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About mererdog

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  • Birthday 12/31/2016

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  1. Atheism is an umbrella term. There is no built-in specificity to the word. I really don't get why you keep capitalizing it. Are you talking about a specific person or group that claims the word as a title, rather than the generic descriptor.
  2. The correct answer is "everyone." You get to define it. I get to define it. The Pope gets to define it. You don't have to be limited by how the Pope defines it. The Pope doesn't have to pay any attention to my definition. I don't have to agree with your definition. Aside from trademark issues, no one owns words. You get to use them how you like, defining them accordngly. And so does everyone else. If I wish to define "Christian" as "a small bag of sand" there is no real reason I shouldn't- It would just leave me in a position where it takes extra effort to understand and be understood.
  3. What is an"actual definition"? The term started as a pejorative used by religious people to mock nonbelievers. It has been used in a lot if different ways by a lot of different people since then. Atheism has no hierarchy and no leader, so no one to provide an "official definition." Merriam-Webster lists the most common definition as- Definition of atheism 1a :a lack of belief or a strong disbelief in the existence of a god or any gods b :a philosophical or religious position characterized by disbelief in the existence of a god or any gods.
  4. No it isn't. You can neither prove nor disprove the statement "I don't believe you."
  5. Misunderstandings in civilized community

    It can. It does not always. It does not automatically. Etiquette is a tool. It is a powerful tool. Powerful tools are dangerous. You have to wear protective clothing, keep your workspace free of hazards, and know where the exits are. And take off your rings. No one needs to lose a finger. Etiquette is artificial. This means it is inherently imperfect. A little regular maintenance helps to ensure everything is running correctly. Checking your work for flaws is usually best practice. What? Now you want me to apologize because you called me fat? How is that fair?
  6. Misunderstandings in civilized community

    The same things we use to bind a bunch of disparate "I"s into a cohesive "We" are used to build sharp divides between "Us" and "Them." The more brightly we highlight the similarities between Us the more starkly we contrast the differences with Them. As a good rule of thumb, the more homogenous a society, the more marginalized its minority members and alien visitors, and the less the majority will notice (or care about) that marginalization.
  7. Misunderstandings in civilized community

    First, are the line breaks intentional? Its a completely unimportant question, but also completely on topic. Nawmean? Anyway, I think the word "we" is problematic, in context. Social norms tend to be great for some and horrible for others. Customs like "Don't look a white man in the eye" are obviously racist and designed only to subjugate, but there are a lot of more subtle things at play. A handshake may as well be an assault to many germophobes and people with PTSD. "Sir" and "Ma'am" disrespect those with nonstandard gender identities. Saying "bless you" when some people sneeze makes them very uncomfortable and leaves them with no idea how to respond. Even a perfectly innocent "please" or "thank you" can have the same effect as a slap in the face to those used to being subjected to hostile sarcasm or passive aggression. Essentially, what I'm saying is that by standardizing our interactions through formality we fail to pay due respect to the individuals we are interacting with. Most of the time, it won't cause actual problems. Most of the time, we won't notice when it does cause problems. But the normal, unthinking, habitual reliance on etiquette trains us to treat the needs and desires of the person in front of us as less important than an arbitrary set of rules. It becomes a sort of twisted social contract where we assume that as long as we stick to the script no one is allowed to complain about what we say or do. Which causes people with legitimate greivances to get treated like crybabies or jerks. Which is unfair to those of us who are actual crybaby jerks. And I'm still pretty sure you called me fat.
  8. Films or live performance

    There are plays where no one speaks and films where no one does anything else. I saw a stage production with a thirty-foot tall fire-breathing dragon and a different stage production that had actual robots and holograms. Even with the best plays, I have difficulty forgetting that I am sitting in a chair watching a play, partly because of the inherent participatory nature of being in that kind of audience (even applause is participation). A good movie will draw me into a more immersive experience where I get a sort of mental tunnel vision and thoughts of the rest of the world fade away for a while. Then there's going to a live Rocky Horror Picture Show screening... A sort of best of both worlds experience, complete with having strangers throw food at you.
  9. Misunderstandings in civilized community

    Are you calling me fat?
  10. The "Soul" Doesn't Die

    I thought we had all agreed to define it as "An item, area, system, energetic state, or made-up thing that James Brown was the godfather of." Really, though, if we can't all come together behind that, what hope is there for the children?
  11. The "Soul" Doesn't Die

    How do you know that they don't know? You know, as distinct from simply believing that they don't? And doesn't deciding that no one else knows make it impossible to fairly weigh new information that contradicts the conviction?
  12. I tried to become a materialist, but I failed the physical.
  13. respect, dignity and grace

    And the personal pronouns. I spoke to my feelings, my motives, and my tactics. I intentionally avoided any version of "we should."
  14. There is no true meaning. The words all have multiple meanings, like pretty much any word older than a couple decades. There is a very good chance that if you ask four self-proclaimed agnostics what the word means, you'll get four different answers, all of them equally correct.
  15. Read...then discuss

    I haven't seen the poster. I did work enough construction as a yoot to see similar things hapoen, though. It was amazing how often plumbers and architects would seem about to come to blows. I only ever worked for the one contractor, and I've never asked anyone with broader experience whether its a common thing. Now I'm curious. First thing in the morning seems an appropriate time for that, so thank you.