Recent comments

  • DennisLeeWilson's picture
    DennisLeeWilson 5 years 26 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    "Existence exists" is NOT circular reasoning. It could be accurately called a "tautology" because it is a redundant use of words--as is ALL identification of reality! "I am me" and "I am a man" are identifications and, as such, they are also tautologies. But they are NOT circular reasoning. Existence exists and man's mind is CAPABLE of knowing it--even though there is overwhelming evidence that the capability is grossly underused. Dennis http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/tautology
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 5 years 26 weeks ago Web link strike
    http://www.dailypaul.com/222435/what-is-president-obama-so-afraid-of
  • DennisLeeWilson's picture
    DennisLeeWilson 5 years 26 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    Branden does indeed address whether or not the universe had a beginning. From Branden's article: Just as the concept of causality applies to events and entities within the universe, but not to the universe as a whole--so the concept of time applies to events and entities within the universe, but not to the universe as a whole. The universe did not "begin"--it did not, at some point in time, "spring into being." Time is a measurement of motion. Motion presupposes entities that move. If nothing existed, there could be no time. Time is "in" the universe; the universe is not "in" time. I admit that in 1962, it took me a week of reading and re-reading to fully grasp, understand and integrate the entirety of his short article and to abandon my agnosticism. But I found the above paragraph about "time" to be the cleanest and purest of logical constructs. If that is not so with you, then we are indeed NOT in sync. Dennis
  • David Calderwood's picture
    David Calderwood 5 years 26 weeks ago
    The Free Lunch
    Page Paul Hein
    Hi Jim, This is what occupies a lot of my thoughts. There are several posited paths ahead, and they are as different, preparation-wise, as different as Great Drought vs. Great Flood. Figuratively, do I build a cistern or an ark? I initially typed up a VERY long reply, but then decided to edit it, expand it slightly, and ask Rob to publish it as my second column for STR. We'll see if it makes the grade, and if not, I'll come back and try to explain my somewhat odd rationale on this subject.
  • PeaceRequiresAnarchy's picture
    PeaceRequiresAnarchy 5 years 26 weeks ago Page Roderick Long
    "A consistent peace activist must be an anarchist." -Roderick Long
  • Allen's picture
    Allen 5 years 26 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    S2,I find this formulation somewhat humorous, too, especially when people take it far too seriously and become agitated over it. Taken apart etymologically, it becomes even more funny: "setting-out, sets out," or "standing-out, stands out" (depending on how far back you go). People tend to forget that the rest of reality doesn't care squat about the structure of our language, our inability to communicate "it" (reality), language's inherently metaphorical nature, and that logic depends on regulative beliefs, fictions as well as reification. Note I'm not accusing anyone here of taking "existence" too seriously.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 5 years 26 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    Thanks Dennis, I'm very gratified that you have found only this single subject hard to digest. Let me push my luck, remarkable though it is: might you perhaps have mis-read what it says? - for Nathanael Branden wrote that article well and discusses the first cause argument, not whether or not the universe had a beginning. I fully agree with him; the first-cause argument is circular and powerless. But "beginning" as I was using it refers to _time_, not cause. I meant that nobody really knows, yet, whether or not the universe had a start date. It might have existed for ever, or it might be oscillating (a big bang every thirty billion years or so, perhaps with the laws of physics changing each time...) or something else. If Tzo is right, we will never know that; I like to hope that eventually, reason will lead humanity to an understanding. But so far, the evidence is not in. That's all I meant. So are we yet still in sync?
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 5 years 26 weeks ago Web link Westernerd
    "Are Americans Subjects Or Citizens?" If, by "Americans", this author means "United States citizens", the answer to that question is, "yes". Subject. Constitutional law. ...Men in free governments are subjects as well as citizens; as citizens they enjoy the [civil/political] rights and franchises; as subjects they are bound to obey the laws. The term is little used, in this sense, in countries enjoying a republican form of government. Swiss Nat. Ins. Co. v.Miller, 267 U.S. 42, 45 S.Ct. 213, 214, 69 L.Ed. 504 ~ Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (c.1991), page 1425 [Bracketed information added.] Unfortunately, United States citizens no longer enjoy a "republican form of government", a government whose sole purpose for existence is to secure, to each of its voluntary members, their un-alien-able rights, i.e. their natural rights, and nothing more. "Our legislators are not sufficiently apprized of the rightful limits of their power; that their true office is to declare and enforce only our natural rights . . . and to take none of them from us. No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another; and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him . . . and the idea is quite unfounded, that on entering into society we give up any natural right." ~ Thomas Jefferson [in a letter to Francis Gilmer (c.1816)]
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 5 years 26 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    "Existence exists"???????????? So now "existence" is a being instead of the state of being? Circular Reasoning?
  • Iceman's picture
    Iceman 5 years 26 weeks ago Web link strike
    Yes I got the 404 error as well. I'd also like to know if anyone else has the source site, if not the page.
  • ReverendDraco's picture
    ReverendDraco 5 years 26 weeks ago Web link strike
    Is anyone else getting an unable to connect error? No matter what I do, I can't hit the site where the article is posted.
  • B.R. Merrick's picture
    B.R. Merrick 5 years 26 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    "So was there really a reason to stay stuck?" I wouldn't say I was looking for excuses to stay religious. The history of my church, the extraordinary claims made by its founder, the way those claims are presented to the world by the leaders of the church, all worked together in my mind to establish tall tales as truth. It wasn't a matter of wanting to move on without religion (although that was a desire to a certain extent); it was a matter of the truth of those claims being incontrovertible in my mind. I thought I had done all the necessary research. What was really necessary was for me to see, from the work of legitimate historians outside the church, that the history of the church is quite a bit different than what I thought. Now religion is history for me. And I must confess to not using a mentor. [Insert sheepish grin.]
  • DennisLeeWilson's picture
    DennisLeeWilson 5 years 26 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    comment has been moved to end of list. -dlw
  • DennisLeeWilson's picture
    DennisLeeWilson 5 years 26 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    Jim Davies: "The universe may or may not have had a beginning; the evidence (AFAIK) isn't in." Ah HA! A FIRST!! This is the very first time I have found ANYTHING written by Jim Davies with which I disagree! The following article is short and I would have copied it here except for the number of italics and the bother it would be to recreate them here. I date MY atheism from when the article arrived in my mailbox in 1962. In addition to correcting Jim's statement quoted above, it may be of value to others who are still mentally wrestling with the deliberate misdirections (i.e. lies) that the culture surrounding us has pounded into each of us since our birth. Dennis http://tinyurl.com/First-Cause-article Objectivist Newsletter-Vol 1, No 5, May 1962, page 19--The "First Cause" article Since everything in the universe requires a cause, must not the universe itself have a cause, which is God? ...
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 5 years 26 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    the·ism noun 1. the belief in one God as the creator and ruler of the universe, without rejection of revelation (distinguished from deism). 2. belief in the existence of a god or gods (opposed to atheism). ~ Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2012.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 5 years 26 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    DEIST, n. One who believes in the existence of a God, but denies revealed religion, but follows the light of nature and reason, as his only guides in doctrine and practice; a freethinker. ~ Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language DEISM, n. The doctrine or creed of a deist; the belief or system of religious opinions of those who acknowledge the existence of one God, but deny revelation: or deism is the belief in natural religion only, or those truths, in doctrine and practice, which man is to discover by the light of reason, independent and exclusive of any revelation from God. Hence deism implies infidelity or a disbelief in the divine origin of the scriptures. Ibid. deism noun belief in the existence of a God on purely rational grounds without reliance on revelation or authority; esp., the 17th- and 18th-cent. doctrine that God created the world and its natural laws, but takes no further part in its functioning ~ Webster's New World College Dictionary, 4th Ed
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 5 years 26 weeks ago
    The Free Lunch
    Page Paul Hein
    Very interesting perception, David! It is striking for sure that of the two-plus trillion so far printed since ought-eight, very little has caused price inflation. It's as if it just vanished into a black hole. Perhaps you're right, that money was destroyed when the housing bubble burst and the freshly minted money just restored bankers' assets. Why they aren't lending it out now remains, for me, a bit of a puzzle. Perhaps they are waiting for the second shoe to drop, in Europe. But how do you foresee the FedGov debt problem being solved, in the deflation scenario? I understand they owe about 100% of GDP, around $13T, and that won't go away. The math makes every option very hard. Even to maintain it, they have to roll it over, selling a trillion or so per year in fresh T-bills, but as their fundamental insolvency becomes more and more obvious, that will get increasingly harder. They would need to sweeten the deal with higher interest rates, and those will kill off any recovery and so choke off new tax revenues and add to the debt. To pay it down, as they should, would mean raising taxes and/or slashing "benefits" and while President Paul might do the latter, nobody else has shown he knows how; a tax hike would, as above, kill off any recovery and add to the debt as much as was being paid down. Third and final option: debase the currency, pay the debt off with cheaper dollars. This is what they have been doing already for several decades, so why not continue? - answer, lenders are now wise to it, and reckon their returns in depreciated dollars, and so may not buy enough T-bills to roll over the rest. It may be that none of the three will work, in which case the USA will follow the PIIGS into sovereign default, and I think that will mean hyperinflation. But of the three, the third looks to me the most likely to be chosen; if it works, it does mean continuing money creation and therefore inflation rather than the deflation you foresaw. Not hyper, but steep.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 5 years 26 weeks ago Web link strike
    Who controls Barry? That's who is afraid.
  • Allen's picture
    Allen 5 years 26 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    Perhaps, and only perhaps, the best way to describe me, as far as "God" is concerned, is "apatheistic." I simply don't care if God exists. In fact, I see the belief in God as a total lack of joy in what life is and can offer. I see belief in God as a weakness of character, temperament, strength and intelligence in that, in order that one considers oneself a "good" person, one must rely upon a fiction - God. In order to maintain that fiction, and hence, the sense of one's own "goodness" (morality), all kinds of arguments, logical justification, and outright exclusivity may be maintained.
  • Allen's picture
    Allen 5 years 26 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    Hello Paul- You wrote: " I think the best person for changing someone's erroneous belief is that very same person." I agree with you, 100% even. In fact, I so much agree with you that I don't go out and verbally harass religious believers from out of the blue. Personally, I take that old Hellenistic approach of not trying to control what is beyond my power to have influence. For example, I'll write about my views pertaining to religion on my blog or in print and engage in online forums. These I can control to some extent. Once, however, I put my views out there for the world to see and respond to, they cease being completely private. I knowing full well there are people out there, particularly on the Internet, who are offended at the least hint of unbelief and may potentially respond. That's OK as I also already know the world is a mixed bag, so I don't expect people to respect my views. I've voluntarily put them out there, period. I take responsibility for my views and the action of writing/speaking. If I didn't want any response or to perhaps influence others to become more like minded, then I would have no need to write or speak my views. There's always the soliloquy, right? We human apes aren't like that. We speak and write our views. Language is always an attempt to persuade, and thus rhetorical (despite what logicians *believe.*). We are social animals. Conversation relies on the heuristic that conversation is give and take, that one "holds the floor" the other listens. We tend to find monologues rather uninteresting, boring, and unhelpful as a form of communication. In other words, to speak publicly is always risky to one's beliefs, values, desires, feelings, and sometimes even body. So, in online forums (such as this) when I see religious believers putting their views out for all to see, I see them making an attempt to inspire and influence people in their own manner, otherwise they'd have no need to speak in public. Either they desire a monologue or a response of some kind. Just like me they enter a world they largely cannot control, and as such they cannot control the response they will receive which, like them, will be based solely upon their perspective values, history, context, etc. One is, however, responsible for the final choice of speaking forth or staying quiet (or engaging in soliloquy in private). We need to come to very specific understanding of certain terms and ask ourselves some deep questions on the what constitutes an "attack" on religion; what constitutes an "attack" *by* a religious person? What will be the best form in mitigating and responding to such "attacks?" And so on...It seems suspect to try and place double-standards on non-believers and believers which clearly benefit the latter.
  • ReverendDraco's picture
    ReverendDraco 5 years 26 weeks ago Page Douglas Herman
    Not only will the captains and millionaires be on the lifeboats, they'll set a recording on continuous loop which announces that there are no lifeboats aboard at all. In this case, "Women and Children First" will mean the first to die. . .
  • DennisLeeWilson's picture
    DennisLeeWilson 5 years 26 weeks ago Web link Sharon Secor
    If this is a coup, it already happened long ago. [And besides, the government will do whatever it wants to do, anyway, anyhow, anytime....DW] -------------------------------------------------------------- http://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-03-19/politics/31209114_1_water... Conservatives Are Freaking Out Over An Executive Order That May Give Obama Complete Control Over The Economy Michael Brendan Dougherty|March 19, 2012| 8,431|84 Last Friday, President Obama quietly signed an executive order titled, "National Defense Resources Preparedness." The order is on the White House website right now. But no two news sources can agree on what it means. The Drudge Report linked to it under the title, "MARTIAL LAW? WHITE HOUSE ISSUES EXECUTIVE ORDER: 'NATIONAL DEFENSE RESOURCES PREPAREDNESS'... And Huffington Post writer Edwin Black called attention to it, saying that the document puts the United States on a "war footing." Some right-wing websites are saying that Obama's executive order is effectively a "coup against U.S. citizens." So what is in this document? It's based in part on the Defense Production Act of 1950, which mobilized America for the Korean War. Basically that law granted the Executive branch of government broad authority in the economy: to compel businesses to sign contracts to produce goods for the national defense, to set wage and price controls, especially on raw materials, and to even requisition property that might be useful for national defense. The Act has been reauthorized and passed through Congress many times, most recently in 2008 by President Bush, who had previously re-authorized it in 2003. President Clinton did the same in 1994. Here is part of the text of the Executive order that is most interesting to imagine being used: Sec. 201. Priorities and Allocations Authorities. (a) The authority of the President conferred by section 101 of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2071, to require acceptance and priority performance of contracts or orders (other than contracts of employment) to promote the national defense over performance of any other contracts or orders, and to allocate materials, services, and facilities as deemed necessary or appropriate to promote the national defense, is delegated to the following agency heads: (1) the Secretary of Agriculture with respect to food resources, food resource facilities, livestock resources, veterinary resources, plant health resources, and the domestic distribution of farm equipment and commercial fertilizer; (2) the Secretary of Energy with respect to all forms of energy; (3) the Secretary of Health and Human Services with respect to health resources; (4) the Secretary of Transportation with respect to all forms of civil transportation; (5) the Secretary of Defense with respect to water resources; and (6) the Secretary of Commerce with respect to all other materials, services, and facilities, including construction materials. So essentially, different Cabinet departments could take command over their respective parts of the economy during a national emergency, which the president determines. We all know instinctively that in a national emergency or war the government is going to do whatever it takes to stay in power, regardless of Constitutional niceties. This Executive Order reauthorizes and "legalizes" that process, in the same way every Administration has done for the past sixty-two years. If this is a coup, it already happened long ago. [And besides, the government will do whatever it wants to do, anyway, anyhow, anytime....DW]
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 5 years 26 weeks ago
    School Is Jail
    Web link Anthony Gregory
    This will seem off-topic, but yesterday I was reading Jeffery's essay (thanks, Anthony) and decided to forward it to my three homeschooling daughters-in-law. I had to leave and was in a rush to get the emails addressed and sent. Carelessly I ended up omitting one of the girls (mother of a granddaughter and 4 grandsons) and clicking the wrong daughter-in-law, Dawn (also mother of 4 of my little grandsons). She is a government ("public" ha ha) school teacher, as is her mom. Needless to say they are avid statists and state school enthusiasts. So this morning after an all-night truck run I opened my inbox and Dawn had responded, tersely but in good humor (knowing I sent the essay to her in my senility, I suppose), that Jeffrey Tucker is all wet and does not know what he's talking about. She sharply defended state operated schools and argued that she, my sons and many others in our family came out of state schools unscathed and proceeded to become college educated and successful. To repeat something I said recently, I'm glad I became a libertarian when it finally happened, not before. I was not born with an anarchist/libertarian silver spoon in my mouth. It's good that I wasn't. I can see that it took what it took to get me where I am today. It's gonna take what it takes to catapult me into the influencing roll to eventually lead Dawn, her husband (my son) Dan, and the boys to "liberty" (as I see liberty). That's why I so strongly supported Paul's recent essay (Dehumanizing People is Fun) and have taken certain exception to another STR poster I highly respect, Jim Davies (The God Question), in the "ridicule" of those not fully in tune with "our way of thinking" (Vis-à-vis the G-d issue). Although I can't fully gainsay Mr. Davies' statement, "...we have the task of changing our friend's mode of thought; to move him from faith to reason..." I can only influence with love and compassion. I can't change them. I can only change myself. That's why I'm here. I know I'm pulling other threads over here, but I want Jeff Tucker to be proud: to use the mud analogy I've slung 7 against the wall and 3 have stuck (I had 7 children, 4 now over 50 -- their kids reared before homeschool was much of an option). Out of 24 grandkids, 14 are homeschooled. You might say that's "luck-of-the-draw", and to a degree you would be right. My influence upon my children via my having been stimulated by many posters here on STR and other libertarian/anarchist sites should also be counted. Go easy on religion bashing. Let liberty come naturally. Sam
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 5 years 26 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    I see your point. I was thinking along the lines that individuals who refuse to live according to the N.A.P. definitely "need" governing, but I doubt seriously that they would "want" it.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 5 years 26 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    Let's try to keep _ad hominem_ remarks out of this exchange, shall we Paul? The idea of establishing a small libertarian community and having it "seen" as an example is at first very reasonable. I doubt it would work, but wouldn't mind being proven wrong. One variant on the idea is the Free State Project, now in New Hampshire. My doubts come mainly from this: if such an enclave were to succeed, its reputation would indeed "work wonders" elsewhere. Admiration and a wish to emulate, yes, but also extreme hostility on the part of those whose rule would be ended were it to spread. In short, one nuclear bomb would quite spoil its day.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 5 years 26 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    No. "Need" implies judgement of the governors, who needs it (no surprise, they think everyone but themselves need it). "Want" is the correct word, as it implies the opinion of the individual in question. And that opinion should be respected whether those around him think he needs it or not.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 5 years 26 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    Keep in mind I am saying I don't care what they think in areas that do not concern me, that are none of my business. Certainly I do care in areas that impact me. Where we differ is in areas that are none of our business. You seem to think everything is your business. We also differ in methods. You believe in a frontal attack on beliefs, although such methods are notoriously ineffective. I think the best person for changing someone's erroneous belief is that very same person. "The man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still." And he's motivated to change his beliefs through personal experience and observation rather than being argued or badgered into it. Just seeing a free community work, where one could be established, would work wonders in the minds of people living around it. Usually I would not care much about you choosing ineffective means - you are wasting your time, not mine - but your methods (and those of other libertarians who seem driven to attack religion) feed perfectly into the rulers' primary tool for dominance, "Divide and Conquer".
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 5 years 26 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    Thank you, B.R. You'll be referring to Segment 5 of TOLFA, near whose beginning come the words: "One is most reluctant to turn anyone away from a deeply-cherished belief; but that third item makes it formidably difficult to reconcile religion (which all agree rests upon faith, not rational analysis) with freedom (which does rest firmly, as we are seeing, upon rational analysis.) The Christian or other religious student will have to work this paradox out for himself." I'm therefore very surprised that you "got stuck" at this point. Either you could "work out the paradox for yourself" or else you couldn't, and chose faith instead of rationality - which your words here about being a post-Christian suggest is not the case. So was there really a reason to stay stuck? Have you seen a better way to bring about a free society, and if so what? In any case, as you'll recall from http://tolfa.us/prel.htm, the procedure if a student needs help ends up with his referring to his Mentor. Did you do that, and if so how did he respond?
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 5 years 26 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    You're right, Paul, I care about that very much - and am amazed that you do not. Beliefs lead to actions; the malodorous society we currently endure is the direct result of people believing in the need for, and efficacy of, government. Either we change that belief in the vast majority of people, or else this society will spiral even deeper into tyranny. I repeat that it is, most certainly, our prime task. The idea that it's simple is ludicrous; I've never said so. It is, however, being done.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 5 years 27 weeks ago
    School Is Jail
    Web link Anthony Gregory
    "There is no end to the reform. But no one talks about abolition." For very good reason - abolition won't work. Good luck prying the edu-establishment from control of the legislature. Fortunately something does work - individual action: removing your own kids from school. Eventually enough individuals will do it that they will simply close the school doors in time. No political action is needed.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 5 years 27 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    Like. I would only change this, "I just need them to realize that one of the things government should not do, is to attempt to govern people who do not want to be governed", to this, "I just need them to realize that one of the things government should not do, is to attempt to govern people who do not need to be governed."
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 5 years 27 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    Jim, men's minds must be putty in your hands, that's all I can say. I mean, to suggest that one can convince someone to give up both on religion AND government, merely through argument (with maybe a little ridicule thrown in for spice)? I am in awe that you can do that. I've never been able to manage it. But to respond to a couple of points... "But still, why does it matter? It matters because the prime task of those wishing to bring a free society about is to move our statist neighbors away from their belief in the need for, and efficacy of, government." Well, no, that is not the prime task. Again, I don't care if people retain their faith in both religion AND government. In fact I think the most likely free world will include vast numbers of people who retain those beliefs - at least for the short and middle term. Maybe 5000 years from now humanity may have given up following fancies - but I doubt it. Certainly though, one faces quite a problem of making the transition from where we are to where you want to go (no belief in religion or government). Maybe we should worry a little bit about how to get there? I don't need 100% of all human beings to miraculously wake up perfectly rational atheists some morning. I just need enough of them to realize that there are some things government shouldn't do. Virtually everybody already realizes that, so I'm half-way there. Next, I just need them to realize that one of the things government should not do, is to attempt to govern people who do not want to be governed. This I have already done time after time even though men's minds are not putty in my hands, unlike you. I suspect the real difference between us is that I don't care if other people don't believe as I do; and that you do care.
  • Thunderbolt's picture
    Thunderbolt 5 years 27 weeks ago
    School Is Jail
    Web link Anthony Gregory
    Brilliant, well-written, and true. I would have given anything to avoid the twelve year sentence. The first lesson taught is that you are owned by the government. Glenn
  • B.R. Merrick's picture
    B.R. Merrick 5 years 27 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    I appreciate both articles. As a former believer, I can say that my own way out of the false/unprovable belief in "superior vs. inferior" would not happen until I stumbled on information that laid bare the religion to which I used to hold quite tenaciously. I would think that for each individual, what leads him to a greater sense of life is going to be different. This is why I feel it's beneficial for each voice to find his own way of expressing his views. I got stuck at Jim Davies's wonderful Online School of Liberty (TOLFA) right about where the questions about religion popped up. It was requisite for my own path to hear directly from former members of my church instead, and the vitally important information they were able to dig up from reliable sources. However, for someone else on his pathway out, those questions might just have been the last questions he ever needed to read about God and religion. I would consider myself a Post-Christian as opposed to an ex-Christian, which some might say is pandering too much to religion, or the idea of "superior vs. inferior," but as part of my own pathway, I feel it's vital. Both articles were written by men who quite obviously know how to respectfully disagree, and that's more than enough to wait patiently for each individual to meander his own way through the darkness to the light. Very interesting debate, gentlemen.
  • David Calderwood's picture
    David Calderwood 5 years 27 weeks ago
    The Free Lunch
    Page Paul Hein
    It strikes me that money enters the economy mostly by creation of new debt (credit), and the primary vehicle for this during the past century was via home mortgages. This bid up the price of everything as such liquidity flooded the economy, so prices for goods, services, and (most importantly) assets rose like crazy. The problem as I see it is that money can disappear when this process is reversed. The standard assumption these days seems to be that the final act of fiat money is opening, and that it will be a tumultuous hyperinflation. This view underpins exhortations to stock up on gold and silver. My assumption is that the scene today is part of the 2nd Act in a three act tragedy, and that it will be accompanied by a debt revulsion, which will look like a collapse in the money supply and be called "deflation." Paradoxically, this suggests that paper dollars, the most spat-upon medium of exchange among nearly all people, will be THE asset to hold for a period of time. If this occurs, the clowns ruling us will hoist on their own petard. They have waged war on cash for a century, and today it is quite difficult to "cash out" of a bank account of any significant size. They really don't want to "give you the money" all that much. This means that if there is a serious Black Swan event that hits the banking system, few people will have any cover from the storm because very few people have any cash to speak of at all. Thus should we see a century of currency debasement teach all the wrong lessons for a brief period of time. That's my view, anyway.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 5 years 27 weeks ago
    The Free Lunch
    Page Paul Hein
    G'day Paul Hein, You wrote: I can hear you saying, “Free? Wait until you have to pay that IOU!” This is where it gets interesting. You and I, to be sure, will have to come up with payment. For clarification, are you not assuming, in the above statement, that "I" is a voluntary member in the group that borrowed that IOU into existence? You wrote: If you obtain another’s goods or services by offering (tendering) a note, or IOU, which you know is worthless, and which you have no intention of paying, you are a thief. Is not the "worth" of a thing determined in the mind of the one freely accepting it in trade? If that is true, then it is only "worthless" when no one will take it in trade. That aside, is not that IOU now backed by the "labor, wealth and property" belonging to the voluntary members (citizen/subjects) of the group that borrows it into existence? You wrote: The restaurateur is happy to accept your bogus note, because, being legal to tender, he knows that, even though it is not a valid note... If he is like the majority of the voluntary members of the group he has virtually no idea that FRN's are not valid notes, nor is he truly conscious of that fact that as a voluntary member of the group he (his "labor, wealth and property") stands surety for the debt. Aside from common sense, this can be easily verified by looking up the words "strangers" and "stranger" in one of their own law dictionaries, (Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition, page 1421). Strangers. ...In its general signification the term is opposed to the word "privy." Those who are in no way parties to a covenant or transaction, nor bound by it, are said to be strangers to the covenant or transaction. See also Stranger. Stranger. ...one who, in no event resulting from the existing state of affairs, can become liable for the debt, and whose property is not charged with the payment thereof and cannot be sold therefor. Can it be made any clearer than that? Oh, and one last thing... You wrote: Did I hear “equal protection of the law?” Quod ad jus naturale attinet, omnes homenes aequales sunt. All men are equal before the natural law. Dig. 50, 17, 32. Maxim of Law from Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (c.1991), page 1421 One would have to be totally blind not to see that all persons are not equal before the civil law, that some of them receive just a bit more protection than others. Under the civil law, "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others". Homo vocabulum est naturae; persona juris civilis. Man (homo) is a term of nature; person (persona) of civil law. ~ Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (c.1991), page 736 person In law, man and person are not exactly-synonymous terms. Any human being is a man, whether he be a member of society or not, whatever may be the rank he holds, or whatever may be his age, sex, &c. A person is a man considered according to the rank he holds in society, with all the rights to which the place he holds entitles him, and the duties which it imposes. 1 Bouv. Inst. n. 137. ~ Bouvier's 1856 Law Dictionary
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 5 years 27 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    One thing is perfectly clear to me, Allen, this conversation is going nowhere, and it is probably due to my own lack of understanding. Thanks for your time.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 5 years 27 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    Of course, S2, individuals are free to believe any kind of nonsense they like. If they wish, they can solemnly believe that the Earth is flat. Why not? - religion, being irrational, needs no link to reality. They can even believe that government is necessary or beneficial, despite the mountain of reasoned evidence to the contrary. The universe may or may not have had a beginning; the evidence (AFAIK) isn't in. But if some Flat Earther at the same time urges someone else to reject faith in government on the correct grounds that it's irrational, he can and will be discredited and dismissed as incredible and inconsistent. That was the point of my article. I hope that was clear, and don't regard it as a game to be played. Or not played.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 5 years 27 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    Ok, I'll play...but not much longer. lol "What was it that had no beginning, JD?" In my concept of a "free society", JD, individuals are free to choose to believe that there was a First Cause, (and call it anything they like), or choose to believe that there was not a First Cause, providing that neither of them demand that I believe their theory is the right one.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 5 years 27 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    Any time you truck your truck to the North East, Sam, let me know and we'll share a jar. I have this curious feeling that you are not just an ordinary trucker :-)
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 5 years 27 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    Yes.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 5 years 27 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    Was there a "beginning"? How do you know?
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 5 years 27 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    G'day GeoffreyTransom, Doesn't this, "...the odds seem good that there are entities out there that are sufficiently advanced and powerful as to be 'as gods' to us humans..." merely beg the next question? Who or what created these entities, that perhaps created "us humans"?
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 5 years 27 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    G'day JD, Do you really consider it "reasonable" to believe that your concept of a "free society" is "going [to go] viral" in your lifetime?
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 5 years 27 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    Speaking of "amazing arguments", what was it, 'in the beginning', that had no cause, according to Atheists?
  • Allen's picture
    Allen 5 years 27 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    Perhaps I wasn't clear, but, do you think I was saying you called me a "mass murderer?" Really, I'm seriously asking, since that *inference* (Allen=mass murder[er]) was obviously made from the example argument I posted above, *not* in our previous encounter. The "believer" above didn't come out and say "Allen = mass murderer," but what other conclusion can I draw from his argument? Making such an inference is a common process within rational discussion. It was the process of making an inference that I was referring to when I said "the kind of statement you (S2) desired of me..." regarding our back-and-forth over on Paul's thread. I *inferred* a conclusion from what you said, thus I cannot "cut and paste" you making that conclusion yourself. I think I was fairly clear about that and even invited you to clarify what you meant *if* my conclusion missed the mark. I left the possibility open as to my missing the mark. So far, you declined the invitation to show me if and how my inference was unsound. Instead it seems you've become hostile toward me, considering me dishonest for making an inference even while I asked you if it was accurate. Perhaps it will help us if (if you desire to continue) if you assume "good faith" toward me, even if it means you assume that I'm a dullard, though a persistent dullard. Heck, I've been considered worse, and even on par with a mass-murderer given how some believers view us non-believers in God as traveling the road to human toward human slaughter . Picture me as a dullard who really wants to understand you (and I do), rather than becoming increasingly defensive at some imagined "ridicule," or "dishonesty" on my part.
  • GeoffreyTransom's picture
    GeoffreyTransom 5 years 27 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    To my way of thinking, the 'religious impulse' represents a psychological tendency to reach for easily-digestible solutions: this in turn implies a form of truncated 'investment horizon', where the 'project' is the attempt to understand how best to grasp one's place in the world. In much the same way, if I discover that an asset manager is obese or a smoker I know immediately that he is wired to short-term satisfactions - which are inappropriate for any investment methodology that has a horizon longer than a day. Some would call that 'prejudice': those who think that every new encounter should be undertaken with the mind wiped clean as a tabula rasa (even a palimpsest reeks of 'profiling'). I call it 'discrimination' because I think I know what the word means (in sensible usage). Anyway - back to the topic: Gods (shorthand for 'entities possessing apparently-marvellous powers'). In a universe as large, as old, and as interesting as the one we inhabit, it is unlikely that we are the first sentient beings to achieve our current level of technology. Given that within a generation we will probably possess the technical wherewithal to 'transcend' our meatbags, the likelihood that some set of entities has already done so is high. (This is my primary reason for having no interest in 'alien abduction' tropes: any civilisation a generation more advanced than us would have no need to pursue such primitive research methods). So from my perspective, the odds seem good that there are entities out there that are sufficiently advanced and powerful as to be 'as gods' to us humans (even in our current technological state), especially if we take 'gods' to include the old Greek/Roman/Egyptian pantheon style flawed (often mortal) 'superhuman' . BUT (you knew there was going to be a 'but', right?)... The existence of power is not a reason to bend the knee to it. Worship is ALWAYS wrong, because it is the wellspring of exculpation. Examples: it is already the case that US .mil worshippers are saying that we ought to 'forgive' the 'snap' that caused the patsy in the kill-team in Afghanistan last week to slaughter children. Likewise, nobody within the Catholic Church has advocated disinterring the Borgias and burning their corpses, as they did to Wycliff: Wycliff did nothing more than the translation of their book into the vernacular (Wikileaking the appalling contents of that ludicrous primitive Iron Age monstrosity). TL;DR: Even if 'gods' exist, nobody ought to worship them. They ought to be judged on their actions and on those alone. Also: people who have a need to believe are natural patsies.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 5 years 27 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    If you were directing this at me, you need to get your "noggin" in better working order, my friend, because this accusation, "...Allen=mass murder , the kind of statement you desired of me in the other thread...", once again, is absolutely, completely and totally absurd! Where do you get these cockamamie notions, anyway, Allen?
  • Allen's picture
    Allen 5 years 27 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    You mean to tell me you've never heard of a believer who equates dissent with an attack on their faith, and thus on their person? If they identify themselves so completely with their faith, that is likely going to be the outcome, even if it is they who broach the non-believer. That's what I'm getting at. I have encountered people like that, Suverans2, people who take great offence at the slightest hint of non-belief. How about this common argument some believers make: Atheism=godlessness Godlessness=lack of morals The lack of morals = the cause of human atrocity Stalin committed such atrocities Stalin was an atheist Allen is an atheist Now I cannot "cut and paste" any statement which directly says Allen=Stalin, or Allen=mass murder , the kind of statement you desired of me in the other thread. But, I can use my noggin to figure out I've just been equated with a mass-murderer. Can't this easily be taken as insult? Can you really not understand how this would evoke ridicule of some atheists? The person making this argument believes this. Are non-believers expected, then, to equate this with something like the sentiment, "God loves us?" Or are non-believers expected to always take a "higher" moral stance for the sake of preserving such beliefs?
  • Allen's picture
    Allen 5 years 27 weeks ago
    The God Question
    Page Jim Davies
    Did I miss something? Was there some ridicule going on?