Intelligence squared

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Re: Intelligence squared

Postby Lausten » Sat Dec 26, 2015 8:27 pm

Fun fact. It was at dinner after this debate that Majid met Sam Harris and began the relationship that led to their book.
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Re: Intelligence squared

Postby digress » Fri Jan 01, 2016 6:11 pm

Thanks for sharing Canadian Skeptic.

Canadian Skeptic wrote:And the more we continue to believe that “religion” is some unique or special form of human activity, the more credibility we’re giving to religious people as a whole. We’re saying religion is special, it’s not like any other form of human behaviour. That’s the wrong position to take, especially from a secular perspective, because religion is *not* special, and everything that religion *does* can be, and these days often is, also done by non-religious thinking.


On this particular note I disagree and say religion is special because it is instruction from on-high. Not like a scientific narrative from (ie) Deepak because he will never finish his stories with, "And that is what God wants." I think watering this position down is dangerous.

I saw many 'religious' tendencies on this board about non-religious topics all the time when I first joined (not so often as of recent), and so our narrative human behavior may be quite similar, but at the end of the day if I asked a narrative poster, "How do you know this?" They wouldn't say, "God", unless God were already directly involved. And that's not a story, but a conclusion and a battle.
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Re: Intelligence squared

Postby Canadian Skeptic » Sat Jan 02, 2016 6:16 pm

digress wrote:On this particular note I disagree and say religion is special because it is instruction from on-high.

Except, from a secular standpoint, we know that it is *not* coming from on high. God doesn't exist. So religion is not coming from on high; people only claim that it does. Again, this is privileging religion by suggesting those who claim their answers come from "on high" is different from other people who claim their answers come from any other (secular) source, and that's just not the case. Unless God actually exists, we have to accept that people's beliefs come from the same source -- from people, not "on-high." It's dangerous to assume there's a distinction between religious and secular answers, here, because it makes it much harder to see when secular voices start doing the same things we often criticize religious voices for doing -- like demonizing Muslims, as a case in point.

digress wrote:Not like a scientific narrative from (ie) Deepak because he will never finish his stories with, "And that is what God wants." I think watering this position down is dangerous.

Except that Deepak does this all the time. Only instead of it being what "God" wants, it's what "cosmic consciousness" wants, or whatever. In terms of their function, there's really no difference.

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Re: Intelligence squared

Postby digress » Sun Jan 03, 2016 7:31 pm

In response to your claim that you know no god exists I will point out how this lack of humility, when working in-reverse, put us in this position to begin with, and I criticize these secular answers all the time on this board. How are you able to make your claim that God does't exist vs. those who say that God does exist? Is it because you've been able to deduce it with all your hard effort and study? No difference in position between you two exists as you are both (the claim vs. the rebuttal) receiving an impossible answer from some place I'm not familiar with (on high?).

Just because some of us are able to see how ridiculous a religious position is, that is, having other human beings coming up to us representing a God, doesn't mean the verdict is in. It just means these people need to keep their childish acts in private because when they do not we are able to see the harm these childish acts cause. Through literature, indoctrination, communion, discussion, you name it.

This is that distinction I hope not to water down. That thing which presses you into certainty like your Muslim counterpart. The on-high answer that for you may not be as literal. It is the tendency I spoke of.


ps. By chance do you've a video of Deepak representing the cosmos? i didnt know he did this lol
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Re: Intelligence squared

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sun Jan 03, 2016 7:46 pm

digress: how close to zero do you allow before rounding off gets you to practical certainty?
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Re: Intelligence squared

Postby digress » Sun Jan 03, 2016 7:50 pm

If I owe someone $7.00 I'll round up and give back $10.00.
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Re: Intelligence squared

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sun Jan 03, 2016 8:19 pm

In God we Trust?
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Re: Intelligence squared

Postby digress » Sun Jan 03, 2016 8:29 pm

Maybe, if you were surrounded by a practical certainty.
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Re: Intelligence squared

Postby Canadian Skeptic » Sun Jan 03, 2016 8:58 pm

digress wrote:How are you able to make your claim that God does't exist vs. those who say that God does exist?

This thread really shouldn't be reduced to a discussion of whether or not God exists. If God doesn't exist, then my argument holds just fine. If God does exist, then obviously my arguments may or may not hold. It doesn't terribly matter, for my argument, if someone claims god gave them their answers, because there's no significant difference between that person and any other person who says their knowledge is derived from some other arbitrary source, religious or secular.

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Re: Intelligence squared

Postby digress » Sun Jan 03, 2016 9:32 pm

If you don't want to discuss it any further that's fine. But you keep reiterating this big "if". You phrased it, "Unless God actually exists..." or, "If God doesn't exist", and then producing your answer from it to say, God mustn't exist. So you usurp speech. Removing what you think is the farce of power and making it, "just a narrative." This is a ruse to belittle those you seek to criticize by saying, We are not to speak in this manner. And why? Because God doesn't exist. What a perverse way to turn secularism into a religion.

The significance exists. It's called a leap - and in any direction.
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Re: Intelligence squared

Postby Canadian Skeptic » Sun Jan 03, 2016 9:40 pm

digress wrote:This is a ruse to belittle those you seek to criticize by saying, We are not to speak in this manner. And why? Because God doesn't exist. What a perverse way to turn secularism into a religion.

Who am I belittling? And should we assume that God does exist? Is that your point -- God exists, therefore there's something to the claim people make when they say their answers come from "on high?" Maybe they're right?

Is that the point? Give me some clarification on what it is you're trying to say, here, because it isn't coming across.

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Re: Intelligence squared

Postby digress » Sun Jan 03, 2016 11:18 pm

Should you assume? I think not and personally don't. Does that mean others cannot? You have a scary answer based on some rather Godless certainties.

You say you know God doesn't exist because if God did exist we would be accepting two different sources; Secular(Humanly) and Religious(Godly). So God must not exist to make an even playing field. A moral position. A rule for debate allowing empowerment to the speaker who must rule out certain speech for the greater common human cause.

Well, we don't need to do any such thing because it is to those who assume the difference that differentiate themselves. I'm not the one going around speaking on behalf of other beings. I don't need any sort of narrative protection. And it doesn't empower those who assume the position either, ie posters here like yrreg, Angel, etc, are not empowered simply because they say they've insight.

I wish to speak to others with humility and not stoop to the tendencies you appeared to understand at the end of page one, yet dismiss at the same time in your own argument. We can't know if God exists. We can only presume either a Yes or No position. Both positions are in error and that's the point I'm pushing. However you get there you are in error. Don't water down either of these dangerous assumptions.
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Re: Intelligence squared

Postby Canadian Skeptic » Mon Jan 04, 2016 3:19 am

Your argument isn't really relevant to the point. You apparently want to push the hypothesis that god may or may not exist; that's fine. So tell me, then, what kinds of theories we should be proposing? Should we, in all things, take into account the possibility that god exists (in what form? what definition? according to what religious traditions?)? Why hypothesize about the the big bang, for example, when it's perfectly plausible 'god dunnit'?

I won't limit my theories on the possibility that some arbitrary god may or may not exist. I'm much more interested in looking at the evidence that we have and proposing the best theories according to that evidence. If, at the end of the day, god is creating all this evidence just to mislead us; fine, I'll take that chance.

Do you have any better rebuttals than that some notion of God may exist?

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Re: Intelligence squared

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Jan 04, 2016 3:44 am

Can we all agree it is demonstrated that the "God of the Bible" does not exist simply as a matter of logical contradiction?

Some lesser god or a god so natural as to not intervene in the Universe. Only that kind of god is possible when the requirement of any evidence at all to support a proposition is done away with?
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Re: Intelligence squared

Postby Canadian Skeptic » Mon Jan 04, 2016 4:36 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Can we all agree it is demonstrated that the "God of the Bible" does not exist simply as a matter of logical contradiction?

Technically speaking, digress is correct that we cannot rule out the possibility of even that god -- the mere possibility of omnipotence renders the "God of the Bible" somewhat immune to disproof, even contradiction.

That said, it's utterly pointless to concern ourselves with the possibility of god's existence when discussing things like human behaviour, even regarding religious human behaviours. We may as well just stop asking questions if we're willing to hold science hostage to, "what if a person is right and they really are getting their knowledge from God?!"

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Re: Intelligence squared

Postby ElectricMonk » Mon Jan 04, 2016 3:56 pm

The whole point of secular atheism is not to disproof God, but to demand reasons for justification other than the supernatural.
The question of the existence or non-existence of the Divine is simply made irrelevant for the task of organizing society, rules, laws and morals.

If you want to discuss how useless the concept of God is, that's fine.
But secularism takes that as a given, without bothering to go the final step and trying to disprove God.
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2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
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Re: Intelligence squared

Postby Lausten » Mon Jan 04, 2016 4:13 pm

ElectricMonk wrote:The whole point of secular atheism is not to disproof God, but to demand reasons for justification other than the supernatural.
The question of the existence or non-existence of the Divine is simply made irrelevant for the task of organizing society, rules, laws and morals.

If you want to discuss how useless the concept of God is, that's fine.
But secularism takes that as a given, without bothering to go the final step and trying to disprove God.

I'm pretty much ignoring digress, but you kinda define the divide here EM. By making the ignoring of God the whole point, you shut down the debate. You're right of course, and this is a skeptic forum, so it's the right place to say it, but I've run into a lot of trouble trying to start at that point. Even attempting the compromise of allowing freedom of religion, but not allowing it as a reason that I must adopt for anything, doesn't fly with a lot of people.

Lately, I've started trying out the word "pluralism". It communicates that I am allowing for a multitude of beliefs, but I'm requiring tolerance of mine and other's beliefs. My cousin said, "that's the problem", so I have unfriended her on Facebook. But that's my boundary. In my mind sure, existence of gods is irrelevant, but in polite society, acceptance of others is tantamount. If you can't do that, I'll go someplace else.
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Re: Intelligence squared

Postby digress » Mon Jan 04, 2016 4:24 pm

Canadian Skeptic wrote:Your argument isn't really relevant to the point. You apparently want to push the hypothesis that god may or may not exist; that's fine. So tell me, then, what kinds of theories we should be proposing? Should we, in all things, take into account the possibility that god exists (in what form? what definition? according to what religious traditions?)? Why hypothesize about the the big bang, for example, when it's perfectly plausible 'god dunnit'?

I won't limit my theories on the possibility that some arbitrary god may or may not exist. I'm much more interested in looking at the evidence that we have and proposing the best theories according to that evidence. If, at the end of the day, god is creating all this evidence just to mislead us; fine, I'll take that chance.

Do you have any better rebuttals than that some notion of God may exist?


My point is relevant to your point of origins. I stated religion is based in philosophy answered from an unanswerable position (on-high). And what you've said was good except where I disagreed on the notion that what religion is doing isn't special. The scary thing about your notion was how you were deriving your own impossible answer about God and also how we need to correct speech. Neither were necessary and are conclusions you (or your scholars) seem to be producing out of the very good narrative analysis.

I don't push the hypothesis. I push humility because the problem always is people producing answers in... a fantasy factory? And it's not a tendency monopolized by religion! It's like noble bobbo asked, How close to zero can we get before producing "practical" conclusions? A slippery question because practicality is only relevant to a goal.

Yes, I believe taking it all into account is a good exercise. The study of religion is just as important as the study of physics, mathematics, etc. And you are studying it in the correct light. By looking at religion with innocence you've better understood narrative behavior in everyone (or your scholars have). The study of the Big Bang is just as important even if, let's say, today we found a new and better theory, the study of the Big Bang would remain important.

Is God misleading us? It's a curious thought. I'd probably conclude no, but I don't have to. Just like how I don't have to conclude if a tea cup is floating around the sun. And to clarify this concluding doesn't simply happen with God. For example, Shaka, a temporal being, knew an eternity existed and I personally conclude that cells have a conscious (the difference here though is I keep it in private).

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Re: Intelligence squared

Postby digress » Mon Jan 04, 2016 4:42 pm

ElectricMonk wrote:The whole point of secular atheism is not to disproof God, but to demand reasons for justification other than the supernatural.
The question of the existence or non-existence of the Divine is simply made irrelevant for the task of organizing society, rules, laws and morals.

If you want to discuss how useless the concept of God is, that's fine.
But secularism takes that as a given, without bothering to go the final step and trying to disprove God.


This is a digression, but ^exactly. Being an Atheist doesn't mean you've disproved God. A common mistake on this board. It simply means Theism isn't very persuasive. And Theism isn't the belief in God. It's believing we are apart of God's plan who personally tends to the care of our universe and through detecting that intervention deduce a God exists.

And to answer noble bobbo on the question about the Bible, Yes. I am an Atheist. The Bible, Koran, etc, are babbling narratives that unfortunately are at-best a con.
Last edited by digress on Mon Jan 04, 2016 4:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Intelligence squared

Postby ElectricMonk » Mon Jan 04, 2016 4:43 pm

@Lausten

I understand the need for pluralism - to provide avenues for people to arrive at secularism from different directions.

What we might agree upon is: you are entitled to use religion or other beliefs as the base for your moral code and the code you want society to run by.
But in order to ask others to adopt your chosen rules, you have to come up with a secular reason why they should be implemented. Religion just shouldn't form the basis of a general argument, since that would require weighing the merits and needs of different beliefs against one another.
I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
Spoiler:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
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Re: Intelligence squared

Postby Canadian Skeptic » Mon Jan 04, 2016 5:50 pm

digress wrote:My point is relevant to your point of origins. I stated religion is based in philosophy answered from an unanswerable position (on-high). And what you've said was good except where I disagreed on the notion that what religion is doing isn't special. The scary thing about your notion was how you were deriving your own impossible answer about God and also how we need to correct speech. Neither were necessary and are conclusions you (or your scholars) seem to be producing out of the very good narrative analysis.

Let’s take a step back for a second, because I’m not sure if I’m actually saying anything particularly controversial here.

If you press me on whether or not, philosophically speaking, “God” may exist I’m certainly going to concede that point. No one can know whether or not some deistic or otherwise God actually exists, and I never intended to suggest that I’m actually making a point that God does or does not in fact exist as a prerequisite for my arguments.

I can, however, see where my statements were misleading on this, and apologize for that. I’m addressing an atheist audience and didn’t expect I would have to qualify that I’m coming at these problems without first assuming God exists. My comments regarding God’s existence or non-existence have been largely offhand, because I didn’t see it as important for this thread. I of course can qualify my position on this better if requested, but again, it’s not relevant here, in my opinion.

Let me restate my position as the following, and please tell me if you still see fault in it:

“When attempting to understand people’s religious beliefs and behaviours, I do not assume God (theirs or otherwise) actually exists, but rather I remain indifferent to the possibility and use the available empirical evidence to form the best conclusion I am capable of.”

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Re: Intelligence squared

Postby digress » Mon Jan 04, 2016 6:45 pm

Canadian Skeptic wrote:
digress wrote:My point is relevant to your point of origins. I stated religion is based in philosophy answered from an unanswerable position (on-high). And what you've said was good except where I disagreed on the notion that what religion is doing isn't special. The scary thing about your notion was how you were deriving your own impossible answer about God and also how we need to correct speech. Neither were necessary and are conclusions you (or your scholars) seem to be producing out of the very good narrative analysis.

Let’s take a step back for a second, because I’m not sure if I’m actually saying anything particularly controversial here.

If you press me on whether or not, philosophically speaking, “God” may exist I’m certainly going to concede that point. No one can know whether or not some deistic or otherwise God actually exists, and I never intended to suggest that I’m actually making a point that God does or does not in fact exist as a prerequisite for my arguments.

I can, however, see where my statements were misleading on this, and apologize for that. I’m addressing an atheist audience and didn’t expect I would have to qualify that I’m coming at these problems without first assuming God exists. My comments regarding God’s existence or non-existence have been largely offhand, because I didn’t see it as important for this thread. I of course can qualify my position on this better if requested, but again, it’s not relevant here, in my opinion.

Let me restate my position as the following, and please tell me if you still see fault in it:

“When attempting to understand people’s religious beliefs and behaviours, I do not assume God (theirs or otherwise) actually exists, but rather I remain indifferent to the possibility and use the available empirical evidence to form the best conclusion I am capable of.”


I still don't understand how you remain indifferent to possibilities if you've assumed an opposite position. You need to take on the assumption when discussing it if you are ever going to reach anybody else about it and, How different is it when you do? If you say, I'm open to speculation, but let's be real what you say about God is nonsense... how are you not propping yourself up on a high horse (belittlement)(doing as they do)?

Instead, you take the belief on as your own, believing "the wrong assumption", in order to better understand there own mistakes through yourself. Because either way you both are assuming a "correct" position. It's not as simple as thinking speech is dividing sides and how ignoring the serious nature of the narrative brings insight upon an equal playing field. No, that's called dick-waving.
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Re: Intelligence squared

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Jan 04, 2016 7:07 pm

I thought logic defeated any notion of the "God of the Bible" by way of the Epicurean Paradox: God cannot be omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent all at the same time. "It's Logic, Jim!" Now....God could exist as whatever, and the Bible may spring from some contact with that God, but not "the God of the Bible." Its not a rhetorical paradox like "Can god create a rock he can't lift" or Can god make 2 plus 2 equal five. The God of the Bible cannot exist. One of the elements has to fail.

Along these lines, perhaps an extension of pluralism?, I call myself an Anti-Theist. To me, it doesn't matter if some God(s) exist. I am my own agent and such a god would only be "something else to consider." I reject his goodness, his morality, his book. I am only subject to his power just as I would be to Dwayne the Rock Johnson in a wrestling ring. Dude is too big for me. But my mind, thoughts, values are my own. I would be open to what god might have to say just like any other member of this blog until Pyrrho banned him for trolling.

Its the transcendent nature of mans' self awareness and self actualization. Kinda a mind blowing oneness of the universe if you don't go all religious about it.
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Re: Intelligence squared

Postby Lausten » Mon Jan 04, 2016 7:22 pm

digress wrote:Instead, you take the belief on as your own, believing "the wrong assumption", in order to better understand there own mistakes through yourself. Because either way you both are assuming a "correct" position. It's not as simple as thinking speech is dividing sides and how ignoring the serious nature of the narrative brings insight upon an equal playing field. No, that's called dick-waving.

Most atheists I know have done that, taken the belief on that is. And that is the definition of skeptic philosophy. If you can't make the other person's argument, you aren't doing philosophy. The philosophy of science includes not being able to prove anything with 100% certainty. What you call "assuming", I call careful consideration of all data and arriving at a conclusion that is the best possible one available. Just because most people don't get so wordy doesn't mean they aren't doing it when you ask a simple question like "do you believe in God" and they answer yes or no. If I tell someone I have studied many religions and find none of them compelling, I expect a certain degree of respect for that.

(FYI it's "their own" and "both of you are" and a few others)
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Re: Intelligence squared

Postby Canadian Skeptic » Mon Jan 04, 2016 7:35 pm

digress wrote:You need to take on the assumption when discussing it if you are ever going to reach anybody else about it and, How different is it when you do?

You're going to clarify your position further. Maybe this would help: by analogy, can you give me an idea of how I should take into account God's potential existence when, say, defending the theory of evolution? What would accounting for God's possible existence into the theory of evolution look like, specifically?

I'm suggesting that my empirical observations about human nature are roughly analogous to empirical observations about evolution, at least in terms of accounting for the existence of God.

digress wrote:How different is it when you do? If you say, I'm open to speculation, but let's be real what you say about God is nonsense (A)... how are you not propping yourself up on a high horse (belittlement)(doing as they do)?

Instead, you take the belief on as your own, believing "the wrong assumption" (B), in order to better understand there own mistakes (C) through yourself. Because either way you both are assuming a "correct" position (D). It's not as simple as thinking speech is dividing sides and how ignoring the serious nature of the narrative brings insight upon an equal playing field (E). No, that's called dick-waving.

Referring to my rephrased statement, can you specifically identify where I:

A) Say something about God that is nonsense.
B) Believe the "wrong assumption" (I think you're accusing me of believing "the wrong assumption?")
C) Am attempting to better understand their "mistakes" (specifically, where do I indicate religious beliefs are a mistake?)
D) Am assuming a "correct" position (what position am I assuming?)
E) Ignore the "serious nature of the narrative" (what is the serious nature of the narrative, and in what way am I ignoring it? What does that even mean?)

Maybe this will help me to understand what your objection is. As it stands, I haven't a clue what you're talking about.

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Re: Intelligence squared

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Jan 04, 2016 7:50 pm

Lausten wrote:(FYI it's "their own" and "both of you are" and a few others)

Muphry's law (yes, in the same post): "And that is the definition of skeptic philosophy." //// A sentence fragment standing alone that simply destroyed everything else you had to say.

I could search for others, but I'm not a pedantic dweeb.
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Re: Intelligence squared

Postby Lausten » Mon Jan 04, 2016 9:38 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
Lausten wrote:(FYI it's "their own" and "both of you are" and a few others)

Muphry's law (yes, in the same post): "And that is the definition of skeptic philosophy." //// A sentence fragment standing alone that simply destroyed everything else you had to say.

I could search for others, but I'm not a pedantic dweeb.


eeeehhhh, you might be pedantic
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Re: Intelligence squared

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Jan 04, 2016 10:18 pm

Lausten: now THERE is the humor and intelligence that benefits us all.

Try to hold on to it.
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Re: Intelligence squared

Postby Gord » Tue Jan 05, 2016 2:26 am

Lausten wrote:
bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
Lausten wrote:(FYI it's "their own" and "both of you are" and a few others)

Muphry's law (yes, in the same post): "And that is the definition of skeptic philosophy." //// A sentence fragment standing alone that simply destroyed everything else you had to say.

I could search for others, but I'm not a pedantic dweeb.

eeeehhhh, you might be pedantic

And he's definitely a dweeb. :mrgreen:
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