. Think of spacetime as a balloon being inflated, and imagine making multiple marks on the balloon with a sharpie. As the balloon is inflated, an observer at each mark will see the other marks moving away from it. Yet no observer is at the "center" of the balloon, and we needn't even imagine the balloon expanding into anything else, because for the purpose of our analogy the surface of the balloon is all that matters (if you ever study differential geometry, this is referred to as a "Riemannian manifold"). tl;dr. The universe is expanding in all directions from the vantage point of the Earth, and that does not mean the Earth is the center of the universe. *For historical reasons, magnitude is defined so that smaller numbers represent brighter objects. So -4 is brighter than 2 is brighter than 6, etc.
  2. I don't know that this is an entirely accurate depiction of my position. My position is premised on the view that one can dabble in racial supremacy without practicing it in all instances. I would be a fool to ignore Hitler's many comments asserting the superiority of the German people (I wouldn't call it "white" supremacy, since the Ashkenazi Jews he viewed as inferior were also white, but that is neither here nor there). His beliefs also made room for other racial supremacist movements such as Japanese supremacy, and ostensibly Indian supremacy (though the Indian independence movement wasn't based on racial supremacy, as far as I am aware). In some ways, BLM is worse, in that it seeks the dominance of the black race without allowing for other groups to form their own ethnostates. And in some ways it is "tolerant" of other races, since it allows for the participation of whites so long as they poise themselves as inferior to the blacks. As in the case of any historical analogy, this one does not provide a one-to-one mapping. But I think there are similarities between BLM and Nazism that cannot be ignored. I will grant that the prominent difference here is that unlike in the case of the Nazi movement, BLM has widespread support from members of the race that it views as inferior. If I may ask: what aspects of the BLM platform do you find disturbing, and what is the distance metric that you are using to distinguish mild concern from "essential evil?"
  3. Hi @disillusioned. I apologize if I've misunderstood your earlier post. This is going to be a hard "argument" for me, since I don't have any investment in proving that Hitler was a white supremacist. While I've read Mein Kampf, it was much earlier in my life and I can't claim to be familiar with it to the level that you appear to be. If it is important to you, I'm happy to engage with you on an intellectual journey about Hitler's level of white supremacy. Keep in mind though that I don't have any partisan bias here; I'm not personally invested in defending the reputation of Hitler. Bear in mind the context in which I brought this up: I did so in order to observe that the level of nuance in Hitler's white supremacy, which makes analogies to Black Lives Matter seem reasonably appropriate. Subhas Chandra Bose wasn't the only non-Caucasian to which the Nazi Party offered aid. There were others. My point is that BLM needn't explicitly say "white people are inferior to black people" in order to be comparable to pre-Holocaust Nazis. Like you said, you can be a jerk and still be nice on occasion. To that I would add: you can claim on occasion that you support equality, while still believing in black supremacy. I would observe that since my last post, one prominent black person said that blacks are superior to whites and seems to have suffered no serious employment-related consequences. Like you I am committed to objective truth, and I'm willing to discuss Hitler in depth if you like. But let's not deviate too far from my claim that BLM is a black-supremacist organization and is not very far removed from the spirit of the Nazis. I believe BLM is comprised of evil individuals who will cause us physical harm if we allow their ideology to persist. While I'm happy to discuss Nazis and to defend my factual claims surrounding Hitler, I'd like to focus this discussion on Black Lives Matter to whatever extent possible.
  4. Woah, message received! I will make no further attempts to take your opinion seriously on any topic relating to black people. Apologies for whatever offense I have caused.
  5. It's interesting that you both asked the same question. Not unexpected, but interesting. Let's be clear about the intent behind this question: is the intention here that I must call Hitler a white supremacist, lest I be labeled a Hitler sympathizer? If I fail to attach the appropriate label, am I going to be labeled a white supremacist (despite not even being white), and will my opinions thus be deemed unworthy of consideration? I know that you both are thoughtful individuals, and I assume that on an intellectual level you will answer "no" to both questions. But there is certainly a gut reaction to Hitler which requires us to regard him as the personification of evil. I think this is unwise, since it precludes any objective analysis of Hitler, and thus hinders our ability to analyze the historical events which led to his rise. It pains me to feel I even need to say this, but allow me to assuage any concerns by stating that am no admirer of Hitler. But let's start with the understanding that one can be evil without being a white supremacist. By way of example, let me point to the example of Subhas Chandra Bose, whom non-Indians on this forum (which I assume includes everyone but me) will not recognize at all. Long story short, this man was an Indian freedom fighter who sought alliance with the Nazis as a means of removing the British presence from India. He met Hitler personally, and after Hitler new the war effort was in vain, he helped Bose flee to Japan to pursue his cause. To claim that Hitler is a white supremacist is either inconsistent with these historical facts, or perhaps requires us to redefine our understanding of "white supremacy." I don't say this because I have any love of Hitler. I say this because facts matter. If we are to have any discussion about Hitler with the precondition that I come to some specific conclusion about Hitler, then I refuse to participate in such a discussion for the same reason that I refuse to talk to creation scientists. I'm willing to follow the facts where they lead, even if they lead to an understanding that Hitler was evil, but not as committed to the cause of white supremacy as one wishes to believe. I am loathed to premise any argument on personal experience, but I'd ask you to remind yourself that while you are safely in New Zealand, I live mere miles from where George Floyd riots occurred not too long ago. Again, I stress that I don't want you to accept any argument of mine on the basis of differential personal experience. Bear in mind that I make the connection to religion precisely because BLM is reminiscent of the persecution complex espoused by most interpreters of the Book of Revelation. George Floyd, like Jesus, was a deeply flawed and immoral human being whose death resulted in his deification. If we're going to draw an analogy to Christianity (which I heartily welcome), let us do so at the crucifixion and resurrection narrative, not Christian eschatology. The death of George Floyd has resulted in riots, domestic violence, and activity that borders on terrorism. This isn't Revelation. This is Acts. I have personally witnessed the destruction of buildings by BLM "protestors," and I personally know business owners who were forced to board up their offices and spray paint "#BLM" on said boards in order to avoid violence by BLM, despite not believing in the cause of BLM or believing that George Floyd was anything less than a terrible human being whose death is not a tragedy (again, illegal, but not worthy of mourning). I would love to discuss the analogy of BLM to Christianity. But let us understand that this is not a discussion of eschatology. This is a discussion about a movement which is analogous to the religion that infiltrated the Roman Empire and destroyed it from within.
  6. Still here if you wish to engage in intelligent dialog. If you wish to continue making jokes about semen, I'm not interested in participating (remember: I may not be Christian but I'm still religious). But I will continue responding so that you are aware that you are not being ignored.
  7. Well, it's not quite so simple. While Nazi ideology is most notorious for the eradication of a large portion of Europe's Jewish population, a dislike of Jews wasn't the fundamental unifying factor in Nazism. Nazism was "national socialism," i.e. some strange combination of ethnic homogeneity and vaguely communist ideology. I hope you won't misconstrue this for a defense of Nazism, but their view of Jews wasn't so simple as we'd like to believe. For example, Hitler tried to have Germany's Jewish population flee to Palestine. Hitler's feigned grievances, as summarized in Mein Kampf, seemed to view Jews as indirectly responsible for the German people's misfortune. Dare I say...systemically responsible? I think we do not do ourselves any favors by viewing the Nazis as some caricature of evil, as though they are the Christian Satan. German grievances were based in real economic woes that grew out of the First World War, and through a series of arguments which - taken in a vacuum - seem reasonable, they arrived at the conclusion that genocide was a good idea. From first principles I would not expect BLM to say "all whites are evil." Modern bigotry is usually more subtle than this. For example, Cecil Rhodes (from whom we have the Rhodes Scholarship) suggested the existence of a global white community (source: https://pages.uoregon.edu/kimball/Rhodes-Confession.htm, it's an interesting read if you have time to read the full text). The BLM terrorist and black supremacist organization seems to suggest a similar ethic when they say "We see ourselves as part of the global Black family, and we are aware of the different ways we are impacted or privileged as Black people who exist in different parts of the world." (source: https://blacklivesmatter.com/what-we-believe/). Strictly speaking, you're correct to say that no BLM protestor is likely to say that "white people are sub-human." Evil people like Black Lives Matter and the Third Reich are rarely so cartoonish as to be this blunt. Case in point: Hitler, the alleged "white supremacist," took no issue with an alliance with Imperial Japan. I think we need to have a more nuanced view here if we are to recognize the genuine threat that the terrorist group Black Lives Matter poses to our way of life as a free, open, and secular society. Make no mistake: Black Lives Matter is not secular. They are a religious institution that will substitute Jesus with an equally perverse and oppressive ideology. And they are evil. Left unchecked, I believe Black Lives matter will kill both of us, should we be given the opportunity to assent to their religious orthodoxy, and decline to do so..
  8. Godwin's Law went out the window in 2016 when the left compared Trump to Hitler. Do I actually believe this? The answer is that I am seriously considering the possibility that BLM is equivalent to the Nazis. I wouldn't say that I 'believe' it in the sense that I used to believe in Jesus, though. I have committed to no orthodoxy here, but this is an idea I am currently exploring. What is your counterargument? I was fairly specific in stating that BLM bears similarities to the Nazis, prior to their assumption of political power. If they ever achieve such power, I don't think it's inconceivable that they would put Caucasians in ghettos, detention camps, etc. Needless to say, other Caucasians would likely execute such directives. After all, American Caucasians possess a deeply pathological self-loathing. Let me know when and if you are interested in a serious discussion. I'm not going anywhere...
  9. @Joshpantera @disillusioned I think we're missing the point in debating whether BLM are True Marxists. Yes, they claim to be Marxists, and yes, they don't spend as much time talking about class conflict as Marx did. And yes Josh, they are definitely entitled little shits. If someone says they are a Nazi, but are more interested in killing blacks than Jews, would you worry about the fact that they are misrepresenting Hitler, or worry about the fact that they want to kill people? Let's not spend more time analyzing their ideology than they do. And yes, I do mean to compare Black Lives Matter to Nazis. What they are doing to white people in public is basically what Nazis did to Jews before assuming political power. Imagine what will happen when we have a Black Lives Matter president.
  10. Fair point. It might be more accurate to call it a neo-Marxist, Marxist-adjacent, or Marx-inspired movement. I can't argue with the fact that BLM ignores class divisions, impoverished whites, etc. However I think the similarity between BLM's ideology and sociological "conflict theory" (as opposed to structural functional theory, and all the others that we learned in high school) is inescapable. BLM has substituted the working class with black people, i.e. literally all people with black skin. However, everything else seems the same. The suggestion is made that white people (apparently the only other race on the planet) control the means of production and that it is appointed for blacks to revolt and take it from them. I agree that BLM doesn't pass the purity test for Marxism. But we would be wrong to distance it too far from Marxism. It seems to bear an unmistakable similarity to the genuine article in the same way that woke culture does to Christianity.
  11. @mwc and @disillusioned both brought up an interesting and (frankly) inevitable point which I'm surprised didn't come up earlier in the discussion. To quote Disillusioned, I quoted Disillusioned, but I think Mwc has the same objection. And it is an objection of which I am very aware. To address this, let me begin by observing that you are both viewing the hypothetical scenario from the standpoint of the individual. As you say, I as an individual theoretically have the right to associate with whomever I wish. I could refuse to purchase either goods or labor from any individual for any reason, or for no reason at all. And I could make this decision on the grounds that the putative trading partner is racist, or simply because he is wearing a red shirt. From the individual standpoint, I should not have to give any reason as to why I don't want to do business with another individual. All that matters is that I don't wish it. But, as I said earlier, I am not wedded to the free market as some sort of religious principle. I like the free market, I think that it generally works well. But I also think that the overriding principle which should be prioritized is the broader health and sustainability of society in which the individual is embedded. Call it some minor concession to collectivism if you wish (with the understanding that I am pretty strictly opposed to communism and socialism). But without any checks, I don't think that a free market is self-sustaining. At some point we have to consider the cultural cost of unrestricted free market activity. Which brings me to the issue of your right to refuse to do business with another individual on the basis of their racist comments made outside of your workplace. I contend it is patently obvious that if we base our business decisions on the personal conduct of potential business partners, then the society will bifurcate into tribes who only do business with those of similar ideology. This isn't a sustainable way to run any society. So yes, I find it acceptable to force an employer to continue doing business with an otherwise competent and capable employee who makes deeply racist comments outside of work. Logically speaking, this necessitates that I also must conclude that a buyer should be forced to continue shopping at a store whose owner makes racist comments outside of his shop (obviously I'm using the word "racist" to refer to any generic offensive behavior). I don't spend a lot of time talking about the later scenario because it is much harder to enforce. E.g., how do I know that a shopper is refusing to visit your store because you made a racist comment, and not because you no longer carry some product that he prefers? Terminating someone's employment is a more detectable outcome. But just as importantly, the termination of employment has the more potent social impact. If someone stops patronizing your store, the effect is fairly marginal on all parties involved. If you terminate an employee, it can be exceedingly difficult for him to obtain new employment, especially if the termination is based on some publicly racist comment that he is made. So essentially, a life has been permanently altered for the worse because of your decision. Given that Western society is now in a state in which we have fragmented into a small number of tribes, the use of termination of employment as a means of dissociating from individuals who belong to opposing tribes will cause us to incur severe losses on the part of all tribes. Case in point: if I were an employer who had built my own private business, I could terminate all employees who practice Islam or who refuse to verbally confess that practitioners of Islam deserve deportation (the latter would by far result in the most casualties). Yes, my right to do this is a logical extension of free market principles. But the cultural impact of allowing for such a right is so great that society would not survive it. So in order to preserve civilized society, this right has to be curtailed. I hope my position was stated in a reasonably cogent fashion. This is why I believe that employers should be socially compelled to continue otherwise high-functioning employees who express racist beliefs outside of their professional context.
  12. Addmittedly, I worded it rather poorly. Hence the more direct clarification. Regarding the cancel culture...I'm going to have to go with a firm "maybe" on this. Cancel culture is an entire apparatus consisting of private individuals who are familiar with a chosen victim, the entire social media complex, online mobs, and then finally the cancel-ee's employer. I'm going specifically after the employer here. Prevent the employer from terminating the employee, and cancel culture is meaningless. If I publicly make racist comments, I'm fine with others refusing to socialize with me and with people saying negative things about me online. As long as I continue working to collect a paycheck, and can move to new jobs at other companies as my professional interests change, I am fine with the other social consequences remaining. So would you say that if someone is to be "canceled" for racism, the standard of evidence should be actual racist behavior (e.g. refusing to hire a qualified black applicant), rather than racist speech? If we added the qualification that racist behavior with no externalities (e.g. not wanting to have a black friend or have your daughter date a black) is also not grounds for cancellation, we might be getting to a compromise that I would find acceptable.
  13. I said this: "I have no problem with laws that curtail employers' ability to fire employees on the basis of their behavior outside of work." What I am saying is that I want employers to be prohibited from firing their employees for making racist comments outside of work. I'm glad you bring up this point. Again, ignoring for the moment that I have an expectation of privacy in my house, in principle I have no problem with the snitch. I even have no problem with the social consequences...right up until we encounter the termination and inability to secure new employment. That is my sole objection. Prevent my employer from legally terminating me for my speech, and you can have all the political correctness you desire.
  14. Hi @Geezer. You've made some interesting comments. Since leaving Jesus, I've had to formulate my own cultural and social views. I've concluded that I am "conservative" in the social sense - not in any way relating to fetus-aborting or gay sex - but perhaps not so much in the fiscal sense. As I said in an earlier post, I am not wedded to laissez-faire market economics, and therefore feel that it would be perfectly reasonable to impose an artificial standard that no employer may base a hiring or termination decision on any political or social behavior in which someone engages, outside of a professional context. You seem to have stated a similar perspective. I've had to contend with my own philosophy on a few occasions recently. As I've said on this forum on many occasions, I am not a fan of Muslims. And I'm referring not just to the religion, but to the people. I consider people who practice Islam to be deplorable individuals who should probably be excluded from society. Yet I also believe in a separation of professional life from private life. These two beliefs have clashed when, in the past two or so years, I was asked to interview various Muslim candidates for positions at the company that employs me (I don't actually know that they were Muslims, but from their names, nationalities, and attire it was fairly obvious). It surprised me to find that I was very easily able to separate my feelings about Muslims from my professional objectivity. I was able to evaluate these individuals on their qualifications - irrespective of their assumed adherence to Islam - and I ended up recommending them for hiring at about the same rate as I have candidates from the general population. So I wonder: is it not possible for society in general to practice this same separation of the personal and the professional? Say you don't like someone's tweets either in favor of or against Trump. Or women. Or blacks. Is it so unreasonable to ignore this when deciding whether to hire someone, and more importantly when deciding whether to terminate someone? Based on my own experience I would say this is well within the realm of reason. This comment is worthy of some discussion. Why do you feel you need to state this in order to have the discussion regarding employment practices and expressed personal beliefs? What if you were racist against a particular ethnic group? Obviously all beliefs translate into some sort of action. But if the extent of that action is that you don't socialize with the target ethnic group, and if your racism doesn't affect the way you treat its member differently in any public space (e.g employment, government services, random public interactions...but mostly just employment), then so what? It is your right to hate anyone you want based on whatever discriminating variables you choose, and others can only judge you on the actions you take which directly affect other individuals. To provide a concrete example, let's say you didn't like my race, because you thought we smell like curry, and the odor is off-putting. As long as I can still get a job at your company (provided I have the appropriate qualifications) or get a fair trial in your courtroom (if you were a judge), it doesn't really matter to me whether you're willing to be on the same bowling team with me, attend a vegetarian barbecue at my house, or let your daughter date my son. None of those other things affect me in any material way, provided you are not impeding my ability to earn a paycheck or have equal protection under the law. So why should "for the record I am not racist" be the figurative tithe you have to pay Jesus in order to have this conversation? In case I haven't yet fully depleted my capital with any woke posters in this thread, let me be unequivocal: yes, I am saying that racism is not a very serious issue. As a "person of color" (it sickens me to use such terminology) I don't care if someone is racist as long as they will still employ me.
  15. No apologies needed. I have been a far worse offender in these matters.
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