Nunes MemoPosted 1 year Ago

At 2/5/2018 9:53:38 PM, Swagnarok wrote:
At 2/5/2018 9:26:03 PM, A1tre wrote:
At 2/3/2018 10:32:36 AM, Swagnarok wrote:
House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Ca) published a "controversial" memo, which was recently declassified by order of the Trump administration, suggesting an anti-Trump bias within the FBI.
Carter Page, the foreign policy adviser for the Trump presidential campaign, was targeted for investigation by the FBI, then under the leadership of Director James Comey. To this end, they received a FISA Warrant (basically, a court order to investigate people suspected of espionage against the United States) against him, which was then renewed three times, every 90 days, as required by law. For the initial warrant, and for each renewal of the warrant, the FBI had to provide some sort of probable cause for the investigation.
In these warrant applications which provided probable cause, the "Trump Dossier" written by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer, was cited as an "essential" part of the probable cause.
What was not mentioned in these applications, however, was the fact that Steele had received $160,000 from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. This is significant because it poses a clear conflict of interest in the source of the information. At the time that these applications were issued, the FBI was aware of Steele's financial ties to the DNC and the Clinton campaign, yet they did not mention this in the applications and instead apparently treated the memo as coming from an unbiased source.
Furthermore, Steele had broken some "cardinal rules" of the FBI by directly giving classified information to the press, and by disclosing to the press his connections to the FBI. In a September 2016 conversation with Associate Deputy Attorney Bruce Ohr of the Department of Justice (DOJ), Steele admitted that he "was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president". The FBI knew about this conversation, and other evidences of Steele's anti-Trump biases, but none of it was mentioned in the FISA applications.

So what do you think?

I'm not sure I understand all of this but what does Steele's motives matter if his contribution was only use to further an investigation rather than convict anyone?

It matters because if the investigation stemmed from partisan biases rather than from the existence of a probable cause of criminal wrongdoing by the Trump campaign, well, then that's somewhat akin to the police randomly searching someone's home without a warrant because the local police chief has it out for the guy who lives there.
Granted, they got a permit, but the fact that the permit omitted information as important as the info's provider being an anti-Trump hack might be enough to nullify the warrant in the first place, and thus make any evidence obtained from the warrant, even if under normal circumstances more than enough to convict Trump, inadmissible in a court of law.
One caveat: I am not a lawyer, so I might not actually know what I'm talking about here, and be completely wrong as a result. But if nothing else, it makes the investigation look like a witch hunt, and a waste of taxpayer dollars.

Why are so many top officials of the FBI, mostly Rebuplicans with some appointed by Trump, denoncing the importance of this memo?

Because the memo doesn't prove that Trump's innocent of any of the stuff he's accused of. Trump way overstated how much the situation on the ground has been changed by the memo's release. There was also a Democratic response to the memo: as its authors also had access to classified information, it could perhaps dispute some elements of the memo. In short, the fact that this response has yet to be declassified means we don't have a complete picture of what happened with Steele.
As for the FBI and the intelligence community in general, well, some of the people involved are just deranged, rabid Trump haters, such as John O'Brennan, but most probably just want to downplay and dismiss something that makes their organization look bad. It's a fairly common practice in bureaucracies; even the Catholic Church tried to cover up the presence of sexual predators among their ranks.

It's just so hard to trust the media these days. You know Fox News will defend Trump to their death, and you know the leftist media will avoid comming clean with the truth when those who pose a threat to Trump are accused of misconduct.

Indeed.

Thanks for the response, it makes more sense to me now.
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Nunes MemoPosted 1 year Ago

At 2/3/2018 10:32:36 AM, Swagnarok wrote:
House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Ca) published a "controversial" memo, which was recently declassified by order of the Trump administration, suggesting an anti-Trump bias within the FBI.
Carter Page, the foreign policy adviser for the Trump presidential campaign, was targeted for investigation by the FBI, then under the leadership of Director James Comey. To this end, they received a FISA Warrant (basically, a court order to investigate people suspected of espionage against the United States) against him, which was then renewed three times, every 90 days, as required by law. For the initial warrant, and for each renewal of the warrant, the FBI had to provide some sort of probable cause for the investigation.
In these warrant applications which provided probable cause, the "Trump Dossier" written by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer, was cited as an "essential" part of the probable cause.
What was not mentioned in these applications, however, was the fact that Steele had received $160,000 from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. This is significant because it poses a clear conflict of interest in the source of the information. At the time that these applications were issued, the FBI was aware of Steele's financial ties to the DNC and the Clinton campaign, yet they did not mention this in the applications and instead apparently treated the memo as coming from an unbiased source.
Furthermore, Steele had broken some "cardinal rules" of the FBI by directly giving classified information to the press, and by disclosing to the press his connections to the FBI. In a September 2016 conversation with Associate Deputy Attorney Bruce Ohr of the Department of Justice (DOJ), Steele admitted that he "was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president". The FBI knew about this conversation, and other evidences of Steele's anti-Trump biases, but none of it was mentioned in the FISA applications.

So what do you think?

I'm not sure I understand all of this but what does Steele's motives matter if his contribution was only use to further an investigation rather than convict anyone?

Why are so many top officials of the FBI, mostly Rebuplicans with some appointed by Trump, denoncing the importance of this memo?

It's just so hard to trust the media these days. You know Fox News will defend Trump to their death, and you know the leftist media will avoid comming clean with the truth when those who pose a threat to Trump are accused of misconduct.
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The Origin of the UniversePosted 1 year Ago

At 12/6/2017 4:50:20 PM, keithprosser wrote:
At 12/6/2017 12:03:03 PM, A1tre wrote:
I must, however, consider the fact that I am mistaken and that I have either misunderstood or not yet heard of a theory that sufficiently explains the origins of the universe. That is why I ask you to comment your view should you feel compelled to do so. Thank you

I try to follow developments in that sort of area, and I haven't heard of a serious scientist saying anything definite about the 'origin of the universe'. The response that I remember was by Carlos Frenk when asked about it - he said 'I don't know'.

I think physicists enjoy speculating about and arguing about 'the orgin of the universe' just as much as 'ordinary' people do and there are all sorts of 'pet theories' out there with passionate supporters and equally committed dissenters, but proper scientists recognise that we lack the tools to do anything - except be totally baffled!

We (by which I mean those scientists who understand such things) rely on general relavitivity and quantum mechanics to understand the world and they can't be used to go before (or even at) the big bang. Fortunately there are lot of very clever people out there who are trying to solve the problems, but it looks more and more that it will need someone to out do Einstein in changing the way we view reality.

The view of reality we have today due to GR and QM would be considerd madness 100 years ago - time depends on velocity, there is no such thing as 'now', cats can be alive and dead at the same time... you'd get shoved in a padded cell for having such ideas not so long ago! So maybe (e.g.) something can come from nothing - it seems nonsense now, but things can change.

I think there is something we think is indisputable that is in fact wrong. It's probably an assumption we don't even know we are making and it will be an act of genius to identify and fix it.

I thank you for your informed opinion on this matter, I do hope science will continue to make advances and get closer to explaining the origin of the universe and thus existence.
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The Origin of the UniversePosted 1 year Ago

At 12/6/2017 10:27:56 PM, EtrnlVw wrote:

Consciousness (which may be in harmony with the nature of energy). I won't define it in anyway other way other than awareness. The Origin of the universe/universes are of a conscious aware state of being. We can start there. This is not misunderstood, actually it is thoroughly understood from a spiritual perspective.

From what I know or have come to believe so far, consciousness is based on a mind which again is based on a brain. It took all of evolution to create beings with brain capable enough of being self-aware. I assume you disagree with me on this.

In that light I ask you to provide a different explanation for awareness how you make the connection between consciousness and a state of the universe in which there are no brains yet.
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The Origin of the UniversePosted 1 year Ago

As one of the big questions in life I have always found this topic to be interesting. It helps us understand where we came from and why we exist.

For this discussion I will assume that the Universe is 13.7 billion years old (according to the Lambda-CDM concordance model) and that it started with the Big Bang. If you wish to challenge these assumptions, please open a new thread so that we may preserve clarity in our discussions.

Now right off the bat I will admit that I don't have any answer as to where our Universe originated from. However I will defend the notion that not settling for an answer until a sufficiently credible one has emerged is intellectually honest. Some might find a lack of answer discomforting, but I believe a strongly held belief should be based on rationality instead of emotions.

I must, however, consider the fact that I am mistaken and that I have either misunderstood or not yet heard of a theory that sufficiently explains the origins of the universe. That is why I ask you to comment your view should you feel compelled to do so. Thank you
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Could someone explain the is vs ought problemPosted 1 year Ago

At 12/5/2017 10:16:57 AM, keithprosser wrote:
At 12/4/2017 12:51:20 AM, A1tre wrote:

I disaree. A person born with the predisposition of becoming a psychopath who decides to torture kittens is commiting an immoral act, despite their lack of choice in the matter.

Consider a typhoid carrier who spreads the disease unwittingly. What they are doing just by walking around has bad consequences (ie many people dying horrible deaths) but is the carrier behaving immorally? In other words, is the unwitting carrier an immoral person?

I would say no. Clearly it would be immoral to spread typhoid on purpose - such a person could hardly complain if they were punished for it. But punishing a unwitting carrier of typhoid (say by jailing them with hard labour) seems unfair to me.

Interesting point.

My point is that its not straightforward to decide what counts as 'immoral behaviour' or an 'immoral person'. One can define 'immoral' as 'having bad consequences' and use that definition to declare the carrier 'immoral', but I think that is just refusing to face up to the real problem of what we mean by 'immoral'.

To agree on a set of morals is an immense task in itself, I won't deny that. But for now let's assume we can agree on a single act that is clearly immoral, e.g. torturing kittens. I justify that assumption by defining morality as principles of right and wrong behavior, where right behavior strives towards a flurishing of humanity and wrong behavior is to increase suffering. This is of course a simplistic and subjective definition, but I believe it will suffice for us to get back to the original question we were discussing.

One can consider a psychopath as a person with a brain that does not work properly - it does not make 'normal' moral judgements. I would differentiate a psychopath from an immoral person who can/does make normal moral judgements but chooses to act selfishly.

If we say a pyschopath has a brain that does not work properly, and take that fact to judge their behavior as amoral, what is to stop us from saying that any "ordinary" person's brain doesn't work properly because they somehow show too much egoism in life, and thus relieving them too of moral responsibility? I'm not convinced of this, I propose a different explanation:

The difference between my psychopath and your typhoid carrier is that the former is aware of the suffering he causes and is either unwilling or uncapable of acting otherwise, while the latter is unaware of the suffering he causes. It's the factor of consciosness that brings in moral responsibility. And truely, we can observe how psychopaths oftentimes strongly coerse themselves in order to adhere to the moral standards in society, allowing them to somewhat fit in.

Another disagreement we might have, and I'm sorry for opening up this pandora's box, is our view on free will. I believe a psychopath and a non-psychopath both face the constraints of the specific nature and nurture that has formed them. In that sense "ordinary" people have as little of a choice in their decisions as do psychopaths. The only difference is that the pyschopath has a genetic predisposition that makes him fail at developing an intuition and inner compass for moral behavior.
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Could someone explain the is vs ought problemPosted 1 year Ago

At 11/12/2017 5:45:37 PM, Unstobbaple wrote:
To me we are beings with a common set of desires. Of course their are outliers but hopefully they end up in jail or therapy before they become a tyrant or a killer.

From google:
"1. Is Ought. The is-ought fallacy occurs when the assumption is made that because things are a certain way, they should be that way.
2. It can also consist of the assumption that because something is not now occurring, this means it should not occur"

The second definition here seems more common. I know these are simplified but I don't have a philosophical bent.

As it applies to morality the question seems to be just because we have a common set of needs why ought we to pursue them? I guess that's a problem for autistics but who else? We all have a common set of desires in common so why is it some big dilemma as to why we should pursue our desires? The answer is that we will.

We've learned over time that a desire for forced sex is counter productive and that there are certain vices or desires that conflict with more important desires but we naturally develop systems that negotiate between competing desires.

I understand, I think, why this is an issue but why is it this large question with respect to objective and subjective morality? It seems like a technicality. We are all going to follow our desires which are very common among all humans so we are naturally going to balance competing desires in ourselves and while working with the more productive groups.

Maybe I'm just thinking that I don't appreciate the is vs ought/objective vs subjective is one of the most important questions with respect to ethics. We know we'll pursue them so the question is what is the best way to do that.

The question 'should it occur' seems irrelevant if it will occur.

The fact whether or not it will occur is to some degree dependent on what we think should occur.

Imagine a child rapist who is caught by the police.
Society A thinks he is possesed by evil and that evil should be eradicated. They lynch the rapist.
Society B does not believe in evil per se. They believe children should be protected from the harm caused by rapists. They send the rapist to a correctional facility in order to prevent further harm done to others.

In this case we don't know what will occur, until we think of what should occur.
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Could someone explain the is vs ought problemPosted 1 year Ago

At 11/13/2017 8:07:22 AM, keithprosser wrote:
At 11/12/2017 5:45:37 PM, Unstobbaple wrote:

The question 'should it occur' seems irrelevant if it will occur.

It's irrelevent if 'will occur' means 'must occur', but not if 'will occur' means 'may occur'. Ethics/morality only really apply if there is an element of choice - once something is inevitable the moral/ethical aspects have been and gone (apart from apportioning the blame, of course!).

I disaree. A person born with the predisposition of becoming a psychopath who decides to torture kittens is commiting an immoral act, despite their lack of choice in the matter.
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Theists Are AtheistsPosted 1 year Ago

At 10/12/2017 12:44:56 AM, Willows wrote:
.....and that comes straight from the mouths of theists.

I have heard it time and again, for example, a Muslim acquaintance of mine considers Christians to be atheists because they do not follow "the right religion".

Are you sure they are not simply considered "Unbelievers", which could be a reference not to a belief in God in general but instead to the belief of Muhammed being the last Prophet and the Quran being the true word of God?

Also, a JW acquaintance (who, unfortunately, is my father-in-law) rigidly maintains that not only are all other religions false but that all other Christian denominations are false and all such followers are "worldly".

My soon to be father-in-law denies evolution because it conflicts with his interpretation of the bible, despite him being a practicing medical doctor. Any tips on how to deal with such a situation?

So, given that, by their own standards, each denomination and each religion rejects all others, can we validly rule out all religions and let everybody live together in harmony as atheists?

I can't eloquently explain why it is, but I'm sure you are aware that this argument does not hold much convincing power.
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Original SinPosted 1 year Ago

At 10/12/2017 12:43:37 AM, EtrnlVw wrote:
At 10/12/2017 12:21:26 AM, A1tre wrote:
Greetings,
I've been thinking about this topic for a while as I have a hard time understanding the meaning of the entire concept of Original Sin combined with Christian doctrine. I was hoping to achieve some enlightenment by starting a conversation.

Let me sum up the essential parts of the story as I understand it:

God creates the Universe along with Adam and Eve and places them in the Garden of Eden. They disobey God by eating from the forbidden fruit and for that he exiles them to live, suffer and die.
Thousands of years go by and God sends his son, Jesus, down to earth. Jesus then sacrifices himself on the cross in order for those who accept him to reach salvation, relieving them from their Original Sin.

Please correct me if I have gotten something wrong so far, or if I left out any key parts of the story. My questions go as follows:

1.1) Why did God allow the option for Adam and Eve to disobey him?
1.2) Did God know in advance he would be disobeyed?
1.3) Could God have punished them less severely?

2.1) Why did the people who lived for thousands of years before Jesus have no salvation?
2.2) Why does the sacrifice open the door to salvation? Was it not possible for God to forgive otherwise?
2.3) How does it make sense that either the son of God or God himself, depnding on interpretation, has to be sacrificed to God for there to be salvation? Why don't the humans have to be involved in earning their pardoning?
2.4) Why aren't all humans saved, but instead only those who accept Jesus?

I'm sorry if these are naive questions, and I'll admit its very confusing to me. I would be interesteed in hearing how Christians explain and understand this part of their doctrine. Thank you in advance.

How would you like to do this? would you like to drag out the theology of tired old of tired old religious doctrines or would you like a fresh beginning here?
First, if you wish to stick with the tried old theology show me in Genesis where it claims an "original sin".
If you cannot provide any such details perhaps you would be open to a more realistic and applicable interpretation of what Genesis is about?
This supposed "original sin" is nonexistent in terms of what the actual account is revealing.
Original sin in terms of principles is just the flesh nature we are born with, and nothin more. Spirituality offers the remedy for that of course, and so goes the narrative of the Bible....
I can offer you a much more efficient and universal perspective here, and one that follows and makes sense.

It seems like you have an intriging viewpoint on this matter, I would gladly like to hear it.

How do you explain the banishment of human from paradise, the suffering and the salvation through Jesus?
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