sorry if I irritated you - that is felt in your response. 
You remarked:
(>">     Upon your:
>     " unbiased sample, of the available evidence? " is showing. -      
> Who is unbiased? )"<
You don't have to decide who's unbiased. 
My question meant: NOBODY is unbiased. Not you, not me, whoever 'thinks' has 
some position which is hard to overcome.
In the continuation I would appreciate to substitute your "opinion" word by 
"belief system" - scientific or religious. 
" Is there no reason to prefer science to voodoo?"
Ask a voodoo official.  A friend was raised by nuns in Chile and asked "I was 
thinking..." whereupon the nun - educatrix shouted her down: "you should not 
"think" you should "believe". (Have you ever believed a science-book? Say: 
stories told by your college-professor? )
You cannot exclude in reasonable discussions the religious vast majority of 
humanity, - talking about a handful of 'free thinking' fundamentalists 
(science-crazed  people) is a vaste of time. In our western 'culture' the 
science-belief system is comparable mutatis mutandis with the religious one - 
noting some differences WHAT conditions are set for accepting an evidence 
Your: "???" - look in your text for "imply".
Your par: "What's your evidence for that? ..."
You can pick the religious old, I can pkick the others, and tjhose who changed 
(or abandoned at all) religions. I was referring to a "pristine faith" of the 
young. The official religion of a country is politics. I don't know about your 
statistical figures, but social (marital?) pressure keeps lots of people as 
churchgoers from the many millions that don't go. Even in countries of an 
'official' state-religion. 
"... in fact they all claim that they are immune from test.  This is where they 
fail in their epistemological duty."

You mean the epistemological duty YOU impose? They simply claim to be immune 
from YOUR test, they have their own 'test' and 'evidence'.
That was my point.

John M

PS I hate to be i nvolved in arguments on religions and am sorry to have opened 
my mouse. Especially not with people who 'fundamentally' are on the same side 
with me - just hate my trend to be 'unbiased' (= fair to both parts). JM


  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Brent Meeker 
  Sent: Wednesday, January 10, 2007 7:00 PM
  Subject: Re: Evil ?

  John M wrote:
  > Brent:
  > 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
  >     SP:>
  >      >     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.--*
  >     BM:
  >     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.
  >     -----JMnow:-----
  >     "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? 

  You don't have to decide who's unbiased.  But if you refuse to consider some 
evidence because it might conflict with your opinion while you accept other 
evidence of the same type because it supports your opinion, then you are guilty 
of bias.  And if you're going to act on your opinion in a way that affects 
others, then I think you have an ethical duty to consider the evidence.  

  >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?

  You ignored my prefacing statement that everyone has a political right to 
their beliefs - i.e. they should not be subject to coercion, like threat of 
death.  I explicitly rejected religious fanaticism.  Why do you bring it up as 
though I endorsed it?

  And if you have no standard but "culture" then how can you reject their 
culture of religious fanaticism.  Is it mere personal preference?  Can you 
offer no reasons.  Is there no reason to prefer science to voodoo?
  >     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?*
  >     BM:
  >     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.
  >     ---JMnow:---
  >     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. 

  What's your evidence for that?  The overwhelming majority of people follow 
the religion of their parents.  That's why there are "Muslim countries" and 
"Catholic countries" and "Hindu countries".  People may develop a different 
conception of their religion as they age, but I've know as many to become less 
doubtful as to become more.

  >And none of
  >     the religions teaches the 'holiness' of the OTHER religion's 'holy'
  >     books - different from their own.

  Exactly.  And none of them teach that you should empirically test their holy 
doctrines; in fact they all claim that they are immune from test.  This is 
where they fail in their epistemological duty.

  >     SP:
  >      >      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)*
  >     BM:
  >     But Einstein didn't allow for a flat Earth.
  >     ---JMnow------
  >     Please, read again: I did neither write "Einstein allowed" nor "a
  >     flat Earth".  

  But you *warned* Stathis; who had only referred to a flat Earth - not a 
geocentric cosmos.  And what is the distinction between "reopened a scientific 
allowance" and "allowed"?

  Brent Meeker


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