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Posts posted by VonNoble

  1. 2 minutes ago, mererdog said:

    It could be. Based on the definition given for innocent, all bets are off.

    The distinction I was making is between pain and damage. Some things are painful (hurt) but do not damage (harm), while some things harm (cause damage) but do not hurt (cause pain). Its an imoirtant distinction in my personal moral decision-making.

    My social work major team mate noted not all harm is physical...... it felt like a mental yo-yo in class today



    • Like 1
  2. 11 minutes ago, mererdog said:

    There is bit enough information to answer the question. Is the pen tied to a helium balloon? Am I in the space station? Is there something between the pen and the ground? Are you planning to catch the pen?

    Well I am feeling a bit better that other people find these hypotheticals lacking





  3. 34 minutes ago, mererdog said:

    It is a fairly bad definition. Still, at no point did I say the child was putting its hand in the fire. Perhaps the fire was moving towards the child. Slapping the hand simply triggers the reflexive draw-back that prevents the burn.

    The moral principle at work is the notion that preventing harm is justification for causing hurt. Similar to the justification for enduring the discomfort caused by exercise.

    I do not have any issues with your assessment.... I find the entire class frustrating a good portion of the time.


    The argument that finally stopped it was made by one of my IT major teammates...


    His response was a tiger was hurting the child....the tiger needed to eat....it is irrelevant the child is innocent.... to a tiger a child is just meat.... which finally gave us a reprieve 


    When my teammate pointed out nothing in the original question stated a human was hurting the child we could finally move on....



  4. 2 minutes ago, mererdog said:

    Slapping a child's hand to keep it out of a fire. Giving a child a vaccination shot. Kicking a child for being ugly. 

    1.  Slapping a child to alert it to danger or prevent harm got tossed by the teacher.... because she felt the inclusion if the word innocent indicated the child was not “doing” anything to warrant action 


    several in class did did not agree with that 


    2. Good on you.... none of us came up with a vaccination .... at the rate she was tossing up our suggestions.... I am guessing she would tell us (after the fact) not all kids mind shots.... this one did not. :P I  sure some lunacy like that would have happened 


    We as a class had trouble defining wrong.... hurt and innocent......oh and for awhile... we could not even agree on the word child


    One student did come up with an argument that stopped us being rebuffed for a second hour....



    • Like 1
  5. Today in class there was a simple question:


    True or false - it is wrong to hurt an innocent child.


    I assumed that was a no-brained true statement...:(   Silly me! 


    Anyone want to jump in with an example of why that is not true?





  6. 1 hour ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:


    You missed the word humor.  "Perspective" in a painting, is how some things are made to seem farther away or closer.   :P

    Your right...I missed it...sorry that I did....it is both relevant and clever.....I am enjoying it now though :unsure:


  7. 1 hour ago, mererdog said:

    To say that no one knows is to project our limitations onto others. It assumes that we are able to concieve of every possible scenario wherein someone could obtain knowledge- that the limits of reality cannot extend beyond the limits of our imagination. It is the "I cannot see it, therefore it does not exist" argument- an argument that deifies blindness.

    When we do not know, we do not know why we do not know. When we do not know why we do not know, we do not see how someone else could know. 

    True enough.   Yet moving from a thought problem to a practical application. 

    Where do we stick the landing (in general) - not me specifically - but any of us - where is the line between falling into the general patterns of social norms (right amount of flexible without being useless).....and being an extremist. 


    Is it always in the eye of the other guy? 

    Does it only matter how we see ourselves.   


    We all know generalities are the bane of conversation far too often as it deteriorates.

    Too - for some even a two-sided box is too restrictive. 

    In hearing another person and realizing the general perception I suspect a majority would conclude...It got me thinking

    about not just me - but all people.  Do we factor in the appearances we project when we share our opinions. 


    Does drawing a line limit you?  Does failing to draw a line limit you?

    Is the correct average 50%.


    There is sort of no way to assess and process without moving back and forth between those two sides which puts most of us in gray most of the time.  Or does it?  


    By the way - of no importance other than fun -  apparently - I learned  - we get to choose if we wanna get to spell it grEy or grAy...I like those words. Too few of them.  I like to choose it either way - which makes gray a fun word in my view.   Just threw that in for fun facts and things I am getting a tickle out of this morning :D


  8. 11 hours ago, Dan56 said:


    Nothing wrong with absolutes.... Unless we are absolutely wrong.. Theories and opinions can be black and white, but they are generally formulated in a gray area. We all believe our opinions are correct, otherwise they wouldn't be our opinions. Incorrect opinions always belong to the other guy. Its no surprise that a criminal justice major thinks in terms of black and white, right and wrong, legal or illegal, the law is nonnegotiable. 

    To an extent I would agree...but then again - there are things we sense without knowing that drive us (so I agree... we all dip into the gray area as we work our way to a solid conviction.)   Sometimes I form an opinion from an emotional stance.  I am NEVER neutral about my family and I know it.    I mostly can flex but not there.  It is not a reasonable issue for me.   If the life of those I love is in question  - I am not rational about spending money to make it right by them, for example.  I avoid debt of any kind as a general rule -  but I would sink into debt over my eyeballs - and above all reason if money would fix things.    So my opinion of me and my approach is that  my action are not at all correct. Judging me by my entire history of previous behavior over my entire life ...by my own sense of reason I am being a fool.  But that would not stop me.    


    Sometimes in voting...my opinion is I am choosing the lesser of two evils.....and neither person is worth a hoot.  I vote anyway.   

    Those voting of the other guy might be of the same opinion.  That would make neither of us correct other than we agreed voting is important. 


    That gray area seems mushy.

    The black-white option seems stuck in cement. 


    I dunno - - - still working on it - but thanks for joining in - - - I'll eventually move out of the quagmire. 



  9. 2 hours ago, Key said:

    Often people can have their thinking in black and white, then learn more about all the grey areas and how to deal with them when they actually go about experiencing their chosen profession or life.

    Cops, for example, can become jaded in their view due to their experiences, but every once in awhile...something different surprises them.

    Drawing lines can trip folks up, but only if they can't accept and adapt any grey matters that come up.

    Yes, I agree.  That was my first thought too.    Drawing lines CAN trip us up...perhaps not the shade of the color but the rigidity of thought is the issue?    But as noted above - allowing it is a rigidity/flexibility issue....is there a safety zone (like dead center) where one aims to be (note target discussion and needing one to gain direction).....


    If we aim to keep our view in the dead center range - for example - are we then viewed as lacking conviction....or being spineless or too wishy washy?   Is flexible enough to one - having no back bone to another?   


    Just ruminating.....thx for joining me there....


  10. 11 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:


    It depends on things like plans and goals.  In a situation like college, you have to know where you are going and how you are going to get there.  Lines can be good.  They keep a train on it's tracks.  


    Pick your metaphor.  An artist without lines loses perspective.       :lol:

    I agree you should have long & short range targets.  Its hard to hit a target you cannot see.  Not impossible but less probable. 

    That is the direction.


    The planking on the track holds the rails in place....so we have values/ethics/yardsticks to address integrity and quality of life. 

    So where does the black and white and gray figure into this?  The gravel between the ties. The packing of the ties?  Some place the planking wider apart - some closer together...some nailed in place (not allowing movement or expansion as easily?

    How do you see the black/gray/white issue in terms of priorities/new info/ having conviction etc. ?

    If I had an answer I would offer it - I am just filtering through the impressions of that student yesterday and reflecting on how he came across...how do any of us come across ...where would someone place me by MY conversation on the scale of a zillion shades of gray....where do I WANT To fall in that range - - - and how do we sort that out neatly and cleanly.....I dunno - just plumbing the best minds I know for this sort of thinking. 



  11. On 2/28/2018 at 5:50 AM, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:



    If you want to take the Atheist position, keep it simple.  An Atheist is someone who has one less god than a Monotheist.  


    The Agnostic position is also simple.  All you have to do is avoid complications.


    You know...I had seen you post this before but I have to admit I did not fully appreciate it until today.

    AFTER a few days of watching some stellar presenters on U-Tube....I finally heard the full analogy and it was delivered calmly and reasonably. 


    The speaker identified there were (he gave a specific number close to 3,000) verifiable god/Gods in the course of humankind.   Today there are, if each having worshipers is a criteria - there are over 2,000 with active groups of faithful.   


    He asked the audience to just count the ones THEY personally had head of ....including the gods/Gods of major religions in the world today and the audience, collectively, could name more than two dozen.   (one Hindu chap could list more than that by himself) but they settled on two dozen as an agreeable number. 


    There was also a consensus there would always be those who had faith and those who did not.  So for the next few minutes they would table any discussion of PROVING the existence of God (or disproving it)....


    Then he said if for a moment - just one moment the group could agree that no one knows.....and EVERYONE agrees it is possible that God DOES exist - for that moment- the entire room is agnostic. That is the one common label that would fit the group for that one minute. 


    When asked - those believing right now in ONLY ONE GOD to raise their hands.  He then noted that they, in fact - were atheists regarding the other 23 God's written on the overhead.  They smiled wryly but admitted that they did not believe the other gods existed so they were indeed atheists regarding (23) gods.   The speaker then said - - - the line above.  And I am an atheist to just one more than you.   


    It was actually interesting to watch the two groups find common ground.   AFTER hearing that one time - I saw several similar moments and find it quite an eye opener.     I heard it before but did not fully understand it ...I guess i needed an longer version to connect the dots.   Not the first time I was slow on the uptake.  :lol:  Won't  be the last either. 


    But it is quite comforting to see that there is not an uncrossable divide there. 


    Other observations?



  12. While engaging in idle chatter with another student at the university I noticed a sort of pattern in his speech.

    He is currently a criminal justice major having just left Political Science after two years in that field. 


    I noticed he saw lots of things as either black or white...with very little space between the two.

    That is not a judgement call as to the correctness of that line of thinking - just a summary of what I was hearing. 



    I could not help listening to his various theories and opinions...I could not help but wonder when we draw lines in the 

    sand....have we  just created one more thing to trip our own self up?




  13. First, Thanks to all for keeping me on track on this assignment! 


    Second - thanks for the tip to check out U-Tube...I whiled away a good chunk of time watching a wide array of information regarding this topic.  All of it informative to me.   I guess there was a LARGE swath of things I did not know about atheists and agnostics.   Some of the interviews and presentations were witty, clever and a couple downright humorous. 


    I am going with the Agnostic Atheist label for round one (thanks for casting your votes)  :D   (even though it was not officially designated as an option) ....it seemed the closest fit ...that I felt i might have a shot to explain.    In reality I still do not really have an interest in any of these labels but since I have to pick one to get through this assignment - that seems the best fit. 


    There were SPLENDID presentations explaining without rancor ....any number of reasons a person might choose any option.  

    I am actually making flashcards to prep for the class discussion.   I might not think to swiftly on my feet without a bit of advance work there. 


    My position essentially centers on a MUCH abbreviated scale of nicely knitted concept from Dr. Dawkins.   He managed to neatly  weave everyone into "NONE OF US KNOWS."  


    That being the opening perimeter on my position....we see commonality since none of us knows


     Some can choose to BELIEVE in a Supreme Being  and live a happy moral life.  

    Some just leave it at the opening gambit - we don't know ...and we too can have a happy moral life.   


    The counter position would be (if we get to choose)... that other than the most extreme fringes of Deism or atheism - the vast majority of humans being need not make any of this.... a barrier. 


    i am still working on it - but this is the sort of rough draft of where I am so far.   I plan on tweaking this it is NOT set.   It is a rather illusive and  paradoxical and dynamic pack of thoughts.    At least, now, after seeing the solid thinking on this thread -  whatever happens I don't feel a need to do battle.


     All of this helped me to see it as just one more exercise in growing up and sorting things out in my heard.    This seems to be a simple position.   A potentially inclusive position.  It is fine if others don't agree.  It has always been a puzzle to me to understand the need for rightness on this topic.   No one is, actually, right when I think about it.  (including me.)   It is sort of an continuous evolution lasting a lifetime maybe. 


     Maybe  nothing spiritual should end in heated conflict.....



  14. 3 hours ago, cuchulain said:

    you aren't trying to, you know...make philosophy, um...practical, right?

    Ha!    No.  But you gave me a chuckle;)


    there are are days I find myself less resilient ....and I just trying to see if others have ideas to refresh my own zest :D


    PS...I am finding as my score improves in Philosophy I am not gaining more enjoyment which seems odd to me... so nope... not having too many meanings beyond classwork in that direction. 



  15. 5 hours ago, Key said:

    I do find that things are bearable when you can find something to make you smile or smirk just a little bit. Maybe that is a small murmur of contentment, or promise of not everything seeming bleak?

    In any case, to me, it seems easier to obtain happiness or contentment with someone, rather than alone.

    I believe you are correct on both counts.


  16. On 3/4/2018 at 12:50 AM, Dan56 said:

    When the apostles were thrown in prison, they sang songs in praise of the Lord (Acts 16:25). This inspires an attitude adjustment in me, because I'd be drowning in self-pity and praying to get out of jail.  Paul counted it a blessing to suffer loss in exchange for knowing Christ (Philippians 3:8). "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires" (Galatians 5:24). For me, the cares of this short life are just a temporary test towards something far better. 

    I have wtnessed prisoners doing “hard time” do the same .... pulling resiliency in spite of hardship.... (aside they did not have the added benefit of belief in any religion).... but your point is well made.... some do pull it up from inside themselves 



  17. On 3/4/2018 at 12:50 AM, Dan56 said:


    I'm persuaded that happiness is as much a state of mind as it is a condition.. If your a sad, depressed, and miserable person when your poor, and then you come into a lot of money,  your still going to be a sad and depressed person,  you just won't be miserable anymore.


    The root cause of nearly every problem I've encountered in my life can be found in the nearest mirror. We can't appreciate good without bad, health without sickness, joy without sadness, etc.  But for me, this  yin and yang only applies to the natural world.


    That said, each life has its own trials and errors, some learn from their mistakes and makes changes for the better, while others never quite conquer much. 

    Thank you Dan56..... certainly much truth in all of that.



  18. 9 hours ago, mererdog said:

    Patience and forgiveness are big ones for me.

    It is difficult, but I have learned to reign in my anger and remind myself of what I really want when I get hurt. Rather than escalating conflict, I work to resolve it. Rather than trying to make the other guy lose the fight, I try to figure out how we can both win. Every day is a new opportunity to fail at this, but I am improving.

    Meanwhile, I try to give myself things to look forward to. I'm going to the Grand Canyon for the first time tomorrow. Next weekend, my great-nephews-in-law are coming to visit for the first time. On a daily basis, I go for small things like trying a new candy, going for a walk in a new neighborhood, or watching the next episode of a good show. The thought that something better is around the corner makes the rough patches seem smaller.

    And there is my wife. No words can do justice to how good she is for me. She makes me better. 

    I don’t know if you will see this before the trip .... but safe journey for your travels.


    Yellowstone is still on my bucket list...

    I am happy you are getting to see it - I imagine it is a day by day inspiration.   ENJOY!



  19. 50 minutes ago, mererdog said:

    Patience and forgiveness are big ones for me.

    It is difficult, but I have learned to reign in my anger and remind myself of what I really want when I get hurt. Rather than escalating conflict, I work to resolve it. Rather than trying to make the other guy lose the fight, I try to figure out how we can both win. Every day is a new opportunity to fail at this, but I am improving.

    Meanwhile, I try to give myself things to look forward to. I'm going to the Grand Canyon for the first time tomorrow. Next weekend, my great-nephews-in-law are coming to visit for the first time. On a daily basis, I go for small things like trying a new candy, going for a walk in a new neighborhood, or watching the next episode of a good show. The thought that something better is around the corner makes the rough patches seem smaller.

    And there is my wife. No words can do justice to how good she is for me. She makes me better. 

    YES!!!!  This is what I was hoping for - some every day ways to touch base with a sense of progress.....small steps to affirm the journey....or validate the effort.....or provide an option better than the one currently deemed as not the best one......a better one....a small (so small) but big enough  to keep going - try one more time etc.






    Thank you



  20. 1 hour ago, mererdog said:


    Pay attention to the fact that the given agnostic position is not defined with "I don't know" but with "Nobody can know." That is important. It probably requires the most complicated defense.

    Astute advise. Thank you. 

    I am encouraged via your notations that this might be more about "knowledge" than faith.   It makes it easier to be objective in the construct. 



  21. 2 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:



    It's nuance.  Not all that different.


    Atheist:  I have no reason to believe that God exists -- so I don't believe.


    Agnostic:  I have no facts about God -- so I don't know.


    Agnostic Atheist:  I don't know and I don't believe.  (The teacher gave you three choices.  Did she say that you couldn't combine them?)


    Agnostic Theist:  I don't know, but I choose to believe.





    I guess that fall into the realm of she did not say we could not blend the choices....nor did she say we could not originate our own choices (unless THESE ARE YOUR THREE CHOICES counts as an instruction to pick ONLY one of these) ......which follows she did not (clearly) (specifically) give nor withhold permission (about as definitive  as everything else in this class.)  :lol:



  22. 3 minutes ago, cuchulain said:

    A good reason for thinking that no supreme being exists would be a simple lack of solid evidence.  Of course, it's subjective as to what each individual believes is solid evidence...Dan believes because the bible is solid evidence.  I do not believe because I don't think the bible is solid evidence.  A person shouldn't believe in something by default, so they should seek out evidence.  If there is no evidence for something(as discussed) then they shouldn't believe.

    Okay.... I can follow all of that....


    If no evidence ....than which thing occurs..... no evidence equals no PROOF.... so no supreme being = atheist


    OR...no proof.... can’t know = agnostic


    Which strikes you as more correct?  Of a better position to be in on “cross examination?” 


    ...and thanks