The First Feast, Part 2

Day 12. 44 pages, 17,786 words.

“Greetings and welcome, you lost and weary nomads from a distant star. We, the people of the sovereign Pinian Brotherhood sanctified realm of Earth, unified and standing below none but the Goddess Jalah and Her eternal Disciples, stand ready to receive you.

“Humanity welcomes you with open hearts and open minds but also with pragmatism and well-intentioned caution. We would return upon you tenfold the will you bear us, be it good or ill. Should you come in peace and friendship, we will greet you with such peace and friendship to make this the dawning of a new golden age. And should you come bringing hostility and conquest, we will greet you in kind. For ours is a passionate and benign species, but one governed above all things by two things: rationality, and the Goddess Jalah. Both forces dictate our actions, lending us strength and surety.

“We are many nations, many peoples, many cultures and creeds, a world of individuals and we call no mortal being master. We believe in what we see, we judge by deed, we are slow to anger and quick to forgive. We endeavour to communicate and to understand, rather than to hide in silence and ignorance. But above all, we do not fear.

“We bear goodwill and justice as our armour, and as our sword we command weapons of a far less metaphorical nature. This world stands protected against all would-be destroyers. It has stood for centuries uncounted, and it shall stand forevermore. We wholeheartedly bid you – come, wanderers, and stand with us.

“Ours is a bountiful world and we, the human race, are generous to our friends. We prefer to fight with words than with violence, but we will not be found wanting should we be called upon to defend our sovereign home in the name of the undying and invincible Disciples. Humanity is giving and kind, and has empathy for all living things whether they originate on our world or arrive here from afar.

“But we are terrible and relentless enemies, as your foes will come to learn to their great sorrow if you come before us now as friends. And as you yourselves will come to learn, if you do not.

“We, the undersigned…”

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122 Responses to The First Feast, Part 2

  1. aaronthepatriot says:

    So America is in charge of the world, still, in your books. Cool. LOL

  2. dreameling says:

    So all of humanity has turned into some flavor of religious nuttery?

    Man, I would’ve just passed the planet by.

    • stchucky says:

      Well … all of humanity, as represented by this cringeworthy committee-effort transmission from “democratically elected leaders”. Sure.

      Like I say, it’s probably just as well the bat-heads are as enlightened as all get-out.

    • aaronthepatriot says:

      Well, is it religious nuttery if the gods are actually real? OK, running away now Chucky, don’t worry, I’ll say no more.

      • dreameling says:

        Well, is it religious nuttery if the gods are actually real?

        Hell, especially then.

        OK, running away now Chucky, don’t worry, I’ll say no more.

        I feel so underprivileged now, it’s totally triggering.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        “Well, is it religious nuttery if the gods are actually real?”

        ‘Hell, especially then.’

        Hell is real, too. Oh and I don’t understand. My main reason for thinking religious persons are crazy is because I think they believe in shit that doesn’t exist. If it did exist, I would have no problem with them. In fact, I would JOIN them. So…what did you mean there?

        ‘I feel so underprivileged now, it’s totally triggering.’

        Trust me, it’s a dubious privilege at best. Thankless work, I have done. Despite being thanked for it. XD

      • stchucky says:

        I was about to say it’s not really humanity’s fault the Earth is a mass of theocratic splinter-states. But fuck it, it is humanity’s fault. This is why we can’t have nice Gods.

      • dreameling says:

        Oh and I don’t understand. My main reason for thinking religious persons are crazy is because I think they believe in shit that doesn’t exist. If it did exist, I would have no problem with them. In fact, I would JOIN them. So…what did you mean there?

        Way to turn a throwaway joke into serious business.

        Still:

        If they’re real, they’re not Gods anymore, by definition. If you treat them as Gods, you’re delusional or nuts, or both.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        “If they’re real, they’re not Gods anymore, by definition. If you treat them as Gods, you’re delusional or nuts, or both.”

        Uhh…. I didn’t capitalize but somehow I feel that’s not important, that your objection is more fundamental. So…you’re so intense an atheist that even an all-powerful being that proved omnipotence, if it existed, is still not a god?

        And let’s not forget, this is fantasy. Chucky’s fantasy, to be specific. If he writes gods into it, aren’t there gods in it?

      • stchucky says:

        If I can interject with a moment of sanity:

        This is Chucky’s science-fiction. He’s not going to put Gods (or gods) into it. Just want to forestall a panic there.

        Otherwise, good question from Aaron. Carry on.

      • dreameling says:

        So…you’re so intense an atheist that even an all-powerful being that proved omnipotence, if it existed, is still not a god?

        I feel like this is leading into a philosophical and semantic dead end, but…

        Sure.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Actually as Chucky can tell you, I rarely accept dead ends, LOL…but this could be very interesting. I don’t have any more questions for you, but if you ever feel like explaining how the existence of a creature makes it not a god,[1] I would be fascinated to read about it. Or if this is theorized elsewhere and you can point me to it, I’m ready to read it!

        [1] Alternately if I have incorrectly paraphrased your very brief statements, please correct me!

      • stchucky says:

        Actually as Chucky can tell you, I rarely accept dead ends, LOL…

        He’s telling the truth.

      • stchucky says:

        Without wanting to load this all onto dreameling’s self-professed throw-away line, I do think it was an interesting point.

        Anyway, that was why I (hopefully) linked the Deep Space Nine clip. Their handling of the Founders and the Vorta was one of the coolest and most fascinating takes on the “God vs. superior organism” I have ever seen. The Founders could take almost any form, they existed in a mass consciousness and were functionally immortal, and they flat-out created Vorta civilisation. Yes, ultimately a “God” may (indeed, hopefully, will) end up having some scientific, physics-bound explanation, but if it is a creator-entity of sufficient power, I have a hard time calling it madness to pay it whatever respect it seems to appreciate.

        DS9 also had the “Prophets vs. wormhole aliens” side of it, but I didn’t find that quite as interesting for some reason. I think there was just a bit too much Bajoran mumbo-jumbo around it. Also, aliens that live in non-linear time are a recipe for continuity problems.

      • dreameling says:

        Without wanting to load this all onto dreameling’s self-professed throw-away line, I do think it was an interesting point.

        Well, dang. I just went email, since I figured you didn’t want Aaron and me to potentially clog up this thread with philosophical name-calling. Should I just bring it back?

        Yes, ultimately a “God” may (indeed, hopefully, will) end up having some scientific, physics-bound explanation, but if it is a creator-entity of sufficient power, I have a hard time calling it madness to pay it whatever respect it seems to appreciate.

        In brief, my thinking was that an unprovable god is safer, since belief in said god is solely about faith, and faith is mutable, meaning you can get over it [1]. But if the god is real, material, and if you choose to call it a god, faith becomes redundant, and you can just give yourself over much more totally than on pure faith alone. (Yes, there’s still a modicum of faith involved in choosing to call it god, but it’s all so much easier, since the supreme dude is right there. We’re physical, embodied creatures first and last, after all, who like it best when they can touch shit. Going puff out of existence because you made it angry is suddenly a very real, tangible possibility. Just look what happened to Larry.)

        [1] Doesn’t mean you have to.

        Paying respect is certainly prudent. But it would really behoove you to not classify it as god anymore, since if it’s real, you know it’s subject to whatever laws govern the real, which means that calling it god gives it too much power over you. But maybe not voice this critical thinking out loud.

      • stchucky says:

        I’m reminded of Gabriel, in Constantine, telling Constantine that he knows God exists. Knowing is not the same as having faith.

      • dreameling says:

        No, but I think it still matters how you name or conceptualize things, because that affects how you view and interact with them. Thinking the person before you is your God (with all the omni-this-and-that-package that comes with the term) is different from thinking the person’s a supremely powerful being who might nonetheless yield to scientific inquiry.

      • stchucky says:

        Paying respect is certainly prudent. But it would really behoove you to not classify it as god anymore, since if it’s real, you know it’s subject to whatever laws govern the real, which means that calling it god gives it too much power over you. But maybe not voice this critical thinking out loud.

        Ah, so now you’re saying that it’s prudent to pay lip service to a being that can demonstrably destroy you[1], but madness to actually believe it’s a God?

        So how are you determining which is which, based on the actions and speech of these characters, but with no window into their heads to see if they actually believe it?

        You, sir, are judging in ignorance! J’accuse!

        [1] You say “calling it god gives it too much power over you”, which I take to mean “calling it god acknowledges too completely that it has power over you”, or something of the sort. In what I whimsically call reality, the ability to snap one’s fingers and make a person vanish in a puff of smoke gives one power over that person. But only in a very specific sense. Denial of that power, even at the risk of annihiliation, is always an option for people way more heroic than I think I would be.

      • dreameling says:

        Related (no spoilers):

      • stchucky says:

        Oh, yeah, except for all the SPOILERS!

        (This is an episode I haven’t seen, but good to know Castiel is still around after the Fall of Heaven. And Sam is a Man of Letters. And they meet a mind-reading atheist…)

      • dreameling says:

        Ah, so now you’re saying that it’s prudent to pay lip service to a being that can demonstrably destroy you, but madness to actually believe it’s a God?

        Yes. Or maybe not “madness” so much as “intellectually dubious”.

        So how are you determining which is which, based on the actions and speech of these characters, but with no window into their heads to see if they actually believe it?

        Why do I need to know what they believe?

        You say “calling it god gives it too much power over you”, which I take to mean “calling it god acknowledges too completely that it has power over you”, or something of the sort.

        Kinda. I’m saying that if you think of someone as a god, then you are more likely to grant them moral, ethical, spiritual, physical, whatever authority over you, with less resistance, than if you do not think of them as a god.

        I’ll just post what I emailed to Aaron:

        ***

        If something verifiably exists in the world, it’s real. If it’s real, it’s subject to the same laws of reality as everything else that exists in the world. A god, by definition, at least as I understand the concept, is something that exists above and beyond the world, and is therefore not subject to its laws, and also probably fundamentally unknowable. If gods existed, if they were real, they would be part of the world and necessarily subject to its laws, meaning they would categorically not be “gods”. They would simply be something else, but they would be knowable, even if not to us humans. They might, however, be effectively gods to us.

        So, gods can really only exists as concepts (which, of course, have a physical reality in our brains). Same deal with anything supernatural: If something exists in the world, in “nature”, then it’s natural, since the laws of reality allow it to exist. Supernatural can ever only be conceptual. So, haha, gods and other supernaturals.

        The above obviously makes a couple of assumptions: (a) The world is everything there is, not just the universe, and certainly not just the phenomenal world as we know it. If it turns out there are beings outside our universe who can play dice with our laws of physics, fine; they’re part of the world, too. There is nothing outside the world. There is no “outside”. (b) The “laws of reality” are anything and everything that govern, or can be construed to govern, the world. These are almost certainly not limited to what we understand the laws of physics to be at the moment, but they probably form a part of it. I’m casting a wide net here, since fuck if I know what reality is really truly like.

        In short, if gods turn out to be real, they no longer deserve to be categorized as “gods”.

        ***

      • stchucky says:

        Ah, so now you’re saying that it’s prudent to pay lip service to a being that can demonstrably destroy you, but madness to actually believe it’s a God?

        Yes. Or maybe not “madness” so much as “intellectually dubious”.

        Okay. You’ve settled back from “religious nuttery” to “intellectually dubious”, so I call that progress.

        So how are you determining which is which, based on the actions and speech of these characters, but with no window into their heads to see if they actually believe it?

        Why do I need to know what they believe?

        Because you seemed to be saying that not voicing critical thought is prudent (this would give every outward appearance of belief, just to clarify), while the belief itself would be intellectually dubious. And you’re judging the characters here to be intellectually dubious rather than prudent, because why?

        Don’t get me wrong, though. You had me at “nuttery”.

      • dreameling says:

        Right, no, I wasn’t thinking about your Earthlings specifically. I know next to nothing about your Earth. I thought we were speaking more generally here. Also, I wasn’t really planning on hanging a huge philosophical debate on off-the-cuff “religious nuttery”.

        Having said that, greeting an alien species, of which you know nothing about, with religious rhetoric, which you should expect to mean nothing to the aliens, really does read all kinds of nutty. But you are correct, I should not assume a few world leaders to represent all of humanity. Also, I’m not in possession of all the facts.

      • stchucky says:

        Right, no, I wasn’t thinking about your Earthlings specifically. I know next to nothing about your Earth. I thought we were speaking more generally here.

        Understandable misunderstanding since you were talking directly about my Earthlings, originally: “So all of humanity has turned into some flavor of religious nuttery?”

        But OK.

        Also, I wasn’t really planning on hanging a huge philosophical debate on off-the-cuff “religious nuttery”.

        That’s fair enough though.

        Having said that, greeting an alien species, of which you know nothing about, with religious rhetoric, which you should expect to mean nothing to the aliens, really does read all kinds of nutty.

        Definitely.

        Of course, saying “be quiet or they’ll hear you” is rationality itself.

      • dreameling says:

        Understandable misunderstanding since you were talking directly about my Earthlings, originally: “So all of humanity has turned into some flavor of religious nuttery?”

        Yeah, sorry, I switched my frame of reference somewhere around the time Aaron went for my religious nuttery.

        Of course, saying “be quiet or they’ll hear you” is rationality itself.

        I’m just gonna assume the guy at the comms at that point was either a rookie or an exceptionally jaded old fart.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        “Yeah, sorry, I switched my frame of reference somewhere around the time Aaron went for my religious nuttery.”

        This is cyberviolence against me, every bit as dangerous as real life rape. I’m calling the UN!

      • dreameling says:

        I’m calling the UN!

        Again? Aw, man.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Ok, so I’m condensing this to “dreameling is an atheist because no matter what, god can’t exist. It is impossible for god to exist, at all.” Again apologies if I misconstrue. As to the larger discussion:

        “If something verifiably exists in the world, it’s real. If it’s real, it’s subject to the same laws of reality as everything else that exists in the world. A god, by definition, at least as I understand the concept, is something that exists above and beyond the world, and is therefore not subject to its laws, and also probably fundamentally unknowable. If gods existed, if they were real, they would be part of the world and necessarily subject to its laws, meaning they would categorically not be “gods”. They would simply be something else, but they would be knowable, even if not to us humans. They might, however, be effectively gods to us.”

        So this assumes there is no way to manipulate the laws governing the universe. Right? You’re not saying we have all the laws defined RIGHT NOW, but you’re saying if we ran across some being that seemed to violate what we know of the laws governing the universe, we would just need to adjust our understanding to include the laws that govern its ability to violate the laws we knew, and then it wouldn’t be a god?

        Let me ask you a question, then: what if there are multiple universes with different laws, and there is a being that exists outside our universe but is able to influence it in any way it chooses, seemingly in violation of our universe’s laws since it is part of a different set of laws we can’t study or know?

        Doesn’t that define a god? It seems to me your position supposes we can know absolutely everything in every universe and everywhere in-between if that even makes sense, and we can know WHETHER that makes sense or not. That there isn’t and never will be anything past our understanding. I don’t even go that far, as I think Chucky and I have explored at some point. But I can’t recall…this may be new ground.

        If we discover a creature that can basically do ANYTHING it wants to our universe, I think that defines a god. And I’m not confident that we can say such a being cannot exist. As for being within the laws or not…I never considered that a prerequisite because who can say when we know all the laws of the universe.

        What if one of the laws turns out to be that this combination of elements can in fact have “godlike” powers? I’m using shortcut language for simplicity. Who can say such a law of the universe doesn’t exist?

        “So, gods can really only exists as concepts (which, of course, have a physical reality in our brains). Same deal with anything supernatural: If something exists in the world, in “nature”, then it’s natural, since the laws of reality allow it to exist. Supernatural can ever only be conceptual. So, haha, gods and other supernaturals.”

        I agree technically about the term “supernatural”. As Asimov said about sufficiently advanced technology and magic.

        “The above obviously makes a couple of assumptions: (a) The world is everything there is, not just the universe, and certainly not just the phenomenal world as we know it. If it turns out there are beings outside our universe who can play dice with our laws of physics, fine; they’re part of the world, too. There is nothing outside the world. There is no “outside”. (b) The “laws of reality” are anything and everything that govern, or can be construed to govern, the world. These are almost certainly not limited to what we understand the laws of physics to be at the moment, but they probably form a part of it. I’m casting a wide net here, since fuck if I know what reality is really truly like.”

        This set of assumptions pertains to what I wrote above, but I leave things as they are because I think that you are making further assumptions about the nature of reality and the universe that cannot be made. Therefore you cannot say there can never be a god.

        And yes, that:

        In short, if gods turn out to be real, they no longer deserve to be categorized as “gods”.

        …sure as shit is more extremely atheist than I am. LOL kudos, I am overmatched.

      • dreameling says:

        Again apologies if I misconstrue.

        Well…

        Let me ask you a question, then: what if there are multiple universes with different laws, and there is a being that exists outside our universe but is able to influence it in any way it chooses, seemingly in violation of our universe’s laws since it is part of a different set of laws we can’t study or know?

        Doesn’t that define a god?

        My assumptions as I explained them should’ve made it clear what I mean by “world” and “laws”, but since you apparently opted not to digest the whole thing before you put finger to keyboard, let’s just clarify:

        If there are multiple universes, and if one of them houses a being who can affect ours, seemingly breaking our laws of nature in the process, then fine. Not a problem. That’s the world, those are the rules, it’s all real. We may not understand it, may never understand it, but that doesn’t matter. It’s real.

        But no, the being would not be a “god”, in my definition, since it was real and therefore subject to whatever rules govern the real.

        It seems to me your position supposes we can know absolutely everything in every universe and everywhere in-between if that even makes sense, and we can know WHETHER that makes sense or not. That there isn’t and never will be anything past our understanding.

        That’s the last thing I’m supposing. I’m leaving the door open as wide as possible, if anything. I have absolutely no problem with not knowing. We’ve covered this before here, so I’m not going into it again. Luckily, my present argument doesn’t require me to.

        If we discover a creature that can basically do ANYTHING it wants to our universe, I think that defines a god. And I’m not confident that we can say such a being cannot exist.

        This is the crux, and you seem to be missing it: I’m not saying such a creature cannot exist. I can’t possibly know that, no one on this planet can (I assume). But what I am saying is this: If such a creature does exist, it fails my definition of a god. Simply by virtue of being real. Bummer.

        Like I said, it’s mostly semantics. But it’s semantics that matters because it goes to the root of how we would view and deal with such a thing (in whatever limited capacity, if any).

        I agree technically about the term “supernatural”. As Asimov said about sufficiently advanced technology and magic.

        But you make a distinction between “supernatural” and “god”?

        (And I think it was Clarke, not Asimov.)

        This set of assumptions pertains to what I wrote above, but I leave things as they are because I think that you are making further assumptions about the nature of reality and the universe that cannot be made.

        Hopefully I’ve clarified some of it now. If I’m still making assumptions about the world that you find suspect or invalid, do point them out. I’m making some fairly big/basic assumptions about some fairly big/basic stuff, but I don’t see a way around them. For example, can I assume that if something exists, it follows the rules of the reality in which it exists? Can I assume that if something exists, it’s real? Can I assume that there is no existence outside the real? Deep shit.

        Therefore you cannot say there can never be a god.

        That’s exactly what I’m saying but not, I think, in the way in which you thought I was.

        Parse that.

        …sure as shit is more extremely atheist than I am.

        Better level up then, n00b.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        “My assumptions as I explained them should’ve made it clear what I mean by “world” and “laws”, but since you apparently opted not to digest the whole thing before you put finger to keyboard, let’s just clarify:”

        Dude, excuse me for being interested in your theory that there can never be a god because if it existed it wouldn’t exist (yeah right back at you with the attitude) in a week when I’m extremely busy at work, but I did digest the whole thing. I acknowledge that below, and I didn’t rearrange my response to address everything as you discussed it. It’s a bit hard to accept since you’re just defining god out of existence. Never seen that before. I think I’ll see if Chucky has anything to say because I agree, you don’t really leave any room for another view. By definition.

        “This is the crux, and you seem to be missing it: I’m not saying such a creature cannot exist. I can’t possibly know that, no one on this planet can (I assume). But what I am saying is this: If such a creature does exist, it fails my definition of a god.”

        So if a creature created the entire universe we exist in, it still wouldn’t be a god. Well, ok dude. LOL. As you say, YOUR definition. But does a definition matter, or does what something actually *is* and *can do* matter, in the end?

        ” Simply by virtue of being real. Bummer.”

        Meh. You’re right, partly…it isn’t particularly interesting. But yet it is. Parse that, then.

        “Like I said, it’s mostly semantics. But it’s semantics that matters because it goes to the root of how we would view and deal with such a thing (in whatever limited capacity, if any).”

        Well I’m not really concerned with how we would deal with it, you don’t have to worship it if you don’t want to. But, do the semantics in fact determine how we would view and deal with it? I think absolutely not. Again, what it can do and what it actually is would determine that, not the particular name we gave to it. At least, to me, approaching it rationally.

        I wonder if this is a writer’s perspective, that the word we use, the semantics around a thing, is the most important in determining how we interact with a thing. And I’m not saying some folks wouldn’t act that way, just…not me. IDGAF what you call something. So you won’t call it a god but I will, for convenience. I suppose, so what?

        In fact, as I often tell people in new places now, I’m sorry if I don’t remember your name. It will take me a while. I don’t consider names important. I will learn who you are through your views and how we interact, and trying to remember a name just never takes priority to me. It comes with time but I still slip up after quite a while.

        Luckily here at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, that doesn’t seem to put people off as much as in other settings. LOL. Oh, I got a new job. Did I tell you? It’s awesome. But technically intense.

        “For example, can I assume that if something exists, it follows the rules of the reality in which it exists?”

        You said it, not me. I say you can’t assume that. All you need is one assumption that can’t be made, that’s enough. And to turn this around on its head, isn’t a god something that doesn’t have to follow the rules of the reality in which it exists? Therefore, a god can exist if it can exist. LOL

        Couldn’t resist that one.

      • stchucky says:

        For some reason I’m reminded of the old Abbot of the Blackfriars, in Neverwhere:

        You are all very stupid people and you don’t know anything.”

        Not because either of you are stupid, but because I’m just sitting here quietly enjoying the sight of a pair of stone-cold atheists having a debate on the nature of divinity. And this is why the Hatstand is the best blog ever.

        Okay, to cases.

        “My assumptions as I explained them should’ve made it clear what I mean by “world” and “laws”, but since you apparently opted not to digest the whole thing before you put finger to keyboard, let’s just clarify:”

        Dude, excuse me for being interested in your theory that there can never be a god because if it existed it wouldn’t exist (yeah right back at you with the attitude) in a week when I’m extremely busy at work, but I did digest the whole thing. I acknowledge that below, and I didn’t rearrange my response to address everything as you discussed it. It’s a bit hard to accept since you’re just defining god out of existence. Never seen that before. I think I’ll see if Chucky has anything to say because I agree, you don’t really leave any room for another view. By definition.

        Yeah! Let’s see if Chucky has anything to say! Because he might not!

        Heh, but seriously now. Okay, I don’t know about “by definition”, but dreameling has most certainly left room for another view. And that view is every other person’s view in the whole world because this is just his view.

        But we all knew that, right?

        And he was right all along, this is entirely a matter of semantics and definition. From what I have gathered from watching you pair of hilarious moles talking about the power of flight, dreameling’s definition of a God is something like:

        A spiritual concept completely disconnected from the universe as we know it (and – leaving room for us to learn more about the universe – the universe as we will ever know it), purely for the function of belief, faith, and assorted Big Sky Daddy mumbo-jumbo.

        So, the second an actual entity manifests in any way, dreameling and those following his school of thought can say “nope, not my God. My God has a beard / a toga / wheels / a thing on the side to show internal temperature / seventeen boobs.” I kid, but I gathered that the general idea was that yes, dreameling was saying there could be an actual being, in this universe or any other, with basically any abilities we could imagine. And you might call that being a God – indeed, if it told you to, it would be prudent to call it a God.

        But it wouldn’t be one. It would be a Founder, or a wormhole alien, or an Asgardian[1] or a fuckin’ pocket of swamp gas lit up by the light of Venus. Just like lightning and thunder used to be Gods before we figured out what they really were, they stopped being Gods to us at that point. And there was still a concept of “God” in our psyche.

        [1] I think Captain America speaks for dreameling, at least in a sense, when he says, “there’s only one God, ma’am, and He doesn’t dress like that.”

        So, as we continue learning more and more about the universe, more and more things that we think of as “God” – for example the bearded freak with wheels and a mess of boobs we discover trapped in the ice on Europa in 2218 – will stop being God. But we’ll still have that concept of God. Even if we bow down and worship Lionel (that’s his name, it’s written on his toga) because otherwise he’ll explode our heads.

        And that was the basis of my objection to dreameling’s original assumption – that the humans of my Earth might have every reason for all the jibber-jabber, they’re just protecting their citizens from powerful multi-dimensional bastards who want to be worshipped as Gods. Does it make them Gods? Not in dreameling’s view, and that’s fine. Does it make the humans’ actions prudent, or nuttery? Well, that was what I was arguing. dreameling seemed to switch sides on that, but that’s also fine because his first line was a throw-away and not a debate-bearing syntactical structure.

        Now, for me – and maybe for Aaron – “God” is just a taxonomic description. We have single-celled life-forms, we have non-sentient animals, we have sentient animals, we have highly-evolved animals capable of using power sources beyond the reach of lesser beings, we have entities entirely based within that power structure, but capable of affecting the physical plane. And there are grey areas in between all of these. But when one of the powerful ones exercises its power over the lesser ones, and demands that they call it a God, then – technically – it is a God. At least until the lesser ones go “nah, our God has more boobs.”

        For me, in the Pinian urverse, it’s entirely taxonomic and has to do with the energy types and abilities a being has, as to whether it is a Demigod, God, High God, or Ghåålus[2]. Yes, a British settler coming to a primitive culture and shooting the chieftain in the head might be worshipped as a God, but he isn’t one. He’s just a bastard with a gun. And in my urverse, he’s still only a sentient mortal. In order to have a “God” classification, you need to have a mess of extra-dimensional power and the capacity to create life out of unreality and all sorts of other shit. Doesn’t matter.

        [2] Infinite.

        Arguably, if and when those sorts of beings appear on Earth, Aaron and I will be happy enough to say “yup, those are Gods alright, finally we have something to put on that page of the encyclopaedia, all glory unto Lionel and may his wheels be ever perfectly aligned.” And dreameling will say “all glory unto Lionel and may his wheels be ever perfectly aligned,” but he’ll be thinking “nope, not my God. Why’s the temperature gauge in Fahrenheit instead of Celsius? And some of those boobs look fake.”

        To close it on a final pop culture reference, just because the Ewoks thought C-3PO was a God, didn’t make him one. And when they figured it out, he stopped being one. But the Ewoks most assuredly still had a concept of God. The revelation that C-3PO was just a glorious golden British man with terrifying abilities didn’t turn them into stone-cold atheists overnight.

        Although now I’m picturing you two as Ewoks and it’s adorable.

        Also I’m not sure how Lionel got stuck in the ice on Europa. Probably the monolith aliens from 2001 put him there.

      • stchucky says:

        “If Lionel’s all-powerful, could he have an internal temperature higher than the maximum number on his temperature gauge?”

        Now I want to write a blog post about Lionel.

      • dreameling says:

        I did digest the whole thing. I acknowledge that below, and I didn’t rearrange my response to address everything as you discussed it.

        Then I apologize. What you said toward the end in your original reply just made it seem like you read the first bit and replied to it, then read the next bit and replied to it, and so on. My bad.

        It’s a bit hard to accept since you’re just defining god out of existence.

        Like I’ve said from the start, semantics. Depending on how you approach it, and how much weight you give to language, it can read as silly wordplay rigged for a particular result, or one particular way to deal with the implications of the concept of god.

        But does a definition matter, or does what something actually *is* and *can do* matter, in the end?

        […]

        But, do the semantics in fact determine how we would view and deal with it? I think absolutely not. Again, what it can do and what it actually is would determine that, not the particular name we gave to it. At least, to me, approaching it rationally.

        This could be where we differ irreconcilably, because I think words matter. (Not as much as I thought they did when knee-deep in poststructuralist and postmodernist language theories in the university, but still a lot.) I think the way we name and conceptualize things in a fundamental way helps create those things. The way you view and judge something in the world is not informed just by the thing itself (there’s a philosophical mire for another day) but obviously also by what you bring to it — your conceptual model of the world, constructed in large part through language.

        I’m not saying words create the world, our cognition is more than just language, but I do think language plays a pretty important role in filtering and modeling and structuring the information our senses feed to our brains.

        So, yeah, words.

        I wonder if this is a writer’s perspective, that the word we use, the semantics around a thing, is the most important in determining how we interact with a thing.

        I don’t know if it’s the most important thing — I don’t think it is — but I do think it is important.

        And I’m not saying some folks wouldn’t act that way, just…not me. IDGAF what you call something. So you won’t call it a god but I will, for convenience. I suppose, so what?

        I think we need to draw a distinction between the way you consciously use and relate to language, and the way language as it is hardcoded into your brain informs your thinking and your interaction with the world. You might not care how you name an object, but that doesn’t mean that the name you do use doesn’t on some level affect how you view or interact with the object.

        Also, by naming things I don’t just mean individual words, because words don’t exist in isolation. I mean the whole web of semantic or conceptual package that comes with a word, some of it almost certainly subconscious. “God”, for example, is a pretty loaded word, especially for religious people. You and I can opt to use it or not use it for convenience for whatever purpose, but I would imagine a devoutly religious person takes way more care with the word (or its equivalent) because it speaks to their values and worldview that much more strongly.

        “For example, can I assume that if something exists, it follows the rules of the reality in which it exists?”

        You said it, not me. I say you can’t assume that. All you need is one assumption that can’t be made, that’s enough.

        To me that seems like a reasonable assumption, necessary even. If, instead, we assume that if something exists, it need not follow the rules of the reality in which it exists, aren’t we just allowing anything and everything and effectively making it impossible to say anything conclusive about the nature of, well, anything? Don’t we need to make at least some assumptions, based on how the world around us seems to work, to have reasonable discussions and make reasonable suppositions?

        And to turn this around on its head, isn’t a god something that doesn’t have to follow the rules of the reality in which it exists? Therefore, a god can exist if it can exist.

        Actually, I think a god is something that exists outside the reality whose rules it doesn’t have to follow. Therefore, a god can exist as long as it doesn’t intrude in that reality. The moment it does so, the local dreameling will come up to it and tell it it’s no longer a god.

        Q.E.D.

        But we will definitely make a philosopher out of you yet.

        Over to Chucky:

        From what I have gathered from watching you pair of hilarious moles talking about the power of flight … Big Sky Daddy mumbo-jumbo … there could be an actual being … a fuckin’ pocket of swamp gas … a concept of “God” in our psyche … Lionel

        I don’t know why I fucking bother replying. I should just let Chucky reply for me. If I’m reading him right, he got what I was after.

        And that was the basis of my objection to dreameling’s original assumption – that the humans of my Earth might have every reason for all the jibber-jabber, they’re just protecting their citizens from powerful multi-dimensional bastards who want to be worshipped as Gods. Does it make them Gods? Not in dreameling’s view, and that’s fine. Does it make the humans’ actions prudent, or nuttery? Well, that was what I was arguing. dreameling seemed to switch sides on that, but that’s also fine because his first line was a throw-away and not a debate-bearing syntactical structure.

        I’m probably repeating myself here, but I just can’t seem to drop this: I apologize to your Earth. I did not have all the facts and, frankly, any kind of overt religiosity reads nutty to me at first touch. I have a negative baseline view of religion and faith, and I just can’t do anything about it. Also, they’re fictional, so they should just suck it up. And no, I did not bloody switch sides, because Aaron’s request for me to clarify my philosophical position had by that time already switched me over to a different level of discussion. So not giving you points for that (not that this is a competition (although of course we know it is)).

        Now, for me – and maybe for Aaron – “God” is just a taxonomic description … But when one of the powerful ones exercises its power over the lesser ones, and demands that they call it a God, then – technically – it is a God.

        Makes perfect sense. If a God turned up, it would be just one more taxonomic category to the make-up of the world. But, as we’ve now established ad nauseam, since my innate concept of god is something more numinous or nebulous or mumbo-jumbo-like — probably owing to the fact that the Christian god was the only one around when I was growing up (and I mean that in the most figurative sense possible) — I simply would not call it “God”.

        And dreameling will say “all glory unto Lionel and may his wheels be ever perfectly aligned,” but he’ll be thinking “nope, not my God. Why’s the temperature gauge in Fahrenheit instead of Celsius? And some of those boobs look fake.”

        I know what you mean, but man does reading “not my God” just make my stomach turn and my ass itch.

        Bonus point for the metric jab, though.

      • stchucky says:

        It’s a bit hard to accept since you’re just defining god out of existence.

        Like I’ve said from the start, semantics.

        Or, y’know, just defining God out of existence from your own point of view. Since from your point of view God is by definition out of existence.

        The moment it does so, the local dreameling will come up to it and tell it it’s no longer a god.

        But only very briefly.

        This is why I have such enormous empathy – nay, sympathy – for the dreamelings of The Book of Pinian. But like I say, The Book of Pinian is not The Final Fall of Man, even if the current story I am writing here on the blog is something of an in-between story. There will be no mumbo in The Final Fall of Man, and minimal jumbo.

        I don’t know why I fucking bother replying. I should just let Chucky reply for me. If I’m reading him right, he got what I was after.

        [modest][humble]
        I just closed my eyes and Lionel whispered in my ear.
        [/humble][/modest]

        I’m probably repeating myself here, but I just can’t seem to drop this: I apologize to your Earth. I did not have all the facts and, frankly, any kind of overt religiosity reads nutty to me at first touch.

        Oh no, you’re quite within your rights, these guys are jackasses.

        I have a negative baseline view of religion and faith, and I just can’t do anything about it.

        And like I said, you are prejudiced. But you’re human.

        Also, they’re fictional, so they should just suck it up.

        Yeah, I think they’ll be alright.

        And no, I did not bloody switch sides, because Aaron’s request for me to clarify my philosophical position had by that time already switched me over to a different level of discussion. So not giving you points for that (not that this is a competition (although of course we know it is)).

        You went from saying my Earth had converted to religious nuttery and worshipping real Gods is even worse than worshipping make-believe ones, to saying that it was probably prudent to at least not criticise the false Gods out loud. So tish and pish to your denials, sir, I am taking those points.

        But, as we’ve now established ad nauseam, since my innate concept of god is something more numinous or nebulous or mumbo-jumbo-like — probably owing to the fact that the Christian god was the only one around when I was growing up (and I mean that in the most figurative sense possible) — I simply would not call it “God”.

        And as I said, that makes you a braver man than I.

        I know what you mean, but man does reading “not my God” just make my stomach turn and my ass itch.

        I know. Would you prefer “not my personal definition of the concept of God”?

        By the way, this is the humannest objection ever. The bat-heads would laugh at you and your insistence on the acknowledgement of the importance of individual bias.

        Bonus point for the metric jab, though.

        I’ll add it to these other points I took just now.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        “I did digest the whole thing. I acknowledge that below, and I didn’t rearrange my response to address everything as you discussed it.”

        ‘Then I apologize. What you said toward the end in your original reply just made it seem like you read the first bit and replied to it, then read the next bit and replied to it, and so on. My bad.’

        Accepted and thanks. No I read the whole thing, then didn’t reply as cleanly as I could, after getting work done for several hours until I had time to make a reply.

        “It’s a bit hard to accept since you’re just defining god out of existence.”

        ‘Like I’ve said from the start, semantics. Depending on how you approach it, and how much weight you give to language, it can read as silly wordplay rigged for a particular result, or one particular way to deal with the implications of the concept of god.’

        Yes, I was searching for a term yesterday, and I’m not sure if “tautology”, “circular reasoning”, or “begging the question”, but your approach was bugging me. Basically, I reject defining something with the inclusion *in that definition* that it cannot exist. As a basis for atheism, it seems like a cheat.

        And yes, I know you aren’t precisely doing that, but it seems a distinction without a difference, as they say. I don’t think you can create a definition and include that it can’t exist. Why even talk about it, then?

        Also, you are switching between “God” and “god”, whereas I haven’t been. I have always been told they are different, and that “god” is the more general term that doesn’t restrict it to organized religion, or even worship (in my case). Maybe that’s the problem…I don’t have to treat something like a “God” just because it pretty much seems to be a “god” to me.

        It won’t be MY God unless it really insists. I suppose at that point, worship or die, I’d have to reassess. I find it interesting that you suggest pretending to worship for self-preservation. Or, that’s what you seemed to say, way up there. As if a “god” wouldn’t see right through that, no?

        ‘I think we need to draw a distinction between the way you consciously use and relate to language, and the way language as it is hardcoded into your brain informs your thinking and your interaction with the world. You might not care how you name an object, but that doesn’t mean that the name you do use doesn’t on some level affect how you view or interact with the object.’

        On some level, perhaps. But where you out-atheist me, I might out-rational you. Or whatever the right term is, you’re the semantics guys, not me. Terms I use for objects have such little meaning to me it seems you would be quite surprised, if you knew just how little. Based on this discussion.

        ‘Also, by naming things I don’t just mean individual words, because words don’t exist in isolation. I mean the whole web of semantic or conceptual package that comes with a word, some of it almost certainly subconscious. “God”, for example, is a pretty loaded word, especially for religious people. You and I can opt to use it or not use it for convenience for whatever purpose, but I would imagine a devoutly religious person takes way more care with the word (or its equivalent) because it speaks to their values and worldview that much more strongly.’

        Not really pertinent to us though, is it? How some religious nutbag thinks?

        “’For example, can I assume that if something exists, it follows the rules of the reality in which it exists?’”
        “You said it, not me. I say you can’t assume that. All you need is one assumption that can’t be made, that’s enough.”

        ‘To me that seems like a reasonable assumption, necessary even. If, instead, we assume that if something exists, it need not follow the rules of the reality in which it exists, aren’t we just allowing anything and everything and effectively making it impossible to say anything conclusive about the nature of, well, anything? Don’t we need to make at least some assumptions, based on how the world around us seems to work, to have reasonable discussions and make reasonable suppositions?’

        As I said, no, I don’t think this is an assumption you can make. You are defining a box, combined with your added “can’t exist” to your definition of “god”, wherein you MUST be correct. But no, I continue to assert that you can’t assume everything in reality follows all the rules of reality. It would be nice, and depending on exactly what you mean and the situation, then an argument could be made that even something CHANGING the rules of reality so it can do…whatever…is within the rules of reality. But in the sense I know this makes you refuse to call even this thing that has modified the rules of reality a “god”, then I think you are abusing this assumption.

        Basically, you are saying there cannot be anything truly inexplicable ever anywhere. I’m not able to go there. I tend to think this may be correct, but I’m agnostic on it.

        Think about it this way: what if there was such a being, that could alter the laws of physics to make anything happen that it wanted. You would say then one of the laws of physics is that you can alter the laws of physics, in whatever way this being did. Correct? Therefore it’s still following the laws.

        But then you go to ask it how this is done, and it turns out you simply CANNOT do it. It is beyond the capacity of human ability and understanding. There’s something fundamental to the makeup of this particular being that gives it that power. Still, it’s not a “god”? Even if you can never replicate what it did? So, for all intents and purposes, it IS outside the laws of physics that apply to you?

        I’d have to write a LOT more to fill out that example. I’m trusting you to be charitable and imagine a fuller scenario around those hints. Many, many caveats are missing there, but this is getting out of control, innit?

        “And to turn this around on its head, isn’t a god something that doesn’t have to follow the rules of the reality in which it exists? Therefore, a god can exist if it can exist.”

        ‘Actually, I think a god is something that exists outside the reality whose rules it doesn’t have to follow. Therefore, a god can exist as long as it doesn’t intrude in that reality. The moment it does so, the local dreameling will come up to it and tell it it’s no longer a god.’

        So you are making the assumption that a being outside of our reality can’t affect our reality. I think, however, this is in fact EXACTLY what religious folks think of their Gods. They can reach in and dabble.

        How can you assume that’s impossible?

        But we will definitely make a philosopher out of you yet.

        god forbid!

        To Hatboy:

        ‘So, the second an actual entity manifests in any way, dreameling and those following his school of thought can say “nope, not my God.”‘

        And this is precisely why I’ve not been capitalizing. It wasn’t because I’m lazy, folks. I am lazy, but this was intentional. I’m not trying to make dreameling have a God, I’m trying to address this self-eliminating definition of “god”.

        ‘Now, for me – and maybe for Aaron – “God” is just a taxonomic description. ‘

        Yup, that’s precisely it. And I am trying to adhere to a definition that doesn’t eliminate itself with a poison pill, since I really don’t see the point of that. No offense, dreameling.

      • stchucky says:

        Yep, I see your careful distinction between “God” and “god”. But I don’t do “god”. There’s only one category, and it’s big enough to deserve the capital.

        But that’s just me.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        “But that’s just me.”

        GRAA! Can you guys stop creating language systems entirely just for yourselves? KTXBI

        LOL

      • stchucky says:

        Sorry, but every time you talk about “the gods” I think you’re talking about the box seats in an opera hall.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        “Sorry, but every time you talk about “the gods” I think you’re talking about the box seats in an opera hall.”

        When you say “box seats” all I can think of is a woman’s nether regions…sir, shame on you.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        By the way, Hatboy, hats off to you for not zinging me by shoehorning the word ritual into your response to my complaints about your definitions. Don’t say I’m never grateful for your kindness.

      • stchucky says:

        I know how much you hate rituals.

      • dreameling says:

        Sorry for the late reply, but I didn’t have the time until now.

        Since from your point of view God is by definition out of existence.

        Indeed. I feel good about that.

        So tish and pish to your denials, sir, I am taking those points.

        Fine.

        I know. Would you prefer “not my personal definition of the concept of God”?

        I figured that was what you meant. But reading it on the screen certainly makes me itch less.

        I’ll add it to these other points I took just now.

        The company I keep.

        Over to Aaron:

        Basically, I reject defining something with the inclusion *in that definition* that it cannot exist. As a basis for atheism, it seems like a cheat.

        I instead see it as acknowledging the inherently self-defeating nature of a concept. I simply cannot see something like “god” or “supernatural”, when used in a serious context, as having any real-world value, since they cannot, by definition, as I understand it, denote anything real. When used seriously to describe something in the real world, they cloak it in mysticism and vague otherworldliness, which does nothing for understanding that something.

        (Not that the distinction matters in the end, but I should point out that I did not fashion a definition of “god” expressly for the purpose of dismantling it from within. The definition I gave before, and which Chucky kindly translated, is the baseline notion I’ve been carrying around for as long as I can remember, implanted by who knows what experiences when I was growing up. If you say “god”, that is what comes to my mind by default. Also, come to think of it, it’s not so much my definition of “god” cancelling itself out as simply failing to survive contact with my “world” and “rules”.)

        What’s this about a basis for atheism?

        I don’t think you can create a definition and include that it can’t exist. Why even talk about it, then?

        Because words and concepts matter, even bullshit ones.

        Also, you are switching between “God” and “god”, whereas I haven’t been. I have always been told they are different, and that “god” is the more general term that doesn’t restrict it to organized religion, or even worship (in my case). Maybe that’s the problem…I don’t have to treat something like a “God” just because it pretty much seems to be a “god” to me.

        I don’t make that distinction. But points to you for consistent capitalization.

        Terms I use for objects have such little meaning to me it seems you would be quite surprised, if you knew just how little.

        I just might.

        Of course, I could always offset that with: How do you know terms have as little meaning to you as you think? How well do you know your subconscious?

        Not really pertinent to us though, is it? How some religious nutbag thinks?

        Well, if an alien being with god-like powers descends upon Earth with a conqueror’s will, and masses of humanity opt to call it “God” and proceed to worship its manifest divinity accordingly, instead of, you know, helping the rest of us figure out what makes it tick and how to kick it off the planet… yeah?

        But no, I continue to assert that you can’t assume everything in reality follows all the rules of reality. It would be nice, and depending on exactly what you mean and the situation, then an argument could be made that even something CHANGING the rules of reality so it can do…whatever…is within the rules of reality. But in the sense I know this makes you refuse to call even this thing that has modified the rules of reality a “god”, then I think you are abusing this assumption.

        I just don’t see the abuse. If there’s something that can play with the rules of reality, then why wouldn’t that ability be part of reality? What’s the problem here? If something verifiably happens, then why wouldn’t you assume that it must be allowed by the rules of reality? What’s the alternative? That it didn’t happen even though it did?

        Basically, you are saying there cannot be anything truly inexplicable ever anywhere. I’m not able to go there. I tend to think this may be correct, but I’m agnostic on it.

        Basically, yes. But I’m not saying stuff cannot be indefinitely inexplicable to us humans. Just because we can never wrap our heads around something doesn’t mean it’s universally unwrappable (irrespective of whether there’s anyone else out there to do the wrapping).

        Think about it this way: what if there was such a being, that could alter the laws of physics to make anything happen that it wanted. You would say then one of the laws of physics is that you can alter the laws of physics, in whatever way this being did. Correct? Therefore it’s still following the laws.

        But then you go to ask it how this is done, and it turns out you simply CANNOT do it. It is beyond the capacity of human ability and understanding. There’s something fundamental to the makeup of this particular being that gives it that power. Still, it’s not a “god”? Even if you can never replicate what it did? So, for all intents and purposes, it IS outside the laws of physics that apply to you?

        Why would my (or any human’s) understanding or abilities matter? Objective reality (and I do assume there is one) does not care about what I know. My beliefs do not change it. Objects exist irrespective of what I think about them. If something is unfathomable to me, that does not change its standing in objective reality. If it exists, it exists, it’s real. Even if I don’t understand it, can never understand it, in my subjective reality, I can at least make the assumption that it’s about as real as I am, another real-world object, even if a really impressive one, and not some vaguely real-unreal mystical-magical creature.

        Here, “for all intents and purposes”, much like “technically” or “effectively”, does not translate to “is”, only to “seems”. (For the record, as someone who puts a lot of stock in subjective perspective and experience, I’m almost shocked that I said that.)

        So you are making the assumption that a being outside of our reality can’t affect our reality. I think, however, this is in fact EXACTLY what religious folks think of their Gods. They can reach in and dabble.

        How can you assume that’s impossible?

        Now we’re finally going in circles, but:

        Like I’ve already said, I’m not assuming it’s impossible. Quite the opposite. If something can reach from one reality to another, then apparently we live in a multiverse of realities, and there must be laws that allow interaction between those realities. All perfectly normal and natural, no magical or supernatural agency involved (even though it may seem like that to us).

        How is this different from, say, science adjusting its theories and paradigms to reflect new discoveries?

        I’m not trying to make dreameling have a God, I’m trying to address this self-eliminating definition of “god”.

        Yeah, ‘cause it is self-eliminating. By definition. I still feel really good about it.

        Can you guys stop creating language systems entirely just for yourselves?

        I think you can make the argument that each and every person has their own, unique, internalized, constantly evolving language system, one that is mostly compatible with the people who share their (at least native) language or languages, but that still abounds in subtle differences and personal quirks of meaning and understanding and usage.

        Why do you think miscommunication is so easy?

      • stchucky says:

        This is mostly between the two of you, but I just want to throw something else out there. What about emotions? Grind the entire universe down to its component atoms, and show me a single atom of love (to paraphrase).

        Just because something doesn’t exist, doesn’t mean it’s not a real thing that affects our behaviour, our culture, our whole species. Or would you argue that it does exist, as chemical cues in the brain? Maybe this is how God exists too. Indeed, this is almost certainly scientifically the case, our superstitions and beliefs a result of cultural memory laid down in our synaptic patterns and brain chemistry. Even an atheist will instinctively say “oh my God” when he or she sees something exasperating. That’s just a conversational relic. All in the brain.

      • Good point, Chucky. And dreameling, in your last post I realized the other “trick” you are employing here (no offense). The use of “supernatural”, which I think is actually a strawman (because of the definition of god), for shame! LOL I’ve been letting it pass but now that I have realized it’s the other linchpin to your argument, and I think it doesn’t belong there, I have to address it. It didn’t seem right the more I thought about it, that God/god HAS to be supernatural. So, I looked it up and I didn’t see that in any definition I found. So it’s something you insist is part of the definition, but it isn’t.

        http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/god

        Therefore take away the “supernatural can’t exist” part, and I don’t see anything impossible about there being a “god” anymore, by your arguments. No?

      • stchucky says:

        OK, this is where I step out and take a seat and just watch, because that’s a bit too clinical and dictionary-rigid for me.

      • Seriously? It’s not ONE definition, I can’t find ANY that require supernatural. How is that rigid?

      • stchucky says:

        It’s also worth noting that while the dictionary doesn’t mention “supernatural” when talking about “God”, it certainly mentions “God” when talking about “supernatural”.

      • ‘It’s also worth noting that while the dictionary doesn’t mention “supernatural” when talking about “God”, it certainly mentions “God” when talking about “supernatural”.’

        Supernatural:
        “of or relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe; especially : of or relating to God or a god, demigod, spirit, or devil”

        Well now we’re really down the rabbit-hole! So this effectively re-defines God/god to include that it is an “order of existence beyond the visible observable universe”. So I take that to mean sure it CAN exist but it’s not visible or observable. Which is interesting because that’s NOT part of any definition of “god” that I found.

        So now we have to see if dreameling insists the definition of supernatural can change the definition of god, or if only the definition of god defines god. LOL I know which side I support, but I’d like to think it’s a reasonable position!

      • stchucky says:

        No, it defines “supernatural” that way, and says that this can particularly relate to a deity – but doesn’t necessarily have to.

        But like I said, we’re now looking at dictionary definitions of “God”, and that’s way more atheist than I’m willing to go. So yeah, over to dreameling if that’s what he’s into.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        “But like I said, we’re now looking at dictionary definitions of “God”, and that’s way more atheist than I’m willing to go. So yeah, over to dreameling if that’s what he’s into.”

        OK but can you take a moment to explain to me why dreameling talking about semantics wasn’t just as off-putting to you? I pull in one of the most recognized dictionaries in the world (Merriam-Webster) and now *I’m* the one being pedantic.

        What’s the difference between being rigid about your own personal definition, and being rigid about, oh I dunno, an actual dictionary’s definition?

      • stchucky says:

        Seriously, I don’t think I can – but I always have a moment for you, sir.

        As you may have noticed, I read dreameling’s comments but didn’t pay that much attention to the nitty-gritty of them either. And I certainly didn’t read all those links he just posted (sorry dreameling).

        I’m perfectly happy with all three of us being pedantic. But we’re talking about God, and beliefs, and humanity. It’s one thing to explain in great detail what your opinion is (I think you both did that, and it’s fine). It’s another thing to start nitpicking someone’s opinion (on this issue specifically) using a dictionary.

        I would say it’s anathema to the very concept of belief in a higher power (to me). But that’s because I think I’m way less of an atheist than either of you. I like to keep some things as personal.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Well, it is pedantic, but he started it! LOL Not that I wasn’t warned, many times, including his saying it’s a semantic debate almost from the start. I say “he started it” with equal parts seriousness and levity because I came into this objecting to the rigid definition he was using. That I later pulled out other definitions is, I think, somewhat beside the point. I’m trying to keep the definition LESS rigid by keeping out these elements I’ve been protesting in this conversation.

        Which, I will readily admit, dreameling is investing far more time into. Perhaps that’s a source of frustration. Ah well.

      • stchucky says:

        Seems like he had no trouble with my interpretation of his definition, and I don’t think that caused any conflict of data points. I’m really not seeing any excessive rigidity or unfairness there.

        And yeah, he did say right from the start that this was going to end exactly how it ended, so I’m giving him back half of the points I stole from him earlier.

        I still end up with more points though.

      • dreameling says:

        What about emotions? Grind the entire universe down to its component atoms, and show me a single atom of love (to paraphrase).

        Just because something doesn’t exist, doesn’t mean it’s not a real thing that affects our behaviour, our culture, our whole species. Or would you argue that it does exist, as chemical cues in the brain? Maybe this is how God exists too.

        Indeed. Over to past me:

        gods can really only exists as concepts (which, of course, have a physical reality in our brains). Same deal with anything supernatural: If something exists in the world, in “nature”, then it’s natural, since the laws of reality allow it to exist. Supernatural can ever only be conceptual.

        So, yeah, concepts (and thoughts and emotions in general) are very real in the sense that they are “chemical cues in the brain”, they’re physical, and they have real-world consequences through human behavior and interaction. And that makes concepts like “god” fraught and even dangerous. Which is what I’ve been saying all along:

        I think it still matters how you name or conceptualize things, because that affects how you view and interact with them.

        I’m saying that if you think of someone as a god, then you are more likely to grant them moral, ethical, spiritual, physical, whatever authority over you, with less resistance, than if you do not think of them as a god.

        Like I said, it’s mostly semantics. But it’s semantics that matters because it goes to the root of how we would view and deal with such a thing (in whatever limited capacity, if any).

        This could be where we differ irreconcilably, because I think words matter. […] I think the way we name and conceptualize things in a fundamental way helps create those things.

        Because words and concepts matter, even bullshit ones.

        There’s more, but it’s very repetitive. I’ve been nothing if not consistent in my arguments and assumptions, I think.

        Over to Aaron:

        And dreameling, in your last post I realized the other “trick” you are employing here (no offense). The use of “supernatural”, which I think is actually a strawman (because of the definition of god), for shame! LOL I’ve been letting it pass but now that I have realized it’s the other linchpin to your argument, and I think it doesn’t belong there, I have to address it. It didn’t seem right the more I thought about it, that God/god HAS to be supernatural. So, I looked it up and I didn’t see that in any definition I found. So it’s something you insist is part of the definition, but it isn’t.

        Where do I even start?

        Over to past me again:

        But you make a distinction between “supernatural” and “god”?

        I asked you this a few replies back, but you never answered. However, as should be obvious from the question and the context, I make no such distinction. To me, as a rational atheist, a god is by definition supernatural, and I do not need a dictionary to tell me that. I especially do not need a dictionary to tell me that, since I can make the logical, rational categorical connection on my own. (Even though, apparently, a dictionary definition of “supernatural” does support me.) To put this in perspective, the MW dictionary definition of a “Finn” —

        http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/finn

        — does not say that we are human. But we are, trust me. (Now, the definition of “human” does not mention Finns, so you have me there!) If you take your definitions from dictionaries, which of the definitions of “god” provided by MW do you subscribe to then? And why that and not any of the other ones?

        Come to think of it, wouldn’t an encyclopedia be a better, more robust choice to get your concepts from than a dictionary? Wikipedia, for example, doesn’t directly define god as a supernatural being, but there’s a long discussion about the supernatural in the article, which suggests correspondence:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God

        I also like the Wikipedia definition of supernatural:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supernatural

        The supernatural […] is that which is not subject to the laws of physics or, more figuratively, that which is said to exist above and beyond nature.

        Alternatively, try the RationalWiki:

        http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/God

        http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Supernatural

        Might as well have a good laugh at Conservapedia while you’re at it:

        http://www.conservapedia.com/God

        http://www.conservapedia.com/Supernatural

        Finally, to return the favor of rigid and literal, my definition of god does not actually mention supernatural:

        A god, by definition, at least as I understand the concept, is something that exists above and beyond the world, and is therefore not subject to its laws, and also probably fundamentally unknowable.

        So, LOL?

        So now we have to see if dreameling insists the definition of supernatural can change the definition of god, or if only the definition of god defines god. LOL I know which side I support, but I’d like to think it’s a reasonable position!

        It’s like we’re having two separate discussions here. I’m here at the table, my papers stacked and organized all clean and orderly before me, and you’re over there, dancing gleefully around that weird-looking table, which you think is where I am at, throwing papers around and kicking the legs for good measure to prove that it’s not really a clean, orderly table.

        (I’m sorry, but that’s the best I can do this early in the morning.)

        Back to Chucky:

        But like I said, we’re now looking at dictionary definitions of “God”, and that’s way more atheist than I’m willing to go. So yeah, over to dreameling if that’s what he’s into.

        It’s not atheist, it’s just borderline autistic.

        Not into that, so I’m thinking we’re done here.

        I did say this was probably a dead end.

      • stchucky says:

        I concur fully. And I regret not fully taking in the early parts of the discussion that made my philosophising about emotions more or less redundant. I quite agree with past dreameling.

        I don’t see the problem with “borderline autistic” since it didn’t seem to be intended as an insult – it’s just a description of an utterly rational and definition-based argument lacking (to my interpretation) in individual nuance. How it’s taken, of course, is not up to me.

        And how an actually autistic or borderline autistic person might take it, I have no idea. Aren’t we all borderline autistic to some degree?

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Well, fuck you about the autistic comment, seriously. Did my use of “strawman” make you angry or something? Jesus. I still see you using “supernatural” as a strawman, even if you didn’t put it in your personal definition of god.

        And you can post a mountain of links, but if every one I went to before this conversation avoided the use of “supernatural” in the definition of “God”, and the first one YOU listed from wikipedia ALSO does the same:

        “In monotheism and henotheism, God is conceived as the Supreme Being and principal object of faith.[1] The concept of God as described by theologians commonly includes the attributes of omniscience (infinite knowledge), omnipotence (unlimited power), omnipresence (present everywhere), omnibenevolence (perfect goodness), divine simplicity, and eternal and necessary existence. In theism, God is the creator and sustainer of the universe, while in deism, God is the creator, but not the sustainer, of the universe. Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one God or in the oneness of God. In pantheism, God is the universe itself. In atheism, God does not exist, while God is deemed unknown or unknowable within the context of agnosticism. God has also been conceived as being incorporeal (immaterial), a personal being, the source of all moral obligation, and the “greatest conceivable existent”.[1] Many notable medieval philosophers and modern philosophers have developed arguments for and against the existence of God.[2]””

        Then you’ll understand my not clicking on all the other ones, just to argue about your personal definition of god. Yeah we are done here. God doesn’t have to be supernatural[1], god doesn’t fail to exist by definition, and there was no need to be insulting. And sure, you didn’t add “supernatural” to your definition, fine, whatever! But you continued to insist that god MUST be supernatural to eliminate its existence from the realm of possibility. So don’t mince words, eh? Thanks.

        [1] This is the whole point. You *choose* to force “supernatural” into the meaning of god, when so, so many sources do NOT force that into the meaning. And you do it to perform the semantic trick of “now that ‘supernatural’ is in the meaning, it can’t exist. Genius!”

      • dreameling says:

        PS. No disrespect intended to people who actually suffer from autism or to their families. I feel a bit bad about that comparison now. Oh well, I did write it. [Referring to the post that Chucky’s yet to moderate.]

      • stchucky says:

        If you didn’t keep jumping from computer to computer, I wouldn’t have to keep moderating your comments!

      • dreameling says:

        If you didn’t keep jumping from computer to computer, I wouldn’t have to keep moderating your comments!

        No, man, it’s the same computer. I’m thinking it’s all the links that trigger moderation?

      • dreameling says:

        Fuck he’s fast.

      • dreameling says:

        And how an actually autistic or borderline autistic person might take it, I have no idea. Aren’t we all borderline autistic to some degree?

        The autism spectrum does apparently allow for a lot of range. As, apparently, does the psychopathy scale. So I guess we’re all autistic sociopaths, at least a little.

      • dreameling says:

        Thankfully still mostly harmless to the rest of the galaxy.

      • dreameling says:

        Well, fuck you about the autistic comment, seriously.

        That was probably too much, so I apologize. It sounded way funnier in my head. But the general sentiment stands: this discussion is going nowhere.

        Did my use of “strawman” make you angry or something? Jesus. I still see you using “supernatural” as a strawman, even if you didn’t put it in your personal definition of god.

        I’m not angry. I’m just frustrated and bored at this point. From where I stand, you’ve been willfully misreading or ignoring or maybe just skimming large portions of my replies. It’s not fun.

        I’m mostly surprised by the “strawman”, but it just confirms to me my notion that you’re not fairly engaging with what I’m saying. If you want to see a strawman here, fine, do so. But don’t expect me to agree with you on that. I’ve already covered why I think it holds zero water. (It might actually hold negative water.)

        And you can post a mountain of links

        Yeah, that was half-serious, half-parody. Shit, man, I didn’t read all that text myself.

        What, now I’m not engaging fairly and seriously? Well, clearly my previous reply was something of a tipping point for me.

        Yeah we are done here.

        We were already done a couple of replies back, dude. But I’m glad we finally agree on something.

        (You do still continue with a little bit of a rant after those concluding words, though. By way of a reply, please read my previous reply to you. It’s the exact same stuff.)

        Which, I will readily admit, dreameling is investing far more time into. Perhaps that’s a source of frustration. Ah well.

        Indeed. I think about shit like this all the time, because I like it. And when I discuss and debate stuff online, be it this or some other subject, I put time in thinking about my position, even if it seems completely clear to me, and I take care what I say, because I want to be sure that what I say is true to me. And I try to carefully read what others say so that I don’t end up misrepresenting them. (Not that I always succeed in any of that.)

        You asked me to explain my position. Which I have, at length and with care, and politely (except maybe for that autism bit at the end). Why not show me the same courtesy?

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Edit: once posted, now ducking and covering.

        Well shit. As I told dreameling and Hatboy, I was going to do a full reread of what they both said here, and then come up with a thoughtful, summarizing, and hopefully a little contrite, reply.
        Instead, given what I found to talk about, I can’t help but think of Zaphod Beeblebrox as he walked back out of The Total Perspective Vortex (modified by fairy cake to protect Zaphod). If you both recall, and I hope you do…. He basically went in thinking the world of himself, and came out thinking “yeah, I’m pretty damn important.”

        What I found and chose to talk about here, really makes me feel like that. Just so you know. No need to tell me I’m an asshole. I know it. But hopefully time and space have given us a little more energy to polish this turd and bury it for good.

        And no, don’t ask me “well then why did you post this?” Come on. You know me.

        Start at the end, with your problems with how I conducted myself here:

        ‘Indeed. I think about shit like this all the time, because I like it. And when I discuss and debate stuff online, be it this or some other subject, I put time in thinking about my position, even if it seems completely clear to me, and I take care what I say, because I want to be sure that what I say is true to me.’

        Does this mean on EVERY topic? You never enter into a conversation more casually, following it along and seeing if the discussion changes your mind or solidifies your views? I certainly hoped, by the way, to agree with YOUR views here. As an atheist I find it very appealing, and I think I said as much, if “god” can’t exist by definition. I promise I wanted to join you, but I just couldn’t. I think that means I came to you honestly, here.

        To me, this sounded quite a lot like you firm up all your thoughts on a topic before discussing it so you can just inform others of how it is, instead of seeking an open debate/discussion. I can see Hatboy twitching from here, because I know it sounds like I expect one or the other of us to change our position. Also because I have been guilty of doing the above, myself. But on this issue, no way, because I had NO idea what you were going to say beforehand!

        But I did expect one of us has to change their position. And since I’m including all the definitions of god and using less assumptions than you and so on, well…. More about that later.
        I admit have a lot of trouble with subjectivity, and I think there’s a bit too much of trying to make everything as subjective as possible, in today’s world. Maybe that’s just a result of me being a liberal in a country run by Fox News. Who knows?

        But I use a term “more objective” that again I think makes Hatboy twitch. It makes sense to me, though. For example, you could subjectively think god means “my excrement”, or you could alternately have your definition of god which I still don’t fully like. Wouldn’t I have to agree that your actual definition is “more objective” than “my excrement” is, even though I still don’t like it? An extreme example but surely you understand the point…a goal of *approaching* objectivity as near as you can.

        So, I view most discussions like that. And this was no exception. I wanted to see what you thought, and think out and demonstrate what I thought in response (not knowing what you would say before you said it), and see what I thought was “more objective”.

        So I don’t think out my full position before I start…which probably makes me carry this on more like an interrogation. Is that part of the problem? Do my posts have that sort of feel? Scientist (well, Engineer) here…guilty.

        Now, to be sure, I have thought through most topics of interest to me in the past, but generally I don’t even engage on those topics. Unless someone engages ME or they come up somehow in my face. Because, well, I’ve thought through them and I think I’m done with those subjects.
        So when a discussion like this happens, I get excited and I really try to pick it apart and see if I need to fold in anything. I usually DO need to, which is exciting.

        ‘And I try to carefully read what others say so that I don’t end up misrepresenting them. (Not that I always succeed in any of that.)’

        Believe it or not, so do I. But often I find that people seem to be saying something other than what they initially say, the more you dig in. That’s why I’m trying to paraphrase…because these long conversations need to be condensed into smaller statements so we can do a “smell check”, you know?

        At least, I think so.

        “You asked me to explain my position. Which I have, at length and with care, and politely (except maybe for that autism bit at the end). Why not show me the same courtesy?’”

        Ok first, no “maybe” about it. Which I think we agree and you apologized, fine and thank you. And I apologize for making you feel like I was autistic, and for skipping a few of your comments, as I mentioned in email. Reading back through, I actually didn’t skip much, as it turns out.

        So what courtesy do you mean? Explain my position with care? I have been…we work differently, but I have been, man. And polite? I think so, I didn’t insult you. So I honestly think you used a rhetorical trick. Can I not say so? Is that rude for me to even tell you I think you’re doing that? I am sorry if that was offensive. I hope you know I don’t want to offend you.

        I’ll repeat, I think it does come down to a “so what” about having a personal definition. I don’t see the value in a personal definition. We have to exist with others, I shudder to say “collectively” but you know what I mean. We need to have collective definitions we all can use. And it seems to me that we can’t scientifically rule out a god who exists somewhere in the universe/multiverse/whatever by definition, using a collective definition of *some* sort. It’s like the “more objective” thing I mentioned before. I understand we all will have personal definitions to some degree, and therefore the misunderstandings you mention. But we should TRY to join into the collective definitions as best we can to avoid that. No?

        So here are a collection of your main issues and outstanding statements I feel I didn’t give a proper reply. I am doing so now, and hoping you will pause and consider because “damn if I don’t think I have really good points here.” That’s paraphrasing Hatboy from somewhere, by the way *inserts quotes in editing phase*.[1] And not too far from what I already said, which is why I said “hoping” above. Hoping you see them differently now that we’ve paused, than you did before. Also please forgive me, there was so much to condense here, I didn’t copy and paste you in every case. But I did take notes, and will be paraphrasing you correctly based on all your posts. I promise to do my best, no BS this time around.

        [1] Yes, I did have an editing phase. And 2 drafting phases. Because shit got real. [2]

        [2] Edit: two editing phases

        I do this because I really, truly think there are objective issues here…I wouldn’t belabor this at all if I didn’t. Especially when it comes to the very specifics of your semantics, which you have always said underlie this issue, I just can’t see how a reasonable person would see none of the issues I raise as valid, even to just give an inch. Which, correct me if I’m wrong, you haven’t moved an inch so far as a result of what I’ve written, right? So let me get right in to that, with a slight detour for one of your main problems with humans “conceptualizing” a new life form as a “god”.

        So naturally, pun intended, this has mostly been about definitions. Your definition vs. my preferred one vs. all definitions of “god/God”. You ask me, and I think I have that below, why use my particular definition vs. yours or the others that do have supernatural in them. Well I have to reverse that and ask you why ONLY use the one/ones that support non-existence? Shouldn’t we reasonably accept ALL the main definitions of “god”? And therefore, if some of them (or even MOST of them) aren’t calling it supernatural or outside of existence and so on, then don’t we have “gods” that can exist? Just not once you add your extra terms?

        I found myself wondering if “omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient…” implied non-existence to you, as well, and all I found as a direct answer, one time, was if an “all powerful being proved omnipotence, and it exists, it is still not a god?” was you saying “Sure.” But that is consistent with many of the aforementioned and previously cited definitions! So how can you throw all of them out?

        The next bit was more interesting to all of us, I think, though I may not have shown that by continuing to work on the definitional angle. So, to follow a tangent here, you expressed a concern of “giving it too much power over you” and not differentiating between an ‘“omni-*” vs. a supremely powerful being who might nonetheless yield to scientific inquiry’ was an issue because overthrowing the overlord and so on and so forth.

        My first response is if it is an accurate description of the being, then why quibble? And I don’t see much of a distinction. If it’s so much more powerful as to SEEM omnipotent, is it a distinction without a difference? To differentiate requires too many of those assumptions and too much of that certainty that was bothering me before. You know, “surely its power must have limits” or “surely there’s a rational understanding for how it knew my mom was going to fight it so it vaporized her” and so on. Maybe, just maybe, in a multiverse there are things we can’t explain from our single universe.[3]

        [3] Assuming all of existence is a multiverse, later, later….

        The whole issue of granting authority over you with less resistance is an interesting point, though. I do feel you, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought it was a bit unrealistic to pretend a couple of things here. One is that it would really be the case that you would resist such a being. And another is to pretend we don’t give others authority over us all the time. Bosses, governments, etc. A god, well, it’s tricky isn’t it? What is the point of this discussion of resistance if we really are powerless next to it? This is not like “Independence Day” or “Battlefield: Earth”…the problem is of a completely different magnitude here that goes far beyond the semantics.
        Your admission that you might be biased “owing to the fact that the Christian God was the only one around when I was growing up” was appreciated! However, that’s the case with me as well! We *know* there are myriad definitions out there, now, so this discussion should be informed by that knowledge. Of course. So forget what Christians say about their God, right down to the “supernatural” or “outside of existence” bits. They’re crazy believers in a fairy tale! Right?

        My bottom line about this existence/reality issue is that, in a multiverse, it seems unreasonable to assume an entity encompassing all the universes couldn’t influence one universe with the full set of available laws (of the multiverse). We can’t say that’s not possible, and we can’t say existence isn’t really within a multiverse, can we? So if that is possible, then there can be a “god”. Maybe even by *your* definition, because it really would be “supernatural”. And yes, I recall you said you don’t mention “supernatural” in your definition. Stand by, I’ll get to that. Suppose we can’t leave this universe but, as I said, this creature can and does? Then it doesn’t exist in just our available reality (which is “the natural” to us), so “the supernatural cannot exist” does not apply to it.

        OK, so back to definitions here to close out. I feel the definitions matter, and really how could someone concerned with semantics disagree? But analyzing them *fairly* also matters. You wrote:

        ‘To put this in perspective, the MW dictionary definition of a “Finn” —
        http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/finn
        — does not say that we are human. But we are, trust me.’

        Very droll. But wrong! It says “person”. Did you look up that definition? Well, I did. Not that I needed to. A “person” is a “human being”. So I don’t think you’ve made dictionary definitions useless, yet.

        ‘(Now, the definition of “human” does not mention Finns, so you have me there!) ‘

        So very droll.

        And then you turn around and say this:

        ‘Finally, to return the favor of rigid and literal, my definition of god does not actually mention supernatural:
        A god, by definition, at least as I understand the concept, is something that exists above and beyond the world, and is therefore not subject to its laws, and also probably fundamentally unknowable.’

        Yes it does! Damnit! By the same method that the definition of Finn “mentions” you are human beings! You said “exists above and beyond the world, and is therefore not subject to its laws”. That’s fucking supernatural! The more I review this discussion the more I think I was the one who should have been offended at you instead of vice versa. Not that I am. Aside from the insults.
        I just wish I could figure out what it is I’m doing to not be taken seriously in these discussions, when I see such logic in my thoughts. If I do say so myself. LOL.

        So yeah. The rest of this is supplemental and you can feel free to skip. I wrote it up the first time I compiled your comments that still needed extra consideration (that I failed to do before, I mean). But then I went through the comment section again and the above is all I came up with for notes. So the above is what is truly important for me to try to relate to you, again. Hopefully in a useful manner.
        *****************************************************
        Seriously there is no need to read further.
        *************************************************
        Dude I warned you
        ****************************************************
        ‘But you make a distinction between “supernatural” and “god”? I asked you this a few replies back, but you never answered.’

        I answered by saying I do, in a post just before this. But not directly in response to your question, no. I worried for a time over breaking out the dictionaries, LOL. Figuratively, since it was all online.

        ‘However, as should be obvious from the question and the context, I make no such distinction. To me, as a rational atheist, a god is by definition supernatural, and I do not need a dictionary to tell me that. I especially do not need a dictionary to tell me that, since I can make the logical, rational categorical connection on my own.’

        And to me, as an atheist, a god is an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-present entity that can do crazy shit, therefore, that I can’t do. You don’t need a dictionary, but why doesn’t it matter what’s in the dictionaries?

        I don’t need it to be supernatural, and neither does MW. You said already you think you add that supernatural bit because of your upbringing, knowing only Christianity. So, you know about more now. Why can’t your definition change?

        Is it because your definition is very, very useful to atheists?

        ‘(Even though, apparently, a dictionary definition of “supernatural” does support me.)’

        Actually it doesn’t, not necessarily, if you look at it semantically. Supernatural “relates to” a god. Meaning if a god did some crazy shit you didn’t understand, you would call that event ‘supernatural’. That’s how it reads to me.

        ‘If you take your definitions from dictionaries, which of the definitions of “god” provided by MW do you subscribe to then? And why that and not any of the other ones?’

        Why do you subscribe to your definition of god and not any of the other ones? You’re protesting my doing what *you* are doing, only I do it less so because I use many definitions!

        And, I didn’t have to exclude ANY of the definitions of God from MW, as I said:
        Full Definition of GOD
        1
        capitalized : the supreme or ultimate reality: as
        a : the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe
        b Christian Science : the incorporeal divine Principle ruling over all as eternal Spirit : infinite Mind
        2
        : a being or object believed to have more than natural attributes and powers and to require human worship; specifically : one controlling a particular aspect or part of reality
        3
        : a person or thing of supreme value
        4
        : a powerful ruler

        Well, ok 4 is a bit silly. That’s more like slang. Let’s pretend 4 doesn’t exist since none of us use THAT definition.

        Now, you might be pointing to 2 right now and saying “’more than natural attributes’!!! See?! See, you autistic twat?!”

        OK, maybe you wouldn’t say that last bit. Sorry. Attempting some humor in return. But it elaborates “controlling a particular aspect or part of reality”.

        Sure, that’s what I’ve been saying…wherever it exists, if it can control part of reality, that’s a godlike power and so it’s…a god.

        If it can go *nose wrinkle* and gravity repels instead of attracts, it’s a god. I know, you don’t want to accept that. I know, this all comes down to your personal definition.

        But that’s the point, isn’t it? What use is a personal definition? Words have meanings and if we choose not to come together on those meanings, well…this sort of crap will happen, now won’t it? LOL

        “And you can post a mountain of links”
        ‘Yeah, that was half-serious, half-parody. Shit, man, I didn’t read all that text myself.’
        Well, I’m glad you said that because that much was clear since it didn’t back you up!

        You ask how I decide what definitions I’m going to use. Well, if *any* accepted definition of an omnipotent being works, can exist, do I need more? I accept them all, I accept YOUR definition, but not as the only definition of god.

        It seems to me, you don’t do the same. Your definition is the only correct one, hence god can’t exist. Am I being unfair or inaccurate in summing up?

        It occurred to me, as I pondered all this and caught up on my youtube videos, that you might like this guy:

        In that video, all I’m suggesting is to watch through 5:00, where he poses a dilemma which reminded me of you in this debate we are having here, LOL.

        But more about him, he’s an atheist whom I really love hearing on atheist issues. He’s also trans…or something…the less I say about there the better. When he does those videos I get a little confused, he says he is both Peter AND Ethel, but it’s not a mental dis—ok well anyway, just warning you that’s in his videos too, and I don’t quite get it.

        Back to the point, he’s good on atheism, and he did a nice little trap there. Thought you guys might like it.

      • stchucky says:

        That was an awful lot of text and my first reaction was exasperation, but there’s a lot of good thinking in here if you can get past the abrasive Dilbert.

        *grin*

        Seriously though, well worth a look and a proper response, which I will give to the parts I felt were relevant, when I have time.

        It wasn’t for me, though, although it’s in a blog’s comment section and therefore fair game. And it doesn’t need my approval. Still, a small endorsement from the God of the Hatstand never did anyone any harm.

        Oh yeah, and “God of the Hatstand” is capitalised. Try not capitalising it and see what I do from my cosy position outside the natural laws of the blog reader…

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        “That was an awful lot of text and my first reaction was exasperation, but there’s a lot of good thinking in here if you can get past the abrasive Dilbert.

        *grin*”

        Many thanks, my friend. I hope my Zaphod reminder showed I was well aware of my ‘abrasive Dilbert’ coming through, as you called it. LOL

        “Seriously though, well worth a look and a proper response, which I will give to the parts I felt were relevant, when I have time.”

        No rush, it was just really killing me (not literally but really, LOL) not to do it. I had no choice. I swear. For my own sanity.

        “It wasn’t for me, though, although it’s in a blog’s comment section and therefore fair game. And it doesn’t need my approval. Still, a small endorsement from the God of the Hatstand never did anyone any harm.”

        Please, fire away! I’m proud enough of it that I WANT criticism, I WANT to be told where I’m being unfair.

        “Oh yeah, and “God of the Hatstand” is capitalised. Try not capitalising it and see what I do from my cosy position outside the natural laws of the blog reader…”

        I refuse to submit to the authority of the god of the hatstand. I’m an atheist, and dreameling and I will throw off these chains or be vaporized trying.

      • stchucky says:

        Have you and dreameling paused to consider the possibility that your attempts to define an all-powerful and omnipresent Guiding Entity out of existence might have dire consequences for the universe itself?

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        “Have you and dreameling paused to consider the possibility that *his* attempts to define an all-powerful and omnipresent Guiding Entity out of existence might have dire consequences for the universe itself?”

        Fix’d.

        Wasn’t me!

      • stchucky says:

        Oh dear. Too late.

      • stchucky says:

        So here we go.

        I certainly hoped, by the way, to agree with YOUR views here. As an atheist I find it very appealing, and I think I said as much, if “god” can’t exist by definition. I promise I wanted to join you, but I just couldn’t. I think that means I came to you honestly, here.

        You’re the only one who seems to have any expectation of anyone changing their views to meet anyone else on this. Just my impression. Sorry you weren’t able to get any pay-off there.

        No, I’m not really sorry.

        To me, this sounded quite a lot like you firm up all your thoughts on a topic before discussing it so you can just inform others of how it is, instead of seeking an open debate/discussion. I can see Hatboy twitching from here, because I know it sounds like I expect one or the other of us to change our position. Also because I have been guilty of doing the above, myself. But on this issue, no way, because I had NO idea what you were going to say beforehand!

        That’s not why I’m twitching. I’m twitching because I don’t think anyone firmed up their thoughts on this topic in order to change anyone’s mind – only to explain their own opinions as best they could. Which was what you asked for, and which you then proceeded to argue with as if it was a debate someone had to win.

        And don’t give me “more objective”. You don’t get any more subjective than a concept of God, and this is clearly as true for atheists as it is for people of faith. If what dreameling explained here is his own personal opinion on why he personally is an atheist, you asked him to explain it and then you were confrontational and dismissive about it every step of the way, while he did his best – not to convince you otherwise, but just to accept that this was his viewpoint, and to shut the fuck up. But oh yes, you have problems accepting dead ends.

        So yeah, I think you could probably stand to be a little bit contrite, even if only to meet dreameling … hmm. Not halfway, because that looks like it’s off the table (according to your conclusions in this latest comment). 25% of the way?

        You didn’t use the total perspective gun on yourself (to mangle the reference and mix the movie version into the analogy). You sucked the total perspective gun, and then complimented yourself on what a darn good blowjob you give.

        But I did expect one of us has to change their position.

        This was, in my view, a mistake.

        [snip “God is poo is more objectively incorrect than God can’t exist“, because you just tried to explain why one thing is objectively more wrong than another through the lens of your own subjective starting point, and I THOUGHT YOU KNEW HOW TO LOGIC.]

        So, I view most discussions like that.

        It’s true. He does.

        And this was no exception. I wanted to see what you thought[A], and think out and demonstrate what I thought in response (not knowing what you would say before you said it)[B], and see what I thought was “more objective”[C].

        I’ve inserted labels above, just to point out that [A] And [B] are perfectly cool as far as I’m concerned. I have a problem with [C], especially considering how you even managed to coax this debate into happening in the first place. Not cool.

        And I’m not saying it because the debate happened. It’s cool when debates happen, and I personally had fun. No, I’m saying it because the other poor person in the debate was trying to stop [C] the whole time, and you weren’t letting him. Despite your opening comments. That’s not fair.

        So I don’t think out my full position before I start…which probably makes me carry this on more like an interrogation. Is that part of the problem? Do my posts have that sort of feel? Scientist (well, Engineer) here…guilty.

        For me it’s part of the problem, sure. A far larger part is that while you’re not thinking out your full position, you’re satisfied with picking apart the opinions of another person as if you have thought out your position, and that position is “that other guy is wrong” – in a completely subjective discussion topic!

        The result does not come across as an intelligent and open-minded series of questions and interested interjections, so much as a grating mass of I AM RIGHT + I DISAGREE = YOU ARE WRONG.

        Hey, you wanted criticism and to be told where you were being unfair. I’m just pointing out that these were the parts that aggravated me in your last response. As I said, you still did have good points, but your opening really spoiled them.

        We need to have collective definitions we all can use.

        That’s true. For some things. Heck, for almost all things.

        I would argue that God is not one of them. Not even for you atheists, apparently.

        The whole issue of granting authority over you with less resistance is an interesting point, though. I do feel you, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought it was a bit unrealistic to pretend a couple of things here. One is that it would really be the case that you would resist such a being. And another is to pretend we don’t give others authority over us all the time. Bosses, governments, etc. A god, well, it’s tricky isn’t it? What is the point of this discussion of resistance if we really are powerless next to it? This is not like “Independence Day” or “Battlefield: Earth”…the problem is of a completely different magnitude here that goes far beyond the semantics.

        On this, I am entirely agreed. I see dreameling’s point, and again I refer to Captain America’s denial of Thor’s divinity, but we’re talking about different levels of power entirely.

        Thor was arguably way more of a God to the Ancient Norse than he is to modern humans who have developments capable of stopping him in his tracks (or at least slowing him down). But something that is to Thor what Thor was to the Ancient Norse? Something that is to that entity what that entity would have been to the Ancient Norse? And follow that line of exponential more-powerfulness on upwards another ten or twenty billion orders of magnitude?

        Sure, it’s not an actual deity as we superstitiously and culturally accept the concept, because it exists. It’s never going to quite fit the bill and it’s never going to meet everyone’s definition. But it can snap its fingers and make you believe with all your heart and soul that it is. And the very idea of “the scientists” sitting somewhere and trying to force it off the planet is laughable.

        Yeah, at that point you want to call a spade a spade and just admit that it is your God. It may not be the one that your poor kooky religious parents and grandparents believed in, but they weren’t in possession of all the facts. And dreameling himself said, at that point it is probably prudent to not resist anyway. This is before we even get into the possibility that even humans can (theoretically) alter brain chemistry to enforce absolute transcendent belief. How easy would it be for a functionally-infinitely-powerful extradimensional being?

        I think it’s adorable that dreameling counts himself as one of the people who would stand against a force like that. Like I said before, I’m under no illusions as to my own heroism in that case, but that doesn’t mean dreameling is deluding himself.

        I just wish I could figure out what it is I’m doing to not be taken seriously in these discussions, when I see such logic in my thoughts. If I do say so myself. LOL.

        You’re taken perfectly seriously, dude. You’re just missing the actual goal that in my experience most people seem to have with discussions like these. It’s not your fault, but it sure as shit isn’t our fault either.

        If it can go *nose wrinkle* and gravity repels instead of attracts, it’s a god. I know, you don’t want to accept that. I know, this all comes down to your personal definition.

        You know this. But you don’t accept it. You need to try.

        But that’s the point, isn’t it? What use is a personal definition? Words have meanings and if we choose not to come together on those meanings, well…this sort of crap will happen, now won’t it? LOL

        Uh, yes. Yes it will. Especially if you ask someone’s opinion and pretend to be interested in it but then just do nothing (from my perspective) but argue with it in an attempt to make that person agree with you instead. That’s almost infinitely missing the point.

        I accept YOUR definition, but not as the only definition of god.

        Your problem again. He wasn’t asking you to accept it as the only one.

        It seems to me, you don’t do the same. Your definition is the only correct one, hence god can’t exist. Am I being unfair or inaccurate in summing up?

        Yes you are.

        dreameling’s definition is the only correct one for dreameling, hence as far as dreameling’s concerned god can’t exist.

        There, I fixed it.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        So obviously you can “get” me. The question is, did you really, truly want to?

        “You’re the only one who seems to have any expectation of anyone changing their views to meet anyone else on this. Just my impression. Sorry you weren’t able to get any pay-off there.”

        Put a pin in this concept because, to use a phrase commonly used by my hero, Sam Harris, we need to unpack this concept. But I will wait for the full unveiling of your views on this, below, before doing so.

        “No, I’m not really sorry.”

        You should be. Someone changing their views would indicate open-mindedness. Sarcastically not caring if anyone changes their views seems, to me, a celebration of the *opposite* of open-mindedness.

        I will prove, below, that in fact I *have* changed my views 100% as far as is possible, resulting from dreameling’s statements. Because I’m not playing around anymore. OK I am, but I’m also miffed.

        “That’s not why I’m twitching. I’m twitching because I don’t think anyone firmed up their thoughts on this topic in order to change anyone’s mind – only to explain their own opinions as best they could. Which was what you asked for, and which you then proceeded to argue with as if it was a debate someone had to win.”

        I didn’t say he firmed up his thoughts in order to change our minds. I said he firmed them up so much that his statements become “how things are” instead of just how they might be if he is correct. I know, you argue for a personal view of God (I still argue one is not allowed for “god”), but *any* discussion can be made pointless by an excessive use of phrases like “to me, only”.

        “And don’t give me “more objective”. You don’t get any more subjective than a concept of God, and this is clearly as true for atheists as it is for people of faith. If what dreameling explained here is his own personal opinion on why he personally is an atheist, you asked him to explain it and then you were confrontational and dismissive about it every step of them way, while he did his best – not to convince you otherwise, but just to accept that this was his viewpoint, and to shut the fuck up. But oh yes, you have problems accepting dead ends.”

        This is a great example of how someone can write something that is correct in every way, but is still very much a huge problem. First, there’s the problem that this is actually the underlying debate. This is his personal definition of God for only him in exclusion of all the other possible definitions of God. Also in his personal understanding of the universe/multiverse with his own personal assumptions that others can see don’t *have* to be the assumptions and understandings of such.

        ‘So, what’s the problem?’ I can just hear you asking. Well, replace every time he says “God” with all that explanation above, and you should see the problem. It makes it completely useless to anyone else, and illustrates just how narrow this has become.

        The other problem is, there really is a difference between “God” which refers to the god of an organized religion that has only ONE god. So I suppose an atheist only combating one-or-more organized religion(s) can have a personal, subjective concept of “God”. But as an atheist, we have to be more when it comes to the overall concept of “god”. Because we don’t believe ANY such concept exists. See?

        So to narrow it down and give it a definition not everyone–or hardly anyone actually–would accept as an overarching, all-inclusive definition is not useful because you’re not addressing all the other possibilities where “god” does have a meaning. We atheists have to discuss it all, to be able say we don’t believe in it all. As atheists, when we declare ourselves as such, we MUST be doing that or we’re not fucking atheists. I don’t know what the fuck we are but if we can’t say we disbelieve in ALL the meanings of god, we can’t be atheist. By definition, there’s that phrase again.

        “So yeah, I think you could probably stand to be a little bit contrite, even if only to meet dreameling … hmm. Not halfway, because that looks like it’s off the table (according to your conclusions in this latest comment). 25% of the way?”

        I have in fact met him *one hundred percent* of the way, because of how narrow this really is, by your own and my own admission. I accept that he has this personal, *narrow*, *intentionally exclusionary* (let’s call a spade a spade then, eh?) definition of “god/God” and of the universe/multiverse. I fully accept that. That’s 100% meeting him, not halfway, not 25%. But what’s the point? What about all these other possibilities? What about the rest of us, who see other meanings and possibilities? I’m not using a personal definition, I’m using a COLLECTIVE definition. For god and for the possibilities of the universe. Is there any meeting *me* any-way going on here?

        “You didn’t use the total perspective gun on yourself (to mangle the reference and mix the movie version into the analogy). You sucked the total perspective gun, and then complimented yourself on what a darn good blowjob you give.

        ‘But I did expect one of us has to change their position.’

        “This was, in my view, a mistake.”

        Even though I in fact have. I have decided that he can say “My definition of ‘God’ can’t exist because my definition of ‘God’ includes that It is supernatural/out of reality/say-it-any-way-I-can-to-avoid-using-supernatural-because-that-is-problematic, and nothing can be outside of reality and impact it by my definition of ‘reality.'” I accept that is perfectly fine, so I have changed my position. I just don’t see *what good that does anyone*. When one says “god” it means more than that, or more accurately has a more general definition than that, which must be addressed for the other 7 billion of us.

        [snip “God is poo is more objectively incorrect than God can’t exist“, because you just tried to explain why one thing is objectively more wrong than another through the lens of your own subjective starting point, and I THOUGHT YOU KNEW HOW TO LOGIC.]

        ‘So, I view most discussions like that.’

        “It’s true. He does.”

        Let’s unpack this, let’s have it out, once and for all. [1]Open-minded people–and we ALL are open-minded are we not? *looks around room waiting for nods*–…open-minded people DO change their minds from time to time. As a result of many inputs…news stories, technical journals, and fucking conversations with their fucking peers, I should fucking hope so. At least sometimes.

        [1] By the way I turned off my “huffy-meter” so you can get as huffy as you want, in reply. By all means. Just try not to strain anything, especially credulity *girn*

        So for that reason alone, I don’t see why you disapprove of expecting someone to change their mind here (which I in fact HAVE done, so there!). We disagree, so someone needs to add *something* to their world view, as none of us is an eejit. Even if that “something” is just, “ahh, ok, I have to allow this subjective personal definition to this one person, no matter how little good it does me or anyone else.” Which I have done.

        Yes, that was bitter of me. I know.

        What is the fucking problem with hoping that someone will find merit in someone else’s points and change their mind right before my eyes? In this world there are far, far too many stubborn people *coughConservativescough* who don’t give a FUCK what anyone says in opposition, they know what they know and that’s it. I’m sorry if my being absolutely *exhausted* by that makes me a little obsessive on this aspect of discussions/debates.

        I took your objections (over the idea of seeking to change someone’s mind) in email to heart, though I stewed over them, because I have a great deal of respect for your opinions. But I let your opinions change my mind *all the fucking time*. I think I’ve whined this before, but are my opinions so stupid that no one should ever change their mind on them, ever? Why don’t I ever get to expect, or to hope, I’ve finally landed on something convincing just this fucking once? Eh?

        So, I don’t see what’s so wrong, considering we are supposed to be open-minded. Is it insulting because we are intellectual equals? Changing one’s mind seems like an admission of being stupid? I just don’t fucking get it. I do change my mind, and I admit when I do.

        And all it takes, the way I see it, for dreameling to do so is to say “yeah, I guess some of those other definitions of god can exist, so I shouldn’t really say ‘by definition god can’t exist'”.[2] That’s it. I mean, I’m considering it said because I think it’s pretty clear. But of course that’s only arrogance until he actually says it, which is the problem here.

        [2] In effect he has elaborated so that it is his personal definition of god and universe, so basically the initial statement is admittedly not true outside of that perspective, but it was STATED AS IF IT WERE. That’s what set me off from the start. Hmm, I guess I see why it can be annoying to you when I go all exaggerat-ey on you.

        So, I’m sorry, when we talk about things, I want to see if I like your view better than mine. It still fucking pains me to think you don’t feel the same. But, you clearly don’t. Right? Re-label this and see what you come up with: “you don’t seek to see if you like my view better than yours.” What does that sound like, to you?

        OK, I think I’ve whined on that enough. I really wish you’d take that to heart.

        ‘And this was no exception. I wanted to see what you thought[A], and think out and demonstrate what I thought in response (not knowing what you would say before you said it)[B], and see what I thought was “more objective”[C].’

        “I’ve inserted labels above, just to point out that [A] And [B] are perfectly cool as far as I’m concerned. I have a problem with [C], especially considering how you even managed to coax this debate into happening in the first place. Not cool.”

        Wow, so generous of you to say it’s ok to ask someone’s opinion and state one’s own in reply. I totally needed your approval for that.

        Of course [C] is the only possibly objectionable thing I said there.

        “And I’m not saying it because the debate happened. It’s cool when debates happen, and I personally had fun. No, I’m saying it because the other poor person in the debate was trying to stop [C] the whole time, and you weren’t letting him. Despite your opening comments. That’s not fair.”

        What’s “not fair” is you saying I’m “not letting” anyone do anything here. It’s not up to me what anyone else talks about or does. Furthermore, it did take me a while to realize that all we were REALLY discussing was the incredibly pedantic and lengthy, highly personal definition of “god” to dreameling, and nothing else. Because I didn’t catch on right away to this, all my posts would be viewed, in effect, to get him to change his own *personal* definition of “god”? No. Nuh-uh. I deny. I refuse to take that accusation. The whole time, my argument has been “but come on, that’s not the only fucking definition, what about all of these other ones?”

        So I don’t accept that I was being unfair in that.

        “For me it’s part of the problem, sure. A far larger part is that while you’re not thinking out your full position,”

        I said I haven’t thought it out before the debate starts. That is far different than not thinking it out once I know what the debate is about. Had to interject there.

        ” you’re satisfied with picking apart the opinions of another person as if you have thought out your position,”

        Which I have by that point.

        ” and that position is “that other guy is wrong” – in a completely subjective discussion topic!”

        Lookit a PERSONAL definition of “god” may be a subjective topic, ok IS a subjective topic, but the broader discussion of all the other meanings and by what right can they all be dismissed based on the one personal definition really is not. Not “subjective” in a meaningful use of the word. Because again, to be an atheist, you have to disbelieve ALL the forms (definitions) of “god”. Not just choosing the ones you like to deny, subjectively. I deny them all. So I am an atheist.

        “The result does not come across as an intelligent and open-minded series of questions and interested interjections, so much as a grating mass of I AM RIGHT + I DISAGREE = YOU ARE WRONG.”

        I object to the “intelligent” label being denied. Yes, it doesn’t sound open-minded, I agree with that. But not if you look at it from a scientific viewpoint. This is the sort of discussion, I have learned, we have all the time here over the Nuclear Power industry. And things do get heated, believe you me. And I have been the one doing the convincing, already after just 3 months here, and things are going quite well by the way. I just got major praise at my first review with my supervisors. At any rate, I’m not failing to be open-minded by just intensely questioning the views presented and suggesting problems/alternatives. If I need to say, every time I do that, “well you COULD be right but what about” then it will get boring really quickly.

        So instead, how about you realize that IS part of what I’m saying. It’s involved in what one means when one says “I think”, isn’t it? And I HAVE been saying “I think”, at least in previous comments here. Especially in the one that set off the “autistic” remark, I think. Har.

        “Hey, you wanted criticism and to be told where you were being unfair. I’m just pointing out that these were the parts that aggravated me in your last response. As I said, you still did have good points, but your opening really spoiled them.”

        I’m so pissed at myself right now, seeing you say that. Because I was trying to defuse the nature of my later words with that opening. It was meant to self-deprecate, and I still think it fucking did. But you’re saying my opening actually spoiled it instead. Fuck me! Every time I try to do that, you read it the other way. This ain’t the first time, I’m sure you can recall. What the fuck am I supposed to do when my self-deprecating humor has the opposite effect on you guys?

        ‘We need to have collective definitions we all can use.’

        “That’s true. For some things. Heck, for almost all things.”

        For all things or we can’t have a fucking conversation. Come on, don’t make me nickname you “Hegemony” for all the hedging. LOL

        Let’s really say what you’re saying here. It’s not useful to have my own personal definition of “water” that almost no one else uses. So why is it any better to have my own personal definition of “God” that almost no one else uses? It’s not any more useful.

        “I would argue that God is not one of them. Not even for you atheists, apparently.”

        If there’s anyone this shouldn’t apply for it’s us atheists, as I’ve said. Just because dreameling thinks we can be subjective about it doesn’t mean that is so. Sorry.

        “On this, I am entirely agreed. I see dreameling’s point, and again I refer to Captain America’s denial of Thor’s divinity, but we’re talking about different levels of power entirely.

        Thor was arguably way more of a God to the Ancient Norse than he is to modern humans who have developments capable of stopping him in his tracks (or at least slowing him down). But something that is to Thor what Thor was to the Ancient Norse? Something that is to that entity what that entity would have been to the Ancient Norse? And follow that line of exponential more-powerfulness on upwards another ten or twenty billion orders of magnitude?

        Sure, it’s not an actual deity as we superstitiously and culturally accept the concept, because it exists. It’s never going to quite fit the bill and it’s never going to meet everyone’s definition. But it can snap its fingers and make you believe with all your heart and soul that it is. And the very idea of “the scientists” sitting somewhere and trying to force it off the planet is laughable.

        Yeah, at that point you want to call a spade a spade and just admit that it is your God. It may not be the one that your poor kooky religious parents and grandparents believed in, but they weren’t in possession of all the facts. And dreameling himself said, at that point it is probably prudent to not resist anyway. This is before we even get into the possibility that even humans can (theoretically) alter brain chemistry to enforce absolute transcendent belief. How easy would it be for a functionally-infinitely-powerful extradimensional being?”

        Yes indeed we are agreed here.

        “I think it’s adorable that dreameling counts himself as one of the people who would stand against a force like that. Like I said before, I’m under no illusions as to my own heroism in that case, but that doesn’t mean dreameling is deluding himself.”

        I would never go so far as to claim that…and yes he is quite adorable. Glad his wife shares him with us.

        “You’re taken perfectly seriously, dude. You’re just missing the actual goal that in my experience most people seem to have with discussions like these. It’s not your fault, but it sure as shit isn’t our fault either.”

        Just to talk about shit subjectively and learn nothing?[3] Yeah, that’s never my goal. Like, ever.

        [3] Teensy bit unfair. Learn nothing but what other people think, that one won’t ever change one’s mind to. There, fix’d before you had to.

        ‘If it can go *nose wrinkle* and gravity repels instead of attracts, it’s a god. I know, you don’t want to accept that. I know, this all comes down to your personal definition.’

        “You know this. But you don’t accept it. You need to try.”

        As I explained, I don’t accept an atheist being so exclusionary as to have only one personal, specific definition and to hell with all others. On “god”, at least.

        ‘But that’s the point, isn’t it? What use is a personal definition? Words have meanings and if we choose not to come together on those meanings, well…this sort of crap will happen, now won’t it? LOL’

        “Uh, yes. Yes it will. Especially if–”

        deleted extra bitching at me because the point is, if you make a personal definition and to hell with all others, this sort of shit WILL happen. Full stop.

        ‘I accept YOUR definition, but not as the only definition of god.’

        “Your problem again. He wasn’t asking you to accept it as the only one.”

        Yes, obviously I don’t accept that he can only allow that one definition of god, as I explained above. He can have it and use it but when conversing with the other humans, the other definitions come in. And that’s actually NOT my problem. LOL I’m just seeming to be the only one who has a problem WITH that. Slight distinction. I have the problem but it’s actually not mine *attempts to give problem back*

        ‘It seems to me, you don’t do the same. Your definition is the only correct one, hence god can’t exist. Am I being unfair or inaccurate in summing up?’

        “Yes you are.

        dreameling’s definition is the only correct one for dreameling, hence as far as dreameling’s concerned god can’t exist.

        There, I fixed it.”

        dreameling’s definition is the only correct one for dreameling, hence as far as dreameling’s concerned DREAMELING’s god can’t exist in DREAMELING’s universe/multiverse.[4]

        There, truly fixed now.

        [4] No, that is *not* overdoing it. Because you need to be clear whose god it is which really can’t exist in his definition, for clarity. And you need to be clear that it requires all the assumptions about the universe/multiverse that he makes, which I have said cannot all be made, because we just don’t know enough right now. I can let him define god to himself, but this is my universe, too. I’m not letting him define my universe, thank you very much.

        And I think once you really lay it all out, you see why I’ve been looking for something more to be accepted. That is so, so narrow.

        -Aaron

      • stchucky says:

        So obviously you can “get” me. The question is, did you really, truly want to?

        Yeah, I think I’ll be okay chief.

        I will prove, below, that in fact I *have* changed my views 100% as far as is possible, resulting from dreameling’s statements.

        I saw that, it was awesome.

        I didn’t say he firmed up his thoughts in order to change our minds. I said he firmed them up so much that his statements become “how things are” instead of just how they might be if he is correct. I know, you argue for a personal view of God (I still argue one is not allowed for “god”), but *any* discussion can be made pointless by an excessive use of phrases like “to me, only”.

        I get you. I misunderstood your initial point. I thought you were talking about getting a conclusion and a game-plan sorted out in your head before you state any sort of an opinion, specifically with the intention of engaging anyone with a different opinion and arguing them around.

        But what you were talking about was the ol’ “forming a conclusion in your head, setting it in concrete, and then adopting language in a discussion that makes the opinion read like objective fact rather than subjective thought.” Yeah?

        Sure, I think we all do that to some degree or other (I, naturally, to a far lesser degree than you and dreameling, because I am amazing), and we all like to think we avoid it as much as possible[1]. And when opinions differ, that sort of language can take on a way larger part in the ensuing disagreement (fault of the reader as much as the writer) than it deserves.

        [1] Well, except you, who gets bored by it and feels it makes discussion pointless when you’re the reader, and are simply stating your opinions with certainty when you’re the writer … or something.

        I speak, as you know, from experience as both the offender and offended.

        It makes it completely useless to anyone else, and illustrates just how narrow this has become.

        I didn’t find it useless and narrow. I rather enjoyed the discussion. I thought it was a compelling argument. You’re the one who seemed to have problems reconciling dreameling’s personal (and now also apparently unique in the entire world of seven billion people) definition of a higher power and why he doesn’t believe in God, with any sort of alternative viewpoints and the very possibility of a discussion.

        Must be us!

        [snip a bunch of stuff that was intended for dreameling but I’m not particularly invested in]

        [also snip “acknowledging that someone has a personal opinion but concluding that it is useless counts as meeting them 100% of the way”, although that was fucking hilarious]

        What about the rest of us, who see other meanings and possibilities?

        Yeah? I was fine.

        Is there any meeting *me* any-way going on here?

        Hee hee.

        I accept that is perfectly fine, so I have changed my position. I just don’t see *what good that does anyone*.

        You do see that saying someone has an opinion – when it is perfectly obvious they have that opinion because they wrote it down – but then saying it is useless to anyone is … not actually changing your position, because that was your position all along?

        But okay. Sure. Acknowledging the existence of words on a screen is a big step. I should totally be more encouraging.

        *snicker*

        No I’m kidding, sheesh. You acknowledge this shit all the time. You’re not a completely delusional sociopath.

        I’m afraid I just don’t see how acknowledging that dreameling wrote text in a comment, but that the text was useless, counts as changing your mind.

        When one says “god” it means more than that, or more accurately has a more general definition than that, which must be addressed for the other 7 billion of us.

        See, again, I was fine. So, six billion, nine hundred and ninety-nine million, nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine of us, please.

        We disagree, so someone needs to add *something* to their world view, as none of us is an eejit.

        No, sometimes it really is okay to just disagree. And have an interesting discussion anyway. Which is sort of what I thought you were asking for, when you so eagerly asked him to elaborate but said you had no follow-up questions to hound him with. Which, you know, turned out to actually not be the case, which is a shame.

        Even if that “something” is just, “ahh, ok, I have to allow this subjective personal definition to this one person, no matter how little good it does me or anyone else.” Which I have done.

        There you go! It’s a shitty acknowledgement but I most certainly and officially accept that you gave it.

        Yes, that was bitter of me. I know.

        Yeah, must have hurt. Check for blood in your stool.

        Also, please don’t speak for “anyone else”. Like I said, I’m fine. The subjective personal definition did nothing for you? Oh no! That’s a shame.

        I’m sorry if my being absolutely *exhausted* by that makes me a little obsessive on this aspect of discussions/debates.

        There you go! It’s a shitty apology but I most certainly and officially accept that you gave it. Although you will almost certainly now withdraw it and point out that you didn’t intend it as an apology. Oh well, you can’t have it back.

        But I let your opinions change my mind *all the fucking time*. I think I’ve whined this before, but are my opinions so stupid that no one should ever change their mind on them, ever? Why don’t I ever get to expect, or to hope, I’ve finally landed on something convincing just this fucking once? Eh?

        I know you didn’t just say this to me.

        You let my opinions change your mind all the time? And nobody ever changes their minds based on your opinions, ever? Really?

        Come back to this when Opposite Day is over and you pull your arse back out of your head.

        [2] In effect he has elaborated so that it is his personal definition of god and universe, so basically the initial statement is admittedly not true outside of that perspective, but it was STATED AS IF IT WERE. That’s what set me off from the start. Hmm, I guess I see why it can be annoying to you when I go all exaggerat-ey on you.

        There you go!

        But it’s cool, I’m really good at this.

        So, I’m sorry, when we talk about things, I want to see if I like your view better than mine. It still fucking pains me to think you don’t feel the same. But, you clearly don’t. Right?

        If you think this is right, then … Jesus fucking Christ, there’s no way you can think, when your little sulk is over, that this is right. There’s no way.

        I really wish you’d take that to heart.

        Fortunately I have no heart. I am a robot.

        Opposite Day.

        ‘And this was no exception. I wanted to see what you thought[A], and think out and demonstrate what I thought in response (not knowing what you would say before you said it)[B], and see what I thought was “more objective”[C].’

        “I’ve inserted labels above, just to point out that [A] And [B] are perfectly cool as far as I’m concerned. I have a problem with [C], especially considering how you even managed to coax this debate into happening in the first place. Not cool.”

        Wow, so generous of you to say it’s ok to ask someone’s opinion and state one’s own in reply. I totally needed your approval for that.

        You seem to have trouble understanding what other people think is okay and what isn’t. By your own admission, you’ve wondered where you’re going wrong. I’m just trying to help.

        Of course [C] is the only possibly objectionable thing I said there.

        There you go.

        Especially since you led in with “I don’t have any more questions for you, but if you ever feel like explaining how the existence of a creature makes it not a god, I would be fascinated to read about it.” That makes everything you subsequently did kind of … yes, objectionable.

        It’s not up to me what anyone else talks about or does.

        You’re damn right it’s not. As dreameling and I holding a civil and interesting discussion about this clearly illustrates.

        Lookit a PERSONAL definition of “god” may be a subjective topic, ok IS a subjective topic, but the broader discussion of all the other meanings and by what right can they all be dismissed based on the one personal definition really is not.

        I didn’t see or feel any sort of dismissal going on here. Well, except from you, with your “useless to any of the seven billion of the rest of us” routine. That was pretty dismissive, but meh.

        Because again, to be an atheist, you have to disbelieve ALL the forms (definitions) of “god”. Not just choosing the ones you like to deny, subjectively. I deny them all. So I am an atheist.

        Oh! OH! OH BOY OH BOY, you’re moving to kick people out of the atheist club!

        Is this a schism? IS THIS AN ACTUAL SCHISM?

        *orgasms*

        If I need to say, every time I do that, “well you COULD be right but what about” then it will get boring really quickly.

        Maybe for you. I, on the other hand, would probably die of shock before I died of boredom.

        It’s involved in what one means when one says “I think”, isn’t it? And I HAVE been saying “I think”, at least in previous comments here.

        Yeah, everyone has, really.

        Given that this was what you meant about “firming up your thoughts”, like I said – I think we all do it to some degree or another.

        Hey, you wanted criticism and to be told where you were being unfair. I’m just pointing out that these were the parts that aggravated me in your last response. As I said, you still did have good points, but your opening really spoiled them.”

        I’m so pissed at myself right now, seeing you say that. Because I was trying to defuse the nature of my later words with that opening.

        Wow, really?

        It was meant to self-deprecate, and I still think it fucking did.

        You think saying “I know, I know, I’m an asshole” after saying “I looked back through this whole debate looking to find things to feel contrite about and I found nothing, actually I think I’m the wounded party here” makes the whole thing self-deprecating?

        But you’re saying my opening actually spoiled it instead. Fuck me! Every time I try to do that, you read it the other way. This ain’t the first time, I’m sure you can recall. What the fuck am I supposed to do when my self-deprecating humor has the opposite effect on you guys?

        How about you cop to it and give up trying to hide an obnoxious conclusion with humour? Because that was an obnoxious conclusion.

        And I still read the post and responded, so it wasn’t really necessary. But I am a Goddamn veteran, aren’t I just?

        Let’s really say what you’re saying here. It’s not useful to have my own personal definition of “water” that almost no one else uses. So why is it any better to have my own personal definition of “God” that almost no one else uses? It’s not any more useful.

        You know that water and God are two very different categories of things, right? I mean, aside from merciful Poseidon, who is something of a grey area.

        Just because dreameling thinks we can be subjective about it doesn’t mean that is so. Sorry.

        Apology – and your personal opinion – accepted. I see what you mean about firming up your thoughts and stating them like facts. But yeah, there’s no need for me to read them as facts.

        Veteran.

        Just to talk about shit subjectively and learn nothing?[3] Yeah, that’s never my goal. Like, ever.

        [3] Teensy bit unfair.

        Teensy bit? You want to try again? Actually I wouldn’t call this “unfair”, so much as “blinkered and stupid”. And not a “teensy” bit.

        Learn nothing but what other people think, that one won’t ever change one’s mind to. There, fix’d before you had to.

        If you think that was what was happening in this discussion, you must be wondering why I stuck around.

        No no, you’re right, it was just to be a smartarse.

        And that’s actually NOT my problem. LOL I’m just seeming to be the only one who has a problem WITH that. Slight distinction. I have the problem but it’s actually not mine *attempts to give problem back*

        You’re not trying very hard to give the problem back, chief. Look, I’ll show you how to do it:

        *doesn’t have problem*

        There. Now you try.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        “I’m afraid I just don’t see how acknowledging that dreameling wrote text in a comment, but that the text was useless, counts as changing your mind.”

        Because I thought it was an unreasonable definition of God. Now I recognize it’s a personal definition of God I get no say over, therefore it is not unreasonable. It is just useless to me *unless I use it*. Which I will not. Not exclusively, at least.

        It comes down to this assertion, by you, that while almost all definitions need to be collectively agreed upon, at least the definition of “god” gets to be personal. So if it does, then it is not useless to hear someone’s personal opinion. But if it needs to be collective, then it is just part of the mix and to use it exclusively is, well, useless to those who disagree. And we can disagree, because *waves hand at all other definitions*

        Now, I actually agree that someone who *believes* in “god” should get to have a personal definition. Just to get that out of the way.

        But, and I think this is the fundamental “WTF” of my entire discussion here, why do you get to have a personal definition for something you don’t even believe exists? You’ve defined something that doesn’t exist. Why? Seems kinda pointless. I don’t accept that atheists get personal definitions of “god”. We don’t believe in any of the definitions, why make it personal and limited?

        Great news! Totally useful news! I just defined “Snarkblast”, which is the diarrhea of a one-third snail, two-third shark creature I don’t believe exists. It can’t exist because you can’t be one-third of one thing, and two-thirds of another, when those “things” reproduce in pairs.

        It’s just my personal belief, my personal definition, of something that can’t exist. Do you find it useful to know?

        “There you go! It’s a shitty apology but I most certainly and officially accept that you gave it. Although you will almost certainly now withdraw it and point out that you didn’t intend it as an apology. Oh well, you can’t have it back.”

        LOL

        No, I’m perfectly happy with you guys having my self-admittedly-shitty apology. I feel justified because I felt ripped off. I know, dreameling didn’t promise anything useful. It is entirely my fault I expected more, thought that he was being modest.

        Damn, a shitty admission to go with a shitty apology. Well, you can’t say I’m inconsistent!

        Don’t you fucking say it. Goddamnit, man. Just. Don’t. LOL

        “You let my opinions change your mind all the time? And nobody ever changes their minds based on your opinions, ever? Really?”

        I’m a scientist and I accept as The Truth only things I can observe. So.

        And “no one”…ok. I wasn’t including my wife and kids. You got me there if that was your intent.

        “If you think this is right, then … Jesus fucking Christ, there’s no way you can think, when your little sulk is over, that this is right. There’s no way.”

        So you are saying you do indeed check yourself to see if you might like my idea better than yours? OK. Well, I’ll try and notice it next time. Sorry, I’m sure you have. What I say is my perspective combined with your telling me I shouldn’t be trying to change your mind when we discuss things. I’m pretty sure I’ve observed your saying that.

        “Oh! OH! OH BOY OH BOY, you’re moving to kick people out of the atheist club!

        Is this a schism? IS THIS AN ACTUAL SCHISM?

        *orgasms*”

        Calm down, Sparky. He has a legitimate case that he’s the uber-atheist because of his personal definition. I’m just trying to show an alternate way of seeing the situation. I’m sure if I laid out every other definition of “god” he’d still say he doesn’t believe in those. Sorry, LOL.

        “You think saying “I know, I know, I’m an asshole” after saying “I looked back through this whole debate looking to find things to feel contrite about and I found nothing, actually I think I’m the wounded party here” makes the whole thing self-deprecating?”

        Along with the Zaphod anecdote? Fuck yeah. Wasn’t that the point of that moment with Zaphod? Did I misunderstand that scene?

        And not the WHOLE THING. The intro. I was sheepishly saying I know I’ve been an ass, but I’ve been a SMART ass. I was self-deprecating *in the intro*. But fuck me if I ever will be again. Might as well not apologize, not admit when I’m being an asshole, and not self-deprecate since it doesn’t matter anyway.

        Finally, to wrap up this whole personal definition thing, allow me to remind you of “ritual”. I made a flat-out statement, my definition was narrow and religious, not collective. You corrected me, you showed me I was being simple-minded. I agreed and acknowledged I was wrong from the start of the discussion.

        Same thing should have occurred here, except with different parties, and instead of just “narrow” the definition here is “incredibly narrow and exclusive, and self-defeating to boot!” Snarkblast.

        At least, I think so. Apply the “I think”s up there anywhere you wish, as I said I’d find it boring to do so.

        Cheers!

      • stchucky says:

        Because I thought it was an unreasonable definition of God. Now I recognize it’s a personal definition of God I get no say over, therefore it is not unreasonable. It is just useless to me *unless I use it*. Which I will not. Not exclusively, at least.

        Fair enough. I thought it was interesting and gave insight into an atheist mindset. Atheism is not, I think, a matter of just universally not-believing and therefore that there’s some perfect objective baseline to which every atheist needs to apply. I don’t think that was what you’re saying, but that was the impression I was getting from this “collective definition” and “why do you get to have a personal definition for something you don’t even believe exists?” stuff.

        And while I have come around to also not agreeing that atheism is a matter of faith[1], I certainly think it is still a personal set of worldviews that is going to express itself differently in different people. Which is what I was seeing here. Which is why it was interesting to me.

        [1] I used to be one of those people who spouted off about how atheism is just as much a religion as Christianity is, and faith in science is akin to faith in God. Obviously, they’re very different animals and this view is really, really easy to mis-state. I think blind faith in science one doesn’t understand is just as foolish as blind faith in the proverbial Sky Daddy, yes. And that it can be just as harmful to the cause of science as fundamentalist extremism can be to the cause of a given religion. And I also think it’s human nature to couch a personal philosophy (and atheism is certainly a personal philosophy) as a belief system. We’re just wired that way. To express our beliefs as a tangible statement, gather together with those of similar beliefs, and exclude others. Because we suck.

        Of course, if you don’t believe in the Christian or Muslim faiths but you believe in the Jewish one, then you’re not an atheist. You’re a Jew. I just don’t see how dreameling’s explanation for his specific form of unbelief is so mutually exclusive with the rest of the atheist world. You did sort of gloss over the whole “all seven billion of the rest of us” thing here, by the way. Setting your opponent up as being alone and utterly unsupported in his opinion is a pretty dubious move.

        It comes down to this assertion, by you, that while almost all definitions need to be collectively agreed upon, at least the definition of “god” gets to be personal. So if it does, then it is not useless to hear someone’s personal opinion. But if it needs to be collective, then it is just part of the mix and to use it exclusively is, well, useless to those who disagree. And we can disagree, because *waves hand at all other definitions*

        Again, fair enough.

        Now, I actually agree that someone who *believes* in “god” should get to have a personal definition. Just to get that out of the way.

        Sure.

        But, and I think this is the fundamental “WTF” of my entire discussion here, why do you get to have a personal definition for something you don’t even believe exists? You’ve defined something that doesn’t exist. Why? Seems kinda pointless. I don’t accept that atheists get personal definitions of “god”. We don’t believe in any of the definitions, why make it personal and limited?

        *shrug*

        That’s really not a discussion I can help you with. As to why I had no problem with it happening here – well, I suppose it was because I saw it as an explanation as to why dreameling was an atheist. Why he didn’t believe in God. So it wasn’t compatible with some definitions of God that might allow an entity of greater-than-human power to fit the bill. So what?

        Humans have called a lot of dumb things “Gods” over the millennia. Just because they were later proved wrong by science doesn’t mean that by some of those definitions they were necessarily wrong at the time. For all they knew, they were worshipping an entity of greater-than-human power. Of course it wasn’t a God. But something something multiverse, it could have been.

        Great news! Totally useful news! I just defined “Snarkblast”, which is the diarrhea of a one-third snail, two-third shark creature I don’t believe exists. It can’t exist because you can’t be one-third of one thing, and two-thirds of another, when those “things” reproduce in pairs.

        It’s just my personal belief, my personal definition, of something that can’t exist. Do you find it useful to know?

        I find it interesting and entertaining, just like this entire discussion. Isn’t that useful? It’s not going to clean my gutters for me, but it’s still useful.

        No, I’m perfectly happy with you guys having my self-admittedly-shitty apology. I feel justified because I felt ripped off. I know, dreameling didn’t promise anything useful. It is entirely my fault I expected more, thought that he was being modest.

        Damn, a shitty admission to go with a shitty apology. Well, you can’t say I’m inconsistent!

        Reminds me of the old Technical Writer’s line. “I’m nothing if not consistent. No, seriously. NOTHING.”

        So you are saying you do indeed check yourself to see if you might like my idea better than yours? OK. Well, I’ll try and notice it next time. Sorry, I’m sure you have.

        [mutter]

        Yeah you fuckin’ better be sorry, arsehole.

        [/mutter]

        What I say is my perspective combined with your telling me I shouldn’t be trying to change your mind when we discuss things. I’m pretty sure I’ve observed your saying that.

        Context is everything. Also, the word “trying”. See, there’s a difference between a) having an open-minded and intellectually respectful discussion with someone, at the end of which one person or the other acknowledges that his or her original viewpoint was in need of adjustment, and b) two people of opposing viewpoints hammering at each other because they both think “I’m right and you’re wrong about this”, so every paragraph, every dictionary quote, every sentence is an attempt to score debate-points and make the other person admit “okay, I lose and you win.”

        I like to think that the former happens quite a lot, since we’re smart people. I also have to admit that the latter happens quite a lot too, often when we’re trying to do the former, because we know we’re smart people and we like to one-up each other and state our opinions firmly[2]. And those cases get really acrimonious, really fast, and so they tend to be the ones we remember.

        [2] Still funny how adding “I think”s and “this is just my opinion”s is boring when you have to do it so people should just add them in for you wherever they see fit, but when dreameling doesn’t do it he’s being dismissive of alternatives and you don’t need to add them in yourself. Go figure, right?

        “Oh! OH! OH BOY OH BOY, you’re moving to kick people out of the atheist club!

        Is this a schism? IS THIS AN ACTUAL SCHISM?

        *orgasms*”

        Calm down, Sparky. He has a legitimate case that he’s the uber-atheist because of his personal definition. I’m just trying to show an alternate way of seeing the situation. I’m sure if I laid out every other definition of “god” he’d still say he doesn’t believe in those. Sorry, LOL.

        Damn it. Oh well, orgasm’s done. Can’t put the bunny back in the box, as Cameron Poe notably mourned.

        “You think saying “I know, I know, I’m an asshole” after saying “I looked back through this whole debate looking to find things to feel contrite about and I found nothing, actually I think I’m the wounded party here” makes the whole thing self-deprecating?”

        Along with the Zaphod anecdote? Fuck yeah. Wasn’t that the point of that moment with Zaphod? Did I misunderstand that scene?

        No, I think you got it. It was just that … okay, from my perspective you have this scene where Zaphod is supposed to learn a bit of humility and maybe admit he’s not as great as all that, and he cheats his way out and totally fails to acknowledge fault, and comes out even more convinced than ever that he’s awesome.

        And yes, it’s certainly self-deprecating to show the self-awareness that you’re playing the Zaphod in that scene. But that was sort of easy to mistake for you actually playing the Zaphod. I don’t know if that makes sense. But it just seemed to lack the … y’know, self-deprecation … that was necessary to make the comparison self-deprecating.

        And not the WHOLE THING. The intro.

        Yeah, that’s what I meant, the whole intro. Sorry.

        But the intro was intended to mitigate the assity of the whole post, right? Call me a litwank, but the point of an introduction is to lend context and lead-in data for the essay that follows.

        I was sheepishly saying I know I’ve been an ass, but I’ve been a SMART ass. I was self-deprecating *in the intro*. But fuck me if I ever will be again. Might as well not apologize, not admit when I’m being an asshole, and not self-deprecate since it doesn’t matter anyway.

        That is … not the right lesson to take away from this. But I’m just going to assume you’re joking.

        Finally, to wrap up this whole personal definition thing, allow me to remind you of “ritual”.

        I remember you thanking me for not reminding you about it sooner…

        I made a flat-out statement, my definition was narrow and religious, not collective. You corrected me, you showed me I was being simple-minded. I agreed and acknowledged I was wrong from the start of the discussion.

        Same thing should have occurred here, except with different parties, and instead of just “narrow” the definition here is “incredibly narrow and exclusive, and self-defeating to boot!” Snarkblast.

        At least, I think so. Apply the “I think”s up there anywhere you wish, as I said I’d find it boring to do so.

        Ha! You know, you’re right. You’re absolutely right. This is a very similar situation.

        Now, since dreameling wasn’t involved in that debate (he can thank me later) and I wasn’t really involved in this debate, I’m not sure what can be salvaged from that … but sure – for my own part in this monstrous, glorious atrocity of a thread, let’s say that yes – you made an absolutist and rejectionist statement about not liking any sort of ritual. It was actually entirely valid, for an (extant and quotable) definition of certain kinds of ritual, but you phrased it in such a way as to encourage me to make the smarmy counter-claim that “ritual” does indeed have a way broader set of definitions than just “religious ceremony” / “compulsive repetitive behaviour” / “doing things a certain way just because they’ve always been done that way, because cultural norms”. You rejected all rituals. dreameling did not reject all other definitions of God. At least, not in my interpretation of this thread – your viewpoint may have differed because you were in the thick of it. And again, it came down to a personal definition. And one’s preference of a certain definition should not be seen as a rejection of all the others.

        And yes, I saw you doing that in the ritual debate but I didn’t see dreameling doing it here. Matter of perspective. I acknowledge.

        Of course, you also phrased your lead-in as an out-and-out challenge to me to prove you wrong and to prove there was any sort of ritual that you actually liked. You did it specifically to start exactly the debate we had. Go ahead and deny it. This is something dreameling demonstrably did not do here. He sort of did the exact opposite of that. Actually, his whole “this is going to boil down to semantics and go nowhere” intro to this debate had interesting echoes of my “this is going to boil down to the specific definition of ritual we use, and go nowhere” intro to that debate.

        Contrast your entry into the ritual debate to your entry into this one, where you said (and you keep glossing over this, too) that you weren’t going to ask any more questions and were just interested in seeing what dreameling had to say. Context is everything, and I’m afraid the context of both debates made you come across as unreasonable and antagonistic.

        Which was totally cool, because I like a good debate. Shit, I’ve wasted my morning on this one. Again.

        And while your arguments against all the other definitions of “ritual” and dreameling’s arguments against all the other definitions of “God” ended up sounding like much the same sort of debate, I think it can mostly be boiled down to the ol’ “stating personal opinion as if it’s fact” chestnut.

        The two arguments were also somewhat different in their specific need for dictionary definitions, but that’s also just a matter of perspective. I don’t think a completely consistent single standard should be applied across the board, every debate is going to be different in some way. However, that was excellent citing of precedent and a very good point.

        Now:

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Almost all of this was fair enough, and though I read it twice, I don’t have much to add. Finally.

        “[2] Still funny how adding “I think”s and “this is just my opinion”s is boring when you have to do it so people should just add them in for you wherever they see fit, but when dreameling doesn’t do it he’s being dismissive of alternatives and you don’t need to add them in yourself. Go figure, right?”

        In this particular conversation, I thought so. I don’t think he should always have to do so. But because of the very personal, specific definition used, it would have helped me to realize the personal nature much sooner.

        I still could have figured that out myself, if I had taken more time. Mea culpa on that, as I have already said.

        “where you said (and you keep glossing over this, too) that you weren’t going to ask any more questions”

        NO I FUCKING DIDN’T! You’ve quoted me correctly before, “I don’t HAVE any more questions for you” (emphasis mine). Why are you misquoting me now, to make it look as if I changed my mind? I didn’t say “I won’t have”, I said “I don’t have”. Dude, do you even present tense?

        I didn’t have questions because I didn’t know what he was going to fucking say! I “glossed over” your mentioning this recently because I figured you were smart enough to figure out that nuance on your own.

        Seeing you unfairly and irrationally misinterpret me *by intentionally changing my words* here forces me to stop “glossing over” it. Congratulations.

        FFS man.

      • stchucky says:

        “where you said (and you keep glossing over this, too) that you weren’t going to ask any more questions”

        NO I FUCKING DIDN’T! You’ve quoted me correctly before, “I don’t HAVE any more questions for you” (emphasis mine). Why are you misquoting me now, to make it look as if I changed my mind? I didn’t say “I won’t have”, I said “I don’t have”. Dude, do you even present tense?

        Steady on, chief. It’s not the end of the world.

        I quoted you before, I was paraphrasing you at this point. And my paraphrase was precisely how I interpreted your statement, all along.

        If you meant “I don’t have any questions right now, but tell me your opinion and I’ll see if I have a whole mess of increasingly in-depth follow-up questions,” you probably should have said that. I’m willing to bet dreameling wouldn’t have bothered to even try to explain things to you.

        Instead, you really strongly gave the impression (to me) that you were interested in dreameling’s opinion, and didn’t have any questions, ie. you weren’t about to start questioning said opinion if and when dreameling shared it with you. Your invitation was clearly designed to encourage rather than discourage his continued contribution. You didn’t invite debate. You just said that you were interested in seeing some offering of text / thoughts on the matter.

        If I can remind you, you said “I don’t have any more questions for you, but if you ever feel like explaining how the existence of a creature makes it not a god,[1] I would be fascinated to read about it. Or if this is theorized elsewhere and you can point me to it, I’m ready to read it!”

        Emphasis mine.

        Not “talk about it”, not “find out more about it”. “Read about it.” So fuck your knee-jerk mantrum.

        Don’t blame the reader when your words are misinterpreted. Certainly not when you write them so misleadingly. And certainly don’t get as shitty with the reader as you just did, when the reader misunderstands you. You’ve been guilty of saying “I’m not going to say any more” and then saying a heap more in the past. There was no justification for you going off like this.

        I’m snipping the rest of this because you instantly and unwarrantedly acted like a dick. And we’re done.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        You’re still being unjust and I was right to be offended. Especially now that you make it clear you think my whole attitude in that comment was some trick to make dreameling *think* I was genuinely interested.

        And you left out me doing exactly what you said I should have done!

        Observe:

        “Actually as Chucky can tell you, I rarely accept dead ends, LOL…but this could be very interesting. I don’t have any more questions for you, but if you ever feel like explaining how the existence of a creature makes it not a god,[1] I would be fascinated to read about it. Or if this is theorized elsewhere and you can point me to it, I’m ready to read it!”

        “I rarely accept dead ends”

        I think that’s clear enough, and it was a direct response to him warning me this would be a “dead end”. What. The. Fuck. Does that little comment of mine mean? Yeah, exactly. You know what it means. That’s why I used you as a reference! And you showed your understanding in your reply to that. So.

        OK? Have I established context now? Sure, I could write “I don’t have any questions right now, but tell me your opinion and I’ll see if I have a whole mess of increasingly in-depth follow-up questions,” as you said.

        But I wasn’t sure I would, so I was being genuine there.

        ‘Instead, you really strongly gave the impression (to me) that you were interested in dreameling’s opinion’

        I take this to mean I was faking that? It wasn’t genuine?

        ‘Your invitation was clearly designed to encourage rather than discourage his continued contribution. You didn’t invite debate. You just said that you were interested in seeing some offering of text / thoughts on the matter.’

        I trusted him to be able to convince me. I really did. So any misleading you think I did there was NOT that. It was all genuine.[1]

        Until he explained. Obviously. Of course I didn’t invite debate. I’m not supposed to debate you guys, remember? That’s problematic!

        But back to the point: NO. I thought he would blow me away with a convincing statement. My excitement was genuine and honest.

        For the 100th time, I am ALWAYS genuine and honest.[2] Damn it. Are you going to truly believe that one day?

        Also:

        ‘I’m willing to bet dreameling wouldn’t have bothered to even try to explain things to you.’

        Right, so why would I preemptively convince him not to respond to my question just as I am asking that question?

        [1] *Genuine response to being told I intentionally misled him deleted* [3]

        [2][3] Except when I am just silent, in case you consider that an exception.

        So, I think my being offended is justified. You said I glossed over a point, so, now I didn’t. Yay.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        *Cliff’s Notes* I am being a dick because you questioned my motives and concluded that I tricked dreameling into telling me his theory under false pretenses. In the long version I show that I didn’t. Unnecessarily, I would have thought.

        If we start questioning each other’s motives, where will that lead? I can do that better than anyone, by the way. I struggle every day not to. Please help me to stay that way.

      • dreameling says:

        I still end up with more points though.

        Fine. But I’m still taking my fair share.

        Even though it’s not really about the points.

        But it totally is.

      • stchucky says:

        You have a point there.

      • stchucky says:

        And you may be interested to note that, in making that last comment and then this one, I landed the 100th comment on this post. So more points to me.

      • dreameling says:

        ‘Tis a rare occurrence. You should post some statistics that show all 100-comments-or-more posts. One of the Hobbits got past that, at least, and maybe Spider-Woman.

      • stchucky says:

        The WordPress stats page is a pain in the balls and there doesn’t seem to be a way to get just the comments-counts, per post, over a certain period. Just comments-per-day, which spreads them across several days and all the posts commented on in that day.

        I don’t want to say I have better shit to do with my time … but I have better shit to do with my time.

      • dreameling says:

        It’s like you’re begging for that meme… but I’m just too lazy.

      • dreameling says:

        Edit: once posted, now ducking and covering.

        ACK RECEIPT OF MSG

        Look at the size of that thing.

        Dear God.

        Again, I thank you for your effort, sir, but I’m not digging into that now or even in the foreseeable future, because I just know that it would turn into another bandwidth-hogging monster, and I only have so much bandwidth. Not dismissing you or your work or anything like that.

        END MSG

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Fair enough, though only half (only, LOL) is really important to read, anyway. Also, I’ve said my piece, can’t imagine I’d argue back on any points. But let’s see if Hatboy can prove me wrong, there. LOL

        But I understand not having the time…look it took me a full week, or more, to find the time to shit out that monster.

      • stchucky says:

        Oh, I can get you. You’re easy.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Curse you, Shai’tan!

  3. aaronthepatriot says:

    “If I can interject with a moment of sanity:

    This is Chucky’s science-fiction. He’s not going to put Gods (or gods) into it. Just want to forestall a panic there.”

    I am only becoming more confused.

  4. brknwntr says:

    idk if this is going to work or not. my phone has decided to no longer wordpress.

  5. stchucky says:

    I should probably just go ahead and post Part 3 before you start a movement[1].

    [1] Political, religious, bowel, take your pick…

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