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bambini

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bambini last won the day on July 28 2010

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About bambini

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  1. Is there some sort of trick to it? Many a time I've done what I felt was a perfect knockout, only for the bugger to go "oof", then around and give me the business end of his sword. What gives?
  2. Following on from my last post, I managed to do what I couldn't do earlier straight away today - dunno what went wrong
  3. OK, thanks Fid. It's weird, but I'll keep on it. Maybe it's operator error.
  4. Sorry if this has already been asked, but I'm having a minor problem with breaking glass and don't want to read all the spoilers to find my answer.
  5. Sorry to drag up an old topic, but just read this article. So I guess we were all worried over nothing
  6. On man I did the very same! I called them my Jehovah's Witness Stalkers, and they came round every Saturday for weeks on end. Each week I reiterated that I'm a staunch atheist and that they had absolutely no hope of converting me, but that I loved a debate, and secretly thought it might be mice to introduce just a little doubt in their minds. And each week they would come over and shoot the breeze with me on my doorstep. We'd have a lovely debate that unfortunately never went anywhere though, because after every 'profound' point they made about How science couldn't possibly explain X, Y or Z, I'd inevitably answer with "yes, I agree, but I'm happy with that situation" or with "yes but I'm quite content to accept that it was all a massive coincidence". Anyway, a word of warning. My wife was getting unhappy about these folk coming round uninvited. It had been 2 months, I had grown tired of the circular debates, the copies of "The Watchtower" were piling up (unread) and they had started to drop hints that they'd like to come into the house. I'd also got a bit annoyed at their narrow-mindedness. They just couldn't accept that my beliefs were as firmly held as theirs and that I was happy with those beliefs. It felt a little intolerant. The problem was that they were just so darned nice. How was I supposed to turn them away? It would be like punching Santa. She told me that I need to stand firm and tell them to bugger off, and then she sat on the stairs next time they came over and just glared at me until I'd sent them packing. I did so, and yet they still came round next week. Now here's where it gets a little creepy. I wasn't in, and so my wife answered the door. "He's not in," she said. They didn't believe her. An argument ensued (a very placid, Christian argument), and my wife clearly said she wasn't interested. As she started to shut the door, one of them put his foot in the way to hold the door open. My wife (who's not to be trifled with) was fuming at this and told them very clearly what she thought of them and slammed the door in her face. They never returned, but the missus was (rightly) a little shaken up by the experience. Since then, I limit my theological discussions to online forums and friends.
  7. Excellent points, well put. I think you've summarised the debate well Now, back to this discussion with young Springheel, who's starting to get on my wick : All this would "prove" is the existence of a benevolent/meddlesome God and that the Bible was written by men and wasn't the direct Word of God. I never made suggestions otherwise. I also never suggested that the Bible was a literal text or anything of the sort. Throughout this discussion I've been talking about belief in a God or other higher power, not the intricacies of any particular faith, all of which (in my eyes) are largely flawed because of the capacity for misuse or misinterpretation, but provide guidelines for how to live a life. No, it doesn't. Any more than the person who uses their birth date to guess the number of jellybeans in the jar is "necessarily" wrong. But the chances of them being right are so remote that it is reasonable to assume they're wrong. I agree, but we aren't talking about plucking answers out of thin air here, we are talking about people using available information and coming to their own conclusions about matters that are unavoidably beyond human limits of understanding. Counting jellybeans is not one of these issues. It's quite within the limits of humans to take a guess at the number of jellybeans. But think about this. What if the jar is covered up, so we can't ever "see" the answer. All we know is that the jar is a certain size and has jellybeans in it. Just because we disagree on the number of jellybeans, doesn't make either of us wrong. Sure, only one of use can be right, and chances are we are both off the mark. However, we've both simply taken available information (which is never going to be enough information to make a proper decision) and made an informed guess based on our understanding of the world. Other people might believe the jar is empty, and they could well be right too. Another guy could use their date of birth to pick a number, and you're right, the chances are they're way off, but they too could be right. The same applies to this whole religion/science debate. We don't have the answers because we don't, and never will, have all the information we need. Some possibilities seem more plausible, but there's never going to be a "right answer" and even if there is we are never going to know if we've got it. Now this is the part that has annoyed me a little as you seem to have taken my comments completely out of context. I'm not arguing this to be the case. With the exception of "the earth is flat" (which I've already discussed earlier), these are matters of historical information, and historical information is a socially constructed reality that we exist in. And in this reality, the holocaust actually did happen and I don't owe anyone a million dollars. We could argue that this is all subjective (sort of a Matrix-esque take on things) and start to question the nature of reality, but since we can't escape reality it is irrelevant and silly. However, I don't want to get bogged down in this because this is very much off at a tangent. This is not what I've been talking about though. This whole debate is about the existence of those things, which (as I've already said) is the realm of things that are beyond the human capacity – those things which we will have to put our hands up and say "I don't know". In that area, we can go only by probability: there probably isn't a God, but how can anyone say there definitely isn't? This is a totally different topic to matters of historical accuracy. And yes, I am saying that since we can't rule it out is remains plausible. And I stand by that. I'm not saying that everything is equally plausible though, nor am I saying that there are no things that are implausible.
  8. OK, so I've now read through the previous posts (on Sotha's recommendation) and have realised that much of what I've been saying has been covered in-depth and by much more learned people than myself . I won't bang this drum much longer, but I thought I might reply to some comments. @springheel: So I did. Silly me. I could make a post-modernist case that your interpretation of what I said is subjective and call into question what you can possibly claim to know about what I said, but that would just be silly @sotha: Agreed. Science is more systematic and analytical. However, as I said previously, religion was developed in a similar way - by examining and interpreting the information presented and reaching a conclusion. And they also come up with a way of understanding reality. It just so happens that the answer, more often than not, is "God did it." All I'm saying is that "multiple experiments" and "supporting observations" are unavoidably flawed, because of the inherent limitations of the person making those experiments and observations. I'm not knocking science, I just feel that at times it's overvalued as the be all and end all, while the limitations get conveniently glossed over. For instance, science can never answer the question of whether or not there is a God, as it cannot be conclusively proven either way. I agree that this makes them different from beliefs, in the sense that where a scientist might shrug his shoulders and say "I don't know", a theologist would insert a plausible explanation. But this doesn't necessarily make the theologist wrong. I'm also not saying that "you can make any claim and everyone should accept it as anyone can believe in anything". I'm saying that we are all entitled to disagree, and we are entitled to think that some ideas are implausible or absurd. However, we are not entitled to pronounce someone as wrong. You don't have to swallow the notion of God (I don't) but you do have to accept that we as humans can't (and never will be able to) rule him out as a possibility, even using the best scientific methods. lol Agreed. On a practical, day-to-day level, the subjectivity of the human experience makes not one jot of difference. To use your butterfly example, it's hard to see how it matters. We would still live a full life, grow old, invent hover cars, etc., etc. However, when it comes to the bigger questions we need to be aware of our limitations, and the limitations of the scientific approach. The idea of being "misguided" is subjective. I think that scientology is misguiding but, that's because I don't believe in it. A scientologist might therefore say that I'm misguided. However, that's an aside. What I disagree with is the financial exploitation of scientology as a faith (and I use "faith" in the loosest possible way). Someone can believe in scientology if they want, but they should not be led into believing in scientology for the profit of others. It is okay for me to allow people to believe what they want as long as they are given the correct information and then they get to choose. But forcing irrational beliefs to people in school as scientifically proven facts is entirely different thing, don't you think. Again, agreed. I dislike the idea of creationism being taught in schools to the exclusion of the theory of evolution. But I'd also hate to see the opposite situation, where creationism is excluded totally. That, to me, counts as forcing beliefs on others. However, the idea of creationism is a very different ball game. Unlike the great unprovables, it is possible to gather evidence that stacks strongly against creationism (like the age of the Earth, dinosaurs, etc.), and this also needs to be made clear. Ideally, there should be a "here's one set of ideas about where we come from, based on our scientific understanding of the world, but there are other theories too." Personal belief is just that. People shold be presented with information and left to make their own decisions. An interesting aside here is the idea that the creation of life through a promordial soup has to be right. Why does it? If you really look at it, then it seems a little far-fetched. It would require a vey specific set of circumstances (right temperature, right pH, exactly the right combination of elements in exactly the right quantities) just to create the first amino acids, let alone making those combine to make the first proteins. Sure, in an infinite universe these circumstances are bound to crop up from time to time, but in terms of probability, why is this more likely than intelligent design? Incidentally, have you ever seen the episode of South Park on the creationism is schools debate? Genius
  9. @Sotha: Of course science is a belief system. We blur it with words like "evidence" of "a well proved base", but ultimately the entire concept of science asks us to believe that by carrying out experiments and collecting data, we will reach a "truth". There's no concrete proof that this will be the case, but we believe it anyway. This is the same for religion. Replace "evidence" or "scientific methods" with "God" (or Allah, etc.) and you have the same conundrum. You can see that the rain falls, but why it does so is a matter of belief. Some (most?) people believe that science has gathered evidence, that this evidence means something if interpreted correctly and that the answers lie in this evidence, while others believe that God makes the rain and so He is the answer. In the West we put a lot of faith in science, but it is faith nonetheless. You have also got to remember that most religions (with the exception of the likes of Scientology) were formed over decades or even centuries, on the basis of observation and seeking answers, in much the same way as science does. I agree, for the sake of shorthand, it's fine to say "facts" rather than "the most likely explanation". I also agree that science has provided us with massive advances in our understanding of the universe and I'm in no way belittling it. But there are huge areas with big question marks over it in science. How did life begin? How did the dinosaurs die out? What came before the Big Bang? Some scientists put their hands up and say "we don't know", others put forward a theory based on the most likely explanation of the evidence. A theory requires people to believe in it. As you say, we may understand the workings of electricity, but migh never understand how or why it exists in the first place. @jdude: I stand corrected. There is indeed an ultimate truth, and you've argued it well there. However, whether or not there is ann ultimate truth is irrelevant. Let me explain why. We can never say with absolute certainty what it is, as we are humans and therefore have limitations. It's true that the Earth is either round or not, although the concept of "not round" is incredibly vast to the point of being meaningless. It could be infinite number of shapes. The key issue is how can we know with 100% certainty what shape it is? It's actually a great example. We can only ever see one side of the Earth at any one time. The other side is filled in by our brains to create a belief that there is another side to the Earth, but we just can't see it. This is called object permanence - just because we can't see something, we are still able to hold in our minds that it exists. However, on what basis? What evidence to we have that the other side of the Earth doesn't simply cease to exist when we aren't looking at it? Think of a chair. When we see a chair, we know it's there. If we walk out of the room, all we have is a memory of a chair. Our brain tells us that chair still exists even though we can't see it, but we don't know for certain. On the basis of our knowledge and understanding of the universe, it's completely reasonable to assert that the chair doesn't pop in and out of existence, but there is always, and must always be, an element, of doubt, however small. Now here's the clincher. If I was to believe that if I can't see something it simply doesn't exist, how could you say with absolute certainty I was wrong? Of course it's absurd and in all likelihood I'm totally off the mark, but that element of doubt means that I could be right. I think we agree on this so far. However, I think you've misunderstood what I was saying if you think I'm suggesting that "all beliefs are equal." Of course they aren't. But everyone has the right to believe what they want, and no one can ever tell someone with absolute certainty that they're wrong. There might well be a God. There might well be gnomes living in your trousers. I'm not saying that all beliefs are on a level footing, but there is no way to tell beyond all doubt that any belief is a fallacy. In science we gather evidence and look at what is likely, but ultimately it's all a matter of probability, not fact. To proclaim that you are definitely right in your beliefs is narrow-minded and frankly, wrong. Or not
  10. @nbohr1more: Just wanted to pick up on your point: yes, we are all inherently biased. We make sweeping generalisations about everyone else as a way of making sense of the world. It would use too much of your brain to make individual assessments of everyone around you. The point of self-reflection is that you recognise these limitations, and find ways to work with them for personal development. You're doing that, so well done you. My guess is that the setup of the family is a little unusual, given the age differences, you're aware of this and it makes you uncomfortable. As for the reason this makes you uncomfortable, I think you're going down the wrong road. Use this experience to develop a little, and move on from it. Just to be clear though, this weird feeling you're getting around this couple is more than likely to be a red herring, and even if it turns out that they are sexually abusing that child, it would be just a coincidence that you had this weird feeling. I think that you are aware that not doing anything is the best solution at the moment, as you have no evidence. However, in the unlikely event that they are abusers, how would you be morally responsible? If you happened to be talking about plane crashes on 9/11, would you have caused the attack on the World Trade Center? No. It would just be a coincidence. I've come into contact with a great number of sex offenders in my line of work, and there is no "type", "look" or any way you can tell that they are a sex offender based on appearances. They aren't all slimy, their eyes aren't too close together and they don't have weird comb-overs .
  11. @Sotha: Sorry, maybe I was unclear. The prejudice and paranoia referred to nbohr1more's beliefs about his neighbours, beliefs that he acknowledged were irrational. And yes, now that we have shifted to a different topic we are having an equally (if not more) interesting discussion. At risk of repeating something that has already been said (I haven't read the last posts thoroughly) My two cents are that we should probably take the time to realise that no one's right. There is no "one ultimate truth" and the belief in science is no more likely than the belief in God. I myself am a staunch atheist because, for me, these answers fit my understanding of life, the universe and everything better than the other theories. However I don't for a second proclaim that I'm right. This it the postmodernist view, and yes, I think of myself as a postmodernist. To quote a Bright Eyes song, "If you say that there's no truth, and who cares, how can you say it like you're right?" Form what I can tell there's been a bit of a misunderstanding of science here, too. Science doesn't produce "facts", nor does it provide "certainties". All science does examine a set of circumstances and, on the basis of what is known and observable, provide a theory as to the most likely cause. Good science will NEVER say "A causes B" (although for the sake of brevity people might say this), but in fact says "We know that when we manipulate A, B also changes. The most likely explanation is that A causes B". So the idea of God, or fairies painting our leaves in autumn, may be considered by modern science as highly unlikely, but they can never be considered impossible. Philosophers have long argued that there are inherent limits to all ways of understanding the world because anything we "know" is based on our senses, which is processed through our own perceptions. This introduces bias, which means that we can never know actual truth. We only "know" a tree exists because our eyes give raw information to our brain and our brain comes to the conclusion that it exists. Immanuel Kant (I think) argued that for something to exist to humanity, it must exist within time and space. We can only perceive a chair if it occupies space in the universe and if it exists for a period of time (if a chair exists for 0 seconds then humans can't know it exists. This leaves a whole void of experience that is beyond our grasp - that which (theoretically) exists outside of time and space. God, or fairies, or anything else for that matter, might exist in this realm and we would never know about it. Or it might not. The point is that Kant created this theory using his mind, which, as I said earlier, is fallible. So there's a massive paradox there that means that we can never know absolute truth, and so all possibilities are up for grabs. OK, ramble over. My point is that we could all be equally right, or equally wrong, but we will never know. So my take on it is that as long as what you believe in doesn't distress you (as in people with distressing psychotic symptoms), you can believe what you want. If you want to believe in God, Harry Potter, fairies, aliens, science, fate or free will, then go for it. Pick one (or several) view(s) of the world that suits you and accept that other people have the right to disagree with you, but also accept that they are no more right or wrong than you are. I picked atheism and science (although you could also label me a humanist). Just never believe you're right, never force your beliefs on others and never harm others on the basis of your beliefs (think The Crusades, KKK or Islamic extremists).
  12. I like metcheck. Nicely laid out, really clear and you have long-range forecasts (up to 2 weeks, and they seem to be fairly spot on) which is perfect for planning whether to take your wellies to Glastonbury
  13. Whoa. So I checked in on this thread, thinking "how is this topic still clinging to life?", only to dscover that a conversation about the OP's prejudices and paranoia (and let's face it, that's all it is) has turned into a discussion on postmodernism and epistemology! I really don't want the read the whole thread, so would someone mind telling me how we got here?
  14. That all depends. Take Starbucks for instance. Why are they everywhere? Because, say what you will about the company itself, it's hard to deny that they make damn fine coffee. Why are iPods so popular? Because when it comes to large capacity for low price, they are by far the best quality mp3 players (I'm largely referring to the iPod classic - I'm well aware that there are better alternatives to the smaller iPods such as the nano and the shuffle). Ah, the philosophical question of the nature of quality. We know when something is of a high quality, and making judgements of quality is a fundamental part of making sense of our environment, but it's hard to define what quality is. For instance, if someone hears two songs, they would be able to say which is the better quality one. But if you asked why, they would more often than not be unable to say. See Zen and the Art of Motorcyle Maintenance for more details
  15. I agree. This game is great! If I'm not careful, trying to provoke aidakeeley might become more fun for me than TDM And I think that thus far we can say that our experiment is working out nicely. Interestingly, there seems to be a more incendiary reaction from the rest of the community than from aidakeeley himself.
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