PDA

View Full Version : WWJD?


Fred H.
April 15th, 2006, 01:24 PM
Regardless of how one sees the Gospels and those that hung with JC, what many today fail to appreciate is that that those who were drawn to Jesus were quite diverse, often whining and quarreling over various things, and tended to be misfits. And considering the diversity and quarreling of those of us hanging in JB’s forum of late, and that we all tend to be misfits of a sort . . . well, you see where I’m going with this—the parallels are difficult to ignore.

Anywho, I know that JB has intimated that he often sees his role here as that of a bartender, but considering the sacrifices he’s made to provide the opportunity he’s afforded us, and the abuse he often unfairly receives, most recently by some of the more vulgar among us, it may not be such a stretch to say that JB’s behavior and restraint approaches godliness on occasion. Now I’m not necessarily equating JB with JC, but I nevertheless do think that, at least for the atheists here, JB’s exemplary behavior is certainly worthy of emulation.

And so, in a sprit of ecumenism, therefore, let it be known, that, henceforth, commencing this Easter Sunday, 2006, it will be acceptable for you atheists to also wear those nifty “WWJD” necklaces or bracelets so as to keep that famous admonition constantly in mind, except that for you the “WWJD” admonishment will be: “What Would JB Do?”

And congratulations and Happy Easter to JimB—the guy is damn near a saint.

James Brody
April 15th, 2006, 02:43 PM
Fred,

Thanks for the kind words...I choked up and will get back to you and to Todd about a probable book jacket.

Meanwhile, I'm not aware of being abused. I figure, like any good barkeep, that my job is not to entertain the customers but to accord a reasonable degree of civility so they entertain themselves. The same advice also works for therapy! (The custom springs from behavior genetics.)

I'm also a fly-collector: its good to have specimens who remind all of us of the prejudices of our culture, ideas that may spring from one instinct or another and divide us because we, in the first place, differ genetically. And remember that those who may be critical are sometimes the most determined to impose their ideas on other people. Arguing, however, means little and I sometimes, if infrequently, imitate a Christ-like meteor, close the bar and mop the damned floor.

And I'm passive aggressive. Those most certain of their writing skills reveal their deficiencies. Given that mushroom pickers and writers are the least wealthy in our society and that word processors produce more writers than mushroom pickers but in relation to a constant level of income, the farm guys eventually earn more. One must imagine Brody happy as he foresees the despair that waits for our socialist dreamers.

Thanks for your holiday greeting...I've spent most of it reading a very good book for a chapter on suicide.

Best to Shelly...

Jim B

Margaret McGhee
April 15th, 2006, 04:23 PM
I'm not sure why I ended up in this bar. I think it was the cool flashing blue neon sign in the window.

It's even stranger that I hang around. One drunk guy down at the end of the bar leans over occassionally and says in his slurry voice "Hey lady, you know what your problem is? You're a fuckin' atheist". Just what a weary traveler wants to hear.

But I can't hate that guy because I know what those chemicals can do to the brain - he's not morally responsible. His life got him into that space and that's where he has to live - at least for now.

Then every few minutes the bartender comes by and splashes a half empty drink in my face and says "How's that for a conversation starter?". So I yell a few obscenities, wipe it off and go back to my conversation with a couple of interesting characters who, like me, seem to be trying to make sense of it all.

And I'm still sittin here, amazed at myself more than anything. Then I get this feeling in the pit of my stomach that I've been in this bar before.

There was the time I hired this technician. He had some problems. His wife had left him and he was bummed out and I felt sorry for him. But I think I really hired him because I felt a certain earnestness in him. I've always had an attraction to people who take life seriously enough to worry about it - even when we don't have much in common.

Things started off OK but after a few weeks he wasn't so happy. For whatever reason he decided that I was his enemy. No matter how I tried to be his friend he rejected every overture. I knew I should have just fired him and put it behind me as another poor hiring decision.

Then one Monday morning he just didn't show up - after stealing a couple of thousand dollars worth of gear over the weekend.

But I get that same kind of feeling now - that comes from not wanting to accept that someone who I think is probably a pretty neat person, thinks I am not. It seems so unfair. Maybe I figure I'll probably end up disappointed anyway so there's not much to lose for trying. :rolleyes:

Margaret

Carey N
April 15th, 2006, 04:48 PM
But I can't hate that guy because I know what those chemicals can do to the brain - he's not morally responsible. His life got him into that space and that's where he has to live - at least for now.
Do you actually think this about people whose behavior offends you?

James Brody
April 15th, 2006, 05:17 PM
Duncan Watts and Steve Strogatz introduced us to the "small worlds" concept: you know the people in your immediate set but have limited awareness that you are about six steps from a street vendor in Shanghai.

Similarly for this taproom. I like sometimes to snoop in other establishments. I found a surprise when searching for armor to wear when I ride the Suzuki: "BikerKiss.com." Their data?

I lifted some data from BikerKiss.com. Mating is big but general chatter is out front, religion is behind both of them but still in front of a lot of other stuff.

Topics / Posts Categories
309 / 18048 Romance
146 / 3670 Friends
40 / 2878 Entertain/Hobbies
185 / 8328 Motorcycle events
1366 / 54708 Message Board
26 / 961 Biker wanna be
18 / 362 Health
244 / 2769 New to site
169 / 6369 Relationship
32 / 477 Biker Articles
51 / 1149 Religion
5 / 376 Helmet Hair
9 / 70 Ladies Only (clothing issue)
11 / 226 Culture & Education
83 / 2190 Friendship
10 / 413 Riding sober
29 / 143 Travel
7 / 570 To achieve your dreams
26 / 364 Family
17 / 245 Help me feed this cycle bug?
25 / 356 Sports & travel
2 / 37 Cancer ride
4 / 49 Ladies motor clothes
5 / 32 Michigan Sport Bike Riders
2 / 54 Suzuki
1 / 5 Family
2822 / 104849

My gawd! 104 THOUSAND posts! Gotta be a power law!

(Note added in proof: Log base 10 for topics = 0.301, not too exciting. BUT, log base 10 for posts = 1.50. We're in the game!)

Implication?

Evolution as won the respect of our children through Disney and Nature Company. Daily gossip on the home page regularly captures some "new finding" about mating. And no matter where we look, whether in societies of dolphins, bikers, or crusted obsessives, we find emergent networks and showing off within them.

Meanwhile, here where I sit in a B&N Cafe, three women, aged 28-40 but with no rings on the fourth finger of any of three left hands, huddle around a baby and make digital memories.

Such reminders keep me centered...

JimB

Margaret McGhee
April 15th, 2006, 05:36 PM
Good question.

No. There's a lot of offensive behavior in the world. For example, I find drunk drivers very offensive. It's the selfish disregard for the lives of others. Drunk drivers are not necessarily alcoholics. And, there are alcoholics who have the sense not to drive impaired. I feel sorry for their condition but I respect them for their consideration for others.

But, when someone acts offensively merely because they don't like my worldview then I do see that as an anti-social form of chemical addiction. I believe they are addicted to certain neurotransmitters that give them a charge of satisfaction when they are doing their holy-war thing.

I believe we evolved this way but that enlightened persons can overcome it. Like any addiction though it can be tough, especially if they picked it up when they were young, and they really have to want to break the habit. People with belief addiction will deny it as strongly as any alcoholic.

Some belief systems are particularly good neorotransmitter releasers. These are jealous belief systems that tell their carrier that only they and their fellow carriers are worthy humans - and that heretics must be exposed and punished. These belief systems are the cause of a large proportion of the death and suffering in the world - to say nothing of the little day-to-day injustices they inflict on others. I try to remember that they have a chemical problem but sometimes it's hard to do when they tell me in a public forum that I am immoral for not sharing their beliefs. If I wasn't so concerned about actually being moral in my life it probably would not bother me that much.

Other belief systems (typically secular but some of the more enlightened religions) purposely prefer to judge others by their actions and avoid judging them for their declared beliefs.

For example, I have friends who are religious. I guarantee you that none of them would claim that someone is immoral because they didn't share their belief in God. I point this out to show that I do not dislike theists for their beliefs - only for the actions of some of them. If I don't point that out I leave myself open to the old "But you're being intolerant of theists" argument.

PS - Did you see this question I asked here: http://www.behavior.net/bolforums/showthread.php?postid=3298#poststop

Margaret

Added: I'm sure Fred will see this as a harsh and unjust judgement of him. I could have made up some story that would have been kinder - but I really try to be honest in my posts and this is what I see when I look out there at the world. But my original post on this was not meant to be snarky. I really feel a sense of hopelessness. I know he will continue to take every opportunity to declare that I am an immoral person and he will make up logical proofs to prove it. I deplore what he does. I can not hate him but I can discuss my view of this honestly.

JimB will probably believe that my harsh and unfair judgement of Fred is caused by my own socialist belief system or whatever. That's worthy of debate and very on-topic as far as I'm concerened.

So, Fred says I am immoral. I say Fred is addicted. Is that a productive discussion. No, except it says a lot if you think about.

For example, belief system addiction pretty much explains the state of our national government right now and the deaths of several thousand people in the last few months - and that's not too bad for an explanation for something that many true-believers in the White House probably find pretty bewildering right now.

alexandra_k
April 17th, 2006, 06:58 AM
Tee Hee you guys are still at it :D Good to see actually. I miss hanging with the misfits but I'm supposed to be doing some real work (for better or worse). On that note I have been reading Damasio 'Descartes Error' Which was kinda nice for the neurology but rather dreadful with the philosophising (but thats okay there is more work to do...). Also have Le Doux which should be arriving from Amazon any day...

Anybody read 'Gut Reactions' by Jesse Prinz? That was an interesting read (IMO). He tries to build rather a lot in to the emotion episode. I'm kind of looking at how much having an emotion is like perceiving red (Prinz wants to say emotion episodes are perceptions of body changes* that represent properties in the world - such as the property of being a threat).

* He also talks a bit about Dave Marr... Three levels (crudely) of visual processing... The third level of processing... Is active when people are asked to imagine a visual image. Prinz considers the evidence that there is a similar three level processing of emotions... The third level of processing... Is active when people think their way into an emotion (as opposed to perceiving the property in the world or being confronted with a red patch).

The notion is that that third area is typically caused by body changes being perceived through the first and second area like the third area in vision is typically caused by red patches in the world being processed through the first and second areas.

Maybe not making too much sense... He gets that from Damasio anyways (which is why I ended up reading that)

Not sure how much the perception metaphor helps or harms.

Anyways I perceived I changed the topic...

I'll have a drink for JB.
In fact I'll have one for JC as well.
Did people know they found the gospel of Judas the other day?????
Interesting...

;)

Fred H.
April 17th, 2006, 06:48 PM
AK: Did people know they found the gospel of Judas the other day?????
Yeah, and it’s expected that Hollywood will begin filming The Judas Code any day now—I’m thinking TomJ might be a good choice to play Judas, and maybe Margaret could play Mary (or Marty?) Magdalene. But I can’t decide if JB should be cast as JC or Pontius Pilate.

ToddStark
April 17th, 2006, 08:22 PM
JB as an Easter role model ... funny, scary, and very appropriate!

Thanks for this, Fred.

Todd

Fred H.
April 18th, 2006, 09:37 AM
Todd: JB as an Easter role model ... funny, scary, and very appropriate! Thanks for this, Fred.
My pleasure Todd, and thanks for noticing & commenting. I’m guessing you had a great Easter too.

BTW Todd, an observation: I’ve read that Pinker became an “atheist” when he was 13 and has also said, somewhere, that he doesn’t think free will is a myth and believes in moral responsibility, noting that, “In cases where we can tell with certainty that an identifiable kind of actor is undeterrable by criminal sanctions, in fact we don't punish him -- that's why we don't punish children, animals, machines, or the truly insane”—and I think that you’d more or less agree with all that.

Since atheism is ultimately inconsistent with free will and moral responsibility (as TomJ and Margaret seem to attest, I guess, more or less), it occurs to me that the similar spiritual backgrounds that you and Pinker share may have had more impact on how you both see things, perhaps beyond conscious awareness, and that that more or less helps explain the cognitive dissonance you both seem to share regarding your so-called “atheism” and concurrent belief in free will and moral responsibility.

Of course as you know, after one of our marathon discussions on this issue, I‘ve already concluded that you actually seem to be closer to agnosticism anyway; but now I can also see how your similar backgrounds may have contributed to the similarity of the cognitive dissonance that you and Pinker seem to share—not a bad guy to be similar to, and really, I suppose, a relatively benign sort of cognitive dissonance.

It also occurs to me that you might be a good choice for the Nicodemus role in The Judas Code movie….

ToddStark
April 19th, 2006, 08:18 AM
Hi Fred,

BTW Todd, an observation: I’ve read that Pinker became an “atheist” when he was 13 and has also said, somewhere, that he doesn’t think free will is a myth and believes in moral responsibility, noting that, “In cases where we can tell with certainty that an identifiable kind of actor is undeterrable by criminal sanctions, in fact we don't punish him -- that's why we don't punish children, animals, machines, or the truly insane”—and I think that you’d more or less agree with all that.

Yes.

Since atheism is ultimately inconsistent with free will and moral responsibility (as TomJ and Margaret seem to attest, I guess, more or less), it occurs to me that the similar spiritual backgrounds that you and Pinker share may have had more impact on how you both see things, perhaps beyond conscious awareness, and that that more or less helps explain the cognitive dissonance you both seem to share regarding your so-called “atheism” and concurrent belief in free will and moral responsibility.

Since we are so close to convergence here, I'll reiterate my perspective once more for comparison. I am a realist concerning agency, I think it is a real property of some kinds of systems including humans, and the human type is compatible with moral responsibility. I don't think philosopher's free will is neccessary for agency, nor am I a realist about it. It seems to me more like a thought experiment or useful fiction to simplify moral reasoning.

Of course as you know, after one of our marathon discussions on this issue, I‘ve already concluded that you actually seem to be closer to agnosticism anyway;

I'm not at all ambivalent about my committment to naturalism or my belief that the deity of Abrahamic religions is a construction without empirical referents. It is true though that I don't quite fit with most atheists in that I don't share their religious committment to opposing supernaturalism in all forms and contexts. I think it is part of our nature and benefits us in various ways as well as helping us hurt each other in the extremes of groupism and fanatical devotion it helps to make possible.

kind regards,

Todd

TomJrzk
April 19th, 2006, 09:44 AM
It is true though that I don't quite fit with most atheists in that I don't share their religious committment to opposing supernaturalism in all forms and contexts.Interesting point. First, I would argue that my pov is different from religion since I don't take anything on faith. (Though, unable to have intimate knowledge about every subject I have to rely on opposing arguments from those who are to form my views.) So, if anything beyond what I 'know' is proven, then I would change my 'religion'.

Second, there's a big 'but' there. If something is 'proven', then, by definition, it is no longer supernatural. So, I look at it this way: something, (like telepathy, ghosts, god, clairevoyance, etc.) that's supernatural now could enter my 'religion' if it could pass tests.

So, you may say that not accepting anything on faith is a 'religion', but it's a mutable one. If any atheists say those things can't be true, then you're justified in your statement.

PS Before anyone says that I'm really 'agnostic' then you need to look up the definition because it doesn't mean one who believes there is no god but one who believes god is unknowable; quite a different meaning.

PPS dictionary.com has added a 1.b definition, no doubt because the 'common' usage has been incorrect for so long by so many that the dictionary has just followed along (so now we can be even MORE confused because I can call myself agnostic except to the literal atheists who rely on the original definition. Ahhh, life in the middle of the road is overly dangerous):

agnostic:
1.a One who believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a God.
1.b One who is skeptical about the existence of God but does not profess true atheism.

atheism:
1.a Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods.
1.b The doctrine that there is no God or gods.

Fred H.
April 19th, 2006, 11:08 AM
Todd: I'm not at all ambivalent about my committment to naturalism or my belief that the deity of Abrahamic religions is a construction without empirical referents. It is true though that I don't quite fit with most atheists in that I don't share their religious committment to opposing supernaturalism in all forms and contexts.
Regarding “naturalism,” what’s “natural,” what’s “real?” We don’t truly understand what matter is—there’s the quantum world’s wave/particle duality, the “measurement problem,” etc. (Planck, the father of quantum mechanics, even said that “All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force—we must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind”) Additionally, is objective mathematical truth (e.g., infinite primes, Lagrange’s four-square theorem., etc. ) “natural?”—I’d say it’s an undeniable reality, that undoubtedly “exists,” that we humans somehow access with our consciousness, and that it is obviously beyond the so-called “material,” “natural” reality, and mental constructs, of the materialist’s/atheist’s all there ever was, is, will be, universe. And without objective mathematical truth, we humans could never hope to comprehend the reality of the natural world.

Regarding Abrahamic religions, my own view is that monotheism is certainly preferable to atheism, providing some sort of religious/spiritual values that generally serve as a mitigating factor against the excesses of state power and human behavior (although Islam admittedly has been a disappointment). The vacuum of atheism, OTOH, leaves us a moral relativism—humans that are merely animals with nothing more than evolved moral instincts, lacking free will and moral responsibility (and the unavoidable brutality that such a POV inevitably engenders as manifest in the various atheistic regimes of the 20th century . . . and the moral relativism/emptiness we see in some posts on this forum.)

“Supernaturalism” strikes me as a term that really isn’t all that useful or meaningful.

TomJrzk
April 19th, 2006, 11:42 AM
We don’t truly understand what matter is—there’s the quantum world’s wave/particle duality, the “measurement problem,” etc.We also didn't understand the 'miracle' of why the sun rose every morning 1000 years ago, have patience, Fred.
my own view is that monotheism is certainly preferable to atheismI'm not interested in your preferences, just your proofs. You can't prove there is any god, much less your own; the odds are very low. And you can't prove free-will except by parroting other people's 'beliefs'.

And I've proven that human will is not free. It depends at least on the state of ones brain and how many meds one has taken.

And there is no vacuum, societal instincts have evolved to keep our species alive so far...

Fred H.
April 19th, 2006, 02:07 PM
TomJ: And I've proven that human will is not free.
That’s nice Tom. But then you’ve also asserted that, “choice is predetermined,” and that mass murderers are not morally responsible. So when you say of yourself (in the Pinker thread) that, “My brain would use my instincts to be honorable and likeable,” you might as well add that your shit doesn’t stink.

TomJrzk
April 19th, 2006, 02:36 PM
you might as well add that your shit doesn’t stink.As long as I remember to light the candle. ;)

And, yes, I stand by my assertions.