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General / Re: Why giving aid to Haiti will help and not "enable" poverty
« on: January 21, 2010, 07:06:08 PM »
So, you're watching two guys argue. You are the only person around. One pulls out a knife and stabs the other, before driving off. What you are telling me is that you don't think you have a social obligation to call an ambulance, is that right?

Ooo ooo ooo.... I love this question.

  • Yes, your supposition is correct. - 'social obligations' sound an awful lot like social contracts - and obligations not made between mutually consenting, cognizant and informed individuals sounds to me like an invalid 'obligation,' right?

  • Moral obligations make it interesting - In your scenario above, I would feel obligated to call the ambulance because were the situation reversed, I would hope the other person would do the same.  However, this obligation is internally generated, not handed down from on moral mountain top high.

Pre-Discussion Brief:

Comparative theology, philosophy and metaphysics is somewhat of a hobby of mine - and as such I end up getting in quite a few discussions revolving around this topic with all sorts of individuals - and as an agnostic tend to get into arguments with both sides, as neither the overtly devout nor the dogmatically atheist tend to take to kindly to a "wishy-washy agnostic," who likes to the ride the fence.  In fact, I have been accused of being a "spiritualist," which according the person levying the term, is actually worse than being either religious or atheistic, as is reveals an inner flaw of my personal character as a being unable to be trusted.

However, this thread concerns a trend I have noticed in many of my conversations with the devoutly religious worshippers of The God of Abraham (i.e. Judaism, Christianity and Islam), and revolves around a series of assumptions/postulations that I find extremely difficult to reconcile as being consistent.  I have created this thread as I would be very interested in the thoughts of those who have opinions on either side, but in particular those who would qualify themselves as religious.

This is not intended as a Nelson-eque "ha-ha" kind of conversation. I am genuinely curious, and am trying to find some satisfactory answers.

The Question(s):

  • How can the statements below all be true at the same time?
    Granted, there's some immediately obvious questions that have been circled probably around-and-around before (ahem... free will?), but there are some other, more subtle potential.... inconsistencies, when one looks at several of these beliefs against each other.  I'm curious to know if anyone has some satisfactory answers to attempt to reconcile them.


  • What's wrong with the following statements and how do they need to be clarified to accurately reflect the beliefs of the faithful?
    Obviously, severe inaccuracies should probably be remedied, so if you see something glaringly wrong from a standpoint of whether or not this accurately reflects a distillation of these beliefs, then by all means please let me know.

The Statements/Beliefs for Consideration:

The following statements are a result of several conversations with religious individuals of both an official (priests, etc...) and unofficial capacity, my own readings and interpretations, and the writings/interpretations of others. These statements are meant to most closely portray the current and contemporary understanding of God and His nature as delineated by the faithful.

  • God loves everyone.

    • God wants the "best" for everyone

    • The "best" for everyone is to be in the "better" part of the afterlife
      The "better" portion of this statement is covered later.

  • God wants everyone to be "saved."

    • Therefore, human beings require saving.

    • It is possible for a person NOT to be saved.

  • A Segregated Afterlife exists:

    • The benefits of this segregation are not equal:
      Whether you call it "heaven / hell" or "closeness / distance from God," there is by default, a better and worse part of the afterlife to be in than the other.

    • Upon placement, your experience in this segregated afterlife is permanent and profound:
      Either "eternal bliss in the Kingdom of Heaven" or "eternal suffering / longing in the lake of fire," gives a pretty good summation of this.  However, even a more moderated "distance from God," belief (commonly held by the Jewish) still implies a negative connotation, that for the rest of eternity, your afterlife is defined by "not knowing God," or being a part of his chosen.

  • God is Omnipresent.

  • God is Omniscient:

    • God knows all outcomes:
      Often summarized by, "God has a plan," and "I am the Alpha and the Omega."

    • Upon creation of the soul, God knows whether the individual will go to [BETTER] or [WORSE]:
      This is a natural conclusion (one that tends to be readily admitted to once I step through this with the religious) of God having a plan - as his plan obviously would encompass the "final tally" of the ranks of the redeemed and the ranks of the damned.

  • God is Omnipotent

    • There is nothing that God cannot do.

    • God, as the Universal Architect, controls All.

  • Human beings possess free-will, and can thus accept or reject God's covenant.

I look forward to your postulations and insights.

General / Re: Questions for the believers
« on: January 21, 2010, 05:11:20 PM »
New questions:

Does a larger number of converts to one's religion reinforce the notion for that person that their religion is "real" ?

Once a person has been converted, it seems that person is then sort of stowed away like a trophy and the focus of the people doing the converting immediately shifts to the next prize (the next convert). Why is this?

I think many of the devout might disagree with your observation, pointing out that what it seems like to you is that of an observation hopelessly skewed by bias.  It could also be equally likely that (as I think we're talking about Christianity again - as I don't see a large recruiting effort on the part of the practitioners of Judaism) is that there is the burden of Christians to spread the word of Christ, and once someone accepts him as their personal savior, then the attention they receive is not the same "recruitment practices," but rather fall into the fold and do "everyday kinds of stuff."

I don't know what that "stuff" would be, but just a opening postulation.   I actually have some questions of my own I would like to ask the devout based on a recurring set of assumptions I hear, particularly when discussing Omnipotence, but I think that deserves it's own thread.

General / Re: Christian Anarchy is the only sensible answer...
« on: January 21, 2010, 12:42:09 PM »
Wow.  This thread still keeps on keepin' on.  Though this looks this has turned from 'Christian Anarchy is the only sensible answer' into the 'FTL debate thread of any and all things religious.' Not that that's a necessarily a bad thing I guess.


I do believe that God spoke to Moses and I believe that Moses tried to carry out what he understood to be the will of God.  Moses, however, is a man and men are imperfect.  Since I know that Moses was just an imperfect man such as myself I have to conclude that he made mistakes in both his understanding of what God was asking him to do and in the execution of those orders.  I do not know what his "error" rate was and can only guess.  My guess would be that Moses had an error rate of maybe 5% on both his understanding of his orders AND his execution of those orders...

This is interesting, Gene.  Couple things:

  • Why "5%" - I understand this is your guess, but where did this number come from other than what you're "feel good" percentage was, which my guess resulted from an internal question that went something like, "Self, what do I think would be highest % allowable that would not significantly undermine my core beliefs?"

    ...and that's the tricky thing about arbitrary assumptions. While this supposition may be valid and meaningful to you, I think barring some kind of compelling evidence this "percentage" will be met with extreme skepticism (if not outright derision) amongst those whom you are trying to make your case to.

  • Your paragraph here has some profound implications for all of Judeo-Christianity.  If it's possible that all men (let's exclude Jesus lest we go down the man/divinity made flesh debate), including moses are capable of misunderstanding the word of God even when He speaks DIRECTLY to them, then this would mean that:

    • All Holy Books are suspect: Meaning all of the recorded actions of both Biblical figures and indeed God Him/Her/Itself may or may not be true.

    • Therefore, the Ten Commandments are equally suspect: In regards to Moses, the 10 Commandments are immediately cast into doubt regarding their validity.  Who's to say it wasn't the One Commandment - "Thou Shalt Not Kill," and Moses decided that God wasn't taking a hard enough line in requiring the Hebrews behave and worship him properly?  Going even a step further, couldn't that also means it's possible because Men misinterpret God's words/directives then, that He/She/It is for the most part, disinterested in ensuring that human beings worship Him/Her/It as envisioned as the elderly, beneficent Shepherd?

    • The actions of Jesus as written may be false: What happens, if indeed x% of the Bible is a result of "misunderstanding/misinterpretation" - actually is represented by entire books being pure fabrications?  Some very interesting consequences depending on which would be fabricated - especially if those happen to be books of the New Testament.

    • Omnipotence/Omniscience? - How can an all knowing, all powerful being communicate in such a way that he would be misunderstood, or not be aware that his impending discussion would result in a "mis-fire?"

At the end of the day - I'm sure to the devout it won't matter, as again it's a matter of faith.  What caught my attention, however, was your self-admission of human inaccuracy, and I was merely curious on your thoughts of how willing you were to follow that logic train to the station.

but don't use my post as a mean to dodge this  ;)

Forgive me, what I should've said was "How do you reconcile your belief that men can't have authority over others with the idea that Moses wielded authority over others by order of God?"

If you don't, in fact, believe that God ordered Moses to do so, that's an easy resolution.  But if you do, then you're faced with the problem that if you were one of the people Moses was trying to order around, you would have had to reject his orders on principle since he was a man asserting authority over you. 

edit: cleanup grammatically of one of my questions.
edit: changed "let's" to "lest," which was the word intended.

General / Re: Ngix "504 Gateway Timeout" - Techies, can you help?
« on: January 20, 2010, 02:40:22 PM »
Why not just use Apache?

A good question - generally you might be compelled to use a lighter build if your boxes gets über high amounts of traffic, but you don't have the cash to either buy more boxes and load balance, or cache your content with a service like Akamai.

Edit: When you do start geo-location caching, then how your website works and how you develop for it completely changes, because your site no longer simply "refreshes" as soon as you upload the content to your server.

No links... 

Thanks for adding it....oh wait:

No obvious things to Google... 

Um.... "The mail.google.Bizzaro Universe FTL Nexus One 'reverse interview' in Chrome?"

No boobies...



That sounds an awful lot like projecting.  Are you projecting?  :wink:

General / Re: Ngix "504 Gateway Timeout" - Techies, can you help?
« on: January 20, 2010, 12:16:35 PM »
It sounds like a common issue.


We've already done that. It had no real effect. Now we have php-fpm. Still no real effect. So we're dealing with something else.

When this happens, has anyone tried SSH'ing into (I'm assuming) mysql to see how it's responding?

General / Re: Questions for the believers
« on: January 20, 2010, 12:10:35 PM »
The God of the Gaps, as it were.

It's interesting you bring up the point of Vacuum Gensis - something that's been discussed and debated from some time.  There are some interesting postulations regarding this in the fields of String Theory (the big physics fad of the moment - much like Quantum Mechanics were about 40 years ago).  The executive, non mathematical summary is like slices of bread - different dimensional planes could at times "bump up" against each other at a singular point, causing a transfer of mass/energy from one plane to another.

I don't have the source material regarding the specifics on hand, so don't take my summary of rudimentary explanation as gospel.

« on: January 20, 2010, 12:05:19 PM »
Being a Front End Architect (Web Coder d00d!) There's a lot about Chrome I like.  In fact, I'm using it now.  The biggest is the separate process stacks for each tab, including isolated memory, a far better garbage collection system and the fact that it's a WebKit variant, which means in generally it's going to be pretty speedy.

I still use firefox too, mainly because the extensions - particularly the web developer ones, are still much more robust.

Nerdiness aside, I can see who the whole data aggregation/consolidation without your approval would be really, really irritating.

General / Re: Ngix "504 Gateway Timeout" - Techies, can you help?
« on: January 20, 2010, 11:51:31 AM »
Generally hung processes center around the DB connections - I'm assuming Dan has eliminated the possibility that connection threads are not closing properly, thus causing a "traffic jam" on your servers, correct?

Edit: I'm also assuming you found php was hanging due to running top in your terminal as well, correct?

Only other potential place I could see you having hanging issues is if the new 2.0 site is heavily using AJAX, and some of your XMLHttpRequests (or whatever framework - prototype.ajax, jquery, etc...) maybe be hitting some of your php files (that aggregate the data) so often that it could be potentially causing the problem I mentioned above.

The Show / The Bizzaro Universe FTL 'reverse interview'
« on: January 20, 2010, 12:18:11 AM »
I just had to say that the reverse Interview with Byron's "Kenmore Box FTL Interview" was absolute comedic gold.  Even re-listening to it on the iTunes feed for the 2nd time I was still rolling.  Kudos to you Mark and Ian for playing along.

General / Re: Capacity to enter into a contact: A philosophy challenge
« on: January 19, 2010, 01:15:56 AM »
It basically gives everyone the right to force everyone else to keep their own capacity to consent intact.

Imagine it's 2050. An "instant-sober" pill has been developed. No matter how drunk you are, as long as your blood alcohol level isn't lethal, you can take this pill, and presto! You're completely sober and in total control of your faculties. Its as if you never took a drink.

How many times could I keep forcing the pill on someone who keeps running back to the bar and getting drunk? (And a related question kinda implied by the axiom in the first place: am I not in the right for doing so?)

Good question.  Likely this would be resolved in your situation either by:

  • Taking the pill prior to departure from the establishment as a prerequisite of purchasing alcohol as set by the establishment's owner (to limit liability)

  • While still sober, the drinking individual would sign a non-liability agreement prior to drinking to "opt-out" of the insta-sober pill, and accepting full responsibility for his actions as a result of becoming willfully incapacitated.

I think provided the pill had no side-affects, and the individual didn't have some religious objection, I don't know if this would be considered "aggressive and coercive," as there is no harm as a resultant of taking the pill (i.e. the Blood Alcohol was still there, but the effects were gone - thus leading to easier alcohol poisonings, or something of the like.).  So the only way I could see this being a potential issue is as the person moves about from establishment to establishment to establishment, as seperate agreements/waivers would need to be completed as described above for each seperate entity the drinker attempts to conduction a transaction with.

That would be by counter-supposition at this time, but perhaps we can explore further.

General / Re: Capacity to enter into a contact: A philosophy challenge
« on: January 18, 2010, 11:49:42 PM »
I'll help do that now, since I have a spare moment.  I will catalog our Assumptions and definition, our current Axiom and the outstanding issues.

The Draft Axiom :

Coercive force may only be applied to an individual incapable of consent only
when the direct resultant of the forcible action restores or grants the individual the capacity to consent.

Outstanding issues

  • Parent/Child Relationships

Working Assumptions / Terms

  • Consensual Competency:  An individual is considered competent when they can demonstrate that they understand the contract's breadth, scope and the likely permutations of consequences (both good and bad) as a resultant of entering such a contract/agreement.

  • Burden of Proof for Consensual Competency: An individual attempting to enter a consensual agreement/contract must demonstrate their capacity for consent to those they are about to enter a contract/consensual transaction with.

  • Burden of Reciprocal Responsibility: Any and all parties attempting to enter a consensual agreement/contract have an equal and reciprocal responsibility to ensure that all other parties to the agreement/contract satisfy the requirements for competency as outlined above.

Terms needing Definition and/or Clarification

  • The Archetype of the Parent/Child Relationship: Required in order to deal with dealing/allowing for the protective acts of a parent that could be regarded as "aggressive, coercive force" in any other circumstance.

    Edit: Perhaps we should quickly delineate what it is NOT, to help -

    • The relationship is non-consensual - Children do not "consent" to parentage.

    • The moral responsibility is not-reciprocal - I think all would agree that there is a greater (full) moral responsibility on the part of the parent in regards to the child, making it different than most other relationships between human beings.

    • Potential: A child is incapable of demonstrating a comprehensive and long-term understanding of the consequences/resultants of their actions - I think this potential statement may end up being a focal point for us when determining how to break down this relationship, and the litmus for when the relationship changes from that of Parent/Child to that of two "individuals."

Feel free to add/edit as necessary.  I think this where we're at currently.

General / Re: Capacity to enter into a contact: A philosophy challenge
« on: January 18, 2010, 05:26:14 PM »
Oh, also, my last three political debates have been with PoliSci majors... So they are very detail oriented, much moreso that you'd think... I want to find liberty arguments so sound that a liberty loving schmoe off the street could easily convince a politician to believe in liberty... I believe that enough brainpower put into the communicative power of language can accomplish a whole lot...

This will be difficult; you cannot get most people to agree to the NAP much less what we are attempting here - but it will be an interesting foray nonetheless.

I think pending any new points we might need to take stock, agree upon terms and proceed with defining some of the relationships that are seeming to prove to be problematic.

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