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Author Topic: Misconceptions about Mormons tainting Mitt Romney
The Rabbit
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quote:
cognitive dissonance
What's wrong with cognitive dissonance. As an educator, cognitive dissonance is my goal because it is the first step toward learning.

And KOM, your anti-religious rhetoric has really become a yawner. Can't you let us have any discussion that even tangentally discusses religion without launching into a diatribe about how religion is the source of all evil. Give it a rest.

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King of Men
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quote:
Originally posted by blacwolve:
quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
quote:
Originally posted by blacwolve:
You believe? Can you support that belief empirically?

Inquisitions, witch hunts, suicide bombers, cognitive dissonance, and a vast pressure to conform to things that are plainly ridiculous.
You're a scientist and that's your idea of proving something empirically?
No, that's my idea of supporting something empirically, which is what was requested.
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Will B
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quote:
You are too generous. Bush's handlers would never allow him into a crowd where the question would be asked. Behind the scenes they'd do everything in their power to discredit and destroy the questioners.
I know what you mean. Look what they're doing to Joe Wilson right now: criminally prosecuting him because he allegedly misremembered the order in which he spoke to reporters, years ago, when answering prosecutors who were *knowingly* investigating the wrong man, for something they knew wasn't a crime!

And that guy Berger who smuggled out classified documents in his pants -- they nailed *him* to the wall, too, after he said Bush had weakened the U.S. military.

Let's not forget the letter threatening legal action against Sinclair Broadcasting, I mean CBS, when they were going to run a documentary critical of Kerry. I mean, Bush.

Truly a ruthless administration.

---

Since these things didn't happen, it's apparent that the Bush administration does not "do everything in their power to discredit and destroy the questioners."

[ February 20, 2007, 11:28 PM: Message edited by: Will B ]

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blacwolve
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quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
quote:
Originally posted by blacwolve:
quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
quote:
Originally posted by blacwolve:
You believe? Can you support that belief empirically?

Inquisitions, witch hunts, suicide bombers, cognitive dissonance, and a vast pressure to conform to things that are plainly ridiculous.
You're a scientist and that's your idea of proving something empirically?
No, that's my idea of supporting something empirically, which is what was requested.
Again, the supporting makes sense, the empirically, not so much.
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blacwolve
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Oh, and just for the record, this one is hilarious.

quote:
Originally posted by Will B:

McCain would try to get the press to understand he's not *really* a Mormon, by finding some Mormon preachers to condemn.


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Rakeesh
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Alright, I'll ask a slightly different question: which part, exactly, are religious people lying about?

Is it that they feel something in their minds, telling them to look to a source such as the Bible which tells them empirically things that (in some cases) simply cannot be true?

This is not the standard you've used in the past for insulting religion and religious people. You certainly cannot empirically disprove that God exists, yet for some people-people on this board, even-their religion doesn't tell them things which can be empirically disproven.

And yet, beauty and love are valued and shouldn't be scorned, in spite of their exclusively mental and physical, totally subjective impact?

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Euripides
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
In any case, I have a moral objection to lying on a wide scale to make people happy
People who expound on the impact love and beauty has had on their lives, the effect it has on them...they're lying, right?
What is so irrational about love or beauty? Love is an emotional (essentially biochemical) response to a value judgement you consciously or unconsciously make of a person. Beauty is a quality we admire and assess according to personal but often similar criteria. Keats should not be taken literally.

Stating that you love someone is saying that you hold that person in the highest esteem, according to whatever criteria you have for others (character, personality, independence, intelligence, what have you).

quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
quote:
Do you think it's possible that religion increases the happiness of a great many people? I certainly suspect it does.
I believe, however, that the net effect is bad. In any case, I have a moral objection to lying on a wide scale to make people happy; it's only a little better than handing out vast supplies of drugs.
I'm also convinced that religion does more harm than good. But even if it didn't, I would rather live in a world where truth is respected, and I suspect that's the case with most people on this board. Lying/Spreading falsehoods/Compartmentalising reason is immoral, according to my system of morality.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
What is so irrational about love or beauty? Love is an emotional (essentially biochemical) response to a value judgement you consciously or unconsciously make of a person. Beauty is a quality we admire and assess according to personal but often similar criteria. Keats should not be taken literally.
By the standards you're using here, every emotional response is rational it seems to me, Euripedes.

And most especially...

quote:
For love and beauty, I would say that they are hardly empirically unsupported; almost all humans report experiencing some variation on these.
This is never accepted by KoM as reasonable support for belief in religion, that I can remember.
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Euripides
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:

By the standards you're using here, every emotional response is rational it seems to me, Euripedes.

Yes, in the sense that every emotion is a biochemical reaction, there is a rational explanation for the feeling/sensation/qualia.

quote:
And most especially...
quote:
For love and beauty, I would say that they are hardly empirically unsupported; almost all humans report experiencing some variation on these.
This is never accepted by KoM as reasonable support for belief in religion, that I can remember.
Of course not. What kind of subjective experiences are we talking about, and what conclusions are we drawing from them?

"I experienced love", for example, can't be used as evidence for the existence of God, and has absolutely nothing to do with the truth value of what's in the Bible.

With visions, there are alternative scientific explanations such as hallucinations or dreams, which have considerably more evidence to back them up than do supernatural explanations.

[ February 20, 2007, 11:49 PM: Message edited by: Euripides ]

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King of Men
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Alright, I'll ask a slightly different question: which part, exactly, are religious people lying about?

Ah, no - I accept the subjective truthfulness of most religious people. I was responding to the suggestion that spreading religion might make people happier, and therefore be a good thing, done presumably by people who would not believe in that religion.

quote:
This is not the standard you've used in the past for insulting religion and religious people. You certainly cannot empirically disprove that God exists, yet for some people-people on this board, even-their religion doesn't tell them things which can be empirically disproven.
There ain't no such thing as disproof, so this is a truly remarkably weak argument. Burden of proof lies on the one making positive claims.

quote:
And yet, beauty and love are valued and shouldn't be scorned, in spite of their exclusively mental and physical, totally subjective impact?
I do not understand which part of this you are finding difficult. Love is something that happens internal to a human brain; you must therefore accept the report of the brain in question. (Also, in principle, you could measure the biochemical changes connected with the feeling.) Which part of "God exists and forgives my sins" is internal to a human brain? I'm perfectly happy to accept the reports of others that they experience thus-and-so a feeling when they pray; that's internal. But I very strongly object when they reason from this to "God exists". Especially since they can none of them agree on which god their internal experience supports. In a somewhat similar vein, I should be happy to accept the report of a schizophrenic that he hears voices; I would object, however, to his belief that the Government was beaming the voices into his mind, unless he could show me the machinery.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
I do not understand which part of this you are finding difficult.
The part where you seemed to respect and value something that went on totally inside the head of someone else. Perhaps it is because we define 'love' so very differently, insofar as I have a definition for it. I did not presume you meant attraction, or a purely biochemical response as you suggest here.

quote:
I'm perfectly happy to accept the reports of others that they experience thus-and-so a feeling when they pray; that's internal. But I very strongly object when they reason from this to "God exists".
So...you're 'perfectly happy' to accept the reports that someone feels something. As soon as they suggest that something exists from that feeling, aside from brain chemistry, that's when they become brainwashed idiots?

quote:
Especially since they can none of them agree on which god their internal experience supports.
Nonsense, and you're not usually this sloppy. Millions of people agree in groups.

quote:
There ain't no such thing as disproof, so this is a truly remarkably weak argument. Burden of proof lies on the one making positive claims.
Burden exists to who? They're obligated to you? I disagree. And correct me if I am wrong, but things are for practical intents and purposes disproven all the time.

It all comes down to this, what I failed to state correctly in the beginning. You expressed a desire that one day, "...all empirically unsupported beliefs of a candidate are an obstacle to his election."

Respect and belief in beauty and love are apparently exempted from this list, unless you trim those words to basic meaninglessness except to the person feeling them-which is not the common definition of either.

You go on to say that they're not exempted because, sure, lots of people feel those things...and this is 'empirical' support? How, exactly? If someone says on first meeting someone, "This person is my lifemate,"-I deliberately avoided the term 'soulmate'-where is the empirical evidence for this? How do you even know they're actually feeling it?

Maybe their brains are lying to them, malfunctioning. That's certainly what you routinely claim about people who believe they hear the voice of God in their mind.

-------------

Euripides,

I hope you'll pardon me for getting a bit heated with you earlier. Carry-over from King of Men's casual, long-term contempt. My apologies.

quote:
Yes, in the sense that every emotion is a biochemical reaction, there is a rational explanation for the feeling/sensation/qualia.

I grant that this is a reasonable belief, but I do not grant that it is something commonly believed about beauty and love in particular, especially insofar as it would apply to being an obstacle to a politician.

quote:
"I experienced love", for example, can't be used as evidence for the existence of God, and has absolutely nothing to do with the truth value of what's in the Bible.
If "I experienced love" can be used as evidence for having experienced love, why cannot "God spoke to me in my prayers" be used as evidence for God, exactly?

quote:
With visions, there are alternative scientific explanations such as hallucinations or dreams, which have considerably more evidence to back them up than do supernatural explanations.
Granted. This does not mean, however, that everyone who believes they hear the voice of God in their mind is crazy as you suggest, however. It just means that based on our current knowledge of dreams and hallucinations, it would appear more likely.

'The science is in', one can safely say, about the Earth being 6,000 years old. We're just beginning to become aware of what the science is regarding brain chemistry and why and how people dream, and what it means or if it means anything, or if sometimes it do and sometimes it don't.

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King of Men
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
I do not understand which part of this you are finding difficult.
The part where you seemed to respect and value something that went on totally inside the head of someone else. Perhaps it is because we define 'love' so very differently, insofar as I have a definition for it. I did not presume you meant attraction, or a purely biochemical response as you suggest here.
Oh, hang on, are you suggesting that love exists as a sort of Platonic Ideal independent of the people who experience it? In that case, yep, such a belief is completely unsupported.

quote:
quote:
I'm perfectly happy to accept the reports of others that they experience thus-and-so a feeling when they pray; that's internal. But I very strongly object when they reason from this to "God exists".
So...you're 'perfectly happy' to accept the reports that someone feels something. As soon as they suggest that something exists from that feeling, aside from brain chemistry, that's when they become brainwashed idiots?
Yes.

quote:
quote:
Especially since they can none of them agree on which god their internal experience supports.
Nonsense, and you're not usually this sloppy. Millions of people agree in groups.
Which is precisely what you would expect if their claims are no more than smoke and mirages. If there were genuine proofs, then you'd expect that all religious people would agree on the qualities of their gods. Hence my shorthand. The existence of millions of people who report the same experience, but put a completely different interpretation on it, is a very strong indication that none of them are right.

quote:
quote:
There ain't no such thing as disproof, so this is a truly remarkably weak argument. Burden of proof lies on the one making positive claims.
Burden exists to who? They're obligated to you? I disagree. And correct me if I am wrong, but things are for practical intents and purposes disproven all the time.
I agree, but for some reason religious people don't like to accept this when it comes to their gods. For practical intents and purposes, the existence of gods is disproven by there being no shred of evidence in their favour.

As for the obligation, it arises if you want to have a discussion. If you don't, then there's no obligation to support your claims; in that case, why are you posting? But if you want to have a discussion in which one side is allowed to make unsupported assertions, then you'll have it without me, and we'll leave the issue to be decided by machine guns when the revolution comes. Personally I prefer words, they're much cheaper.

quote:
You go on to say that they're exempted because, sure, lots of people feel those things...and this is 'empirical' support? How, exactly? If someone says on first meeting someone, "This person is my lifemate,"-I deliberately avoided the term 'soulmate'-where is the empirical evidence for this? How do you even know they're actually feeling it?
I don't, but many people not only report such a feeling, but also act in accordance with it: They marry the 'lifemate', bear their children, work for their comfort, tend their illnesses, grieve when they die. It looks to me as though the balance of probability is against several billion people engaging in a deception to convince me of the existence of love, hence I prefer to believe that there really exists a state of the brain in which one's happiness is increased by the presence and happiness of another. If you have a better theory, by all means suggest it.

quote:
Maybe their brains are lying to them, malfunctioning. That's certainly what you routinely claim about people who believe they hear the voice of God in their mind.
Indeed so. I believe that they hear voices; I do not believe that they are hearing the voice of God. The reasons for this are several: First, many people report voices without believing them to be from any god, so we know that it is possible for the mind to deceive itself in this manner. Second, of those who do claim to hear a god, they do not agree among themselves on what the entity says; this argues against the qualities of omnipresence, etc, that they claim for the entity. Third, the entity never says anything useful; it's either platitudes of the form "Love each other" (nothing against this as a principle, but really, if exhortations were going to have any effect, we'd have seen them by now) or else madness such as "All X must die". Now, if we could have a revelation such as "This is the full equation for string theory, and here is its solution", then I'd listen with extreme attentiveness.
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Euripides
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:

I hope you'll pardon me for getting a bit heated with you earlier.

No apology necessary [Smile]

quote:
quote:
Yes, in the sense that every emotion is a biochemical reaction, there is a rational explanation for the feeling/sensation/qualia.

I grant that this is a reasonable belief, but I do not grant that it is something commonly believed about beauty and love in particular, especially insofar as it would apply to being an obstacle to a politician.
Okay, so you could describe love as being two things; the emotional sensation, and the concept. The concept is an abstraction we formed by describing certain qualia and the positive evaluations of character which trigger them - a category, almost. That doesn't make it mystical or irrational; it still has its basis in our observation of reality.

quote:
quote:
"I experienced love", for example, can't be used as evidence for the existence of God, and has absolutely nothing to do with the truth value of what's in the Bible.
If "I experienced love" can be used as evidence for having experienced love, why cannot "God spoke to me in my prayers" be used as evidence for God, exactly?
"I experienced love", if translated into a scientific claim, could be translated as, "My evaluation of this person set a series of neural reactions in motion within my brain, in such patterns that are known to cause the qualia we call love or strong affection." That is theoretically verifiable, though not practically. Mostly we're content to accept it because so many of us share the experience (or a diluted form of it - affection).

"God spoke to me in my prayers" on the other hand, posits a whole host of claims. Firstly, that a creator spirit exists, that a human could recognize the entity, that the entity would see fit to communicate with that person exclusively in a way that is unverifiable by others. There are a lot of other implications, all of them highly unlikely. They attempt to make vast (and by implication very detailed) claims about the nature of the universe, with limited and usually vague stimuli to back it up (and no other evidence). It's drawing too many unsupported conclusions from a biochemical experience which can be explained in other more likely ways.

Those stimuli have also been filtered through by a believer's mind, which is more likely to interpret an unexplained experience as an act of God. There are simpler explanations which are better grounded in our scientific knowledge. Again, Occam's Razor serves as a handy guideline.

As you pointed out, the existence of God can not be disproved, it's just highly improbable. As improbable as the existence of Hindu gods, or Allah, or a flying spaghetti monster. There are however many things that can be disproved in the Bible, either by scientific evidence (such as regarding the age of the earth), or by virtue of certain passages being contradictory (logic dictates that one or the other must be inaccurate).

quote:
quote:
With visions, there are alternative scientific explanations such as hallucinations or dreams, which have considerably more evidence to back them up than do supernatural explanations.
Granted. This does not mean, however, that everyone who believes they hear the voice of God in their mind is crazy as you suggest, however. It just means that based on our current knowledge of dreams and hallucinations, it would appear more likely.

'The science is in', one can safely say, about the Earth being 6,000 years old. We're just beginning to become aware of what the science is regarding brain chemistry and why and how people dream, and what it means or if it means anything, or if sometimes it do and sometimes it don't.

Yes, the hallucination/imagination/dreams explanations are backed up by a lot of research and deductive conclusions which can be drawn from more widely accepted science, but haven't been proven in every case. I would disagree that we're "just beginning" to become aware of brain chemistry. I'd grant that there's much we don't know, but almost everything we've found so far is in favour of a materialist conception of human beings.

I'm not sure that I said people who believe God speaks to them are crazy, only that they have compartmentalised their faculty of reason and aren't using it to evaluate a certain category of claims (religious) about the nature of reality.

[ February 21, 2007, 01:49 AM: Message edited by: Euripides ]

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King of Men
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Oh, I forgot a fourth reason: In many cases, you can stop the voices by giving the right drugs. Come now, a chemical is going to stop a god? Something doesn't add up there.
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Lyrhawn
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So um, getting back to what the thread title suggests...

Is anyone really surprised? We all knew as soon as he ventured forth into the presidential race that he was going to have more of a problem with religion than any candidate on any side of the political spectrum.

His biggest problem is a lot like Hillary's, that being, preconceived ideas. Many people think Mormons are polygymists. Many religious conservatives view Mormons as nothing more than a very large cult. There are many negative stereostypes that have to be defeated before he can win.

That problem is WORSE than Hillary's though. Why? Because the majority of the people who have a problem with him being a Mormon are people he needs to vote for him. Meaning, between him and a Democrat, he probably has already lost the vote of a Democratic voter, thus he needs all the votes from his Republican voters, but if they all refuse to vote for him, the Democrat automatically wins.

The two frontrunners in the Democratic race are very, very popular in their own party. A LOT of people can't wait to get out and vote for Obama, and even Hillary (if not MORE for Hillary).

Romney isn't nearly so popular. He's coming from being the governor of one of the nation's bluest states, trying to win hardcore Conservatives and religious voters who are highly, highly skeptical of him, and see much more appetizing choices in McCain and Gingrich (should he decide to run).

He has less than a year to convice at least half the nation that everything they think is wrong. Good luck to him.

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Dagonee
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quote:
b) is not a belief about facts but a moral axiom, and therefore outside the discussion
Not according to your initial statement.

What's your empirical support for the belief that moral axioms don't require empirical support?

quote:
First, that's not the way Reagan handled scandals or criticism.
Sure it is. How good is your memory of the Reagan administration?

Or, in a less confrontational form, what's your evidence of this, especially in the face of the very famous and very specific example given in this thread?

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TheHumanTarget
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quote:
Just like being Catholic was a hurdle for JFK when he ran.
JFK said "I am not the Catholic candidate for President. I am the Democratic Party's candidate for President who also happens to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my Church on public matters - and the Church does not speak for me."

Does anyone forsee Romney making a similiar statement? How different are traditional Mormon values from the current Republican party platform, anyways?

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Lord Of All Fools
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quote:
How different are traditional Mormon values from the current Republican party platform, anyways?
In terms of helping the poor, aiding the sick, and providing everyone with a good education...very, very different.

In terms of strengthening the traditional family, protecting the unborn, and providing for the defense of the citizenry, fairly similar.

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Storm Saxon
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Alright, I'll ask a slightly different question: which part, exactly, are religious people lying about?

Is it that they feel something in their minds, telling them to look to a source such as the Bible which tells them empirically things that (in some cases) simply cannot be true?

This is not the standard you've used in the past for insulting religion and religious people. You certainly cannot empirically disprove that God exists, yet for some people-people on this board, even-their religion doesn't tell them things which can be empirically disproven.

And yet, beauty and love are valued and shouldn't be scorned, in spite of their exclusively mental and physical, totally subjective impact?

I wish I had KoM's magical powers of derailment.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
You're a scientist and that's your idea of proving something empirically?
Perhaps he's trying to create the first truly secular society so that he can perform the necessary tests for empiricism. [Wink]
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Rakeesh
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KoM,

quote:
Oh, hang on, are you suggesting that love exists as a sort of Platonic Ideal independent of the people who experience it? In that case, yep, such a belief is completely unsupported.
No, I'm not. If you noticed, I even went so far as to say I might not even have a definition for it. But it is that kind of scientifically unsupported idea that many people hold when it comes to opinions about love and beauty-which is what I was so surprised about to hear you defending.

quote:
The existence of millions of people who report the same experience, but put a completely different interpretation on it, is a very strong indication that none of them are right.
I don't see how that follows, necessarily. It seems to me that millions of people who report the same (well, not really the same except in general terms). Especially for the millions of people who don't believe in an exclusive God.

quote:
I agree, but for some reason religious people don't like to accept this when it comes to their gods. For practical intents and purposes, the existence of gods is disproven by there being no shred of evidence in their favour.
Well, OK, now we're back to 'for practical purposes'.

quote:
But if you want to have a discussion in which one side is allowed to make unsupported assertions, then you'll have it without me, and we'll leave the issue to be decided by machine guns when the revolution comes. Personally I prefer words, they're much cheaper.

Oh, come now, you know that's not true. The part about having the discussion without you, that is. As for why I'm posting, I've explained that more than once as far as this thread is concerned.

quote:
They marry the 'lifemate', bear their children, work for their comfort, tend their illnesses, grieve when they die. It looks to me as though the balance of probability is against several billion people engaging in a deception to convince me of the existence of love, hence I prefer to believe that there really exists a state of the brain in which one's happiness is increased by the presence and happiness of another. If you have a better theory, by all means suggest it.
I wholeheartedly agree. One wonders, though, at the lack of application to religious thinking. Millions, even billions, of people do good things and lead good lives influenced heavily in part by their religion, which is based exclusively on the internal, the interpretation of voices in one's head and events in one's life.

But it don't get your support. This is the inconsistency I've been waiting to hear more about this whole time...the extent of your answer is that it's not an inconsistency, because religious people believe things about the external world based on the internal...and people believing in love and beauty don't? Doesn't wash with me, at least not until you define those terms as you have.

quote:
Third, the entity never says anything useful; it's either platitudes of the form "Love each other" (nothing against this as a principle, but really, if exhortations were going to have any effect, we'd have seen them by now)
Here we come back to your unsupported theory that religion has a bad net impact on humanity. Unsupported because sure, you can point out the bad, but for a net impact you also have to examine the good.

------------

Euripides,

quote:
Okay, so you could describe love as being two things; the emotional sensation, and the concept. The concept is an abstraction we formed by describing certain qualia and the positive evaluations of character which trigger them - a category, almost. That doesn't make it mystical or irrational; it still has its basis in our observation of reality.
This is what I just spoke with to KoM about. Love and beauty were not initially defined when he took up their defense. By limiting the definition to something (in my experience) most people don't believe about those two things, you've addressed the disagreement and resolved it.

quote:
"I experienced love", if translated into a scientific claim, could be translated as, "My evaluation of this person set a series of neural reactions in motion within my brain, in such patterns that are known to cause the qualia we call love or strong affection." That is theoretically verifiable, though not practically. Mostly we're content to accept it because so many of us share the experience (or a diluted form of it - affection).
This does not seem very scientific to me, although I'm mostly an ignorant layman. For example, for your claim to be true there would have to be one objective definition of love or affection. There ain't.

quote:
They attempt to make vast (and by implication very detailed) claims about the nature of the universe, with limited and usually vague stimuli to back it up (and no other evidence). It's drawing too many unsupported conclusions from a biochemical experience which can be explained in other more likely ways.
I agree, actually. If nebulous voices in one's brain were the sole reason for believing in God, it would not be enough.

quote:
Those stimuli have also been filtered through by a believer's mind, which is more likely to interpret an unexplained experience as an act of God. There are simpler explanations which are better grounded in our scientific knowledge. Again, Occam's Razor serves as a handy guideline.
I don't like using Occam's Razor as a guideline for anything...because if Occam's razor is the onl guideline the evidence (or lack) affords, then in my opinion you can hardly reason towards anything at all.

quote:
As you pointed out, the existence of God can not be disproved, it's just highly improbable. As improbable as the existence of Hindu gods, or Allah, or a flying spaghetti monster. There are however many things that can be disproved in the Bible, either by scientific evidence (such as regarding the age of the earth), or by virtue of certain passages being contradictory (logic dictates that one or the other must be inaccurate).
Well, I think we can certainly agree that the existence of FSM isn't less unlikely than the existence of God or Allah or other worshipped gods. After all, there is a chance-albeit a very small one, to a non-believer-that God exists in some form or another, because so many believe in God. FSM has no such dubious support.

As for the Bible, well...before using the Bible to remove evidence for God's existence, please bear in mind that many people believe many things about the Bible. Some people even fully acknowledge its fallibility as a document that's been translated over and over and over for thousands of years with many, many influences,

quote:
Yes, the hallucination/imagination/dreams explanations are backed up by a lot of research and deductive conclusions which can be drawn from more widely accepted science, but haven't been proven in every case. I would disagree that we're "just beginning" to become aware of brain chemistry. I'd grant that there's much we don't know, but almost everything we've found so far is in favour of a materialist conception of human beings.
I did not mean to imply that we're just beginning to become aware of brain chemistry, but rather the sciences studying such things are in relative terms in their infancy, aren't they?

And also, bear in mind that those whose brain chemistry receieve the most attention are those who are undeniably ill, isn't that right?

quote:
I'm not sure that I said people who believe God speaks to them are crazy, only that they have compartmentalised their faculty of reason and aren't using it to evaluate a certain category of claims (religious) about the nature of reality.
Well, you did say they hear voices in their minds, and believe things that aren't true about the real world because of them. That certainly sounds like one definition of the admittedly subjective word 'crazy' to me.

------------

KoM,

quote:
Oh, I forgot a fourth reason: In many cases, you can stop the voices by giving the right drugs. Come now, a chemical is going to stop a god? Something doesn't add up there.
Is going to stop a God from what, exactly? Anyway, I think those kinds of drugs, that can directly change human brain chemistry, are quite powerful.

-----------
-----------

Whew! Man, this conversation is burning me out.

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katharina
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Dagnabbit, I was hoping there was actually a two-page thread about Mitt Romney.
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twinky
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
If "I experienced love" can be used as evidence for having experienced love, why cannot "God spoke to me in my prayers" be used as evidence for God, exactly?

The first statement requires no external agency, while the second does; surely asserting the existence of another entity should have some additional support.

This is somewhat tangential, but I highly recommend a book called Blindsight, which is in a large part about consciousness. Paper copies are hard to find (only two small hardcover print runs, so far), but you can get a PDF for free under a Creative Commons license from the author's website.

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blacwolve
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I don't know what to say about him. I'm tickled pink a Mormon is getting this far in the national political scene; but I don't think he can win the nomination. Evangelicals, in my experience, hate Mormons almost as much as they do gays. They're not going to come out to the primaries and vote for one, even if their other choices are the deeply suspect McCain and Giuliani. Although, honestly, I'm surprised Brownback isn't campaigning harder, since he seems to be the only Republican candidate that would make the Christian Right happy. So maybe I'm wrong in my assessment and missing something important.

Personally, I'm a bit turned off by the way Romney's been rapidly distancing himself from his policies as governor. I don't have the problem some people seem to with flip-floping, if it's done for the right reason; but I don't think winning the Republican nomination is the right reason.

I'm curious, does that aspect of Romney's behavior turn off any of the Mormons on the board?

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Bokonon
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Honestly, none of the candidates are really worth two pages (let alone multiple threads, like Obama got). I know you're enamored with Romney, kat (much like I am with Obama), but really, he didn't exactly distinguish himself in MA. He ran on a fiscal responsibility platform, equivocating or punting on social issues, and at the start probably did a bit of good. But the last half of term he spent as much time out of state insulting it in front of conservative audiences, using the governorship as a bully pulpit (SSM marriage, death penalty, immigration, etc.), after campaigning that he'd accept the laws of the state.

A seemingly biased source, but they do reference their sources, on the seemingly two-faced nature of Romney:
Release from the DNC on Mitt from a couple weeks back

There's probably a good Mormon candidate out there, but I wouldn't pin my hopes on Mitt. Much like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop on Obama.

-Bok

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katharina
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Yes - I don't like it either. I also think he needs to make some defining, rousing speech about his religion so the press can get PAST it. I haven't read a story about Romney yet that didn't mention his religion. That's inconceivable for the other candidates, and I don't like it.

I'm fine with Romney not being elected because of his politics. I don't want him to be rejected because of his religion.

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Rakeesh
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Twinky,

Good point. I'm not speaking of conclusive evidence, though. Just evidence.

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Bokonon
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The DNC article above doesn't specifically mention his Mormonism. [Smile]

-Bok

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Euripides
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:

quote:
Okay, so you could describe love as being two things; the emotional sensation, and the concept. The concept is an abstraction we formed by describing certain qualia and the positive evaluations of character which trigger them - a category, almost. That doesn't make it mystical or irrational; it still has its basis in our observation of reality.
This is what I just spoke with to KoM about. Love and beauty were not initially defined when he took up their defense. By limiting the definition to something (in my experience) most people don't believe about those two things, you've addressed the disagreement and resolved it.
Honest question: You're saying that my definition of love is flawed, right? Could you point out where?

Just because I describe love as a concept or as a type of emotion or qualia doesn't deny love any of its potency or emotional/moral implications. I don't see a reason to apply mysticism to it, is all.

quote:
quote:
"I experienced love", if translated into a scientific claim, could be translated as, "My evaluation of this person set a series of neural reactions in motion within my brain, in such patterns that are known to cause the qualia we call love or strong affection." That is theoretically verifiable, though not practically. Mostly we're content to accept it because so many of us share the experience (or a diluted form of it - affection).
This does not seem very scientific to me, although I'm mostly an ignorant layman. For example, for your claim to be true there would have to be one objective definition of love or affection. There ain't.
Well, we've discovered patterns in neural activity associated with certain emotions. It's not a stretch to hypothesise that there are patterns corresponding to love. Further, we can generally describe the subjective experience of love to others in a conceptual fashion, and observe changes in behaviour which seem to be the result of this emotion. So just as there is a definition for 'hate' or 'honesty', a conceptual definition of love based on reality is indeed possible.

quote:
quote:
Those stimuli have also been filtered through by a believer's mind, which is more likely to interpret an unexplained experience as an act of God. There are simpler explanations which are better grounded in our scientific knowledge. Again, Occam's Razor serves as a handy guideline.
I don't like using Occam's Razor as a guideline for anything...because if Occam's razor is the onl guideline the evidence (or lack) affords, then in my opinion you can hardly reason towards anything at all.
My bringing up Occam's Razor was a caveat to point out that we're often better off by creating hypothesies with as few unverified premises as possible.

quote:
quote:
As you pointed out, the existence of God can not be disproved, it's just highly improbable. As improbable as the existence of Hindu gods, or Allah, or a flying spaghetti monster. There are however many things that can be disproved in the Bible, either by scientific evidence (such as regarding the age of the earth), or by virtue of certain passages being contradictory (logic dictates that one or the other must be inaccurate).
Well, I think we can certainly agree that the existence of FSM isn't less unlikely than the existence of God or Allah or other worshipped gods. After all, there is a chance-albeit a very small one, to a non-believer-that God exists in some form or another, because so many believe in God. FSM has no such dubious support.
Agreed, if we count the circumstantial evidence of a church's popularity, Catholicism does appear to have a better chance of being accurate than Pastafarianism does. The belief of a group of people though, has no actual bearing on the state of reality, so without evidence that is more than circumstantial, I'll remain highly sceptical.

quote:
As for the Bible, well...before using the Bible to remove evidence for God's existence, please bear in mind that many people believe many things about the Bible. Some people even fully acknowledge its fallibility as a document that's been translated over and over and over for thousands of years with many, many influences,
I wouldn't use the Bible to argue against the existence of a creator entity, but I would use it to argue against the truthfulness of Christian doctrine; more specifically, the doctrine of those who accept the Bible as truth. If certain Christians accept that it is full of inaccuracies, how can they be certain that all the important messages are still true? To those who cherry pick parts of the Bible, what criteria did you use to determine which statements in the Bible were true or worth believing in, while the others aren't?

quote:
quote:
Yes, the hallucination/imagination/dreams explanations are backed up by a lot of research and deductive conclusions which can be drawn from more widely accepted science, but haven't been proven in every case. I would disagree that we're "just beginning" to become aware of brain chemistry. I'd grant that there's much we don't know, but almost everything we've found so far is in favour of a materialist conception of human beings.
I did not mean to imply that we're just beginning to become aware of brain chemistry, but rather the sciences studying such things are in relative terms in their infancy, aren't they?
Yes, I'd say so.

quote:
And also, bear in mind that those whose brain chemistry receieve the most attention are those who are undeniably ill, isn't that right?
Yes, but is that an offhand way of discrediting psychological research as a field? Studying inconsistencies and irregularities have often shed light on the way things are organised when they aren't dysfunctional. Psychologists are very careful about what conclusions they draw from their studies.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
You're saying that my definition of love is flawed, right? Could you point out where?
Not at all! I'm sorry if I gave that impression. I only think your definition is flawed if you mean it to represent what most people think about love...and in any case, that would not mean I think your definition is flawed. I just don't agree with it is all.
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Euripides
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Okay, sorry for the misunderstanding. The above is my definition based on the information I have, and I'm convinced that other definitions which include any metaphysical element are incorrect insofar as such a thing is imaginary. So, I think a lot of people are talking about a non-existent meta-entity (for lack of a better word) when they talk about Love.
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Will B
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> Evangelicals, in my experience, hate Mormons almost as much as they do gays.

It is still breathtaking to me that amount of personal bigotry people will admit to, provided the target is an OK-to-hate group like evangelicals.

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
I wish I had KoM's magical powers of derailment.
It's not magical. He has no powers except those that are given to him by other posters.

I am boggled that people still let him turn every thread dealing with religion that he wishes into a thread about KoM and what a jackass he is.

The sad thing is that because people respond when he tries to do so, Hatrack is no longer a place where religion can be respectfully discussed between others. All he has to do is come into the thread, jump up and down, and the thread's initial conversation is effectively over.

Yes, it is possible to continue the discussion amidst the screaming match, but the signal-to-noise ratio is so low that it drives most posters away.

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blacwolve
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I was evangelical for several years. I listened to several sermons about how bad Mormons are. The only Jack Chick tract I've ever seen in real life was the Mormon one, and my pastor's daughter was reading it. I used the qualifier "in my experience" for a reason.
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lem
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quote:
JFK said "I am not the Catholic candidate for President. I am the Democratic Party's candidate for President who also happens to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my Church on public matters - and the Church does not speak for me."

Does anyone forsee Romney making a similiar statement? How different are traditional Mormon values from the current Republican party platform, anyways?

In the temple, when you get your garments and do your endowments, there is a ceremony that is a very spiritual experience for many people. I will not trash there beliefs and quote the ceremony because it is very sacred to the owners of this forum and many members.

However, the gist of one particular is that you consecrate everything to the building up the Kingdom of God--which is the LDS church. It is very bold and leaves little room for misunderstanding. You pledge everything. Time, resources, life.

What I would LOVE to see happen is for a reporter to ask if Romney has been through the temple. I would then like them to quote that part of the ceremony and ask him how that would influence his presidency.

I am sure he will give a very politically correct answer, but I think the public needs to be aware that he made that promise in the temple. He will become a very powerful public figure and I think in the context of a presidential run it would be appropriate to hear his response.

I doubt JFK ever made such a commitment to the Catholic church, and so I see very little in common between them in regards to religion.

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Will B
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That's always the way of it: whenever people chooses to demean a group, they're perfectly justified in their own minds, because that group really does have those awful qualities.
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Pat
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quote:
Evangelicals, in my experience, hate Mormons almost as much as they do gays. They're not going to come out to the primaries and vote for one, even if their other choices are the deeply suspect McCain and Giuliani. Although, honestly, I'm surprised Brownback isn't campaigning harder, since he seems to be the only Republican candidate that would make the Christian Right happy.
Evangelicals for Mitt
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MrSquicky
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Will,
Are you saying that many Evangelicals, in blacwolves' experience, don't have strong currents of hatred towards Mormons and gays or just that it is wrong to say that they do?

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by lem:
quote:
JFK said "I am not the Catholic candidate for President. I am the Democratic Party's candidate for President who also happens to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my Church on public matters - and the Church does not speak for me."

Does anyone forsee Romney making a similiar statement? How different are traditional Mormon values from the current Republican party platform, anyways?

In the temple, when you get your garments and do your endowments, there is a ceremony that is a very spiritual experience for many people. I will not trash there beliefs and quote the ceremony because it is very sacred to the owners of this forum and many members.

However, the gist of one particular is that you consecrate everything to the building up the Kingdom of God--which is the LDS church. It is very bold and leaves little room for misunderstanding. You pledge everything. Time, resources, life.

What I would LOVE to see happen is for a reporter to ask if Romney has been through the temple. I would then like them to quote that part of the ceremony and ask him how that would influence his presidency.

I am sure he will give a very politically correct answer, but I think the public needs to be aware that he made that promise in the temple. He will become a very powerful public figure and I think in the context of a presidential run it would be appropriate to hear his response.

I doubt JFK ever made such a commitment to the Catholic church, and so I see very little in common between them in regards to religion.

I think you have gotten the wrong impression from the ceremony you are quoting.

1: If the ceremony meant what you think it means, how could I spend any time going to school/work or even writing this particular post?

2: You will find that that covenant is not different then Jesus saying, "Whoso shall lose their life for my sake shall find it." or his instructions to the rich young man, "Sell all your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and come follow me."

Now some wonderful people very literally give up everything for the path of Christ and that's admirable, if its done out of love.

It is also true that Mormons believe that one day we will be required to live a "law of consecration" again, which is a form of theological socialism. But right now is not that time. Part of the impression I got was that I was promising that when that law is reestablished I will obey it.

For Mormons we all belong to God anyway, and should he request any service or act of us, we ought to do it. How is that any different from any other Christian sect?

I think perhaps you have misunderstood a covenant to mean something it does not.

I've already heard Romney say he does not represent the church while he is president. Does that mean he will disregard his entire moral compass while president? I doubt it, but do we really expect that from any other president?

I would suggest if you are concerned with Romney converting America into a country more accustomed to what Mormons appreciate you should learn of the religion and decide whether you believe that is an acceptable or unacceptable situation.

But its my guess that Romney will make America as Mormon as JFK made it Catholic.

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Lord Of All Fools
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quote:
1: If the ceremony meant what you think it means, how could I spend any time going to school/work or even writing this particular post?
Because you're doing those things (or should be doing those things) to build up the kingdom of God.

Zion isn't built on whispered prayers alone.

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Dagonee
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quote:
Are you saying that many Evangelicals, in blacwolves' experience, don't have strong currents of hatred towards Mormons and gays or just that it is wrong to say that they do?
I think he's saying that going from the proven statement "some people who belong to group A have characteristic X" to "characteristic X is an attribute of members of group A" is bigoted.
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MrSquicky
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I'm not sure I understand. That sounds like a tautology to me.

If you mean to say "characteristic X is an attribute of all members of group A", I could see that as bigoted, but I'd ask where anyone said anything like that.

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Storm Saxon
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
quote:
I wish I had KoM's magical powers of derailment.
It's not magical. He has no powers except those that are given to him by other posters.

I am boggled that people still let him turn every thread dealing with religion that he wishes into a thread about KoM and what a jackass he is.

The sad thing is that because people respond when he tries to do so, Hatrack is no longer a place where religion can be respectfully discussed between others. All he has to do is come into the thread, jump up and down, and the thread's initial conversation is effectively over.

Yes, it is possible to continue the discussion amidst the screaming match, but the signal-to-noise ratio is so low that it drives most posters away.

I prefer to believe it's magic rather than that people are so, uh, how should one say, silly?

KoM, I support your right and need to question religion, but there is such a thing as, you know, timing and tact. Starting another thread or something might be more appropriate. I'm sure people would love to debate you.

[ February 21, 2007, 11:58 AM: Message edited by: Storm Saxon ]

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Dagonee
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quote:
I'm not sure I understand. That sounds like a tautology to me.
I know, from previous dicussions, that you see this as a tautology. I find thinking it to be a tautology to be sloppy. The only way you can make it a tautology is by mentally adding the word "some" to the statement, which is as unjustified as adding the word "all" to the statement.

My contention is NOT that blacwolve said that all evangelicals hate Mormons, but that her original statement - even with the qualifier "in my experience" - can be interpreted as a universal statement about a group (in this case, the group of evangelicals that blacwolve has experienced). It is ambiguous, and the only way to clarify it is to add "some" or "all."

You presented a false dichotomy to Will when you asked him what he was saying. I gave a (much more likely, but still unconfirmed) interpretation of what he was saying. In presenting that dichotomy, you added a quantitiative qualifier, most likely because you yourself recognize that the lack of such a qualifier leaves the statement ambiguous.

However, Will B's statements were in response to a statement about a group that had no quantitative qualifier. Your question was based on faulty assumptions about Will's perception.

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MrSquicky
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quote:
The only way you can make it a tautology is by mentally adding the word "some" to the statement
Dag, when others, such as OSC, made statements about psychologists or liberals or whatever, you've told me that it was clear that they actually meant things even more specific than "some". What makes this different?

---

edit: Also, following your explanation that this is ambiguous, wouldn't you then agree that Will's accusations of bigotry were at best premature?

[ February 21, 2007, 12:32 PM: Message edited by: MrSquicky ]

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MrSquicky
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In addition, I'd note that prejudice towards gays and Mormons is a well-established characteristic of a significant number of Evangelicals, even outside of blacwolve's experience. That is not to say that all of them have this characteristic, but many of them do and it seems linked to the things that make up their group classification.

Is it bigotry to say that though?

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pooka
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It's not easy dealing with a lot of the light/dark symbolism in the Book of Mormon when you are a person of color. I mean, I'm only half Asian, but when Nephi talks about a "skin of blackness" he's apparently talking about what we consider Native Americans. Then there is Brigham Young's decree on miscegenation and the various things Joseph F. Smith said over the years. I mean, when the scriptures use blindness as a metaphor, they aren't trying to say that people who can't see well or at all are any more fallen than the rest of us.

I don't struggle with these things any longer, but they are difficult to handle growing up in the church, let alone looking at it from the outside. I've never heard the "God doesn't hear their prayers" thing, but I've heard of weirder hang-ups getting gleaned from Mormonism.

I'm kind of ignorant about and afraid of Evangelicals, so I guess the feeling is mutual. Though I think most people don't understand why Mormons are so feared, there are many reasons to fear them but I think our doctrine on lay ministry is one that is never mentioned but is probably a bigger motive than people realize.

P.S. I checked the wikipedia entry and now I'm just more confused. I guess it's an multi-denominational "movement" or parachurch? I suppose Mormonism could seem just as weird if someone were intent on misunderstanding it, though our hierarchy isn't so different from Catholicism. But to be restorationist with the hierarchy could seem chimaeric.

[ February 21, 2007, 01:39 PM: Message edited by: pooka ]

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Lord Of All Fools
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quote:
I think our doctrine on lay ministry is one that is never mentioned but is probably a bigger motive than people realize.
Why?

Come to think of it, I know why-- people fear speaking in front of crowds more than death. (I read a study somewhere) Because Mormons have a complete lay ministry, eventually everyone has to get up and speak (or preach) to the congregation.

Yeah. I can see why that'd frighten people away.

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Dagonee
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quote:
Dag, when others, such as OSC, made statements about psychologists or liberals or whatever, you've told me that it was clear that they actually meant things even more specific than "some". What makes this different?
How on earth is that relevant to my attempts to explain what Will B. meant? You contended it was a tautology, which implies that the ONLY way to interpret it is to read an implicit "some" in "characteristic X is an attribute of members of group A."

It's not a tautology precisely because it's ambiguous. There's no more reason to add a a "some" to a non-quantitatively qualified statement than there is to add an "all." I have done neither in this case, merely pointed out that the ambiguity makes it very possible that Wil B meant something entirely different than the two choices you offerred him.

I have argued in past discussions that it was most likely that OSC meant "some." The very act of making such an argument acknowledges the ambiguity.

In other words, they're not different, and my reaction to each is entirely consistent with the fact that the statements are ambiguious.

quote:
wouldn't you then agree that Will's accusations of bigotry were at best premature?
I'm not interested in venturing an opinion on the appropriateness of Will B's statement. I only ventured into this because I thought the dichotomy you presented in "Are you saying that many Evangelicals, in blacwolves' experience, don't have strong currents of hatred towards Mormons and gays or just that it is wrong to say that they do?" failed to take into account a very likely interpretation of blacwolve's original statement by WIll.

If you want to take up whether Will B's interpretation is correct or not (which would only make sense if he confirms my interpretation of what he said), then go ahead and do so with him. You won't be able to reference my prior statements about OSC when you do so, of course, because Will didn't make them.

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pooka
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quote:
Come to think of it, I know why-- people fear speaking in front of crowds more than death. (I read a study somewhere) Because Mormons have a complete lay ministry, eventually everyone has to get up and speak (or preach) to the congregation.
No, I was more talking around the issue of "priestcraft", which is what the Book of Mormon calls what is now known as ordained ministry. I don't want to be offensive to most ordained ministers because most of them are genuine in their service. On the other hand you have the Jim Baker's and the Oral Roberts (I think, I suppose he might just be crazy and not corrupt.) I don't even know if the term "televangelist" is just clever sounding, or if evangelical christianity shares ground with televangelists.

Certainly there are those who imply Mormons are greedy, but I was thinking the other day that we don't pay for ordinances. I don't know to what extent people do in churches in general, but I believe additional donations if not outright fees are involved in baptisms, confirmations, weddings, and so forth. Anyway, I don't think Mitt is worried about the people who think Mormons are too rich and successful.

I respect Mitt a great deal and I think he'd make a good president, I just think the timing of the 150th anniversary of the Mountain Meadows Massacre is going to stink. And if he's campaigning during that (Sept. 11 2007) it becomes a big deal, whereas if there weren't a Mormon running for president, it would just be one of those things.

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