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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » The Rabbit and President Bush's statement about atheists. (Page 3)

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Author Topic: The Rabbit and President Bush's statement about atheists.
malanthrop
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White people have more identifying features. Hair: Brown, blonde, black, dishwater, straight, wavy, curly. Eyes: blue, green, brown, hazel.

Variability among similar build blacks: light skinned or dark skinned.

I'm sure there are many innocent blacks in prison due to white people's testimony.

When's the last time you saw a curly haired Asian person with blue eyes.

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Raymond Arnold
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I was rather pointedly not responding to malanthrop.
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Samprimary
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sorry, i can't help it. he's completely bonkers. flame to my moth.
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malanthrop
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The majority happens to have much more diversity making them more reliably identifiable.

I'm a German/French/Native American and you call me white. You also call the Irish/Jew or the Spanish/Italian white. Who's stereotyping when the geographical separation of their ancestry and culture is just as vast. Having a light skin tone does not lump you into a category. Of course, white is white and black is black.

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Samprimary
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nngggggfjjjkkk
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malanthrop
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There are now three Jamaican families on my block. They move in upon the recommendation of the other. Florida is an amazingly diverse place. When I look at them I don't see "black" people. I have white neighbors I want replaced by Jamaican's the likes of these.

On the surface they are black, in reality they are regular hard working people. The shallow minded view the Irish, Italian, English, Spanish and French as simple "white people". This is stereotypical racism based upon skin tone. My Jamaican neighbors no more consider themselves African American than I consider myself Jewish.

My Jamaican neighbors hate, in their own words, "niggers".

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Samprimary
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post (okay, I'm done)

[ March 08, 2010, 09:14 AM: Message edited by: Samprimary ]

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Mike
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quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
quote:
Which says more about your prior estimates of the likelihood of a person finding a penny and a person having psychic powers than is does about how much credence you give to your sister's testimony.
No, it says exactly the same amount about both of them (it doesn't say the SAME thing, but it says things of similar value).

Lets say that any given claim requires 1000 arbitrary units of evidence in order for me to operate under the assumption that it's true. The word of my sister is worth, say, 20 evidence points.

"Finding a penny" is a common event which comes with extra evidence all by itself, simply because I know it can and often happens (it's also largely inconsequential if it does - if I'm wrong about it, I haven't wasted much of my life or caused any suffering). So it comes with, say, 999 evidence-points from past experience. All I need is the say so of a reasonably trustworthy person for me believe that it happened, unless I find additional evidence (such as I think the person is deliberately tricking me to try and prove a point).

Whereas psychic powers not only have no reputable examples for me to work off of, I actively know about ways people can deceive themselves or others about it. So I might even assign it a starting point of negative evidence. The 20 arbitrary credibility points (you might think of it as "credibility credit") that my sister provides wouldn't be enough for me to take her seriously.

This, despite my typo, is exactly what I was getting at. Though as you point out, it is a little more complicated than that, since you have to consider how much you care about the truth of the statement and whether your sister has motivation to lie or has impaired judgement when it comes to pennies, etc.

One way I like to think about it is equating levels of surprise. In other words, for a given unlikely event (alien abductions being true, for example) is it equivalently surprising to see 10 heads in a row when flipping a fair coin? 50 heads? 1000? Equal quantities of evidence should change this value by equal amounts.

And, to weigh in on the semantic discussion, I believe we're using the word "evidence" in a non-legalistic sense, and as such it is not a synonym for proof, dictionary definitions notwithstanding. Evidence comes in widely varying degrees in both directions, from overwhelmingly conclusive to barely worth considering. Eye-witness testimony lies somewhere in between, depending on a large number of factors. We could talk about evidence from a legalistic point of view, I suppose, but that wouldn't be a very interesting discussion for me.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by malanthrop:
The burden of proof in a free society is on the accuser. Religious people don't tell atheists to prove that there is no god. The evidence of god is equal for or against. It can't be proven that there is no god and it can't be proven that he exists. Hence, faith.

Do you kiss your mother with that smell emanating from your mouth?
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Juxtapose
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It seems to me that, although they are popularly synonymous, using "evidence" and "proof" to have subtly different meanings in a conversation that is based, quite fundamentally, in epistemology is very reasonable. Co-opting the legal and scientific meanings for this setting is something useful. The definitions here: "A fact which contributes to proof or disproof" and "a body of facts which compel in a reasonable person belief or disbelief" are both required for the conversatioin. Borrowing words that already have these meanings within a certain, well-known context is not at all absurd.

On the topic of the OP, as an atheist, I remain somewhat agnostic. I think both Glenn and Rabbit make fair points. The testimony is not particularly strong evidence, but neither is the claim that fantastic. I don't think belief need be an either/or proposition.

As unsatisfying as it may be to some, I think we ought to follow the Mythbusters' lead* on this and call it "plausible".

*That is not to say that the Mythbusters have spoken on this issue, sorry about the ambiguity.

[ March 08, 2010, 06:38 PM: Message edited by: Juxtapose ]

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Rakeesh
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I've heard, and I quote, religious people saying, "You can't prove there's no God!" to atheists. I mean that, a literal quote. Not kids, either-full grown adults.

It's enjoyable, though, how malanthrop so reliably trots out his Jamaican neighbors as a prop to shield his own racist statements. It's not enjoyable because it's new-plenty of racists do exactly the same thing, with a few words switched around. The enjoyable part is how he appears to think it's so new and unassailable.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by malanthrop:

On the surface they are black, in reality they are regular hard working people.

:snort:

It's so horribly sad, really, that he's really trying to appear to be open minded and "color blind."

FYI, my neighbor looks like a Jew, but in reality he's a generous and worthwhile human being.

[ROFL]

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Raymond Arnold
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Oh lord, I did not realize he had actually said that (I've taken to sort of skimming his posts at best and that wasn't till the second paragraph).
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Samprimary
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p.p.p.s. on the subject of the other points / views being made, I am not really disagreeing with it very much and it's not like my position isn't pedantic anyway, the sole exception being "the rather preposterous claim that there is no evidence at all." [of God]. Primarily, that's what I'm poking at.

quote:
FYI, my neighbor looks like a Jew, but in reality he's a generous and worthwhile human being.
oh phew. it is a good thing you can point at your jewish neighbors to ensure we cannot think you are an anti-semite.
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Mike
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*checks his sarcasmometer* Yep, it's a little wonky. Really oughta get that fixed one of these days.
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