no question about that. What I was trying to stress was the futility of arguing 
from one belief system (and stressing its solely expanded "truth") against a 
different "truth and evidence" carrying OTHER belief system.

BTW: don't schyzophrenics (maybe multiple personalitics) accept (alternately) 
ALL the belief systems they carry? (=layman asking the professional). 
IMO we all (i.e. thinking people) are schizophrenix with our rather elastic 
ways of intelligence. Beatus ille qui est "onetrackminded"..(the 9th 

To your initial sentence: do you believe (in YOUR criteria of your beliefs) 
that TWO people may have absolutely identical beliefs? I am almost certain that 
as your immune system, DNA, fingerprint and the other zillion characteristics 
are not identical to those of other animals, the mental makeup is similarly 
We are not zombies of a mechanically computerized machine-identity (Oops, no 
reference to Loeb). Duo si faciunt (cogitant?) idem, non est idem. 

John M
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Stathis Papaioannou 
  Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 9:38 AM
  Subject: RE: The Meaning of Life


  You shouldn't have one criterion for your own beliefs and a different 
criterion for everyone else's. If Christians said, "those old Greeks sang songs 
about their gods' miraculous exploits, really seemed to believe in them, and on 
top of that were pretty smart, so I guess everything in the Iliad and Odyssey 
must be true", then they would be consistently applying the standards they 
apply to the Bible. Of course, they don't: other peoples' religious beliefs are 
subjected to rational scrutiny and (rightly) found wanting, but their own 
beliefs are special. 

  Stathis Papaioannou

    Date: Tue, 6 Feb 2007 09:17:57 -0500
    Subject: Re: The Meaning of Life


    is it not a misplaced effort to argue from one set of belief system ONLY 
with a person 
    who carries two (or even more)? I had a brother-in-law, a devout catholic 
and an excellent
     biochemist and when I asked him how can he adjust the two in one mind, he 
    "I never mix the two together". Tom is an excellent natural scientist and 
has brilliant 
    arguments in it, as long as it comes to his 'other' belief system - what 
he, quite 
    inderstandably - does not want to give up. 
    We all have 'second belief bases' in our multiple schizophrenia of 
    Some have 'Platonia', some 'primitive matter view' - it is your profession. 
    Do you really think you can penetrate one by arguments from another?

    John M

    On 2/5/07, Stathis Papaioannou < [EMAIL PROTECTED] > wrote:

      Tom Caylor writes:
      > On Jan 31, 10:33 am, Brent Meeker <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
      > > OK. But in that case your question is just half of the question, "Why 
do people have values?" If you have values then that mean some things will be 
good and some will be bad - a weed is just a flower in a place you don't want 
it. You must already know the obvious answer to this given by Darwin. And it 
doesn't even take a person; even amoebas have values. I suspect you have a set 
answer in mind and you're looking for the question to elicit it.
      > >
      > > Brent Meeker
      > >
      > Also Stathis wrote:
      > > Sure, logic and science are silent on the question of the value of 
weeds or anything else. You need a person to come along and say "let x=good", 
and then you can reason logically given this. Evolutionary theory etc. may 
predict what x a person may deem to be good or beautiful, but this is not 
binding on an individual in the way laws governing the chemistry of 
respiration, for example, are binding. Unlike some scientific types, I am quite 
comfortable with ethics being in this sense outside the scope of science. 
Unlike some religious types, I am quite comfortable without looking for an 
ultimate source of ethics in the form of a deity. Even if this conclusion made 
me very unhappy, that might be reason to try self-deception, but it has no 
bearing on the truth.
      > >
      > > Stathis Papaioannou
      > >
      > Brent and Stathis exemplify two possible answers to meaning. Brent
      > reduces meaning to something based on mere existence or survival. Thus 
      > amoebas can have such meaning.
      > Stathis says that meaning is an unanswered (unanswerable?) mystery.
      > We just somehow self-generate meaning.
      > My introduction of the "Meaning Of Life" thread asked if the 
      > Everything perspective could provide any answers to this question.
      > Looking at the contributions since then, it looks like the answer is
      > apparently not. This is what I expected. Thus, meaning is either 
      > limited to trivial (non-normative) values or is without basis (the
      > Noble Lie). If you really read the modern philosophers seriously this
      > is their conclusion. Of course there is a third possible answer to 
      > this question: Meaning is based on a source outside of ourselves, by
      > "making connections with others based on such ideals as honour and
      > obligation" (a quote I read from Dr. Laura Schlesinger off of a 
      > Starbucks coffee cup this morning!) Of course people can poo-poo such
      > ideals as simply "sentiments", debunking them on a surface level
      > (which is the only level there is without them), just as C.S. Lewis
      > pointed out in his lectures on "The Abolition of Man". And indeed,
      > without such ideals, man will be discretized into a trivial skeleton
      > of his true self.
      > Tom

      You seem to keep arguing that it wouldn't be very nice if there were no 
ultimate meaning. Is there any actual evidence that this alleged meaning 
exists? For example, suppose a society believes that the Sky God provides 
ultimate meaning and live their lives happily, whereas it could be shown that 
they would all be miserable and kill each other if they believed it were not 
true. On this basis there may be reason to think that belief in the Sky God is 
useful, but is there any reason to think that belief in the Sky God is true?
      Stathis Papaioannou

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