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PaulS last won the day on September 7 2017

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About PaulS

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    Alternate Administrator & Site Sponsor
  • Birthday 08/20/1968

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    Mandurah Western Australia

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  1. Apologies for the late tune in - but I just felt I didn't have anything further to add to our discussion, Thormas. But I would like to make it clear that my main point of contention was not about the 'absolute certainty' of the Gospels we have today compared to the Gospels when they were written (although the unreliability of their accuracy does feed into my points that we may be mistaken about much of what we think these authors wrote because of the demonstrated inconsistencies and errors), but moreso I was trying to express to you my doubts about any scholarship being able to demonstrate or establish that the Gospels, even in their original form, must be regarded as an accurate depiction of the 'gist' of Jesus. It appears to me, that the only evidence proffered is that we have nothing else, so assumptions seem to be that the Gospel writers must have been on the money or their views wouldn't have prevailed. I simply don't think that is a sound conclusion. I think there is certainly room for error and exaggeration about Jesus between when he lived and the next forty years before anything that we actually have left today, was written. And even more room for the 'gist' to grow over the next 50 or so years when the remaining Gospels were written. So for me, when Bart says things like "If these gist memories are accurate..." he is acknowledging that these authors are the only 'existing' view we have of Jesus, but that doesn't make them accurate (even in their unadulterated form if we had it). I'm pretty sure I gave you Donald Trump as an example - if in 40 to 100 years time things were written about the 'gist' of Donald, I expect they would not all agree. And if over the decades and centuries that followed, Republican followers of Donald became the dominant group and successfully shouted down or overgrew other views of his 'gist', and subsequently over time they drowned out and destroyed the writings of the other views, then hundreds and thousands of years later, what would we be discussing as the relative certainty of the gist of Donald? Of course we could only really consider what we had and not perhaps the other bits that were shouted down and destroyed, even with good intent, way back in the beginning. So to summarize, scholars may reasonably know what the authors of the existing Gospels and NT wrote - but how do scholars establish these writings are an accurate portrayal of the gist of Jesus? That these stories accurately capture the gist of Jesus and aren't rather just a particular stream of Jesus belief that won the day and eventually got canonised?
  2. There is no black and white - rather, everything is shades of grey. Our experiences make us who we are. We would be that other person if we'd had their experiences. We're all going to die eventually, so try not to take it too seriously and enjoy the ride. I think considering those who will come after you is a nice thing to do.
  3. PaulS


    Oh the horror!
  4. PaulS


    The Barossa is lovely, but for the most scenic wine region in Australia, consider my state's southwest region - Margaret River! As for Malbec at 8am - it's always wine o'clock somewhere in the world!
  5. PaulS


    Yes, I had read about Portugal and it seems to be a huge success in many ways. There are still issues, but we have issues with current legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco too.
  6. But lots of people commit crimes without really making a 'choice', perhaps they are drug addled, or have mental difficulties (but not enough to get them off the crime) etc. Like you say, if you had been born with the same exact genetics, life experiences etc, you would be no different. So doesn't it seem a little unfair that because of genetics and the lottery of life experiences, that we judge these others for their actions, which you acknowledge would be you but for nothing but fortune?
  7. PaulS


    I know the feeling - I am partaking of a lovely South Australian Shiraz as I type.
  8. PaulS


    I am probably split between decriminalization and continuing enforcement. Perhaps it should be a more multifaceted approach - I have no issue decriminalizing or legalizing cannabis and I believe there would be lots of benefits in doing so. However, I'm not as comfortable with decriminalizing say methamphetamine, simply because it seems such a damaging substance and I think many people are not aware just how easy it is to become addicted to and how damaging that addiction can be. I don't think cannabis is in the same class. I'm not sure what the main problems are with drugs in the US (or more to the point, which drugs), but it seems the US does spend a lot more on fighting drugs than say Australia. I imagine your close proximity to countries like Columbia and issues with cocaine feature more heavily than Australia which is much more isolated (or maybe Americans have a greater penchant for drug use?). In any event, where Australia spends about $1.5bn of its $1.4t economy on drug law enforcement, it seems the US spends something like $51b from its $21t economy. Maths isn't my strong point but it seems that the US spends nearly twice as much (as a % of its economy) than Australia, so possibly there are others issues there which we don't have in Australia? Or maybe Aussies are just tight But that aside, much of the argument for decriminalizing cannabis comes from better use of the money otherwise spent on drug enforcement. It has been speculated here that something like 70% of that budget is used to fight cannabis. I'm not certain how accurate that it, but even if it was only half of that 70%, it does seem like a significant waste for a relatively harmless drug (but up there with tobacco and alcohol). It has been suggested that if cannabis was licensed like tobacco and alcohol, that it could be worth nearly $5b a year to the economy. If this is similar for the US, then greater amounts of money and a greater % of GDP could be better utilized also. Maybe cannabis is the low fruit though. Australian States have decriminalized it before (only to change it when usually a conservative government re-enters power) without any significant effect and I know many US States are moving toward decriminalization and/or legalizing cannabis. But what about the other drugs. Like I mentioned, meth or ice seems a bit harder for me to accept as allowing them to become freely available. It's impact on people is rapid and tragic. I'm not sure anyone starts taking it intends to become an addict but that is how many end up, very quickly. So clearly there needs to be a lot more education about such drugs, but where do governments get the funding from? Taking it away from drug enforcement activities that are no longer required? I wonder if illicit drugs are much different from what today we call legal drugs, such as alcohol. A large percentage of the population choose not to partake in the consumption of alcohol, and of those who do partake there are many who have no problems with it. But of course there are many who do struggle with alcoholism. I wonder if legalizing drugs might be a similar scenario - there will continue to be those who don't want them, there could be a percentage of the population who take some drugs and live just fine, but then there will likely be a certain cohort that suffer addiction and ill effect. But perhaps it is the reasons people take drugs in the first place that could be addressed with surplus ex-enforcement funds? Nearly 2.3% of adult Americans battled an illicit drug use disorder in 2017 - why? (I would quote an Australian stat but I can't find one - presumably we're up there too). Why do people desire to take mind-altering drugs? Would some maybe not if we simply stopped telling them not to? Would there be less interest in drugs if they weren't illegal? Are lower-socio economic groups more represented in illicit drug use (I suspect so) and if so, why? Is it because many are disillusioned knowing they are unlikely to break out of the poverty cycle. I would have to say "I don't know" as well, Joseph, but that's why I'm putting it out there to discuss.
  9. PaulS


    I wonder what people here think about drug use and the criminality associated with drugs? Would countries be better off allowing all drugs to be legal perhaps and spend the billions of dollars otherwise spent on law enforcement on other ways of improving our communities, which in turn is likely to see the desire to turn to otherwise illicit drugs as less necessary? Or, should countries continue to burn billions of dollars in efforts to stem the flow of illicit drug trading? Do people think this is the most successful strategy we should continue to employ? Is it working? Is there any other alternatives?
  10. PaulS


    The policies of many, many other countries are similar to the US (e.g. concerning refugee rights if they make landfall and also for many the rights of children born to illegal aliens automatically being granted citizenship rights by birthright) to the degree that there really isn't anything outstanding in the US's approach. However many of these countries do a lot better when it comes to per capita acceptance of immigrants and spending per capita on such issues. Again, this doesn't make the US 'bad', just not at the peak like some patriots may blindly believe. As for Trump, having seen how ineffective he has been I am now less concerned how badly he will impact the US and the wider world, either this term or if he should win a second and final term. I like to look at it positively - the US and the world may suffer up to 8 years in total of Trump, but eventually he will be gone and consigned to history as likely a pretty ordinary President.
  11. PaulS


    Indeed, I think people like Burl would be surprised what the rest of the world actually does concerning immigration & refugees, in many instances leaving the US wanting when it comes to being the 'best' in responses to them. Not that the US is a poor performer or anything, but rather that it simply does not have, by far, the kindest & most liberal policy in the world, and if Trump had his way, things would be a lot worse. As one not claiming the superiority of Christianity as the way to treat others in the world, how do you regard current approaches to immigration, particularly around illegal aliens, and do you think that more should be done to help those who are by far worse off in the world?
  12. PaulS


    Not interested Burl. If you want to make a Trumpian statement and then fail to provide support for the statement when asked (because you can't), I can't be bothered either. If it is because you don't understand what other countries do in comparison to the US, just say so. Clearly you misunderstand the Australian situation (because you don't live there but which didn't stop you making claims in the first place) - perhaps that goes for a lot more countries outside of the US for you?
  13. PaulS


    But still not able to back up your statement that the "US has by far the kindest & most liberal policy in the world" with any evidence? You do The Donald proud.
  14. PaulS


    You need to do a bit more research Burl. Anybody who arrives in Australia without a visa or stays in the country when their visa is expired, gets detained. The circumstances concerning how they arrive in Australia determines the processing method. As of June 2019, 14,507 people who had sought asylum in Australia by boat were living in the community on what is called a Bridging Visa. None have been sent to PNG for several years now. Another island detention centre (Nauru) currently houses about 250 illegal arrivals. If the person is seeking asylum, they don't get a 'trial' but rather their claim is assessed to consider if it is genuine or not. There is no sentencing. During this process, certain asylum seeker groups are detained so that they don't disappear in the community, never to be located again. Does the US detain illegal arrivals? In 2001 the Australian Government made a deal with the PNG Government and set up a detention center on an island in PNG with a population of about 45,000 - Manus Island. One was also setup with the agreement of the Government of Nauru. The Manus Island centre was wound down between 2003-2008 but cranked back up again in 2010 with a significant increase in irregular maritime arrivals. The centre was closed in 2017 (see further below for what has happened to those non-refugees that refuse to go home). This detention strategy has been proven and the point is not argued by either side of politics here in Australia - it significantly stemmed the flow of illegal boats coming to Australia. Part of the reason for wanting to stem the flow was the number of people dying in unsafe boats and seas in attempts to make it to Australia where they thought they would be safe (some 400-500 people died in the 4 years leading up to the implementation of Manus Island Detention Centre). Probably also like the US's concerns, these arrivals had to pass by or through several countries before arriving at their country of choice, so in part the strategy was to encourage our neighbors to do more to stem boats and arrivals also. As an aside, typically our Liberal Party (currently in government) are the ones regarded as hard on border security and our Labor Party as soft. In our recent Federal Election all money was on Labor winning government but amazingly they didn't. Within weeks of the election date at least 6 boats from Sri Lanka were blocked from illegal entry - people smugglers had started up again in th elead up to the Federal Election presuming that Labor would likely weaken the laws and allow more boat entrants (the last time Labor were in power the boat arrival numbers went through the roof). So all in all, everyone (except you) agrees it has been an exceptionally strong deterrent. As I mentioned above, the Manus Island Detention Centre was closed in 2017, when the PNG Supreme Court found that the Centre breached the PNG constitution's right to personal liberty. So although the PNG government had previously agreed, 16 years later their courts disagreed with that decision and the center was promptly shut down. Many of the asylum seekers who were present at that time, and who's claims had been rejected, refused to leave Manus Island and so they were offered other housing on the island (non-detention). They of course are free to leave if they wish, but they are not free to visit Australia. Is being held in detention whilst your claim is being assessed disgraceful? In isolation I don't think it is but in this bigger picture of how we handle immigration in general and that which I am raising in this thread, I am questioning all aspects of how we prohibit and treat those wishing to seek a better future for their children and themselves, and why we think it is okay to do so. In regards to 'life sentences' on Manus Island, the My questioning of your claim that "the US has by far the kindest & most liberal policy in the world" concerning 'legal policy' (whatever you mean exactly by that term) wasn't to encourage you to debate the US vs Aussie approach, but rather to see if you had anything to substantiate your claim (I called it Trumpian because it seems to be a pretty common mistake of your president to make a bold claim without any supporting evidence and even in fact where there is evidence to the contrary). It seems to me that your patriotic claim cannot be substantiated in any sort of empirical way as all of the evidence available (try doing some research on refugee numbers, treatment, policies and some very good UN reports) would suggest the US isn't the best in the world concerning refugees and/or immigrants. But hold fast to that if you feel the need to be right.
  15. PaulS


    I think for me what further complicates the matter is that it shouldn't just be a case of 'us and them'. We are privileged by nothing other than birthright, others are not. But adding to this, many other countries are disadvantaged due largely to interference from other countries, wars they never asked for, and natural tragedies such as drought and starvation. How do you explain to a child born into misery and poverty in say Zimbabwe, that is is simply his bad luck for being born there and now he has to live with it? Honduras I think is a classic example where other country interference, although not solely responsible, has helped create and environment that neither you or I would want to raise our children in, so I can't blame them for wanting to get to a better place such as the US - https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/dec/19/central-america-migrants-us-foreign-policy I wonder how people would feel about American Indians if they had said no to British illegal immigrants way back when!
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