I wonder if I can make a readable sense of this rather convoluted mix of posts? 
I suggest the original should be at hand, I copy only the parts I reflect to. 
My previous post quoted remarks go by a plain JM, the present (new) inclusions 
as  "----JMnow---- paragraphs.
John M
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Brent Meeker 
  Sent: Tuesday, January 09, 2007 11:51 PM
  Subject: Re: Evil ? (was: Hypostases

  John M wrote (previously):
  > Interleaving in* bold*(*-*
  > John
  >     ----- Original Message -----
  >     *From:* Stathis Papaioannou 
  >     *Sent:* Monday, January 08, 2007 4:55 AM
  >     *Subject:* RE: Evil ? (was: Hypostases (was: Natural Order & Belief)
  >     Tom Caylor writes:
  >     ---SKIP
  >      > 
  >      Stathis Papaioannou (SP:):
  >     People disagree on lots of things, but they also agree on         lots 
of  things, many of which are on the face
  >     of it either incredible or unpleasant - because                         
    the /_evidence_  / leaves them no choice. On matters of         values and 
religion, however, they disagree far more                 frequently. In the 
case of  values this is because they are         not actually disgreeing about 
any empirical or logical fact:
  JM:     --*who's empiria and who's logic? Are YOU the ultimate authority?--*
  >     --*Doesn't everybody. including yourself?--*
  >     In the case of religion, people disagree because they are selective
  >     in the evidence they accept because they
  >     want to believe something.
  JM:>     --*Everybody's prerogative.--*

  I'm not so sure.  Of course it is everyone's *political* right to base their 
beliefs on selective evidence - the institutions of government in liberal 
Western democracies recognize autonomy of thought.  But isn't there an ethical 
duty base one's beliefs on all, or at least an unbiased sample, of the 
available evidence?  If you don't rationally base your decisions that affect 
society, then I'd say you are a bad citizen - just as a person who sells his 
vote is a bad citizen.  I think we are too tolerant of religious irrationality; 
in a way that we do not tolerate irrationality in any other field.   
Historically this is because we want to allow freedom of conscious; we mistrust 
government to enforce right thought.  But just because we want to protect 
personal beliefs it doesn't follow that we should be tolerant of those beliefs 
when they are presented as a basis for public action.

  "Ethical duty base"? I consider it culture-based and changing from 
society-type to historical circumstances all over. See nelow a remark on the 
nature of what we call 'ethics'/'morality'. 
  Upon your:
  " unbiased sample, of the available evidence? " is showing. 
  Who is unbiased? We all live in our mindset (belief system) and call it 
"true", etc. Available is the 'evidence' we so consider. 
  "I think we are too tolerant of religious irrationality;..." and "they" say 
the same thing about the 'infidel' - and kill us. All in THEIR rationality. In 
their intolerance. Do we want to be similar? down to 'their' level?

  SP:>     Jews believe that God spoke to Moses, but they don't believe that 
God spoke to Muhammed. I don't think there is evidence that God spoke to either 
of them, but if your standards of evidence are much lower than mine....
  JM:>*who (else) told you which one is "lower"? Different, maybe.* 
  >      and you accept one, you are being inconsistent if you don't accept the 
other. That is,
  >     if you think the sort of evidence presented in holy books, reports of 
miracles, religious experience, strength of
  >     faith in followers etc. is convincing, then pretty well every
  >     religion is equally convincing.
  JM:>*Logical flaw: different religions accept different 'holy' books  (their 
own, that is). 
  You are in the joke when two people meet at the railroad station and one 
sais: I am making a trip to a distant foreign country and the other sais: me 
too, so why are we not
  traveling  together?*

  Your seem to imply that religions and their different teachings are just 
personal choices - like where to go on vacation.  But in fact each one teaches 
that their holy books are objectively true and the values in those books (as 
interpreted by the appropriate religious authorities) are not subjective, but 
are mandated by god(s) for everyone.

  Seeing people changing their religions it is not mere implication.
   Not many people keep their early childhood pristine faith (in whatever 
religion) into later years of a hardened self. And none of the religions 
teaches the 'holiness' of the OTHER religion's 'holy' books - different from 
their own. 

  >      That is not the case if you compare the evidence for a flat Earth 
versus a spherical Earth, for example.
  JM:>     *(Watch out: Einstein reopened the scientific allowance for not only 
a heliocentric, but a geocentric world with his NO preference in a relative 
world (math would be complicated)*

  But Einstein didn't allow for a flat Earth.

  Please, read again: I did neither write "Einstein allowed" nor "a flat 
Earth".  It was just an oratorial sideline.
  Brent Meeker

  ---John Mikes---

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