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romansh last won the day on January 4

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About romansh

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    In the woods, BC/USA border

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  1. Welcome JoWillie I think most people past and present here would agree that the founding fathers were secular in flavor. Like Paul, I am not American but I would be happy to see a more secular US.
  2. The Ukraine Airlines PS 752 fiasco is fallout from the general's assassination. Anyway last week I was listening to a cartoonist (Bruce MacKinnon) about PS 752, and as he described his cartoon on CBC radio it reminded me of the apparently causal nature of the universe, which in turn prompted me to write a piece for my blog … Connectivity In a nutshell … the downing of the airliner was not Trump's fault, but without his actions it would most likely not have happened.
  3. The interesting thing with Warren is, I did the quiz again and I put in what would be the opposite of what I thought. Warren still came in second (albeit as a poorer match). Bernie came in first. The sad thing is, I think any of them would be better than Trump. And Joseph had suggested I had not tried to see the good things the Trump administration has accomplished. Here is a list that Trump claims he has done. https://www.whitehouse.gov/trump-administration-accomplishments/
  4. A whle ago Joseph asked which of the Democratic candidates appealed to me most … I wanted to say Yang, but did not really have a good basis for that reply. Well The Washington Post came to my rescue with this handy dandy little quiz. https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/policy-2020/quiz-which-candidate-agrees-with-me/ And guess who agreed with me most on the twenty highlighted questions.
  5. Is the 90 %+ negative coverage because his actions are 90 %+ negative? The article itself does not explain why people voted for and continue defend such an unsuitable candidate. Your article says: I don't see any redeeming features in Trump.
  6. I think this is the operative sentence. I see little if anything to be optimistic about regarding Trump. But then he could not be otherwise as nor I. Taken all together the universe is just fine neither good nor evil, just some eddies we perceive as positive or negative. When you find your glass half empty, it's time to get another round in.
  7. Possibly How do we focus on our own errors? At least without testing in the outside world. While I am well aware of my traits … I have a wife. For example she bought me a mug with … If I agreed with you we would both be wrong on it. Having said that people do like to think they are right, but there is a corollary to that, people (at least some), don't like to be wrong and welcome having their position tested, the axioms scrutinized and logic verified. This I think is part of calm and meaningful discourse.
  8. If this were universally true, we would not need the advice of Matthew 7:3 Human beings are notoriously poor at evaluating themselves. So I don't mind the occasional nudge.
  9. On the other thread "Baby steps" struck a cord. And I think there is a truth to this. Again speaking from personal anecdote spending six or seven years in a very secular environment, I slowly assumed an agnostic stance and an active disbelief in formal Christianity. So I inched my way to agnosticism, basically became a reflection of the environment I found myself in. But there are times we let in huge beliefs (or let them escape) … especially in times of trauma. Our own potential deaths or perhaps a death of a loved one. In discussions like those found on fora, I think Lewis's point could very well be often accurate. While this is true for me as much as anyone else, it's the challenging of beliefs that leads to change. Whether we challenge ourselves or someone does it for us.
  10. Thanks Burl I did that. But I did not take it too seriously as I have no intention of doing that study, but did come across one or two interesting articles. For example Here Dr Ralph Lewis looks at several aspects of belief … titles of the sections in his articles. Beliefs as energy saving shortcuts in modeling and predicting the environment Seeing is believing Homeostasis – maintaining stability A consistent sense of self, and personal investment in one’s beliefs Science and the excitement of proving ourselves wrong At the end he comes up with this ditty: Faith is based on belief without evidence, whereas science is based on evidence without belief. Not sure I quite agree with that ditty, but I would argue science is agnostic, even if scientists are not. Anyway I must admit I am curious how it is claimed that someone can believe in something with no evidence (not even personal anecdotes) and hold in the same basket as a belief that is backed by evidence or rationale. Even if the rationale or evidence is not perfect.
  11. Thinking of my kitchen chair as red is really useful. And it is in accord with my experience. But … it is illusory. Being useful and being illusory are not mutually exclusive.
  12. In August 2016 … we (my wife and I) had fortieth wedding anniversary. There were forty or so people outside for a barbeque. I must admit I was well oiled. I was sitting next to Ann (Madeleine's Buddhistically inclined octogenarian guru). She's a really nice lady. Joseph would get on well with her. She was talking to two ladies, I did not know well, and explaining to them how they need the ability to be able to forgive themselves. I think the ladies were of a Christian persuasion. Anyway the conversation died down, and I knew Ann also did not believe in free will. So I quietly said to her something like, "If we don't have free will, then there is nothing to forgive." She replied "Baby steps".
  13. I am not sure how we could tackle it either. But as you are almost certainly on board with, many aspects of our anecdotal life are illusory … eg free will. So my recommendation is to add one more thing to our skeptic's list.
  14. I am reminded of Kekulé's snake dream (a little apocryphal). Sure, here the unconscious gave Kekulé a hint to how benzene was actually a ring of carbon atoms. Other evidence confirmed that the benzene structure was indeed cyclic. I can't think of thing that I 'believe' that I don't have some evidence or rationale for … or at least I could not readily confabulate. But I agree people do set out to "prove" a position, and by that I mean find sufficient evidence to be convincing. Kekulé's cyclic benzene would have been an intuitively simple answer to the structure problem for benzene. At what point did it go from an idea to a belief and then to an obvious fact is a semantic issue. This I would count as data rather than evidence. But it is a first step towards evidence … what we need is a statistical study (preferably double blind type), to see if such a position is supportable or if it is an anecdote.
  15. Back in May I posted a blog link to Sabine H In it she said: I disagree with no argument clause, but I suspect it is very difficult. In my experience in discussing free will with people they become very emotional. OK it could be me. Anyway I thought her four suggestions were useful: 1. You never had free will.It’s not like your free will suddenly evaporated when you learned the Euler-Lagrange equations. Your brain still functions the same way as before. So keep on doing what you have been doing. To first approximation that will work fine: Free will is a stubbornly persistent illusion, just use it and don’t worry about it being an illusion.2. Your story hasn’t yet been told. Free will or not, you have a place in history. Whether yours will be a happy story or a sad story, whether your research will ignite technological progress or remain a side-note in obscure journals, whether you will be remembered or forgotten – we don’t yet know. Instead of thinking of yourself as selecting a possible future, try to understand your role, and remain curious about what’s to come. 3. Input matters.You are here to gather information, process it, and come to decisions that may, or may not result in actions. Your actions, and the information you share, will then affect the decisions and actions of others. These decisions are determined by the structure of your brain and the information you obtain. Rather than despairing over the impossibility of changing either, decide to be more careful which information you seek out, analyze, and pass on. Instead of thinking about influencing the future, ask yourself what you have learned, eg, from reading this. You may not have free will, but you still make decisions. You cannot not make decisions. You may as well be smart about it.4. Understand yourself.No one presently knows exactly what consciousness is or what it is good for, but we know that parts of it are self-monitoring, attentional focus, and planning ahead. A lot of the processes in your brain are not conscious, presumably because that would be computationally inefficient. Unconscious processes, however, can affect your conscious decisions. If you want to make good decisions, you must understand not only the relevance of input, but also how your own brain works. Instead of thinking that your efforts are futile, identify your goals and the strategies you have for working towards them. You are monitoring the monitor, if you wish.
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