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Why do you believe what you believe? (Page 5)
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Waragainstsleep  (op)
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Aug 8, 2011, 07:40 AM
 
Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
Could you cite for me where this was my conclusion? This could explain why we're having to rehash the same discussion. I do not believe atheists are more capable of being immoral or commit mass murder. I blame human nature for its ills, not this specific philosophy or that philosophy. In most cases, the acts committed by human nature can be found in stark contrast to the philosophies they claim to revere. The problem I have here is the apparent theophobia. If Christians must endure indictments of murder committed in their God's name, Atheists must endure indictments of murder committed under the guise of intolerance for religion, inextricably linked with Marxism and Communism. I mean... fair is fair right? This shouldn't be a problem unless you're in absolute denial of history which, of course, flies in the face of anyone claiming to appreciate empirical evidence.
That was perhaps a harsh oversimplification on my part, I certainly don't want to tell you what you believe so I apologise if I got that wrong. What I mean we disagree on is whether or not atheism is the motivating factor in the atrocities you have referred to. Do I believe that atheists have killed people? Yes. Do I believe they did it because they were atheists and/or hated religion? No.
An awful lot of people don't see the subtle difference between 'just another belief' and a lack of belief. I believe its an important distinction.


Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
I realize we immediately don't agree on theological matters and I'm okay with that if you are. I'm reaching out to you in a much more pragmatic manner on fundamentals I would think we could enjoy common ground. For what it's worth, it's not your conclusion I take issue with Waragainstsleep, it's how you choose to use it.
I'm genuinely fine with whatever you believe though if you believe the world is 6000 years old I'm going to tell you thats a stupid thing to believe because thats what I believe. It doesn't mean I think you are stupid, smart people have stupid opinions too. (I'm not saying that you do believe this, I'm generalising).
It only becomes a problem for me on a personal level if you support teaching these stupid ideas in science classes. I am also not fond of certain laws being dictated by religion but we already covered some of that in a whole other massive thread.
I also see religion as being divisive when viewed on a large scale and I think the world could do without more reasons to be divided. Lets all argue about the best way to solve problems instead.


Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
While I might not be a warrior or even an evangelist for the Christian faith, you and others here have forced me to recognize a phobia of another kind and I'm compelled to address it.
My fear is that 1000 years from now, humanity will still be arguing over whose god is best (assuming they haven't wiped each other out over it) instead of solving the worlds problems together. Its not a literal fear, since I will be long gone by then but its also not irrational and hence the term phobia is not entirely fair or accurate.

Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
This sometimes includes correcting revisionists hoping empirical evidence really is the basis of their views. What Skeleton appears to be doing is attempting to hold a mirror for you, not so that he can understand where you're coming from, but so that you can. It actually has nothing to do with the perceived truth or conclusion at the end of the process, but the process itself and the manner in which the conclusion is expressed. Having been on the other side of many discussions with Uncle Skeleton I can appreciate your frustration, but I don't think it's reasonable to call it trolling and there's no reason to take it personally. Unless your position is indefensible of course.
I only refer to it as trolling because he was engaging me based on other threads instead of commenting entirely in the spirit of this one. I also perceived an element of simply wanting to argue with me for the sake of it.
As for holding up a mirror, he was doing quite well. I was forced for a while there to really think through my position carefully in order to explain it more clearly. Sadly he seems to me to be going in circles a bit now.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
lpkmckenna
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Aug 8, 2011, 10:22 AM
 
Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
The problem I have here is the apparent theophobia. If Christians must endure indictments of murder committed in their God's name, Atheists must endure indictments of murder committed under the guise of intolerance for religion, inextricably linked with Marxism and Communism. I mean... fair is fair right?
Why are you saddling all atheists with indictments that belong only to Communists?

BTW, theophobia is a meaningless label. Ironically, it is Jews and Christians who are (expected to be) "theophobes," since the fear of God is a component of that theology.
     
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Aug 8, 2011, 10:51 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
The golden rule is really not all that complex you know.
When some let all this religious stuff set them apart from the "godless", the simple stuff is forgotten.
It's okay to put you in your place but when done to them, they ignore you because their feelings get hurt.
Gotta love the arrogant f%$ks.
     
Athens
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Aug 8, 2011, 11:27 AM
 
Divine inspiration or unknown at the time something called mental illness? Why do even today Religious people dismiss those that claim to speak to god as mentally ill people. How many people are medicated or institutionalized because they hear voices. Why do we lock people up who murder people because the voice of god commanded them to.
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Aug 8, 2011, 11:40 AM
 
Couldn't help it,
Jesus Seen in a Toilet Bowl
‪The Chaser's War on Everything - Jesus Seen in a Toilet Bowl‬‏ - YouTube
it's just too funny.
     
Doofy
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Aug 8, 2011, 11:46 AM
 
Well this thread went well, didn't it boys and girl?
Been inclined to wander... off the beaten track.
That's where there's thunder... and the wind shouts back.
     
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Aug 8, 2011, 11:48 AM
 
Originally Posted by Doofy View Post
Well this thread went well, didn't it boys and girl?
C'mon, it needed some British humor.
     
Doofy
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Aug 8, 2011, 11:53 AM
 
Originally Posted by screener View Post
C'mon, it needed some British humor.
1) Read page.
2) Posted.
3) Saw your last post on refresh.

Been inclined to wander... off the beaten track.
That's where there's thunder... and the wind shouts back.
     
Uncle Skeleton
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Aug 8, 2011, 01:06 PM
 
I make it a point not to jump all over posts that aren't directed at me, but this one is explicitly about me so I'm not going to feel guilty about it...

Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
I only refer to it as trolling because he was engaging me based on other threads instead of commenting entirely in the spirit of this one.
That's an unfounded accusation. I always refer to the most recent post or statement in the same thread, otherwise I link. Maybe you're confusing my posts with doofy's; go back and look at page 1, he is the one who brought up other threads, not me.

I also perceived an element of simply wanting to argue with me for the sake of it.
I'm only persisting because you keep repeating things that are demonstrably incorrect ( )

As for holding up a mirror, he was doing quite well. I was forced for a while there to really think through my position carefully in order to explain it more clearly. Sadly he seems to me to be going in circles a bit now.
I do appreciate the praise
But you are the one who started turning in circles, and I was first to point it out using that exact phrase. I won't fault you for simply picking up my words and trying to make them your own, but I will ask you to be reasonable by checking your work to see that you are the one who started turning in circles. I was merely following you there.

I dislike these nit-picky posts, and this one doesn't advance the topic. I urge you to respond to my previous post, which does. But you are casting aspersions on me that aren't justified.
     
Uncle Skeleton
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Aug 8, 2011, 01:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by screener View Post
Couldn't help it,
Jesus Seen in a Toilet Bowl
‪The Chaser's War on Everything - Jesus Seen in a Toilet Bowl‬‏ - YouTube
it's just too funny.
     
Uncle Skeleton
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Aug 8, 2011, 01:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by Athens View Post
Divine inspiration or unknown at the time something called mental illness? Why do even today Religious people dismiss those that claim to speak to god as mentally ill people. How many people are medicated or institutionalized because they hear voices. Why do we lock people up who murder people because the voice of god commanded them to.
You're missing an important distinction: the olde thyme prophets who's message persisted to today did more than just hear voices, they somehow carried a message that contained a kernel of truth such that it has stood the test of time for thousands of years, and also through their preachings and life choices the prophets managed to convince a following of people to live their own lives according to the message. All this is no easy task. Your average crazy person who hears voices doesn't usually enjoy the benefit of *good* advice from those voices. They also don't have the general oratory or charisma to convince the sane people nearby to give up their lifestyle to service and sacrifice.

Yes, it was a generally more gullible time back then, and yes the intricacies of mental illness were undoubtedly less recognizable. But even so there was no shortage of critics and skeptics for the would-be prophets to overcome. It wasn't that they could just claim to have chatted with God and suddenly everyone was showering them with riches and sexual favors. They had to work for it, and their message had to work for it.

The message itself was basically competing in a genetic algorithm. All the various people who hear voices (or claim to) produce the raw ideas. These ideas are tested through the process of convincing followers to act against their own self-interest. Only a few strong ideas or messengers manage to get to cult status, and then the cults compete against each other in a demanding environment with limited potential followers and persecution from prior established religions. Weak ideas are culled and go extinct, while the strong ideas thrive. There is also mutation, through transcription errors and also as the strengths of competitors are sometimes absorbed.

Whether or not the original idea was a lucky accident from mental illness, or actually divinely inspired, by now it has passed its trial by fire. They aren't believed just because they claim to talk to God, they are believed because they have a quality message and follow through on it with action. Attributing divinity to it is just decoration.
     
Uncle Skeleton
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Aug 8, 2011, 01:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by freudling View Post
Beliefs. Ahhh, beliefs.

I believe I can walk off this 20 story building and God will float me down safely to the ground. Should I step off and fall?
This is an example of the genetic algorithm I described in the last post. Beliefs that prove to be wrong are culled. Beliefs that produce more good than harm persist for thousands of years and grow their subscribers.

Belief in something like religion is akin to the first scenerio. Regardless of empirical evidence to the contrary, people cling to x belief.
What evidence?

Other examples. The preacher who predicted the world would end, but it didn't.
These are outliers. And in accordance with the genetic algorithm, they are culled.

Not very many people went along with that guy, and rightly so. The genetic algorithm wouldn't work if off-the-wall contenders didn't occasionally show up and get squashed.
     
Athens
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Aug 8, 2011, 01:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
You're missing an important distinction: the olde thyme prophets who's message persisted to today did more than just hear voices, they somehow carried a message that contained a kernel of truth such that it has stood the test of time for thousands of years, and also through their preachings and life choices the prophets managed to convince a following of people to live their own lives according to the message. All this is no easy task. Your average crazy person who hears voices doesn't usually enjoy the benefit of *good* advice from those voices. They also don't have the general oratory or charisma to convince the sane people nearby to give up their lifestyle to service and sacrifice.

Yes, it was a generally more gullible time back then, and yes the intricacies of mental illness were undoubtedly less recognizable. But even so there was no shortage of critics and skeptics for the would-be prophets to overcome. It wasn't that they could just claim to have chatted with God and suddenly everyone was showering them with riches and sexual favors. They had to work for it, and their message had to work for it.

The message itself was basically competing in a genetic algorithm. All the various people who hear voices (or claim to) produce the raw ideas. These ideas are tested through the process of convincing followers to act against their own self-interest. Only a few strong ideas or messengers manage to get to cult status, and then the cults compete against each other in a demanding environment with limited potential followers and persecution from prior established religions. Weak ideas are culled and go extinct, while the strong ideas thrive. There is also mutation, through transcription errors and also as the strengths of competitors are sometimes absorbed.

Whether or not the original idea was a lucky accident from mental illness, or actually divinely inspired, by now it has passed its trial by fire. They aren't believed just because they claim to talk to God, they are believed because they have a quality message and follow through on it with action. Attributing divinity to it is just decoration.
True but then look at modern examples of people who are insane by some definition. Hitler, Paul Pots, Kim Jong il who is prob the best example of them all. Brilliant people who could manipulate people. Cult of personality - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia these types of people who inspire a cult of personality I guess you could say can use this popularity to create or promote political and religious ideas and doctrines. We have seen it over and over and over again in human history. Those that are born to lead, and those that are born to follow. I have no doubt early pagan beliefs mixed with early Egyptian religion both of which where meteorically to explain the workings of the known universe got translated, mixed together and turned into a doctrine for this very purpose by some one very intelligent for his day and very popular and its just continued since being re-written over and over again to suit the King, or Religion of the day.
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Aug 8, 2011, 02:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by Athens View Post
True but then look at modern examples of people who are insane by some definition. Hitler, Paul Pots, Kim Jong il who is prob the best example of them all. Brilliant people who could manipulate people. Cult of personality - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia these types of people who inspire a cult of personality I guess you could say can use this popularity to create or promote political and religious ideas and doctrines.
1. They all failed the test of time
2. None of them used religion to gain power
3. Even those who do leverage religion to gain power (like Bin Laden) don't implicate the religion itself, when they are outnumbered a million to one by followers of that religion who don't turn evil.

The fact is, there is a seed of evil in human nature, it was there before religion and it will be there after religion (if religion ever goes away). Unless you think that religion is supposed to completely cure humans of evil, against their will even, this is irrelevant.

Evil people will leverage anything they can to gain power. This includes religion, politics, science, media, or just good old fashioned force. Taking away religion as a means to gain power won't stop evil people from gaining power, they would just use one of the other pathways.
     
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Aug 8, 2011, 03:14 PM
 
Kim Jong's father or him cant remember is mixing religion into the mix for North Korea. and none of them will ever withstand time because the modern world is educated and not ignorant. Back then most people didn't know how to read and disconnected and much smaller populations. Could never see a new religion in modern times. But look at how many people followed our modern examples and how much power they got even if for a short while.
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Athens
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Aug 8, 2011, 03:15 PM
 
Philosophical question: All those people out there who readily tell you "The lord is with you, don't you forget it", I wonder if they are the same people who would have been readily obedient and subservient to monarchs who insisted that they were better than them by god-given right...?
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Aug 8, 2011, 04:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
The golden rule is really not all that complex you know.
And yet, you aren't getting it?
     
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Aug 8, 2011, 04:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by Athens View Post
Kim Jong's father or him cant remember is mixing religion into the mix for North Korea.
I said "used religion to gain power." And he didn't.

and none of them will ever withstand time because the modern world is educated and not ignorant. Back then most people didn't know how to read and disconnected and much smaller populations. Could never see a new religion in modern times. But look at how many people followed our modern examples and how much power they got even if for a short while.
None of "them" who? The evil people? Or the good? Good people's message will thrive, with or without religion. Bad people's message will fail, with or without religion.

Philosophical question: All those people out there who readily tell you "The lord is with you, don't you forget it", I wonder if they are the same people who would have been readily obedient and subservient to monarchs who insisted that they were better than them by god-given right...?
I don't think you're understanding my point, that religion doesn't change people's nature, it facilitates people's nature. It's a tool. It's a tool that enables good people to be good, and allows bad people to be bad.

People who are natural doormats will use religion to further their doormat nature. But it's not as if they would turn into leaders and visionaries if they didn't have religion holding them down. They would still be doormats, they just wouldn't feel as good about themselves while doing it. Religion doesn't make people the way they are, it is just one of many tools that enable people to be the way they want to be.

Blaming religion for human nature is like blaming Macs for the internet. Good people use Macs to improve the internet, and bad people use Macs to damage the internet. But none of this is because of the Mac, and if they didn't have a Mac those same people would do those same things, using a different tool.
     
Athens
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Aug 8, 2011, 04:34 PM
 
I disagree, it can easily be used to turn good people bad. Not in the every day context but in holly wars. Who said I was blaming religion for human nature?
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Uncle Skeleton
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Aug 8, 2011, 05:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by Athens View Post
I disagree, it can easily be used to turn good people bad. Not in the every day context but in holly wars.
How do you know it was the "holly" that turned them bad, and not the "war?" You don't think that otherwise good people are compelled to do bad things in wars that aren't "holly?"

Who said I was blaming religion for human nature?
You're still doing it right now, war is part of human nature.
     
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Aug 8, 2011, 06:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by lpkmckenna View Post
Why are you saddling all atheists with indictments that belong only to Communists?
I've not saddled atheism with Communism, I've saddled Communism with well-documented hostility toward religion. You may have missed the if/then in my statement.

BTW, theophobia is a meaningless label. Ironically, it is Jews and Christians who are (expected to be) "theophobes," since the fear of God is a component of that theology.
A. You knew what I meant right?
B. theophobia has been used for centuries to describe the vitriolic godless and has never, in any context, been used to define those of faith. You're welcome to of course, but you may want to provide some key to your arbitrary usage of words in advance to aid comprehension.
ebuddy
     
Athens
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Aug 8, 2011, 06:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
How do you know it was the "holly" that turned them bad, and not the "war?" You don't think that otherwise good people are compelled to do bad things in wars that aren't "holly?"


You're still doing it right now, war is part of human nature.
When a religious leader in the name of god calls for war, its a holly war, its a war over religion. Not a war over resources or bad feelings. Just religion . Killing for the sake of killing in the name of ones god. Because they fight for god the killing is not a sin. It turns good people into killers for no reason. In the eyes of the victor though they are still good people.
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Aug 8, 2011, 06:42 PM
 
Further to what I said above, ask any Israeli whose family member has been obliterated by a rocket over religious lands and ask any Palestinian family whose lost family members over excessive force in attempting to scare obedience to end violence. Overall good people on both sides being turned into ugly murders under religious reasons.
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Aug 8, 2011, 06:56 PM
 
The same thing happens in non-holy wars. Take away religion and nothing is different. Therefore religion is not to blame for the horrors of war.

Flame-wars happen on non-Mac forums too. Take away Macs and nothing is different. Therefore Macs are not to blame for internet flame wars.

Whether you're blaming religion for human nature, or you're blaming Macs for the internet, it's the same logical flaw. Correlation is not causation.
     
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Aug 8, 2011, 07:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
If not for decades of evidence about the usual inhabitants of Manhattan, and if not for the dung (itself more evidence), yes yes you would.
I didn't phrase this point correctly. Would you still conclude there was a bear around if you didn't see bear scat? (Absent evidence) Even in the middle of NY?
Im aware that there are no wild bears in NY but I have only seen anecdotal evidence.

Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
If there were NO EVIDENCE, then the Smurf theory would be just as likely as atheism. However, there is evidence against the Smurf theory.
A theory with no valid evidence to support it doesn't count as a valid theory either. Every claimed piece of 'evidence' for the existence of god is basically an eyewitness account. Every last one of these has a more rational explanation than god actually existing.

Dishonesty;
Misinterpretation;
Hallucination;
Mental illness;
Wishful thinking;
3rd party deception;
Overactive imagination;
Lack of comprehension/education;

These are all observed phenomenon which pretty much nobody worth hearing would dispute the existence of. They are all pretty common. Way more common than gods. Many orders of magnitude more common.

The reason more stock is given to eyewitness accounts in certain other situations is that they typically don't make claims as outlandish as messages from god.

One might also consider what would happen if someone made a claim today that they had met or heard god. You'd get laughed at or sent for a psych consult. Unless you were the president of the USA obviously. Actually somehow I imagine Obama wouldn't get away with any such claim. The Republicans would have him locked up in a straightjacket in a heartbeat.

Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
Of course, even so the evidence might be misleading... you might not want to dismiss the smurf theory so casually
That was you that dismissed the Smurf theory!
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
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Aug 8, 2011, 07:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
That was perhaps a harsh oversimplification on my part, I certainly don't want to tell you what you believe so I apologise if I got that wrong. What I mean we disagree on is whether or not atheism is the motivating factor in the atrocities you have referred to. Do I believe that atheists have killed people? Yes. Do I believe they did it because they were atheists and/or hated religion? No.
An awful lot of people don't see the subtle difference between 'just another belief' and a lack of belief. I believe its an important distinction.
This is indeed where we disagree. Contrarian ideology will always exist and we've done nothing, but propagate our species. People often mistake correlative for causal. It doesn't matter whether it's "God be with us" or "Cause be with us"; if the intent is to eradicate X, then X must be made the enemy. If you oppress your people effectively enough and you are a skilled orator, you can leverage poverty, exploit youthful angst, and convince them that X is the source of their woes. It is entirely socio-economic.

I'm genuinely fine with whatever you believe though if you believe the world is 6000 years old I'm going to tell you thats a stupid thing to believe because thats what I believe. It doesn't mean I think you are stupid, smart people have stupid opinions too. (I'm not saying that you do believe this, I'm generalising).
This makes absolute sense - I'm not going to tell you something's red if I think it's green.

It only becomes a problem for me on a personal level if you support teaching these stupid ideas in science classes. I am also not fond of certain laws being dictated by religion but we already covered some of that in a whole other massive thread.
This is where I think the double-standard begins. I've already cited examples of embryos with "gill slits" and other such nonsense pushed by zealots of another kind in the classroom. I think anyone truly interested in the state of education would apply their focus to the grading scheme of the schools, the curriculum, and the teacher's mastery of the concepts in it. US performance in math and science is absolutely deplorable and it has nothing to do with Intelligent Design or Creationists.

I also see religion as being divisive when viewed on a large scale and I think the world could do without more reasons to be divided. Lets all argue about the best way to solve problems instead.
Really? This is what you see? You post nearly every day in a forum where those of faith and the doctrines of it are ridiculed regardless of thread relevance, challenged, drawn forth, and dog-piled upon. Invariably the thread breaks down to childish quick-hits on faith which used to have purpose; to take the Christian down from their high place of holiness into the weeds of their sophomoric exposé, now parroted by the mind-numbingly stupid. Not directed at you.

To be clear, I eagerly click each link for whatever twisted reason, but I remain in utter amazement at the differences in our perceptions.

My fear is that 1000 years from now, humanity will still be arguing over whose god is best (assuming they haven't wiped each other out over it) instead of solving the worlds problems together. Its not a literal fear, since I will be long gone by then but its also not irrational and hence the term phobia is not entirely fair or accurate.
In light of the overwhelming degree of empirical evidence to the contrary, it is not unreasonable to use the term phobia IMO. The good news is we are entirely in agreement on wanting to solve the world's problems together.
ebuddy
     
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Aug 8, 2011, 07:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
I make it a point not to jump all over posts that aren't directed at me, but this one is explicitly about me so I'm not going to feel guilty about it...
Sorry, how is it explicitly about you?

Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
That's an unfounded accusation. I always refer to the most recent post or statement in the same thread, otherwise I link. Maybe you're confusing my posts with doofy's; go back and look at page 1, he is the one who brought up other threads, not me.
You accused me of being verbally abusive. Don't worry about it, its not like I really have my panties in a knot about it.

Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
I'm only persisting because you keep repeating things that are demonstrably incorrect ( )

I do appreciate the praise
But you are the one who started turning in circles, and I was first to point it out using that exact phrase. I won't fault you for simply picking up my words and trying to make them your own, but I will ask you to be reasonable by checking your work to see that you are the one who started turning in circles. I was merely following you there.
I recall you saying it. Accusing me first doesn't make you right. I didn't acknowledge it at the time because I thought it was frivolous. I was repeating myself because you failed to adequately justify your counter point. I have repeatedly asserted that a lack of evidence can constitute evidence in itself and have even explained to you how. Put simply atheism (or at the very least a lack of belief in any of the well established theisms) more closely matches the observed data (or lack thereof) than any of those theisms. In retort, you have simply repeated your assertion that no evidence means no conclusion should be drawn. My assertion provides an explanation of why yours is incorrect. The same cannot be said of yours.

Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
I dislike these nit-picky posts, and this one doesn't advance the topic. I urge you to respond to my previous post, which does. But you are casting aspersions on me that aren't justified.
Posted these last two the wrong way around. See previous post.
( Last edited by Waragainstsleep; Aug 8, 2011 at 08:18 PM. )
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Aug 8, 2011, 08:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
Really? This is what you see? You post nearly every day in a forum where those of faith and the doctrines of it are ridiculed regardless of thread relevance, challenged, drawn forth, and dog-piled upon. Invariably the thread breaks down to childish quick-hits on faith which used to have purpose; to take the Christian down from their high place of holiness into the weeds of their sophomoric exposé, now parroted by the mind-numbingly stupid. Not directed at you.
I was thinking of a larger scale than these forums. It just seems to be one of many reasons for people who are inclined to hate each other to hate each other.
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Aug 8, 2011, 09:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
Sorry, how is it explicitly about you?


You accused me of being verbally abusive. Don't worry about it, its not like I really have my panties in a knot about it.
You don't have to shout to be verbally abusive. If you wryly make offhand comments that people's most deeply held beliefs are actually the effects of drug abuse and mental retardation, with no redeeming qualities and should be eradicated, that is verbally abusive, even if unintentional. Though you would have to be quite the social klutz to not realize that this sort of thing is insensitive... Do you seriously deny saying that in this thread?

I recall you saying it. Accusing me first doesn't make you right. I didn't acknowledge it at the time because I thought it was frivolous. I was repeating myself because you failed to adequately justify your counter point. I have repeatedly asserted that a lack of evidence can constitute evidence in itself and have even explained to you how. Put simply atheism (or at the very least a lack of belief in any of the well established theisms) more closely matches the observed data (or lack thereof) than any of those theisms. In retort, you have simply repeated your assertion that no evidence means no conclusion should be drawn. My assertion provides an explanation of why yours is incorrect. The same cannot be said of yours.
Ah, so something constructive has come out of this tangent after all. I thought your silence on that meant I had convinced you, and you thought the opposite.

Ok, so you think that absence of evidence is sometimes evidence of absence. Please explain where this detailed wikipedia article is wrong:

Argument from ignorance - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Specifically, this related article has an eerily relevant quote:
"Philosophic arguments that depend on evidence of absence are commonly referred to in peer-reviewed literature as "noseeum arguments". The argument form is specifically inductive in that evidence is accumulated; as one collects a larger dataset the argument grows stronger. Some noseeum arguments are very strong, such as checking the fridge for milk and determining that there is none, since it is relatively easy to systematically remove every item from the fridge, verify that it is not milk, and visually inspect the empty space left over. At the other extreme are noseeum arguments about the existence, or lack thereof, of alien lifeforms. Since the universe is enormous relative to our known area, a noseeum argument stating that there are no alien lifeforms would be very weak."
Evidence of absence - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
I didn't phrase this point correctly. Would you still conclude there was a bear around if you didn't see bear scat? (Absent evidence) Even in the middle of NY?
Im aware that there are no wild bears in NY but I have only seen anecdotal evidence.
With no evidence, yes I would. Here are the pieces of evidence that are required for me to assume an absence of bears:
1. The city is full of people.
2. People naturally make a scene when they see a bear.
3. People are not making a scene.
4. NY is similar to lots of cities I've been in, and none of them contain loose bears.

In light of the wikipedia explanation (exhaustive search vs cursory search), I think a better analogy would be the presence or absence of scat in the forest. Because one cannot exhaustively search the forest for bear scat, the absence of scat is "absence of evidence" not "evidence of absence," the exhaustiveness of the search being the distinction. To answer, even though I might walk through the woods without spontaneously thinking "there might be a bear" (and indeed most times I'm in the forest, I don't explicitly think about bears), if the question were put to me "is there a bear nearby" I would have to answer "quite possibly yes" and "stay alert." What would you say?


A theory with no valid evidence to support it doesn't count as a valid theory either. Every claimed piece of 'evidence' for the existence of god is basically an eyewitness account.
1. Religions never claimed to be a valid scientific theory. You don't have to be convinced if you don't want, but you do have to let OTHER people be convinced if they want to. I refer again to my distinction between arbitrariness in support vs arbitrariness in condemnation. The latter is bad, the former is neutral.
2. Eyewitness evidence is still evidence. An ever so slight evidence of X might not convince you of X, and no one would blame you for choosing Y, but for you to blame other people for choosing X in that situation is asinine.

Every last one of these has a more rational explanation than god actually existing.
Actually this is the heart of the issue. You come in with the assumption that god's existence is irrational, and then you use that as evidence of itself. This is circular.

If you presume the opposite, that god's existence is rational but simply hasn't been observed (by you), then this line of argument falls on its face. Consider this analogy: I doubt the existence of orgasms because I have never experienced one. People who claim to have had one are probably lying, mentally ill, or wishful thinking. Because I assume that these other explanations are way more rational than orgasms, I can safely conclude that all the millions of witness stories are false, and orgasms aren't real. The only way for me to believe in the possibility is to start with the premise that it is rational to believe in orgasms.

These are all observed phenomenon which pretty much nobody worth hearing would dispute the existence of.
The vast majority of humans alive or dead would say the same thing about the possible existence of god. This "everyone agrees" argument works against you.

They are all pretty common. Way more common than gods. Many orders of magnitude more common.
Only if God doesn't exist (your premise is your conclusion; circular).

The reason more stock is given to eyewitness accounts in certain other situations is that they typically don't make claims as outlandish as messages from god.
Still circular. You're premise that God is "outlandish" is also the thing you're trying to demonstrate.

One might also consider what would happen if someone made a claim today that they had met or heard god. You'd get laughed at or sent for a psych consult. Unless you were the president of the USA obviously. Actually somehow I imagine Obama wouldn't get away with any such claim. The Republicans would have him locked up in a straightjacket in a heartbeat.
W claimed to talk to God. Yet he still walks free.
     
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Aug 8, 2011, 09:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
I was thinking of a larger scale than these forums. It just seems to be one of many reasons for people who are inclined to hate each other to hate each other.
Since they're inclined to hate each other, what makes you think they can't/won't come up with an excuse to do so, without using religion?
     
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Aug 9, 2011, 04:54 AM
 
Originally Posted by Athens View Post
BTW where did God come from. I mean who made god? God's god?
Ghudda - God of all Gods. Mother of all Gods. Creator of all Gods.
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Aug 9, 2011, 05:34 AM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
What will the outcome of a fair coin toss be? Answers in order of likelihood that they are correct:
1. Heads.
2. Tails.
Given no evidence, we have no choice but to conclude the answer is definitely heads.
No. The answer is 50% chance of Heads and 50% chance of Tails. It's a statistical probability.

Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
--------------
Now, as promised, here's your chance to explain why you wouldn't agree with me. I've just simply and elegantly demonstrated that your logical sequence is completely unfounded. Why wouldn't you agree?


ANY conclusion is logical, because you have NO EVIDENCE. What's illogical is calling the other conclusions "foolish and demonstrably false." Obviously nothing is demonstrably false when there is NO EVIDENCE.
With NO EVIDENCE, nothing is demonstrably true. Thus believing that your God is the true God is illogical.

Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
Again it's just like a coin toss. Heads might win or tails might win, but saying "I don't know" definitely will NOT win. But the truth is you actually don't know, and calling heads is just a gamble, when you have NO EVIDENCE, and calling someone "foolish and demonstrably false" just for calling tails is stupid, when you have no evidence.

Of course, things would be different if you had some evidence

Knowing the coin has heads and tails is in itself evidence. If someone calls God in the coin toss, I'm 100% sure the coin isn't going to show God no matter how much the God believer wants to believe that the coin will turn up God.


If we do a coin flip 1000 times, heads and tails will show up pretty close to 50%/50% chance. God showing up is 0% chance.

Conducting the experiment of flip the coin 1000 times. If you ask the Pope to pray to God for Heads before each coin flip , do you believe Heads would now show up more than 90% of the time? How about 70% of the time? How about 60 of the time? How about 55% of the time?

I say anyone who believes that the Pope through prayer can get Heads to show up more than 60% is absolutely foolish.
( Last edited by hyteckit; Aug 9, 2011 at 05:45 AM. )
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ebuddy
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Aug 9, 2011, 06:47 AM
 
Originally Posted by hyteckit View Post
Knowing the coin has heads and tails is in itself evidence. If someone calls God in the coin toss, I'm 100% sure the coin isn't going to show God no matter how much the God believer wants to believe that the coin will turn up God.

If we do a coin flip 1000 times, heads and tails will show up pretty close to 50%/50% chance. God showing up is 0% chance.
Well then, you've just established what little regard the zealous atheist has for empirical evidence.
ebuddy
     
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Aug 9, 2011, 09:10 AM
 
:guffaw:

In absence of Spliffy to do it, I hereby award ebuddy a smackdown award.
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Aug 9, 2011, 09:41 AM
 
Originally Posted by hyteckit View Post
Knowing the coin has heads and tails is in itself evidence.

If someone calls God in the coin toss, I'm 100% sure the coin isn't going to show God no matter how much the God believer wants to believe that the coin will turn up God.

If we do a coin flip 1000 times, heads and tails will show up pretty close to 50%/50% chance. God showing up is 0% chance.

Conducting the experiment of flip the coin 1000 times. If you ask the Pope to pray to God for Heads before each coin flip , do you believe Heads would now show up more than 90% of the time? How about 70% of the time? How about 60 of the time? How about 55% of the time?

I say anyone who believes that the Pope through prayer can get Heads to show up more than 60% is absolutely foolish.
Strawmen don't win debates. But some believe they're still pretty ok at scaring away crows.

God doesn't help you win coin throws. But some believe he's still pretty ok at spiritual fulfillment.

I guess if you set out to misuse something, you're going to find it meets your low expectation.



(If that was too subtle for you: no one ever said god was going to help you win a coin toss)

PS @ebuddy: bravo
( Last edited by Uncle Skeleton; Aug 9, 2011 at 12:17 PM. )
     
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Aug 9, 2011, 02:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
Well then, you've just established what little regard the zealous atheist has for empirical evidence.
This is supposed to be a smackdown? Wow, some people are really impressed by nothing, aren't they?
     
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Aug 9, 2011, 05:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by lpkmckenna View Post
This is supposed to be a smackdown?
I can't make heads or tails of why you'd flip out over this. It's not like you coined that phrase. In all probability, you haven't even read a quarter of the thread yet!

     
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Aug 9, 2011, 05:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
Well then, you've just established what little regard the zealous atheist has for empirical evidence.
That's why you are wrong. Knowing the coin has heads or tails, you guess God assuming it's a US quarter. False assumptions based on false ideas.

By the way, that's Washington, not God. Unless you believe God has been reduce to nothing but a word. Well, I guess God is as useful and nothing more than just a word.
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Aug 9, 2011, 06:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
Strawmen don't win debates. But some believe they're still pretty ok at scaring away crows.

God doesn't help you win coin throws. But some believe he's still pretty ok at spiritual fulfillment.

I guess if you set out to misuse something, you're going to find it meets your low expectation.



(If that was too subtle for you: no one ever said god was going to help you win a coin toss)

PS @ebuddy: bravo
Are you sure God doesn't help you win coin throws? Where's your evidence of that? You just contradicted yourself. You just drew a conclusion with NO EVIDENCE!

I say God does help you win coin throws if you are praying to the right God. Prove me wrong otherwise.
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Aug 9, 2011, 06:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by hyteckit View Post
Are you sure God doesn't help you win coin throws? Where's your evidence of that? You just contradicted yourself. You just drew a conclusion with NO EVIDENCE!
No I'm not sure. That's what NO EVIDENCE means: not sure, no conclusion, gray area. See, no contradiction

(edited to account for your edit)
     
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Aug 9, 2011, 06:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
Here's your homework for tonight hyteckit: find the difference between not-claiming-X and claiming-not-X
Uncle Skeleton got totally smack down.

All this talk about not being able to draw conclusions with NO EVIDENCE. Then draw a conclusion about 'God doesn't help you win coin throws' with NO EVIDENCE. Hahah..

That was easy.
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Aug 9, 2011, 06:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by hyteckit View Post
Uncle Skeleton got totally smack down.

All this talk about not being able to draw conclusions with NO EVIDENCE. Then draw a conclusion about 'God doesn't help you win coin throws' with NO EVIDENCE. Hahah..

That was easy.
Quoted for posterity....

I reckon you'd notice this error on your own in a day or two, but I'll just point it out now anyway. I made no conclusion. "Not claiming X" is not a conclusion, "claiming not X" would be a conclusion. I said the former, you jumped the gun and thought it was the latter. But you're free to go back and read more carefully any time now.
     
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Aug 9, 2011, 06:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by lpkmckenna View Post
This is supposed to be a smackdown? Wow, some people are really impressed by nothing, aren't they?
Must have been too subtle for you to catch. Or maybe you need to go read fifty books about it first.
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Aug 9, 2011, 06:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by lpkmckenna View Post
This is supposed to be a smackdown? Wow, some people are really impressed by nothing, aren't they?
Yes, thats why they believe in gods.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
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Aug 9, 2011, 07:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
Quoted for posterity....

I reckon you'd notice this error on your own in a day or two, but I'll just point it out now anyway. I made no conclusion. "Not claiming X" is not a conclusion, "claiming not X" would be a conclusion. I said the former, you jumped the gun and thought it was the latter. But you're free to go back and read more carefully any time now.
You are claiming "God doesn't help you win coin throws."

Waragainstsleep: God doesn't exist because there are NO EVIDENCE.
Uncle Skeleton: You can't draw a conclusion that God doesn't exist because there are NO EVIDENCE.

Uncle Skeleton: God doesn't help you win coin throws.
hyteckit: You can't draw a conclusion that God doesn't help you win coin throws because there are NO EVIDENCE.


Uncle Skeleton, why are you claiming God doesn't help you win coin throws? Cause you see NO EVIDENCE?

Now you want to backtrack and say you never claim "God doesn't help you win coin throws" cause you got totally smackdown?
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Aug 9, 2011, 07:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by hyteckit View Post
You are claiming "God doesn't help you win coin throws."
No I didn't.

Uncle Skeleton: God doesn't help you win coin throws.
Fabrication.

hyteckit: You can't draw a conclusion that God doesn't help you win coin throws because there are NO EVIDENCE.
Rather sad fantasy world.

Edit: I see now where you are getting this from. That was a premise, not a conclusion. Even if god doesn't help you win coin throws, that has no bearing on what anyone believes god to be, which is not a way to cheat at gambling. This intent was and still is given at the bottom of the offending post. "No one said god was going to help you win a coin toss." Sorry for the confusion.
( Last edited by Uncle Skeleton; Aug 9, 2011 at 07:18 PM. )
     
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Aug 9, 2011, 07:19 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
No I didn't.


Fabrication.


Rather sad fantasy world.

Edit: I see now where you are getting this from. That was a premise, not a conclusion. Even if god doesn't help you win coin throws, that has no bearing on what anyone believes god to be, which is not a way to cheat at gambling. This intent was and still is given at the bottom of the offending post. "No one said god was going to help you win a coin toss." Sorry for the confusion.
Who's living in a sad fantasy world?

You are now claiming you never said "God doesn't help you win coin throws."
Bush Tax Cuts == Job Killer
June 2001: 132,047,000 employed
June 2003: 129,839,000 employed
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Aug 9, 2011, 07:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
Yes, thats why they believe in gods.
Is this an example of religion being divisive Waragainstsleep?
ebuddy
     
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Aug 9, 2011, 07:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by hyteckit View Post
Who's living in a sad fantasy world?

You are now claiming you never said "God doesn't help you win coin throws."
Tell you what, champ. I'll claim that if you claim you never said "I'm 100% sure the coin isn't going to show God." Do we have a deal?
     
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Aug 9, 2011, 08:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
Tell you what, champ. I'll claim that if you claim you never said "I'm 100% sure the coin isn't going to show God." Do we have a deal?
Unlike you, I stand by my statements 100%.

You obviously got lost in your own arguments and now have to resort to fallacious arguments.
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