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Posts posted by wellnamed

  1. 15 minutes ago, ThereAndBackAgain said:

    If the goal here is to run Christians off as quickly as possible, then Congratulations.


    I don't think this thread is even particularly hostile, but I also think it might be too much to expect no hostility.

    It's an interesting question though, about what the goal ought to be. It's an interesting idea that there is value to having an active Lion's Den for the benefit of demonstrating arguments against Christianity. I'm not sure everyone would agree with that though. Or, it's not clear whether that's preferable to just letting people ask questions about Christian arguments they are troubled by, no Christians needed? I can understand why some people are more hostile than others just in terms of how traumatic their deconversions were, or how recent. I could understand how some might find value in an active Lion's Den while others might prefer that the whole site is a space where they are free from dealing with Christians. I'm not sure there's any right answer, so my default would just be to let people decide for themselves, including being pretty tolerant of some open hostility towards Christians.

    • Like 2

  2. 2 minutes ago, Christforums said:

    Interesting point. Are you rejecting Christianity because the people you encountered are no different than those outside the church?


    It's not the only consideration, but it's one that I find reasonably important. For example I would argue that there are theological constructions and views about a properly Christian way of life which would be easier to sustain if there was actually good evidence for something like the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.


    To be clear, there are also a great many theological and historical claims which I think are unsustainable regardless of the above. How one evaluates the likelihood of a virgin birth, a resurrection from the dead, or a great flood doesn't depend much on how Christians act, either now or historically. But if one is motivated by an ideal of union with a God of love and personal transformation in the Spirit of God then the reality of how Christians live is more directly relevant.

    • Like 2

  3. 6 minutes ago, LogicalFallacy said:

    So why do it? Well it wasn't a choice.


    This is nitpicky but I think it's OK to call it a choice. Although I know what you mean, i.e. I think you mean that it's a choice which is compelled by the strength of the evidence (or lack thereof). It's not an arbitrary choice or a simple matter of subjective preference. It's a decision which we believe to be justified. We choose to disaffiliate from various religious groups, or to cease certain religious practices, or to disavow certain beliefs for good reasons.


    But I also think some people choose to continue their affiliations, practices and beliefs in many cases long after they have acceded to the intellectual arguments against them. I say that because I think you could count me as such a case. But we find ways to make that work, i.e. by shifting to more symbolic interpretations or more mystical ones. Basically there's enough room to maneuver that it is possible to find ways to continue in religious belief or practice even under those conditions. There really is a choice involved in going beyond the intellectual acknowledgement to a change in one's way of life or worldview.


    So I think it's OK to call disaffiliation a choice, or atheism a choice, in that sense. It's just not an arbitrary one. I don't see a reason to implicitly accept the premise that the only good choice could be faith.


    It's also interesting to me that it might make clear that there are multiple facets to it. There's the purely intellectual questions about things like the existence or characteristics of a deity, but there's also the choice to reject communities of believers for various reasons. I always thought for example that one of the best arguments against Christianity was the line in the Gospel of John that people will know Jesus' disciples because of their love for one another. I found that hard to reconcile with my actual experiences of Christians even as a Christian, and it's an example of a reason to be skeptical of the religion that has nothing to do with arguments about the existence of God.



    • Like 1

  4. I'll have to read the actual article, but from the abstract one thing that seems curious to me is: what is "spiritual" adding to "ethical" in the category of "ethical spirituality"? Is it something to do with notions about the source of moral truths, some belief about the way reality is such that certain ethical precepts are justified? Because otherwise it's not entirely clear to me how being ethical in a spiritual way is different from just being ethical. Like I expect that my moral beliefs are very similar to someone in the US who would describe themselves as an ethical spiritualist. I think we'd similarly talk about human dignity, compassion, love, etc (arguably one of the most useful aspects of the whole "made in the image of God" idea, despite the lack of consistent application...). I just don't tend to think of my ethical commitment to those ideals as spiritual.


    I've always tended more towards the non-theistic/pantheistic natural transcendence style of spirituality, and have tended not to care very much for religious or quasi-religious approaches to ethics, so the above may just reflect my own biases :P

  5. 8 minutes ago, disillusioned said:


    There's also a general assumption (not saying it's your assumption necessarily!) that scientific study is the only valid kind of study. It's an assumption which is fairly well-grounded in the fact that scientific study seems to work pretty well,  while other approaches have historically yielded... limited results. But it may still be the case that the scientific method is not the best we can do, at least in certain situations.


    Also, the question of whether or not everything actually is physical ought to be considered, and considered seriously, in my opinion.


    Agreed on both points. Although I feel like there's a fundamental problem with any kind of dualism, which has been known since Descartes. If there's some non-physical thing, but it has causal power over the physical world (which it must, for us to observe it at all; we know all our senses are physically based), then how is that even possible? Even if there were some hidden aspect of that phenomena (akin to hidden variables theories of QM) we would still physically investigate the causal nexus, which is basically just how science works anyway. So I'm not sure the philosophical distinction between monism and dualism matters a lot?


    I guess the world in which the distinction becomes really important is one in which the causal behavior of some plausible non-physical agent is neither predictable nor stochastic, where it was obvious that there must be some hidden kind of agency or process. Otherwise such a phenomenon would just look like every other physical process, where there's some association between state A and B, and we attempt to understand how that association works.

    • Like 1

  6. Yeah, that's why I specified "physical in the sense of being something a physicist would study" rather than physical like I can poke it with a stick. Gravitational fields, microwave radiation, and so on are also "physical" then.


    Philosophically, one of the more interesting consequences of the triumph of physics is basically that we've given up on ontology, in the Greek sense of wanting to know what kind of stuff exists. What's an electron, really? From a physics perspective it's just a bundle of measurable properties, mostly just mass, charge, and "spin", whatever the hell that is :PBut that's why I say the differences between "spiritualism" and "materialism" are more epistemological than ontological. From a materialist standpoint the idea isn't that some really spooky phenomena can't exist; QM has you covered. It's just the expectation that all the spooky stuff can be studied using empirical methods which make no assumptions that this process must involve something fundamentally different from the rest of the natural world. There's lots of practical reasons why the scientific study of X or Y might be difficult from a materialist perspective, but no philosophical reason why the scientific study of any phenomena would be impossible. Whereas non-materialists generally hold that at least some such non-physically-investigatable phenomena exist.

  7. materialism here probably just means the idea that everything that exists is fundamentally physical, in the sense that it all reduces (ontologically, if not in terms of useful explanations) to the kinds of processes that a physicist might study. A common misunderstanding here is that materialism doesn't mean that only physicists are studying real phenomena, or that only a concept of some phenomena expressed in terms of sub-atomic particles is meaningful. You can be a materialist and think that psychology is a useful field of research and that psychological ideas should be expressed in idiomatic language. You just also believe that all of those phenomena do amount to some gloriously complex behavior of a physical system with no "spiritual" components outside the domain of natural science. Sometimes people use the word naturalism to mean something similar, so for example scientists usually practice methodological naturalism which doesn't entail having a strong prior belief that nothing supernatural exists, but does entail a methodological commitment to proceeding with scientific investigations as though no such supernatural world exists. The only methods allowed are methods which would make sense assuming that any given phenomena had some natural explanation.


    I think it might be better to say that the point of contention between self-identified materialists, or naturalists, and self-identified spiritualists, is in epistemology in general, which incorporates difference in understanding about the role of logic and reason (as opposed to some kind of intuition) but isn't exactly the same as saying that spiritualists reject the use of logic and reason entirely. It's more that they admit some methods which the materialist or methodological naturalist would reject, i.e. some kind of intuition thought to be grounded in processes that transcend the physical world.

  8. 8 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

    Again, what if he did?


    I already answered your question about why I think it matters and what I think should be done. I understand your reasons for not responding to what I wrote, but I don't think it's useful to act as if I didn't already give you an answer. In any case, while I understand the rationale behind the rule against public discussion of moderation, my opinion is that this issue has been festering on this site for literally years (it was a problem the first time I was here in 2015) and absent public discussion I doubt it will ever really be addressed. But at the very least I would encourage you to consider what I actually wrote privately, if not publicly.

    • Like 1

  9. 24 minutes ago, Joshpantera said:

    Then what? Shut him down from speaking or let it ride? Tolerate his right to an opinion or become intolerant of it? And if intolerant, to what end? 


    I think there's a discussion to be had about the site's mission and if a discussion about whether women deserve to be able to vote actually contributes to that mission or impedes it instead.


    But, more immediately I don't actually care that much if he gets to express his opinion. I care that he is a moderator. You'll recall that a few days ago ToT got a timeout and a bunch of threads were deleted. That happened after I complained about Skip's threat to lock orbit's thread. Why did Skip do that? Why was that thread a problem while so many other threads in ToT -- many far less civil and productive -- were apparently not? Why did he go out of his way to treat her so insultingly in the process of threatening to close it? I would suggest the reason is because she's a feminist woman, he hates feminist women, and his actions demonstrate the way in which his bias clouds his ability to mod fairly.


    After all that, why did he immediately create a new thread approvingly linking to just about the ugliest misogynist he could find on the internet, while throwing in references to sociologists as a jab? Why does he so often refer to femininity in a pejorative way, i.e. when he refers to "estrogen driven hipster... mankees" or complains about society succumbing to a "nutless androgynous so thought equality." Again, it's the same reason he approves of Roosh V. The misogyny is the point.


    I recall that just in the last day or so we've had posts from ex-Christian women talking about the joy of being liberated from Christian dogma that makes them subservient to fathers and husbands. I wonder how they might feel about a discussion forum for ex-Christians where one of the principle moderators shares those same repressive views?

  10. The entry I cited is linked from the page Skip cited. It's one click away, there in the sidebar with it's glorious headline: "Women Must Have Their Behavior And Decisions Controlled By Men". I found it by reading the page.


    But this is beside the point given skip's response. What do you think he meant when he wrote that he was not sure if there would be many who "would be ready for my reasoning nor opinions about results and costs to society of universal woman's suffrage"? I contend that the meaning is very, very obvious, and even more so in context. As is his claim that he does not disagree with Roosh about much. If you want to pretend that the meaning of his response is not clear then you are free to do so, but I'd suggest you read it again in context because it's not particularly ambiguous. And by all means, ask him yourself if you want. He's welcome to post here and say that he does not agree that women's rights should be restricted.


    Also, and I feel like I shouldn't really even need to resort to this kind of argumentation, but also it just seems kind of obvious, if I linked to a Roosh article and someone dug up that quote and asked me about it, my response would not be to double down on the fact that there is not much I disagree with him about. I would say I disagreed with him about that! And again it's obvious he is aware of Roosh's more inflammatory views. He said as much. I also think it's silly to ignore the fact that the stuff in the "neomasculinity" article is highly misogynistic all on its own. It's not like it was necessary to go find more, it's just that that article provided such a succinct summary of what is somewhat more diffuse in the other page. But all that talk about "the true nature of women" and the benefits of patriarchy is already awful male supremacist misogyny. Again, you can choose to ignore that if you like, that's your prerogative. But don't try to tell me that reading what is obviously there is a failure to give the benefit of the doubt. There is no doubt.

    • Like 1

  11. 9 minutes ago, Burnedout said:

    As for ASSUMING a mod hates women is a bit presumptuous.  Perhaps you should ask that mod directly instead of making an assumption about what he said purely made in frustration?


    I don't have to make any assumptions, he's said as much himself. You'll have to forgive me, since I'm currently unable to access ToT it's difficult for me to quote the thread, but he was asked explicitly about the quote I cited above, and his response was this:



    Not sure if there would be many who would be ready for my reasoning nor opinions about results and costs to society of universal woman's suffrage....

    In some answer to your questioning I do not disagree with much of Roosh's printed rational about many issues.


    So he explicitly agrees with depriving women of the right to vote and refused to disagree with Roosh's views on women's inferiority, instead stipulating his wide agreement with him. And it's not at all plausible that Skip didn't know of these views beforehand, nor does he argue that he was uninformed. The OP itself rather coyly refers to Roosh's radioactively toxic views. There's a reason Skip chose to approvingly link to those same views. 


    And as far as skip being generally toxic to conversations, it's kind of obvious just in the choice to start that thread, as well as so many of his previous interactions with posters over the years. Like I said, I don't think there's really any "civil" way to say this, the root issue is probably more just that he's an asshole to everyone who doesn't share his views.



  12. Although really, to cut to the chase, I think the bigger question is this: should this forum have a super moderator who believes that women are inferior and have too many rights? Can someone with those opinions fairly moderate discussions involving politics and social issues? Maybe the problem isn't actually the extreme views, but his seeming inability to participate without being an asshole to anyone who disagrees with him, but I feel like the two are related.

  13. 9 minutes ago, Burnedout said:


    Sure we should, but that does not preclude any of us to confront them.  They are allowed to do that in the Lion's Den.  You can see the result of those attempts in there.  Works. 


    You are saying sure we should allow evangelical Christians to post anywhere on the site, or sure we should only allow them to do it in the Lion's den? Is restricting them to the Lion's Den a form of censorship? You wrote that "either we have free speech or censorship". I'm trying to understand what limits on "free speech" are tolerable to you, since clearly this site already has limits on what you can say, as was already pointed out previously in this thread. Do you think the rule against personal insults amounts to censorship also or should personal attacks be allowed?


    I guess the other problem with what you wrote, and it's also been pointed out a few times, is that moderation on this site is not at all like "totalitarian government", precisely because this is one website and not the government. The guidelines again make this point succinctly:



    Ex-Christian.Net strongly believes in freedom of speech. We believe everybody should have the freedom to post whatever they like on their own websites, within the boundaries of the law. Anyone who finds the moderation policies of this site too constraining is free to create another website tailored to fit his or her personal preferences. (emphasis mine)


    My opinion is obviously that the guidelines that already exist make sense, are neither censorship nor a violation of anyone's rights (by definition), and are vastly preferable to a completely unmoderated forum, but mainly here I was just trying to get at what I see as a false dichotomy between "free speech" and "censorship". I suppose in this sense I think florduh makes a mistake to ask whether these statements ought to be tolerated by a civil society. I'm only really concerned about whether they should be tolerated by this forum. Hate speech laws are a different problem from forum moderation and it's probably not helpful to conflate them.



  14. 8 minutes ago, TrueScotsman said:

    I'm not their doormat, I am frankly more worn out having been here longer and having had to deal with the constant trolling.  They want to be civil with me, I will be civil, but that doesn't mean I won't forcefully refute their arguments.  If they want to laugh at me and troll me for a very serious and legitimate concern, then I will let them know my opinion of their behavior.  Civility is a two way street.


    I understand. I agree that it's a two-way street. Sometimes it's hard to convey that while criticizing one thing at a time. Also hopefully it's obvious that I'm not against refuting arguments. Most of the time I probably wouldn't say anything here at all, but this meta conversation about the site has been happening in a bunch of different places recently and I guess I'm sticking my nose into it a bit. Maybe too much :P

  15. I'd like to add one to your list, since it is of relevance here recently:


    "As long as we continue to treat women as equals to men, a biological absurdity that will one day be the butt of many jokes for comedians of the future, women will continue to make horrible decisions that hurt themselves, their families, and their reproductive potential. Unless we take action soon to reconsider the freedoms that women now have, the very survival of Western civilization is at stake." -- Roosh V

    • Like 1

  16. Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you :P


    I'm sure I'm more in agreement with TrueScotsman than many here about increasingly plausible threats from authoritarian strains of nationalism in the US. Despite that I think if this forum is going to comfortably accommodate people from across the political spectrum we do have to try to afford each other some minimal amount of respect, and that should extend as far as not going too far insulting each other as clueless bumbling idiots. To be clear, I also wish that notion of respect would prompt at least one or two of the more conservative members here to be less hostile and trollish in their posting as well, but since I've complained about people on the conservative side of late I guess I feel like I'd be hypocritical not to lightly chide you here also, TrueScotsman. Take it for whatever you think it's worth...

    • Like 1
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  17. 55 minutes ago, Burnedout said:


    Please define "Moral Outrage".  Also, how is it any different than self-righteous rantings? 


    Given your views on individual liberty, does it really matter if there is no difference between "moral outrage" and "self-righteous ranting"? I'm not trying to put words in your mouth, it would just seem to me that it shouldn't matter in this context. Perhaps I'm mistaken on that point, but previously you've said things like this:


    which suggests to me that you would agree that the restaurant manager should be free to refuse service, even if her sense of "moral outrage" is really just "self-righteous ranting".


    It also seems to me that the distinction isn't really even important to the point that Scotsman was making, since that point is entirely about the difference between organized political strategy and individual actions, rather than being about the justification for any particular action.


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