• Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by Etherman

  1. How is a Pseudo Skeptic different from a real skeptic?


    The pseudo-skeptic claims to be skeptical but has actually already made up his mind. He can always move the goalposts by claiming that the evidence offered up isn't extraordinary enough. He'll reject perfectly good evidence for the flimsiest of reasons. He'll claim that experiments might have hidden flaws so the results can be rejected. Real, but inconsequential flaws, will be magnified so large that they negate any experimental result.

    An interesting experiment was performed several years ago (I can try to find the reference if you're interested). A scientific paper was submitted to several peer-reviewed journals. Half of those submissions had data that agreed with the dominant paradigm but the other half disagreed with the dominant paradigm. Everything else about the papers were identical. The researchers found that the papers that agreed with the paradigm were accepted for publication and the methodology praised. On the flip side when the results disagreed with the paradigm the papers were rejected and the methodology criticized.

  2. I voted not pacifist. I'm against the initiation of violence, but I find violence is is a perfectly acceptable reaction to someone molesting, or attempting to molest, one's property (which includes one's own body). On a national level the same logic holds. The nation should not go to war unless attacked or under immanent threat. Our reaction to violence should be quick, decisive, and put and end to further hostility.

  3. Here's something I wrote on another forum in response to the question of whether an atheist can be spiritual. Enjoy:

    I would actually argue that most atheists are spiritual, moreso than most Christians. If you look up the word "spiritual" you find something like "of or concerning the spirit". Well that's slightly less than helpful. What the spirit? From

    c.1250, "animating or vital principle in man and animals," from O.Fr. espirit, from L. spiritus "soul, courage, vigor, breath," related to spirare "to breathe," from PIE *(s)peis- "to blow" (cf. O.C.S. pisto "to play on the flute"). Original usage in Eng. mainly from passages in Vulgate, where the L. word translates Gk. pneuma and Heb. ruah. Distinction between "soul" and "spirit" (as "seat of emotions") became current in Christian terminology (e.g. Gk. psykhe vs. pneuma, L. anima vs. spiritus) but "is without significance for earlier periods" [buck]. L. spiritus, usually in classical L. "breath," replaces animus in the sense "spirit" in the imperial period and appears in Christian writings as the usual equivalent of Gk. pneuma. Meaning "supernatural being" is attested from c.1300 (see ghost); that of "essential principle of something" (in a non-theological sense, e.g. Spirit of St. Louis) is attested from 1690, common after 1800. Plural form spirits "volatile substance" is an alchemical idea, first attested 1610; sense narrowed to "strong alcoholic liquor" by 1678. This also is the sense in spirit level (1768).

    Vital itself means "of or manifesting life". So, far from having anything to do with souls, ghosts, demons, or deities, spirituality has to do with being alive. This includes the necessities of life like food, water, and shelter from the elements. But, as they say, man does not live on bread alone. Spirituality is about living. It's about enjoying life, our relationships with other people, good health, our relationship to the environment, art, etc. Atheists are spiritual because we believe this is the only life we get so we want to make the most of it. Christians, and most other theists, are deathual. They're obsessed with what happens after death. Instead of living life for their own spiritual good, they live life for empty promises of the afterlife.

  4. I tried to read this set. I got a deal on the hardbound books, so I bought about 95% of the series, but have never gotten past the first one. I found it to be conceptually such an obvious rip off of LOTR that I became bored very fast. I was told that the later books were much better, so I will try to read them if I ever make it through the first one. (I am OCD about having to read book sets in order.)

    I thought the first book was excellent (I hadn't at the time yet read LOTR). I read the second two books but didn't think they were very good.But then again I didn't think that LOTR was any good either. I hate his writing style.

  5. I must admit though that looking back on the incident that some prejudice must have played a large part in my actions. I had the same disgusted reaction when I started reading the Book of Mormom and saw Adam and Eve's name and yet I still read on.

    Were you surprised to see Adam and Eve's names?

    I must admit that I had spiritual blinders on at the time. I was a devout Christian but also pretty egalitarian so the sexism in the Quran was enough to get me to stop reading. The sexism in the Bible, however, wasn't enough to get me to stop reading the Bible. I could always rationalize the defects away.

  6. I am also reading The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks. It really bothers me, because thus far, all I see is a rip off of The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien.


    That was one of the first fantasy novels I ever read. I thought it was great. The sequels sucked, so don't bother with them. He was ripping of Tolkein, but I didn't know it at the time (and quite frankly don't like Tolkein).

  7. Point of Impact, Dirty White Boys, and The Day before Midnight, by Stephen Hunter are all very good thrillers. They're filled with suspense and plot twists, if you like that sort of thing. Frederick Forsythe is also worth a read. Pretty much anything by him but especially The ODESSA File and the Devil's Alternative (it's starts a bit slow but it's worth it after he's cranked it up a few notches).

    For horror go with Dracula by Bram Stoker. There's no close second on this one.

  8. Chuck Palahniuk. I recommend all his books except "Invisible Monsters" which was total crap.

    Invisible Monsters is my favorite!


    Really??? Didn't you think it was obvious that Brandy was the narrator's brother? I literally saw it 100 pages away. I didn't get the motivation for anything the narrator did. I also thought that telling the story out of chronological order was to divert us from noticing there was no plot--just anti-consumerism one-liners. To each his own I suppose.

  9. i'm reading penthouse...jk

    actually i just finished reading a book by phillip k dick called ,and now wait for tomorrow, and now i'm reading choke by the guy who wrote fight club who's name eludes me at the moment


    Chuck Palahniuk. I recommend all his books except "Invisible Monsters" which was total crap.

    I just finished "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card. It started a bit slow but got a lot better and liked the twist at the end. I'm not usually into sci-fi but I'll probably read the other books in the series. After I get through the 50 books strewn randomly around my bedroom. So for my next book I'm going to read "The Flanders Panel" by Perez-Reverte.

  10. Also, they better explain why R2D2 and C3P0 doesn't have any memory in "A New Hope."

    C3P0 has obviously had his memory of the events of Episodes 1-3 erased, but there is no reason to believe R2D2 has. He is a mechanic, he responds to queries and notifies his owners of danger, but he doesn't make conversation. I think he knows everything.

    When I was a kid and saw episode IV I knew R2 had knowledge that he wasn't sharing. C3P0 probably just doesn't want to remember anything that happened to him. He's pretty high strung that way.