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User talk:Philip J. Rayment/Archive 13

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Contents

Omphalism

Not personally directed at you Philip... but since there seems to be a far amount of debate between you and Awc above, about precise scientific details...

What about omphalism — does it not overcome all scientific difficulties you could throw at it?

I am actually a semi-omphalist rather than an omphalist. By which I mean, the omphalist claims the universe did not exist before time t, even if it might appear it does; whereas the semi-omphalist has no opinion of whether or not the universe existed before time t. Maybe itt looks like it did, but whether or not it actually did: the omphalist position is "No, regardless of what appears"; the non-omphalist position is "Yes, assuming it does indeed appear that way"; the semi-omphalist position is "Don't know, regardless of how it may appear to some"...

The thing I like about this position, is it gets rid of the whole scientific debate between creationism and evolutionism... it permits us to simply file that away and move on to other things... Even if the evolutionists are "right", they still haven't proven anything by the measure of semiomphalism... Maratrean 11:48, 2 June 2011 (UTC)

See the article Omphalos hypothesis. For my part, I believe the job of science is only to say how things appear to be, even though somebody might be deceiving us. --Awc 12:56, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
"the job of science is only to say how things appear to be" -> most scientists don't claim they are dealing in appearances, but rather in realities. So most scientists have a different view of the job of science than what you suggest
"even though somebody might be deceiving us" -> is deception the right word? or simply false assumption? to infer the past from the present, you must make certain assumptions (e.g. a certain degree of temporal uniformity of nature); if those assumptions are false, has anyone deceived you? Maratrean 13:34, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
What about omphalism — does it not overcome all scientific difficulties you could throw at it? No, it sidesteps them by not being scientific. Actually, your question ignores, as so many secular scientists do, that a study of the past is more history than science.
...this position ... gets rid of the whole scientific debate between creationism and evolutionism... No, it excludes itself from the debate, which continues regardless.
...most scientists don't claim they are dealing in appearances, but rather in realities. So most scientists have a different view of the job of science than what you suggest Very true. This is effectively the same situation as those who claim that "science" (a secular view of origins) doesn't disprove a God, whereas most scientists actually believe that it effectively does disprove it. Also, this point is one reason why Omphalism doesn't get rid of the debate; because the debate is about what actually happened, not over appearances.
is deception the right word? or simply false assumption? to infer the past from the present, you must make certain assumptions (e.g. a certain degree of temporal uniformity of nature); if those assumptions are false, has anyone deceived you? No, it's not the right word (at least in a biblical-view sense). This (again) is the same as those who claim that if the world is only 6,000 years old then God must be a deceiver because He made it look older, completely ignoring that God can't be a deceiver if He said that it is only 6,000 years old. That's like a furniture place that makes reproduction old furniture and explicitly sells it as "reproduction" furniture being accused of deception because they make it look old.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 12:39, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
bad example. a person can make a reproduction by using old materials, wood, laquer etc and the construction methods of the time. Where did God get materials older than 6000 years ? did he scavange an old existing universe, or did he create them old ? If he created them old he was setting up to trick any investigators and is therefore deceptive, or he wants people to get false answers so he can say "you fools, listen only to me, you are too stupid to get the correct answers, because I set it up for you to fail" Hamster 15:56, 12 June 2011 (UTC)
Bringing two threads of this discussion together, Hamster wrote in the Even Moar section above:

think it through Philip, "fake" period furniture is possible because the maker can use old wood, old laquer and duplicate the construction methods of the time. They are planning on deceiving the buyer. Reproduction furniture may use recent wood, new materials like shellac, and old construction methods. It only looks old on the surface and any study of it will find the true age.

You are actually proposing a straw-man argument, because you are answering a different analogy than the one I used. My analogy was with someone creating reproduction furniture and declaring it to be a reproduction. Your scenario is of someone "planning on deceiving the buyer". That was not my analogy, so that is your straw-man. You implicitly claim that non-deceitful reproduction can only be done with new materials, but this is clearly not the case. There is nothing legally nor physically stopping a person creating reproduction furniture from using old materials whilst still declaring to buyers that it is a reproduction.
There is a further flaw in your logic. You say that a study of the reproduction furniture made with new materials will find its true age. This is possible because we have materials (wood, shellac, etc.) known by historical means to be old—and others known to not be old—to compare the reproduction with. For example, we might know from historical records that a particular type of shellac was only made between the 1920s and the 1940s, and another type has only been made since the 1990s. So we can compare the shellac of the reproduction to see which it matches.
But what old and new planets do we have that we know from historical records to be old or new, to compare ours with? Simply, we don't. We essentially only have this one, and are trying to determine its age not by comparison with others of known age, but with other techniques altogether. And those techniques mostly assume an old Earth to begin with!
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 00:12, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
well no actually. Hamster 00:44, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
"No" to what, precisely? No there are no planets known from historical sources to be old and young to compare against? Glad you agree! Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 01:12, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
No to your bad comparison, unrealistic analogy, flawed reasoning and improper logic. Attempting to compare fake furniture with a fake universe is just sucky. My personal God, the Fluffy Bunny of Bavaria, long may her cottony tail wiggle, made the universe yesterday, Prove me wrong. Hamster 03:32, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
No to your bad comparison, unrealistic analogy, flawed reasoning and improper logic. How is it those things? [It] is just sucky. Oh, I see. So no actual argument, just assertion of your opinion.
Attempting to compare fake furniture with a fake universe... Maybe that's your problem—that's not what I was doing. I was comparing something that appeared to be old (to some people) but which was stated to be young to demonstrate that it's invalid to accuse the manufacturer of being deceptive.
My personal God, the Fluffy Bunny of Bavaria, long may her cottony tail wiggle, made the universe yesterday, Prove me wrong. What would you accept as proof? What paradigm am I expected to work within?
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 06:33, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
the point is not if he is telling the truth. The issue is can you identify a lie. For a furniture maker you can test chemically and see if his finish is a genuine old recipe or a new polyurethane finish. You can do a layer analysis and try to identify if the shellac was applied in layers, and look for any inclusions like pollen grains that will support the times. etc etc etc.
go your hardest. The FBB is not malicious. What proof can you offer that the Universe is actually older than yesterday rather than just having an appearance of age.?
the point is not if he is telling the truth. The issue is can you identify a lie. No, the point is whether you can accuse someone of being deceptive when they are telling the truth. If God said that the world is only 6,000 years old, and if it really is only 6,000 years old, you can't accuse Him of deception just because it appears to you to be older.
go your hardest. You didn't answer my questions about what you would accept as proof.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 00:47, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
how do you know the furniture maker is telling the truth ? You cannot provide any proof of a world older than yesterday in exactly the same way that you will not accept any evidence the world is older than 6000 years. Same evidence , same arguements. Hamster 01:10, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
I never said that you could know if the furniture maker is telling the truth. The point was the principle that you can't accuse him of being deceptive if he claims the furniture is young and it is young, regardless of how it looks.
Are you dropping your request that I prove your fluffy bunny claim wrong?
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 01:22, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
Making something look like something it isn't is deceptive. There is no reason for it other than deception. Jaxe 03:48, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
Yet an example of making something look like something it isn't without being deceptive has already been provided! Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 13:15, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
Furthermore, in the case of creation, nobody has yet shown that God intended to make it look old. The argument is that (a) It looks old, therefore (b) God deliberately made it look old, yet if (c) it is young, (d) God is deceptive. The counter-argument is that as God said it wasn't old, He can't be accused of deception if it is, indeed, young. However, claim (a) has not been established in an objective sense (how does one know what an "old" planet looks like, given that we have not seen planets age to be able to compare them), and therefore claim (b) has not been established. In fact, even if claim (a) was established, claim (b) doesn't necessarily follow without a further claim, which so far has not been made. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 13:22, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
Fake furniture is deceptive. Just because the buyer and the seller are in on the deception makes no difference. The goal is too make something look like something it isn't to everybody else. The world is full of socially-accepted deception, everything from fake christmas trees to fake breasts. The goal is to the trick the viewer, at least at first glance.
Is there anything in this universe that god didn't intend? That would kinda imply it isn't really in control. Jaxe 14:17, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
It could indeed often be the case that the seller is not deceptive but the buyer is, in wanting to pass the furniture off to friends as the genuine article. But he could also have other reasons, such as simply liking the older style of the items. We have a "fake" Christmas tree, but not in order to be deceptive, just for convenience (no pine-needle litter, can re-use it year after year). So you still fail to actually make your case.
Is there anything in this universe that god didn't intend? That would kinda imply it isn't really in control. Yes, that is part of the "further claim, which [had] so far not been made". But note two things: (i) This also assumes that God didn't have some other, non-deceptive, reason for making things look old, so your further claim has not been shown to be necessary, and (ii) you have not even addressed my point that you haven't shown (a).
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 15:47, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
The reason does not matter. Deception is deception however you spin it. Jaxe 16:30, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
(outdent) If you belive you can prove that the world was not created yesterday, then please do so, I could use a laugh.
I never said that you could know if the furniture maker is telling the truth. The point was the principle that you can't accuse him of being deceptive if he claims the furniture is young and it is young, regardless of how it looks. How do you know it is young ? Could he be passing off an actual old piece as a reproduction ? Are you saying God could be lying about a young earth, but you have proof it is young ? An instantly grown tree is a lie, because by what we can find out about the world , trees take time to grow. Poofing one into existance with growth rings is providing misleading evidence, even if God tells you what he has done. Why that 6,000 year old tree , and not the one next to it ? what shows that God made one and not the other. ? Hamster 19:25, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
The reason does not matter. Deception is deception however you spin it. False. Deception as a bad character trait is only deception if you intend to deceive.
If you belive you can prove that the world was not created yesterday, then please do so, I could use a laugh. Why do you keep asking me to prove it but keep failing to explain what you would accept as proof? This sounds like badgering.
How do you know it is young ? Didn't you read the bit where I said "if...it is young"? It's like me asking what you would do if you were offered a trip to China, and instead of answering, you ask how I know if you were offered the trip. That it is young is part of the scenario we are talking about. Whether that scenario matches reality is irrelevant to the question.
An instantly grown tree is a lie, because by what we can find out about the world , trees take time to grow. A lie, as a bad character trait, is only a lie if it is intended to deceive. If you honestly believe that A is true, and tell somebody that, but A is false, are you lying or mistaken? You would be rightly offended if I accused you of lying in a case where you made an honest mistake. So to repeat, a lie is only a lie if the intention to deceive exists. In God's case, of course, He won't be mistaken either, but if there was some reason to make something appear old other than to deceive, then you can't accuse Him of lying or deception. (See further comments below.)
Poofing one into existance with growth rings is providing misleading evidence, even if God tells you what he has done. So you keep asserting, but you completely fail to explain how it is misleading given that He has told you the truth. Simply repeating the assertion in other ways does not an argument make.
Your claim also implies (but you don't show this to be true) that the only reason for the existence of growth rings is because of age. Now this may be true, and for that very reason, creationists have thought that we might find fossils of trees without growth rings, and that Adam would not have had a belly button (because he was not physically born). However, these arguments fail if it turns out that there are other reasons for these features. I don't recall if a(nother) reason for growth rings has been discovered, but I have read that the belly button is also the anchoring point for something else, so perhaps Adam did have a belly button after all. Anyway, to return to the point, the existence of growth rings on freshly-created trees may in fact not be deceptive, even if you showed that they had them, which of course you haven't.
Why that 6,000 year old tree , and not the one next to it ? what shows that God made one and not the other. ? Signs of deterioration would be one way. When Adam was created, it was as an adult. So he would, superficially, have looked like he'd been around for, say, 20 years. However, he would not have had any features that only come with age, such as scars, wrinkles, etc. My point is that there are probably some things that would be different—even if those things are subtle—if you stop and think about it rather than simply mock the idea.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:15, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
I told you a while back that I will use the same standards of proof that you seem to apply for a young earth.
I believe that God being God does not have the capacity to say something he believes is true , while it is in fact untrue. That is not a Godly attribute, He knows all, and so every utterance is either truth or falsehood, never a misunderstanding.
So your position is that sin only occurs if you are aware that it is sinful ?
I believe the Bible teaches that man , by his efforts , can study Gods creation and find answers. What answers does he find when he studies trees, finds how they grow, and then are faced with trees that did not grow, and appear older than they actually are ? Isnt God setting man up to fail ? is his lesson that man by his own efforts can not find truth , and should only listen to what God says, and wallow in squalor and ignorance because thats what God wants of his chosen people ?
are you saying God created mature trees that did not have growth rings ?
where do you get your information on if Adam had age wrinkles ?
if we study a tree now, would it not have signs of deterioration, regardless of its status 6000 years ago ? How would you tell if it was a 5 year old tree when God created it, rather than a 5995 year old tree that grew from the seeds of the first ? Hamster 03:39, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
Making something look older than it is is deceptive. It intentionally hides the true age. Jaxe 08:15, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
"Looking older" is not an inherent property of the thing itself, it is a property of our interpretations of that thing. So, I don't see how God making a world which looks older to us makes God a deceiver, if the "looking older" is a consequence of the set of assumptions we've chosen, as opposed to any God has imposed. Maratrean 08:42, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
I told you a while back that I will use the same standards of proof that you seem to apply for a young earth. Not in the context of this conversation I didn't. And I don't believe you would. That is, why would you accept what I consider to be "proof"? But to put that to the test, I work within the worldview that the Bible is true. If that is how you want me to "prove" that your fluffy bunny story is wrong, then the "proof" is easy: The Bible says that the world was created by Yahweh, and as your story doesn't fit with my worldview, your story is therefore shown to be wrong.
Now I'm sure that you will respond that your story not fitting with the Bible is not a good reason to reject your story, and I would agree, but I gave this reason because that is what you asked for: I will use the same standards of proof that you seem to apply for a young earth. If that is not actually the sort of thing you would accept as proof, then please give a clearer explanation of what you would accept as proof. To give you a hint, would you accept (a) scientific evidence, (b) documentary evidence, (c) eyewitness testimony, etc.? And do you want me to answer within a worldview that (i) God exists, (ii) that God doesn't exist, (iii) that the fluffy bunny exists, or what?
I believe that God being God does not have the capacity to say something he believes is true , while it is in fact untrue. Of course. So He can't be deceptive, yet that is the accusation.
So your position is that sin only occurs if you are aware that it is sinful ? No, I was not saying that. Are you simply exploring my views, or disagreeing with my claim that a person can't be accused of lying if they say something they honestly believe to be true? A person driving on the wrong side of the road without realising he was doing the wrong thing is still committing an offence.
What answers does he find when he studies trees, finds how they grow, and then are faced with trees that did not grow, and appear older than they actually are ? When does that happen?
is his lesson that man by his own efforts can not find truth , and should only listen to what God says, and wallow in squalor and ignorance because thats what God wants of his chosen people ? Not at all. But his message might be that what we do study on our own efforts should be within the framework that He created.
are you saying God created mature trees that did not have growth rings ? No, I am not saying that. Read my comments again. I said that might be the case, but also that it might not be.
where do you get your information on if Adam had age wrinkles ? It's a logical deduction from the historical record.
if we study a tree now, would it not have signs of deterioration, regardless of its status 6000 years ago ? Yes, if it was that old. Of course all such trees would have been destroyed by the flood (although it's feasible that we could find fossils of them).
How would you tell if it was a 5 year old tree when God created it, rather than a 5995 year old tree that grew from the seeds of the first ? I don't know, but as I said, there are probably some things that would be different—even if those things are subtle—if you stop and think about it rather than simply mock the idea. That's what science does; look for things that test between different hypotheses.
Making something look older than it is is deceptive. It intentionally hides the true age. Simply reasserting the claim does not make it true. Try addressing my refutations of that claim.
Maratrean, your're spot on. I was trying to say that, but you've expressed it well.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 09:31, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
It's not a claim, it's a definition. That's what the word means. It's pretty amusing watching you try and squirm your way out of this one. Yet again you're going to have to redefine a word so your worldview makes sense. Soon you'll have the entire dictionary translated to your new god-friendly language. Jaxe 12:09, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
The FBB wrote your Bible, the Torah, the Vedas. She loves filling in detail.
I am of course not talking strictly physical appearance, but rather the physical characteristics which can be examined in detail.
You can assert that deliberately giving a false character to something is not being deceptive until you turn blue. It does not make it true. If God said to study his creation, and faked things at the time of creation then by definition he is being deceptive. We know a lot about biological processes, nutrient take up by plants, cellular growth and developement of fruit, so poofing an apple tree with fruit is a deliberate fake which will mislead investigators. Was that Gods intent ?
It's a logical deduction from the historical record. I do not find it so. Perhaps I give God more credit than you do. If God created a 20 year old man then I would expect him to show all the appearance of a 20 year old man.
Hamster 13:49, 15 June 2011 (UTC)

Omphalism part b

Your analogy of a person creating reproduction furniture to explore the creation of an Earth with apparent age is what we are discussing. An analogy that does not reflect the same situation is flawed.

  • God does not have the capacity of unintentional misstatements. So using that in an analogy is incorrect.
  • If God said that you should explore his creation , but made it impossible to get correct answers then he is being deceptive by definition. There may be a reason but its still deception.
  • What answers does he find when he studies trees, finds how they grow, and then are faced with trees that did not grow, and appear older than they actually are ? When does that happen? say Adam studied plant growth so he could farm and feed himself. He sees a tree grow and it takes 20 years to get to a specific height. He remembers the trees in the Garden and thinks ' gee those must have been a hundred years old to get so big'. He is obviously wrong and has been misled by the evidence available to him. Hamster 14:05, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
It's not a claim, it's a definition. No, it was a claim. A definition starts with the word and explains what it means. You started with an example and applied a word to it.
That's what the word means. So the word "deception" means "Making something look older than it is", does it? Please find me a dictionary that gives that as the definition of "deception".
It's pretty amusing watching you try and squirm your way out of this one. Except that I'm not squirming.
Yet again you're going to have to redefine a word so your worldview makes sense. You're the one claiming that your claim is a definition, so you're the one redefining words.
The FBB wrote your Bible, the Torah, the Vedas. She loves filling in detail. As you are clearly not bothering to answer my question with a sensible answer, that part of the discussion is over.
I am of course not talking strictly physical appearance, but rather the physical characteristics which can be examined in detail. As was I.
You can assert that deliberately giving a false character to something is not being deceptive until you turn blue. It does not make it true. Not because I assert it, no, but then I wasn't asserting that "deliberately giving a false character" was not being deceptive. Rather, I was talking about deliberately giving a character that is not what you would expect, for valid reasons. You are making a circular argument, because you are including the concept of deceit in the premise ("deliberately giving a false character") in order to conclude that it's deceitful. Try wording it as "deliberately creating it as mature" then you'll see that it's not inherently deceitful.
If God said to study his creation, and faked things at the time of creation... But I'm not talking about God "faking" things; I'm talking about God creating things fully mature rather than growing them from seeds or etc. (which wouldn't solve your issue anyway, as you could argue that seeds show a history of being produced by trees).
If God created a 20 year old man then I would expect him to show all the appearance of a 20 year old man. If you are talking about things like scars, why?
An analogy that does not reflect the same situation is flawed. This premise to your following argument is flawed. No analogy is perfect, or, in other words, no analogy reflects the situation it is analogous to in all respects. That, however, does not make analogies flawed, else we would never use them. The proper question is whether the analogy reflects the same situation in respect of a relevant part.
God does not have the capacity of unintentional misstatements. So using that in an analogy is incorrect. The point of the analogy was merely to show that there can be reasons why creating something with an appearance of age need not be deceitful. To that extent, the analogy was valid, and I have already acknowledged that it's not valid insofar as the particular reason is concerned.
If God said that you should explore his creation , but made it impossible to get correct answers then he is being deceptive by definition. No, that is not the definition of deception, and having one "non-natural" feature (a superficial appearance of age) does not make it "impossible" to get correct answers. It just means that you have to be careful what you assume about things, such as assuming that maturity is necessarily related to age.
He remembers the trees in the Garden and thinks ' ... those must have been a hundred years old to get so big'. He is obviously wrong and has been misled by the evidence available to him. Clearly not, once you take into account that God told him that it was all freshly created. God's testimony is part of the evidence that he has to take into account.
Let's try a different line of discussion: If God was to create things instantly (as opposed to, say, using evolutionary processes), how should He create them to not be "deceptive"?
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 15:04, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
Now you're just playing dumb. I am immune to your red herrings. Very silly. Here is the Oxford English Dictionary definition of 'deception':
1a: The action of deceiving or cheating.
1b: The fact or condition of being deceived.
2: That which deceives; a piece of trickery; a cheat, sham.
And of 'deceive':
1: To ensnare; to take unawares by craft or guile; to overcome, overreach, or get the better of by trickery; to beguile or betray into mischief or sin; to mislead. Obs. (or arch.)
2a: To cause to believe what is false; to mislead as to a matter of fact, lead into error, impose upon, delude, ‘take in’.
Making something look older than it is, thereby hiding the true age, meets that definition (2a of deceive). It misleads. So it's perfectly valid to call god deceptive if that's what he did. Jaxe 15:29, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
Now you're just playing dumb. I am immune to your red herrings. How am I playing dumb? And what red herrings? Answers please.
Here is the Oxford English Dictionary definition of 'deception': Very good. Now you are giving a definition, but failing to admit that your previous claim of a definition was wrong. Can't admit when you are wrong? Note that the definition you selected as the appropriate one has causality included, which your previous "definition" didn't have.
Making something look older than it is, thereby hiding the true age, meets that definition (2a of deceive). Err, no, it doesn't (necessarily). How can somebody telling you that the thing you think looks old is actually young—i.e. telling you the truth—be causing you to believe what is false? They can't. If you have been misled into thinking it's old, it's because you have chosen to ignore what you were told, so you have misled (deceived) yourself.
Oh please, Jaxe. Isn't this Wiki supposed to be family friendly? Just act calm and everything will turn out right. Wekn reven i susej eht 08:41, 16 June 2011 (UTC)
I think it's pretty obvious to anyone reading where you pretended to misunderstand me. I'm not going discuss it any more because that is a deliberate tactic on your part to make the discusssion about the discussion. Another attempt to obfuscate and divert.
So back to the point (try and stay on it):
Altering the look of something to hide it's true age. "Oh but he said he did that!". Not good enough. The action itself is deceptive, regardless of any mitigating factors. It may be that god being honest about his deception is good enough for you to forgive him, but that's your choice. Since I don't believe he's real, I don't even have the confession of deception, just the evidence of an old earth. Jaxe 10:43, 16 June 2011 (UTC)
I think it's pretty obvious to anyone reading where you pretended to misunderstand me. I'm not going discuss it any more because that is a deliberate tactic on your part to make the discusssion about the discussion. Another attempt to obfuscate and divert. Translation: "Having thrown a few accusations at you that I can't substantiate, I'll pretend that your requests for evidence are diversions so that I can avoid looking like I can't substantiate them." Sorry, it won't wash. I insist that you justify your claims.
So back to the point (try and stay on it): How about you stay on it instead of throwing mud with comments like Now you're just playing dumb. I am immune to your red herrings. Very silly.?
Not good enough. The action itself is deceptive, regardless of any mitigating factors. More unsubstantiated assertion. Don't you have anything of substance?
Since I don't believe he's real, I don't even have the confession of deception, just the evidence of an old earth. And I have evidence of a young Earth.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 11:11, 16 June 2011 (UTC)
Hah, brilliant. I decline to discuss the discussion so you attempt to discuss the refusal to discuss the discussion. Very silly. I'm not playing your game.
This is why your blog gets so few comments these days; your inability to have a straight conversation.
Back to the point: Your superstitions do not permit you to describe god as deceptive, whatever he does. Despite god hiding the true age of the universe and then hiding his confession of doing so, you still cannot use the word. Jaxe 11:49, 16 June 2011 (UTC)
  • since we know by observation that plants grow from seeds that come from other plants , and that they go through a specific growth cycle over a period of time, that establishes the physical characteristics of plants.
  • Say a merigold takes three months from seed to plant
  • God creates a merigold (poofs it into existance)
  • God has just created a new merigold with the pyhsical character of a 3 month old plant.
  • God says , I just made this
  • God says study my creation
  • Man studies his creation and concludes the merigold was 3 months old
there is a conflict between Gods word , and the physical reality and raises the question of why did God, who was believed truthful, deliberately (because there are no slip-ups with Gods actions) mislead mankind ? In passing God never says he created a young Earth, but regardless of its age he created an earth with the appearance and physical character of an older planet. Hamster 15:01, 16 June 2011 (UTC)
Hah, brilliant. I decline to discuss the discussion so you attempt to discuss the refusal to discuss the discussion. Very silly. I'm not playing your game. In other word, continued refusal to justify your accusations. It's not a game; as I said, I insist that you justify your accusations.
This is why your blog gets so few comments these days; your inability to have a straight conversation. What about your inability to justify your accusations?
Back to the point: Your superstitions do not permit you to describe god as deceptive, whatever he does. The point? The point is not you mischaracterising me has having superstitions. The point is that you throw mud but can't mount a coherent argument.
Any further posts by you here will be removed if you fail to justify your accusations.
God has just created a new merigold with the pyhsical character of a 3 month old plant. Argument by assertion. All you have shown is that God has created a new marigold that resembles a three-month-old marigold in one respect.
Man studies his creation and concludes the merigold was 3 months old Why would man conclude that, given God's clear statement? It certainly doesn't follow from man studying His creation. Man can quite easily study the marigold and see how it converts sunlight to food, respirates, draws nutrients from the ground, and many other things. In fact one of the things that man would not conclude in this circumstance is that it was three months old, if for no other reason than that man has not, at that stage, seen a marigold go through such a life cycle.
there is a conflict between Gods word , and the physical reality Absolutely not. The "physical reality" is that God just created the marigold. What the conflict is between is God's word and man's opinion, given that he hasn't actually seen the marigold for three months. Even if man had seen other marigolds go through a life cycle, it's only argument by analogy that this one has also. I'm not dismissing argument by analogy as worthless, though; I'm simply pointing out that it's not without some ambiguity.
...raises the question of why did God, who was believed truthful, deliberately (because there are no slip-ups with Gods actions) mislead mankind ? But you have not established that He did "deliberately" mislead mankind.
In passing God never says he created a young Earth... Whilst it's true that He did not directly say that, He did (a) make that clear from what He did say, and (b) did directly say something that contradicts the evolutionary view, to wit, that He created in six days.
...regardless of its age he created an earth with the appearance and physical character of an older planet. Yet in claiming that, you have ignored some key arguments I made, including that He would have created it without any signs of having aged and deteriorated (so, at best, only some of that character), and that you have no "old" Earth to make the comparison with.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 11:34, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
and you miss the point again. making a part of the Earth that appears to be granite, as cooled liquid magma when there was no magma, no liquid, no cooling, to make a mature plant, or even a seedling , when there was no seed, no growth is being deceptive when coupled with the command to study his creation. Why does God set man up to fail ? Hamster 14:04, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
No, I haven't missed your point; I understand your point and reject it, for reasons already explained. The only reason that you are "deceived" is because you choose to reject what God has said and instead applied your own reasoning. That applies to the plant and many other things. As for the granite, you've no hard evidence that there was granite at the beginning. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 23:22, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
You don't seem to understand there is no argument here. We have the definition of deception and we have characteristics of god (according to you). They match perfectly. If you can't see that then you've been blinded by your faith. There's really nothing anyone can say to convince you otherwise, you are not permitted to entertain this thought. Only prisoners of superstition and magical thinking can believe applying reason is a crime. Jaxe 20:39, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
You don't seem to understand there is no argument here. Incorrect. I understand that well, as it's so obvious that you have no argument here. Instead, you resort to argument by assertion (They match perfectly.) combined with ad hominem (If you can't see that then you've been blinded by your faith. There's really nothing anyone can say to convince you otherwise, you are not permitted to entertain this thought. Only prisoners of superstition and magical thinking can believe applying reason is a crime.).
So why not produce an actual argument? Could it be because there isn't one?
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 02:58, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
That's right - I am correct by definition so I require no argument. Either you agree with the OED definition and accept I am right or you are abusing the English language again. This wouldn't surprise me; I think almost every conversation we've had has ended in you admitting you're using some unusual definition of a word. Jaxe 16:11, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
...you are abusing the English language ... Yet you've failed to show how.
I think almost every conversation we've had has ended in you admitting you're using some unusual definition of a word. Nonsense.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 13:06, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
I've failed to convince you that you have a mental block on using the word. In never thought I had a chance so I don't know why I bother really. If altering the appearance of an object so that it no longer reflects the true nature of that object is not deceptive, then really, what is deceptive? Clearly we're not speaking the same language if you refuse to use the word in this context. It's a classic example of deception. Jaxe 02:04, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
I've failed to convince you that you have a mental block on seeing the truth. I never thought I had a chance, but I live in hope.
If altering the appearance of an object so that it no longer reflects the true nature of that object is not deceptive, then really, what is deceptive? Altering it with the intention to deceive. I notice that you did not quote the OED definition that you implied that I didn't agree with. Instead, you made up my own, just after accusing me of "abusing the English language".
Clearly we're not speaking the same language if you refuse to use the word in this context. Translation: Clearly we are not speaking the same language if I don't agree with you.
It's a classic example of deception. Self-deception, on your part, seems closer.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 11:41, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
The OED definition does not include intentionality. Some hoverflies look deceptively like wasps. Do you the hoverflies intentionally deceive you? Nope, they just cause you to believe what is false. Even if the word did only mean intentional deception we've already agreed god can't unintentionally do anything. Jaxe 18:50, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
I believe that the OED definition has intention there implicitly, but that is beside the point. You appear to have run together two points that I made. One is that you didn't quote the OED definition, and the other is that "deceptive" is Altering it with the intention to deceive. I didn't actually say that this was from the OED definition.
The point about intentionality is that in ascribing deception to God, you are ascribing intentionality. That is, you are trying to ascribe to God a character flaw. But it can only be a character flaw if the intention was there.
Even if the word did only mean intentional deception we've already agreed god can't unintentionally do anything. True, but God can intentionally do something that is not for reasons of deception, but which you can unreasonably ascribe to deception, as you have done here.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 05:20, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
You can't have it both ways. If god can't unintentionally cause anything to happen then all consequences of his actions are intentional. If he does something that results in someone being deceived, then he intended for them to be deceived. If his reasons are other than deception, but result in deception, that's an unintentional consequence. So which is it? Intentional deception or unintentional deception? Jaxe 08:35, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
If he does something that results in someone being deceived, then he intended for them to be deceived. That is a non-sequitur. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 09:34, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
Err, nope? It follows on very clearly from the previous sentence. Not unintentional -> therefore intentional. Jaxe 10:16, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

Verdict?

Is a verdict expected any time soon? I haven't been able to sleep and it has been three weeks now. --Horace 22:32, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

Sorry, I didn't realise that this was bothering you so much that you were losing sleep over it! ;-p
Two of three review panel members are no longer available. I have now invited others, so there will be a further delay while I wait for responses from them.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 11:36, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
Might I be so bold as to enquire who has been approached to take up the mantle as replacement appeal justices? --Horace 22:23, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
I won't be releasing that information until and unless they accept. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 23:24, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
Would it be overoptimistic for me to hope that they aren't both creationists? --Horace 00:25, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
You'll have to wait and see, but being creationists has never been a requirement. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 05:51, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

I just thought that I should record the gist of our recent email exchange for posterity. You informed me that the panel is now to be made up of TimS and Awc. You said a third panel member would be appointed. You said that honesty and objectivity was a requirement for potential panel members and that, as a consequence, most Rationalwiki members were ruled out! You then offered me a choice between Maratrean and OscarJ (last edit December 2010 by the way) as the final panel member. I find neither of them acceptable and, accordingly, nominated Hamster (without having cleared it with him first - sorry Hamster). You asked if I was asking you to chose for me and I said no, I want Hamster. And I do.

You have sought to stack this panel from the outset. I confess that I was surprised that you actually went to the extent of suggesting that OscarJ might sit in judgment over me, given our history (you genuinly seem to have no idea of the concept of natural justice). All I ask is for a panel that contains a fair cross section of the site community. What is the problem with that? --Horace 00:09, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

honesty and objectivity was a requirement for potential panel members and that, as a consequence, most Rationalwiki members were ruled out Please explain, Philip, and provide evidence. Sterile 00:34, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
I am honored Horace and if selected will attempt to rule with integrity and impartiallity. I will also get a Hamster sized judicial robe and a wig if I can find one, if not I will simply powder my head. I dont like the comment about most rationalwiki members , but I will give Philip the benefit of the doubt and assume he didn't mean me, or Sterile or Awc or Asp, Ace or those regular contributers. Hamster 03:12, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
công lý bị trì hoãn là công lý bị từ chối Hamster 03:18, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
I would like to think (although with little real hope) that you are directing that to Horace. LowKey 00:36, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
I'll sit in judgment of Horace. And judge him real good. Put me in, coach. And I have to agree, Hamster. Despite Horace's absence, the very fact that this show trial is going on more than a year after the fact is despicable. Teh Terrible Asp 04:24, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
One would wish that this also was being directed to the correct party. LowKey 00:36, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
Hamster needs a new little known language ;) Hamster 04:49, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

I find neither of them acceptable... Tough. I note that you didn't even bother to explain why they are not acceptable, or, more to the point, why they don't meet the requirement of being honest and objective. Most people asking for an appeal don't get a choice of who will judge their case. You at least got a bit of a choice.

You have sought to stack this panel from the outset. Utter, unadulterated, rubbish.

you genuinly seem to have no idea of the concept of natural justice I think you are confusing having the right thing done and being seen to have the right thing done. I believe that Oscar will judge the case objectively. I would prefer that nobody would have any grounds for thinking that the right thing was not seen to be done, but the choices are limited.

All I ask is for a panel that contains a fair cross section of the site community. What is the problem with that? The problem is the one already stated: that this would include typical RW people.

Please explain, Philip, and provide evidence. I don't think any explanation is required; it's quite clear. As for evidence, see almost any discussion on this site involving such people. But here's one involving the person that Horace wants:

  • I wrote "Those societies are all descended from Noah and his family, who knew God and His standards. ... Another thing to consider is that their morals are guided by their God-given consciences (Romans 2:15)."[1]
  • Hamster replied "which brings up right back to which God ?"[2]
  • I pointed out that "There is only one, by definition.".[3] Apart from a throwaway line that some religious people might disagree, which he failed to substantiate, he did nothing to refute that point.
so you claim that people of Buddhist, shinto, or American Indian faiths accept the Christian God as the only one true God ?

Yet within a week, he is again asking

  • "which God"[4].

This is either (a) a failure to comprehend what he is being told, or (b) a preference to parrot a party line over actually engaging in rational debate.

perhaps Philip I disagree that you have any actual evidence that supports your assertion that there is only one God , that of the Hebrews. A lot of religions disagree (Buddhist, Shinto, Amerindian, Aboriginal, Norse).

Do you want another example? Most of the delay with finalising this matter is due to Horace's absence, yet we have two people—Hamster and Teh Terrible Asp—in this very discussion trying to denigrate this site (or me) with comments about how long it's taken, with one of them falsely referring to Horace's appeal as a "show trial".

So there is evidence as requested, something that is uncommon from the RW crowd, who frequently don't seem to think that they need to supply evidence. Such as Hamster again (I'm not deliberately picking on him; it's just what was at hand), here, not only refusing to supply evidence to back up his claim, but trying to malign me for not finding the evidence which he has to onus to produce.

so you admit you failed to look at the websites (plural) which discussed the need to get religion into science by any means ? So here it is http://www.ideacenter.org/contentmgr/showdetails.php/id/1130 , you will of course reject it.

I will give Philip the benefit of the doubt and assume he didn't mean me, or Sterile or Awc or Asp, Ace or those regular contributers. If more evidence of the unsuitability of typical RW people is needed, no, it doesn't include Awc, which you would have known if you bothered reading and understanding what Horace wrote. Why should I have any faith that you would read and understand the submissions to Horace's appeal, given this? (I realise that nobody's perfect, and this might be an isolated mistake. But this is just one point of several that I've mentioned, so it's not an isolated problem.)

Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 05:50, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

You want to know why they are not acceptable? As I indicated in the email and in my post above, my history with Oscar makes him totally inappropriate. We have been involved in bitter disputes, edit wars and mutual blocking. The very suggestion is outrageous. You still haven't looked up "natural justice" have you? Maratrean is not acceptable because, last time I checked, he wasn't even a member of this site. You are suggesting that a non-member judge whether a member have his membership removed? What sort of circus are you running here? In relation to your examples of purported illogicality above: they are subjective and designed purely to allow you to get your own way. There is no point in setting out examples of individuals acting in a manner which you deem illogical. You are well aware that the same has been said of you more than once. The fact that you do not accept the criticism in your own case will surprise nobody.
I seek trial by my peers. I seek a panel who are disinterested. That is not too much to ask. --Horace 08:01, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
...my history with Oscar makes him totally inappropriate As I said, the choices are limited.
Maratrean is not acceptable because, last time I checked, he wasn't even a member of this site. My preference is for panel members to be senior members. But with that qualification, there is no requirement that they even be members. In fact, a theoretically-viable option would be someone not from this site.
In relation to your examples of purported illogicality above: they are subjective and designed purely to allow you to get your own way. Nonsense; they are not subjective at all.
I seek trial by my peers. I seek a panel who are disinterested. What do you mean by "peers"? A criminal doesn't get to have other criminals judge him. I'm not comparing you to criminals, but pointing out that you haven't defined what you mean by "peers". Your appeal will be heard by other users of this site, and I don't see that typical RW users can be considered "disinterested".
I have selected the panel, and they have permission to proceed. You may withdraw your appeal at any time, but otherwise, it proceeds with the appointed panel members.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 09:46, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
I thought that it was quite obvious that peers meant members of this site. It was said in the context of your suggestion that Maratrean (a non-member) sit on the panel. Alleged criminals are tried by their peers, being other members of the community. They are not tried by other criminals because, amongst other things, they are presumed to be innocent persons unless and until such time as a guilty verdict is returned. One would need to presume them guilty in order to identify their peers as being criminals.
Your comment that choices are limited is laughable. Choices are limited only by your determination to limit them.
Your behaviour in appointing Oscar to the panel is disgraceful and dishonourable.
Your snide suggestion that I can withdraw my appeal in the face of you appointing Oscar is a confirmation of everything I have said. --Horace 10:27, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

(od) The impression that I get is that Horace is the one trying to stack this - an impression I had a year ago, too. I agree that he seems to be confusing actual natural justice with perceived propriety. What he quaintly refers to as his history with OscarJ rather inconveniently (for him) features his abuses of membership rights at Horace's OscarJ's expense (the same abuses that he has tried to declare beyond the scope of the appeal). Those who find despicable our continued willingness to allow an appeal over a year after the administrative action that is being appealed against need to consider a) why it is a year old and 2) the fact that the action has been reversed on a presumption of innocence pending an appeal that has been delayed by the appellant. All other parties did their bit in good faith - but apparently Horace was happy to let them waste their time. Perhaps we should have expired the appeal, redismembered Horace and let him apply for membership when he came back. Everybody would have been happy then. Perhaps Asp could share what would normally happen to an appeal if, after the respondents make their cases, the appellant leaves the process to languish for a year. Vent over. LowKey 10:25, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

You suggest that my history of fights with Oscar falls within the scope of the appeal? And you are happy for Oscar to sit in judgment in relation to those matters? I am not sure what I expected from you but I guess I should not be surprised. And all that hot air about delay. What problem did I cause by absenting myself for a year? One might have thought that after that period of time tempers might have cooled and this farcical appeal process would have been declared unnecessary. You started all of this Bradley with your pious blocking of me for calling a spade a spade. Now you post a silly rant about how I am trying to stack the panel. What I am trying to do is get a panel that does not include the person on this site (if you count editing last December as being "on this site") with whom I have had the worst possible relationship. A person with whom I have argued bitterly, edit warred, and mutually blocked (some of which I note were deleted when the site went down). I have no respect for him and no expectation that he will act as a disinterested party. Your inability to understand that comes as no surprise to me. Vent over. --Horace 10:49, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
I thought that it was quite obvious that peers meant members of this site. I did not read it that way, but fair enough.
They are not tried by other criminals because, amongst other things, they are presumed to be innocent persons unless and until such time as a guilty verdict is returned. Good point. I overlooked that in using that analogy, but my point was that having typical RW members trying someone on this site is analogous to having criminals sitting in judgement. Again, I'm not saying that typical RW members are like criminals; I'm pointing out that we need people willing and able to judge the situation fairly, and I don't have reason to think that typical RW members would do that.
Choices are limited only by your determination to limit them. False.
Your snide suggestion that I can withdraw my appeal in the face of you appointing Oscar is a confirmation of everything I have said. It was not a suggestion, let alone a snide one; sorry you took it that way. I was merely pointing out that that was the only alternative to the appeal going ahead with the appointed panel members.
...at Horace's expense... Do you mean at Oscar's expense?
Perhaps we should have expired the appeal, redismembered Horace and let him apply for membership when he came back. Yes, perhaps we should have. That suggestion was made to me, but I didn't take it up. With hindsight, perhaps I should have.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 10:54, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
Horace, one problem caused by the delay was the one you are most concerned about now; Oscar wasn't on the original panel. That has come about because of your delay. And you give the impression that this is your biggest concern, yet you had the option of having someone else, and didn't take it. Okay, you had issues with them too, but as big an issue as you make out you have with Oscar?
Perhaps the time delay does have benefits of tempers cooling. But if so, perhaps you should express your disagreement with two others who have posted here criticising the delay, rather than reserve all your criticism for us. Even though this is perhaps a trivial example, it's this sort of bias that gives me no faith that typical RW people will behave fairly.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 11:03, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
Redismembered? --Horace 11:09, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
P.S. The fact that you gave me a choice (between two candidates, both of whom were unacceptable to me) does not in any way justify you choosing an individual who is totally inappropriate. --Horace 11:24, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
P.P.S. I shall be driving past at about 7.30 tomorrow morning (on my way to Morwell (God help me)). I shall wave. --Horace 11:53, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
Yep, redismembered :). I know it's not a real word, but I figured the meaning was clear. LowKey 00:32, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
I have grave doubts about Philips conduct in this matter. He has claimed that anyone from RW is a dishonest liar who cant be trusted to give an unbiased opinion. Why then if we are such trash did Philip vote for our membership ? You cant have it both ways, either withdraw the uncivil remarks, or act on them by declaring our membership in error and revoke it. OscarJ is obviously unsuitable as a judge, he is not a current active member so has shown a lack of interest in this site and what happens here. What character does OscarJ show that 5 actiive members here dont ? That he agrees with Philip ? that he is a creationist ? Please explain ? Hamster 14:09, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
I'd like some evidence of my dishonesty, please, if that is indeed what you are saying, Philip. Insulting your editors will only make us stay longer, by the way. Sterile 18:02, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
And, PS, LowKey: Why does the length in time matter? Isn't justice what matters? Sterile 18:28, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
Pick a lane, please, Sterile. Is the delay an issue or not? [withdrawn by poster] The only issue I have had with the delay is that 1) the issue remains outstanding and b) everyone else did their part only to have the appellant ignore the whole process for a year. Oh and 3) people seem to find the delay deeply offensive but blame US for it (and regarding the discussion about the panel; anyone who can show such poor judgement in the matter of the delay would surely be unreliable in their judgement of the appeal itself). To those who deprecate the delay and criticise (condemn,even)the wrong parties for the delay I would like to pointed out (again, for the most part) that a) if their criticism must be made then it should be directed to the delayer and 2) we are quite willing to proceed regardless of the delay, so maybe the criticism should not be made at all. Where the detractors seem to go most wrong is in assuming that a lapsed appeal equals an upheld appeal. I am still waiting to see if Asp can advise us on what would normally happen to an appeal that was left to languish by the appellant at a similar stage to this one. It seems that we are criticised for not allowing the full mile to be taken, rather than given credit for allowing such a large inch (1 year large) in the first place. See my comment regarding expedition of this at the appeal page (or its talk) and then tell me I value not justice in this. I did not want this simply assumed to be resolved one way or the other; I wanted it actually resolved one way or the other. --Unsigned comment by LowKey (talk)
...but my point was that having typical RW members trying someone on this site is analogous to having criminals sitting in judgement. Again, I'm not saying that typical RW members are like criminals;... just what are you saying then. Are you using a strange meaning for analogous ?
::Choices are limited only by your determination to limit them. False. Please explain, you have a number of active members capable of being a review panal, yet you try to get people who have not edited on this site for months. Your reasons so far seem to be that the active members wont vote your way and so are unsuitable. This has the appearance of attempting to stack the review panal. This could have been resolved within a day of Horace reappearing, instead its taking weeks to get non-active people back. Hamster 20:03, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
So now, in protesting against my comments about the unsuitability of some people, said people have provided even more evidence of their inability or unwillingness to be objective.
so you claim that people of Buddhist, shinto, or American Indian faiths accept the Christian God as the only one true God ? and perhaps Philip I disagree that you have any actual evidence that supports your assertion that there is only one God , that of the Hebrews. A lot of religions disagree (Buddhist, Shinto, Amerindian, Aboriginal, Norse). No, that was not my claim. My claim was about "God", generically, not the Hebrew/Christian God specifically. You can't even represent the claim properly. (And if you wish to continue discussing that issue, please do so on one of the two pages on which you have raised it, not here which is about Horace's appeal.)
so you admit you failed to look at the websites (plural) which discussed the need to get religion into science by any means ? More evidence of your unfairness. You are accusing me of failure to look at web-sites that you refused to name. If you refer to them and cite them, then the onus is on you to name them (link to them), not on me because I didn't know what web-sites you were referring to. How could I expect you to treat Horace's appeal fairly with such bias evident? (And again, please provide that link and the other one(s) you've still not named where that discussion was being had, instead of here.)
I didnt realize you would be so confused by two websites that have been discussed ad nauseum in the past. Hamster 03:23, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
He has claimed that anyone from RW is a dishonest liar... More misrepresentation. I did not claim anything about "anyone" from RW, and I did not claim that they are "dishonest liars".
close enough Philip, you have stated reasons why I am not suitable and your claims amount to "dishonest lying [profanity deleted by Umpire]" and "he would not give me the verdict I want" Hamster 03:23, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
Why then if we are such trash did Philip vote for our membership ? "trash" is your term, not mine, and the vote was because there were different criteria (lower standards).
What character does OscarJ show that 5 actiive members here dont ? That he agrees with Philip ? that he is a creationist ? Please explain ? I already have explained: that he is more likely to be objective, and I've shown plenty of evidence that you are not. The inclusion of Awc and then-possible inclusion of Maratrean should provide hard evidence that being a creationist was not a requirement, as has already been pointed out. So repeating this answered claim is further evidence of your inability or unwillingness to properly consider what is explained.
Maratrean is a religious nut, he invented his own religion and argues a creationist worldview Hamster 03:23, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
My worldview is creationist in a sense, but it is a very different type of creationism from Philip et al. It may still be creationism, but it is not the same creationism. So, if your complaint is that the panel lacks ideological diversity, then Awc of course supplies that, and had I been a panelist I would have supplied some more. You can call me a "religious nut" all you want, but in our society religious discrimination is looked down on, and a judge in a court could not be disqualified merely for their religious views, no matter how uncommon. You seem to be advocating for religious discrimination; I don't think that is something this site wants to condone. Maratrean 05:46, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
I'd like some evidence of my dishonesty, please, if that is indeed what you are saying, Philip. I didn't; that was Hamster's allegation, so perhaps you should require him to give evidence that I said that. I won't hold my breath.
Insulting your editors will only make us stay longer, by the way. What will make you go away?
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 02:59, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
to refresh your memory Philip :honesty and objectivity was a requirement for potential panel members and that, as a consequence, most Rationalwiki members were ruled out

so you did say that RW were ruled out as incapable of honesty . Thats from Horaces comment on your email exchange, do you deny thats what you said ? Hamster 03:23, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

Just to point out a little logic: Not both ≠ neither. LowKey 03:31, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
thats pure sophistry Lowkey. AND and WAS makes it a composite requirement i.e both so it is proper to treat as both the comment that RW dont meet the criteria. If it had been said as "honesty and objectivity were requirements" then you might have an argument. Hamster 03:42, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
Funny, I was pointing out that you were engaging in sophistry. That's the thing about slinging mud, some always seems to stick. Here is a case in point; you insist on a less logical explanation and then cry "sophistry" when the more logical explanation is profferred. You are (rather meetly) demonstrating your lack of objectivity. Making it a composite requirement doesn't help your assertion any, because failing both or either of the elements means failing the composite. In other words only "honest" AND "objective" successfully meets "honest and objective". Beside that, even if Philip was claiming that you are dishonest, why insist now on evidence (and I am not just asking this of you; Hamster) when any number of people are happy throw around accusation of dishonesty without pointing to a single genuine lie and without Rats recognising the lack? LowKey 03:57, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

RATS - that shows your bias doesnt it, and what of Philips accusations that I am a lying sack of [swearing deleted] ? read his comments without the obvious bias you have and tell me he is being honest and acting with integrity. I had no obligation to spoon feed him web sites, or support any comments I make when he deals with no evidence and only assertions himself. Yet he says I am ignoring self evident facts instead of his arguements by assertion. I pointed out the common english interpretation of his comment and you try a non-standard explanation and tell me I am being dishonest about it ? Did you read and understand my comment, because you continue with your interpretation. Was makes the prior statement a single unit. So it is true or false in its entirety. You need to say were to isolate either element since were is a plural. Did Philip make the statement that he now seems to be denying or not ? Hamster 04:34, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

"Rats" is a diminutive of "Rationalists" which I have long used and often explained. It was coined by L.E. Modesitt, Junior. Again, in your bias you seem to assume a connotation over which to lay criticism, but which assumption is wrong. You will have to point out that accusation you are claiming (with a diff, please). Also please point where I have told you that you are being dishonest. What you have pointed out is not "the common English interpretion". You are making much of "was" versus "were" but your argument does not stack. Two requirements = that a person is hones and that a person is objective - is identical to one requirement - that a person is both honest and objective - as long as the two requirements are BOTH necessary at the same time. As a single unit it is false if ONE of the elements is false. A carton of eggs is a single unit, but if there are only 11 in it then it is in fact not a carton of eggs (being merely an egg carton with some eggs in it) - nobody cares which egg is missing. The requirement for the lead in The Mark of Zorro WAS a tall man with a moustache, which ruled out Charlie Chaplin. I freely acknowledge that Charlie Chaplin had a moustache, and was a man, but my "WAS" statement is still true. (AANDB) = (A)AND(B). LowKey 06:42, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
Indeed, Hamster is correct, my understanding is that Philip implied in an e-mail that "most" RationalWikians are not honest and objective enough to serve on a membership hearing. Is that indeed correct? (The irony there about objectivity being noted.)
And, Philip, you've never asked nicely. Although I do wonder how you're going to be successful as a wiki owner if start asking your members to leave. You do realize your answer implies that you are trying to be insulting?
This won't go well. Sterile 17:31, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
Again you mistake not A and B for neither A nor B.LowKey 21:08, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
I didnt realize you would be so confused by two websites that have been discussed ad nauseum in the past. Where has that web-site been discussed? I don't recall it being discussed. So come on, evidence please. And why won't you accept responsibility for failing to provide the site when requested?
...your claims amount to "dishonest lying [profanity deleted by umpire]" and "he would not give me the verdict I want". Unmitigated nonsense. Okay, enough's enough. Hamster, as an Umpire, I'm requiring you to substantiate those claims or face censure.
so you did say that RW were ruled out as incapable of honesty . Thats from Horaces comment on your email exchange, do you deny thats what you said ? Those are my words. The deduction you make from them are your own, not mine. See Lowkey's explanation of your error in this thread.
You do realize your answer implies that you are trying to be insulting? I don't agree that it implies that. It does, though, imply that I think the site would be better off without a number of you. Conservapedia dealt with such people in two ways: by having a 90/10 rule, and by banning such people. The problem with the 90/10 rule was that it was very subjective and would have been a bureaucratic nightmare to implement fairly, although the idea is good in principle. Their problem with banning such people was that they were too heavy-handed with it, and often banned without just cause. So we try here to be fairer, but have the privilege abused by people who are rude, who insult and accuse but won't justify the insult or accusation (and won't retract it), who push their POV despite knowing that it's not acceptable on this site, who repeatedly question the same things over and over despite being given answers, who demand evidence but often fail to provide any themselves, and so on. So I want them to leave, but I don't want to become like Conservapedia in how they made them leave. So I asked, what will it take for you to leave us alone?
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:28, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
I already answered that question: Philip, you've never asked nicely. And you are, in fact, being rude and are frequently rude to several members of this site. Sterile 12:52, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
I don't think that directly answers the question, but in any case, I wasn't asking it again, merely explaining why I asked it. As for being rude, that's really a case of the pot calling the kettle black. So are you saying that if I ask nicely, you will leave? And who/how-many are you speaking for? Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 14:02, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
I only speak for myself. (What do you think I'm going to do? Go to Hamster's house and stop him from editing?) And, indeed I said long ago I would leave if asked. I will, however, have to write an essay before I leave, and reserve the right to visit. If I'm so rude, why so few blocks for incivility? And who is "us" that you wish to leave alone? I see you and Bradley here who are non-RW. Sterile 15:53, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
I only speak for myself. You weren't just speaking for yourself when you said Insulting your editors will only make us stay longer, by the way. (my emphasis). So when I asked What will make you go away?, that was a plural "you".
If I'm so rude, why so few blocks for incivility? Because we are lenient. But my comment was not directed at you specifically, and we have blocked for incivility quite a few times.
And who is "us" that you wish to leave alone? Those who are interested in contributing to the encyclopædia and who you are not leaving alone.
...indeed I said long ago I would leave if asked. From memory, at the time that was on your page, you were not as bad. But I'll ask nicely; will you please leave aSK alone, and encourage others who only want to push their POV uncivilly to do likewise?
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 13:28, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
Who specifically did you have in mind that you'd like to leave? Teh Terrible Asp 15:56, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
I haven't drawn up a list. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 14:27, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
I have said several times that a simple change on the front page will have me gone from this site, and I suspect most RWinas would leave as well. You refuse to do it though so until you start permabanning I will drop in now and then. This sites views certainly does not reflect the world I live in , or that of a significant part of the worlds population, or indeed that of the majority of christian sects, its pure young earth creationism. Hamster 15:31, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

I can't ask people to leave for you if I don't have a list. Sterile 16:32, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

Ok, Philip. I'll help you. Please admit or deny the following statements: (a) Teh Terrible Asp is on the list; (b) Hamster is on the list; (c) Sterile is on the list; (d) Horace is on the list; and (e) Ace is on the list. Thanks. Teh Terrible Asp 22:02, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
<sarcasm>Well, there's nothing prejudicial about wording like "admit or deny" </sarcasm> Seriously, who needs a prescription when you have a principle? Of a,b,c,d and e, who only wants to push their POV uncivilly? LowKey 23:45, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
How about p, j and r? Seriously, Philip, I can't do anything without a list, not that I think I really can. (And LK, Philip has already implied I'm on the list. Let's not kid around here.) in limbo 23:50, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
There is no list. There is a principle. If you are someone who only wants to push their POV uncivilly or one of the people who are rude, who insult and accuse but won't justify the insult or accusation (and won't retract it), who push their POV despite knowing that it's not acceptable on this site, who repeatedly question the same things over and over despite being given answers, who demand evidence but often fail to provide any themselves, and so on then you are not one [t]hose who are interested in contributing to the encyclopædia . Yes Philip has identified you in the first group, but there is not some list being maintained. Yes he has asked you to encourage like-minded people to also stay away, but that is not saying that you are some sort of "ring leader" (from my talkpage). Maybe you find being obtuse and obstructionist amusing; but it is a timewaster. You used to be interested in contributing here (both in articles, and in other discussions/actions). I personally would prefer to see that re-start than you leave, but I can certainly appreciate Philip's position. I have never understood the need to focus on Biblical-worldview and YEC specific articles and topics rather than simply contributing to non-controversial articles or helping to develop site policy and standards. LowKey 02:04, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
I think ideally no one would leave. And there is no reason why people who disagree with this site's worldview can't participate here. (My own worldview is different from this site's; there are some areas of overlap, and also some very significant differences.) I think the point is, can people disagree reasonably, and civilly, and try to keep the heat down a bit? It would be better if everyone stayed, but that only works if people try to reduce the heat. Part of that is accepting that other people have different worldviews, and that someone isn't an idiot or moron or dishonest or crazy just for having a very different worldview, and you can't make people change in a flash, although maybe you can nudge them a little bit (but, to do the later, you have to be open to the possibility that they might nudge you a bit in return). Maratrean 09:40, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

I'm sorry, but Philip has been enormously rude to several members of this site, and as for POV-pushing as a criticism, this whole site's premise is based on POV-pushing. (Perhaps Philip's discomfort with me is not my "incivility" which is still masked in vagueness, but my abililty to hold up a mirror, and to ask questions that Philip cannot answer.) And more specifically, if Philip wants me to ask people to leave, I can't pick and choose for him. He needs to tell me. That he's placed himself in that awkward bind is, as per usual, his fault (unless it wasn't a real request, which is my suspicion), so stop blaming others for it. If he wishes to retract that as a request, then he can do so. At the very least, he should identify them. Anyway, I'll be writing my final essay when I get to it, so Philip can respond as necessary. in limbo 11:01, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

I have said several times that a simple change on the front page will have me gone from this site... I forget what you might have said about this, but my guess is that the "simple" change involves me retracting a belief I hold, which is probably not simple at all.
if you would stop TQing things to death you might get the points people are making. I state in that same paragraph what change will get me to leave Hamster 16:36, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
...and I suspect most RWinas would leave as well. Do you mean retracting the claim that the Bible is true in its history? That's about the only thing that would cause most RWians to not care. Such critics don't care if "religious" people have "religious" beliefs, as long as they don't have the audacity to actually claim them to be true. That, however, is something that we cannot agree to.
This sites views certainly does not reflect the world I live in... That's begging the question.
...or that of a significant part of the worlds population... So? There's also a significant part that does agree.
we disagree there, do you have a percentage of the worlds population that belives young earth creation by the christian god  ? Hamster 16:36, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
...or indeed that of the majority of christian sects... Again, so? This site represents mainstream traditional Christianity, not sects. Or are you referring to that, but using that word as a term of abuse?
read what sect means in Rnglish. The Roman Catholic Church is not YEC , nor is Eastern Orthodox, and they represent I believe a moajority of Christians and they both meet the definition of a sect. YEC is a tiny minority of Christians Hamster 16:36, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
...its pure young earth creationism. Which is exactly what the Bible teaches, and very few here have even bothered to dispute that (as opposed to repeating ad nauseum the irrelevant claim that not everyone agrees with that point).
I can't ask people to leave for you if I don't have a list. You could if you actually wanted to.
Ok, Philip. I'll help you. Please admit or deny the following statements: [various persons are] on the list... What bit of I haven't drawn up a list. didn't you understand?
Seriously, Philip, I can't do anything without a list... As I said, you could if you actually wanted to. For example, you could put a post on RW asking everyone who comes here to vilify to cease and desist.
...Philip has already implied I'm on the list. Let's not kid around here. I'll ask you too, what bit of I haven't drawn up a list. didn't you understand? (I wonder if either person will answer this question.)
(From Bradley's talk page) I'll assume you are jesting, because I do not believe you are stupid. Agreed, in that case. But when he claims to be on a list that I've said doesn't exist, I don't think he's joking, and I still don't think he's stupid. So I guess that leaves being obtuse and obstructionist, which is why I'd like him to leave.
I'm sorry, but Philip has been enormously rude to several members of this site... Evidence please.
... and as for POV-pushing as a criticism, this whole site's premise is based on POV-pushing. Another example of being deliberately difficult. The criticism wasn't POV-pushing per se, but pushing a POV contrary to that of this site in an inappropriate manner.
Perhaps Philip's discomfort with me is not my "incivility" which is still masked in vagueness... What "vagueness"? There's more mud-slinging right there. When you were blocked last month for incivility, the grounds were clearly spelled out.
...to ask questions that Philip cannot answer. Another false claim, and it's you who has often refused to answer questions.
... if Philip wants me to ask people to leave... If he wishes to retract that as a request, then he can do so. I never asked you to ask others. I asked what would make "you" (plural) leave, but that was not a request for you to ask others; merely asking your advice as you had indicated that you knew what would. I have also now pointed out that you are capable of asking others even without a list, but that is still not a request for you to ask others.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 14:37, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
..question the same things over and over despite being given answers.. that actually descibes Philip perfectly. Perhaps Philip you havent learned yet that quoting CMI or other sources does not neccessarily make a convincing arguement. For example I do not find the reasoning for the existance of One God to be sound. You stick to a version of Cosmology that Ace has refuted many times, why do you persist in making the same claims again and again ?
Is this an encyclopædia about the Bible or Christianity? No. This is an encyclopædia about the universe we live in. This sites views certainly does not reflect the world I live in... That's begging the question. a simple statement of fact Philip. This site claims it studies the world we live in (since the world is part of the Universe) (concatenative assembledge) , so for a few million people thats India and Hinduism with creation by Rama , Shiva and a few others. Where is that in the articles here ? Hamster 16:36, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
Philip is a Young Earth Creationist. Why can't you let him have a site where Young Earth Creationists are welcome? You can always make one where they are not as welcome (actually, there already are several such sites, RW is one of them.) OK, you believe his worldview is wrong. Fine, you've made that clear. But what is the harm if he has his site for himself and like-minded people? He's generous enough to let people with differing viewpoints participate; but I think those people need to accept, that such is the worldview of the site, and they are unlikely to change it. So, argue, and you can win in your own mind, you may win by being right, but you are unlikely to win in the sense of fundamentally changing their worldview. I think, if people accept that fact and stop fighting it, things will be better. This seems to be the real problem - people who just can't accept that reasoning which is impeccable in their eyes is not accepted by others. You need to learn to accept that not everyone sees reality your way, and you won't always succeed in changing their mind, no matter how much you argue with them. Maratrean 19:28, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
read the main page again. Where does it explicitely state this site is the view of Young Earth Creationism ? Children might be confused that these articles actually represent mainstream science. Hamster 20:09, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
It says "A Storehouse of Knowledge has a biblical worldview as a basis." Which implies its approach to all issues (science, politics, etc.) is centered on what the Bible has to say. In some areas, a biblical approach will give the same answer as a secular approach or most other religious approaches (e.g. trigonometry is the same whether you believe in the Bible, the Quran, the Vedas, the Tripitaka, or none of them); in other matters, like the origin of life or the universe, it is not surprising the biblical approach gives different answers from the secular one. Now, personally, I think the statement could be clearer, in that when it says a "biblical worldview", it is in particular referring to a conservative Protestant biblical worldview, which includes a bundle of ideas that can't be directly located in the biblical text itself (e.g. inerrancy, plenary inspiration, the Protestant canon, sola scriptura, etc.) But, that objection of mine is answered in part by the fact that "biblical worldview" is a hyperlink, and the linked article gives a clearer idea of what the term means as this site uses it. Maratrean 06:35, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

Continuing non-appeal stuff

You know, I asked for well over a year and a half for some sort of criteria that would help me distinguish between meaningful and non-meaningful information. It's a simple question, that if creationism is ever to have any credence in an educational system, ought to have an answer. Definitions are at the bottom of any taxonomy of thinking, and any system of academic argument requires the two people having the discussion to have a common way of distinguishing between the cases of more or less. It would be question number one in a creation science class if you ever had one. And yet, I always get the contrived analogy that has nothing to do with genetics, which always assumes that there is meaningful information to start. That is, the question-begging analogy. (And then when I try to fix it to improve it, it's no longer relevant.) You ask about specific genetic sequences, and you get you can't tell. You ask about thirty cases of different scenarios of which is more or less, and I get three definitive answers, all of which have been observed, and yet you say that it doesn't matter, those aren't significant. No for some reason creationist "just know" that that mutations or natural selection can't add meaningful information. It's Carl Sagan's dragon in the garage all over again--information is whatever YOU want it to be, but when I try to pin it down, you can't.

Guess who's being obstructionist? The creationist--ie, Philip J. Rayment. How am I to participate in a discussion with you if I'm not allowed to even be on common footing on a simple term that is the cornerstone for your supposed arugment that evolution (or, really, genetic processes) can't add meaningful information? How am I to be convinced that the creationist hypothesis is in any way correct if I don't understand what you're talking about? And all the articles here reflect what you want it to say; all the evolutionists comments you don't like have been edited out. How obstructive are we then?

I am not your problem. RationalWiki is not your problem. (And, no, I won't do your job and ask others to leave. That is, indeed, your job, so take responsibility for it yourself. If you want Hamster, Ace, Asp, Jaxe, whomever to leave, ask them to leave.) Your problem is that you assume that you have a have a young earth creationist site that anyone cannot edit for which you are not going to get any criticism of the ideas or of you. Why do you think the few ID sites that allow comments heavily moderate?

I still want to write a parting essay at some point, but at this moment, all I can say is, congratulations! You've painted yourself into this little corner of the internet for which you have utter control, and don't ever need to look away from creation.com and one or two other creationist sites. I guess if I'm gone the bunch of popular science books will never get read, but I guess I'll just have to live with that. I hope your site doesn't get any more popular for your own sake, because it will get far worse. (I could go to half a dozen message board and unleash the hoardes if I wanted to--always could have--but I'm too nice to do that.)

Good luck. Sterile 23:34, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

that actually descibes Philip perfectly. Perhaps Philip you havent learned yet that quoting CMI or other sources does not neccessarily make a convincing arguement. Have you learned that quoting evolutionists does not necessarily make a convincing argument? Have you also learned that often in quoting CMI I'm actually referring to where they quote evolutionists? Have you learned that what counts is the logic and strength of the argument, not its source?
You stick to a version of Cosmology that Ace has refuted many times... Just as you (would) claim that my rebuttals don't necessarily amount to refutations, I can claim that Ace's rebuttals don't count as refutations. So why do you make this claim of refutation over and over? The difference between you and me is that I at least try and address the claim, whether you are convinced by them or not. But to take the one referenced above about God, you made a claim, I addressed it, you failed to even attempt to refute it, then made the same claim again.
That is what I mean by you making the same claim over and over. You are trying to rebut my claim (of you repeating claims) by providing examples of me doing something different. So you are not actually rebutting my claim at all, but obfuscating with an inapplicable example.
a simple statement of fact Philip. Rather, your claim was unclear. My point was that this site's views, such as the Earth being around 6,000 years old, match the world we live in (as it is around 6,000 years old), and that your claim otherwise begs the question. However, it now seems that you were meaning that this site's articles don't match the range of views that people hold. On that point I won't disagree, but would also point out that if you would contribute more (in that area), it could match more. That is, your point is not one that is due to this site's policies, just a lack of contributions in some areas.
Children might be confused that these articles actually represent mainstream science. Only if they assume too much. Children might also be confused that Wikipedia's articles represent reality. But I don't see you bothering Wikipedia over that.
You know, I asked for well over a year and a half for some sort of criteria that would help me distinguish between meaningful and non-meaningful information. And, rather than me ignoring your question, as you so often do, I did my best to answer it. That is the point of my comment about you not answering questions. You know, like my question above what bit of 'I haven't drawn up a list' didn't you understand?. Why didn't you answer that? You, however, are making a different point, about whether the answers satisfied you. One problem there is that I am incapable of giving answers that you are satisfied with you as long as we hold contradictory worldviews.
It's a simple question... So? Simple questions don't always have simple answers.
if creationism is ever to have any credence in an educational system, ought to have an answer. Argument by assertion. You haven't explained why this particular answer is required for creationism to have credence. Especially given that creationism is deemed to have no credence for reasons that have nothing to do with this.
Definitions are at the bottom of any taxonomy of thinking, and any system of academic argument requires the two people having the discussion to have a common way of distinguishing between the cases of more or less. I agree that definitions are very useful, but if your argument is that creationism has no credence without a clear, unambiguous definition in every sphere, then I guess evolution has no credence either. Unless, of course, you can prove me wrong by giving a clear, unambiguous, definition to allow me to determine if two creatures are the same or different species when they are known only from fossils.
It would be question number one in a creation science class... Like the definition of "species" for fossils is question number one in an evolutionary class? Why the different standards for evolution and creation?
... if you ever had one. They do exist, despite your implication that they can't without meeting your particular requirement.
...I always get the contrived analogy that has nothing to do with genetics... You mean an analogy from human language, that is typically used by geneticists?
You ask about thirty cases of different scenarios of which is more or less, and I get three definitive answers... Yet you claimed that I don't give answers! Now you admit that I do! Again, your point is that you don't find my answers convincing, which is different to claiming that I don't answer.
No for some reason creationist "just know" that that mutations or natural selection can't add meaningful information. Now you are simply misrepresenting.
How am I to participate in a discussion with you if I'm not allowed to even be on common footing... More misrepresentation. Nobody has said that you are "not allowed" to understand. Your failure to understand could be due to me not explaining clearly enough, or it could be due to an unwillingness on your part to take the creationist arguments on their merits instead of trying to fit them into your mould.
...all the evolutionists comments you don't like have been edited out. False. Not liking them is not a reason I ever have for editing them out.
How obstructive are we then? Not at all, given that your argument doesn't hold up to scrutiny.
I am not your problem. No, only part of it.
I won't do your job and ask others to leave. That is, indeed, your job... Did I claim otherwise? No. So why imply that I did, other than to malign me? (Probably yet another of those many questions that will go unanswered.)
Your problem is that you assume that you have a have a young earth creationist site that anyone cannot edit for which you are not going to get any criticism of the ideas or of you. False. I do not assume that at all. I fully expect criticism, and as long as it is constructive, welcome it. What I object to (as opposed to what I expect) is people simply being troublemakers.
Why do you think the few ID sites that allow comments heavily moderate? Because of people like you and other RWians who vilify, make claims that they refuse to substantiate, and so on.
You ... don't ever need to look away from creation.com and one or two other creationist sites. And yet I often look at sites with opposing views, especially when someone wants me to read something in particular. So your point is...?
I hope your site doesn't get any more popular for your own sake, because it will get far worse. That depends on who it becomes popular with.
...I'm too nice to do that. Thank you.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:04, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

Allowing blocked users to post on their talk page

This would be simplest, but for needing to updgrade MW. :) LowKey 22:41, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
Actually, I misread the version number. I think we should be able to do this. LowKey 22:48, 24 June 2011 (UTC)

Ah, so that's where it went! I think last time I was looking for that, I was thinking it was an extension, not something built into MediaWiki. That would be why I couldn't find it. And yes, the version number is not an issue (and even if it was, version 1.17 is now out, and now includes a web-based installer, which means that I might have a chance of upgrading it myself. I was hoping I might have time today to try upgrading, but I had to work today.) Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 11:40, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
Now done. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 11:52, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

Time to look for a new CAPTCHA

The current one isn't working very well. For example, maybe try Asirra? Maratrean 22:38, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

Are you referring to it not stopping spammers, or something else? Reading up on it, I see that some spammers have apparently found a way past it, although that might be by paying humans, which no CAPTCHA will stop. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:51, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
Yes, the spam volume here appears to be higher than for some other sites I use (e.g. RW,RWW,CP,Ameriwiki,Wikia,etc.) Which suggests, maybe, there is some issue with the choice or configuration of the CAPTCHA. Then again, there could be another explanation, or just bad luck. So, possibly, choice of another CAPTCHA might improve things.
You are right, that if it is humans, we might not have much hope. Although, given reCAPTCHA is very common, choosing something less standard may suffice to make them go away, regardless of whether it is robotic or humans. (My understanding is the human systems are still semi-automated - software downloads the CAPTCHA, displays it to the human, they solve it, then software goes on and uses it; so, change the CAPTCHA, even though the human could still solve it perfectly well, the change may defeat the software that feeds it to the humans.)
Also interesting to note that they seem to have much more success creating accounts than actually spamming with them. Maybe that is for some technical reason, or maybe it is a deliberate strategy on their part. Maratrean 07:05, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
I tried several different ones, but the only one I could get to work is SimpleCaptcha, which poses an arithmetic question. The problem may be that, in order to use Asirra or Questy (which I also tried), I had to download the latest version of ConfirmEdit, which may not be fully compatible with this version of MediaWiki. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 13:25, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
You might want to ask talk:Tmtoulouse Trent about ReCaptcha (or ask Bradley to do it, as he registered at RW). Sterile 07:03, 14 February 2012 (UTC) Only works on 1.18. Sterile 07:06, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't understand this comment. aSK already uses ReCaptcha. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 14:07, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

Ameriwiki

I replied on my talk pagr.--GeorgeF 03:26, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

A few quick questions about Christianity

Hi! I have some questions concerning Christianity that I would really like answered - a couple I've now wondered about for a time now. I originally asked them at Answers in Genesis since my previous anonymous forays into their inquiries section always were responded to with prompt, polite, and thorough responses, but this time I mentioned I was an atheist and they've refused to respond. Fortunately A Storehouse of Knowledge seems like it could be a place where an atheist can ask honest questions about Christianity and still get a prompt, polite, and thorough answer. These might be seen as silly questions but please bear with me...

  1. Are there any Christians who believe that heaven is actually in the sky and hell is actually below the surface of the earth or are they (hopefully) seen as places on "another plane of existence," so to speak?
  2. Why is Jesus always portrayed as white and European looking?. If he was from the Middle East, shouldn't he have somewhat darker skin and black hair?
  3. Finally, are there any creationists who hold a geocentric view of the solar system? Like geocentricity, views such as a 6000 year old earth come from long ago so I imagine there could be young-earth creationists who hold the presumably biblical view of an Earth-centered solar system.

I'm sure to a creationist the questions I've posed are silly but I am curious to the answers, even if I appear naive for asking. Also, I'd like to assure any creationist reading this that I was not trying to be condescending or insulting by asking them (for example, if creationists don't have geocentric views then question 3 might come off as insulting). So if you could answer these questions I'd be really grateful. Nembus 00:21, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

...I mentioned I was an atheist and they've refused to respond. That surprises me.
  1. I don't know if there are any Christians who think this, but no, the views about heaven being "in the sky" and hell below the surface of Earth is not a part of Christian thinking that I have encountered.
  2. I'm not an expert, but in my opinion Jews (today) are not typically people whom you can pick out from appearance alone. That is, there is not much difference in physical appearance between Jews and many Europeans.
  3. Yes, there are a few creationists who hold a geocentric view of the solar system, but they are not to be found among the leading creationists. See here for a creationist response to such views. That article also argues that the biblical view of the solar system is not goecentric, and that former church adoption of a heliocentric view was actually an adoption of pagan Greek views, not biblical teaching.
I would not consider your questions silly, if for no other reason that the questions appear to be genuine, not an attempt to mock or ridicule (and I thought that before I got to your last paragraph), as is so often the case.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:00, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for taking the time to answer. I felt kinda naive for asking them but it's nice to get a response. Sorry if it looked like I was mocking Christianity. Nembus 03:30, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
Philip, would you please define Leading creationist? not a member! 09:05, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
And yes, this is a genuine, not a mocking question. not a member! 09:06, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
Sorry if it looked like I was mocking Christianity. I said it didn't look like you were mocking.
I'm using "leading creationist" to mean anyone associated with any of the main creationist groups, including individual creationists who appear to have the support of those groups, such as frequent contributors to their publications. I exclude anyone associated only with a creationist organisation that is merely, or little more than, a "one man band", no matter how well known they might be, such as Carl Baugh or Kent Hovind. Thus I would include anyone associated with CMI, AiG, ICR, and CRS, as a minimum.
... this is a genuine, not a mocking question. Until and unless I see evidence otherwise, I will always give the benefit of the doubt, and answer anyway. My reference to mocking or ridiculing does not adequately cover all cases. Your question does not mock or ridicule, but could, in theory, be designed to catch me out, to follow up with a claim that I'm being unreasonably selective. I'm not saying that this is the case—as I said I will give the benefit of the doubt—but unlike Nembus' questions which appeared quite genuine, this one I would not be so sure of. I'm not saying that to question your claim otherwise; just to point out that it's not so obvious.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 09:54, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

My Membership Nomination

Hello, Philip. I see the chaos has slowed down recently. So, I hope this is the right time to address this. I already have six Support votes, and one Oppose vote (which I personally question the legitimacy of this vote, as this individual has opposed every nomination I can see, such as User:Maratrean's). I think I have far more than proven that I am not a vandal, and I plan to get more active in the project in the upcoming months as long as there is not utter haos erupting. No rush or no problem, I just thought that this should be addressed. Thanks much!--Colonel Sanders 19:08, 29 August 2011 (UTC)

You have no business questioning the legitimacy of a vote. I object to your unwarranted personal attack. Teh Terrible Asp 19:42, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
My apologies and I retract that statement. However, how was it a personal attack?--Colonel Sanders 19:47, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
Uh, you questioned the legitimacy of my vote, which entails that I'm voting with an improper motive or for improper reasons. Teh Terrible Asp 22:47, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
I just noticed some comments you made to Maratrean's thing, and thought it was a personal vendetta against this site. That's why I said that in the first place. Again, I apologize if I offended you.--Colonel Sanders 23:09, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
You have no business questioning the legitimacy of a vote. Why does he have no business questioning it? Given that the vote reflects on him and given your history of illegitimate reasons for voting, he should question it, and not apologise for doing so.
I object to your unwarranted personal attack. Given your history, it's not unwarranted at all.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 02:37, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
Dangerous precedent, but I accept. Given your history, I consider any personal attack against you to be perfectly warranted. It's on. Teh Terrible Asp 04:27, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

Asp, I questioned your vote not because I don't like you. I did because of the reasons even Philip agreed with. I am not a vandal, and I think I proved that with my mainspace contributions. I just don't see its legitimacy, especially given your votes on things like Maratrean's nomination, and you said you objected to the so-called Membership farce. You didn't even give a reason on mine. I asked for one. You didn't supply it. Therefore, I questioned the legitimacy of your vote based on that plus some of your previous votes and the so-called reasons for those. Based on these posts, it seems you have a vendetta against this site, Philip, and its contributors. Tell me if I am wrong. If that offends you, I'm sorry, but I'm just telling it as I see it.--Colonel Sanders 11:38, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

Dangerous precedent, but I accept. Accept what? I didn't offer anything. What I did do was ask a question, but I see that you've not answered it. Are you one who sees an offer that isn't there, but can't see a question that is?
Given your history, I consider any personal attack against you to be perfectly warranted. It's on. On what grounds? (I wonder if that question will be answered.) And how does questioning the legitimacy of your vote justify you making a personal attack? That's now three questions awaiting an answer.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 14:53, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure why my questioning of his vote on my membership nomination was a personal attack. I still believe he voted against because of his evident vendetta against this site, you, and its members. It wasn't just me he did this against either. He must believe a Member is a superior User, not just one trusted with extra privileges, and their votes are beyond questioning or something along the lines of that--Colonel Sanders 02:10, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

Membership Review Committee

Having recently gone through the process of having my membership reviewed, it occurred to me that I could be of considerable use to this site by taking on the task of heading up the proposed Membership Review Committee. A Chief Justice of membership review if you will. My recent experience has caused me to think about the process and the nature of such reviews. My legal background gives me a degree of insight into these types of processes. I therefore put myself forward to act in such a capacity. I hope that you don't regard my doing so as overly forward. --Horace 01:33, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

When a permanent committee is formed, it will be by election of members, with only senior members being eligible to vote. Although this site welcomes contributions (and critiques) from all sources, roles which can affect the official direction of the site will be limited to those who support that direction. (That link says that only senior members will be eligible to be on the committee. That might change (the ad hoc committee included a non-senior member), and other details might change, but the principle that it will not be allowed to change the direction of the site will remain.) Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 02:49, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
Not sure that I follow. I was suggesting that I should be placed on the Membership Review Committee, not the Site Direction Committee. Perhaps you misunderstood. --Horace 01:47, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
No, I didn't misunderstand, but I guess I wasn't clear. When I referred to roles which can affect the official direction of the site I was including the Membership Review Committee in that, as that committee, although not directly influencing the official direction of the site, could effectively and indirectly affect it. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 10:51, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
I am sorry but you will need to explain your comments a little further. The Membership Review Committee reviews decisions to remove membership. Those reviews would look at whether removal of membership was warranted in each case. Are you saying that different criteria would apply to editors who were YECs for example? --Horace 21:22, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
Reviewing decisions to remove membership is not its only task. It also considers requests to grant membership when a person has sufficient supportive votes but also some opposing votes. See the Membership Review Committee page which I've now updated with information which was scattered over other pages. The point is that the Committee can influence who becomes a member and who becomes a senior member, and both can influence the direction that the site takes. For example, the Content Review Committee is required to give greater weight to the views of members than non-members, and to the views of senior members than ordinary members. So who has membership can, indirectly, influence the content of the site.
However, having said that, on further reflection I do have to wonder how significant any of that is. I'm open to opinions (for and against) on this, and may be influenced to relax the rules for Membership Review Committee membership if a good case can be made for doing so.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 00:43, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
Well, it seems to me that if the criteria for granting or refusing membership are to be exercised in a disinterested manner (and I assume that is what is sought) then I would be quite as capable as anyone (in fact, better than most as a result of my legal training and experience). Furthermore, I have both an interest in the process and some experience of it. --Horace 01:00, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
Given the site was founded on the basis of a particular worldview, I think it is fair and reasonable that its structures ensure that those who share that worldview remain in control of it, and it doesn't become controlled by those who wish to send it in a very different direction. That said, I think it is perfectly reasonable that those who disagree with its worldview, but who at the same time are willing to accept the site for what it is, have some role and input into the running of the site, provided it is not a controlling one. I think given that, it makes sense for Philip to restrict the senior member role to those who share his worldview. Maybe, for committees, a good model might be 3 members, 2 senior members and 1 non-senior member — that lets members (who don't have to share the site ideology) have some input, while ensuring the ultimate direction of the site is unchanged. Maratrean 07:34, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
Ho Ho. I guess you must be up next for promotion. Am I right? And if you weren't before, you should be now after that load of considered opinion. Restriction of senior membership to those who share Philip's worldview would be a mistake. Further, the idea of stacking all committees is equally misguided. Why not just require that all members, senior or not, respect the site ideology? I respect the fact that Philip wants the site to reflect his particular brand of Christianity. Fine by me. Our disagreements on this site generally stem from instances where I perceive that he is misrepresenting other peoples' views. I also have concerns where I perceive that editors are adding editorial comment rather than sticking to factual descriptions. But I don't think that my edits in any way detract from the site purpose. On the contrary, I think that my edits enhance the credibility of the site by removing unsupported and unscholarly assertions. --Horace 08:56, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
You must remember, since I don't agree with the site's worldview, by my own logic I am not eligible for senior membership. Maratrean 09:05, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
Oh, I think you are selling yourself short there. --Horace 09:33, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
If nominated, I will not accept; if drafted, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve. Maratrean 11:10, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
Well, I must say, that is a bit disappointing. I would have expected a more public spirited attitude. --Horace 21:57, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

Actually, there is some ambiguity about who is eligible for what, and this needs to be clarified, although I don't think there is a real urgency to do so at present. I think originally I had in mind that only people who share the site's worldview would be eligible for Senior Membership, and all Senior Members would be eligible for committees, etc. that might have an effect on site content. However, another approach is to have the Senior Membership role more relaxed, but limit the membership of some committees to those who share the site's worldview. We currently limit the role of Umpire to Senior Members, yet this role doesn't really require one to share the site's worldview. And we've already effectively adopted that second approach in granting Senior Membership to one or two people who don't fully share the site's worldview.

The ultimate goal, of course, is to keep this site having a particular worldview, and therefore not allow people who do not share that worldview into positions in which they could change it. But exactly what is needed to achieve that goal is open for discussion, and I've already indicated above that worldview may not have to be a requirement for the Membership Review Committee, which therefore could include either ordinary members per Maratrean's suggestion, or alternatively worldview may not be a requirement for Senior Membership.

...for committees, a good model might be 3 members, 2 senior members and 1 non-senior member... I would actually expect Review Committees to comprise more than three members, so that when the committee needs to do a review, it can appoint three of its number to do the review out of a pool a bit larger than that (e.g. five members in total). That will avoid, or at least reduce, problems of members not being available at the time.

Why not just require that all members, senior or not, respect the site ideology? I doubt that would work well. First, if the requirement was that they share the worldview when they are appointed, what if they get on the committee under false pretences, then work against that goal? Second, and perhaps more importantly, would a person who doesn't share the worldview but promises to respect it really have an adequate understanding to be able to make appropriate decisions? This is probably more of a concern, however, for the Content Review Committee than the Membership Review Committee, which perhaps could work okay that way. Another thought I've just had is that it might depend on the case. If the Membership Review Committee was considering a case related to incivility, for example, then perhaps there would be less of a problem than if they were considering a case related to someone who insisted on putting in material contrary to the site's worldview. So if the Committee (of, say, five) had a case involving the latter, then the one or two who don't share the site's worldview would not sit on that case. I don't know—that might be unwieldy; I haven't had time to consider that one.

Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:14, 2 September 2011 (UTC)

Ruylopez's talk page...

...appears to be locked. Could you unlock it please? --Horace 02:55, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

It is locked at his request, and on condition that he doesn't edit. See also here. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 11:17, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

Image upload request

[5] for the Jeopardy! article. It's from Wikimedia, so it should be all right copyright-wise. Thanks!--Colonel Sanders 03:07, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

Done. Please add the copyright information to the image page. Wikipedia's rationale for using it was a Fair Use one, not a permission-to-use nor a public domain one. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 05:03, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
Done and added. Thanks!--Colonel Sanders 13:13, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

I also have written an email at the link you gave on my talk page. I just wanted to let you know in case you didn't see my reply on my page. Thanks.--Colonel Sanders 13:18, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

Email

Sorry to bug you again, but did you get it? Or did I send it to the wrong address? I believe I sent it to the one specified on that alternate route thing link on my talk page. --Unsigned comment by Colonel Sanders (talk)

Yes, I did get it, but I've been busy. But I've checked it out now, and all is okay. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 13:18, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
No problem about the delay. We're all busy at points, some more than others. Many thanks for granting membership. I greatly appreciate it.--Colonel Sanders 17:51, 4 September 2011 (UTC)

OhHai!

Haven't checked in here for a while so I thought I'd say hello. How's things? CrundySpeak! 20:25, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

Things are fine, thanks. And with you? Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 02:14, 3 October 2011 (UTC)
Good to hear. I'm fine, other than flooding my hallway while trying to connect my RO unit to the water supply :-\ CrundySpeak! 08:06, 3 October 2011 (UTC)
That's unfortunate. Was there much damage? What's an "RO unit"? Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:07, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
Just standard water on carpet damage. Think I've sorted it. RO unit = Reverse Osmosis unit, 4 stage filter (particle, carbon, RO membrane, deioniser resin) to produce pure water for mixing your salt with for the fish tank. So are you a rugby guy? If so then how do you think the aussies will fare against the boks? CrundySpeak! 18:45, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the RO explanation. I'm not sports minded at all. Is Australia playing against South Africa? I'm sure Australia will win (I've got to show that I'm a patriotic Aussie!). Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 01:31, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

Article about Christianity and alien life

Hi Philip... I read this article and found it interesting. What do you think of the idea it raises, that an encounter with intelligent extraterrestrials would pose greater theological difficulties for Christianity than for other religions like Islam or Hinduism? Maratrean 10:35, 4 October 2011 (UTC)

On the specific question you ask, I guess the article would be correct. See Did God create life on other planets?.
However, I disagree with the article's fact-free claim at the end:

Ultimately, though, the discovery of intelligent aliens isn't likely to pose a serious crisis for Christianity, either, Hoffmann said. After all, the religion has survived challenging scientific revelations before. "Religion is essentially conservative," Hoffmann told SPACE.com. "You can put almost anything in its face and it's going to shake out a little bit, and then it's going to drop right back down. We've seen this happen historically."

First, it conflates Christianity with other religions (note how he's switched from talking about Christianity to "religion"?), despite various religions being very different to each other. Second, there have been no "scientific revelations" which have challenged anything Christianity believes, other than false claims such as evolution.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 14:55, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
there have been no "scientific revelations" which have challenged anything Christianity believes That may be true of the one-true-Christianity that you believe, but by any other definition, like what is believed by most people professing to be Christian at any one time, the story looks a little different. I seem to recall an incident involving Galileo. --Awc 15:53, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
You recall that? Just how old are you?
Seriously, yes Christians have held beliefs that have been challenged but I think Philip's point is rather about Biblically consistent beliefs and the fact that they have withstood challenges by being correct (i.e. the challenges failed) rather than the implication in that quote. Or I could be wrong about that (wrong about it being Philip's point, that is).
By the way, "the Galileo incident" is not a good example of science challenging Christianity. It was actually a case of new science challenging the ruling paradigm of established science. Christians were involved (individually and corporately) because that was who did science at the time. LowKey 23:19, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
Part of the problem with the claim was that it could be understood in several different ways. Yes Galileo is a case where science challenged some things that Christians believed, but it wasn't a challenge to Christianity itself as it doesn't contradict any biblical teaching. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss

CreationWiki

I really don't understand that rule either. Maybe it's to avoid conflicts like those found on other wikis such as Conservapedia? I am a new contributor there and had just noticed that.--Colonel Sanders 20:58, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

In my opinion, it's because the site owner wants total control. There is a rule against deleting material, so I once saw a user get into trouble for deleting vandalism. I got told off for giving a new user advice. I was also told that I shouldn't be reviewing the recent changes page; both of those were for management to do. The rule we are discussing here means that an incorrect claim that CreationWiki is related to CMI is now unchallenged (as the refutation was deleted), and a claim (by the site owner) that the DI is a creationist group cannot really be challenged, as it would show that the challenger has been reading someone else's user talk page. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 01:40, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
Ah yes, now I remember why I gave up. Totally wrong information cannot be deleted, but can be contradicted within an article. The site has a kind of "write only memory". LowKey 05:11, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

Two-letter spam accounts

On Illogicopedia, and on other sites, a plethora of these two-letter spam accounts were being created. It appears the same is happening here. At Illogicopedia, an admin there blocked the proxy they were coming from. I recommend you take a look and do the same if necessary. I blocked the existing accounts of this sort, leaving the talk page open if they are real. Thanks.--Colonel Sanders 01:31, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

Did you really?

Request Ken to update your CP user page for you? Or is Ken/Ruy lying through his teeth again? --PsyG 11:14, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

"Again"? If you were simply trying to draw to my attention that he might have been claiming my authority for doing something, then that would be fair enough. But your attitude indicates that you are poking your nose in where it has no business being. For the record, Conservative is not lying. I did ask him to do the second of those two edits. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 11:59, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

Article copy request

I recently copied two articles which I had written for Ameriwiki- microscope and Light Microscope - to aSK without being aware of the procedure for copying my work from other sites. Is it OK to leave them here? --SamCoulter 23:32, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

You can leave them for now, but you should still seek permission to have them here (i.e. including making a case for why they should be here). If your reason(s) for copying them here is considered good enough, they can stay. Otherwise, they will need to be deleted. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 01:48, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Young Earth Creationism aside

Some friends from church have a fledgling publishing company and have produced their first book. I told them I would help them investigate possible sales opportunities and wondering if you have any contacts in Australia that may be of help? The book is here. Thanks! MaxFletcher 02:15, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

Sorry, no. I could put you/them in touch with someone from CMI, except that I can tell you from reading the sample chapter that they would not carry it, as it espouses an anti-biblical view (in some respects), by claiming that humans and apes have a common ancestry and accepting the deep time of secular geology, and it also has scientific errors (at least one), in claiming that humans and apes share 99% of their DNA. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 13:52, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
Outside of your answer sounding decidedly rude a quick search finds Humans and Chimps sharing 97 - 99% of their DNA. Do you have a source that says otherwise? MaxFletcher 19:48, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, it was not meant to be rude, although I did think you were being a bit cheeky in asking about help in distributing a book that is at odds with what I believe.
99% similarity is 1% difference, yet you yourself have found reference to the difference being up to three times that; that is a significant variation on the claim in the book.
Further, the figure varies depending on what is being counted. Many studies only counted substitions, not insertions nor deletions, and only in protein-coding regions. A comparison that takes insertions and deletions into account came in at 5% difference, with a follow-up study indicating twice that. Yet another study has a figure of 86.7% similarity. See here, and here.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 01:34, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
I wasn't asking you to distribute anything, I asked if you knew anyone in the publishing industry. A surely you must know other Christians who are not creationists. 99% is a still a valid figure by some accounts. MaxFletcher 01:43, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
I wasn't asking you to distribute anything, I asked if you knew anyone in the publishing industry. For what purpose, if not in some way to facilitate distribution?
A surely you must know other Christians who are not creationists. Sure, but why would I want to encourage their false beliefs?
99% is a still a valid figure by some accounts. Which accounts? Are they up to date, or out of date? In any case, unless they have addressed the issues of just what is counted, then they don't mean much.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 09:27, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for your help. MaxFletcher 19:39, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
Probably the best source is the chimpanzee genome project, the scientific analysis of which is here. Sterile 20:45, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

Revert

[6] Do you have some way to do this other than 1-by-1? Sterile 14:49, 18 December 2011 (UTC)

No. As an administrator, I can use the Revert function instead of Undo, which is a single click once the page history or contribution history is opened, so it's a little faster than Undo, but it's still page by page. Thanks very much, by the way, for the block. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 00:56, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

Christmas banner.

Just to pre-empt the usual complaints, I'm not an artistic person, and I'm very happy to have someone design something better if they think they can do better. The current Christmas banner is actually a modified version of my original, thanks to a suggestion made previously, and I'm happy to change it again if someone has a better design. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 02:37, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

Philosophy sandbox

Hi Philip,

I'm working on improving the philosophy article, and would like to make sure my contributions are OK so far. See my sandbox for what I've got so far, and please let me know. Thanks! Unemployed philosopher 06:52, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

Hello Unemployed philosopher, and welcome.
Thanks for tackling the Philosophy article; it obviously needs some attention!
I'm not an expert on the sorts of fact that you've included so far, so I'll not comment on accuracy; I'll just assume that you have them correct. What you've written so far is fine as far as fitting into this site's worldview is concerned, i.e. I see nothing there that doesn't fit.
Probably the only comment I'll make at this stage is on the level of understanding. Our Rules and regulations require that, as far as possible, articles be understandable at high school level. As a philosophy student, you are likely to use a lot of academic jargon, often without realising it. The idea of a Wiki, of course, is that others can edit your contribution, but given the number of contributors we have at present, there may not be too much of that happening. So don't let that requirement stop you contributing, but try and keep it to that level. I'll give you a couple of specifics to make that clearer:
  • "Philosophers generally agree that philosophy in the Western world begins with Thales of Miletus, and those who followed him in the Ionian project:" What's the "Ionian project"? You don't say. You may be implying that the Ionian Project is the name for the views of Thales and those who followed, but in that case, it would be clearer to say "and those who followed him in what came to be known as the Ionian project".
  • " in the case of the latter, the apeiron". Even if "apeiron" wasn't a red link, it would be appropriate to have a brief explanation of what this was, to save a casual reader having to follow the link just to follow the sentence.
You mention not knowing how to do references. There are two aspects to this, the actual Wiki-code syntax, and the format of references. For the former, see Help:Footnotes and references. As for formats, we don't yet have a detailed standard for them (see aSK:Style manual#References and notes for what we do have), so do what you think best, although you could look at other articles and see what others have done as a guide.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 08:01, 26 December 2011 (UTC)
Philip,
Thank you for your advice. I've just noticed that I've transposed Anaximander and Anaximenes (My Greek professor would surely have sighed!), but, with that minor correction, I think I can tone things down a bit to a high-school audience; they should not very much differ from my usual audience, viz. university freshmen. (Also, as an aside: why is it that Greek and Latin are not required subjects in high school? It would make things so much easier — not just for me, but for anyone pursuing, oh, biology or medicine... But I do ramble on. It's an occupational hazard.)
As for your site's "worldview", I personally think it's misguided for reasons too complicated to go into here — that said, the history of philosophy in the West (I, alas, am not entirely conversant with the philosophy of the East) is largely influenced by the Fathers of the Church and thus intimately tied up with the task of interpreting the Bible.
Depending on my advisor's hand with the lash, I will work on the philosophy article as much as I am able. It is a disservice to the nature of inquiry itself to disregard the mother of all the sciences, after all. Unemployed philosopher 08:19, 26 December 2011 (UTC)
I heard something recently about biologists no longer requiring summaries in Latin, as so many students these days, especially in non-Western countries, don't get taught it, that it's become pointless.
Maybe Greek and Hebrew should be required subjects in high school? It would make things so much easier for anyone pursuing theology, for example.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 08:34, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

Happy 2012!

Philip, hope you have a great year and the site experiences some growth! I added a few new articles to the site pertaining to history and politics, which seem to be the two things I write about the most. I hope you prosper this year and the Lord may bless you.--Colonel Sanders 02:27, 6 January 2012 (UTC)

Thank you for your thoughts, thanks for the contributions to the articles, and best wishes to you for 2012 also. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 09:13, 7 January 2012 (UTC)
No problem.--Colonel Sanders 17:45, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

Thought Experiment

Philip, an entity has come to your front door claiming to be a messenger from God with an important directive for you. How would you go about establishing the legitimacy of such a claim. Let's assume that the messenger is a human prophet of the type often encountered in the Bible, not an angel or some other supernatural-appearing being.--Martin Arrowsmith 20:05, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

I would apply a number of tests to the messenger and the claimed message:
  • I would apply the Berean test (Acts 17:11. See also 1 Thessalonians 5:21). That is, I would check that the message did not conflict with anything in the Bible. If, for example, it said that I had to kill someone, I would know that it would not be from God.
  • I would consult other Christians whom I trust, and ask for their opinions on the matter (Proverbs 11:14 NET, Proverbs 27:17, Ephesians 5:21).
  • I would check out the messenger, to see if he was accepted as a reliable Christian by other Bible-believing Christians.
  • I would look for other indications that the message was from God. For example, if the message was that God wanted me to become a missionary to Outer Mongolia, I would expect to see other things related to that "line up" or fall into place, such as, say, another missionary from there preaching at church and telling of the need in Outer Mongolia in particular.
Of course, I would pray about the matter too, seeking God's further guidance.
And of course, how much I do all that depends on the gravity of the message. If the messenger appeared credible and the message was that I had to turn on my outside light for five minutes, I would probably just do it, rather than go through the processes above.
I'm guessing that the reason for asking is the claims of assassins, terrorists, etc. who claim to be doing God's will, and how I might or might not be different (in principle) to such people. So how good was my answer?
By the way, angels often appeared as normal people, not as "supernatural-appearing" beings.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 23:55, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
That seems like an excellent procedure to follow if you were trying to, say, choose a political candidate to support or select an investment strategy. It doesn't seem applicable to supernatural interactions, though. If the messenger is legitimate, then the directive must be followed regardless of your personal feelings on the matter, no? Abraham, Jonah, the Midianites, Og's kingdom in Bashan would serve as some examples/counterexamples. The soldiers of Moses substituted their own judgement in the matter of the Midianites and were rebuked for it, and we all know what happened to Jonah. It seems (to me) that the test of the legitimacy of the messenger can't rely on your interpretation of the message, which is why I didn't make any claim about the nature of the directive.--Martin Arrowsmith 02:28, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
If the messenger is legitimate, then the directive must be followed regardless of your personal feelings on the matter, no? You miss the point that all of this is to determine if the messenger (and the message) is legitimate, and completely misrepresent my research as "personal feelings".
Because what you said appeared to boil down to two things: check to see if the messenger fits with your personal interpretation of Scripture, and ask other people what they think. To my view, looking for 'other indications' and praying for further guidance sounds like the story of the preacher on the rooftop during a flood who refuses multiple offers of help, saying that 'God will provide', only to drown and be told by God that He did provide help, multiple times, in the form of those offers of help that the preacher refused. This claimed messenger, if legitimate, is the indication, and he/she is the guidance. And perhaps the message is that your personal understanding of Scripture is wrong.--Martin Arrowsmith 04:56, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
Abraham, Jonah, the Midianites, Og's kingdom in Bashan would serve as some examples/counterexamples. Perhaps you could explain why they are counterexamples rather than just put them in a throwaway line.
Abraham was commanded to sacrifice Isaac; Moses was commanded to 'execute the Lord's vengence on Midian'; Moses was also commanded to do unto Og of Basham as he had done unto Sihon of the Amorites, and I know you know how that turned out. Those address your statement that a message from God would not direct you to kill. Jonah received a command from God but chose not to follow it - for what reason? Perhaps it conflicted with his own wishes? Abraham, on the other hand, obeyed and was rewarded.--Martin Arrowsmith 04:56, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
The soldiers of Moses substituted their own judgement in the matter of the Midianites and were rebuked for it... Soldiers disobeying orders given by their commander is an entirely different situation than the one you originally described.
The soldiers of Moses did not kill all the non-virgin females and male children of the Midianites, as God had ordered Moses, and were rebuked. Are you saying that their crime was disobeying Moses rather than disobeying God? Whose authority was greater, and from whom did the orders come? Is the duty of a soldier to follow the orders of his commander greater or less than your duty to follow the order of God?--Martin Arrowsmith 04:56, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
...we all know what happened to Jonah. So who was the messenger that gave Jonah his mission? There was none, so again, a different situation.
Jonah received his message directly from God, so he had no intermediate prophet whose legitimacy might have been in question. Yet he chose to ignore the command because it was objectionable to him, and suffered for it at God's hands. The point being that the palatability of the message is not a criterion by which its legitimacy can be judged; God commanded it, and Jonah should have followed it.--Martin Arrowsmith 04:56, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
It seems (to me) that the test of the legitimacy of the messenger can't rely on your interpretation of the message,... Ignoring that I didn't actually say that, why not? If God says "you shall not murder", and someone claiming to be a messenger from God says that God wants me to murder, don't I have every reason to question his legitimacy?
But this seems to me to be putting your own moral judgement above that of God. If the message is from God, then the actions ordered are wholly legitimate regardless of your own limited human understanding of what the Bible says. After all, God's judgement is better than yours. As to the example that you raised, not all killing is murder. Killing done in self-defense, defense of others, in warfare, etc., is not murder. If, as a soldier in Moses' army, you were told to kill all the male children in Midian but you refused because you considered that to be murder, would you have been right or wrong?--Martin Arrowsmith 04:56, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
Given that your criticisms of my reply all miss the mark, your comment that It doesn't seem applicable to supernatural interactions, though. is without foundation. Not only do you not give any reason whatsoever for why supernatural interactions are different to human ones insofar as this question is concerned, you ignored the biblical texts that I referenced as to why my approach is valid.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 04:32, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
Because I'm surprised by how little thought you seem to give to the matter. If somebody says that God wants you to turn a light on, you'd probably do it without giving it much thought - I would, too - but you'd do it not because you believed it was a command from God, but because it doesn't cost you anything. If you really in your heart believed that it was a command from God Himself, I suspect that you'd put a lot more effort into the whole operation: checking out uninterruptible power supplies, spare bulbs, really sweating them details. So you've already dismissed the Light Bulb Messenger in your heart, but on what grounds you don't say. On the other hand, with the Outer Mongolian Messenger, you require support in the form of additional worldly events that coincide with his message - but again, on what grounds you don't say.
The verses you reference are good advice in general: check claims against what you think you already know, ask for advice, test everything. But those are truisms, not testing procedures. After all, while Paul convinced 'many' of the Jews of Berea, he apparently didn't convince all of them, or the Jews of Thessalonica.--Martin Arrowsmith 04:56, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
Because what you said appeared to boil down to two things: check to see if the messenger fits with your personal interpretation of Scripture, ... You seem to think that Scripture, unlike almost every other bit of writing, is completely open to any interpretation that one likes. That is an assumption you have not demonstrated.
...and ask other people what they think. Yes. And that completely contradicts your claim of [my] personal interpretation of Scripture.
To my view, looking for 'other indications' and praying for further guidance sounds like the story of the preacher on the rooftop during a flood who refuses multiple offers of help... The point of that story of the person in the flood is that God often uses humans to carry out his actions; it's not intended to teach that we should accept the first claim that comes along. Indeed, despite that, the story itself makes my point that God will give multiple indications. If that were not so, the story would have God only making one offer of help.
This isn't a Biblical story that shows what God actually did; it's a -what, a parable I suppose?- about not relying totally on God without acting to help yourself when appropriate. The story works just as well if only one boat comes by and offers assistance. --Martin Arrowsmith 18:41, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
This claimed messenger, if legitimate, is the indication, and he/she is the guidance. According to whom? You? Why should I believe what you say about theological matters? In any case, if I'm so incapable of determining what God says (i.e. my "interpretation" of Scripture may be faulty), then what makes you think I'm capable of determining what the messenger is saying? Perhaps my "interpretation" of the messenger is also faulty?
I agree that your interpretation of the messenger may be faulty, which is why I asked what procedures you use to determine the correctness of your conclusions.--Martin Arrowsmith 18:41, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Those address your statement that a message from God would not direct you to kill. God telling Moses that someone needed to be killed is a different matter entirely to God telling me to kill, as Moses was the leader of a nation; i.e. the appropriate authority to carry out executions and declare war. I'm not in that category. In Abraham's case, there was no nation he was part of (so he was effectively the head of his group of people; i.e. the only one he answered to was God, not some governmental authority or etc.), he was instructed directly by God, a factor that you explicitly ruled out in your original question, and Abraham knew that he would not be allowed to carry out the instruction anyway.
God's authority over you is greater than the governmental authority over you. Many Christian martyrs faced persecution and death at the hands of the government because they followed God's commands rather than man's.--Martin Arrowsmith 18:41, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Abraham knew that he would not be allowed to carry out the instruction anyway. The story didn't end quite so happily for Jephthah's daughter. (Judges 11:29-39) —Awc 12:21, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
Jonah received a command from God but chose not to follow it - for what reason? Perhaps it conflicted with his own wishes? Again, Jonah was commanded directly by God, something you ruled out in your original question. And yes, it was his own wishes that caused him to disobey. He didn't think the Ninevites deserved God's mercy.
Are you saying that their crime was disobeying Moses rather than disobeying God? In effect, yes, although it would be more accurate to say that their crime was disobeying Moses' orders which they would have known came from God.
Is the duty of a soldier to follow the orders of his commander greater or less than your duty to follow the order of God? Interesting. That is only an issue where there are orders from both which conflict. I effectively gave that very reason (what the messenger said versus what God says), yet you argue that what "God says" is only my interpretation. If I'm unable to discern what God really says, then what grounds do I have for realising that I have to make a choice between (say) an army commander and God?
The point being that the palatability of the message is not a criterion by which its legitimacy can be judged; God commanded it, and Jonah should have followed it. Quite true, but irrelevant to the issue here, because (a) I never raised palatability as a reason, and (b) Jonah did not disobey through having doubts about the legitimacy of the message.
But this seems to me to be putting your own moral judgement above that of God. How so? I didn't say that if I don't like murder, then I have reason to question the legitimacy of the message; I said that I would question it because God says "you shall not murder". So how is that my moral judgement?
If the message is from God, then the actions ordered are wholly legitimate regardless of your own limited human understanding of what the Bible says. As I have said once already, You miss the point that all of this is to determine if the messenger (and the message) is legitimate.
If, as a soldier in Moses' army, you were told to kill all the male children in Midian but you refused because you considered that to be murder, would you have been right or wrong? Wrong, obviously, by your own words that Killing ... in warfare, etc., is not murder.
You think that killing children can be anything other than murder? That's disgusting. —Awc 15:43, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
Because I'm surprised by how little thought you seem to give to the matter. First, that doesn't explain the lack of relevance in your comments. Second, what makes you think I've given this little thought?
So you've already dismissed the Light Bulb Messenger in your heart, but on what grounds you don't say. I have said on what grounds: the gravity of the message. You have changed a message of little gravity into one of big gravity and claimed that my answer to the original situation shouldn't apply. Duh!
On the other hand, with the Outer Mongolian Messenger, you require support in the form of additional worldly events that coincide with his message - but again, on what grounds you don't say. Again, I did say (see my previous two sentences).
But those are truisms, not testing procedures. They are not truisms. They are tests.
After all, while Paul convinced 'many' of the Jews of Berea, he apparently didn't convince all of them, or the Jews of Thessalonica. Your point being....?
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 12:35, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
You think that killing children can be anything other than murder? My comment was a reply to Martin based on his own comment. I was not making a comment of a more general nature.
That's disgusting. Personal revulsion is not a logical argument. Are you saying that it's wrong? If so, by what standard? Your own subjective opinion, or God's standard? And in any context?
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 01:56, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Of course, it's not a logical argument. It's a visceral reaction, shared by most of mankind. We can discuss whether this sense of atrocity is instilled by God or by evolution, but it is very real. I tried to think of some circumstances where I would take a different view. The closest I could come is a child with a bomb strapped on, or infected with a deadly virus, but even then I'm not sure that killing the child is morally justified. It is certainly not justified to slaughter the children of the enemy after a military victory. I also tried to imagine any circumstances in which Jesus would condone murdering children, but given everything we know about Jesus, the very idea is absurd. —Awc 09:55, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

(OD)Martin, what exactly are you either asking or trying to establish? You started out by asking how to establish the legimitacy of a messenger. When told that a major way is to evaluate the legitimacy of the message, you then assume a legimitate messenger to put the message beyond evaluation. You start out by specifying a human messenger (i.e. a mundane interaction) but then rule out the methods of evaluation because they don't apply to "supernatural interactions" (which is untrue, anyway - see Galatians 1:8). The actions that Philip named you dismissed as suitable for politics and finance but not prophecy, but you seem to have ignored that these arise from specifically scriptural principles.

I'm sorry if this sounds condescending, but you seem a bit confused about what you are asking. Essentially you asked Philip how he would test the credentials of a messenger but when he told you you responded with "No, you wouldn't." Are you actually seeking to find out how Philip (and thus presumably other YECs) would evaluate such a messenger or do you think you know and are seeking some kind of "admission"? Is this a seeker's question or a lawyer's question? LowKey 06:21, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

This is a seeker's question, and I'm very aware about what I'm asking, but I'll concede that I am apparently communicating it poorly, since you seem confused. I'm operating from a few principles, which you may or may not agree with:
1) A message from God can come in a purely personal form: a voice in the head, an arrangement of external circumstances that has meaning only to the recipient, etc. I would consider this a 'subjective' experience, in that no one else can confirm or deny its existence. I don't believe that we know the details, but presumably many of the OT prophets received their inspiration in this way - a message straight from God with no intermediate. I believe that it is difficult if not impossible for an individual to objectively determine whether a purely subjective experience like that is 'true' in any real way. Consider the difficulty that schizophrenics have distinguishing delusion from reality, or the inability of phobics to 'get over' their fears. That is why I didn't ask how to determine if a subjective experience is God-inspired. Instead, I asked by what process one evaluates an intermediary who claims to be inspired. Now, I suppose that you could argue that the intermediate messenger could be a delusion and therefore a subjective experience, but for the purposes of this discussion let's assume that it's not the case that you are hallucinating all the other people in the world who agree with you that some third person exists. Or that the more additional witnesses you gather the lower the probability drops, at least.
2) If a message comes from God, it's directives are binding. Such a directive overrides any Earthly authority. The individual's duty to follow it is greater than any parallel Earthly duty that one could construct: the duty of children to obey parents, soldiers to obey superiors, citizens to obey police, etc. God's command to a national leader to take his nation to war is no more binding than God's command to an individual to go to war (or no more binding than God's directive to an individual to turn a porch light on for 5 minutes). There are no 'different levels' of bindingness in God's directives unless He specifies them: if He tells you to be a missionary in Outer Mongolia and leave a porch light on for 5 minutes, both are equally important, and you can't ignore one in favor of the other.
3) Since God is the source and paragon of all morality, all directives from God are moral, even if they appear to violate our Earthly understanding of morality. For example, God has in the past ordered the death of those who we would currently consider noncombatants; if a US military commander ordered such a thing today those orders would be considered illegal (and, hopefully, immoral) and should not be followed. But the same order from God was, in actuality, moral and should have been obeyed by Moses' soldiers. Our inability to comprehend the greater moral issues at work do not make us fit to ignore God's commands. Abraham was prepared to obey God's command to sacrifice his son as a burnt offering. Incidentally, I'd be interested in seeing what the Biblical support is for the position that Abraham knew ahead of time that he would not have to go through with the sacrifice.
4) So we come to the hypothetical situation in which a messenger claims to have a Divinely-inspired message. We have seen that God has ordered things that we would not currently understand as moral (examples are available on request, but shouldn't really be needed by this audience), so it seems that evaluating the inspiration of the message by comparing it to our current moral understanding is an irredeemably flawed process. I was actually trying to stay away from stating what the content of the message was - not because then I could come up with a 'gotcha', but because I think that focusing on the message itself is fundamentally pointless. If a message is inspired, it cannot violate the directives already laid out in the Bible, even if it appears to to our understanding. On the other hand, a message that is not inspired by God may appear wholly concordant with the Bible but be against Godly morality; Biblical support was often cited by proponents of slavery, polygamy, and genocide, for example.
5) So, to me it seems that the messenger itself must or should be able to offer some evidence that it is actually in communication with God. I don't myself know what form this evidence would take; that's why I asked the question. But I suspect that the best chance that a messenger would have with me personally is to draw on the supernatural nature of God to do something that I would consider impossible in a naturalistic agent - offer specific prophesy, or provide fully-worked-out solutions to 'impossible' math or physics problems, or some such. Ideally, they would work some sort of frank miracle that could be witnessed by others. I can't say that such evidence would convince me, but that's the sort of thing I would go for. But of course your mileage may vary, which is why I asked the question in the first place.
6) Having asked the question, I found PJR's response lacking. Perhaps I should have stated my principles clearly first. It seems to me that the criteria that PJR gave were to check the message against Scripture, to seek the counsel of others, to look for additional signs/messages, and to pray for guidance. Checking the message against Scripture is probably the soundest of these methods, but is limited for the reasons I've already given: our imperfect understanding of God's message in the Bible and the multitude of ways the Scripture can be interpreted to give support to mutually contradictory positions. Just as one example, the commandment not to murder does not forbid killing in defense of self or others or in warfare or as judicial punishment. If the message itself is to explicitly state that previous understanding of Scripture is in error, it will not be well-received by traditionalists. Further, some ofthe Bereans examined Scripture and came to believe in Paul as a divinely inspired messenger, but other Bereans apparently did the same thing but did not reach the same conclusion. This is not a claim that interpretation of Scripture is utterly subjective and that the Bible can be used to support any position, but a large number of positions can find support in Scripture, and the fact that there are many doctrinal divisions within Christianity should make it clear that Scriptural interpretation is not a mature technology.
Seeking the counsel of others without knowing the basis on which they are making their determination is also problematic. If they can articulate the process that they use, that's less troubling, since you can in principle confirm their results and conclusions. If their procedures are purely subjective, then there's no way of determining their validity. If your answer really means 'I don't know how I'd go about doing it, so I'd ask other people for their advice on how to do it, then I withdraw the objection, because that seems like a fair answer. Otherwise it sounds like abdicating responsibility.
Looking for additional, naturalistic 'coincidental' support doesn't really seem to me to confirm that a messenger is Divinely inspired. It's easy to find patterns when you want to find them or reject them when you don't. For example, the Outer Mongolian missionary message (repeat: I think focusing on the message is an error) is supported if someone else preaches about a need for Mongolian missionaries, but would a television show about the growth of Islam in Mongolia be given the same weight?
Praying for guidance is a perennial good answer as long as you reme that in some cases God hardens the heart of listeners against the messenger.
I don't doubt that these are the procedures that PJR would use, I just don't think that they strike to the heart of the question.
7) In short, while I don't have an definitive answer to the question as to how you determine whether a particular messenger is Divinely inspired, based on my underlying assumptions I do think that PJR's answers are unsatisfactory.--Martin Arrowsmith 18:41, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
This isn't a Biblical story that shows what God actually did; it's a -what, a parable I suppose?- about not relying totally on God without acting to help yourself when appropriate. I disagree that it's about not relying totally on God (I'm not disagreeing with that principle, but disagreeing that this is what the story is about). It is, in my opinion, about how God can use people to achieve his ends.
The story works just as well if only one boat comes by and offers assistance. I'm not so sure, but it doesn't matter, as my comment about the multiple offers was incidental to the main argument.
God's authority over you is greater than the governmental authority over you. I don't know how this is supposed to be a response to my comment that you placed it after, and I've already implicitly admitted as much anyway.
Of course, it's not a logical argument. It's a visceral reaction, shared by most of mankind. ... it is very real. Agreed, and the existence of such views is The Moral Argument for the existence of God. But it's also subjective, in that people are not consistent about it. For example, most people are repulsed at the murder of a person after birth, but many are not repulsed if it is before birth. And child sacrifice has been moderately widely practised in the past.
Now, to Martin's long (and well-explained) reply. (By the way, I renumbered the later points, as there were two numbered 4.) Despite his protestations, he is still basing his argument on a supposed but inconsistent inability to understand what someone is saying. I say inconsistent, because he applies it to the Bible, but not (for example) to his own comments.
I believe that it is difficult if not impossible for an individual to objectively determine whether a purely subjective experience like that is 'true' in any real way. Consider the difficulty that schizophrenics have distinguishing delusion from reality, or the inability of phobics to 'get over' their fears. Assuming that you are not schizophrenic, do you, Martin, have any difficulty in distinguishing delusion from reality? The point is that you are using an exception to the rule to question the rule. In general, distinguishing between delusion and reality is not a problem, so your objection is unsubstantiated. However, perhaps I'm not being fair, as perhaps your point is that even though a normal person could distinguish delusion from reality, they may still have a problem in the case of a "purely subjective experience". My answer to that is that you have not shown this; merely implied it.
That is why I didn't ask how to determine if a subjective experience is God-inspired. Instead, I asked by what process one evaluates an intermediary who claims to be inspired. But how is this any different? Sure, the messenger is objectively real (i.e. exists), but what about the claim to be a messenger from God, and the message itself?
Otherwise, I don't really have an issue with your first point, nor your second point.
Neither do I have much of an issue with what you say in point 3, but I do with the inference that there is an inability to comprehend greater moral issues at work.
Point 4, however, is more of a problem, and it's the one I opened with, that you basing your argument on a supposed inability to understand what God is saying. Your mention of our current moral understanding is a caricature which assumes that we are unable to objectively determine what God's standards are.
I agree with the first part of point 5, but raise my eyebrows at your suggestion that the messenger might invoke something supernatural. Atheists are fond of claiming that modern (or future, or alien) technology can give the impression of being a miracle (i.e. supernatural) to people unfamiliar with that technology. Yet here I see you, on one hand downgrading the ability of people to reasonably understand what God says in writing, and on the other hand upgrading an appearance of supernatural ability as being unquestionable evidence of the supernatural. This appears to me to be a significant inconsistency in your thinking. I'm not suggesting either extreme; I say that evidence of supernatural ability is evidence (not proof) of legitimacy, but so is consistency with what the Bible says. I didn't specifically mention the messenger providing evidence of being able to call on the supernatural in my initial answer, but I accept that that is one factor that I would take into account if it existed.
Checking the message against Scripture is probably the soundest of these methods, but is limited for the reasons I've already given: our imperfect understanding of God's message in the Bible... Yes, our understanding is imperfect, but that doesn't mean that this is not a useful means of judging the validity of a message or messenger.
...the multitude of ways the Scripture can be interpreted to give support to mutually contradictory positions. ... This is not a claim that interpretation of Scripture is utterly subjective and that the Bible can be used to support any position, but a large number of positions can find support in Scripture, and the fact that there are many doctrinal divisions within Christianity should make it clear that Scriptural interpretation is not a mature technology. Your comments presuppose two things: that all "interpretation" is done in good faith, and that difficulties in understanding apply across the board. I would point out that most Christians actually agree on most key points. There is disagreement over some less-important points, and there are fringe groups who disagree over key points, but neither of those exceptions change the rule. By the way, in suggesting that some interpretation is not in "good faith" I include interpretation that is based on extra-biblical considerations, such as secular views of origins. So while I would say that 6-day creation is a key point, I would also point out that very few Christians claim that the Bible teaches millions of years; rather, they argue that it allows for millions of years, and they do this because they are trying to incorporate secular views (see Old Earth Creationism). Now this may be "good faith" in the proper sense that they are sincere, but it's not what I meant by "good faith" when I used the term above.
Seeking the counsel of others without knowing the basis on which they are making their determination is also problematic. I disagree. I explicitly said that I would seek the counsel of other Christians whom I trust. As long as I can trust them to offer their opinions for good reasons, I don't actually need to know those reasons. However, at the same time I'm not suggesting that I wouldn't ask about their reasons if I thought it would help.
If your answer really means 'I don't know how I'd go about doing it, so I'd ask other people for their advice on how to do it, then I withdraw the objection... That is not what I meant, but that would be included in what I meant. That is, my answer was not limited to asking their advice on how to go about it, but one of the things I would be seeking from them would be further advice on how to go about it.
Otherwise it sounds like abdicating responsibility. It's not abdicating responsibility to seek other opinions to help me make a decision.
Looking for additional, naturalistic 'coincidental' support doesn't really seem to me to confirm that a messenger is Divinely inspired. Why not? God is in charge of everything, including natural events (Mark 4:41).
It's easy to find patterns when you want to find them or reject them when you don't. True, but only up to a point.
...would a television show about the growth of Islam in Mongolia be given the same weight? Probably. But in neither case would I base a decision on just one such instance.
I do think that PJR's answers are unsatisfactory. Part of the problem might be that you are looking at each individual answer in isolation. My point was that I would consider all these things, and make a decision based upon the whole. I fully agree that any one factor is likely unsatisfactory by itself, but I would not be making such a decision without considering a range of such factors.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:50, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
The story didn't end quite so happily for Jephthah's daughter. (Judges 11:29-39) See here for an alternative view. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 13:59, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
I must admit that that reading of the story is very appealling. If my cultural presuppositions are off the mark concerning what is meant by "burnt offering", then the rest of the story makes more sense. On the other hand, maybe it is my cultural presuppositions about the other details of the story that are off base. What makes me suspicious is that centuries of commentary, including Jewish commentary, did not come up with this explanation. (See WP:Jephthah#Sacrifice controversy and JEPHTHAH'S DAUGHTER: JEWISH PERSPECTIVES.) —Awc 17:20, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
Your (second) link (your first isn't worth much) says that Jewish commentators did come up with explanations along those lines (my emphasis):

Gersonides (1288-1344) and Abarbanel (1437-1508) adopted the consecration ideal as against the sacrificial one (10). The former suggests that a male would be dedicated to the Tabernacle, not unlike a Levite or Priest, despite the rule that only a member of the hereditary line of Levi could be so dedicated. In the case of a woman, she would be required to be celibate, and that Jephthah built a cell for his daughter. Abarbanel states that the Church "derived the practice of establishing houses of seclusion for women from the daughter of Jephthah” (11) He states also that the daughter could not even see her female friends who come the four days of the year to visit her, but only hear their voices. That may have come from the Ancrene Riwle well known at the time, that prohibited Christian anchoresses from viewing other persons even in confession (12), and believes she chose the site for her cell during the two months she wandered on the mountains.

In any case, the implication of the argument is questioned:
  • Me: Abraham knew that he would not be allowed to carry out the instruction anyway.
  • You: The story didn't end quite so happily for Jephthah's daughter.
The situation with Jephthah's daughter was different to that of Abraham, as God did not tell Jephthah to sacrifice his daughter. The usual argument is that God tacitly approved of the sacrifice, because He didn't condemn it. But even apart from the explanation I linked to, other Jewish commentators were saying that God didn't approve of it. For example (from your own link again): "But a midrash states that God tells Jephthah's daughter that her death would have no value of atonement."
So, in summary, God didn't tell Jephthah to sacrifice his daughter, a number of Jewish commentators have said that God didn't approve of Jephthah sacrificing his daughter, and there's good reason to believe that he didn't (literally) sacrifice his daughter anyway. In other words, the criticism doesn't hold much water.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:50, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
When I wrote that centuries of commentary, including Jewish commentary, did not come up with this explanation, what I had in mind was the first ten centuries AD, based on my second link: For the first millennium of the Common Era, Jewish commentators unanimously (insofar as is known to us) interpreted the text literarily: that Jephthah put his daughter to death. —Awc 14:44, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
Of course, even that first ten centuries AD is more than ten centuries after the event, so even they were far removed from the times. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 14:17, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

Slavery and Christianity

Hello Philip. My name is Frank. I had a question about Christianity, and someone I know (a friend who uses a site called "RationalWiki") suggested you might be a good person to ask. You see, for a long time I've been struggling with the Bible, somehow there is something about it which draws me in, but then there are some bits I struggle with. One example is slavery; I know the Bible never presents it as a good thing, but it doesn't clearly condemn it either. I always thought, if a book was really the Word of God, then it would condemn slavery, and make that condemnation crystal clear, because it is just plain wrong, and everyone knows that. The other thing is, my older sister Jessica, she is a Satanist. I don't understand why she worships evil, it is just so wrong; but I have to admit, she is so much smarter than I am, and she keeps on trying to convince me to join her in the darkness. And the other day we were talking, and she brought up the topic of slavery, and she was telling me, that as a Satanist, she believes in slavery, and thinks it is a good thing. And I wanted to say to her that God condemns slavery in the Bible, but I couldn't find that in the Bible anywhere. But I used, secular arguments, against slavery, but she kept on demolishing them (she is very good at arguing, and anyone who argues with her, comes away thinking she is right, no matter what she says. She could sell ice to eskimos.) And then she got me thinking, that maybe slavery is not as bad as most people think it is; she argues, it really depends on how it is practised, and maybe it is better to be a well-treated slave than a starving free person. But, if she's right, maybe the Bible is not so bad after all, for not clearly condemning slavery? My Satanist sister is making me doubt my criticism of the Bible? I am very confused — there's just, well, too much irony in all that. I am very confused; please pray for me. Frank Myerson 10:41, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

Hello Frank. As our slavery article points out, what the Bible refers to as slavery is not what most people today think of as slavery. Any proper understanding of this issue requires understanding that point, at the very least. Another thing you need to do is understand why something is wrong. You say that slavery is just plain wrong, and everyone knows that. However, clearly it is not the case, nor has it always been the case, that everyone knows that (your sister is an example). But more to the point, why is it wrong? Christians have believed that slavery is wrong because we are all (both masters and slaves) made in God's image (Genesis 1:27), and that we are all equal before God (Colossians 3:11). But not everyone believes that. Hinduism, for example, teaches that not everyone is equal, but that some are born to serve others. Atheism has no basis for the concept of right and wrong, so under atheism, there is nothing wrong with enslaving someone else. Of course most atheists don't see it that way, because they have adopted many Christian beliefs, such as slavery being wrong, whilst rejecting the basis of those beliefs. So it's not surprising that your sister is able to demolish secular arguments, because secular arguments simply don't stand up to scrutiny, ultimately.
In some circumstances, perhaps it is better to be a well-treated slave than a starving free person. Especially given, as in the situation which the Old Testament was written, that "slavery" was often a choice. That is, people who were "starving" (or owed more than they could pay, or etc.) could choose to become a "slave", which was something more like an employee who committed to working for a given amount of time, much as, say, soldiers today do, and who were not stuck with this situation for life, but who would cease to be slaves once their debt was paid off (unless they chose to continue this relationship). Choosing this situation, in which food and board was provided in return for work and some loss of liberty is hardly what we today normally think of as slavery.
Of course, another factor to consider is that in Bible times there were no government welfare systems to take care of the poor. So "slavery" was sometimes the best means of surviving. Should the Bible have condemned that?
As for your sister, it would be interesting to know why she believes in slavery. Is it the same reasoning that I have put, or does she have other reasons, perhaps ones that are inconsistent with the Bible?
I will pray for you, and for your sister.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:14, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

Spammers

I feel that the site may need a new CAPTCHA or something. The recent infestation of spammers is almost crazy. I have tried to assist in cleaning up their mess, blocking the spammers and tagging the spam, but someone else has to remove the spam itself from the site. I recommend some measure that will help the site from getting these spammers.--Colonel Sanders 22:06, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

I agree. I've always been more of an administrative contributor than a content contributor, but I wouldn't mind spending the little time I have available on something other than spam. MediaWiki's combating spam manual has some good pointers, and UMassWiki's howto on blocking spam has a bit about user agents that looks helpful. I can update the spam blacklist, but I think that we really need that automated a bit (by downloading a list at least). I think we should also IP block tor exit nodes. We are an account-edit-only wiki - with open account creation - so there should be no need for the anonymity of tor since IP addresses are not public (except for "leave a message"). Allowing IP anonymity for account edits partly defeats the purpose of editor accounts (ie some of the accountability). LowKey 00:03, 17 February 2012 (UTC) p.s. I am working with a dodgy keyboard so the poor typing is mostly not my fault this time. LowKey 01:26, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
Bailing is no fun.Can we do something about the leaks? LowKey 01:44, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
Also, it seems from the most recent spam that the spammer(s) is not bot driven. LowKey 04:18, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
Come on, Philip. LowKey and CS shouldn't have to do all this. Do something. Sterile 06:32, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

We discovered last time that spammers are now using humans to solve the CAPTHCAs, so a new one may not help. UMassWiki's article suggests blocking blank user agents—but the spammers aren't using blank ones—or using the SpamBlacklist extension—we already are. If I understand it correctly, that extension already downloads the main spam blacklist.

I think we should also IP block tor exit nodes. You'll need to explain this one to me (or I'll need to research it).

I did happen to find that one IP was responsible for 36 spam accounts, and have blocked it, but from what I can see, most spam accounts have their own IPs.

Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 14:14, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

I haz blocked three new users as spammers. Pages flagged for speedy deleteion. You will need to do the cleanup though. Hamster 01:51, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for your and Sterile's blocks and reverts of RationalWikiUser. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 11:27, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

(od) More on blocking TOR exit nodes. It would seem that the spammer(s) is/are using either TOR or some other anonymising routing technology; thus the spam appears to come from a multiple of IP addresses, and those addresses cannot be backtracked. I think we should be locking known exit nodes for such routing technology. See my earlier comments about anonymity. Lists of anonymous IP nodes can be downloaded, so it should probably be simple to script a block based on the lists (not that I have writeen any scripts in the last 15 years). Although, if we go down the path of disallowing complete anonymity (and I think we should) then we should also establish and publish a clear privacy policy. I think that there are other IP steps we can take after that, but this should be a pretty sound "rinse-cycle". LowKey 01:22, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

Sorry, mental lapse. You wouldn't even need a script. You can simply use the IP blacklist. LowKey 11:09, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
Okay, I've found the TorBlock extension which I need to check out further. A few things it says concerns me a bit, such as "The subject of this page is not very well documented yet", "You need to run loadExitNodes.php regularly (for instance every half hour)..." and "There have been reports of this module not functioning properly." On the other hand, it says that "This extension is being used on one or more of Wikimedia's wikis. This means that the extension is stable and works well enough to be used by such high traffic websites." Also, I gather it is used on other Wikis with open editing, to restrict TOR users to only logged-in accounts, whereas we want to stop spammers registering, preferably without stopping genuine people registering while using TOR.
A quick read through the parameters indicates that by default TOR users cannot create accounts and logged-in users bypass the TOR permissions, which pretty much matches "we want to stop spammers registering, preferably without stopping genuine people registering while using TOR". For myself, I wouldn't have a problem blocking out logged-in use of TOR (as per above). LowKey 23:45, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
I've installed it; we'll see how it goes. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 12:17, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

Evidence

I can't fathom what statements on this wiki you could possible perceive to be evidence for a recent divinely created earth and life and a global flood. Let me summarize:

  • You have an "argument" about something coming from nothing. Ace has pointed out that modern cosomolgy doesn't really say something comes from nothing, and that the Big Bang only really goes back to a Planck time after time zero; it says nothing about time zero or before. Anyway, there's no positive argument there anyway, other than the non sequitur, "there is stuff, therefore God made it."
  • I haven't followed Awc's geology stuff closely, but it doesn't look good for a young earth. Again, most of it is denying evolution (you weren't there, you weren't there), an no actual positive argument for a recent creation.
  • We all know about your contrived information "argument" which you can't define operationally let alone apply it to a real system of organisms, and when it's pointed out that it seems like some systems do increase information, you just brush off the relevence with no real assessment as to why they can be brushed off.
  • "Things look designed" as much as earth looks flat.
  • I seemed to recall that even you admitted that baraminology didn't really establish kinds, with the excuse of being "young" (despite the "theology is science" and that the kinds must be 4000 years old and much older than modern science).

Other than that, it just seems like "the Bible says so" and some generic statements that could fit just about any origins hypothesis (don't disprove, but don't add up to much, either). But then again, maybe I'm missing something. Sterile 06:05, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

You have an "argument" about something coming from nothing. Ace has pointed out that modern cosomolgy doesn't really say something comes from nothing... He has claimed that, but has failed to adequately show that. I have also conceded that perhaps they don't mean literally nothing, but at least something that is near-enough to nothing, yet he has failed to explain just what that "near-enough" is. In a recent debate between Archbishop Rowan Williams and Archatheist Richard Dawkins, Dawkins made this comment (my bolding):

...once Darwin had solved the problem of how you can get big, complicated, purposeful, and apparently-designed things out of very simple beginnings, once Darwin had solved that problem, it then gives courage to the rest of science that the same thing can be done in general, and that we shall end up understanding literally everything as springing from almost nothing, or according to some modern physicists, even literally nothing.

Anyway, there's no positive argument there anyway, other than the non sequitur, "there is stuff, therefore God made it." You mean like Dawkin's attitude (expressed later in the same debate), we exist, so the universe must be capable of producing life? In any case, the positive argument that you ignore is that we know from observations that everything that has a beginning has a cause, and as we can deduce that the universe must have had a beginning, it therefore follows that it presumably had a cause. Further, the cause must be external to the universe.
Ah, the usual rubbish that ignores nuclear decay being uncaused. Sterile 14:39, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
I haven't followed Awc's geology stuff closely, but it doesn't look good for a young earth. Then presumably you've followed my geology stuff even less.
Again, most of it is denying evolution (you weren't there, you weren't there), an no actual positive argument for a recent creation. As I said, presumably you've followed my geology stuff even less. The argument that I referred to in a recent post about geology was the observation that there are many landforms that are planed flat, which is positive evidence for a major flood rather than slow-and-gradual erosion. But of course you haven't followed my geology stuff.
Mountains, Philip, mountains. And old igneous rock. Sterile 14:39, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
We all know about your contrived information "argument" which you can't define operationally... We also know all about your continued badgering for a definition that has long been provided.
...when it's pointed out that it seems like some systems do increase information, you just brush off the relevence with no real assessment as to why they can be brushed off. Utter nonsense.
Nylonase? ERVs? The new HIV gene? Lenski's bacteria? And whenever Awc and I ask for an operational definition clearly and plainly or a diff link with it, you do not give on. Operational = how can you tell you have it and how can you tell how much you have? You're just lying at this point. (And yes, please block me.) Sterile 14:39, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
"Things look designed" as much as earth looks flat. Try telling Dawkins that (conveniently, see the quote above). You are simply wrong. To reinforce the point, Dawkins wrote in The Blind Watchmaker that "Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose". Of course, he doesn't believe that they were designed, but he does admit that they look like they were.
Funny that word, "appearance." Sterile 14:39, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
I seemed to recall that even you admitted that baraminology didn't really establish kinds, with the excuse of being "young"... Huh? I have said that it is not (yet) able to determine in every case exactly where a kind starts and finishes. Is that what you mean? I've also pointed out that secular science has the same problem with species, a point that has tended to be ignored.
Don't all kinds "start" at the flood? No criteria = worthless. And evolution doesn't require a neat definition for species, since one evolves from another. Sterile 14:39, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
...(despite the "theology is science" and that the kinds must be 4000 years old and much older than modern science). Wow. Talk about equivocation! By that logic, species are millions of years old and much, much older than modern science, so what's secular science's excuse? Or is the problem that you conflate theology as a science with the science of baraminology? Really, this comment is barely coherent.
So, they haven't had a longer time to figure this stuff out? Sterile 14:39, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
Other than that, it just seems like "the Bible says so"... Then perhaps you should read and understand what I say, instead of quote-mining it for things you can pick on.
What have I even quoted? I though you didn't believe in quote mining. Sterile 14:39, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
...some generic statements that could fit just about any origins hypothesis... Yes, there is some of that, but you've clearly missed the point that such things need to be taken into account, not pretended they don't exist. So yes, you are missing something.
What am I missing? You have not really said. Sterile 14:39, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 10:13, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
Ah, the usual rubbish that ignores nuclear decay being uncaused. Ah, the usual rubbish of responding with an assertion that can't be substantiated. Nuclear decay is not uncaused.[7][8]
Mountains, Philip, mountains. And old igneous rock. Is that meant to be an argument? It's just a random sentence.
Nylonase? ERVs? The new HIV gene? Lenski's bacteria? All answered before; not just "brushed off".
And whenever Awc and I ask for an operational definition clearly and plainly or a diff link with it, you do not give on. Incorrect, except to the extent that the following point applies.
Operational = how can you tell you have it and how can you tell how much you have? Also addressed before, even if only to tell you that the question is unreasonable.
You're just lying at this point. (And yes, please block me.) No, I am not lying. But if you unblock yourself within the next week (as you have blocked yourself), anything you post runs the risk of being deleted.
Funny that word, "appearance." Another random sentence, failing to make an argument. Are you suggesting that "appearance" has a different meaning (in this context) than "looks like"? If so, it would be better to explain what that difference is than simply throw out a random sentence that doesn't even make a case for anything.
Don't all kinds "start" at the flood? By "starts and finishes", I was referring to boundaries between kinds, not chronology. (And no, they started at creation, not the flood.)
No criteria = worthless. Can I accuse you of lying? You should be very aware that criteria exist.
And evolution doesn't require a neat definition for species, since one evolves from another. The issue here is not whether there are clear boundaries, but in determining where those boundaries lie. Baraminology has a very clear definition, but because, like evolution, much of the evidence exists only in the past, has trouble determining where the boundaries are between different kinds
So, they haven't had a longer time to figure this stuff out? Who are "they"?
What have I even quoted? I though you didn't believe in quote mining. I don't see how "quote mining" is anything different to quoting out of context, but I certainly don't reject that quoting out of context is a real phenomenon. The point of quote mining/quoting out of context is that someone takes something someone else has said out of context and thereby misrepresents what they said. You have referred to a number of things I've supposedly said, but misrepresented them, such as your you weren't there, you weren't there comment above. I certainly have made the argument that scientists were not there to see the events they purport to know about, whereas the Bible authors were, but you have misrepresented my argument as a simplistic chant.
But in another sense, you may be right. You haven't directly quoted me, and that in itself is a problem. Instead of quoting, you put it in your own words spun to make it something that it wasn't. It would be far better if you did actually quote me and/or link to things I've said, instead of all the misrepresentation of me that you do.
What am I missing? You have not really said. True. Like you didn't really say what those "generic statements" were. Be specific, and I can be specific in return. Like you weren't above with Mountains, Philip, mountains. And old igneous rock. and Funny that word, "appearance.".
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 02:08, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

Publication date of "Evolution: A theory in crisis"

You wrote "1986 was merely the first US edition; the first edition was a 1985 UK edition." I found several reference to 1986 as the publication date, but maybe that was because most reviewers were American. Do you have a reference for me on the UK date and/or the name of the publisher? Thanks. —Awc 13:44, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

Once again the wonderful people at Wikipedia were on the ball and fixed my mistake before I could turn around. —Awc 14:29, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
So once again the creationist (me) was correct and the evolutionists at Wikipedia have to play catch-up! :-)
Perhaps the WP article should be rewritten by someone who actually has the book? Nah, that would violate their that NPOV policy which uses their Reliable Source policy which excludes nasty creationists by definition.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 22:34, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
P.S. Nothing to do with anything except my point about actually having the book, and WP's bias, WP's talk page you link to also has this comment (in an earlier section, from 2008):

On closer examination, the quote is in fact sourced without attribution to an anonymous Answers in Genesis piece (which is clearly not a WP:RS as they don't even get Denton's field correct-- he is a biochemist, not a molecular biologist). I am therefore removing this.

In fact, the dust jacket of Denton's book (first U.S. edition) says, "This authoritative and remarkably accessible book by a molecular biologist....". If Denton was not a molecular biologist, it was his publisher, not the creationists, who made the mistake. But of course the anti-creationists at WP are oh-so-ready to believe that creationists don't know what they are talking about, and oh-so-readily use that to suppress their viewpoints. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 22:43, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
So once again the creationist (me) was correct and the evolutionists at Wikipedia have to play catch-up! The editors [correction: The other editors] at Wikipedia (Whether those particular editors were evolutionists or not I couldn't say.) got it right the first time. I was the one who came in an mucked it up for a short time. In my defense, I was only following the sources I could find. —Awc 09:41, 24 March 2012 (UTC)
Hey, why do you have to spoil a good story with the facts? Actually, I had noticed that one of the articles (Denton or his book) had 1985 and the other had 1986. I didn't at that time realise that you had changed one and subsequently changed the other. In any case, why do you refer to "the editors at Wikipedia" as though that excludes you? Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 10:45, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

AbuseFilter

I was just curious if you have the AbuseFilter extension installed or have considered installing it. I know on a Wiki which I run about music, it's come in handy with defeating spammers in their tracks. You can use it, for example, to blacklist various external links and editing patterns, stop editors from a set usergroup (for example, new users) from making edits that meet the criteria of the filter, and then you can even go so far as to warn the "Recent Changes" about what's going on and, even, block a user making an abusive edit for a set period of time. Fairly simple and straightforward to use, and requires very little twaeking, IMO. Reckless Noise Orchestra 09:19, 27 March 2012 (UTC)

No, we don't have it. It looks interesting, and may provide a better permanent solution than our temporary solution. Does it have the ability to stop spammers registering? That's the current problem we have. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 11:37, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure if it can (I've never used it for that purpose, though you might be able to program something into it.) But it can be used, as I've used it, to create blacklists of some of the worst spam sites (and you can add on and on as needed), detect those sites and links in edit attempts, block the edit attempt, and then (if you so choose) block the spam editor. Reckless Noise Orchestra 20:38, 27 March 2012 (UTC)

About the Age of Earth and God's Deception.

I am new to this arena, but I have followed a bit of the discussion regarding the age of earth and I would just like to voice my simple opinion. I believe that God "created" the earth by utilizing existing matter that is likely to be billions of years old or more. That matter likely included elements that were not and are not indigenous to this planet as we know it. My best example of this would be that if I were to go to my garden and gather some dirt, and shape that dirt into a ball, and call that ball earth... the date of that creation would be today. However, the matter used to create it would be much older... as long as that dirt has been in existence in fact. It would also likely include many elements that would no longer be living and which did not ever exist since I formed the ball and named it. I would not be attempting to deceive anyone. I would be using existing elements to create a new object... an object designed with a purpose to develop a particular species of living organisms upon it. I really don't think God works outside of Science. I don't think he magically brings about something from nothing. But, I do think that Science as we know it is embryonic at best. Were talking about a discipline that didn't know we should was our hands between patients as little as a century ago. --Unsigned comment by FactsAndTheory (talk)

Why do you believe that God used existing material billions of years old? What is the evidence that you think is applicable here?
You don't believe that God "magically" brought about something from nothing. Do you instead believe that something "magically" came from nothing billions of years ago without God causing it? Or do you instead believe that the "something" was always there, contrary to what most scientists believe?
When do you think that God took this existing billion-of-years old matter to create the Earth? Even if you are correct that He did, if He did it billions of years ago and told us that it happened only thousands of years ago, doesn't that still make Him a deceiver?
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 01:12, 7 April 2012 (UTC)

I think that matter has always existed and God organized that matter to form Earth. If you read my original post, the example of creating my own sphere shaped globe from my garden soil and at that moment naming it "earth" would make it moments old, but it would in fact have been formed using existing dirt from my garden that is much older. It's not deception at all. Also, that dirt from my garden would likely contain elements that may not be relevant to the new purpose of my new earth, but would still be found in the soil by any new inhabitants of my sphere. Yes, contrary to what scientist believe, I believe "something" was always there. I believe the timeframe for this planet to become earth to fulfill God's purposes is biblically correct, but measuring how old the matter used to form earth and assuming that the matter was created at the time earth was formed is where I believe science and faith have a disconnect. Where does it say that God made Earth from "nothing"? I think your example of the master furniture builder would be the same analogy as mine, if you allowed for the possibility that the wood He used to build the furniture came from a tree. Thus trying to date when the furniture was built by dating the age of the tree would be inapplicable. By the way, I appreciate your work. FactsAndTheory 05:04, 8 April 2012 (UTC)

I wasn't suggesting that God using pre-existing material would make Him a deceiver; that comment was reserved for the case that He made the world billions of years ago, which appear to not be what you are claiming.
However, I did ask why you believe that God used pre-existing material, and you merely restated your view that He had (which I had already understood) rather than explain why you believe that. Actually, that may not be totally fair. You do hint that you believe the "measured" ages assigned to matter. Does that mean that you base your idea of God using pre-existing material on trying to reconcile the radiometric dates of rocks with the biblical date for the creation of the Earth?
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 11:26, 8 April 2012 (UTC)

Yes, I do think that the scientist that date the earth by dating the material of the earth do not understand how earth was created. I also think it is a problem for those of faith that have to reconcile biblical time to the scientific date of the earth. I would go a bit further and also state that identifying items in the earth and assuming that they lived on this earth is likely not always the case... as would be the example of using dirt from my garden. My belief is that matter has always existed, just as God has. I think we have a very restricted understanding of time since everything we know has to have a beginning and and end. But eternal objects have no such restrictions. I think that it woud be more accurate if we used organization or construction of the earth as opposed to creation.

Sorry, but you are still telling me what you believe, but not why you believe it. I'll ask the question differently. If a scientist dates a rock as being, say, 30 million years old, which of the following do you believe:
  1. That the rock is actually 30 million years old.
  2. That the rock is actually only thousands of years old.
  3. That the rock is only thousands of years old, but that the material that makes up the rock is millions of years old, and therefore the dating is accurate, but the scientist is misapplying it to the rock rather than the material that the rock is made of.
  4. Something else completely different.
My belief is that matter has always existed… But why do you believe that?
…everything we know has to have a beginning and and end. We don't "know" that by observation, as there are many things that we did not see the beginning of, and of course everything that we see now we've yet to see the end of. We do know that for most things by deduction, but that deduction applies to matter too.
But eternal objects have no such restrictions. That's simply a truism: you've basically just claimed that eternal objects are eternal.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:09, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Guard Dog

Is the program available for download? I want to get it for my own wiki, thanks.

16:18, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
After a partial rewrite, it's still undergoing testing, and there are definitely a few bugs in it, so it's not available yet. Once it's okay, I'm happy to make it available to selected sites, but I don't plan on making it generally available. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 02:41, 18 April 2012 (UTC)

My userpage

Hi Philip, could you please delete my userpage as it goes to some links revealing my identity which I don't want to reveal. --SupernovaExplosion 03:15, 29 April 2012 (UTC)

Done, although I inadvertently allowed the first part of the content into the edit comment, so I hope your Wikipedia user page wasn't the problem (I expect not). Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 12:34, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
Thanks! --SupernovaExplosion 04:13, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

Your pridefulness

Hi Philip. At this point can you admit that your pridefulness got the better of you? Writing a program to block hundreds of spam accounts before they can post to your ghost town of a blog is an absurd non-solution to an embarrassing problem when you can simply close registration down and ask prospective users to request accounts. What do you think Philip? Do you agree that you haven't solved the problem and that there was no way you ever would by writing Guard Dog. I predict that you'll find a reason to disagree with me. And then we'll all laugh at you again. Teh Terrible Asp 15:05, 12 May 2012 (UTC)

Perhaps you are a bit too proud of your own ability to consider all the possible answers I might give, such that you already "know" that none will be any good.
  • I agree that the spammer problem is a problem. But how is it embarrasing?
  • I agree that I haven't solved it.
  • I also agree that there was no way that I would solve it by (re)writing Guard Dog. But Guard Dog was never meant as a solution to that problem. Rather, I adapted it simply to make it easer to block the spam accounts. It certainly does that.
So there: I've agreed with you, in part. And the part I didn't agree on was one of your premises which was incorrect.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 16:11, 12 May 2012 (UTC)
"Rather, I adapted it simply to make it easer to block the spam accounts." Why though? Even suggesting that one of my premises is wrong indicates your pridefulness. You do admit Guard Dog couldn't solve the problem, yet why in the world you use it to block spam accounts when you should have closed down registration is beyond me. "But how is it embarrasing?" It's ridiculous because your wiki looks even deader than it is. It's embarrassing because you've failed to do the simplest thing you could have done to solve the problem. It's even more embarrassing that you've got the chutzpah to say I got a premise wrong when you completely failed to engage the issue. I'm just pointing out that you're so contrarian that I predicted you'd take a position this ridiculous. There's no point in continuing the discussion - the take away for you is that you ought to consider shutting down registration for a while and be done with it. Cheers. Teh Terrible Asp 16:34, 12 May 2012 (UTC)
Even suggesting that one of my premises is wrong indicates your pridefulness. Because...?
You have made two other incorrect assumptions. One is that I haven't considered shutting down registration (and decided not to), and the other is that shutting down registration has no negative consequences. Wikipedia credits much of its success on the ease with which anybody can edit, part of which is not requiring registration in order to edit. Simply by requiring registration on aSK I have discouraged people from editing. I didn't do that without a fair bit of soul-searching, but decided that it was something I should do. To counter that a little, I made it possible to leave a message without registering, as well as to try editing without registering. Shutting down registration and requiring people to apply then wait before they could edit is, in my opinion, too much of a hindrance to editing. So although it has the benefit of stopping the spammers, I consider the cost to be too great. So considering the option and rejecting it is nothing to be embarrassed about.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 00:35, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
There are quite a lot of antispammer signup scripts available. The best seem to be ones that require being able to view the entire site and asking a question such as "what type of bird is in our site logo?" or similar. Captcha just doesn't seem to cut it anymore. Give me a shout if you want a hand (although you are far better at wiki stuff than me so I doubt I'd be much help!). CrundySpeak! 15:01, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Crundy, please see the earlier discussion, #Time to look for a new CAPTCHA. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 11:00, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

Deceitful pattern of editing - request arbitration

I believe you have deceitfully edited my comments to implicate me in making strawman arguments. When I have called you on this you demanded I retract my valid concerns and blocked me when I failed to do so. I request arbitration by a neutral party as I feel you have overstepped and have a conflict of interest. MaxFletcher 21:30, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

Hi, I'm Mr. Anon, from RationalWiki. I only just came on here, but I'd be glad to be a third party arbitration. Could you point to the edits where Mr. Rayment has allegedly edited your comments? Thanks. Mr. Anon 02:22, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
I mean he misquoted me in a deceptive manner and blocked me when I refused to back down when I accused him of engaging in a dishonest practice. MaxFletcher 02:34, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Can you provide a link to his edit where he misquoted you? Not that I am doubting you, but it is best to examine the direct evidence in order to make a conclusion. I think it would be nice to see Mr. Rayment's side of the issue as well. Mr. Anon 01:42, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Max: Let's back up the truck for a moment. How can you possibly mean "misquoted me" by "edited my comments"? One is not a qualification of the other. Which one is your actual claim, and for which one will you therefore be issuing a retraction and apology? As to your claim itself; links, please.
Mr Anon: No offence, but coming from RW hardly makes you neutral, although neither does it necessarily mean you cannot be impartial. We have no way of knowing.LowKey 12:53, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
I come from RationalWiki, but I haven't had any experience on conservapedia. I often get into disagreements with fellow RWians, and I will try to be as impartial as possible. Now, Max, could you please provide a link to the offending edits. Mr. Anon 22:05, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
There are two edits Rayment made that are dishonest. Firstly here. My comment at 01:26, 2 May 2012 where I say,
yes it does. The whole investigation is based upon the light not being a god therefore it must be something else.
He tq's my sentence answers the "yes it does" with "How"?. I explained with the following sentence but he splits it and answers as if I made two different points, not something that is read as a single point. That is dishonest and I called him out on it. He disagreed, fine, but that doesn't make his behaviour any less dishonest! That was only one part, the other - worse incident - is in the same section, my comment at 21:11, 2 May 2012 where I say,
No, Rayment, the atheist doesn't reject god for a philosophical reason. Because scientifically it is completely unhelpful. Its an add on that is totally useless. "There is a light in the sky, oh it must be god" end of inquiry. Even if you don't end your inquiry and discover a comet, where it came from and when it'll be back you can just tack on "God" at the end. Utterly unhelpful scientifically.
He splits that sentence, once again dishonestly, and answer this part "There is a light in the sky, oh it must be god" claiming that it is a strawman. Firstly how can a hypothetical example be a strawman? If you say "You decide to go to the shop and buy an ice cream" when discussing a hypothetical economic disagreement can I say "That's a strawman - you are supposing I would buy an ice cream"?
Secondly, he ignored the entire point to claim I made a strawman when it is quite clear, if you read the entire statement it isn't a strawman! It only becomes a strawman through Rayment's dishonest editing of my statement and selective response. When called on it, he makes a silly demand that I justify it (which I had done) and makes an even sillier demand for an apology. I was then blocked for two weeks.
I request an arbitration and believe Philip should block hinmself for a period of two weeks and I'll charge myself with removing the spam accounts with the rights which will be granted to me for those two weeks. This sound reasonable to me and to go one step further, I'll even drop the demand of Phil to block himself if he apologises to me and recognises his deceitful pattern of editing. MaxFletcher 23:50, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
The proper word here is "quote mining", and it does appear that your points are being represented unfairly. I don't think that can validate a self-block, however. I'd like to see his response first before I make any conclusions. Mr. Anon 01:01, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
I think much of the concern here is Philip's form of debating, where he addresses each part of his opponent's argument by quoting. In this case, he did try to address your point, but he just kept the first part of your quote for rhetorical purposes (essentially he was saying "How? The example you give does not properly answer the question"). If you object to his counter-argument, that's fine, but it does not appear to be really a case of misquoting. Mr. Anon 01:08, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
Mr Anon, you have no credentials or standing to make any conclusions, excepting those that you may make for your own edification. You are no kind of arbiter here. We already have Umpires who can handle this kind of issue (me being one). By the way "quote mining" is altogether different to anything going on here. LowKey 04:02, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

(od) Max, I am happy to look into this and give my opinion but I also expect you to;

a) issue a retraction and apology for one of the two claims as I already asked above. You have made two separate "claims", each of which contains some very serious accusations. They cannot both stand (being mutually exclusive) so one must be retracted. In fact I would suggest that you spend some time to formulate exactly what complaint you wish to make, as your later description does not actually match either your initial claim or its contradictory "explanation".
b) undertake to cease your rude use of Philip's surname only. You have been reminded of this more than once. LowKey 04:02, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
I am sorry, what two claims are mutually exclusive? MaxFletcher 04:06, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
The initial claim and your follow-on explanation, as I already pointed out here and again at the end of a) above. LowKey 04:18, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
I fail to see what the issue is? MaxFletcher 04:29, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
I take it then that you wish to press forward with both your claim that Philip has deceitfully edited your comments and your claim that he has misquoted you in a deceptive manner. Are you happy that your above link and explanation addresses those? I believe you are also claiming that your block was unjustified. Do you wish to say more about that, or will we just go with what you have above? Also, please address my point b) above. LowKey 04:51, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
He did both, it edited my comment (in his response) and used his edit to misquote what I was saying. There is nothing strange about that. And yes, my block was based on me not backing down on calling him dishonest which he clearly is in how he edited and responded to me. As to b) well I went to a school/private college where we were addressed each other by surname. It is a force of habit. MaxFletcher 04:56, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
It is a habit you should break, which should not be hard in a type it/preview it/post it medium. I say again, please undertake to cease your rude use of Philip's surname only. I am not asking you to explain it, or to excuse it, but to explicitly cease it.
As to the claims, if whatever Philip did was in his response then we can clearly dismiss the first claim of editing your comment. On a wiki, "editing a comment" means changing the text of an editor's post within their post so that the post itself is other than the original poster intended. That is not what you are claiming. You are claiming misquotation. As you say it was deceitful, I assume you believe it to be intentional misquotation. I will look through the discussion with a view to determining if I think that there was intentional misquotation. From your description you were blocked for not retracting an accusation that you had made. I will be looking at; theblock itself and what reason is given, the accusation, any demand for a retraction/apology (along with any block warning), any such retraction/apology or alternatively any substantiation/justification of the accusation. I will not however being doing any of that right this second. Hopefully I will get time over the weekend.
In case you are concerned about my impartiality please take note that I have in the past sanctioned myself for an inappropriate block (20 March 2010). LowKey 05:40, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

I saw MaxFletcher's request for arbitration here soon after he posted it (in fact after Anon's first post), but wasn't sure what could be done about it. The previous request for arbitration was a bit difficult to meet given the lack of people available to form an arbitration committee. Since then, one of those arbitrators has formally withdrawn from the site and the other two haven't been active. Having said that, I should point out that the first, although having formally withdrawn, has still been around and may indeed be willing to take part; I don't know.

So I've been thinking about possibilities, and although had noticed from the recent changes list that there had been other posts in this discussion, hadn't realised until now how much discussion had ensued.

I certainly don't accept Anon's offer, for the same reason that LowKey said: he's an unknown quantity. Neither would I accept any of the typical RW people who frequent this site, as I wouldn't consider them to be anything like impartial. I guess if I studied Anon's posts on RW I might be able to come to the conclusion that he is impartial (and not just acting impartial; I must admit that his comments above appear reasonable), but I wouldn't even bother unless someone could make a reasonable case that it would be worth my effort.

If MaxFletcher is happy with letting LowKey judge the matter, I'm certainly happy to leave it in LowKey's hands. I would expect to make my own statement on the request, although that would probably be to simply collate and summarise comments I have already made, as I have already addressed MaxFletcher's claims.

Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 04:45, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

Sorry for the delay. Apart from being our busiest time of year at work, I have been quite ill. Considering the the above, would you care to make you statement? LowKey 11:26, 1 June 2012 (UTC)
I assume you're asking me? I expect that my statement will include a fair bit of documentation, so I don't want to spend the effort until I'm sure that MaxFletcher is also agreeing to this. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 05:28, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, I was asking you. I assumed that it being your usertalk, you would be the default addressee (but I really didn't even give it that much thought). We'll wait for MaxFletcher to speak up. LowKey 12:02, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
Well, I am waiting patiently. MaxFletcher 20:52, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
Feel free to wait at Ameriwiki. We've shed the last vestiges of the CP mentality and would always welcome new editors. --SamCoulter 23:29, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
Waiting patiently for what, exactly? We are currently waiting on you to explicitly accept my arbitration on this - as I have already indicated on your talk page. Also, I am still waiting for you to explicitly undertake to cease addressing or referencing Philip by surname only. LowKey 04:33, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
Waiting patiently for you to do what you said you'd do. I agree - go for it. And I already said it was force of habit and haven't used the term Rayment since you advised me to try not to. MaxFletcher 05:08, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
Thank you. When you called your rudeness a force of habit I again asked for an undertaking, which you still have not given. I did not advise you to try not to do it - I asked you to undertake to cease doing it. I do not understand why you so consistently hedge on this. While it is true that it has no bearing on this particular issue, I take issue when someone openly calls others rude while being openly rude. Which brings me to your edit summary; I was being somewhat direct but certainly did not attend any rudeness. No offence was meant, but I apologise if any was given.
Philip, MaxFletcher has agreed to go ahead. Once you have made your statement/case/thingy I start wading. LowKey 05:33, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
LowKey is handling this, so I defer to him, but I would have thought that you (MaxFletcher) would also want to make your case, in which case, what were you waiting for? Are you intending to make a case, or is the first comment in this section your case?
Anyway, I'll aim to have my statement here within the next few days.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 09:18, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
Unless MaxFletcher specifically wants to say more I am taking comments above as his complaint, specifications and case - based on there being responses to requests for details. There is certainly time for MaxFletcher to say more, as I am not rushing this - I am currently very much living the adage, "The hurrier I go the behinder I get." LowKey 11:08, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
On a final note, I pointed out Philip making the exact same type edit that I did which he called a strawman. If he claims his edit wasn't a starwman and mine is that is just plain dishonest particularly as he is defending himself as "Well, that is what an evolutionist could do" which is exactly the same thing I was doing before before Philip deceitfully edited my comment to imply something different. I don't know how anyone can conclude Philip is editing in good faith. MaxFletcher 21:02, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

Statement by Philip J. Rayment

MaxFletcher's sustained negative tone

I blocked MaxFletcher under the site's civility provisions, citing in particular the bit about persistent or belligerent use:

I've had enough of this. I'm declaring you in breach of our policy on civility. To explain, that page says the following:

An Umpire is less likely to declare a breach in the following cases.

  • Referring to an idea—rather than a person—as (for example) stupid will not normally be grounds for declaring a breach.
  • Expressing an opinion that something is the case—rather than asserting that it is—will also not normally be grounds for declaring a breach.
However, persistent or belligerent use in any form may constitute a breach, as may be uses which appear to be pushing the boundaries.

I have not declared a breach before now, because many of your comments have been referring to my comments rather than me, or stated as expressing your opinion. But I'm invoking the last line of that section quoted from the civility breach page, and offering as evidence the list below. What I find so ironic are the accusations made against me by a person who appears to be guilty of a number of these himself. For example, it's ironic given the list below that he accuses me of rudeness. And that he calls me arrogant, but deems to know how I would respond to him justifying some of his comments. And that I'm supposedly dishonest by the way I represent his comments that I'm replying to, but, to apply a very strict definition of honesty, has not been totally honest himself (see here and here).

So I require you to justify your comments listed below, or retract them and apologise. Failure to do this will lead to a sanction.

I followed that with a list of things he'd said, corresponding to the first column in the table below. (Ones without links are at the same link as the previous one.)

He replied with the comments in the second column of the table below.

It will be seen that he "justified" many of his comments by either asserting that they were true, or by saying that he felt they were true, not by demonstrating that they were true. In one case he retracted the comment.

MaxFletcher's comment that I quoted MaxFletcher's supposed justification
Mr Rayment, all I am seeing from you is obfuscation.[9] I believed you were engaging in obfuscation and gave an example of why I thought so.
you exceedingly rude[10] I felt you were being rude and told you as such.
You are not a nice person and arrogant in the extreme. I gave an example of why I thought this
Philip, now I am wondering what is actually wrong with you here.[11] Not an insult, you were generally making some baffling comments
The fact you are still banging on about this when I have answered the same way 4 times is more proof of your obfuscation. How is this an insult? I answered 4 times and you kept repeating the same thing and refused to understand what I was saying.
Just because you don't abuse your position as site owner doesn't mean you don't treat people in a condescendingly and arrogant manner. [12] I believe you treat people in a condescendingly and arrogant manner. The very fact you failed to address my response after I had repeated 4 times is evidence of this.
Philip, if you are going to tq comments please do it honesty.[13] Explained why this is dishonest. Just because you don't accept it doesn't make it an insult (and gives more creedence to my accusations of your arrogance in that you fail to see your own dishonesty and when it is pointed out you accuse the other person of insulting you. That is arrogant.
Don't play dumb. I felt you were playing dumb.
You are rude Philip, that is just how I feel and you treat others as if they are somehow deficient. Sorry, but that's how I feel and because you appear to not accept criticism any substantiation would be rubbished by you anyway. [14] Telling you how I feel. What is the problem? You were being rude so I told you how I felt.
I think you are arrogant, pig-headed and somewhat deluded in your own abilities[15] Already explained why I think you are arrogant. Pig-headed in that you refuse to listen to any criticism, deluded in that you show no humility.
Sorry Rayment, but it was dishonest.[16] Explainwed why it was dishonest - that you don't accept it doesn't make it an insult but stating it is an insult is evidence of your arrogance.
It makes you look ridiculous, petty and unable to follow a proper conversation. Explained
your own special type of gibberish, analogy and wordplay Not an insult, critique of your style of argumentation.
I don't like Philip, I feel he is arrogant and does not employ humility. [17] Explaining how I feel. A personal opinion.
your deceitful editing[18] explained - that you don't accept it doesn't make it an insult but stating it is an insult is evidence of your arrogance.
Dishonest.[19] As above
bleat bleat bleat.[20] Not an insult.
Why is it nearly every person has called you dishonest or some variant? Yes, why is that?
Are you insane? [21] possibly insulting, retract.
your application of deceitful editing that you don't accept it doesn't make it an insult but stating it is an insult is evidence of your arrogance.
your dishonesty that you don't accept it doesn't make it an insult but stating it is an insult is evidence of your arrogance.

MaxFletcher's first accusation of dishonesty over how I replied to a comment of his

A major disagreement was over the following exchange (from user talk:Awc#Okay, time to take stock...):

  • I wrote

Your "answer" does not use atheism as a basis for science.

  • MaxFletcher replied

yes it does. The whole investigation is based upon the light not being a god therefore it must be something else.

  • In my reply, I replied to each sentence separately, but also addressed the answer as a whole:

yes it does. How?

The whole investigation is based upon the light not being a god therefore it must be something else. Yes, but how is that "science"?

You've made an assertion, but not backed it with argument, except for something that doesn't actually address the point.

I felt that I was justified in asking "How?" to the opening assertion, on the basis that the following sentence didn't support the assertion. I went on to point out how I saw the following sentence to be not relevant in addressing my point. Finally, I made an observation that treated his two sentences together as a single answer.

In response, MaxFletcher accused me of dishonesty:

Philip, if you are going to tq comments please do it honesty. When I said yes it does it was followed by the example. Which you split off and answered separately.

I responded to that, as follows:

I don't believe that I was dishonest. Yes, I did "split off" the example, but I didn't ignore the example, and I also justified treating it separately by saying that it didn't actually address the point. If I had ignored and not addressed the example, or had treated it as though it wasn't even meant to support the claim, your accusation would have had some merit. But I did not do that, so I was not being dishonest.

MaxFletcher repeated his accusation of my dishonesty, but without any further explanation of why it was dishonest; in particular, failing to address my point that I had acknowledged that he intended his second sentence to support the first sentence.

Sorry Rayment, but it was dishonest. It was a single point broken by a period the yes it does was followed with the example. So please, don't do that again. It makes you look ridiculous, petty and unable to follow a proper conversation.

That was not the end of that dispute, but that's enough to show that I treated his comments honestly, contrary to his accusation.

He says above that he splits it and answers as if I made two different points, not something that is read as a single point. However, as explained above, although I did split it, I also included an answer to the two sentences together as a single point.

MaxFletcher's second accusation of dishonesty over how I replied to a comment of his

MaxFletcher's second accusation of dishonesty above is:

No, Rayment, the atheist doesn't reject god for a philosophical reason. Because scientifically it is completely unhelpful. Its an add on that is totally useless. "There is a light in the sky, oh it must be god" end of inquiry. Even if you don't end your inquiry and discover a comet, where it came from and when it'll be back you can just tack on "God" at the end. Utterly unhelpful scientifically.

He splits that sentence, once again dishonestly, and answer this part "There is a light in the sky, oh it must be god" claiming that it is a strawman. Firstly how can a hypothetical example be a strawman? If you say "You decide to go to the shop and buy an ice cream" when discussing a hypothetical economic disagreement can I say "That's a strawman - you are supposing I would buy an ice cream"?

Secondly, he ignored the entire point to claim I made a strawman when it is quite clear, if you read the entire statement it isn't a strawman! It only becomes a strawman through Rayment's dishonest editing of my statement and selective response. When called on it, he makes a silly demand that I justify it (which I had done) and makes an even sillier demand for an apology. I was then blocked for two weeks.

To put this in context, this was following my claim that Christian presuppositions (such as the view that the universe is intelligible) are necessary for doing science. MaxFletcher was trying to justify his view that Christian presuppositions are not necessary.

To condense his argument down to its core, he's doing the following:

  • Claiming that in investigating nature, one shouldn't use a particular methodology (of invoking God) that is not scientific.
  • Making that point that with an example of explaining a light in the sky.

He then qualifies this by allowing for someone not invoking God immediately, but of doing so sooner or later.

He asks how can a hypothetical example be a strawman? The answer is, it's not the example that is the strawman, but the methodology which the example demonstrates.

He accuses me of (again) being dishonest by splitting up his comment to answer in sections, asserting that taken together it does not constitute a strawman. But he never explains how me splitting it turns it into one, or how keeping it together avoids it being one. Nothing he says in the rest of his answer negates that he is claiming that a particular methodology is what atheists are avoiding when they exclude God from the explanations.

Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 14:22, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

Analysis and findings

I have just now seen Philip's statement. I will make a start soon, but I am not just low on time, but also energy and to be honest general motivation. We've gone from one government running us into the ground to a new government throwing us under the bus, and it takes the wind out of one's sails somewhat. LowKey 11:25, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

Well, here is what I have. Like or lump it, as they say. It's a little rough around the edges, but it is all I have the time and energy for at present.
I have concluded that Philip neither edited MaxFletcher's posts nor misquoted them.
  • In one incident, Philip did treat two sentences as separate that MaxFletcher intented to stand together. I don't think that this splitting was a good way to address MaxFletcher's post, as Philip's "How?" does seem to ignore or dismiss Max's immediate following claim about how. Max raised exactly that, and Philip explained what he was doing. I think Philip was being slightly stubborn and obtuse, but at this stage he had been putting up with Max's belligerence and incivility for some time, so a little stubborn obtuseness is not surprising. I think that given that Philip was open about his reasoning, Max, regardless of disagreeing with that reasoning, cannot complain of it being deceitful unless he be a mind reader.
  • In another incident, Philip again treated two sentences as separate and called the second of them a strawman [argument]. Max says that this is not a strawman but a hypothetical situation and that to treat it as a claimed argument is deceitful. I think that the statement is actually more than hypothetical but a little less than a claimed argument. MaxFletcher was giving an example of creationist thinking. At the time he did not specify that it was not an example of actual creationist thinking, but that was strongly implied. In this instance, I think Max is the one being a little stubborn and obtuse. If the example cannot be addressed it cannot be part of Max's argument.
  • Regarding the block, MaxFletcher had long been belligerent and rude. When asked to justify or retract, he essentially re-iterated without justification or qualified (quibbled, actually) with "I think you are" or "in my opinion" or other such comments. The block was more than justified, and possibly overdue.

I expect to receive criticism over my conclusions but when any situation reaches a point where arbitration is requested someone is going to be unhappy about the outcome. I have tried to be objective and call it as I see it. LowKey 05:50, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for your time and effort, LowKey. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 14:13, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
As if one creationist (LowKey) would ever find fault in another (Rayment). MaxFletcher 20:54, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
MaxFletcher, a few points.
  • I offerred to arbitrate and you accepted, in fact I did not proceed until you had explicitly accepted. Any objection now based on who I am is not only invalid, but seems somewhat petty and bitter. Likewise the post hoc assumption of bad faith on my part.
  • If you read the above you would see that I did indeed "find fault" with Philip.
  • I have on this very site admonished creationists in defense of non-creationists. I was serious above about being objective, and I followed the process which I proposed and you accepted. That process made no reference at all to positions regarding creationism, and neither did I.
  • I have never actually looked into your position. I did not know if you support YEC, OEC, Theistic Evolution, Atheism, Vaishnavism or Anyism. Your latest comment indicates you are anti-Creationist but what becomes apparent after my analysis was naturally not a factor in my analysis.
  • You have been reminded plenty that "Rayment" alone is rude. You have repeatedly hedged when I have raised this. My patience in this is gone. I will not insist on an apology (although Philip might) but as an Umpire of this site I am directing you to correct that latest use. Failure to do so will result in a block for incivility. LowKey 23:34, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

Ban numbers in usernames

Hi Philip, how is life? I was going to suggest you ban numbers in usernames for new users. The vast majority of new users with numbers in their names appear to be spammers; and it is probably not a major imposition on legitimate users to not be allowed to have numbers in their names. It could make RecentChanges a lot cleaner. $wgInvalidUsernameCharacters would do it, but it appears your Mediawiki version is too old for that. If there is no setting to do that in your version, it is probably not hard to add. I think you just modify isCreatableName function in User.php. That's how $wgInvalidUsernameCharacters works. All the best, Zack Maratrean 13:16, 9 June 2012 (UTC)

I've used the TitleBlacklist extension (which we already had) to implement this. Thanks for the suggestion. I wonder if it will slow them down, or whether they will just switch tactics? Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 13:09, 12 June 2012 (UTC)

User rename request

Hi Philip, Can I please change my username from User:Maratrean to User:ZackMartin. Thanks, Zack. Maratrean 04:47, 15 June 2012 (UTC)

Done. Does that mean that you've changed your religion too? Or do you want me to change your religion for you? :-) Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:18, 16 June 2012 (UTC)
No, I have not changed my religion. But I decided I did not want my account to be named after my religion, because I did not want people to think that everything I say or do is a belief of Maratreanism — a person can be a Maratrean without agreeing with everything that I say or think. As to any attempt on your part to change my religion, I doubt you'll succeed, but you're welcome to try :-) ZackMartin 07:36, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
One thought I had in mind was that in a manner loosely similar to changing your user name, I might doctor your user page to say that you were a Christian! Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 14:24, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
That might be considered cheating. ZackMartin 20:39, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
Oh. You reckon??  :-) Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 08:43, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

Oh Woes Zachy been banhammered

Did you mean to ban Maratrean under his new name, or is that someone else ? Hamster 23:15, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

I didn't realise that I did block him. I accidentally included him in another block. Sorry Zack. He's unblocked now. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 08:52, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

Ace for mod

Sorry Philip, you looked bored with mere chasing of spam accounts. Don't forget to vote Ace for RW Moderator. MaxFletcher 00:06, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

Spam

While I only nip in here once in a blue moon, I can help out with deleting spam pages if required? If you don't want to hand over deletion / block rights then do you have some way of letting users replace page content with a template (something like {{spam}}) linked to a group or similar so when you do log on you have a list of marked pages? CrundySpeak! 14:38, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

the speedy template can be used. It flags the page for deletion and should appear on the special pages list. Hamster 18:36, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
I can delete spam pages and block spammers quite easily with ask:Guard dog, which does most of the time-consuming part of the job, but thanks for the offer anyway. If I miss any, though, you can always use the {{Speedy}} template as Hamster suggests. I mightn't think to check for it for a while, though. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 14:43, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Will me marking them with the speedy template affect guard dog spotting them as spam? If so then I guess I'll just leave them for the dawg! CrundySpeak! 15:12, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
No, it won't affect Guard dog. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 15:14, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
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