About Rationally Speaking

Rationally Speaking is a blog maintained by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. The blog reflects the Enlightenment figure Marquis de Condorcet's idea of what a public intellectual (yes, we know, that's such a bad word) ought to be: someone who devotes himself to "the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them." You're welcome. Please notice that the contents of this blog can be reprinted under the standard Creative Commons license.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Please, bring back the draft!

Interesting article by Timothy O'Brien in the New York Times about the business of convincing young Americans to sign up for war. As is well known, the US has abandoned the draft since 1973, because of the popular uproar against the Vietnam war (ironically, it was Nixon who pledged to end the draft, which he did). The problem that a "voluntary" army poses, of course, is that one has to come up with incentives to convince young people to join an enterprise that has a good chance of killing them.

That problem has been addressed with increasingly sophisticated advertising campaigns aimed at "selling" the concept of patriotism. In fact, last year the federal government ranked 25th in an annual list of big advertisers, above Microsoft and Wal-Mart, spending a ghastly $1.2 billion (that's with a "b") on making death palatable to young Americans.

We are all familiar with the WWI poster of "Uncle Sam" pointing a finger at the bystander inviting him to help with the war effort, but modern advertising is getting slicker by the minute, promising job skills, college tuition, and of course parading a variety of apparently convincing one-liners, such as "an army of one" (an oxymoron if there ever was one), "the few, the proud" (presenting the Marines as some sort of elite warrior cast that would have been perfectly reasonable at the time of the Roman empire), or "be all that you can be" (as if your life's fulfillment depended on learning how to kill other people). Moreover, the various branches of the US military have become web savvy, with the army web site even giving out free downloadable war video games to entice people to enlist for the real thing.

The selling of the product, like in any successful advertising campaign, relies on association with popular cultural icons. Just in the same way as car commercials wants you to think you'll get the girl if you just started driving that equally beautiful (insert make and model here), the military associates itself with (surprise surprise) Nascar drivers and football games, and even asked Spike Lee (real surprise here!) to direct one of its commercials. Add to this the fact that the Bush administration is keeping a (secret, until recently) database of all potential recruits to be freely used by pushy, specially trained young officers, and the picture becomes sinister indeed (especially for younger students: how is it that in this country some people can make the decision to get killed for the greater glory of the nation at an age wher they are not allowed to drink? You would think the latter would help the first!).

The problem, of course, is that news from Iraq are making it increasingly difficult to sell the "product," especially to parents. They are referred to by the advertising agencies that work for the military as "the influencers," and are increasingly being targeted by ads themselves, to try to fool them into thinking that it's still a good bargain, especially for minority and/or poor families, to get the government to pay for their kids' education -- despite the increasing danger of getting them into arm's way.

All of this is what prompted New York Rep. Charles Rangel (a Democrat, of course) to ask for the reinstatement of the draft. In his words: "There's no question in my mind that if we had a draft we would not be at war in Iraq, because affluent families would not want to put their kids at risk. They're targeting poor white, black and Hispanic high-schoolers in urban and rural areas with these ads." So I say (as a convinced pacifist and former conscience objector), bring back the draft! Bring back democracy to the decision to go to war.


  1. Most pacifists became such when they were young and impressionable, too. And this tends to occur while many are in their late teens to mid twenties.

    The deciding factor here is practically always the profs (and they have an agenda – just like everyone else) who have Marxist or Communist leanings. Now that all seems fine and good except for the fact that the countries which really do hold up Marxist and Communist doctrines are more than willing to send and enlist their young, impressionable, poor or not so poor, to fight wars for their causes.

    It looks a might suspicious when equally war capable countries philosophical views are able to subvert the platform of freedom and democracy to promote an idea among our educated population (using their best sensibilities and worst fears against them) that to fight for the cause of freedom is always wrong.


  2. cal
    I never understood the need of those on the right to lump concepts together ie. pacifism=communism=atheism=all kinds of horrible things. Libertarians have by and large also come out against foreign wars (especially the war in Iraq) but I wouldn't call them great friends of Marx. Weather or not someone agrees with a particular war or war in general simply has nothing to do with their views on the distribution of wealth or workers rights.

  3. Massimo,

    Pretty disturbing info re: the US military and its advertising budget.


    As for Spike Lee, his last few movies have been absolute dreck and bombs to boot. He's probably directing the commercial because he's broke. I never had much respect for the man once I found out he was promoting the idea that white scientists created AIDS to kill black Africans.

    Well, I'm glad news like this makes it to the light. Better to highlight what a mistake this war was (and is).

  4. Draft? Good in theory, but in practice... I live in a country (Chile) where the military are drafted; rich kids, however, somehow manage to avoid the draft altogether, so the problem of their parents' outrage never actually arises; as always, it's the poor who get to die for their country...
    Massimo, do you really believe democracy can exist at all given the obscene distribution of wealth in your country (and mine)? Were you being facetious or naïve?

  5. Cal,

    Your comment has nothing to do with the point of Massimo's post - unless of course your intention was just to make a random critical statement here, and not to comment the post at all.

    I have the impression you went into automatic hysterical anti- imaginary- communist mode as soon as you saw the post had something to do with some kind of critique somehow related to war. You DID NOT comment on the fact that the armed forces ARE actively engaging into questionable practices (at least from a moral point of view, if not legal) during recruiting. And that their targets ARE the poor, and one possible solution to this anti-democratic situation would be a draft - it means any capable person of a certain age could go to war, and not just the mass of desperate youngsters who've got no other career choice. That was the point: draft = fairness.

    Don't you think everybody has the same duties towards their country? Would you put your thoughts into this or don't you have an answer to Massimo's point?

    Of course people would have to pay a lot of attention to the workings of such a system, since powerful Dads could always use their influence for not very honorable ends.

    And when the poor do come back from war, how are they treated, if I may ask? I haven't heard many good things about what's been happening mentally and financially to your "fighters for freedom", and how they're just being left on the streets on their own. But it might just be that I read this in one of those terrible anti-American, atheist and communist publications. A friend of mine used to be a Marine. Do you have an idea how much money they are paid? That they are charged for "housing", food, etc.?

    And my random critical statement: if you really think any country ever fights "for the cause of freedom", you're living in a rosy and delusional internal reality of yours, I'm afraid.


  6. I regularly have my university email account spammed by military recruiters. My requests for it to stop and reporting it to various anti-spam agencies and the DOJ are in vain.


  7. Your comment has nothing to do with the point of Massimo's post - unless of course your intention was just to make a random critical statement here, and not to comment the post at all.

    I think her intention was primarily to indirectly accuse Massimo of being one of those atheistic, evolutionist, pacifistic commies who is poisoning the minds of todays youth against the good ol' U.S.A.

    You must understand, j., Cal's general purpose on this blog is to play apologist for Jeebus Christ, the Bible, evangelical Christianity, "Intelligent Design", neoconservative Republicans, the Iraq war, and (last but not least) George W. Bush.

  8. anon:

    "Lumping" is terribly common where people simply don't know each other. Just a fact of life. But even persons, who don't generally agree, will favor the views of others whose ideological stances at least contradict the philosophy of those that they happen to really be at odds (or bitter) with. And if that's lumping, I guess that's the way human nature is and we're all responsible for it at some point in time.


    "Weather or not someone agrees with a particular war or war in general simply has nothing to do with their views on the distribution of wealth or workers rights."

    War does have a great deal to do with theories regarding class envy. I don't think that the left's complaints about the poor being suckered into military service are legit at all. People in the US largely do what they want and become what they want, poor or not. This is all about maintaining POLITICALLY fueled offenses at the expense of people who could do alot better than to listen to what the left says they're "entitled" to.

    And complaining would be completely acceptable if you had a logical, and more sustainable theory. But I see none here. All I can see is that more of a push for non-voluntary service would really give the libs something howl about.

    I imagine that the gentleman who owns this blog is just stirring the proverbial pot.


  9. Well, it looks like this particular post generated some discussion, good!

    Piero, to me democracy comes in degrees, and I do believe the US has a relatively high level of it, despite the problems you refer to. Of course, unlike most Americans, I also think that there are several other countries that are faring much better, including Canada, England, the Scandinavian countries, and even Italy. Oh, and Japan. And New Zealand.

    Adrienne, of course I actually _am_ an atheist, evolutionist, and pacifist. I ain't no communist, though (sorry Cal), since I am rathermore sympathetic to the idea of social democracy.

  10. "That was the point: draft = fairness."

    What precisely isn't "fair" about volunteering? I would think that anyone would and should favor that.

    And it's no proof that the left 'cares more' for the poor, as the left usually will take the less binding of two (freedom of choice) alternatives.

    Why not in this case?

    I note that Israel has mandatory military service. And the entire political world stays up all night finding new ways and issues to complain about over what Israel does.

    It's flat out easy to expect your political opponents to jump through ill-fashioned hoops. So in my mind, as a view for the higher road, it would clearly neither be weak or soft in any way to demand more of myself or yourself than that!


  11. "Lumping" is terribly common where people simply don't know each other. Just a fact of life. But even persons, who don't generally agree, will favor the views of others whose ideological stances at least contradict the philosophy of those that they happen to really be at odds (or bitter) with. And if that's lumping, I guess that's the way human nature is and we're all responsible for it at some point in time.
    Correct? "

    Maybe. But that doesn't make it a sound argument.It's just an atempt to villainize one type of belief (in this case pacifism) by associating it with another type of belief (communisim) which is considered evil by many (weather or not it should be is a topic for another debate).
    This is a type of red herring argument designed to distract people from the issue under discussion.
    If there is a flaw in a particlar position or with a particular theory, by all means point it out.
    (ie. weather or not a draft will be a more fair system than the current one.) But don't play philosophy math by throwing everyone you happen to disagree with into the same category.
    Not only is there a wealth of positions one can take on any variety of issues, but one can also have a range of beliefs concerning a particular theory.That's why we call it a political "spectrum" and not a political "see-saw".


  12. Never actually thought that you were a communist, M. And I've known a few.

    BUT EVEN IF YOU WERE, I remember a relative mentioning to me about a year ago what a decent and honorable man her stepfather was - even being the communist that he happed to be. God only truly knows why people pick the philos that they do. I suppose that it seems to them the right thing to do at the given time.

    When and how did you begin to favor the pacifist (so-called) world view?

    iow, how old and why?


  13. Cal, I've always been a "pacifist," since I can remember having rational thoughts (say, in junior high school).

    However, I should point out that I'm not a "naive" pacifist who thinks we could eliminate armies overnight, or who declares all wars to be equally unjust. In fact, see
    this online lecture
    for my take on just vs. unjust wars.

  14. I think a volunteer draft is not fair because of the massive amount of marketing being thrown out to distort the reality of the war.

    It takes an educated person to make a choice about what they want to do with their life, and if they choose to be a soldier, so be it.

    When you take a child, one who knows not what they want, and fill their head with grandiose claims about how the rest of your life can be improved by joining up, they believe you.

    Rich parents generally tend to tell their kids they can't go, or already have plans for their kids.

    It should be pointed out that the military can be a great way to figure out what you want to do and to help get you there. Yet, with a huge marketing budget paid with by tax dollars, is it really fair?

    On the other hand, a draft would be no more fair. We have seen how the country runs a draft, and the exact same complaints come out.

    Perhaps instead of spending a huge amount of money on getting kids to join up, we should put that money towards moving Iraq to a place where US troops can leave the country in the hands of its own country men.


  15. As a card carrying Libertarian I should be opposed to a draft. It's government coersion. But... having been a child of the 60's, having served my 4 years and having watched the political scene in America I think there is a valid reason for the draft. That reason is to keep the military from becoming a government controlled weapon against America itself. With an all volunteer army you basically have a mercenary force... people who are in it for the money and owe their allegiance to the paymaster. With a drafted army you have a lot of members who question the orders, who owe their allegiance to their families and communities and who have no long term career plans in the military. So, as much as I hate the idea of a draft (and hated being drafted in 1969) I think it might be the safest thing for this country.

    Die Anyway

  16. I think the biggest tragedy of American pop culture is its ability to dumb down the nation and to allow these puerile aphorisms to provide a guiding light toward common sense. Specifically I mean the slogans used in the military in this case but they are everywhere. "Be All you can be" has been parodied in many venues as "Be all that you are told to be."

    Those notions do work for the non rational and desperate people often lose their reason. So perhaps it has served its purpose well with poor whites, hispanics and african americans. It is pretty easy to be hopeless when you are poor and the military ads appear to offer an out from poverty.

    Of course it does not. Reasoned minds can see that and witness that but there is such a powerful industrial hegemony brought on by advertisement (i.e. popular culture) that we live in an era where black is white, up is down, etc. and that works with a large part of the population. It makes people vote out of emotion rather than in their own best interests.

    At the current time this nation will continue to get recruits though it is getting harder all the time, but those recruits are going to be more and more like Lt. Calley's My Lai troops of 30 some years ago. They are going to be a bunch of Pvt. Englunds of Abyu Ghraib repute.

    As the powers assert their ability to dumb down America they will find that it has back fired on them and their own supportive military will not even understand how to support their own string pullers.

  17. I have a feeling this thread will be ending soon, but I thought I might add something to all of this.

    1)Millitary recruiting is not usually a job someone signs up for. Soldeirs are usually selected at random for the job sometime after their first re-enlistment. You can turn down the job, but that usually means the end of your career. Recruiters are under stiff quota requirements in oreder to get promoted (again, good for career) so, like any salesman, they will do just about anything to get people to sign up. To put it into perspective, imagine if, in order to progress in the feild you've chosen, you had to get a certain number of people to do it too...or you're fired.

    2)Recruiters don't just recruit in Compton. I am from Oak Park, IL, quite possible the single most middle class subburb in the US. I can assure you there were plenty of recruiters swarming around, signing up white boys. Also, many colleges have ROTC programmes, not to mention job fairs where military recruiters are routinly invited to sign people up.

    3)While I was in the Army, the number one reason I heard from people as to why they joined had nothing to do with being poor or needing college money (although college money was why I joined). Most people I talked to had family members who had been in and they wanted to follow in their footsteps. Not that that is a particularly good reason, but it is a far cry from not having any other options. Most of these guys were from the south or from small towns; anyone here who's either from or knows someone from places like that know how important tradition is there.

    4)Fact. Most people serving in the military still see military service as the ultimate way to serve ones country. (Weather or not it is is subject to debate.)

    5)9/11 was real. Does it excuse our actions in Iraq or Afganistan? Probably not. But none the less, it left many people feeling like they had to do something. Some gave blood and charity, some endevored to get people to understand our history in the middle east and proposed changes in policy, and some even joined the military. It's probably a bit disengenuous to suggest that the majority of our servicepeople are poor, stupid, people of color who have been tricked and don't know any better. Most are just people doing what they think is right.

    6)If you honestly think a draft would be instituted fairly, brush up on your Vietnam history. While your at it, look up how many deferments the folks in the Bush administration (as well as a surprising number of right wing commentators) had during that period. And if you are a non-beliver, ask yourself if you think it's fair that concientious objectors had to run to Canada while anyone who proclaimed belief in the old man in the sky got a pass. (I realize that's an over simplification, this is running long.)

    And finally
    7) No one...and I mean NO ONE...was ever convinced to join the military based on those corny ass commercials.

    Of course I could be wrong.


  18. Jer,

    Very good points, thanks for an "inside" perspective. I just take some issue with your very last one:

    7) No one...and I mean NO ONE...was ever convinced to join the military based on those corny ass commercials.

    Hmmm... I know you've been there and all that, but you're probably superestimating people and how the subconscious can influence their seemingly rational sides? Or do you think McDonalds is so popular because their food is really much better than the others'? I mean, if ads didn't work so well, companies wouldn't be spending the really big bucks to put them on TV (and everywhere else), right?

    Everybody thinks: "who do they fool associating beautiful women and powerful cars? extreme sports/artistic types and cigarettes?" (I betray my age here) Well, I don't know. But it must work or I guess they'd have changed tactics by now...


  19. War and military service affect many of us greatly. My husband, my father and many others I know have served. (and some have given more than I care to tell)

    It is remarkably condescending and very incorrect to suggest that those who enlist only do so because they have no other options and that they fall easily for propaganda. My husband is practically off the charts (intelligent) and the main reason I think that he enlisted was because he had the proverbial "ants in his pants". Some people are just bored with the familiar, ya know? Plus, he's just not a fearful person - apparently other people are.

    Of course, I must mention that that "the ants" promptly suggested for him to go home after he was sent to Italy for a few years, where the general pop. is not all that enthused to see American military types.

    He didn't tho. He stayed and acclimated.

    I the 90's and 2000's, I think it is terribly hard for people to understand and accommodate others who believe in deep commitment for the cause of others, alongside those who place intense demands on their own selves.

    Those traits just don't come about naturally.


  20. "I've always been a "pacifist," since I can remember having rational thoughts (say, in junior high school)."

    If there should ever come a point in time when a junior high aged student is not THINKING ABOUT HIM/HERSELF, I suppose a few rational thoughts could randomly wiggle their way into the mind. But precisely how do you know that the thoughts you had were not focused around the parts and pieces of propaganda that your country agreed that children could learn in school?

    Case in Point: A couple we know well hosted a foreign exchange student from Germany last year. One day, she came home to them in total shock that Hitler was not merely the inventor of the Volkswagen!? She had been a very straightforward, intelligent young woman and a good student, so I am quite positive she was not making this up.

    If we start off on one misleading or wrong premise when we are young....


  21. J

    I want to thank you for going easy on me in your critique of my post. Personally, I think the biggest flaw in my arguments is that they came from a personal perspective. I only served 4 years in the Army, from '94 to '98, a time in which nothing close to our current situation was going on. On top of that, I went nowhere outside of the US in that period. In short, my experiance is limited. There is every posibility, that in the time I've been out, the millitary has changed it's strategy in how it recruits people. The main reason I posted was to bring other debatable issues to the table that I don't hear in the main stream media (even on FOX.)

    I do disagree on the issue you did have (sort of.) I don't think Mc Donalds does well because of their commercials; I think they do well because they're convienent and cheap.

    Now, I have no evidence to support this, but I think companies (and the government) advertise the way they do because they THINK those practices work.

    Here's how it works. By now most people (who can afford it) have realised that fast food is dung. We don't go there because it's better, we go there because we have 5 bucks and we're hungry. If we go to the restraunt we actually like, we will be fired from our jobs waiting to be seated. We don't choose the Golden Arches because they have the best commercials, we choose it because it happens to be on the side of the street we're driving on.

    That being said, you make a very good point about the subliminal effects of advertising. Those commercials do present an image of soldiers (and soldiering) that simply does not exist. But that is a different debate.


    The difference between your exchange student and Mr. Pigliucci is age and experiance (and possibly education.) I'm going to hazzard a guess that there is no one on this blog who has the same EXACT opinions on life, the universe, and everything that they had when they were in high school (or Jr. High.) Some things we hold on to , somethings we don't. It all depends on our personal experiances and education. Our esteemed 25 yr. old host has probably had enough time by this point to challenge himself.


  22. Jer,

    I think Massimo P. is in his early 40s, at least. Not 25.

    And cal, the same question you ask of Massimo could be turned right around on you:

    But precisely how do you know that the thoughts you had were not focused around the parts and pieces of propaganda that your church agreed that children could learn in Sunday school?

  23. This thing about Sunday school vs secular edu. will take us way far off “the draft”, but, since you’ve asked a sincere question, A.

    Firstly, the manner in which information is delivered may give indications of the legitimacy of the Bible’s message.

    I.E. The semantic density of information:

    This can be defined as the plentitude of ideas or the “weight of meanings” per sentence or per paragraph. The origin of man and of this world has been discussed in many scientific and popular publications. Nobody knows how many books have been written on these topics. However, most publications treat the subject from an evolutionary viewpoint, and nobody can provide genuine answers. Having said this, it is noteworthy that the Bible describes man’s origin in one single verse: “And the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being” (gen 2:7). These few words comprise remarkable information content, since they provide answers to many questions:

    - Man did not develop through a chance process of evolution, but he was formed by a personal Creator.
    - Contrary to all statements to this effect, man did not descend from some animal; he was created separately.
    - One single man was created originally.
    - Man does not consist of matter only, but he received a vital non material component, a spirit, through God’s breath.
    - He became a living being through the union of the material and non-material parts.

    The saying “Truth does not require many words, but a lie cannot use enough words”, now becomes meaningful. In spite of its semantic fullness, the verse quoted above requires amazing few code symbols. No other description of man’s origin is so true and at the same time formulated so concisely. We may deduce that what we have here represents the highest possible semantic information density. Other passages of the Bible also exhibit superlative semantic densities. (e.g. John 3:16 contains all the information necessary for man’s salvation)
    ( “In the Beginning was Information” Werner Gitt p. 155 – 156.)

    The rest of the book is terribly interesting – wish I had the patience to quote more. The next subheading is on the pragmatic density of information.

    But that’s only one rational reason to favor such an extension of faith in education over a plainly secular edu.

    Of course I don't know what sort of education that the gentleman who hosts here had that you would be referring to. But I know from my experience in Catholic school that Catholic doctrine isn't known to encourage deep inquiry into these matters, either.


  24. "The difference between your exchange student and Mr. Pigliucci is age and experiance (and possibly education.)"

    Jer - The point here was that as a reasobaly mature 17 year old, this lovely foreign exchange student had NEVER heard what Hitler's role in the holocaust was! It is kind of amazing and disturbing that rational, educated people like the Germans are not giving their younger students the truth about racism and Hitler.

    It also implies that this can happen to anyone, educated or not.

  25. Cool! Let's play the "semantic density of information" game! I'll publish the following book (I just don't know who'll buy such a short one, but I promise to charge accordingly):

    God does not exist, everything has exclusively naturalistic causes.

    Well, by the word count it seems I've beaten a certain fable's book quite badly! It was 3 times denser, to say the least, which will probably reflect on the legitimacy of the message. At least following that quite entertaining "theory" you've told us about.

    Thanks for the laugh anyway, it was one of the funniest things I've read in a while.


  26. Yeah, a causeless cause. I'm with you, that's funny alright.

    You apparently don't understand the concept of simple and concise explanations being the better of all possible alternatives.

    Find this book, read the whole thing come back to me in month and explain how well your skepticism still stands. If you remain a skeptic, it would strictly be by an act of your own will, not because of evidence.


  27. A. said

    "I think Massimo P. is in his early 40s, at least. Not 25."

    I know and I appologise for what was an apparently a bad joke.


  28. Oh, well, it strayed quite a bit from the post's subject but I'll answer it here anyway...

    Yeah, a causeless cause. I'm with you, that's funny alright.

    Funnier than you seem to think, Cal. Pay attention to what you wrote: a causeless cause. Are you going to tell me next who created your god? And who created your god's creator? And... Or does he also happen to be a causeless cause?

    You apparently don't understand the concept of simple and concise explanations being the better of all possible alternatives.

    Interesting that you mention this, since it's a pretty popular argument against magical explanations like gods. And yes, I do understand William of Occam's razor principle, also called parsimony. Pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate. For a "quick and dirty" application: take the "who created god" question I posed before. If we just accept that god exists without a cause (which is the bottom line of any answer I ever saw to this), why not say that the physical world just is and that the laws of physics are what they are, even if without a cause? No difference from a logical point of view, right? So, the simpler explanation (no god) should be prefered. Not the explanation with less words (concise means that, isn't it?), but the one with less entities,a nd which explains the data equally well or better.

    The bottom line is that intellectual laziness has much to gain by using gods as "explanation".

    Not that I care about it, but I think people who keep trying to use science and reason to justify their faith need to get their faith stronger, to say the least... Or doesn't the Bible say that you have to believe even in the absence or against "earthly evidence"? Get over it, religion, like art, is irrational by definition and necessity, and proud of it as far as I've noticed.

    Weak christians the authors of such "science confirms god!" books, seems like.


  29. Jer, no apologies needed, of course I do _look_ like 25, don't I? :-)

  30. "The bottom line is that intellectual laziness has much to gain by using gods as "explanation".

    The biblical code for conduct (not necessarily establishing the fact of whether God sets up the laws of physics or not)might prove the rigor of the explanation instead.

    But still, defying the laws of physics and reason, it is virtually always easier to do what one wants (science or otherwise) So how could accountability to God's code for conduct be in any way"LESS RIGOUROUS"?

    And although pragmatic applications may seem to be similar in the question framing phase, in real "working" applications these two are not identical.

    Why do we believe evolution is the "best possible theory"


    That differs from the "G-d" explanation, because there is a reason to believe that there must be a point in the physical world of matter, where an infinite regression of causes must become impossible and other factors or dimensions must be relied upon. Remotely like atom splitting, I suppose.

    Thus, a causeless "cause" must be at least a physical impossibility.

  31. The biblical code for conduct ... might prove the rigor of the explanation instead.

    Anonymous, I don't know what morals have to do with this. But anyway, I wouldn't want to have anything biblical as yardstick if I were you. That book is full of lies, in case you didn't notice (or pay attention). I mean, if you have several different versions of the same thing, all but one must be lies, if one wants to keep applying any logic to this issue.

    Whoever put the Bible together wouldn't survive even as a bad Army ad writer nowadays. For your enjoyment:


    And the exemples in that page are only the contradictions, there's not much there about the hideous "biblical morals". For those you can browse here:


    Real fun, enjoy.

    By the way, for how much did you sell your daughter? Oh, wait, they changed their minds later, you can't really do that... Steal! No, wait, don't steal...


  32. Some individuals make an art form out of misinterpreting things that they do not understand, especially if it happens to be something that they take (personal) offense with. This why in another note somewhere I mentioned the value of “the inductive method” to interpret biblical passages category appropriately.

    Know what that means exactly?

    Makes me also want to ask why are proper categories important when we divide up scientific disciplines, but the same (I’m going to assume, well intentioned folk) can’t determine that one inference from the Bible is a cultural notation or observation, another clearly – by all the contextual markers around it – is a command.

    "I mean, if you have several different versions of the same thing, all but one must be lies, if one wants to keep applying any logic to this issue."

    Absolutely not true. The intent of the of the Bible's message has not changed the tiniest bit.

    Two themes from Genesis to Revelation: "Redemption" & Reconciliation with God. Mild adaptations of word usage has not detracted from that message at all.


  33. Cal, some people -- as you say -- may indeed "misinterpret things that they do not understand," it's a human condition (though it's curable).

    Other people, however, perform incredible fits of mental gymnastics to justify the unjustifiable, reinterpret the ludicruous, and generally attempt to make other people swallow huge chunks of incoherent and pernicious writings. Can you guess what I have in mind? :)

  34. You all make me sick. Just about every single one of you do not know way we are fighting for. Do you know how short the armed forces are on people power. Its insane. It like if 5 or more BIG name compinies down sized. If we had more people who would fight for this land we live on, less garbage like this shitty news artical would be here.


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