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So Lukvance, have you made a decision or were you hoping this would slide under the rug?
I don't understand. What is the decision I have to make? You claimed many things but I don't see any support to them other than your imagination.

All the support I need is in your posts, where you clearly show yourself to be holding contradictory positions. I have merely exposed this contradiction and asked you to make a decision so not to be contradictory. If you think about it, I'm actually doing you a favour - this is for your own benefit. So which is it, is god the "first cause" or is there no such thing as miracles?

In case you are struggling with what it is you're actually doing, I have an analogy. You're taking a drop out of the ocean and then contrasting it against the ocean to prove that there is water.
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ne has to resort to public opinion in an effort to solidify a position.  and forbs is typically pretty neutral, maybe a little right of center

I'd disagree there.  That article starts off as an attempted indictment of defined benefits pensions and ends as almost a parody of the reactionary right.  Choice example:

Quote from: Louis Woodhill
Liberal programs created America’s urban underclass, and they perpetuate it by encouraging and sustaining a breathtaking progressive social innovation called the “zero parent family.”

The notion that there was no such thing as an urban underclass prior to the New Deal or the Great Society is so delightfully ignorant that it doesn't even warrant its own refutation.  The gentlemanly thing to do here is point and laugh. 

Anyway, on to some of your claims!

you forgot to thank barney frank, chris dodd and obumble for their "making home affordable" policy that ushered in the era of credit default swaps that lead to the sub-prime meltdown... which only cost hard working main street folks their entire life savings and will ultimately cost us taxpayers trillions... yep, that's trillions with a f'n 'T'...

Why do so many conservatives insist on using popsicle stick level puns in place of President Obama's name?  Obummer, Obumble?  Fuck out of here with that corny shit.  Anyway, on to the substance:

i mentioned "making home affordable" which was incorrect.  i was thinking the "community reinvestment act"... so i apologize for the wasted 2.5 seconds it took you to land on the "making home affordable" wiki page, (btw & fyi -  in an effort to save any readers the same wasted time, the making home affordable act is a failed $75 billion gov't loan modification bailout program).  but i appreciate your due diligence in typing those 3 words into the googly.  but as i did mentioned dodd and frank, you should have suspected i was citing the wrong gov't initiative.

I've heard this claim made before.  I found it pretty easy to gather that you were referring to the Community Reinvestment act in your previous post, despite your error.  Anyway, these sorts of claims have been made by many conservatives following the crash and I just don't think there's any merit to them.  Here is some liberal propaganda that takes Wallison's claims and disassembles them point by point.

http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/housing/report/2011/07/12/10011/why-wallison-is-wrong-about-the-genesis-of-the-u-s-housing-crisis/

The fact of the matter is that there just isn't much actual data to support the notion that the CRA or the GSEs are responsible for the housing collapse, which is why folks on the right that make that claim have to distort the facts so heavily to arrive at that conclusion.

Moving on:

the gov't even filed suit under this act to get banks to lower credit standards and approve high risk loans, and one of the plaintiff’s lawyers was obumble himself.

Case Name
Buycks-Roberson v. Citibank Fed. Sav. Bank Fair Housing/Lending/Insurance
Docket / Court 94 C 4094 ( N.D. Ill. ) FH-IL-0011
State/Territory Illinois

You're wrong on just about every point here.  This case was about Citibank discriminating against loan applicants on the basis of race.  The suit was not brought by the government.  It was brought by private citizens who hired the services of a private law firm where President Obama did indeed after graduating law school.[1]  They were not arguing that Citibank should lower its standards.  They were arguing that Citibank ought to apply those standards equally regardless of the color of the applicant.  More to the point, the case was argued using existing legislation that precedes any alterations to the CRA that you're citing by several decades.  But maybe I'm wrong.  Would you care to cite your source here?

I guess that's all I feel like writing for now.  Actually, one more thing:

wow dude, that whole quote you just attributed to me was totally taken out of context.  what you quoted was a hypothetical situation designed to stimulate conversation, which is the purpose of this forum.  go back, read my post again, you'll notice i predicated the post specifically with the statement that i did not personally hold these views. i can only conclude that you are dilibritly mis-quoting me with malice.

screwtape... little help here

Yeah, that was a bullshit move on OAA's part.  It was very clear in that post that you were assuming the morality of Gordon Gecko for a rhetorical point rather than espousing it as your actual view.


Also, welcome to the board!  Also, I like your avatar.
 1. http://www.clearinghouse.net/detail.php?id=10112
33
Some of you are really stuck with the existence of God eh?

How would you suggest we go about discussing the intervention policy of a non-existent god?  I for one think it's high time Santa Claus did something about climate change.  After all, it's gonna be his little workshop that ends up in the drink when the ice caps melt!

They cannot fathom a discussion where this subject do not come up at one point or another. They are so limited in their imagination that they must, and I emphasis in must, post something about the existence of God when clearly the subject is not about his existence or not.
I find it sad.

You're missing the whole point of the Argument From Evil, which is what your question addresses.  From your responses in this thread so far, it looks to me like you're attempting a reductio ad absurdum, something along these lines:

LUK: How much should God intervene against evil?  Should it be systematic?

ATHEIST: Well, it would have been nice if he'd cured smallpox, or maybe not made it in the first place.  People suffered and died horribly en masse for thousands of years, until we finally figured out how to get rid of it ourselves. 

LUK: OK, but what about pneumonia?  People die from pneumonia too...

ATHEIST: Sure, why not?

LUK: OK, what about the common cold?

And so on, until you can get us deep enough into the realm of First World Problems that you can say (or at least think to yourself) something along the lines of,

LUK: You atheists are such spoiled brats!  It's like you think God is supposed to be your personal genie or something.  You're just mad at God because He won't give you a sparkly flying pony!

But that misses the point of the Argument From Evil entirely.  As atheists, we already know and accept that the human species is on its own; that if we want there to be help and care, it's up to us to provide it.  If we want there to be justice, it's up to us to establish it.  The only force available to intervene against evil (both human and natural, such as disease and disaster) is: us.  Since we don't think any gods exist, we don't expect anything from them, at all.

The Argument From Evil is about anticipated consequences.  Let's say you and I are having coffee at Starbucks one day, and I somehow manage to convince you that there's an elephant in your living room.  You rush home, knowing full well that the presence of an elephant in your living room for any significant amount of time will have consequences, at least some of which you consider highly undesirable.  Maybe it will knock over the display case holding your collection of antique Chinese vases.  Maybe it will step on the cat, or even your child if you have any.  It could take a huge dump on your couch.  Or it could panic and rampage through your house as it tries to escape the confined spaces. 

So, you reach your house and carefully open your door, tensing for the sight of whatever damage might have already happened, trying to figure out how you're going to get the elephant out of your living room...and you see everything exactly as you left it, no sign of any elephant.  No elephanty smell, no elephant-print depressions in the carpet, and most obviously, no elephant standing in the middle of your living room.

So you call me to say "What the hell?!" and I say, "Oh, no, it's an Astral elephant!  It can only be seen by the eyes of the truly spiritually awakened.  It has no effects on mere material things, but I assure you it's there."  At this point, you would probably be rather irritated at me, and more than a little skeptical of my claims of the existence of Astral elephants.  If I go on to say, "Well, how do you think an Astral elephant should intervene in your living room?  And why are you getting so hung up on the existence of Astral elephants, anyway?  I find that sad," would you think that perhaps I was missing the point of why the claimed existence of an elephant in your living room mattered in the first place?

Just as with elephants in living rooms, claims for the existence of one or more gods and/or goddesses have anticipated consequences.  And just as with elephants, if those anticipated consequences are not present, it is also safe to say that the deities aren't there, either.

Also, I am not stating anything here. I am asking questions and am looking for answers in the community. Please use your own definition of God or the one you would give to him if he existed, you might have misunderstood my definition of God. And it shouldn't matter in this discussion anyway.

Imagine a box with three dials.  One dial is for Benevolence, one is for Capability, and the third is for Presence.  "Benevolence" refers to the amount of care a given deity or cooperating pantheon of deities is said to have toward humanity and life on Earth.  "Capability" refers to the aggregate of the claimed deity or deities' powers, intelligence, foresight, clairvoyance, etc., the measure of how well it/they can achieve its/their goals.[1]  "Presence" refers to how close a claimed deity or deities is/are to being "here" (in terms of awareness of our world and ability to act within it) on a humanly conceivable time scale.

For any given alleged deity, the dials can be set to different levels, yielding different degrees of anticipated consequences in local reality.  For example, imagine an extraordinarily loving and powerful Goddess who lives in the heart of a distant quasar.  Her "Benevolence" and "Capability" dials are set high, but Her "Presence" is set to zero.  There are no anticipated consequences on Earth for the existence of such a deity, because She's so far away that She doesn't know we even exist, and is in no position to help.  A God of unlimited Capability and direct Presence, but with a Benevolence dial set to zero (i.e., a non-interventionist Deist god) could have no anticipated consequences in terms of the Argument From Evil simply because it's not interested in us.  Or, we can imagine a minor Patron Deity of Travel, a small god that loves you very much, and does its best to give you as many green lights and good parking spaces as it can.  It could have very high Benevolence and Presence settings, but its Capability is at the low end of the spectrum, so the anticipated consequences of its existence might just be a small, but statistically significant increase in the amount of green lights and good parking spaces you get compared to other drivers.

So, take whatever hypothetical deity or deities you like, and set the dials accordingly.  It's possible for a deity to have no anticipated consequences as long as at least one of the dials is set to zero.  However, once you've got all three dials into positive territory, anticipated consequences increase as you raise the settings.  You Abrahamic monotheists crank all three dials to infinity (though definitions of "Benevolence" can vary by sect).  This is terrific for winning "My God can beat up your gods!" contests with Pagans, but it turns your god into a wooly mammoth in the phone booth of the Universe, forcing you to go to great lengths to explain to yourselves and unbelievers why everything happens to look exactly the way it would if no such God existed.

The Argument From Evil is simply a way of pointing at the absence of your alleged wooly mammoth so as to make it obvious.
 1. Opposing deities, Devils, and the like with comparable power levels and opposing Benevolence settings subtract from the settings for any given theistic belief system; i.e., if there's a Greatest Conceivable Being and a Worst Conceivable Being of logically necessarily equivalent power, they could be treated as cancelling each other out and leaving the dials set at zero, equivalent to atheism.  Or we could anticipate a great deal of chaos as they fought each other.  YMMV.
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Chatter / Re: "What are you listening to now"... take three...
« Last post by viperslayer on Today at 01:34:46 AM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bg92QpjRcJk

Metallica - For Whom The Bell Tolls
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Chatter / Re: Is there a US Russian war in the works?
« Last post by viperslayer on Today at 01:25:00 AM »
Actually I'm in the US Army and disabled.  I read and watch many news sources not just the "mainstream".  We haven't had a good record you're right, which is why we need to change it.  We are still a superpower and need to lead the way on how to handle many situations.  The UN isn't much better and they rely heavily on the US and the EU, so we do have a responsibility to guide and support individuals and governments who are trying to do the right thing and squash terrorism and dictators, before they turn into genocide or the likes.
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General Religious Discussion / Re: Good old Michelle Bachmann
« Last post by viperslayer on Today at 01:21:25 AM »
That's the point is that we have to try and find the solutions instead of everyone blaming everyone about it and arguing some and then nothing gets accomplished.  It's a lot of chest pounding and smoke blowing in Washington, and nothing is getting done.  As I stated before we cannot care for everyone, there will be a point where there are just too many people coming and not enough money/food/goods to go around.  Maybe we're already reaching that point faster than anyone thinks.  It's not that I'm racist or afraid of "brown people" as you put it.  It's simple, we have to secure our border deport the people already here illegally, fix our system and economy and then we can branch out more and help people.  They can still come through legally like so many millions have.  I have no issues with that and I'm going to venture and say that many Americans don't either.  Why should Ranchers/Farmers/Homeowners be afraid of Coyotes taking people across the border and possibly coming into contact with them and turning out to be a deadly situation.  There is a solution and hopefully Congress and the President, along with other people use it before it's too late.
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Chatter / Re: Is there a US Russian war in the works?
« Last post by atheola on Today at 01:07:10 AM »
We don't have a real good record of handling these things lately if you hadn't noticed. If you're in a big rush to play universal cop feel free to join the US Army and by all means pay close attention to fox news and CNN. They're never anything but fair and balanced.
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General Religious Discussion / Re: Good old Michelle Bachmann
« Last post by atheola on Today at 01:00:05 AM »
So what's the solutions? Turn them all back to a hell hole with a lot of former soldiers and rebels turned drug gangs, failing crops because of climate change, wrecked economies and worse because you're afraid of brown people?
Yeah, I'd feel much better if they turn around and die so we're not inconvenienced.
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Chatter / Re: Is there a US Russian war in the works?
« Last post by viperslayer on Today at 12:55:34 AM »
With the way that the situation is being handled in Europe and other places, it is ripe for another cold war at least. With more powers being involved in the mix. The us has to take a harder stand on items such as Russia supporting the Ukrainian rebels and Isis rampaging through Iraq and Syria and also, Hamas attacking Israel. If we don't do something then somebody else with a much different and not so nice agenda will and maybe already is.
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