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Everything posted by mnodonnell

  1. I'm not treating time as a magic trick (or as an Aristotlean argument) -- I'm explaining it as it actually exists.
  2. I'll be eligible just in time for the 2012 election. If only an atheist could get elected...
  3. Time is simply another dimension, just like space. The past is not necessary to reach "now" the same way that distance is not necessary to reach "here". More accurately, time is indefinite as opposed to infinite. Regardless, I think this debate sprung up as a counter to the appropriateness of teaching evolution in schools without presenting alternatives. This is not evolution, however, this is a discussion on abiogenesis. There is no definitive consensus in the scientific community regarding abiogenesis, so it is not something that should be taught as a scientific "fact".
  4. It is because I have a regard for my fellow humans, my community, and society in general. Parents have every right to teach their children whatever they want, and I cannot (and should not) control that. However, that does not mean that I'm not allowed to care. I think you have the "above and beyond" argument backward. I put myself on the same plane as everyone else. It is religion that seeks to segment the human race (e.g. "God's Chosen People", and the Rapture). "The sad one" and "the scared one" as opposed to who? I needed someone to fill that void after I reconciled with Santa Claus.
  5. It actually went like this: "Please, mother, I do not want to go to church. It is so boring!" I took my grammar and diction very seriously. I would also cry on my pillow -- it was simply too difficult to get inside of it after a while. I actually had the opportunity to go to church AND play soccer. How Kearnyite-American! Regarding ignorance, that is what I was saddled with back when I actually believed the nonsense I was being taught at Sunday School. I am still ignorant of many subjects, but this is one where I have gained great clarity. If you are curious about my age you can reference my only topic posting on this message board. I dated myself quite precisely.
  6. I'll put you on the list for my fan club meetings. Our next session concerns the spelling difficulties presented by double consonants and the proper use of the ellipsis. I'll give you a preview of the introduction of the next meeting, which is where I lay out what I do know. 1. I know enough to admit that I do not know something. For example, what came before the Big Bang? I do not have the faintest clue. 2. However, I do not fall back on a supernatural deistic force as the default answer to things I do not know. I do not consult 4,000+ year old books for answers to these kinds of questions. Despite what you have perceived, I'm content with simply not knowing. 3. I know that there is a big difference between deism and theism. It is the difference between: "I believe there is some higher intelligence that is responsible for the universe in which I exist."; and "I believe there is some higher intelligence that is responsible for the universe in which I exist; and he has said unto me: do not eat the pork."
  7. What is deviant about being rational? Using message board postings to gain an understanding of my world view is probably futile. I do not have a religion to observe.
  8. Matt, let me give you an alternative: do whatever you want to do, it has the same effect. 2smart4u, what's wrong with you? You seem like a sick little monkey. Unless, of course, KOTW edited out the prescient comments that illustrate your intellectual superiority. For that, let me say: Thank you KOTW! I don't know if I can handle the embarrassment.
  9. Long live deviant behavior. so long as the deviants are not inflicting their deviance to others. The First Amendment is my favorite amendment. Why would I repeal it? What are you talking about? I do not propose to do anything to stop people from freely practicing their religions -- just keep it to yourself. Have you listened to anything I've said? I think you're stuck in the echo chamber. Do not fret -- it's a common malady.
  10. You are misunderstanding the role falsifiability in regards to the scientific method. You cannot initially advance claims that are not falsifiable, so your question is irrelevant. I will grant you that the ark does not violate the Constitution. The Constitution cannot be expected to govern the realm of fantasy.
  11. If schools didn't encourage social acceptance of individual deviant behavior, how would rationalists deal with religious people? It's hard for ethical people to sit idly by as children are dragged into church every Sunday, like lemmings over a cliff. But we learn to tolerate the madness, as sad as it may be.
  12. Amen. Thank you for taking the time to lay this out so precisely.
  13. It's probably because politicians' jobs are to get elected; not to answer questions. Who are these "defeatocrats"? I though Hillary was a democrat.
  14. That is not historically accurate -- Christ is not necessary to salvation. I know you'll like this one: do you have any proof from history that people achieved salvation through Christ? Did anyone catch it on tape? I'm an adult and I was never taught that. Should I give back my degree?
  15. You should take your hatred for evangelical preachers and Catholic priests somewhere else. It will not be tolerated here.
  16. First, it's not really up to the employer. Public schools are not allowed to discriminate on religious grounds. The Kearny BOE cannot just decide to only hire Christian teachers. Here are two follow-ups for you: 1. It's been clear from the beginning of the discussion that a big point of discord between you and your opponents stems from whether Mr. Paszkiewicz was expressing opinion or proselytizing. I actually do not think that he was, technically speaking, proselytizing. I don't believe he had any intention of actually converting anyone in the classroom to Christianity or his Christian sect. However, I do feel that he was preaching in the classroom, and that is not permissible. Do you really feel that his religiously-themed statements were presented in appropriate context with the curriculum material, and if so, do you think it was a balanced presentation? 2. Do you think there is any danger in presenting religious beliefs, even in a balanced manner, when they conflict with the curriculum? For example, lets consider the case of a student asking their science teacher if it was possible for man to live for 3 days in the belly a living whale. Would it be appropriate for the teacher to state that the given science curriculum would indicate that the man could not live, but many Christians believe that this is indeed possible (with God's mercy, of course)?
  17. You are correct: it is certainly debatable, and many aspects of evolution are hotly debated every day. The problem is that the primary public debate about evolution concerns evidence vs. scripture, and that is maddening. I have to admit that the Discovery Institute has done a brilliant job of casting doubt on evolution.
  18. Paul, I generally agree with you; and I understand that it is necessary to treat atheism as a religion in some cases in order to accurately apply the law. However, in a theoretical world where there is no religion (and what a wonderful world it would be) there would be no such thing as atheism. Simply put: I consider myself an atheist, and I do not consider it to be a religion. It comes with no obligations or rituals.
  19. Regarding Kenneth Miller's presentation: why are we having so much discussion about a presentation that no one witnessed? Besides, it was a presentation on evolution and anyone who really understands evolution knows that it is not a debatable topic.
  20. Bryan, here is a question specifically for you*; something that can allow you to illustrate your point: In what context (I know you love context) is it appropriate for a teacher in a public school to express their personal religious beliefs? *Well, If others would like to answer, feel free.
  21. There is no way that atheism is a religion, the same way that "independents" are not members of a political party. It's true that atheism, as a concept, only exists in the context of religion/theism/deism, but that does not make it a religion per se.
  22. They could, but I think it would unconstitutional. It would be a restriction on various freedoms that are protected in other areas of the Constitution. But as we have seen with the push for a marriage amendment, there is no guarantee that our government will not act to constitutionally suppress individual freedoms.
  23. This issue has nothing to do with religious or political affiliations (sidebar: why does anyone, aside from those trying to get elected to public office, affiliate with a party anyway?). It is not just atheists, or agnostics, or deists that would oppose the teaching of Christian doctrine in public schools. It is also for Muslims; and Jews; and Hindus; and Buddhists; and Christians that feel their religion is none of the government's business. Have you read any of the comments here or the Establishment Clause? Let me assure you that atheists would support anything but the establishment of a federal religion. By the way, atheism is not a religion.
  24. I do not like what is going on at Kearny High, and I do thank Matthew LaClair for bringing it to light. However, I do not see why the LaClairs are always dragged into this issue. As far the issue at hand is concerned, they are irrelevant. It is not about what David Paszkiewicz was preaching to one student, it's about what he was preaching, and will continue to preach, to all students. Regarding prayer in schools: students can pray all they want in school -- there are no restrictions. It is the school itself that cannot endorse religion and therefore cannot promulgate prayer. On to the always fun topic of the Pledge of Allegiance: "under God" was added to the pledge in by Congress in 1954 -- it was not in the original pledge. It was in response to the anti-communist fervor of the McCarthy era. Contrary to popular (at least in some places) opinion, this is not a Christian nation and our code of law is not based on the ten commandments. Besides, free countries should not require their citizens to pledge an allegiance to anything.
  25. A well-liked teacher, no doubt; but some of his statements call his competence into question. A firm grasp of the subject matter is essential, in my opinion. I hope so, too, although it's entirely possible. When likability is involved I'm not sure facts matter. Besides, he may be a perfectly wonderful man. I have family members that know him and like him quite a bit. However, I would like to see him fired and I do not even know him. I'm basing my opinion on the facts at hand, and nothing more.
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