Dear Stathis: 
my answer to your quewstion:
          Of course not!
There is a belief systems "I" like and there are the  others I don't. 
I just maintain a (maybe misplaced?) humbleness that I am not the judge to 
decide about the rightness of "mine" and "not mine". 
--------"Mine" is better (not necessarily the best). <G> --------
Otherwise I would change it as do many converts, emigrants. divorcees, or 
'elevated minds' coming to some better position.
The exceptional "best" are those of the fundamentalist fanatics (for 
themselves, of course), they don't even 'look' away.  

I liked your 'trappy' question: I used to be a faithful altar-boy, a 
reincarnationist, a Ouiji-board addict, a natural scientist (within the 
reductionist science-religion of our times in the west) and I changed lately 
into a view of totally interconnected complexity of a deterministically 
interactive existence. So I have experience. 
Am I biased? you bet.

Best wishes


  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Stathis Papaioannou 
  Sent: Friday, January 12, 2007 10:01 PM
  Subject: RE: Evil ?

  Dear John,

  Perhaps if you could answer just this question of Brent's, neither a straw 
man nor personal abuse:

  "Do you consider all belief systems to be equal? If not what makes one better 
than another?

  Stathis Papaioannou

  > To:
  > Subject: Re: Evil ?
  > Date: Fri, 12 Jan 2007 15:41:55 -0500
  > Dear Brent,
  > I value many of your posts higher than continue this exchange which starts 
to turn strawmannishly ad personam.
  > I wanted to continue,  but deleted my post before sending.
  > I do not promise NOT to reflect to your posts in other matters, but what 
this developed into is  - as it marks - "Evil".
  > With best regards your voodoo expert
  > John
  > ----- Original Message -----
  > From: Brent Meeker<mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
  > To:<>
  > Sent: Thursday, January 11, 2007 7:39 PM
  > Subject: Re: Evil ?
  > John M wrote:
  > > Brent,
  > > 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.
  > > JM:
  > > My question meant: NOBODY is unbiased. Not you, not me, whoever 'thinks'
  > > has some position which is hard to overcome.
  > Why should everyone "overcome" their position.
  > > 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.
  > I'm asking you.
  > >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? )
  > No.  And if you ask a scientist if he believes some theory you'll either 
get a funny look or an exposition on the evidence for and against.
  > > 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.
  > They are not "a vast majority" in most of Europe.  So it is quite possible 
for there to be non-religious societies.
  > >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 (=truth).
  > And is that difference unimportant?  Do you consider all belief-systems to 
be equal?  If not, what makes one better than another?
  > > --------
  > > 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.
  > > --------
  > > Finally:
  > > "... 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.
  > I think humans valuing knowledge is as fundamental as their valuing food 
and sex. So there is a recognized epistemological duty.  Everyone, in every 
culture, is contemptuous of the fool and a fool is someone who readily adopts 
false beliefs.
  > Brent Meeker

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