Deity of the Desert II: Discipline (Monster Girl Erotic Romance)

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Moshfegh thinks that biology gives men and women a fundamentally different consciousness. And women have to see things in different dimensions. Moshfegh never identifies herself as a feminist: it would require too much allegiance to a group. Someone once compared something I wrote to Nabokov, and I thought that was a huge compliment.

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Although she is physically flawless, she is nonetheless an antihero. After she is fired from her job for napping in the supply closet, she defecates on the floor of the gallery. In relationships, she resists every stereotype of the female nurturer. From time to time, her best friend, Reva, whose mother is dying, comes by and disturbs her sleep:. I feel so sad. I feel so abandoned. I feel very, very alone. It was true: I was, she was. This was the maximum comfort I could offer. Reva is her only source of anything resembling intimacy. During her most intense period of solitary work, in California, Moshfegh committed herself to celibacy.

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Nobody ever hits on me, ever. This struck her as a kind of threat. She agreed. Then I kind of surrendered. The interview lasted for twenty-seven days. After their long interview, Goebel went home to Oregon for Christmas, and while he was there his grandparents gave him a very large diamond ring they had, which he used to propose to Moshfegh when they saw each other again. But I can look.

I love to look. She also wrote in that piece about a different kind of love. I tell my man in the desert about him, how he is the brutalized monster inside of my heart, that my heart has broken after each overdose, each jag of being missing, each arrest, each near-death experience. My baby brother. In her kitchen is a photograph of him as a toddler, asleep, clutching his toys. We were very, very close. She lifted it to her lips and lit it. She has been smoking menthols ever since. He was born in Arak, Iran, where his father had grown up in the walled Jewish ghetto and started selling cloth in the bazaar at the age of nine.

He went on to become a wealthy businessman and one of the biggest landowners in the country. Farhoud left for Munich when he was nineteen, to study the violin, and then spent several years playing in a chamber orchestra in Taiwan. He married a fellow-pupil from Zagreb, Croatia, who returned with him to Tehran—his favorite place of all. They were there for less than a year when the Islamic Revolution broke out. Jews and intellectuals were already being executed; a week later, he left. All of the Moshfeghs immigrated to the United States and started over.

Farhoud and his wife, Dubravka, settled in Newton, Massachusetts, where they played in orchestras, taught at the New England Conservatory, and brought up three children: Ottessa, Darius, and Sarvenaz, the eldest. They separated more than a decade ago but never divorced. Sarvenaz and her two children are moving in with him soon. Ottessa has inadvertently led her family on a westward migration.

The latest Moshfegh outpost is a tidy house, surrounded by a pasture dotted with slender redwoods. Farhoud, who has a beard and straggly gray hair, was dressed in a muted beige Hawaiian shirt and cargo shorts when we visited on a recent afternoon. He was setting out a lunch of ghormeh sabzi , a Persian herb stew, which his sister had prepared and packed for him in empty yogurt containers when she visited recently from Las Vegas. He had cut some lilacs from the yard and put them on the table in a soup can.

On the counter was a framed school picture of Darius. A mountain lion had eaten her dog. In the living room was a giant painting of Paganini, wearing a look of alarming intensity. He died of syphilis. Ottessa learned to read music before she could read words, and started playing piano when she was four. Throughout her childhood, she spent her Saturdays at the New England Conservatory.

Now you need to train yourself to play it fluently, and then maybe you can feel the ecstasy. But until you get there. Moshfegh studied music intently until her teens, when her allegiance slowly shifted to fiction. When she was fourteen, she wanted to go to a summer music program at Interlochen, in Michigan, but she missed the application deadline, so her mother signed her up for a creative-writing course there instead. If a voice is sufficiently compelling, the reader can forget the deranged circumstances that it is relating.

If I dreamt at all, I dreamt that I was lying in bed. Farhoud showed us the back room, where dozens of boxes were stacked, still waiting to be unpacked. Ottessa pointed to one, a big, dark canvas with a kind of flaming tower in the corner, that she used to have in her apartment. Moshfegh decided that Reva would work in the World Trade Center, and she researched the businesses that were housed there, up to a point. As sometimes happens to her, Moshfegh found life mirroring what she had written. It sounds like the smashing of waves. It shakes the house. Timothy Leary used to own a cabin nearby.

He and Moshfegh had recently unloaded a shipping container of furniture from his grandparents, and now there were tasselled pillows, a Barcalounger, ceramic terriers on the coffee table, paintings of horse-drawn sleighs on the wall. Like Moshfegh, Goebel lost his only brother, seven years ago. He laughed. Goebel, who is thirty-seven, tall, bearded, with floppy golden-brown hair, was sitting on the countertop in the kitchen; he looked as if he were in a movie from the late sixties. Can I come outside, too? They went and sat on the patio together, where you could see the veins of snow on the mountaintops glowing blue under the moon.

I lived a very reckless life style. Humanism is about respecting humans, not gods. The taboos come in many forms. There are also quite a few secular Jews who participate in discussions on this site, although they usually base their comments on their associations with Jewish family members and evidence, rather than just making wild assumptions about the knowledge of others in discussions.

It is sad that you do not know how to seek out real information about other viewpoints, but are left looking at a blank when others say they do not accept all of your personal beliefs. I think this psychological projection of your own lack of an open minded view of the world outside of your own belief bubble. You exhibit a lack of awareness, and seem to be struggling to even discuss other viewpoints. Unlike fundamentalists, those who embrace critical rational thinking and science, are very open minded, but examine ideas for evidenced support and validity before accepting them.

Lack of acceptance does not imply a lack of knowledge or understanding. They are not open to having any old long refuted garbage poured into their heads. Folk taking more than their fair share need a good reason like being dirt poor and in need of help. That is of course once again an irrelevant strawman diversion from the original issue of religious discouragement of contraception for the purpose of creating large families of believers.

Arguing a false equivalence is a fallacy! Gratuitous allegations of anti-Semitism, are just a mentally lazy way of dodging answering valid criticisms — usually criticisms of:- damaging or repressive religious beliefs, the government of Israel, or Zionist literalist claims to be entitled to steal land from the previous owners whose families have lived on it for decades or centuries!

My take is as long as both consent and what manifests is strength and love, have at it.. I applaud you for finding such harmony and adopting practices that again, due to your words seem to heighten and deepen your love for each other. My questions. Would you speak harshly to her.

How about your brothers children? Would there be gossip? If your grandson wanted to be baptized christian, would you disown him? If any of your family members identified as atheist, would it be a crisis? See, pressure to conform is not always overt and obvious. It is not always actually verbalized. Sometimes menace can simply be shadowy and amorphous.

So, tell me, are you inadvertently I am sure pressuring your family members into conformity? I eagerly await your answers. Do you realize that you have lobbed a few insults at the regulars here? This is what the negative reactions are about. I am not trying to convince you or any other critic here. Judaism does not need excusing.

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We have a tradition, coming from God, that is thousands of years old. Our tradition has withstood the test of time. But you are certainly guilty of engaging in ad hominem attacks, rather than addressing the issues at hand. How unfortunate. Laurie, I have not lobbed insults at anyone.

If you took any of my words in that fashion, I apologize. I did not say an atheist cannot be moral, but even if I did, that would not be an ad hominem, it would be an observation based on an assessment of atheism as a philosophy.

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Here is what I mean, and of course i welcome a reasoned response: When one believes in God, especially in an all-encompassing religious construct such as Judaism has, at least one has a basis for their moral views. For example, I believe that murder is wrong I am referring to a classic case of, say, John murdering Steve because John decides he wishes to kill someone. The reason I believe John would be wrong is that I believe God commanded us not to murder. It is fair not an ad hominem to ask you, as an avowed atheist, whether you believe John is being immoral in murdering Steve, and if yes, why do you believe this.

I think, Laurie, that this is a fair place to start, and I look forward to your response. Avi Report abuse. Crookedshoes, sorry for the delay in responding. Thanks for your input, and indeed these are good and serious questions. The penalty for having relations with a niddah is the same as for eating on Yom Kippur!

But if, God forbid, I had a child who became not religious, I would be very saddened. However, gossip is not permitted in Jewish law, except in very limited circumstances. Simply to talk about someone is forbidden. If a child of mine were to become Christian, that would be another story. This is considered absolutely horrible. If my daughter or son chose to become gay, that too would be terrible, but i would not break off my connection with them, at the same time not welcoming a same-sex partner into my home. I doubt you will like these answers, but i think they are an accurate depiction of how most Orthodox Jews would react.

What would you do without your religion? But you come to an atheist site expecting a hallelujah and a praise the lord for every one of your posts. If not then…. I have no reason to attack you, though you tried rile me by deliberately misspelling my name in an attempt to divert attention from my question. That part actually showed me how far my internet savvy has grown as these sort of attacks were and are still being used by trolls on the net. Starts with a nursery school name calling followed by diversion and then, this-.

Others perhaps not specifically you have been much more ad hom; a sign, I believe, that they have no argument. You are behaving exactly like a troll even if you are not or realise you are doing it. It is evasive and adds not a jot to the conversation. I am genuinely happy that you are happy within the structure of your choice but not to acknowledge those that are not is immoral. What does your religion say about those less fortunate than yourself? Ignore them? Feel anger at them because they dare speak up? Now, again, what advise will you offer this woman , who is of your own faith, based on what you know your religion requires of you in these circumstances.

If you are following religious lines in ignoring her suffering then do you have a moral opinion outside of it, like the rest of us here. Logic is a description of arguments. Statements of fact about the structure of arguments, are not insults! Being wrong is not being insulted! Are you suggesting that your religious group is not a denomination, sect, or cult of Judaism? That would be a position which is rather hard to support! Atheists hold a diversity of philosophies as do the followers of various religions. Killing is quite often approved by states when they want soldiers or rebel groups to do their dirty work.

The texts are full of applause for killing people from other religions or other tribes. Most atheists would comply with state laws to respect their fellow man, but there could be exceptions in militaristic repressive states, where state elites abuse the general population or particular minorities. The fundamental difference between secular states and theocracies or political ideological states, is that secular states generally seek equality before the law for all, whereas theocracies seek privileged positions for the followers of particular religions or ideologies.

That is why there are mass killings in religious wars between theocracies based on different religions! That is the problem with the mind-slavery of sects and cults. There is no respect for rational debate or toleration of other viewpoints. That is why the antiquated ignorance-based on bronze-age preconceptions of dogmas resist up-dating in the light of new evidence-based information.

If my daughter or son chose to become gay, that too would be terrible, but i would not break off my connection with them,. This is simply an assertion of bigoted ignorance! This is a medical condition derived from their embryological development in the womb. As biologists know, the dichotomy of male and female is not absolute — neither in humans nor in other organisms. Some species of fish for example, often change sex at some stage in their lives.

If you had a disabled child who was a wheelchair user, would you also refuse their fellow wheelchair using partner admission? According to the United Nations, the condition affects up to 1. These are the sorts of issues where atheists challenge the bigoted ignorance-based bronze-age pseudo-morality of religious dogmas which go in for abusive victim blaming!

My post 74 should have been for 70! The origins and evolution of this god from the polytheistic Canaanite pantheon, are being progressively researched by archaeologists and anthropologists. However thousands of other religions can make similar claims, and have, or have had, followers making similar claims to yours!

Do you have some evidence that your claims have any more substance than theirs? The highest court ruled that current laws preventing members of the same sex from marrying violated their right to equality and were unconstitutional. But strayed we have.

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Rather than respond to some of the more silly asides, I will focus on two issues: the morality of murder and the issue of homosexuality. I am asking a simple question. As an atheist, do you believe John can kill Steve for no reason, and if not, why not? Oops, I clicked Send too early! One can feel something and not act upon it. I may be born with an innate sense that I need to steal things.

That is part of the challenge of life. However — a study of biology and embryology clearly identifies a range of intersex conditions! You see I am a biologist who reads medical text books and biological studies, rather than bronze age-guesswork wearing a god-badge! Could I recommend some study of the actual subject at a top international medical reference site! Ambiguous genitalia is a birth defect where the outer genitals do not have the typical appearance of either a boy or a girl. The male and female reproductive organs and genitals both come from the same tissue in the fetus.

This makes it difficult to easily identify the infant as male or female. The extent of the ambiguity varies. In very rare instances, the physical appearance may be fully developed as the opposite of the genetic sex. For example, a genetic male may have developed the appearance of a normal female. Alan 75 — If you had a disabled child who was a wheelchair user, would you also refuse their fellow wheelchair using partner admission?

I will focus on two issues: the morality of murder and the issue of homosexuality. Re murder, rather than addressing my crystal clear question: Does an atheist believe John can kill Steve simply because John feels like it, and if not, why not,. First of all, people who are not psychopaths do not casually kill people anyway. Usually they need a strong motive! A secular humanist view, is that societies need to establish laws and manage their own moral codes of conduct, based on equality of rights, mutual co-operation, and altruism.

Perhaps you could explain the various accounts of acclaimed killings and genocides against rival states, rival tribes, and rival religions. Deuteronomy I tried to give a vague meaningless question some context. We are fundamentally different on this point, you and I. And, in my system of morals, you are extraordinarily morally corrupt on this point. More importantly, I also find your other answers deeply, deeply immoral. It makes me happy and I have a right to it.

And, that is precisely where your beliefs hurt others. And my sentiment of not judging others is clearly stated in your own Holy books and YOU choose to flout them…. Our sages ask, when are you allowed to judge another person? The answer: Never. The explanation given is as follows: Who says your blood is redder than his? Talmud — Sanhedrin 74a. You have a tradition that came purely from men inventing stuff to suit themselves and ascribing it to an imaginary god, and I mean men in the male sense because almost exclusively women had little say in the origins of the ancient religions which is why they are so discriminated against in them.

End of. You are just a product of your particular childhood brainwashing. However childhood brainwashing is very hard to overcome. We understand that and are saddened by it. Hi Avi.

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  8. I am one of the secular Jews Alan mentioned and a semi regular contributor here. They have the patience of Job if that makes you more comfortable. You have also conducted yourself this way, just with a message we cannot rationally appreciate. I use the word rationally on purpose. I will remind you again of where you are choosing to post. You need to understand that we are as incapable of believing in your sky god as you are in his absence.

    But let me be clear on this point: we are NOT incapable of considering it rationally however. That seems anathema to your dogma. We would never have evolved without an innate morality. This much is clear. I love that. And I shall steal that with attribution with your permission. Love that. I remember Richard debating with some bat shit crazy blonde American woman years ago who spoke in the quietest calmest voice that nothing could upset but everything that came out of her mouth was pure poison.

    Also Ted Haggard raging against gays whilst paying male prostitutes for sex and calling the police against Richard because he discussed evolution he accused me of being a monkey. It has nothing, however, to do with homosexual conduct! It was not my intent to seek out a secular site just to post! However, I will note that it seems you prefer insularity, that is, you prefer not to engage in discussion with those who disagree with you. I have no such issue, I am much more open-minded.

    We all agree that societies need to establish laws. So we agree, we need laws. The laws against, say, murder, are meant so that society is not destroyed. But this has nothing to do with morality! What makes you think these are positive values? Indeed, what makes you think there are values at all? It is this issue that particularly interests me. By the way, this has nothing to do with the original posted article. Obviously you would or should agree that a self-managing group such as Orthodox Jews can have its own rules, as long as it is not forcing others to keep those rules.

    I would fully agree with that notion. I await your response. I would say that I am absolutely prohibited from within! And as I have never been religions and come from a family of non-religious people and have had very little contact with orthodox Jews and no very little about Judaism. I can only assume that that feeling of murder and rape and stealing, and hurting people being wrong does not, cannot come from any God.

    God to me and to many compassionate and humane agnostics and atheists is simply Nothing. This sense of prohibition does not come from the State either, i. It is not an easy thing to explain; these are complex questions, and they should be asked. Empathy, being civilized, caring about others… All those things have developed willy-nilly over the centuries, but not enough, as violence and hate and cruelty is still so prevalent, prevalent among religious Jews and Christians and Muslims and their non-believing counterparts as well.

    We have enough homicides in the world. The prisons are filled with homicidal maniacs. So for all of our sakes, stay religious until you figure out how you as a man, an individual with your own set of values and sensibilities, feel about killing — and not a child or soldier taking orders from Big Daddy in the Sky. Yes, I am expressing some disdain. Many Holy Books do advocate killing. Did you read what someone had written above about all the different religions all saying different things?

    Religion cannot possibly last; no lie can live forever. Regards, Report abuse. Actually it does, because the brain development governing sexual attraction, is similarly affected by hormonal effects on the embryo in the womb. I recall this earlier comment, but it appears when it comes to homosexuals and intersex people, you express an urge for friends and family to bring pressure to bear on then in exactly that way! So which is it?

    Just as the writer of the article did, one can choose not to follow the laws. There seem to be conflicting claims and compartmentalised thinking in your comments. Perhaps there are some reasons here in threats to apostates, why you seem to have mental blocks making you unable to follow the reasoning which challenges some of your mistaken preconceptions. Well Avi I appear to have underestimated your smiling hate and condescension. And if I preferred insularity I would not have posted. What I disdain however is arguing with a dogmatic close minded person which you quite clearly are.

    This world is no less valid than yours. These are of course worked out by people making informed judgements on predicted outcomes and balancing the interests of various parties. For example professions such as doctors have codes of conduct, which most follow voluntarily, but which include sanctions against rogue individuals. Now we are talking! However laws as I explained should be based on evidence and predicted outcomes, not ancient superstitions. Actually no! Most systems are less than perfect, and many are corrupt!

    That is where the objective evaluation of various political systems comes in. The values are chosen by the people of the community. All laws and codes of conduct are the work of humans, including those which some try to enhance by sticking a god-badge on to them. Actually, it does because it looks at the sources of ideas and mental processes directing the behaviour patterns under discussion.

    I recognise god-beliefs as a mental delusion created by childhood indoctrination. Groups form their own rules, but it is perfectly reasonable to evaluate the effects of these on members, relations of member, friends of members, children of members and members who wish to leave the group. As with politics in general applications of rules are open to abuses, so criticism and in extreme cases actions are justified. There are many examples where authority figures in religions sometimes in league with politicians , abuse their positions to the detriment of their members.

    Not only are many regular posters on this site well read, but many are ex-Christians, from Muslim families or are secular Jews. There is a wide ranging understanding of religions and their effects in societies. Would that be okay with you? I think we are centering on the problem! My set of questions sure seems to have exposed the closed mind and smiling hate trademark pending. Avi would regard his son being homosexual as terrible. The cognitive dissonance and absolute lack of self awareness is staggering.

    Guy with his hair parted on the side, accountant, clean shaven, neat orderly???? Serial killer. I can only assume…. And as I have never been religions and come from a family of non-religious people and have had very little contact with orthodox Jews and know very little about Judaism, I can only assume…. I would also add that as the atheist Dr. Jonathan Miller admitted, we do owe religion, the Christian religion in particular, a certain debt of gratitude; it helped to move the evolution of our moral idea of brotherly love along.

    But morality is not from God. No, that would not be okay with Alan or with any of us. It would be dreadful. But that is the world we live in and the struggle for humane laws and justice is continuous, and cruelty and injustice and bigotry, etc. That is far, far more dangerous, far more insidious — and you know it.

    Yes you have centered on a fundamental problem. Dan responded: No, that would not be okay with Alan or with any of us. Dan, what I am asking is: Why would it not be okay with you? I am not seeing an answer to this question. I will note that I had the same discussion recently with my brother, a practicing, believing Orthodox Jew who maintains that one can devise a moral code without religion. But my brother, along with all the posters on this site, has been unable to logically explain why this moral code would have any standing or any validity. What makes something right or wrong? To this, I have not heard an answer from the atheists on this site or from my believing brother, much as he wants to side with you.

    I am saying that as of yet, I have not heard a cogent rationale for it. I am open to suggestions! Avi — He also introduced other non-related issues e. Of course not — I explained secular values earlier. There needs to be various bodies to hold those in authority accountable. When particular religions dominate the local legislatures national legislatures, police and the courts, actions of religious authorities are looked at through rosy spectacles, and we get the sorts of covered up abuses, such as Catholic priests raping children with impunity. Not really! The former view require a LOT more study!

    It is the same with making the effort of developing the ability to work out your own code of conduct, V copying a simplistic one which is spoon-fed to you. Science based decisions on abortions are determined by survivability without debilitating complications affecting the baby or the mother, and the later potential life quality of the infant.

    You are going to have to stick around and join in with discussions on how the brain works, evolution and animal behaviour, to name a few, and be as open minded as you are to suggestions, if you want an answer that you might be happy with. Morality is not devised by atheist but by millions of years of evolution. I was wondering if Religious Jewish people would be happy being represented here by Avi and I googled a few things and found this;. Why would it not be okay to kill people in a given secular community? These ideas and arguments are debated and it is rare to find a society where there is universal agreement about what should be considered right and proper and what is considered wrong and improper.

    With regards to the State, I would say that in a democracy, where people are allowed to worship as they wish and to speak their minds and be who they are, its citizens should be able to enjoy their natural right of freedom to exist assuming that they are able to obey reasonable laws , to live their lives, without fear of being arrested or persecuted or punished, without being criminalized.

    Dictators are always capricious and always impose their paltry will upon the freedom and the pursuit of happiness of others, trample on that right. Democracy is a state of grace, easily lost; laws concerning justice are a delicate thing too, based often on consensus. But that is the nature of morality with regards to the State. Perhaps this basic uncertainty as to why one must not do this or that has given rise for the need on the part of many for some kind of ultimate authority on these matters. Democracy is a grace. Fascism goes back to our infancy and childhood, where we were always told how to live.

    We were told, Yes, you may do this; no, you may not do that. So the secret of fascism is that it has this appeal to people whose later lives are not satisfactory. Murder as a way of life is not an isolated issue; it is bound up inextricably with such things as justice and truth. To condone murder is to deny justice and to affirm lies such as those based on prejudice or a false sense of moral superiority. Why is it better not to kill? Because we as individuals have risen above the egotism of brutes, because we regard indifference to human life as depraved.

    Persecution and murder based on capricious laws or the need to control in order to maintain power is not only impractical, it is based on a system that is unsustainable as it is based on lies and on vice — and all lies and all vice eventually do harm and destroy those who engage in them in the end. From a mere pragmatic point of view such a way of life where killing is considered lawful or acceptable would make life impossible.

    The question as to whether this is learned or not does not belong here; let us assume it is learned, for clearly it can be. The opposite of this is base egotism. It comes from no law although the laws are a practical necessary to keep selfish men from preying on others which is no basis for organizing a civilized society that aspires towards the cultural and aesthetic Good or that has any affinity with Beauty. Thou Shalt Not Kill is a flimsy thing indeed designed, presumably, for criminal-types and accepted by malleable, pathetic, hoodwinked half-men and half-women who have no sense of their own personal dignity or the dignity of others, and would or might be inclined to kill or do harm without such messages of prohibition, sent by a man-made God.

    The strength of the prohibition is proportionate to the latent desire to commit the crime. Gods are made in the image of Man and his laws cannot be relied on. Gods and goddesses belong to the realm of mythology. When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. Not true, at least for Judaism. We believe that while God guides many things, we have the free will to do good or evil. We believe we can overcome our inadequacies. Surely you must admit that you may be wrong, because you have no experience to dictate otherwise.

    I, however, have the experience within Judaism to comfortably assert surety! To make a block of text orange just add a right arrow directly in front of the first word. Try that and see if it works. Actually I quoted Olgun saying that and posted the the chapter in the book giving depth of explanations on the evolutionary genetics of altruistic interactions in populations. Actually, not far off from how Judaism thinks, although there is a wide spectrum Jewish law is very complicated, much more complicated than civil law, and different experts hold different views, all based on their incredible knowledge of the subjects at hand.

    Science is a mostly objective discipline, it has no feelings and no moral contours. People make moral judgments, and I still await someone who will answer my core question: How does an atheist determine what is moral? Avi In your comment you are sure to run into trouble with this communication. The problem is that the science community has one thing in common and that is how we think and talk about probability. Anyone here who has a college degree in science or math processes certain statements and assertions in the same way due to the training and education that we have.

    We entertain hypotheses and think about how to test them. We collect, organize and analyse data. We make conclusions based on those analyses and then consider the implications of those results. When in the company of my fellow science majors this is something I count on them knowing.

    To me, everything is a probability equation. Some things are more probable or less probable than other things. This is how we view the probability of the existence of a god or collection of gods or any other supernatural creature. The probability that there is an omniscient, omnipotent being that has created this universe and all of the life in it is in fact, so absolutely minuscule as to be for all intents and purposes — so close to the number zero that we will all now say — the probability that this entity exists is ZERO.

    The end. We will no longer waste our time speculating as to its nature and properties and we will move on to more interesting hypotheses. We will end up talking past each other forever if these two very different ways of understanding reality are maintained. What any science major will require and what anyone who relies on logic and rational thinking will require is for you to present a hypothesis — God exists, and then explain how you will collect data and move to a conclusion one way or another, that will satisfy us that this is truth or not truth. This cannot possibly be processed by us and it makes no sense whatsoever.

    It is only a feeling stated with emphasis. My field is psychology and I can tell you that emphatic statements that are based on nothing but feelings are very common and are often completely false. Too many of these curious statements in too short a time and your shrink will be reaching for his prescription meds pad, pen in hand. Not good. When they do this they usually include a link to the evidence for their assertion. If they fail to do that you are within your rights to ask for their evidence.

    This is how science and rational thinking works. I hope you will try to talk to your brother again about his ideas on secular morality. Your religion, like all of them, include a little subroutine that kicks off a fierce defensive reaction. Yes, they all have this feature. Can you suppress this reaction long enough to give his ideas and the ideas presented here a fair trial? Also, you are perfectly capable of reading some entry level science and material on ethics, humanism, etc.

    Even if it never changes your mind, there is some credit to you for making an honest attempt to try to understand how many other good people create a worldview that is moral and good with no reference at all to a supernatural all powerful being. Or, you could double down on the substantial defense systems that are evident in all of your comments here.

    I can do much better than that! I can also point out the thousands of believers in other gods with conflicting properties which are followed by believers who are equally certain their their versions of gods are THE correct ones, — and finally I have the mounting evidence from psychologists and neuroscientists that god-delusions are a feature of believers brains which dominate their core beliefs. Not at all! God delusions dominate the subjective thinking and blank out perceptions of reality, which might lead their host brains to apostasy!

    It is how the religious memes are preserved, copied, and passed on as comfortable certainties devoid of any supporting material evidence. However as all the various god-delusions see list of deities 77 , produce claims which are in conflict with each other, there is no reason to think any of them have any material basis beyond the illusions in the brain chemistry and circuitry of their believers. Jeeze Alan, we really need to take this show on the road!!! That is correct. Science informs moral judgements which can then be made on the basis of reliable information and predicted outcomes.

    They do indeed, but if they use guesswork or dogma in place of science, their judgements will most probably be flawed due to a lack of proper evidence-based information. Other issues are dealt with in a similar manner on their merits. Btw, speaking of morality, I was just having a bite to eat on 84th and Third Avenue. I noticed a crowd outside. A young man had collapsed and was foaming at the mouth. The ambulance came. My point; everyone was standing around, concerned, on their cell phones. Some people are cruel.

    But most of us have empathy to some degree, and that is just the way it is. It is possible to imagine a world without empathy. HG Welles described such a world. Whether empathy is more natural or not is an open question, but we have it and all I can do is hope that we as a species never lose it. That would be contrary to my values and would not be a world that I would choose to be part of if I found myself transported to such a world and had the ability to decide my own fate.

    Life is what we make of it, our experience is what we interpret, our values are what we form and what we develop. We create all of it — and it varies. Yes, yes, there might be a God. But the burden of proof is on you to prove that something does exist. Do you comprehend that? Thinking about God all the time is a wasted life. You are thinking about nothing. You only know what you feel, and that is not objective truth; No one can know nothing, and that is why you cannot describe him.

    Nothing to describe.

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    And that is all God is: Nothing. And you have no answer to that, cannot say anything at all about this God of yours. This is madness and imbecility. You think Judaism is profound but are in denial; Judaism is based essentially on nothing. Go help someone. Quit thy childhood and wake up. Laurie, pssst, come here for a second. Started with my copy in my Dickens collection — the print is so tiny I almost went cross-eyed.

    Switched to the free Kindle edition. Easier on the eyes. I feel a pall over my life because of him. If I plunge into a deep dark depression it will all be your fault. And there we have it finally, the arrogance of surety that always comes out in the end when believers talk about their non existent deities. We are not so arrogant as to claim surety in anything. Only the delusional do that.

    We talk about probabilities and evidence. It is irrelevant what in in our gut or inside our own heads. Only reproducable evidence matters. Evidence that can be demonstrated to a third party with no axe to grind and which produces the same results every time. There is no evidence for the existence of any god that has ever been postulated or worshipped. In the absence of such evidence we simply decline to accept the postulation that such a god exists and leave the burden of proof back where it belongs — on the believer.

    When we factor in the thousands of gods that humans have invented over the millenia and no proof for any of them, when we factor in the laws of physics which make omniscience and omnipotence impossible. When we factor in that we already have robust scientific explanations for most of the things that religion has turned out to have been wrong about such as the earth being the centre of the universe, how planets and solar systems form, the age of the earth and the universe, evolution rather than creation myths.

    Their faith is unshakeable despite zero evidence to support it. It would not take incontrovertible evidence to inspire faith in me. Religion is based on faith, not reason. That is why people like Avi get under my skin; they are sure of something that one can not possibly be sure of; that is fanaticism, as defined by Kant. You seem to be very sure what ought to be obvious to other people which is more of the arrogance I mentioned in my previous post.

    What if that self regulating group practices cannibalism, female genital mutilation, paedophilia? Hell no is the answer. The reason is that believing in, and worshipping, that which does not exist is delusional. Essentially a form of mental illness and that reflects poorly on all of humanity and any aspirations we might have to one day be able to call ourselves civilised. I have trouble making up my mind about all this.

    I take back what I said in comment I want evidence. Faith in God is faith in nothing too. Next week I might say something different. But have yet to produce ANY evidence of this happening or any mechanism showing how gods are involved in this working of nature. As can all people, but that has nothing to do with gods, or the inadequacies of dogmas and doctrines. Actually, once theists stop making vague suggestions that some obscure god-thingy exists somewhere out of sight, and list the claimed properties and activities of their gods, these are easily and rapidly debunked by scientific and historical evidence.

    They are shown to be myths and folk-law from the imaginations of people in the past. They were used as manipulative tools by elites seeking power over local populations, and organising tribal followings to attack rivals and rival populations. Today they still are! Thanks, Laurie, it worked; reminds me of my days in publishing when I would do a bit of coding. Ideally, one indeed should keep God in mind all the time; this is the essence of life! Yes, it does seem we are talking past one another as someone said in a post.

    The problem is that I am perfectly logical while you folks are not. But I digress. The logical conclusion is that as society advances, we will become ever more good a term you cannot even explain, but so be it. Then why, my friends, have the last years featured more evil than at any time in history? The answer is that the natural world has nothing to do with good and evil; it is simply the setting in which good and evil and neutral acts take place!

    I repeatedly asked for a definition of good. Dan responded with a story about bystanders having concern for someone who was ill. Dan, you are right; people have good within them, because God put good within them! God and good are, as far as I know, of common etymology. You all know the story of Leopold and Loeb and the im perfect murder.

    Leopold and Loeb held themselves, by virtue of their intellects, to be superior beings who had the right to do whatever they wanted to those they held to be inferior. What a perfect demonstration of how amorality leads to evil. Of course, none of you can say Leopold and Loeb were wrong; they held themselves to be scientifically superior! And the Nazis did the same. No, I am not saying you are Nazis! I am sure someone will jump on me for invoking the Holocaust. But it is indisputable that the Nazis believed themselves to be biologically advanced.

    They held Jews, Romas and others to be biologically inferior. Do you believe that similar abominations cannot be repeated? What about euthanasia in supposedly civililzed, advanced, secular societies? Need I say more? But since we are talking about science, can someone please explain how and why we would develop two eyes? And I am still waiting an answer to how matter appeared.

    That is why people like Avi get under my skin; they are sure of something that one can not possibly be sure of. Dan, I can say the same about you; you are so certain about your beliefs that you cannot imagine anything else being correct. How do you know that our logic even commonly shared logic is reliable? What makes you think that your thinking process is a valid one?

    How, indeed, do you draw conclusions about anything? As I explained in an earlier post, logic a deductive or inductive process, not a badge to be stuck on to assertions which endorse your preconceptions. Unless the starting premises are evidence based, anything built on them will be hypothetical fantasy! Logical reasoning from evidence, is one of the key skills of scientists in their investigations seeking understanding of the workings of nature. That is one of the reasons why the majority of top scientists are atheists. The majority of species on this planet have no concept of gods, and the majority of humans on this planet have no belief in your particular version of a god.

    There is no evidence to suggest this causes them any problems. Although beliefs in some other gods certainly do! I can assure you I have had no need of gods since I matured to the formal operations stage of mental development as a teenager. Arkrid, while Jews do not rely on supernatural evidence for our beliefs Maimonides, one of the greatest thinkers of all time, is quite clear on this subject , God DID leave a glowing message in the sky.

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    He spoke to us at Mount Sinai. Also, I have not written about evolution, your sacred touchstone, and the truth is I have no problem accepting a God-guided evolution. Theistic evolution has no explained mechanism and the mechanisms of evolution have NOTHING to do with being guided towards particular objectives. None of its advocates have produce anything which credible resembles science! Eyes have evolved many times n the evolution of life selective pressures in evolution promote replication of mechanisms which work or work better than the competition, bin ocular vision give a greater depth of perception of distance or a wider field of vision — depending on the placing of the eyes on the skull.

    Insect vision sees a wider range of wavelengths and can ultraviolet light which humans cannot. Spiders have numerous eyes and more than one type of eye. Clearly any individual snake which was poisoned by its own venom would not live to reproduce, so only those with immunity would develop the venom and the immunity together over many generations. Creationists love to pretend to associate NAZIs with science.

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    NAZI social Darwinism was a politically ideologically motivated pseudo-science perversion of Scientific Darwininian evolution, just as theistic evolution is a pseudo-science religious perversion it! Having said that, like tyrants throughout history, they invested heavily in the development of weapons technology, and made huge advances in that area. It is also worth noting that the Aryan assertions of superiority and anti-Semitism were rooted in the German Protestant churches of the time! BTW: Hitler was brought up a Catholic and was initially supported by both Protestant and Catholic churches before he fell out with them when he no longer needed them after achieving power.

    While you would probably benefit more by spending time reading the links on this discussion, if you are interested in the evolution of eyes, there are articles and discussions in the RDFS archives. When talking about the stages of evolution, we need to be clear about time frames covering millions or billions of years, when dealing with the evolution of our Universe, the evolution of galaxies, the evolution of stars and planets, the evolution of our Solar-System, the formation of the Earth, the evolution of early life, the evolution of complex life, the history of humans, and the on-going features of these processes.

    These evolutionary processes are the key features of cosmology, astronomy, physics, geology, climatology, and biology. They have absolutely nothing to do with sacred beliefs or your preoccupation with sacred beliefs! If you really want to learn about these subjects, you need to engage and follow up on the answers and links you have been given, rather than constantly throwing in new topics to change the subject! I am barely out of the shallows myself but it would be pointless enticing you any deeper. A cascade of scientific discoveries and inventions culminated in this modern mode of transportation.

    And so it goes as Vonnegut would say. None of us is capable of changing your mind because it is closed to your dogma. Not only that, many here have genuinely tried to teach you something. Was there something wrong in that statement given the circumstances? Well actually no! The English word scientist is relatively recent—first coined by William Whewell in the 19th century. While empirical investigations of the natural world have been described since classical antiquity for example, by Thales and Aristotle , and scientific method has been employed since the Middle Ages for example, by Ibn al-Haytham and Roger Bacon , modern science began to develop in the early modern period, and in particular in the scientific revolution of 16th- and 17th-century Europe.

    No — I gave the reference to the relevant depth of explanations of evolving reciprocal altruism and These supported your statement. Thanks gents. There is more to a debate than convincing a particular individual. A change of mind-set is going to take more than a few days.

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    6. There are other readers of these threads who benefit from studying different mind-sets. I agree with Alan on all points in Report abuse. I agree with Alan. On religion Atheists have nothing new to say to me. But I am continually amazed at lives free floating of facts because they think it more rooted! I never tire seeing the fatal sophistry and marvel at how so simple an idea defeats its victim the Pre Frontal Cortex.

      I am impressed by how this latter gets injected later say at fourteen as an idea to confound doubters and falsely present them as lacking this important attribute. Wow, talk about arrogance! You are so full of yourselves! And you are afraid to engage in meaningful debate. I watched old and young, rabbis and lay people, extolling the virtues of higher learning and a live grounded in God-given morality. The focus of many speakers was how to live a truly moral life, and at the last minute at my behest we inserted a moment of silence in prayer for the injured in the Manchester terrorist attack an attack you cannot even denounce, since you have no barometer to judge it.

      Folks, the level of intelligence among the speakers, including the lay people, is so beyond what you exhibit that it is not funny. One-quarter of Nobel Prize winners have been Jewish, a staggering statistic. But what is even more staggering is that these are not even our best and brightest. Our best and brightest are studying and teaching Torah at incredibly profound levels. Because of your collective ignorance this is not to fault you, ignorance is not a sin , you are unaware of just how profound and difficult Torah study is.

      Even secular Jews, when exposed to true Torah study, tend to be deeply affected, even if they are not observant of the laws. The Jewish people have given the world the highest in intellectual achievements, and that is not because of any innate ability; it is because Torah study trains one to think logically and rationally.

      A non-Jewish college professor boy, was that a long time ago! I was perplexed by the question, till he explained that my questions in class differed substantively from the questions posed by the other students. Our religious basis is of course faith, faith whose truth has been borne out through generations of survival in a mostly hostile world. But we spend very little time talking about faith! Most of our study time is devoted to Jewish law, including non-ritual parts such as civil law.

      Yes, Judaism has a remarkably detailed civil law! I doubt any other religion can make this claim. The closest is probably Islam. My point here, as I sum up because I have made my point, and I think I shall declare victory and run , is not to demean science or reason. You all prejudged me, thinking I accepted everything I was taught without question.

      Quite the contrary: I was brought up in a home where we were encouraged to think for ourselves, and just ask my wife I continue to think matters through carefully. If I hear about a rabbi who I believe has made a mistake in Jewish law, I will proudly announce my disagreement! And in truth, that is what Judaism is about. But at the end of the day, we accept and hopefully, usually keep the myriad commandments. We do so with perfect faith. All the best, Avi Report abuse. Of course we are all disgusted by these acts of extreme violence. Everyone on this website comes from a different location in the world and from families of many different faiths or no faith at all and still, we feel pain of people wherever they are.

      I really think you should apologize for this cruel insult. You are convinced that we have no moral compass but what are you doing about learning more about how others arrive at their moral position? Please think first before making accusations about people that have different ways of thinking than you do. Also, we all recognize the intellectual contributions of Jewish scholars. This was never called into question.