• A Cosmic DNA?

    My understanding of comtabilisim is that under certain circumstances you can make your own free will choice which is not deterministic. It is a bit like 'eating the cake and having it' but many philosophers
    agree with it.
  • A Cosmic DNA?
    I would not describe as a blueprint as that would smack of a 'design'.
    what I am saying is that that if one believes on determinism, one has to conclude that the shape of the universe at any time was determined during the infinitesimal small stretch of time post the big bang,
  • Randomness, Preferences and Free Will
    If you are able to choose you than by implication you are already not a blank page, you already have a personality with some sort of bias. Also, randomness is in the eye of the beholder. Randomness is a pattern which is impossible to describe mathematically. There is not such a thing as 'random choice'
    When you choose a lottery ticket number 'at random' it is not really random. Your choice is through some unconscious bias.
  • Something out of nothing.
    The emotional appeal of Life after death seemed to derail your rationality. What is wrong with Tim's healthy scepticism about your belief?
  • Something out of nothing.

    In the tapestry of time and space, Bill lives forever. His existence cannot be wiped off. The universe would be different without the causal effects of his having existed.
  • The Texture of Day to Day
    To csalisbury.
    You must be an optimist in hoping that answer which eluded humankind for thousands of year will
    found in the discourse of the Forum. Nevertheless, it is a thought-provoking question/````
  • Causation and Coincidence
    The causal criteria referred to is that of David Humes who lived 150 before the birth of modern physics.
    I think that according to Relativity even the temporal criterion is not valid.
  • Chinese Muslims: Why are they persecuted?

    Look at the treatment given by Muslim countries to their minorities: the Copts, Yazidis., Armenians...
    Over the century the Christian population of the Middle declined from 20% to 2%, Doesn't tell you
    why the Jew fled the Muslim countries fled to what is their ancestral land?
  • Chinese Muslims: Why are they persecuted?
    [reWhaply="god must be atheist;372313"]

    Not what I meant. of course, Jews fleeing from Arab countries 1948-1950 were received in Israel by open arms. Their descendants form by now the majority of Israel's Jewish population.
  • Chinese Muslims: Why are they persecuted?
    The I/

    The Palestinian refugee problem was created 72 years ago. When you consider the wealth of the oil kingdoms and their need for manpower you realise that the problem that it could have been settled long time ago (and to a large extent it did) Unfortunately, keeping number of the descendants of those refugees at the borders of Israel who claim 'the right to return' became a political aimed at the destruction of the state of Israel. Incidentally, there was also a Jewish refugee problem created by Jew fleeing Arab countries to Israel.
  • Chinese Muslims: Why are they persecuted?
    That is is not going to happen/ Unlike the Jews of Europe, the Muslim minorities have powerful backers in the Muslim majority countries where they could flee if it comes to the worst. Also, we have now media
    UN etc.. although that did not prevent the genocide in Rwanda. I agree that had the Uigurs not been living in the strategic area of Xinjiang, the persecution would less severe.
  • Chinese Muslims: Why are they persecuted?

    There is a Chinese imperialism for you. I started in Tibet in 1950 with the occupation and destruction of Tibetan culture and population the province with Han Chinese who now outnumber the indigenous population. However, from the Chinese point of view Uigurs are a greater threat to Chinese hegemony than Tibet because they are Muslims, a worldwide religion with brethren in neighbouring countries and nd therefore possibly viewed a fifth column. Please note that Thailand, the Philippines, Srilanka and Myanmar mirror the Chinese attitude. Whilst not justifying any of these, Islamic fundamentalism is a factor.
  • Jesus was a Jew. Why do some Christians and Muslims hate Jews?

    The Jewish court which sentenced Jesus had no temporal powers. The Romans were the ones who crucified Jesus, probably because they considered him as a potential rebel. Suggest you study the history of the Jewish rebellion against the Roman rule.
  • The Tipping Point of Evil

    Nowdays, the

    "This, to me hides an important distinction. There is collateral damage and there is intentional targeting of civilian populations, like say in Dresden. I don't think things like this shortened the war. And I don't think the German bombing of civilian London helped their cause and perhaps actually made the British more determined."

    Nowadays the bombing of Dresden coming less there three months before the collapse of the Third Reich and killing many thousands would be considered as war crime comparable to The Russian bombing of Aleppo. However, the timeline context cannot be ignored. It came after many German the bombing of purely civilian targets starting with Guernica. Rotterdam was bombed after the Dutch surrendered jus for the sake of 'teaching a lesson'. And, the Red Army liberated Auschwitz a month
    earlier thus revealing the enormity of the German Genocidal crimes. Whilst two wrongs do not make right, the bombing of Dresden has to be viewed in the general context of WW2.
  • Can anything really ever be identical?

    I think that metaphysical identity deals with physical identity. But even aking your example, reading the same thing at 3 am would evoke a different image/interpretation than reading it at 3 pm.
  • The Tipping Point of Evil

    But not all is lost! We still have the handfull of the righteous (the LibDem)
    And, I would not count. on five years. History os in an overdrive.
  • The War on Terror
    The situation in Afghanistan has been deteriorating for the last 10 years. I think that what we view as 'deterioration' is, unfortunately, the norm for Afghanistan. It the mixture of ethnic-religious groups the geography and Islamic fundamentalism that causes it. The Afghan government will stumble on but will survive.
  • Is Trainability of animals a measure of their intelligence?
    I think that trainability provides some measure of an animal's intelligence. It is a facet of adaptability to changing circumstances which essentially does not differ from that required to adapt to a changing habitat. An animal needs certain intelligence to perceive how to respond to a person's command for its own good. You can train several species of mammals but I don't think you can train iguanas or pythons.
    I am not of course condoning some aspects of animal training.
  • The power of truth

    The debate seems to me to be sterile since so far none of the participants define the meaning of Truth.
  • Is Trainability of animals a measure of their intelligence?
    Quite an interesting episode.
    Apparently, genetically dingos are not different from the domestic dog and can be trained if starting from puppyhood. Conversely, it does not take long for domestic dogs to go feral. I wonder whether the 60.000 years of domestication. Is it possible that the domestication process just added a veneer on an unchangeable underlay?
  • The Trinity
    OK. Taking the analogy of body parts with various functions. What are the demarcation lines between the three entities? Does the Holy Spirit deal with different matters than those dealt with by Jehova or Jesus?
  • 'Miracle Cures'

    Where is the evidence?
  • 'Miracle Cures'

    You got a point, but I still think that the belief in Miracle Cures is a good example of Divine Nepotism. You might be the best person in the world but you will be doomed if you do not follow our (weird !)
    rituals. That approach is, of course, common to all, monotheistic religions.
  • 'Miracle Cures'

    I am a non-believer. I should point out that belief in cures by holy men and holy places exist also among Jews a Moslems but. unlike in Catholicism, they are not sanctioned by mainstream establishments.
  • Where is the Intelligence in the Design
    Amazing program? Haven't you heard about entropy, chaos, and randomness?
    And incidentally, there cosmic constants and ratios, most of which are part of the so-called 'fine-tuning
  • Where is the Intelligence in the Design

    So, it took the ultra-fine balancing of fifty or so constants and ratios to create life on one planet in an insignificant solar system in an unremarkable galaxy. Any outcome that relied on such complex balancing is unstable by definition and would not bode well for the future of Life.
  • Where is the Intelligence in the Design

    Actually, all I had in mind in starting the debate is to imply that that the world as it is does not point to having an element of 'Design' as defined in terms of engineering or art. No reflection about the design capabilities of (non-existant in my view) God. I suppose one might view Evolution with its purposefulness as emerging intelligence. It is created through the entopic flow but does eventually self-destructive. It cannot exist in a Heat Death universe.
  • Where on the evolutionary scale does individuality begin?
    Perhaps I should have stressed the behavioural aspect of my question.
    I found Possibilty’s reply quite instructive in pointing out how small factor in the ‘nurture’ aspect of individual early stages of life could make a contribution to the individual's distinctiveness individual. Ants colonies are a classic example of how ‘upbringing’ literary shapes the type of ant.

    I found the genetic definition of what is an individual rather restrictive. Asexual reproduction does not imply identical offsprings. Research by the UCAL showed that a bacterium which suffered some environmental damage will pass it to one daughter in order to enhance the survival fitness of the other.
  • Shattered Mirror

    I wonder if the same applied to natural organization e.g snowflakes, crystals...
    Does their creation result in an increase in entropy? I suppose they do for the reason you have mentioned.
  • Determinism vs 'Intelligent Design'
    Since proponents of 'Intelligent Design' never suggested some physical mechanism of how it works, there is no 'usual' way of looking at it. So my concept of it is as good as any.
  • Determinism vs 'Intelligent Design'

    In the sense that both share inevitability and pre-destination
  • Religious Determinism and Free Will

    Chaos is caused and in this sense it deterministic but its getting 'life' of its own and sensitivity to initial conditions makes one wonder.
  • Religious Determinism and Free Will
    [sreply="kudos;299978"] No serious scientist ever claims that everything can be analyzed and described. It just that science found better answers to some fundamental questions than religion did.
    Actually, by describing God as omniscient religion id more negative about Fre Will than science.
  • Is it wrong to joke about everything?

    Mel Brooks (who is Jewish) was asked that question about the Holocaust. He replied on the affirmative.
    Yes, there are funny joked about the Holocaust that focuses on the absurdity of anti-Semitism,
    There was also an Italian film comedy: 'Life is Good'. However, trivializing the subject would be nihilistic
    Much depends on the mindset of the joker.
  • Is there such a thing as "religion"?

    Two more elements of most religion are:
    Monopoly on truth, and by implication, contempt or hostility towards other religion and alternative world views.
  • Ethics of Interstellar Travel

    Definitely not on the purely ethical ground. But, it might be one of the rare instances where the end justified the means, say the survival of humankind depends on it. Fredric Pohl tackled the subject in his novel 'Man Plus'.
  • What is logic? How is it that it is so useful?
    Isn't most of the everyday logic essentially an inductive one. The Goldbach conjecture is an inductive one but while waiting for a deductive proof, it can be assumed to be correct for all practical purposes. Inductive logic often ends with a deductive proof like in the case of Fermat last theorem.
  • Climate Change vs Population Growth
    one of your comments addressed the issues I raised;

    1, will sub-Saharan Africa be able to cope with more than doubling its population within 35 years and
    2, What would be the effect on its environment and greenhouse emissions.

    Immigration is definitely not a solution to a problem of this scale even if it was not fiercely resisted by the hosting countries, It is worth noting that infant mortality nowadays even on the poorest African countries is less than 10%, so fertility of 5-6 children is not justified on grounds of being looked after in old age.

    I wish I could be as optimistic as you are.

    Incidentally, China would not be where it is now were it not for the one-child policy/

    Also, please bear in mind that automation reduces the need for manual labour. A Mac restaurant today employs less than half the number of one in the 80s. A car factory of say 4000 workers produces more cars than one which employed 20,000 in the 70s. Robotics makes major inroads been into the caring services,
  • The West's Moral Superiority To Islam

    Very recently the sultan of Brunei managed to focus the world's attention on the barbarity of large part of the Islamic world. His law about stoning to death gays and adulterers raised anger and boycotts in the West. But the sultan is not unique in this respect. Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia are not far off.
    The treatment of LGBT and the status of women are the current litmus pap test for civil society.
  • In Search of God
    Heavenly host (Hebrew: צבאות‎ sabaoth or tzva'ot, "armies") refers to the army (Luke 2:13) of angels mentioned both in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles, as well as other Jewish and Christian texts.

    The Bible gives several descriptions of angels in military terms, such as their encampment (Genesis 32:1-2), command structure (Psalms 91:11-12; Matt.13:41; Rev.7:2), and combat (Jdg.5:20; Job 19:12; Rev.12:7). The heavenly host participated in the War in Heaven.

    Another aspect of God. God the General!