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#26 2017-06-19 17:42:58

Eric Storm
Pub Owner
From: New Port Richey, FL
Registered: 2006-09-12
Posts: 5516
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Re: Agent of Change

I think you should have waited until you had time to write a longer post, because I cannot respond to your comment without an elaboration and clarification of exactly what you meant.  Are you referring solely to her original conversion to Atheism?  Are you talking about her current posture as an Agnostic?  Are you talking about the switch between those two?

Eric Storm


Please Remember:  The right to Freedom of Speech does not carry the proviso, "As long as it doesn't upset anyone."  The US Constitution does not grant you the right to not be offended.  If you don't like what someone's saying... IGNORE THEM.
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#27 2017-06-20 02:30:10

Crusader
Wasted
From: Madison, WI
Registered: 2007-07-19
Posts: 154

Re: Agent of Change

I was originally talking about just the switch. it was stated right out she was only an Atheist to piss off her Dad.

and the below was written up before I double checked the definition of agnostics. which turns out to be closer to "it's none of your damn business what I do or do not believe in" then what i was thinking of 'i dont know which religion is right'

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Teresa wrote:

"Atheists believe there is no God.  Agnostics simply refuse to believe one way or the other without some proof.  I can't prove there isn't a God, Nick.  That, too, is an article of faith.  It's the belief system of true Atheists, that there is no God.  Agnostics, on the other hand, tend to ignore the whole discussion as unproveable and therefore mostly irrelevant."

Atheism does not require faith because it involves believing in nothing beyond that which we have evidence for.

Richard Dawkins?? wrote:

atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby

is my favorite way I've heard this spelled out to people, because she thinks not believing something is an article of faith I've really only seen that in people who are still caught up in their own religion, not someone who has decided that all religions are full of shit and are not worth anyone's time of day.

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#28 2017-06-20 04:30:59

Eric Storm
Pub Owner
From: New Port Richey, FL
Registered: 2006-09-12
Posts: 5516
Website

Re: Agent of Change

Okay, I see you've fallen into the trap.

You have BOTH definitions wrong, and a lot of people do.

First, let us define the word "faith", which is "belief in something without any solid evidence to base that belief on."
Every religion I know of is based on some article of faith: something they believe, even though they cannot prove it.  For most of them, it is the existence of some kind of supreme being.

Now, Atheism, as its name implies, is exactly the opposite.  But that is not the same as the "non-belief in a supreme being".  Atheism also has an article of faith.  That article of faith is, "There is no God.  God does not exist, never has existed, never will exist."  Atheists do not argue, "You can't prove to me that God exists, so I won't believe in Him."  They argue, "There is no evidence for the existence of God, so God does not exist.  Period."

My response?  Prove it.

You can't.  There isn't a single solitary shred of scientific evidence to prove the non-existence of some form of supreme being.  Therefore, the Atheist stipulation is also an article of faith:  They believe that there is no God, without any form of proof.  The one particular point that creation scientists do have correct is that, scientifically speaking, "absence of proof is not proof of absence."  Just because you can't prove there is a God, doesn't mean there isn't one.

Now, Agnostics:

An Agnostic is applying the basic scientific method.  "I have heard it theorized that there is a God, and also that there isn't a God.  Until someone proves it one way or the other, I simply don't know."  This is the only non-belief system, because it is the non-belief in God, and also the non-belief in the non-existence of God.  Hell, the word "Agnostic" boils down to the word "unknown".  (A = not, gnostos = known).

Now, how can I be so sure this is how it works?  Simple.  I've been in two of the three "camps" in this little triangle.  I was born into a United Methodist family, and stayed with that religion into my mid-20's.  I was even semi-devout during my teenage years.  I started to question things in my early 20's, and made my full intellectual break with the church around the age of 25.  (I continued to attend after that for purely social reasons until I left my hometown when I was 30.)

I am an Agnostic.  Is there a God?  I don't know.  I'm reasonably certain that the Christians haven't got it right, but even that I can't prove.  What I can tell you with certainty, however, is that Atheism is just as much a religion as Christianity.  They just hold a different article of faith.

Oh, and as for the whole, "religion isn't worth anyone's time of day" comment:  This is also wrong.  For the sake of this discussion, let's assume that the Atheists are right, and that there is no God, so ALL of the religions (except theirs) are wrong.  Religion STILL serves a purpose.

Most people are not at all comfortable with "I don't know".  It is one of the most uncomfortable things they can say, and lots of people will just make shit up to avoid having to say it.  They really don't like saying it to themselves.  For the big, unanswerable, imponderable questions, such as where the universe ultimately came from, and what happens after we die, people find it very unpleasant to have to tell themselves, "I don't know, and I have no way to find out."  It brings them great comfort to have a belief system that can explain these things in a way that they can grasp.  (Sorry, most folks - including me - cannot grasp quantum mechanics, so telling them to learn how the universe really works is completely out of the question... and ultimately isn't helpful, anyway, as it's not information that can be applied to their everyday life.)  "Some uber-Dumbledore guy used some wicked cool magic to create the universe in seven days..."  Okay, this may be far-fetched, but it is FAR easier for folks to come to terms with than, "There was nothing, and then nothing hiccuped, and then there was something."

Further, most religions have a code of conduct which is benevolent and helpful.  Now, I am not saying in any way that religion hasn't been used as the basis for heinous acts, but those acts are not perpetrated by people who are really following the religion.  If you look at the Christian rules for how men were supposed to treat other men, those are rules that would be helpful to live by.  (I state it that way because Christianity didn't attempt to free the slaves, or the women, from their property status.  Good or ill, I'm sure that was done for political reasons.)

Islam in its true form is, I believe, much the same way.  The way men are supposed to treat other men would result in a good society.  I know less about other religions, but from what I have picked up over the years, I get the feeling that, if you follow the actual rules as written, you're going to be a fairly "nice guy".  The reason for this, of course, is that the adherents of that religion believe that there is someone watching their actions, who will call them to task if they don't do "the right thing" most of the time.

My point - long-winded as it is - is that religion, even if it were totally bogus, serves a perfectly useful purpose to those who need the certainty of explanation and authority in order to help them order their lives.  You can be a good person without religion - I'd like to think I am - but you don't have to be "an idiot", "stupid", or "irrational" to believe in God.  You simply have to come to the conclusion that it is more useful - to YOU - than the alternatives.

There is no harm in believing this kind of lie (if it is, in fact, untrue).  The harm comes in trying to force others to believe along with you.  And that goes for the Atheists, too.

I have no problem with those who believe whatever it is they choose to believe.  But don't tell me - or anyone else! - that we have to believe it with you. 

Eric Storm


Please Remember:  The right to Freedom of Speech does not carry the proviso, "As long as it doesn't upset anyone."  The US Constitution does not grant you the right to not be offended.  If you don't like what someone's saying... IGNORE THEM.
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#29 2017-06-20 04:36:12

Eric Storm
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From: New Port Richey, FL
Registered: 2006-09-12
Posts: 5516
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Re: Agent of Change

Oh, and as an additional: I would suggest there is a significant difference between an Agnostic and someone who just claims to be "non-religious".  Agnostics have taken a particular stance, albeit a somewhat "blank" one.  The non-religious person, in my opinion, is more along the lines of "I really don't give a shit."

Both groups tend to think the whole religion discussion outside of either private talks or religious communication is pretty irrelevant, though.

Eric Storm


Please Remember:  The right to Freedom of Speech does not carry the proviso, "As long as it doesn't upset anyone."  The US Constitution does not grant you the right to not be offended.  If you don't like what someone's saying... IGNORE THEM.
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#30 2017-06-20 12:49:59

Augur
Wasted
Registered: 2012-08-23
Posts: 104

Re: Agent of Change

Agreeded up to a point. I´m an agnostic myself, BUT atheism isn´t quite the same article of faith as theism is. You argue that there isn´t a shred of scientific evidence for the non existence of a god, gods, civilization or community of gods, or whatever. Well, there isn´t as you can´t prove a negative. That being said there is not a shred of evidence for the existence of a god or gods. Also it´s estimated that throughout history humanity has had more than 60 thousand religions (that´s without counting religions believed by cromagnons and neathertals). Most religions have many gods, hinduism as an extreme example has 320 million gods.  Occams´razor (a scientific principle) says basically that given multiple answers the simplest answer which require the fewest assumptions must be the truth. Being as there are so many completely different and contradictory belief systems and there being NO evidence in favor of any one of them, atheism for lack of any evidence to the contrary is the right answer. Agnosticism as such is just refusing to answer the question.  In reality agnostics can be classified from "I don´t know if there is a god or multiple gods, but there probably is" up to "I don´t know if there is a god or multiple gods, but there probably aren´t any". 

In other words theist agnostics and atheist agnostics.  In such a way of thinking I consider myself an atheist agnostic as I admit the extremely low possibility that there may be a creator(s) (although in my opinion that wouldn´t mean it is necessary a god. It may simply be a more advanced kind of being that may also have more advanced beings above itself, if we are actually going into that). So in essence you are right Eric, but you can´t bundle atheism with religions as it´s much more reasonable, scientific and intelligent to be an atheist. Also an atheist presented with real and conclusive evidence of the existence of a superior being will admit the existence of such. Will he/she call it a god or not is a different matter as it all depends on how we understand the definition of a god. On the other hand theists see that there is no evidence to support their views every day. Still they still believe in their own version of unicorns and fairies and pull their own "evidence" out of their asses.

As for a belief system being good for society, yes it´s easier to have everything explained to you even if the explanation is wrong as then you don´t have to use your own head to understand the world and take responsibility for your own actions and decisions and their morality. In my view that´s a pretty negative thing. Intelligent beings refusing to use their own intelligence.

Last edited by Augur (2017-06-20 12:52:34)

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#31 2017-06-20 17:37:34

Eric Storm
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From: New Port Richey, FL
Registered: 2006-09-12
Posts: 5516
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Re: Agent of Change

Okay, obviously you are very anti-religion, which colors everything you say.  "Intelligent beings refusing to use their own intelligence."  You've just called everyone who believes in religion a moron.  Apart from being amazingly arrogant and rude, it could make you feel incredibly stupid if they turn out to be right, and you get greeted by some form of God when you die.

I would like to point out that you compare apples and oranges in your comparison:  You compare an Atheist's reaction if he receives unequivocal proof of the existence of God, to a believer's reaction to a simple lack of unequivocal proof of the existence of their God.  In other words, you're comparing proof of an opposing fact to lack of proof of a supporting fact.  It makes for a very poor comparison, logically.  If you gave people unequivocal proof of the non-existence of God, I think most people would believe that.  The problem is, as you point out, it is impossible to prove a negative, so it is, in fact, impossible to unequivocally prove the non-existence of God.

Next, I'd like to point out your incorrect definition of Occam's Razor, which is not a scientific principle, it is a problem solving principle.  According to Wikipedia, Occam's Razor can be translated thus: "Among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected."  You might notice that this says nothing about which hypothesis is true, just which one should be selected for testing (because a "hypothesis" isn't truth, it's merely a proposed explanation that needs to be tested before its truth can be verified or falsified.)  The simplest answer is not, in fact, always the correct one.

And Atheists aren't "scientific" in their point of view.  One of the easiest ways to prove this is to see just how up in arms they get about other people practicing their religion in public.  No "non-belief" could cause that strong of a reaction.  Non-belief is an intellectual exercise.  The kind of hysteria we see out of Atheists at times is very much not intellectual, but pure emotion.  When you say "an atheist presented with real and conclusive evidence of the existence of a superior being will admit the existence of such."... Will they?  You then very much killed your own argument when you said, "Will he/she call it a god or not is a different matter as it all depends..."  You just admitted that an Atheist, presented with conclusive evidence of a god... probably won't call them God.  No, in fact, an Atheist will do everything in their power to prove that this being is not, in fact, God, because the existence of God goes against their beliefs.  They cling to science in exactly the same way that the religious cling to their religion.  There's nothing "perfect" about science, either.

As for a belief system being good for society, yes it´s easier to have everything explained to you even if the explanation is wrong as then you don´t have to use your own head to understand the world and take responsibility for your own actions and decisions and their morality.

Okay... so... you do your own work with the Large Hadron Collider, right?  And you've done all of the necessary tests to prove relativity?  You've gone out and searched for the gravity particle?

I'm willing to bet you haven't.  And yet you probably feel safe in believing in quantum mechanics.  Why?  Because a whole bunch of people you trust to know what they're doing told you that's how it works.

This sounds amazingly like religion, which is controlled by a whole bunch of people that other people trust to know "how it works".  Is the verifiability between the two systems the same?  No, obviously not.  Anyone with the right education and enough money can test and verify the results of other scientists...

BUT THEY DON'T.

Why not?  If it's so all-fired important that we all think every single thing through for ourselves, why are we trusting anyone else to give us any information at all?  Simple answer:  Because we are social creatures who have evolved mechanisms whereby we tend to believe what others tell us.  Questioning everything you hear, every day of your life, uses up a LOT of brain resources, which is neither efficient nor desirable, biologically speaking.  It is, in general, wasted effort.

And let's talk about your assertion concerning people taking responsibility for their own "morality".  Without religion, what, exactly, are they supposed to base that morality on?  Biologically, their morality should always be based on what is best for their own personal survival and the dissemination of their genes for the future.  Scientifically, there is no basis whatsoever for mankind to be "nice" to each other: we are a tribal species, warring with others over resources and dominance.  Men lead because they're stronger than women, and so any woman trying to get that "uppity" would get the crap beaten out of her.  The level of intellect actually needed for this lifestyle is simply enough to invent good hunting tools.  That's "scientific morality": the preservation of the species (because individuals do not matter in the natural scheme of things, only the species as a whole.)

Do you want to live that way?  I personally don't... could have something to do with the fact that I'd have been killed decades ago...

As soon as humanity turned away from "survival of the fittest is our only driving force", someone, somewhere, had to say, "this is right, and this is wrong."  On what, exactly, do you base that, and how do you get anyone to listen to you?  Americans accept the notion that "all men are created equal"  But the truth of the matter is that all men are NOT created equal.  Some are smarter, some are stronger, some are born with defects and deformities... and some are just average all the way around.  What they probably meant to say was that "all men are created with equal value"... but this is a fairly new concept in our history as a species, and has no basis whatsoever in scientific fact.  Biologically, those created with the most adaptive traits are far more valuable than those with genetic deficiencies.  This "equality of value" is something that we dreamed up, concocted, to "civilize" ourselves away from our tribal ancestry.  In other words, that which Americans hold as a central belief - that all people are born equal - is patently false.  We have never even managed to live up to the notion of "all people are created with equal opportunity," which is as close as we'll ever come to all people being equal, anyway.

The point is that "morality" is just as much a concoction as religion.  It exists solely because we decided it exists.  Responsibility for your actions?  Again, this requires the concept of morality.  Nature says, "If you can get away with it, it's a legitimate behavior."

So, what's my ultimate point?  If you ask 7 billion people to choose their own life rules, you will get 7 billion sets of life rules.  Religion is a unifying force, to give people a reason to follow the same rules for life, rules that will help prevent the kind of dominance struggles and fight-for-survival behavior that we were trying to get away from.  (It's not a perfect system: you'll notice that we keep having wars in the name of religion.  Tribal behavior is VERY hard to control.)  Now you're suggesting that, simply because the stories told to convince people to join the religion may (or may not) be false, we need to go back to the notion that everyone should form their own system of behavior?  No thanks.  This sort of thing leads to the breakdown of society... and we're headed there right now.  I live in a country where it is actually becoming illegal to deny any individual their own quirks and oddities.  It is becoming illegal to enforce any kind of "societal norm".  But the problem is, without a societal norm, there is no society, just a bunch of random people living in the same place, and that's a recipe for disaster.

So, deride it if you like, but religion has managed to create the possibility of vast civilizations.  It, or something just like it, would be necessary to perform that task.  If you really believe that all people are born with equal value (and I do...), then you believe something that has no scientifically verifiable basis.  It's an article of faith.

Personally, I'm okay with that.

Eric Storm


Please Remember:  The right to Freedom of Speech does not carry the proviso, "As long as it doesn't upset anyone."  The US Constitution does not grant you the right to not be offended.  If you don't like what someone's saying... IGNORE THEM.
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#32 2017-06-20 20:24:52

Augur
Wasted
Registered: 2012-08-23
Posts: 104

Re: Agent of Change

Sorry, you are wrong on the following:
""Will he/she call it a god or not is a different matter as it all depends..."  You just admitted that an Atheist, presented with conclusive evidence of a god... probably won't call them God.  No, in fact, an Atheist will do everything in their power to prove that this being is not, in fact, God, because the existence of God goes against their beliefs.  They cling to science in exactly the same way that the religious cling to their religion.  There's nothing "perfect" about science, either.
"
An atheist would admit the existence of a may be superior, or more advanced being if presented with incontrovertible proof. Still the concept of god is pretty abstract and lacks one precise definition. Under some ancient definitions people from ancient history, even to pretty recent times would consider us gods. Just the fact that we can fly, or communicate with the other side of the world instantenously would be enough. How about all the knowledge we have about natural phenomena and the world? Are we really?  Same applies to proving the existence of a superior being. That isn´t proof of god(s). It depends quite a lot on how you define such an entity.  Look, there is an extremely low, almost non existent possibility that we, or even this universe has a creator, or creators. They may actually be not even much more intelligent than ourselves and simply have the tools and technology to perform the creation process. Our universe may even be an unintended consequence of some scientific research, or even industrial process, etc. Irrefutable proof of a creator doesn´t imply a god, unless you would call us being a side effect of some industrial process created by some advanced civilization residing outside our universe being created by a god, or gods. I wouldn´t. So no, it´s not sticking blindly to an article of faith, far from it. It´s looking for more information before drawing conclusions and not considering any more advanced being, or civilization a god, or gods. A different attitude would be akin to what the aztecs thought and felt at the arrival of the spanish.

As for treating science discoveries as truth till proven otherwise based on "faith" in comparison to taking some fairy tiles as truth based on "faith" and disregarding all evidence to the contrary, sorry, but this doesn´t even compare. Science is a self improving and self correcting way of discovering how the world actually works. Religion is a fairy tale spun by some guy or guys some time ago in order to either explain some phenomena he/she doesn´t understand, or even in order to create a church, which in the end is a business (an excellent and very obvious example would be mormons, or if we are talking about a XX century example, then - scientologists). Christianity although less obviously is a business for the priests, or churches. Lately hundreds of new christian sects are being founded because some irreputable people think that´s an excellent way to become rich and there are plenty other people who believe the stupid stuff those particular pastors or priests peddle.  Sorry, there can´t be no real comparison (equivalency) between the two points of view. With science you are looking for answers yourself, or at least somewhat trusting that other people, following well established research principles which have a self correction/improvement system as an inseparable part of the process, have discovered. With religion you are trusting what a bunch of usually scientifically illiterate people have written or said about the universe. It´s a HUGE difference.

BTW you are mistaken of how science works. NOTHING is admitted as scientific facts till it has been verified by independent researchers many times over. The more radical the hypothesis, or theory the more proof obtained by independent researchers it requires to be admitted as truth. Also the requirements for recognizing a discovery are VERY strict. Usually it means that such a phenomena could only be explained based on established theories or facts in 0,0000003% of all cases. Or in other words, the likelyhood that the discovery is real is 99,9999997%.  Also, no theory, or hypothesis is seriously considered if there is no way to actually DISPROVE it.

If you want to know a little more about that, read this page:
https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/ob … hats-that/

If we were to assume that at least one religion in history has got it right, then the probability that your particular religion is right is somewhat around 1/60000, or 0,000016666(6) %.  Which as you see is VERY VERY low. And this is the probability if at least one religion has got it right. It´s quite probable that NO religion in history got it right. 

Now keeping in mind that for the moment it´s impossible to do all research, or at least test all research yourself (due to human mind and lifespan limitations), it´s quite reasonable and intelligent to accept the conclusions of those who have actually done the research following a pretty strict set of rules, and which has been checked internally by the scientific community for accuracy. It´s not reasonable at at all to apply the same level of trust to religious fairy tales. Ask yourself what an intelligent being should do when presented with such a dilemma...   Exactly. The scientific approach is the more intelligent and reasonable one, because it actually has a pretty good chance of arriving to the right answers. The religious way has almost NO chance to arrive to the right answer.

Hey, the morality without religion dilemma same as marriage without religion only exists in the minds of religious people. Morality predates religion, same as marriage predates religion, which is much more true to christianity which isn´t even the first religion created by man.

You ask what you base morality on? Morality in essence is a good code of ethics agreed upon by a specific society. That´s why the old testament doesn´t see anything wrong with slavery, while we actually do. Slavery was ok back then.  In our case there are plenty of things to base on good, or moral behavior rules. BTW altruism even exists in other animal species as an evolutionary advantage to the species as a whole. So it´s not like altruism is a religious invention either. It´s not even a human invention. So the rest of your argument regarding this subject falls down upon itself.

As for men vs women leading that´s also a false assumption. There has been plenty of matriarchal societies in history. Even now there are some societies where that is the rule. Elsewhere women in most countries are getting equal rights and possibilities as men. Quite a few countries are right now passing that middle point and getting where women actually have more rights and privileges than men. That´s without any religious influence, which in christianity and islam at least has tried to relegate women to breeding and not much else. The fact that women are much more equal to men today than 100 years ago certainly doesn´t have anything to do with religion. Quite the contrary. . 

As for others listening to you, that´s what laws are for, where the majority agrees what are the rules that should be followed by everyone in the community. Rule of law is certainly much better than religious rule. Inquisition is an excellent example of religious "justice", or laws. Same with burning of witches, or in the current world sharia "law", or some christian extremists killing doctors, or burning down hospitals. That´s religious "law" at its best for you. The problem with religious "law" is that people who preach it consider it above human law, and think they have some "god given" right to impose it on people that have completely different views.  That´s obviously a very unjust and false premise.

Religion as a unifying force? Well... the crusades or jihad are an excellent example of "religious unification". What a terrible waste of life, how much violence, torture, suffering!  The alternative? Societies simply discussing the rules they want to live by and agreeing upon a minimal set of rules/laws. Don´t kill, unless in personal defense. Don´t rape, or otherwise interfere with the lives, wellbeing and property of others. Respect the right of other people to self determination and education. And so on. All of these and more are pretty simple things that have nothing to do with religion even if some of them have adopted a few of those rules for themselves.

People may choose whatever code of ethics (or religion) they want as long as they don´t infringe upon the same rights held by other people and as long as they don´t harm third parties, specially children. I mean harm as in physical harm, restriction of access to education or health services, etc. Usually it´s religious people trying to impose their views upon others, not the other way around. For example gay marriage. It doesn´t restrict or affect religious people in any way. In essence marriage is a civil contract between intellectually able and willing parties which is used to give each other rights regarding each others property and each other (health care decisions and so on). Neither government, neither church should have ANYTHING to do and to say about a civil contract. Still who are the most opposed to it? Who are the ones seeking to DENY OTHER PEOPLE the rights they themselves have? Precisely.

As for "vast civilizations" I´ll just say that religion has been a reason for conflict, an excuse for war. Still it wasn´t religions that created civilizations, but rather people. Religion was just a cultural  thing and an excuse to destroy other cultures, to pillage, rape and murder others.

As for being born of equal value it all depends on what you mean by that.  As an approach to civil order and what rights each person holds I would agree upon the condition that mental retardation and sicknesses that make a person juridically unable to make decisions, to drive and such, were curable. Otherwise there is now and there will be in the future second class citizens, just because they can´t actually fully function in todays society. For example in some cases they may not hold property, or vote by themselves (sometimes they may via proxies, or tutors). 
In reality even the people that are mentally able to function at a high enough level aren´t completely equal either. Some have better aptitudes for the arts, music and such. Others have better analytical and scientific minds. A few don´t have enough mental capacity to excel in intellectual fields (although they still may not be considered intellectually challenged, even with an IQ of 75), so they have to look for their way in manual labor, or other kinds of physical work, business, etc. 

Believing all people are born equal in my view isn´t an article of faith. It´s a declaration of rights, that always apply unless a person has very serious mental health issues and those issues are incurable at the moment. In such a case some of those rights can be restricted (although not completely removed).  It´s a way of approaching civil order and law. An assumption of sorts. No faith required.

Last edited by Augur (2017-06-20 20:36:12)

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#33 2017-06-21 03:06:48

Eric Storm
Pub Owner
From: New Port Richey, FL
Registered: 2006-09-12
Posts: 5516
Website

Re: Agent of Change

Your response proves my point:  You are so anti-religion that you cannot discuss the matter reasonably.  Therefore, I refuse to waste any more of my time on this conversation.  I could (and actually strongly want to) refute a great deal of what you just said, but it's clear that there is no point.  You cannot be convinced, so any time I spent writing more here would be time I could more profitably spend writing a story, which I would find more interesting and enjoyable... and probably so would everyone else here.

However, I will say this:  Anyone who considers 90+% of the human race to be stupid is, in my opinion, not someone I really want to spend any time with.  A little humility goes a long way.  (And yes, I'm talking about you.  Didn't want that to be left to interpretation.)

Eric Storm


Please Remember:  The right to Freedom of Speech does not carry the proviso, "As long as it doesn't upset anyone."  The US Constitution does not grant you the right to not be offended.  If you don't like what someone's saying... IGNORE THEM.
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#34 2017-06-21 05:59:00

Augur
Wasted
Registered: 2012-08-23
Posts: 104

Re: Agent of Change

Really? Well, it depends. I´m not anti religion per se. I´m anti institutionalized religion (as in most cases it has caused humanity great harm), or anti religions whose adepts feel entitled to tell others how they should run their lives, even try to force them to live one way or another. I respect the intellectual freedom to believe what you wish as long as you respect others and don´t try to impose your own views upon others.

Did you just assume that 90% of humanity are religious fundamentalists bent on imposing their views unto others (because it´s only such people I really consider stupid)? Oooookeyyyy..... Not accurate at all, but ok... 3dsmile   Believing in whatever particular religious ideology one may have is a personal choice. The probability that the aforementioned belief is actually truth is almost zero, but whatever floats the boat of each person is ok, AS LONG AS THEY DON´T TRY TO FORCE THEIR OWN PARTICULAR AGENDA or ideas on others, or don´t harm others in the name of their "religion". As for stupidity/intelligence, I´m not saying believing is stupid. While it´s clearly illogical and it´s quite improbable to be the way to the actual truth, I clearly said it´s refusing to use your intellect, which is not quite the same as stupidity. A person may be intelligent, but if he/she chooses to exempt specific unproven and unprovable ideas from intellectual scrutiny (a basic tenet/condition when accepting religious ideas by faith), then he/she is refusing to use that brilliant intellect he/she may have to analyze those ideas critically and objectively. Seems I was pretty clear on this. Believing in a religion that supposedly holds most of the answers is simply easier and less intellectually challenging, also you don´t have to actually think what is right and what is wrong as that´s usually said to you by others, you just have to follow and obey. No surprise many people actually follow one religion or another (any one from the tens of thousands that have been invented by humans). It´s just simpler and easier.

As for the rest of my argument, well, it´s just some facts, some math and some probabilities.  Sorry if you dislike them, Eric. If you wish we can agree to disagree.

Last edited by Augur (2017-06-21 06:39:12)

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#35 2017-06-21 12:21:23

Fenixreign
Completely Blotto
Registered: 2014-08-02
Posts: 255

Re: Agent of Change

Yeah, so that happened.  So how about them (insert favorite sports team here)?

Sorry, it was just getting a LOT too serious around here.  I can't handle serious when I first wake in the morning.  (Aww who am I kidding I got up 2 hours ago, but that is beside the point!)

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#36 2017-06-21 15:28:09

Freon22
Wasted
Registered: 2011-08-17
Posts: 123

Re: Agent of Change

The two things I try not to talk about is religion and politics but I do have a view. I choose to believe in Jesus and God I have many reasons for my belief. Of all my reasons the simplest is it does not hurt anyone not myself and not anyone else. Now when the day comes that I die one of two things will happen. One I will meet Jesus and/or God. Two I will become nothing. If I meet Jesus and/or God I will have a lot to say and to answer for. LOL If I become nothing then it nothing no thought no existent (Nothing).


Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.

― Abraham Lincoln

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#37 2017-06-21 18:40:57

Crusader
Wasted
From: Madison, WI
Registered: 2007-07-19
Posts: 154

Re: Agent of Change

Oh my. I'll have to spend some time after work today to see exactly what I started.

Freon22, another option, you just stay in your body feeling everything as you slowly rot. (I don't think this happens because there is no brain activity, but, it is another possibility)

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#38 2017-06-21 18:47:23

Eric Storm
Pub Owner
From: New Port Richey, FL
Registered: 2006-09-12
Posts: 5516
Website

Re: Agent of Change

Now there's an adequate description of Hell if ever I heard one...

Eric Storm


Please Remember:  The right to Freedom of Speech does not carry the proviso, "As long as it doesn't upset anyone."  The US Constitution does not grant you the right to not be offended.  If you don't like what someone's saying... IGNORE THEM.
----
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#39 2017-06-22 00:08:28

Augur
Wasted
Registered: 2012-08-23
Posts: 104

Re: Agent of Change

Freon22>  Or you could meet Alah, or Krsna, or Kali, or any other deity of the millions that humanity have invented. But as you said. If you feel better believing whatever you want to believe and don't try to tell others how they must live their lives, nor you try to infringe unto, or limit their rights because of your particular religious ideology, no problem. As you said, you aren't hurting anyone and it's not anyones' business what you believe or not if you don't force it to become their business by your own actions.

Crusader> The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. For example time could be an illusion of sorts, and we could be eternal in our particular "life frame". Or our minds could have an energy/extradimensional or whatever imprint (some kind of a soul, or similar object), which may be would become free to roam the universe, may be even expand our minds and become superior energy like beings ourselves and after a long existence acquire the knowledge to create our own microcosmoses, becoming in such a way somewhat godlike, if not actually gods, depending on how you define the concept. There are infinite possibilities as to what happens after our deaths. As for myself I'm kind of hoping to live long enough to get to the point where life extension becomes possible, then may be even physical immortality as to be able to some day travel to other stars, discover new intelligent beings, explore the universe, learn about our very existence all the while improving and expanding my mind. With time I hope humanity and myself may discover what is the best way to go forward. If it's another plane of existence, or if we simply at the Big Crunch collectively may help create the universe of the next cycle, or whatever goal I, or humanity may set for ourselves in a some tens of billions of years (if we aren't extinct by that time).
It's fun to sometimes explore the possibilities.

3dsmile

Last edited by Augur (2017-06-22 00:09:34)

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#40 2017-06-22 03:16:58

Crusader
Wasted
From: Madison, WI
Registered: 2007-07-19
Posts: 154

Re: Agent of Change

ok because there are like 3 short speeches I'll do a reply to each I feel are worth commenting on.

Eric Storm wrote:

Okay, I see you've fallen into the trap.

You have BOTH definitions wrong, and a lot of people do.

First, let us define the word "faith", which is "belief in something without any solid evidence to base that belief on."

Faith is belief in something without reason, which can be 'solid evidence' but could just be critical thinking.

Eric Storm wrote:

Every religion I know of is based on some article of faith: something they believe, even though they cannot prove it.  For most of them, it is the existence of some kind of supreme being.

Now, Atheism, as its name implies, is exactly the opposite.  But that is not the same as the "non-belief in a supreme being".  Atheism also has an article of faith.  That article of faith is, "There is no God.  God does not exist, never has existed, never will exist."  Atheists do not argue, "You can't prove to me that God exists, so I won't believe in Him."  They argue, "There is no evidence for the existence of God, so God does not exist.  Period."

Atheism can range from disbelief (non-belief) to what you appear to think it is of faith of no god.
I argue that "You can't prove to me that supernatural things exists (considerably lower threshold then proof of god), then as all gods that have been thought up by man exist as some type of supernatural entity, there is no god."

if you then reply with 'a god might exist that isn't measurable by natural means' "ok but then there is no point in talking about it"

Should proof of supernatural powers that can be proven to exist, well this wouldn't be proof of a god, it would make the possibility exist, and if the possibility exists then over the course of all time a god would then exist.
reason: With an infinity of time all of the molecules of air in a sealed room will form all possible combinations that they can be in that sealed space, this can be extrapolated to all molecules in the universe and an infinity of time, with supernatural powers existing, one of the insanely large number of possible combinations of all the molecules in the universe would be a god.

Eric Storm wrote:

My response?  Prove it.

the burden of proof lies with people trying to convince others to follow something that currently does not have proof. I'm not trying to convert you, that would be something to be done in person with someone who is willing to have a conversation that could change how they thing. I don't believe that you are willing to change that much from this forum conversation.
I am attempting to make you tweak your definition of Atheism, to include non-belief.

Eric Storm wrote:

You can't.  There isn't a single solitary shred of scientific evidence to prove the non-existence of some form of supreme being.  Therefore, the Atheist stipulation is also an article of faith:  They believe that there is no God, without any form of proof.  The one particular point that creation scientists do have correct is that, scientifically speaking, "absence of proof is not proof of absence."  Just because you can't prove there is a God, doesn't mean there isn't one.

correct, you can not prove a negative.
faith is a believe in something, the lack of belief in a god is not a believe in something, and therefor not a article of faith.
dragons, unicorns, goblins, elves, all fit in this same category of non proof of absence.

Eric Storm wrote:

Now, Agnostics:

An Agnostic is applying the basic scientific method.  "I have heard it theorized that there is a God, and also that there isn't a God.  Until someone proves it one way or the other, I simply don't know."  This is the only non-belief system, because it is the non-belief in God, and also the non-belief in the non-existence of God.  Hell, the word "Agnostic" boils down to the word "unknown".  (A = not, Gnostic = known).

Now, how can I be so sure this is how it works?  Simple.  I've been in two of the three "camps" in this little triangle.  I was born into a United Methodist family, and stayed with that religion into my mid-20's.  I was even semi-devout during my teenage years.  I started to question things in my early 20's, and made my full intellectual break with the church around the age of 25.  (I continued to attend after that for purely social reasons until I left my hometown when I was 30.)

I am an Agnostic.  Is there a God?  I don't know.  I'm reasonably certain that the Christians haven't got it right, but even that I can't prove.  What I can tell you with certainty, however, is that Atheism is just as much a religion as Christianity.  They just hold a different article of faith.

Google defines 'Agnostic' as: a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God.

A belief... An article of faith that nothing can be known?

Eric Storm wrote:

Oh, and as for the whole, "religion isn't worth anyone's time of day" comment:  This is also wrong.  For the sake of this discussion, let's assume that the Atheists are right, and that there is no God, so ALL of the religions (except theirs) are wrong.  Religion STILL serves a purpose.

It isn't worth the time of day because it is based on faith rather than reason, especially when "I don't know works so damn well." every time a question is answered with "God" you can use a variation of "I don't know" (why do people have to die of cancer: 'god works in mysterious ways' "I don't know honey I don't know")

Eric Storm wrote:

Most people are not at all comfortable with "I don't know".  It is one of the most uncomfortable things they can say, and lots of people will just make shit up to avoid having to say it.  They really don't like saying it to themselves.  For the big, unanswerable, imponderable questions, such as where the universe ultimately came from, and what happens after we die, people find it very unpleasant to have to tell themselves, "I don't know, and I have no way to find out."  It brings them great comfort to have a belief system that can explain these things in a way that they can grasp.  (Sorry, most folks - including me - cannot grasp quantum mechanics, so telling them to learn how the universe really works is completely out of the question... and ultimately isn't helpful, anyway, as it's not information that can be applied to their everyday life.)  "Some uber-Dumbledore guy used some wicked cool magic to create the universe in seven days..."  Okay, this may be far-fetched, but it is FAR easier for folks to come to terms with than, "There was nothing, and then nothing hiccuped, and then there was something."

That just moves the "I don't know" back a step.

'Athiest & Agnostics (assuming no quantum mechanics degrees): how was the world made: I don't know, but you can learn more about that over on some of Neil deGrasse Tyson's youtube video's or there is a slightly satirical but as far as i can tell accurate "history of the world, I guess" video that you could look up.'

Thiest &/or Deists (still assuming no quantum mechanics degrees): how was the world made: God. So how did God make the world: I don't know.

Specific Religions... well according to google there are ~4200 known current active religions... so gonna stop with generic Thiest and Deists.

Eric Storm wrote:

Further, most religions have a code of conduct which is benevolent and helpful.  Now, I am not saying in any way that religion hasn't been used as the basis for heinous acts, but those acts are not perpetrated by people who are really following the religion.  If you look at the Christian rules for how men were supposed to treat other men, those are rules that would be helpful to live by.  (I state it that way because Christianity didn't attempt to free the slaves, or the women, from their property status.  Good or ill, I'm sure that was done for political reasons.)

Morality as defined in every 'holy text' is written by humans. it is a social construct, not something handed down by a 'supreme being' the social mores that the people who where in power at the writing of the books wanted to reinforce.

Eric Storm wrote:

Islam in its true form is, I believe, much the same way.  The way men are supposed to treat other men would result in a good society.  I know less about other religions, but from what I have picked up over the years, I get the feeling that, if you follow the actual rules as written, you're going to be a fairly "nice guy".  The reason for this, of course, is that the adherents of that religion believe that there is someone watching their actions, who will call them to task if they don't do "the right thing" most of the time.

No comment on Islam, because I have not looked at it at all, other then knowing that I will not be drawing anything at all related mohammed.

Eric Storm wrote:

My point - long-winded as it is - is that religion, even if it were totally bogus, serves a perfectly useful purpose to those who need the certainty of explanation and authority in order to help them order their lives.  You can be a good person without religion - I'd like to think I am - but you don't have to be "an idiot", "stupid", or "irrational" to believe in God.  You simply have to come to the conclusion that it is more useful - to YOU - than the alternatives.

There is no harm in believing this kind of lie (if it is, in fact, untrue).  The harm comes in trying to force others to believe along with you.  And that goes for the Atheists, too.

The harm is self inflicted, people waist their time, for a 'reward' in the 'afterlife' that likely is not coming. therefor they have used up the only time they get on a lie, perhaps a comforting lie, but still a lie.

Eric Storm wrote:

I have no problem with those who believe whatever it is they choose to believe.  But don't tell me - or anyone else! - that we have to believe it with you. 

Eric Storm

thumbs up.


well. that took over 2 hours to write... how the hell do you write 10000 words a month.

[::: Administrator's Note: This post was edited - very slightly - to fix a display issue.  Nothing was altered in a way that would distort what was said.  The specific line changed was the quote box concerning Google's definition of Agnostic.  This was changed because PunBB does not allow you to quote something that is not a member's name, and so it was breaking the display of the post... and follow-on posts, as well. I want to make this clear since I am the target of the post, and do not wish to be accused of censorship or editing content. :::]

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#41 2017-06-22 03:31:06

Crusader
Wasted
From: Madison, WI
Registered: 2007-07-19
Posts: 154

Re: Agent of Change

Eric Storm wrote:

And let's talk about your assertion concerning people taking responsibility for their own "morality".  Without religion, what, exactly, are they supposed to base that morality on?  Biologically, their morality should always be based on what is best for their own personal survival and the dissemination of their genes for the future.  Scientifically, there is no basis whatsoever for mankind to be "nice" to each other: we are a tribal species, warring with others over resources and dominance.  Men lead because they're stronger than women, and so any woman trying to get that "uppity" would get the crap beaten out of her.  The level of intellect actually needed for this lifestyle is simply enough to invent good hunting tools.  That's "scientific morality": the preservation of the species (because individuals do not matter in the natural scheme of things, only the species as a whole.)

Do you want to live that way?  I personally don't... could have something to do with the fact that I'd have been killed decades ago...

As soon as humanity turned away from "survival of the fittest is our only driving force", someone, somewhere, had to say, "this is right, and this is wrong."  On what, exactly, do you base that, and how do you get anyone to listen to you?  Americans accept the notion that "all men are created equal"  But the truth of the matter is that all men are NOT created equal.  Some are smarter, some are stronger, some are born with defects and deformities... and some are just average all the way around.  What they probably meant to say was that "all men are created with equal value"... but this is a fairly new concept in our history as a species, and has no basis whatsoever in scientific fact.  Biologically, those created with the most adaptive traits are far more valuable than those with genetic deficiencies.  This "equality of value" is something that we dreamed up, concocted, to "civilize" ourselves away from our tribal ancestry.  In other words, that which Americans hold as a central belief - that all people are born equal - is patently false.  We have never even managed to live up to the notion of "all people are created with equal opportunity," which is as close as we'll ever come to all people being equal, anyway.

The point is that "morality" is just as much a concoction as religion.  It exists solely because we decided it exists.  Responsibility for your actions?  Again, this requires the concept of morality.  Nature says, "If you can get away with it, it's a legitimate behavior."

I kind of covered this in my long created reply to your first post on this subject, but. if people are acting moral only because there is a divine punishment or reward, they are in fact not moral. they are being bribed with 'eternal bliss' to be good, and threatened with 'eternal torture' if they decide to be bad. (example from Christianity because i was raised christian.)

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#42 2017-06-22 03:35:15

Crusader
Wasted
From: Madison, WI
Registered: 2007-07-19
Posts: 154

Re: Agent of Change

Eric Storm wrote:

Now there's an adequate description of Hell if ever I heard one...

Eric Storm

3dtongue

Augur wrote:

Freon22>  Or you could meet Alah, or Krsna, or Kali, or any other deity of the millions that humanity have invented. But as you said. If you feel better believing whatever you want to believe and don't try to tell others how they must live their lives, nor you try to infringe unto, or limit their rights because of your particular religious ideology, no problem. As you said, you aren't hurting anyone and it's not anyones' business what you believe or not if you don't force it to become their business by your own actions.

Crusader> The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. For example time could be an illusion of sorts, and we could be eternal in our particular "life frame". Or our minds could have an energy/extradimensional or whatever imprint (some kind of a soul, or similar object), which may be would become free to roam the universe, may be even expand our minds and become superior energy like beings ourselves and after a long existence acquire the knowledge to create our own microcosmoses, becoming in such a way somewhat godlike, if not actually gods, depending on how you define the concept. There are infinite possibilities as to what happens after our deaths. As for myself I'm kind of hoping to live long enough to get to the point where life extension becomes possible, then may be even physical immortality as to be able to some day travel to other stars, discover new intelligent beings, explore the universe, learn about our very existence all the while improving and expanding my mind. With time I hope humanity and myself may discover what is the best way to go forward. If it's another plane of existence, or if we simply at the Big Crunch collectively may help create the universe of the next cycle, or whatever goal I, or humanity may set for ourselves in a some tens of billions of years (if we aren't extinct by that time).
It's fun to sometimes explore the possibilities.

3dsmile

or reincarnation, or; and the one I like the best. my timeline resets when I die, and all you hallucinations go back to where you were when i was born, and it is 1985 again; because this experience is just my brain in a jar reliving my life countless times with no memory of the loop. shhh dont tell me.

another words that was kinda my point.

I would suggest we talk about politics next, but that would be a bit to much of a hijack of the thread. So i'm using some magic powers to create an invisible thread for the heavy debate on if Trumps hair is real.

Last edited by Crusader (2017-06-22 03:37:44)

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#43 2017-06-22 05:54:51

Sniper
Inebriated
Registered: 2016-07-04
Posts: 94

Re: Agent of Change

@Fenixreign
Nice try

My 2 cents regarding religion:

Religion is about believe. No matter if you have a book, a prophet or whatever, there is no definite proof that there is any truth in any religion. Either you believe or you don't. For the first 30 years of my life I was catholic, because that was the religion of my parents. During our youth our believes are mainly influenced by our parents. There is no choice or rational decision on your part, for years and years those believes are hammered into your brain. While I still believe that there is "something" more out there, I cannot identify myself with the catholic church anymore. A friend once called my an agnostic theist, I am not sure if that is accurate. What I don't like is people being forced into a religion on birth, it should be a concious decision.

Trumps hair? Real? That whole guy is as unreal as it gets. I am betting on Trump, Putin and Erdogan working together to take over the whole universe.

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#44 2017-06-22 06:31:29

Eric Storm
Pub Owner
From: New Port Richey, FL
Registered: 2006-09-12
Posts: 5516
Website

Re: Agent of Change

Careful... political discussion IS, in fact, explicitly limited to the politics section of the forum.

Eric Storm


Please Remember:  The right to Freedom of Speech does not carry the proviso, "As long as it doesn't upset anyone."  The US Constitution does not grant you the right to not be offended.  If you don't like what someone's saying... IGNORE THEM.
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#45 2017-06-22 20:00:51

Freon22
Wasted
Registered: 2011-08-17
Posts: 123

Re: Agent of Change

Augur wrote:

Freon22>  Or you could meet Alah, or Krsna, or Kali, or any other deity of the millions that humanity have invented. But as you said. If you feel better believing whatever you want to believe and don't try to tell others how they must live their lives, nor you try to infringe unto, or limit their rights because of your particular religious ideology, no problem. As you said, you aren't hurting anyone and it's not anyones' business what you believe or not if you don't force it to become their business by your own actions.

Thank you Augur that is a every good way of putting it. I guess one day I will find out or not find out how it is. 3dlol

Crusader that option doesn't sound very appealing. Ted Williams had his head frozen he would be in for a long time of I don't know like Eric said (Now there's an adequate description of Hell if ever I heard one...) 3dlol


Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.

― Abraham Lincoln

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#46 2017-06-23 00:36:27

Barbarian3165
Completely Blotto
Registered: 2015-02-11
Posts: 322

Re: Agent of Change

Personally, I find most peoples idea of hell inadequate.  Personally, I'd suggest hell is the ultimate desert, no food or water and no one else but the person in that particular hell.  The only thing other then sandy/rocky terrain would be a mirror that follows you around.  When the person in hell is desperate, they can turn to the mirror to be tormented by their own conscience and a movie of the pain and suffering they caused because of their deeds.  Otherwise they wander in the desert eternally hungry, thirsty and either unbearable hot or unbearable cold depending on which the individual finds worse.

Oh, I think I'm copyrighting that description since I'm using it in a story I'm writing.

Last edited by Barbarian3165 (2017-06-23 00:38:00)

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#47 2017-06-24 19:16:02

Wicked Storm
Completely Blotto
From: New Orleans
Registered: 2012-06-15
Posts: 358

Re: Agent of Change

omg what did I just read haha. Brain pooling on the floor. just wanted to say can't wait for more of this and that the story is excellent.


In the dark your lips taste like sweet nectar, and in the line they tease me endlessly.

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#48 2017-07-16 01:24:22

Wicked Storm
Completely Blotto
From: New Orleans
Registered: 2012-06-15
Posts: 358

Re: Agent of Change

Loved this chapter, made me smile, and sympathize with the characters the whole way through. I really enjoyed a freaking lot. Looking forward to the next installment as usual.

(posted from Chapter 5)


In the dark your lips taste like sweet nectar, and in the line they tease me endlessly.

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#49 2017-07-16 18:18:53

thehilz
Completely Blotto
Registered: 2010-09-06
Posts: 352

Re: Agent of Change

As always I enjoyed the new chapter. Will be semi  patiently waiting for the next chapter although it might be more than a month. Will give me time to go back and reread some stories I haven't read in awhile. Keep up the great work.

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#50 2017-07-16 20:37:08

Eric Storm
Pub Owner
From: New Port Richey, FL
Registered: 2006-09-12
Posts: 5516
Website

Re: Agent of Change

Glad you're enjoying it.  Yeah, I'm not sure when Ch. 6 will be ready, though it is still in active development.

Eric Storm


Please Remember:  The right to Freedom of Speech does not carry the proviso, "As long as it doesn't upset anyone."  The US Constitution does not grant you the right to not be offended.  If you don't like what someone's saying... IGNORE THEM.
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