And you, Stathis, are very kind to assume that I "know' a right position from a 
wromng one. I may be in indecision before I denigrate...
On the contrary. if someone 'believes' the 6 day creation, I start speculating 
WHAT "days" they could have been metaphorically, starfting before the solar 
system led us to our present ways of scheduling. Etc. Etc. Accepting that 
whatever we 'believe' is our epistemic achievement, anything 'from yesterday' 
might have been 'right' (maybe except the old Greeks - ha ha). in their own 
Sometimes I start an argument about a "different" (questionable?) belief just 
to tickle out arguments which I did not consider earlier. But that is my dirty 
I am a bad judge and always ready to reconsider.

John M
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Stathis Papaioannou 
  Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 5:54 PM
  Subject: RE: The Meaning of Life


  Some people, including the mentally ill, do have multiple inconsistent belief 
systems, but to me that makes it clear that at least one of their beliefs must 
be wrong - even in the absence of other information. You're much kinder to 
alternative beliefs than I am, but in reality, you *must* think that some 
beliefs are wrong, otherwise you would hold those beliefs! For example, if you 
say you don't personally believe the earth was created in six days, but respect 
the right of others to believe that it was, what you're really saying is that 
you respect the right of others to have a false belief. I have no dispute with 
that, as long as it is acknowledged.

  Stathis Papaioannou

    Subject: Re: The Meaning of Life
    Date: Tue, 6 Feb 2007 11:07:52 -0500

    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 
    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
        From: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
        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 answered:
        "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 
        Do you really think you can penetrate one by arguments from another?

        John M

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