Stathis: wise words. (I find your Elvis - Jesus parable exaggerated).
Values, like ethics or morale is culture related - mostly anti-natural. The 
natural way of life is "eat the prey, animal and/or plant", kick out a 
competitor from your territory, once the lion killed the weaker male: eat his 
litter, to protect HIS own genes. We find in 'groups' some 'societal' 
degeneration for group-survival, which went over to more sophisticated (human?) 
society as tribal etc. self-defense philosophy. Developmental factors colored 
that into diverse belief systems (religions etc.) "Values" are derived from 
Credibility is also a belief-system consequence: who would have believed in 
1000AD that all the angels dancing on a pin can be wiped away by a human-made 
atomic bomb?  Or would have Plato believed in a quark? 
(Not more ridiculous than your stabbing me with Santa).

With friendship

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Stathis Papaioannou 
  Sent: Monday, January 08, 2007 6:01 PM
  Subject: RE: Evil ? (was: Hypostases (was: Natural Order & Belief)


  We need to have some sort of system for sorting the wrong beliefs from the 
  ones. This is what science tries to do, although of course it can never 
arrive at "ultimate truth" precisely 
  because it has to be open to new evidence should it come along. But we have 
to have some basic standards 
  for evidence, and if we are honest we should apply that standard 
consistently. If someone believes that Elvis is alive 
  because lots of people have seen him then, IMHO, that person's standards of 
evidence are too low. But if someone 
  believes that Jesus rose from the dead because it says in the Bible that 
people saw him, but not that Elvis is alive, 
  then not only is that person's standards of evidence too low, he is also 
being inconsistent. If you believe the incredible 
  things it says in one holy book then you have forfeited your reasons for 
disbelieving all sorts of other incredible things. 

  As for values, once we have ironed out our disagreements on empirical matters 
on which our values depend, then all 
  we can say is, I think this and you think that: there is no basis for saying 
one of us is right and the other wrong.

  Oh, and the atheist/ agnostic thing: are you atheistic or agnostic about 
Santa Claus?

  Stathis Papaioannou

  > To:
  > Subject: Re: Evil ? (was: Hypostases (was: Natural Order & Belief)
  > Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2007 09:19:08 -0500
  > Interleaving in bold
  > John
  > ----- Original Message -----
  > From: Stathis Papaioannou<mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
  > To:<>
  > Sent: Monday, January 08, 2007 4:55 AM
  > Subject: RE: Evil ? (was: Hypostases (was: Natural Order & Belief)
  > Tom Caylor writes:
  > ---SKIP
  > >
  >  Stathis Papaioannou:
  > 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:
  > --who's empiria and who's logic? Are YOU the ultimate authority?--
  >  they are just saying this is the way I wish to live my
  > life, this is what I hold to be good or important, this is what I would 
like other people to hold good or important.
  > --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.
  > --Everybody's prerogative.--
  > 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....
  > --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.
  > --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? --
  >  That is not the case if you compare the evidence for a flat Earth versus a 
spherical Earth, for example.
  > (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)
  > As for the Problem of Evil, that's easy: there is no evidence that there is 
a God; if there is a God, there is no
  > evidence that he cares what happens to us; if he does care what happens to 
us there is no evidence that he intervenes in our lives; if he does intervene 
there is no evidence that things are any better than they would be if he didn't 
  > --Again, you consider YOUR evidence in YOUR logic. You have the right to do 
so, but so has a religious person to his own ways.
  > I am not an atheist, because an a-theist needs a god (theos)  to deny and 
in my belief system (based on those natural sciences I was brainwashed into at 
college) I do not condone IN NATURE any SUPERNATURAL ideas. I just wondered why 
the 'god-designers' made their idol(s) with all those human fallibilities 
(vain, seek adoration, pick favorites, no criticism allowed, are vengeful, 
irate, not impartial, influenceable, cruel, punishing even unjustly (punishing 
for things by creational flaws etc.) and assigning this world to a creator with 
such flaws...  And yes, I am an agnostic, because I am not convinced about the 
superiority of MY ideas over the ideas of others. - JM
  > --------
  > Stathis Papaioannou

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