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Democracy or Space?

Posted by: campbelp2002 - Sun Apr 22, 2007 2:14 am
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Democracy or Space? 

Would you give up democratic freedom to achieve routine, ecconomical space flight?
Poll ended at Sat May 12, 2007 2:14 am
Yes 38%  38%  [ 3 ]
No 63%  63%  [ 5 ]
Total votes : 8

Democracy or Space? 
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Post Re: Democracy or Space?   Posted on: Tue Dec 01, 2009 7:14 pm
SuperShuki wrote:
Why does your definition of "good" apply to anyone else? If your definition only applies to you, then it's relative.


Shouldn't the same be said for a religious definition of "good"? If I don't believe in your God, and your God informs your definition of "good" then yours is relative too.


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Post Re: Democracy or Space?   Posted on: Tue Dec 01, 2009 7:16 pm
When China sends a man into space, I don't rejoice. When Iran or North Korea succesfully launch a new rocket, I don't celebrate. Progress is only good if it is toward good ends. China's space program means, at the least, good publicity to an evil regime. Iran and North Korea's rockets will be used to as tools to fight free countries. The means don't justify the ends.

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Post Re: Democracy or Space?   Posted on: Tue Dec 01, 2009 7:21 pm
I tend to think there's maybe a little more grey area than good countries vs evil countries. And I'm Amerian! :shock:

Anyway, to re-rail the thread, would I trade democracy for space? sure, if the future offered something better than democracy. I'm happy to live in one, but I don't assume that it's the best possible form of government.

If it is, then why are we constantly changing it?


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Post Re: Democracy or Space?   Posted on: Tue Dec 01, 2009 7:24 pm
vecima wrote:
SuperShuki wrote:
Why does your definition of "good" apply to anyone else? If your definition only applies to you, then it's relative.


Shouldn't the same be said for a religious definition of "good"? If I don't believe in your God, and your God informs your definition of "good" then yours is relative too.

If God only had influence over me, then you'd be right. But God not only has influence over the whole world, the whole world is dependent on Him. There isn't anything in creation that God didn't create and doesn't have control over. God is omnipotent and omnicient. If something is bad according to God, it's bad because he created it that way. God doesn't have opinions. God knows.

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Post Re: Democracy or Space?   Posted on: Tue Dec 01, 2009 7:30 pm
vecima wrote:
I tend to think there's maybe a little more grey area than good countries vs evil countries. And I'm Amerian! :shock:

Anyway, to re-rail the thread, would I trade democracy for space? sure, if the future offered something better than democracy. I'm happy to live in one, but I don't assume that it's the best possible form of government.

If it is, then why are we constantly changing it?

I make a distinction between democracy and freedom. Western democracy is not all good; for example, the idea that all people are created equal is demonstratably false (there are strong people and weak people, tall and short, men and women). Democracy is a system of government, and as such, can be improved. But freedom - that's an absolute value. I think systems of government are better or worse based on the degrees of freedom that they provide.

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Post Re: Democracy or Space?   Posted on: Tue Dec 01, 2009 7:33 pm
SuperShuki wrote:
If God only had influence over me, then you'd be right. But God not only has influence over the whole world, the whole world is dependent on Him.


no it isn't. :)

EDIT: I see what you're saying though. In your belief, that makes "good" absolute. In my belief "good" is relative, because no matter who's God is dishing it out, HE isn't dishing it out for everyone.


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Post Re: Democracy or Space?   Posted on: Tue Dec 01, 2009 8:16 pm
vecima wrote:
SuperShuki wrote:
If God only had influence over me, then you'd be right. But God not only has influence over the whole world, the whole world is dependent on Him.


no it isn't. :)

EDIT: I see what you're saying though. In your belief, that makes "good" absolute. In my belief "good" is relative, because no matter who's God is dishing it out, HE isn't dishing it out for everyone.


Exactly. That's the difference between paganism (and atheism), and monotheism.

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Post Re: Democracy or Space?   Posted on: Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:56 pm
vecima wrote:
I tend to think there's maybe a little more grey area than good countries vs evil countries. And I'm Amerian! :shock:

There's a first for everything! ;)


SuperShuki wrote:
vecima wrote:
SuperShuki wrote:
If God only had influence over me, then you'd be right. But God not only has influence over the whole world, the whole world is dependent on Him.


no it isn't. :)

EDIT: I see what you're saying though. In your belief, that makes "good" absolute. In my belief "good" is relative, because no matter who's God is dishing it out, HE isn't dishing it out for everyone.


Exactly. That's the difference between paganism (and atheism), and monotheism.


And the only difference between monotheism and atheism, is that we go just -1- god further. You're just as much an atheist against other peoples god.


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Post Re: Democracy or Space?   Posted on: Tue Dec 01, 2009 11:11 pm
Paganism and athiesm both share the concept of unacountability. Without an omnipotent, omnicient God, there is no absolute morality, therefore everything is permissible.

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Post Re: Democracy or Space?   Posted on: Tue Dec 01, 2009 11:17 pm
I think that most athiests would really be agnostics if they thought about it. Athiesm is illogical. You can't know that something doesn't exists - unless, of course, you know everything. The most that you can say is that, to your knowledge, you have encountered no evidence of God's existence. It's like saying that there are no aliens. Unless you're omnicient, you can't prove that there aren't aliens.

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Post Re: Democracy or Space?   Posted on: Wed Dec 02, 2009 10:58 am
SuperShuki wrote:
Paganism and athiesm both share the concept of unacountability. Without an omnipotent, omnicient God, there is no absolute morality, therefore everything is permissible.

I think I've already explained to you that it's quite possible to decide how good or bad something is without appeals to an ancient book. I agree that it is not possible to say that something is absolutely forbidden based on this, but to draw from that the conclusion that therefore everything is permissible is of course rediculous. And I think that most religious people don't take their Commandments so literally either.

As for atheism versus agnosticism, there is something called Occam's Razor, which states that the simplest solution is often the best. I don't believe there is a God, because I don't see anything that can't be explained by other means.

For example, your earlier example of predictions made about the Jewish people can, in my view, easily be explained by means other than intervention by God. Predicting that a not very well-liked minority group will be cast out by the rest of the population doesn't strike me as a prediction that is very unlikely to come true. Whether the Jewish people remained one is to a certain extent a matter of the level of detail that you're willing to go into. From a quick browse around Wikipedia, it appears that there are different denominations of Judaism. If you're willing to gloss over those, then the prediction comes true, otherwise it doesn't. Finally, the prediction of the Jews coming back to the Holy Land became true because it was made true by people, specifically the UN and the UK, after the atrocities commited against the Jews by the nazis in the second world war.

I don't see the hand of God in any of that, but I respect your view. I'm not against religion per se. But I think that people should have a choice, and the freedom to practice any religion they choose (including no religion at all), as long as it doesn't affect others, and I reject the stance that people can't be decent human beings unless they follow some religion's rules rigidly. Something like Kerala in the first couple of centuries AD would be nice.

Oh, and to respond to your earlier comment about democracy: saying that the King should be nice to his subjects merely sets an ideal of benevolent dictatorship. Unless the people actually got to vote on important decisions, it's not democracy at all.

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Post Re: Democracy or Space?   Posted on: Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:48 am
a
Quote:
I think I've already explained to you that it's quite possible to decide how good or bad something is without appeals to an ancient book. I agree that it is not possible to say that something is absolutely forbidden based on this, but to draw from that the conclusion that therefore everything is permissible is of course rediculous.


Quote:
I base my opinion on whether something is right or wrong on its results to individual happiness and the common good. I think democracy is good because people living in a democracy tend to have more freedom, and people with more freedom tend to be happier. You see? We can discuss ethics and values just fine without God.


My belief is in God, the book is just part of the message.
Why is 'happier' good? Why should people fight and die in order to tend to be 'happier'? If you die, are you happier? I think its much easier without freedom. Freedom means choices, and hard work. If your not free, everything is provided to your benevolent owner. In fact, it's much easier to be a slave.

In any case, what right do you have to kill other people in the name of something that you believe in, and they don't?

Quote:
As for atheism versus agnosticism, there is something called Occam's Razor, which states that the simplest solution is often the best. I don't believe there is a God, because I don't see anything that can't be explained by other means.


There's a difference between not believing that God exists, and believing that God doesn't exist. That's the difference between agnosticism and athiesm.

Quote:
Predicting that a not very well-liked minority group will be cast out by the rest of the population doesn't strike me as a prediction that is very unlikely to come true.


What minority group? The Jews were a nation, they had a kingdom. Would you predict now that England would be occupied, the English exiled, that England would remain barren for the period of the exile, that the English would keep their identity as English, and that, no matter how long it took, even near on two millenia, the English would return to England, as English, and become sovereign again?!

Quote:
I reject the stance that people can't be decent human beings unless they follow some religion's rules rigidly.
You don't have to be Jewish to be a decent human being. But you are obligated to follow the seven Noachide laws. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Laws_of_Noah

Quote:
saying that the King should be nice to his subjects merely sets an ideal of benevolent dictatorship. Unless the people actually got to vote on important decisions, it's not democracy at all.


Not just being nice to the subjects - being King only because the subjects want you to be King.

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Post Re: Democracy or Space?   Posted on: Wed Dec 02, 2009 1:30 pm
SuperShuki wrote:
Paganism and athiesm both share the concept of unacountability. Without an omnipotent, omnicient God, there is no absolute morality, therefore everything is permissible.

You are kind of right that they share the same concept, but not in the way you think. For atheists, accountability has to do with what is natural, and paganists have their belief in what they can see in the nature. So both is relying on nature, but that's where it stops. Still - both have full accountability. The people that lack accountability is the ones that are theists. Because their accountability is against a deity and not other people, a nation of people that are accountable to a deity cannot become a proper democracy, because they'll base their action on the deity.


SuperShuki wrote:
I think that most athiests would really be agnostics if they thought about it. Athiesm is illogical. You can't know that something doesn't exists - unless, of course, you know everything. The most that you can say is that, to your knowledge, you have encountered no evidence of God's existence. It's like saying that there are no aliens. Unless you're omnicient, you can't prove that there aren't aliens.

This is the argument all religious people use in vain. It is not up to the atheists to disprove any biased claims put forward by religious people. It's the people that make the claim that has to prove it.


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Post Re: Democracy or Space?   Posted on: Wed Dec 02, 2009 4:25 pm
Quote:
SuperShuki wrote:
You are kind of right that they share the same concept, but not in the way you think. For atheists, accountability has to do with what is natural, and paganists have their belief in what they can see in the nature. So both is relying on nature, but that's where it stops. Still - both have full accountability. The people that lack accountability is the ones that are theists. Because their accountability is against a deity and not other people, a nation of people that are accountable to a deity cannot become a proper democracy, because they'll base their action on the deity.


What does accountability, and morality, have to do with "what is natural"? What keeps "what is natural" from being arbitrary? And why should anyone feel compelled to do "what is natural"?

Everyone's accountable to God. Even if they don't believe in Him.

Quote:
SuperShuki wrote:
I think that most athiests would really be agnostics if they thought about it. Athiesm is illogical. You can't know that something doesn't exists - unless, of course, you know everything. The most that you can say is that, to your knowledge, you have encountered no evidence of God's existence. It's like saying that there are no aliens. Unless you're omnicient, you can't prove that there aren't aliens.

This is the argument all religious people use in vain. It is not up to the atheists to disprove any biased claims put forward by religious people. It's the people that make the claim that has to prove it.


Agnosticism is the belief that God may or may not exist. That does not require proof. Athiesm is the belief that God definitely does not exist. That requires proof.

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Post Re: Democracy or Space?   Posted on: Wed Dec 02, 2009 9:30 pm
You got it wrong.

Agnostics are in the middle, yes. But the rest are degrees towards the extremities. Even people like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, which often is portrayed as the "evil atheists which do not believe in god" in American media, are not at the extremities.

This sums up pretty good I think:

1. Strong Theist: I do not question the existence of God, I KNOW he exists.
2. De-facto Theist: I cannot know for certain but I strongly believe in God and I live my life on the assumption that he is there.
3. Weak Theist: I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to believe in God.
4. Pure Agnostic: God’s existence and non-existence are exactly equiprobable.
5. Weak Atheist: I do not know whether God exists but I’m inclined to be skeptical.
6. De-facto Atheist: I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable and I live my life under the assumption that he is not there.
7. Strong Atheist: I am 100% sure that there is no God.
- Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion


And regarding moral and ethics, and what comes naturally to animals, like us humans, I suggest you read the Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins. Doing good to others are in our genes - it's called self-preservation.


A wise man, the physicist Steven Weinberg, once said that regardless of religion you will have "good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things." However, "for good people to do evil things, it takes religion." This really sums it up.


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