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RE: Dawkins' BBC Interview/church and 'happiness'

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Re: RE: Dawkins' BBC Interview/church and 'happiness'

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Frank 013: This does make us less prone to delusion by basically saying that all views are equally valid; from the crazy Sally example to ones based off of evidence that is corroborated and tested by other people and science.I'm certainly not arguing for a completely relativistic point of view; nor do I think the premises I've given lead inevitably to such a view. Why you feel some vested interest in portraying it that way is, naturally, your business.The alternative -- at least, in the black and white terms you seem to favor -- is a point of view in which you view your perspective as the only valid option, to the degree that you're willing to dismiss out of hand anyone who disagrees. Much more practical, I'm sure.Niall001: But people can make functional assumptions. I can say that on an ultimate level, all views are equally valid, regardless of whether or not they belong to Crazy Sally or Einstein. But when speaking within a specific agreed framework, I can say that (according to the agreed criteria) one view is better than another.And that, as I understand it, is the very definition of the philosophical perspective known as pragmattism.Frank 013: This is exactly my point, but Mad seems to want to defeat valid arguments by poking holes in the agreed framework.What, precisely, is the agreed upon framework? Has someone made it explicit? Did I agree to it? Did everyone else take a vote?But under the all views are arational stance, crazy Ann might have a valid point. Who knows maybe she has important information the rest of us are lacking?You're still trying to fit it into a framework of pure reason. My point isn't that one person has more information than another. My point is that the values from which we derive our personal moral stances are not the result of an objective, external observation -- I don't value family because of anything I've seen in nature, but for reasons that are personal and need no argument. That's what I mean by arational. Someone also used the term pre-rational, and to some degree that conveys the same idea -- these are ideas to which we apply reason, but which we settle on before we begin the process of reasoning. And we may revise them by a process of criticism that involves reasoning, but even in those cases, we're revising them in reference to another arational or pre-rational premise.On a strictly formal level, the same point is clear. All logical arguments begin with a premise or set of premises, and those premises are provided not by rational discourse, but simply granted.
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Quote:NiallI feel the need to point out, that he did not seem to be arguing that the feelings one might have for their family are mystical in origin, but that they are alogical, meaning that the love you feel for those you care for is not the result of a rational analysis. Even if it were the case that our values were somehow built into us by nature, it would not mean that these values were rational. They would still be alogical.Mad seems to have brought up the subject to derail any possible rational exploration, which he does at every turn. So I assumed he was doing it again.But if you put the feeling of family or need for social interaction into context of a social species it is a logical conclusion and is not arational at all. The only real difference between the ways we feel and the way a dog feels it that we are conscious of it and attempt to verbalize it.Quote:NiallNot considered mentally healthy? Who decides what's mentally healthy. Not all that long ago, homosexuals were considered mentally ill.Can we agree that people who are a danger to themselves and others have some sort of mental issues? Quote:NiallAnd even if it somehow we had some way of declaring things mentally healthy or unhealthy, what makes you think that hermits are mentally unhealthy?People who separate themselves from society often have other mental illnesses and can be dangerous to themselves and others. They often demonstrate symptoms of other more serious mental illnesses even when they do not suffer from them. But if you think that that is normal mentally healthy behavior than I have wasted my time typing this out. Quote:NiallI don't accept the idea that social interaction is required in order to be happy. Yes, it is helpful for most people, but given that the desire for social interaction is a predisposition, it is not required.Required, no, but sought after defiantly. And I think that most people would be completely unhappy without any social interaction.In the movie castaway Tom Hanks' character decided after several years of being alone that he would rather die than live alone for the rest of his life.This element of the story carries believability for only one reason... we can relate to it. Quote:NiallTake another adaptation, the desire to have sex. Now this is clearly an adaptation, but does it mean that those who do not have sex will be mentally unhealthy?I think you and I are using the term adaptation in different ways, so what do you mean here by adaptation?And while a person who does not have sex is not defiantly going to go bonkers the forced and willful denial of such urges has been known to manifest into deviant sexual behavior.see sex in prisons or a catholic priest for references. Quote:NiallNot really sure what you mean by this. Would you mind expanding a little?Monogamy is something that humanity has attempted to impose on itself for social reasons. Human society has implemented marriage and other rites that limit us to a single partner. This is not our natural condition but we adapted to it because it saves us a tremendous amount of trouble socially. Later
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me: I'm certainly not arguing for a completely relativistic point of view; nor do I think the premises I've given lead inevitably to such a view. Why you feel some vested interest in portraying it that way is, naturally, your business.Frank: If that is not your intent I can't even imagine why you brought it up.The answer is: I didn't. Either Mr. P or halofrisbeechamp brought it up; I don't remember which. I simply responded to their mention of it.When using all available real world evidence (and refraining from using the made up stuff) there really is just one valid option.That again goes to the question of what counts as evidence. You couldn't assess "all available real world evidence" unless you had somehow limited that category to something manageable. Some scholars devote their entire lives to considering a single subject, and even they can't compass the entire category of "all available real world evidence", so I certainly don't expect either of us to.me: You're still trying to fit it into a framework of pure reason.Frank: Well duh? How else do propose we examine something?Some other way, because there either is no such thing as pure reason, or there is and we don't have access to it. All human reason begins with premises that are arational, which dilutes the purity of the argument, to say the least.This is still not valid; you value family because we are social creatures geared to by nature.That claim itself is a cultural construct. You have no direct access to anything that would give you an objective view of human nature.It's a pretty flawed cultural construct, for that matter, and evidence to that end is available daily. As I've pointed out above, people routinely hurt, betray, abandon, neglect and kill members of their family. So the idea that we are "social creatures" geared "by nature" to value family does nothing to explain why our behavior varies so much.Imagine four people; call them Anthony, Beth, Carol and Dave. Anthony and Beth claim to value family; Carol and Dave claim not to. But each given an identical set of circumstances, Anthony and Carol make sacrifices to help a family member, while Beth and Dave sacrifice the well being of their family members, even when the benefit they would accrue is null. All four of those personalities are feasible -- I'd go so far as to bet that we can all identify people we know who resemble each of the four -- but the assertion that humans are geared "by nature" to "value family" does nothing to explain the differences in what each espouses and how each behaves.In its extreme form, what you've argued implies a total disconnect between belief and action. Some people claim not to value family -- does that make any difference in light of their genetic predisposition? The logical conclusion of the argument that says that nature cooks up belief is that we behave because we're hard-wired to behave, and nothing that we can consciously espouse will change the way that we'll behave.It is true that we as conscious beings can decide what kind of social units are most attractive to us, but this does not remove the need for social interaction, and It doesn't support Mad's "mystical" explanation either.What, precisely, was my "mystical" explanation? I'm really interested to know. Give me a paraphrase. I haven't, to my knowledge, suggested any explanation that would qualify by the furthest stretch of the imagination as mystical.Niall: Even if it were the case that our values were somehow built into us by nature, it would not mean that these values were rational. They would still be alogical.Thanks, Niall. Maybe that's a point I needed to clarify.That you can find a rational explanation for a previously held belief doesn't make it rational. A belief is rational if it's arrived at by a process of reasoning. Even if you took every rational belief that you've ever arrived at and strung them all together, such that the conclusion of one argument supplied the premises for the next argument, they would still all proceed from an initial argument, the premise of which was not supplied by rational argument.Then, if you turned around and started providing rational arguments in support of that initial premise, you could only do so by assuming other arational premises in support of that initial premise -- unless, that is, you supported that initial premise by reference to some conclusion in the rest of the string, in which case your entire argument would become circular.Of course, no one ever actually does it that way, so the result is that most people don't end up with a huge string of arguments that can all be traced back to a single, alogical premise, but rather have a collection of arguments that are loosely connected (and sometimes unconnected), founded upon a collection of multiple arational premises.Frank 013: Mad seems to have brought up the subject to derail any possible rational exploration, which he does at every turn.Either, you and I mean different things by "rational exploration", or this is another rhetorical device you've employed in order to dismiss everything that I write to this board. I provide references for most of my facts, and present my arguments in a form that would be easy to map as symbolic logic, so I hardly see how you can accuse me of attempting to derail rational discussion.The only real difference between the ways we feel and the way a dog feels it that we are conscious of it and attempt to verbalize it.So you think that our ability to isolate feeling in conscious thought does nothing to allow us to modify its translation into behavior? Consciousness without agency isn't good for much of anything, so they way you've presented it, we've got about as much advantage over a dog as a parrot would.In the movie castaway...I take back the implication that you never provide references for your facts.
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Quote:MadThat again goes to the question of what counts as evidence.What we have observed and can observe.Quote:MadYou couldn't assess "all available real world evidence" unless you had somehow limited that category to something manageable.Luckily that has been done for me all I have to do is review the data.Quote:MadSome other way, like what? You seem to be content criticizing the current forms of studying our world but have never offered anything to replace it. Quote:Madbecause there either is no such thing as pure reason, or there is and we don't have access to it. So we should just throw away what has worked so well up to this point and do what, just stop trying to figure out this stuff?We can work with the best available data that is available to us, or we can doubt everything and get nowhere.Quote:MadAll human reason begins with premises that are arational, which dilutes the purity of the argument, to say the least.I don't agree with your conclusion, you have come to that conclusion without evidence just as you do with your deity conclusion. Until you can show me that our senses and extended senses are missing something fundamentally important your argument is simply hot air.Quote:MadThat claim itself is a cultural construct. You have no direct access to anything that would give you an objective view of human nature.I have direct access to my nature and I do happen to be human.And I can observe other humans and make comparisons; furthermore I can study other people's comparisons and apply that knowledge to my analysis.Quote:MadI've pointed out above, people routinely hurt, betray, abandon, neglect and kill members of their family. So the idea that we are "social creatures" geared "by nature" to value family does nothing to explain why our behavior varies so much. Every aspect of human nature from instinct to physical prowess varies widely, yet we remain similar in many ways. We see the same behavior in other social species as well; this does not change their definition of social animals or their instinct for social grouping.Quote:MadThat you can find a rational explanation for a previously held belief doesn't make it rational. A belief is rational if it's arrived at by a process of reasoning. Even if you took every rational belief that you've ever arrived at and strung them all together, such that the conclusion of one argument supplied the premises for the next argument, they would still all proceed from an initial argument, the premise of which was not supplied by rational argument. So what you just said is in fact not rational. Quote:MadThen, if you turned around and started providing rational arguments in support of that initial premise, you could only do so by assuming other arational premises in support of that initial premise -- unless, that is, you supported that initial premise by reference to some conclusion in the rest of the string, in which case your entire argument would become circular. Witch you do regularly.Quote:MadEither, you and I mean different things by "rational exploration", or this is another rhetorical device you've employed in order to dismiss everything that I write to this board. You and I do seem to have a fundamental and apparently terminal lack of understanding of each others idea of rational.I say work with the available evidence.You say that we cannot possibly know what the evidence really is.I say that that philosophy gets us nowhere and we should keep looking.You say we should redefine how we look.I say how?You say differently...That's hardly helpful. Quote:MadI provide references for most of my facts, and present my arguments in a form that would be easy to map as symbolic logic, so I hardly see how you can accuse me of attempting to derail rational discussion.And no one is arguing against the facts presented but your conclusion seems lacking.Your entire argument is aimed at destroying the foundation of what most people would call common knowledge. In order to allow for your perspective you must cloak our entire worldview in doubt.And this is all based off of the assumption that our senses are missing something fundamental which there is absolutely no reason to conclude. I am not saying that we know it all, that is arrogance at its worst and history shows us that it is an embarrassing stance to take. However there does not (currently) seem to be a better way to go about studying the world around us, so until a better method is offered up I will stick with the one that has served me very well to this point.Quote:MadSo you think that our ability to isolate feeling in conscious thought does nothing to allow us to modify its translation into behavior? Consciousness without agency isn't good for much of anything, so they way you've presented it, we've got about as much advantage over a dog as a parrot would.Wow you really stretched what I was saying to the most negative extreme, beyond what I thought was possible. I clearly said above that our consciousness allows us the freedom to choose, but our basic urges still drive us.Quote:me In the movie castaway...Quote:MadI take back the implication that you never provide references for your facts.Are you angry? You seem to have misrepresented my point here, either willfully or by mistake, so I will post it again.Quote:MeThis element of the story carries believability for only one reason... we can relate to it. Later Edited by: Frank 013 at: 4/2/07 3:15 pm
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You guys!....Lest, some, might start sounding a wee bittle existentialist here..Mad..Ahem..Yikes. I mean really. It's not that hard, is it? There IS something bigger, brighter, more evolved, more comprehending and comprehensive than we...Get stethoscope and listen to your heart. Just do it. I'm not kidding. You can get a pretty good one online for around 11 bucks. We are supposed to have evolved, in every way, to a point where we can say--we don't know WHAT that is, the thing(s) which keeps that galloping horse of an amazingly designed and efficient pump going and going, but we know it, IS. 'We' can only follow our instincts to care for ourselves, or choose not to care, and destroy, ourselves through neglect, or outright self harm, BUT, 'we' are not the ones keeping it all going. 'We' do not make babies, or 'heal' each other, any more than we consciously make our skin cells or synthesize protein. All we can do is follow instructions. As I said before, I thought they were painfully self explanatory; don't hurt yourself, don't hurt others,create, protect, be healthy and joyful. Don't war. Don't think you are anything like God, but know that God is in every cell. It's NOT ROCKET SCIENCE!!!!!JUST get the derned stethoscope, and then get back to me on this, OK? HFC
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Re: RE: Dawkins' BBC Interview/church and 'happiness'

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Me: Perhaps if you expected more out of the cosmos you'd experience something different? Perhaps if you allowed your wonder to expand beyond observation and into intimacyFrank: How would you accomplish something like that?As Christians, it has something to do with trusting that a spirit of rejuvenation and resurrection actually, really and truly operates: will change your life and equip you to change the lives of others...healing, encouraging, empowering and transformative. This trust is informed through biblical study and theological reflection upon what it means to worship an incarnational God...a God that loves the world and becomes flesh, 'Emmanuel', and lives among and within creation. Prayer is essential and takes many forms, as is meditation and practising what it means to "Be still and know I am God". Gathering for worship that includes scripture, theological reflection, prayer, quiet meditation, song, and time to share the burdens of one's life with those who have committed to help carry them. Often this involves meals and table fellowship where relationships are deepened and intimacy practiced. Church is more than just what happens within a place of worship and worship is more than just going to a building called Church. This spirit of rejuvenation and resurrection mobilizes Christians to join in solidarity around protecting the least powerful and most vulnerable: confronting those forces that dominate and exploit their weaknesses and vulnerability. So, in a very crude nutshell...this is one way to develop intimacy with the cosmos.Frank: My nature does not seem geared towards intimacy with something I can't completly understand, and seems as hostile as it is giving.If we waited for complete understanding before practising intimacy, I think we'd never experience love and care. I don't think, maybe you do, that any of us completely understand anybody...even ourselves. Waiting for complete understanding would leave us, frankly, quite alone. I guess this means that love is terribly risky, not something that provides absolute certainty or waits for complete knowledge. I think you are right on target regarding hesitancy toward loving that which is hostile and dangerous: how to develop intimacy with a threatening uncertainty? Words don't carry much weight when it comes to these kinds of acid tests: genocide, global warming, nuclear holocausts, microbiological terror....talk is cheap whether theist, atheist, agnostic or whatever.I think Christians have a response that involves a cross: not a pie in the sky airy fairy absorption into divine bliss...but a concrete confrontation with the forces of abuse and domination. Me: in other words, not simply observing but really loving...and, in the process the cosmos responds with a sort of gracious hospitalityFrank: Like how? Do you get super powers?Yes...the Power Cosmic as displayed by The Silver Surfer. Frank: Sounds like a long wait for a train that will not come.Perhaps. Working for social justice, ecological sanity and human rights seems just as futile...why not simply round up the undesirables and unteachables and eliminate them? Why bother with sharing the planet with those who continue to actively pursue their own delusions and perpetuate teh delusions of others? I'm not arguing that you need to have faith in God or be a Christian to combat genocidal nihilism...but you need a great deal of faith and hope to purchase tickets for the justice and human rights train too.Frank: Frank starts at consciousness and nature ends at instinct.A delicious aphorism, but hardly captures the complexity of the parts involved. Isn't consciousness something nature does? Frank is one way that nature thinks about the limits of instinct.
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Re: RE: Dawkins' BBC Interview/church and 'happiness'

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me: You couldn't assess "all available real world evidence" unless you had somehow limited that category to something manageable.Frank: Luckily that has been done for me all I have to do is review the data.That presupposes that you know what evidence is pertinent and what evidence is not, or that you know with full confidence that the person's deciding that matter for you are reliable judges, in which case you're submitting to authority.me: All human reason begins with premises that are arational, which dilutes the purity of the argument, to say the least.Frank: I don't agree with your conclusion, you have come to that conclusion without evidence just as you do with your deity conclusion.I've provided sound reasoning in support of my contention that all arguments begin with arational premises. That conclusion is drawn based on a consideration of a) the structure of formal logic, which I've studied and continue to study, b) the history of philosophy that contributed to the growth of modern rationalism, and c) a consideration of the the place of reason in the human lifespan (cf. the illustration of stringing together all your rational conclusions into a single, linked argument).If you've got some evidence that we are capable of arguing from completely rational premises, show it, and I'll reconsider my position. But this business of dismissing my position on grounds that I haven't presented any evidence is just lazy and ignores the actual reasoning that I've provided.Until you can show me that our senses and extended senses are missing something fundamentally important your argument is simply hot air.I've already shown what you know to be true in the first place -- that our senses were evolved to perform particular functions related to the necessities of survival, but that we have no reason to suppose that they developed to give us access to objective knowledge of any given thing.me: Then, if you turned around and started providing rational arguments in support of that initial premise, you could only do so by assuming other arational premises in support of that initial premise -- unless, that is, you supported that initial premise by reference to some conclusion in the rest of the string, in which case your entire argument would become circular.Frank: Witch you do regularly.My point is that we all do that on a daily basis, so I'm hardly offended at your suggestion (or the specific implication that I'm doing just that in the witch discussion).
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Re: RE: Dawkins' BBC Interview/church and 'happiness'

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Quote:MadThat presupposes that you know what evidence is pertinent and what evidence is not, or that you know with full confidence that the person's deciding that matter for you are reliable judges, in which case you're submitting to authority.I do know these things, because I know what is pertinent to me, and I do not have to have full confidence in any written or lectured topic. I can, and have, done some experimenting on my own to confirm other peoples analysis. I can make my own observations and see how they match up with others. It's not all about accepting someone else's judgment but about experiencing what you can and comparing your conclusion with others. Quote:MadI've already shown what you know to be true in the first place -- that our senses were evolved to perform particular functions related to the necessities of survival, but that we have no reason to suppose that they developed to give us access to objective knowledge of any given thing.I've not argued this, (which I mentioned above) but answer me this; what evidence do you have that we missed something fundamental to our ability to reason?Ill even concede that we might have missed something, but you seem to have already concluded that we must have, what's the evidence?Later
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Re: RE: Dawkins' BBC Interview/church and 'happiness'

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Quote:DHAs Christians, it has something to do with trusting that a spirit of rejuvenation and resurrection actually, really and truly operates: will change your life and equip you to change the lives of others...healing, encouraging, empowering and transformative. What if I am happy the way I am and do not want to be changed or transformed?Quote:DHIf we waited for complete understanding before practicing intimacy, I think we'd never experience love and care.Maybe not, but what you are suggesting is similar in my mind to loving a sycophantic who is as likely to stab you to death as hug you. Quote:DHI think Christians have a response that involves a cross: not a pie in the sky airy fairy absorption into divine bliss...but a concrete confrontation with the forces of abuse and domination.This may be true of your version but I have seen plenty of the other as well.Quote:DHYes...the Power Cosmic as displayed by The Silver Surfer.Super cool!!! and Silver surfer is supposed to make an appearance in the next fantastic 4 movie! Quote:DHPerhaps. Working for social justice, ecological sanity and human rights seems just as futile...Maybe but working for these things will have tangible benefits, religion shows no signs of such reimbursement. Quote:DHWhy not simply round up the undesirables and unteachables and eliminate them? They out number us something like 200,000 to one. Any attempt would likely end in an unpleasant and pointless death. Quote:DHWhy bother with sharing the planet with those who continue to actively pursue their own delusions and perpetuate the delusions of others? Not much choice, see the above answer. Quote:DHI'm not arguing that you need to have faith in God or be a Christian to combat genocidal nihilism...but you need a great deal of faith and hope to purchase tickets for the justice and human rights train too. I do not expect that there will be much headway in these categories. Even in my own lifetime I have seen ideals like honesty, honor and loyalty diminish. But I try to lead my own life in the way I feel would be good for our race. I have some hope, but in faith I am lacking.Later
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Dis, You said."I'm not arguing that you need to have faith in God or be a Christian to combat genocidal nihilism...but you need a great deal of faith and hope to purchase tickets for the justice and human rights train too."Faith and hope, faith, and hope--what does that mean?If you start at another place, organic, you might find that a healthy human, naturally, is full of life, desires good and promotes good--healthier brains work better.So the 'train' we, all human beings, need to get on is the one of self love--your self-self and your, other, self which is some other part of consciousness on which we don't have much of a rat's a*s worth of knowledge, but you sort of know it's there..That crazy Freud guy tried to define it (unexplained part of consciousness,) badly, other guys think it's radio waves, but we kind of know it is more complicated than our waking, trying to find the car keys, selves, focused more on survival and procreation--oh, and studying formal logic, physics, cool stuff like that, ahem..OK, we are not complete idiots, consciously; some being more not completely idiotic than others. And, we can control our behaviors consciously, through problem solving and choices, at least to the extent we can fit all of that controlling in to our schedules everyday. There can be lots of problems and not enough time for good food or fitness or enough rest, so, I'd say STRESS is the real "devil" not some burgeoning heaviness inside you waiting to erupt and 'make' you do things you should not. When someone said the words "lighten up," the first time, what do you think they meant? Hint: it has to do with light. Light, a wave of, or enlightenment, or lightness of step, the spark of light in your blood vessel when your heart beats, the light from the sun on the ocean in the early morning, the light in your children's eyes, when they are healthy and loved, flashing you. Life is full of lightness if you allow yourself to be healthy.Healthy humans love themselves and each other. It's provable.Our, American, culture is one of the worst for encouraging self care. Some cultures have done a better job with putting self care and love at the top of the list--yes, it's a jeopardy question. But, it (American culture) also seems to inspire this messianic behavior, which, usually destroys the health of that person, since they are so giving they 'forget' to care for themselves, which, I think is viewed as heroic in some way, amazingly, by the person doing it, and others in their group. Giving is good. Giving until it is bad for you is stupid. Been there. Stupid.My problem with the whole Christ story is that I think it encourages a victim's view of self and world. Yes, life can be deeply painful. We are deeply touched by the feelings of others, if, we allow it. We are moved by noble sacrifice. But when the sacrifice is given for something which could have been prevented, I have to say--what? Even though I get that, Jesus*, was making this huge statement, this Hollywood sign sized display with his blood splashed all over it--" LOOK YOU MORONS, STOP HURTING YOURSELVES AND EACH OTHER, FOR ____ SAKE!" You fill in modifier.Well. That would certainly get your attention. But do people, now, have to martyr themselves? I am scratching head, it makes no sense. Sunday mornings are best spent cuddling in bed, if the goal is health, rather than marching in a crisply starched uniform to a battle cry of a flock of 'followers.' As if the problems were all external and there is a right 'side' and a wrong 'side.' No sense whatsoever. There is no 'train' on which to get. You are already on it; you are the frigin train, as we all are. HJesus*: for you, Frank. If, he, provably, lived. Oh, and you said, "Frank starts at consciousness and nature ends at instinct."But our conscious selves experience intellectual 'instinct' which has nothing to do with survival, and our instinctive selves can be objectively coerced in to obeying stop signs. It is almost as if you describe your entire physiological Frank as separate from, you, "thinking therefore you are", Frank. Edited by: halofrisbeechamp at: 4/3/07 12:35 pm
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