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Chatter / Re: Animal rights, pigs, vegans, tombstones, bad eating habits, etc
« Last post by Nam on Yesterday at 09:53:34 PM »
I once had a lady in my house who could not eat wheat, dairy, eggs, or meat. What do you give her for breakfast? A salad? I have a cousin and several nieces who can't tolerate gluten--even being around wheat flour makes them break out in hives. Then there is my militant vegan buddy and his equally vegan wife and son. It makes it impossible to serve a meal without offending someone or having to make special separate dishes for people. Restaurants love all these special food people, because more people end up just saying to hell with it and going out to avoid the hassle of trying to accommodate 5 or 6 different diet plans. :P

I forget who said it in my family, could've been my maternal grandfather but was on my mother's side of the family but a vegetarian was invited (no one knowing she was a vegetarian) over to a family get-together, and she saw all the meat everywhere and someone asked why she had a strange look on her face and she announced she was a vegetarian, and someone (probably my grandfather) said [paraphrasing]: "That's alright. You have a right to be who you are, so...take yerself outside and eat with the cows 'cause we eat them in here."

His point was that if you don't want to be offended then leave but you (the vegetarian/vegan) are offending the person offering you his or her hospitality in their house. So, if you're so offended then leave, go eat with the cows, you'll feel right at home.

General Religious Discussion / Re: Proof of God! But is it?
« Last post by OldChurchGuy on Yesterday at 09:40:56 PM »

The key in this thread, to me anyway, seems to be the credibility of Joseph Smith.
IIRC, Joseph Smith had already been jailed for a similar scam and his story involved a mysterious angel, however, I notice that St Peter was also jailed and his story involved a mysterious angel, and so being jailed and seeing a mysterious angel is neither here nor there.

However, some people think Smith and St Peter credible, some people think only St Peter credible, others believe both are incredible. Credibility is thus subjective and cannot be used as a measure.

Do you not think that the key is, in fact, the listener's critical thinking skills?

I agree critical thinking is important.  Some people seem to find critical thinking as a lack of faith.  Others see it as a way to deepen their faith.  I tend to gravitate to the second camp. 

As always,

There are a lot of different bibles being used by Christians throughout the world.
There is debate over what is inspired scripture.

What is the reliable method that can be shown to produce the actual inspired scriptures (as opposed to falsely claimed inspired scripture)?

Biblical scholarship and research can help.  For example, the last verses in the book of Mark (16:9-20) were probably added at a later time as they do not appear in the earliest known manuscripts which stop at verse 8. 

Another example is the book of Daniel.  It is my understanding current scholarship believes it was written after the fact during the time of the Maccabees revolution which was driving the Greeks out of Israel (about a century or so before the time of Jesus the Christ).  This conclusion is based on the fact no copies of Daniel have been found which can be dated prior to the time of the Maccabees. 


Science / Re: Bees
« Last post by Nick on Yesterday at 09:26:48 PM »
It is sad but like those who deny climate change...nothing will get done.
General Religious Discussion / Re: Proof of God! But is it?
« Last post by nogodsforme on Yesterday at 09:25:52 PM »
I disagree that the issue is Joseph Smith's credibility. He could have sincerely and honestly believed that an angel came to him and told him all this stuff and that there were golden plates and they got lost, etc.  All the magical stuff that he said happened really did happen, according to what his brain told him. He could take a lie detector test, or be given a truth serum and be found to be absolutely honest and credible. He could have had a brain disorder, like the schizophrenia that affected mathematician John Nash of "A Beautiful Mind" fame.

Likewise, if he was a sociopath like my father (and I suspect that is the case) he could have convinced himself that all that stuff really happened, even when he actually made it up. Again, he could pass any test to determine the truth. Sociopaths can trick lie detection, because in the moment they are not lying. They convince themselves and then they are able to convince others that much easier.[1]

So, credibility is not the point.  Reality is the point. Evidence is the point. A person can say anything, and even believe that they are telling the truth. But does what they say reflect reality? Do they have any evidence?  Scientific advances are not based on how honest a person seems, how convinced they are that they have invented a cure for cancer or designed a perpetual motion machine or that 2+2=5.

Religion says, well, s/he seems honest. I guess we should go with it. Science says, let's see your work.
 1. My father, like Joseph Smith, came to the attention of authorities and the media more than once. He was interviewed by a local alternative paper, and the reporter was amazed at how sincere my dad was, even though the reporter had clear evidence that my father was a fanatical crackpot and scammer who made sh!t up.
The pub could be named after some codgers who used to come there and argue all the time.  ;)

The PETA folks don't protest boxing or the executions of humans. Aren't we animals, too? I guess they would be more upset by cannibalism or making the human skin into a coat after the person is dead than just plain old killing. I would be, too.  :o

But with non-human animals, I would be far less upset if someone killed the animal and ate the meat, used the skin to make a coat, used the teeth and bones for tools, etc. Like native folks usually did, appreciating the animals for all the things they are good for. Trophy hunting or killing animals just for the tusks-- I have major problems with that.
Science / Bees
« Last post by shnozzola on Yesterday at 08:04:09 PM »
Excellent TED talk on bees.  What I most like about the talk is the passion, the knowledge, the dedication, of scientist Marla Spivak.  Talking about the pollination of almonds, and I believe we have a member hear who grows almonds? Talking about the pesticides detected on pollen bees are carrying. Talking about monoculture Ag with less clover.  Talking about tearing up yards and planting flowers.

Honeybees have thrived for 50 million years, each colony 40 to 50,000 individuals coordinated in amazing harmony. So why, seven years ago, did colonies start dying en masse? Marla Spivak reveals four reasons which are interacting with tragic consequences. This is not simply a problem because bees pollinate a third of the world’s crops. Could this incredible species be holding up a mirror for us?
One of my sons is a vegan. He’s 6’7”, has no fat visible, is incredibly fit, bench-presses rupture inducing weights and thinks nothing of cycling for 40 or 50 miles at high speed.

I’ve no idea why he’s vegan - he still takes the dog on a rabbit hunt when he's home.

The connection between PETA and veganism seems tenuous to say the least. The demand for meat does cause cruelty but PETA seem to take this to the point of not wanting any animals killed rather than lobbying for stronger enforcement and better standards[1]. Western standards of husbandry are relatively humane: the 2nd and 3rd world’s standards are abysmal. Once they sort out the 2nd and 3rd worlds, I'll give them another chance to make a case.

On another point, what would happen to all the cows, sheep and pigs? They are not all going to be kept as pets. Oh… wait a moment keeping dogs and cats as pets is out according to PETA[2].

PETA appeared locally a month or so back: they were protesting about the name of a pub “The Fighting Cocks[3]”. A PETA representative appeared and suggested that the name might be changed to something that did not “glorify a barbaric practice.”

This went down like a lead-balloon. The TV news did a few street interviews with a variety of people and they all expressed disbelief and/or amazement. The landlord was polite and managed to convey the idea that he thought the PETA representative was a lunatic without actually saying those words.
 1. All this is not helped by a world population about twice as high as the earth can sustain.
 2. ”We at PETA very much love the animal companions who share our homes, but we believe that it would have been in the animals’ best interests if the institution of “pet keeping”—i.e., breeding animals to be kept and regarded as “pets”—never existed.”
Let’s see…

If God is all-knowing, didn’t he know Satan would rebel before he created him? Didn’t he know that Eve would eat the fruit? Didn’t he know in advance that he would banish Adam and Eve from the Garden? Either he knows everything or he doesn’t.

If God is perfect in every respect, not needing anything from any outside source to complete himself, why did he create humans, the universe, etc.?

If God created everything, wouldn’t he be ultimately responsible for what he created (esp. if he knew the result, being all-knowing and all)? [If I put a baby in a crib with a knife, I know that that baby is likely to cut itself. If I am all-knowing, then I would be considered to be even more at fault (responsible) if I put a baby into a crib with a knife and KNEW in advance that it would cut itself. According to the Bible, God places Adam and Eve into a Garden and tells them the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil is forbidden. It’s the same as putting a baby in a crib with a knife.]

Why would this God punish Adam and Eve for not obeying him if they didn’t know any better before they ate the fruit? Why would he punish their descendants since they weren’t even there? [If my father commits a crime, is it justice that my grandchildren have to suffer for it?]

If your God created everything and knows everything, isn’t he creating people who he knows will be eternally tormented in hell before he creates them? [That seems like a pretty sick and twisted God to me.]

Why would a God ALLOW anyone to be eternally tormented for temporal crimes (or “sins”)?

The Bible says that the punishment for eating of the fruit is death (“for in THE DAY that you eat of it, you shall die”). That doesn’t seem to be the actual result. Instead, no one dies right away. Perhaps you could argue that “morality” is what is meant, but that doesn’t seem to be the case either, because God seems worried that they might also eat of the tree of life (“and live forever”). This implies unless they ate of the tree of life, they were already mortal. So, why did God make an empty threat about what would happen if they ate of the fruit of good and evil?

While we’re on that subject, who is God talking to when he says things like, “Behold, the man has become like US, knowing the difference between good and evil” or “Let US make man in our image,” or “Come let US go down, and there confuse their language,” etc.?

That last quote was when God seemed worried that humans might get together to accomplish things that might be some kind of challenge to God himself (“this is only the beginning of what they will do; and nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible to them”).

He seems kind of afraid that humans might eat of the tree of life and become immortal like he is, so that is the reason they are kicked out of the Garden. Later, he seems to be afraid that they might build a tower that reaches into the heavens and that “nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible to them” if they do, so he confounds their language to stop it (even though, we’ve now build larger buildings than they could have ever built in the past and have sent objects into space much further and still not breached any domain he seems to have been worrying about).

Later, God “regrets” he has made “man,” and he causes a flood to wipe most of us out. How can a being like God is supposed to be “regret” anything? Didn’t he know what was going to happen before he started all this “in the beginning”?

He also claims to be “jealous,” which most human beings consider to be a petty emotion. It’s as if he is “needy” of our worship and approval (not commonly associated with a ‘perfect’ being). And didn’t he know in advance what to expect? Every time he is angry about something it appears he didn’t expect it or know what was going to happen in advance.

This God of yours seems to be more like a petty tyrant in need of absolute obedience and worship, and he doesn’t appear to be all-knowing, all-powerful, or all anything except a petty asshole with superpowers (fearing what humans might accomplish that might challenge him, if he doesn’t keep a close eye on us and knock us down if we get too uppity in his eyes).

We haven’t even gotten out of Genesis yet, and I’m only scratching the surface of the questions I could ask.

Obviously, whoever wrote Genesis wasn’t even there to give an accurate account of what happened. You have to believe whoever wrote it down was “inspired” by the God you believe in in some way. Not only do you not have any idea of who wrote it, you really have no idea if they were really “inspired” or not. You are buying all this on FAITH without any empirical evidence (and it contradicts the empirical evidence that we do have about the origins of the earth). Your FAITH is just another word for credulity. Why should we believe your mythology more than the mythology of thousands of other myths (and religions)?

People think being a vegetarian or vegan is automatically more natural or healthier than eating meat. There are cultures like the Jains of India[1] who eat very little meat, but there are others that traditionally eat almost no vegetable matter at all, like the Inuit[2]and the Maasai.[3]

However, none of those diets is more "traditional" or better suited to human beings than the others. We are omnivores like pigs and bears. That means we can make a healthy diet out of almost anything from raw meat, to insects, to seaweed, to mushrooms, to what the Jain website mistakenly calls, "the excrement of bees". When I was a vegetarian I gained a huge amount of weight--bread and potatoes and pound cake and ice cream are vegetarian foods. So is cotton candy. So is a pan of brownies.  Now that I have been eating more meat, more fat and way less carbs, I feel much better and have lost weight almost painlessly.

Within the limits of income, we have more food choices available than ever. You can eat like a Clan of the Cave Bear member, or like the cave bear itself if you want. I figure, everyone should experiment and find what kind of diet makes the most sense to them--but don't drive all the people around you batty. When I am visiting other people, I will eat a bit of whatever, and try not to make a big deal about it. Some people are getting just plain ridiculous with their 'I don't eat anything with a face or anything with eggs or anything with dairy or grains or non-organic or with caffeine or this or that' rules that are personal choices, not allergies or anything. You should not subsist only on fast food, but don't go nutso ("I only eat nuts.") in the other direction, either.

I once had a lady in my house who could not eat wheat, dairy, eggs, or meat. What do you give her for breakfast? A salad? I have a cousin and several nieces who can't tolerate gluten--even being around wheat flour makes them break out in hives. Then there is my militant vegan buddy and his equally vegan wife and son. It makes it impossible to serve a meal without offending someone or having to make special separate dishes for people. Restaurants love all these special food people, because more people end up just saying to hell with it and going out to avoid the hassle of trying to accommodate 5 or 6 different diet plans. :P
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