God Less America

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    Oh! A buffet!



    i love antique shops!


    I need a new house.

    Luke Magnifico

    Wow! Cunningham are my favourite firm of realtors!


    the sign tells the truth


    Why does there have to be one?


    I wonder if the B was removed by an act of god or if godless hooligans vandalized it.


    Sad but true


    At last the phrase has been fixed.


    God less America – one can only hope.


    This was taken in the bible belt.:)


    I second that emotion. I don’t need a “god” to be a good person.


    You know I have never seen the logic in that point of view…

    My experience has been that it is not ones belief in an all seeing deity (or the lack thereof) that makes people a person good or bad.

    it seems that it is inherently the nature of each individual, and how they interpret the world around them that determines whether they decide to be good or bad. Their paradignm of the world, whether religious or not, seems to seep into everything, including how they interpret their religious texts (if they are theist) or how they define right and wrong (if they are secular).

    Both theists and atheists can be equally cruel or equally kind. Based on what I’ve seen, I think a persons individual belief system is generally just used as a means of rationalizing their actions, regardless of what they are…

    If a Godless America would mean a more benevolent America, I might agree with you, but unfortunately, greed, selfishness, cruelty, etc. do not seem to be the sole domain of religion, so I tend to doubt that would be the case…


    I think for the most part, this country has been a godless nation. Throughout most of its history, religion has not been invoked nor used as a reason for any given policy. The use of theistic language notwithstanding, w/ few exceptions, most arguments have been secular. I use religious terms all the time because they’re handy, vivid and understood by most, yet I am an atheist.

    Most people are not evil, regardless of their stand on religion and belief. Most people try to do good deeds, try to be a positive influence on those around them. Most people will try to interfere w/ those who want to do evil. Recognizing evil is a tad more complicated. Figuring out what works is a tad more complicated.


    nyokki: I think the “recognizing evil” is the part where people seem to get tripped up. I find that while people, in general, do not want to be considered evil, they do evil things, and tell themselves they are doing good.

    And I’m not a pessimist or anything, but from what I’ve seen, I think it’s more accurate to say people don’t want to be thought of as evil. But the vast majority of them aren’t nice either, and the fact that a person may not want to be perceived as evil does not make it so.

    The more irritating thing to me is that people do things to others that they would like to see someone do to them and still don’t think they are in the wrong. Socio/Psycho pathological personalities excluded, I don’t get that…


    Phyreblade: It is hard to recognize evil. It’s even harder to recognize your own evil-ness. Most people have a hard time being evil/mean/nasty face to face, but given any level of anonymity, it bleeds out of their pores, myself included. I don’t know how to deal w/ people that are always sure that they’re always right and good. Happily I don’t know any personally.


    nyokki: That is an interesting observation. I’ve noticed that peoples true colors tend to show if they know they can get away with whatever they want with impunity. And if there is one thing the internet has taught me, it is that people will be A$$holes when given anonymity.

    This is what leads me to believe that people are basically evil, not good. Evil is the natural state of humanity, kept in check only by the possibility of consequences.

    OK, So let me ask you this. Why are you evil? Why do you do evil things, knowing that they are evil?


    Nothing is right or wrong, it’s all a matter of opinions.


    Dreth: No, I disagree. It would be more accurate to say that no individual action is *inherently* wrong or right. However for every action, there is a scenario where it is wrong, and a scenario where it is right.

    There is a big difference between the concept of there being a complete absence of right/wrong, and that right and wrong are often highly subjective relative concepts that nonetheless still exist.

    My perspective is that just because a concept is a fabricated construct does not mean it cannot have an absolute frame of reference. Most people, if they actually think about it, will be able to tell you what is right and wrong, regardless of their background, culture, creed, belief system, etc.

    The fact that it is a construct does not make it any less real nor concrete, and regardless of the paradigm within which it is defined, I have yet to find a definition that did not have elements in common with every single other definition I have run across.

    Even people whose belief systems based on hypothetical models that eschew the traditional definitions of good and evil in favor of action and reaction are still painfully able to identify benevolent actions from malevolent ones.

    So I don’t believe that these ideas are as entirely relative as people like to argue…


    The only way you can say there’s some sort of instinct that tells apart the right and the wrong, is to completely prohibit any sort of influence that may trigger conscience or imitable behaviour.

    I don’t think it’ll ever happen because even in psychology, it’s unethical,


    Dreth: I am not arguing that there is an instinct that defines right and wrong. Far from it. In fact I think the assumption that right and wrong could possibly be an instinctual knowledge is deeply flawed. I think the very opposite is true, left to our instincts alone, there would, in fact be no such thing as right or wrong.

    The only reason that the concept of right and wrong exists is because as humans, we have an ability that no other creature on the planet possesses. The ability to reason.

    Right and wrong cannot be coherently determined by emotion, instinct or feelings. It is purely an intellectual construct, and as such, I believe it can only be properly defined by intellectual examination. This ability is common to every human, and is actually what I base my belief of the existence of a universal paradigm within which right and wrong can be defined.

    Not that right and wrong has nothing to do with feelings, but rather that intelligent thought *must* be applied to those feelings in order to develop any kind of rational definition for those constructs.


    I don’t even see it (right and wrong) only as result of our ability to reason. It’s what happens when we decide to live in a society. A man alone on an island needs no morals. One must ask What does it mean to live as a man among other men? What principles do we all need to agree upon? Now, it is by reason that we ask these questions and answer them. Does a pack of wolves have individual virtues? I don’t know that I use the word evil to mean anything other than an act that does 95%+ harm (I pulled that number out of thin air). There are people in my past that I would describe as nothing other than evil, maybe even pure evil. Why is anyone evil? Why does anyone choose to do evil? I don’t know, but I do think that they don’t think what they’re doing is evil. In some really skewed sense of virtue, they think they are doing right. There does appear to be people who believe they are evil, and must do evil things, but even there, they tend to think that there is an overall virtue in being evil. Something along the lines of being part of God’s great plan, which must include pure evil. They think they’re playing a part in God’s world.

    I hope there aren’t too many typos or contradictions because I’m not re-reading it to check it. 🙂




    nyokki: I disagree… I think right and wrong *has* to be about our ability to reason. I don’t think the ideas of right and wrong can be limited purely to our interaction with other humans. Evil actions can also be defined by how we treat other creatures, the earth, the environment, etc.

    A person who commits acts of cruelty to animals can be considered just as cruel as one who does so to humans, in spite of the fact that the concept of “evil” is foreign to an animal. it is their mindset that makes them evil. So clearly the definition goes beyond just how we interact, and must be defined as a part of any individuals reasoning process.

    IE The individual is evil by virtue of how they think, regardless of whether or not they are given the opportunity to demonstrate it by their actions. This way of thinking also allows us to account for the latent *propensity* for evil, regardless of whether they are put in the position of acting out their evil or not.

    This is why I believe it has to be a function of our ability to think, and not just a by-product of interacting with other thinking creatures.

    So far as peoples self perception of what is evil, or good, I find that the vast majority of people who do evil things, ironically also express a desire to avoid the displeasure of experiencing that very same evil they have perpetuated upon others.

    It is true that there are some evils that are hard to identify. But most are not, except to the mentally unstable. My experience has been that the rest either cannot, or otherwise simply do not perform the introspection required to make that determination in a logical fashion. But almost everyone has the ability, which is a source of great frustration for me…

    If you would like, I would be honored to tutor you in the use of paragraphs… Say for a nominal fee of 9000 internets? 😀


    Phyreblade: You’re saying that humans have the ability to be evil in a way other animals cannot, by virtue of our ability to reason? I can see that.

    Animals w/in a group also seem to have some ability to be good or evil, w/in the context of what’s good for the group. It certainly seems to be the case w/in primate groups and that would make some sense.

    This is why I believe it has to be a function of our ability to think, and not just a by-product of interacting with other thinking creatures.

    We don’t disagree on this. It is more or less what I said coming from the other direction.

    I don’t…see it (right and wrong) only as result of our ability to reason.

    People may wish to avoid being a victim of their own cruel ways, but it usually because they have already been the victim of someone else’s cruel ways. I think every one of them have justified it in their own mind somehow. Whatever twisted logic they use, they do use it.


    nyokki: Well I think you are making a similar argument, but not quite the same argument. Good and evil, from my perspective, would have no meaning to animals, because regardless of what they do, they do not use reason to determine their actions.

    They may use their intelligence to form action/result relationships, and even engage in behavior that could be harmful to the group or themselves. But they do not do so with a “big picture” understanding of what they are doing. They do not “reason”, they simply react to what their instincts tell them to do. It’s not quite the same as what we do.

    If I extrapolate from that, then I can define the constructs of good and evil *only* as a result of reason, and *nothing* else, like instinct or anything like that, which was not the impression I got you were arguing.

    And while I agree that evil people generally do have some logic to justify their evil actions, the problem is that their logic isn’t sound. Saying, for instance, “I do it because someone else did it to me, and that is the way of the world.” Is circular logic.

    It ignores the fact that they did not like it when it was done to them, and that in spite of the fact they they, unlike animals, have a choice, and can choose to do something else, they chose to perpetuate the wrong that was visited upon themselves. There is no honest logic there, only highly flawed rationalization for self gratification…


    Phyreblade: More or less. I think that it’s possible to abuse a person (usually a child) to the extent that logic is not part of their world. Logic doesn’t allow what’s happened to them, it has no meaning. We have to learn nearly everything. We’re not really tabula rasa, but we are certainly born w/ fewer instincts than any other animal. We have the capacity for reason, that doesn’t mean we’ve actually learned it.

    I would also say that evil comes from a lack of reason. Some evil people are evil because they’ve allowed their primitive brain to rule them. We’ve certainly seen it people that have demonstrable brain damage. They may not be 100% responsible for their actions, but that doesn’t lessen the evil they do. Some seem to recognize that reason exists, but have no clue how to employ it, so they end up trying to copy what they don’t understand. These people will stick to their flawed arguments, regardless of proof against them. Again, something we see to a lesser extent in other arguments (e.g. religion, philosophy, psychology).


    Look ma…paragraphs! 🙂


    nyokki: Oh Miracle of Miracles!! There be paragraphs here! 😛 🙂

    But yes, I agree, good points about the effects of abuse. I think that some people who are abused do end up reverting to instinctual responses as a coping mechanism to handle what they see around them, and end up having that response so hard coded into their psyche, that they never learn how to objectively apply reason to any situation.

    Another interesting thing I found, I think I read a study about it, is that when people become angry, excessively emotional, or even obsessed with something, their IQ apparently drops several points, as their instinctual brain centers actually override their logical thought process.

    I know this phenomenon is common, amygdalya hijacking is a very well recognized phenomenon, especially where great emotion, such as anger, fear or sadness is involved, I just hadn’t realized how much the same mechanism affects ones ability to reason even when people aren’t actually angry.

    That might explain peoples narrow mindedness of thought with regards to philosophy, psychology, religion, etc. There are days when I humans could just turn that part of our brains off. But then life really wouldn’t be much fun now would it… 🙂


    Phyreblade: We should teach a class on how to argue a point and reach relative agreement.


    That’d be a fucking boring class.

    We want, nay, we NEED chaos. It’s the only thing that keeps life interesting.


    Dreth: Chaos only works when it’s defined as opposed structure.


    LOL yeah, a class might be fun, though I couldn’t help but wonder if Dreth was right about the possibility of it being boring as mud… 🙂

    Though I also agree that Chaos does not exist unless order exists… And I’d also add that I think it is variety, and not necessarily chaos, that makes life interesting. Even though variety is often a byproduct of chaos, variety can also be had even in order.

    For some reason people always seem to assume the opposite is *always* true…


    Variety is good. But then there’d be some butt-tard so ‘varied’ that he’ll think he’s among all the other variations and begin cussing them out and telling them they suck. Then the bigger group goes against the butt-tard, but then some of the same group see some benefits for the butt-tard’s radical, yet obstructed, thinking and will secede.

    There will be a battle and after the bigger group wins, they will wonder if it was worth it, some will make an organization for cherishing the fallen ones and bringing support, while there will be people in protest of using funds for just ‘praising dead people’. This will surge into another argument and probably another war.

    We’re so susceptible to chaos! IT KEW’


    Chaos is needed because we seem to have a need to not know how it’s going to end. We think we want to know, but are disappointed when we get it right, like it was too easy or something. If it’s easy, we get bored. If it’s simple we get bored. If it’s understood, we get bored. The unknown and our unease w/ it is somehow very important to our sense of well being.


    Dreth: LOL ok then…

    nyokki: Perhaps we are just looking at it differently, but my definition of order does not preclude the unknown or unpredictable. It simply organizes what is.

    If all that is required in order to preclude boredom is unpredictability, variety and/or the enigmatic, I’m not sure that chaos is a necessity. At least not in my paradigm of the universe anyway. 🙂

    Order and organization is, at best, a good predictor of outcomes, not a precognitive tool. I do not believe that order requires absolute control, in fact I think that is impossible. But I could also be defining chaos in overtly broad terms…


    Phyreblade: There’s a balance between order and chaos that needs to be maintained. Too much order and you stagnate. Too much chaos and everything falls apart.

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