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MisterSwig last won the day on February 22

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  1. It depends on your situation. If not understanding a section prevents you from understanding the next section and so forth, you're wasting your time until you grasp the first section. If there is no snowballing effect, and it's not a critical part, you could skip it and return later if necessary. Also, you might have to do more than repeatedly read a page to understand it. You should look up confusing words or ask an expert. Maybe you forgot something in a prior chapter and refreshing your memory will help.
  2. So there are ways to do that without falling into the mindset of trying to disprove it at the metaphysical level. Point out internal problems with the logic, like asking who then created God? Typically you'll encounter a wall of faith, then you can move on to attacking faith. At least then you can expose their hostility to reason and be done with them. Good luck, because you're struggling with one of the most difficult problems there is in philosophy. The fact is that the debate falls on the meaning of the word create, because that's the action posited. If create includes arbitrary miracles, you're going to lose the argument. It will always go epistemological, and then you'll be confronted with the faith bomb.
  3. So when exactly did God not create the universe? A long time ago when there was no life or consciousness? Or a couple days ago when you were thinking up this topic? Maybe he created everything five seconds ago and our memories of yesterday are artificial implants. How constrained to logic and scientific fact is your concept of god? Because you don't need a dozen sentences to say that you can't create something ex nihilo. I'm just stressing the fact that the arbitrary is not true or false, so you can't prove it true or false. Some dork can always come along and throw arbitrary objections at you, like the universe could have been created yesterday with people and pets and politicians even. Also, you begin your formulation like this: You're dealing with "classifications"? In other words, abstractions. Your premise already assumes the existence of something that can form concepts. Furthermore, "classifications" don't exist outside the mind, so they have nothing to do with how a material universe was or wasn't created. You aren't starting with anything objective, not the real or alleged referrents of these "classifications," but the "classifications" themselves. Then you do switch to referrents, but treat them as if they were your earlier abstractions. And finally, if "God" is a "classification," what does it classify? That which did not create the universe? Well, lots of things didn't create the universe.
  4. Why not? You're dealing with an omnipotent being. Of course he could create himself and everything else from nothing. He can do anything. You are beginning from a semi-logical context trying to inject a bit of common sense into a concept of god. If you're going to do that, you might as well just define god as a figment of the imagination and go watch some TV instead of struggling with your formulations.
  5. Color is an attribute of an entity. So you differentiate it from other attributes like shape, size, width, length.
  6. It strikes me as a kind of foreshadowing. But the connected events happen in such quick succession that they indicate a plot-theme integration of predetermination. You see that the movie was so well done that the issue of choice versus fate was there in the initial scenes. Also, the "wake up" bit not only foreshadows his immediate waking from sleep, but also his later choice to escape from the matrix.
  7. It's a loyalty or fidelity to a person or thing. In the religious context it typically refers to a trust one has in the existence of god or in the truth of a sacred text, despite evidence to the contrary. So it might be based on a positive feeling for the person or thing trusted, but faith itself is a kind of religious virtue. It is loyalty to that which is trusted. Before logicians and scientists exposed much of the nonsense of religious texts, people could have faith in the stories and prophets of religions without much hypocrisy. But now, with all our knowledge of objective reality, it's hard to accept the pure nonsense of mythology as history, and dogma as truth. People now have faith in their feelings toward such nonsense. They know the stories and prophets conflict with logic and science, but they desire them to be true in some important way. And so they trust their feelings instead of their facts. This is how many people selectively reject objectivity in favor of subjectivity.
  8. Neither one of you seem to understand that such religious beliefs are not true or false. They are arbitrary. When someone says they believe in life after death, they aren't talking about something that can be proven correct or incorrect. They're talking about the supernatural, which is arbitrarily asserted and taken on faith.
  9. You can't establish that God is not something. You begin by labelling the universe as "something," arbitrarily denying God the same undefined label. God is indeed something. It is an idea. It is a word. And it is these things self-evidently. Also, you couldn't deny that God is something by giving a materialistic definition for "something," because then the universe would not fit your definition. The universe is not a material object. It is an idea, word, similar to God. It is a collective noun referring to the group of everything that exists, including ideas in people's heads.
  10. In part two Mary Shelton recalls that Barney was floating the idea of offering financing to students who wanted to take Scientology courses, and that this wouldn't have been acceptable in the Church. That's at 25:00.
  11. Are you aware of Chris Shelton's videos? In that four-part series with his mom, they discuss her time at Barney's mission in Pasadena and Scientology in general. A particularly interesting bit begins around 11:20 in the first part linked above. She has good things to say about Barney's mission, and some negative things about the Orgs. Apparently Barney had a falling out with someone named Diana over money from the missions not flowing to the Orgs, and he might have been "declared" a "suppressive person." I haven't watched all the videos yet, but it sounds like she has some firsthand knowledge of the events having worked on Barney's staff as a course supervisor. She really liked him, referring to him and L. Ron Hubbard as "icons of Scientology" at 14:30.
  12. Thanks. I wanted to make sure we were on the same page regarding heartbeat. I think we are. In order to choose life, I think one must first become self-aware and at least implicitly grasp the concept of life. Becoming self-aware might actually be the same thing as implicitly grasping and choosing life, since you are a living organism, and you are differentiating yourself from other things in that first instance of self-awareness. And as long as you continue choosing self-awareness, you're essentially choosing life--your life.
  13. Do you have a reference for the idea that we can control the heartbeat like we do breathing?
  14. If evil extorts values from the good, then punishing evil is rewarding the good. It is helping restore what rightfully belongs to the good. It is justice.
  15. It sounds like rationalistic, context-dropping nonsense to me. I'd like to know where Rand presents this so-called "principle of Objectivist ethics."
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