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Why people believe?

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Liquid Gardens
9 hours ago, eight bits said:

One of the great story motifs is "the magician whose magic runs out." Of course, it is a tragic motif. Heuristics and magic have that in common: they both "run out" eventually.]

Logic isn't, but most of what we think of empiricism is.

In what way will or does the heuristic 'empiricism' 'run out'?  Just at the threshold of where we run out of evidence?

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So a rational mathematician (who must eventually deal in "just the truth") shouldn't try to concentrate on problems where she estimates she has the best shots of producing something interesting (why mathematicians win medals)?

'Shoulds' are tougher to deal with than 'coulds'.  I think all I'm pointing out is that I find it a lot easier to use 'rational' with respect to truth which is objective (obviously leaving aside supposed 'truths' that are represented by the impenetrable, 'true to me') as opposed to 'useful' or 'interesting' which are not.  Untruths can be powerful heuristics for the subjective, I have little doubt that racists can get all kinds of use and interest out of applying the general heuristic, 'people of other races are intellectually inferior', and although that is not true and thus of questionable 'rationality', depending on our search space it is a valid heuristic.  Expand that to the search space, 'that which makes me happy', and there essentially is no such thing as an invalid heuristic, rational or not.  On the other hand if you are calculating the speed of asteroids by rolling a bunch of dice, the heuristic is irrational, even in the case where it gets one to the correct answer, and its irrationality can be argued against.  

So our mathematician makes some new valid mathematical insight, using reason/rationality obviously, and thus in that sense we can call him a rational person.  On the other hand, whether this mathematician wants to win medals and produce something interesting to others depends on what he's interested in and what he takes pleasure doing; is it rational for our mathematician to publish something interesting if doing so causes him anxiety and suffering?  Maybe yes, maybe no, regardless, questions like these don't apply to the rationality of his insight in the first place, that is all I meant by, 'a rational person could restrict themselves to the truth'.

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Yes, as to subjectivity (how could it be otherwise? choosing the "goal" of the search is subjective)

Choosing the goal of the search is subjective, but that doesn't mean the goal is subjective; if anything can be called 'objective', it seems like 'truth' would fit the bill.  I've slammed right into a tautology here, but irrational heuristics get you to the truth by accident or coincidence (I guess otherwise they'd be 'rational'), but irrational heuristics can be valid ways to reach subjective goals.

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 there was an ad from the state's branch of Homeland Security (who came up with the name? it sounds like the Germans won WWII). The gist was "trust your instincts." Well... that's good advice for only some people, and usually for only some of their instincts. Nevertheless, if you are one of those people, and this is one of those instincts, then trusting it is rational.

Hmmm, I guess it depends on what you mean by 'good advice'.  Are you basing this on something scientific that people trusting their intuition leads to more accurate results than not?  If not, then what's the difference between 'instincts' and 'astrology' in the above, if there is one?

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Is it rational to think that acting the way you rationally estimate is best will always turn out to be best? I think not. If so, is it rational always to act the way you rationally estimate is best? (e.g., NEVER to "hedge your bet" by taking a "less than optimal" choice that might result in a softer landing in case the best estimate is a bit off? And if you did so, then why is that line of thinking irrational?)

It isn't necessarily, there isn't anything obvious in that example that is false or irrational, mainly because 'best' is subjective.  I think you're referring to risk analysis and in that case, increasing the chances 'a softer landing' may occur has to be factored into what is optimal.  I'm having trouble cogitating someone choosing to increase the chances of a softer landing unless they thought that was optimal, but I'll admit I find myself straying on to tautology street frequently when thinking about this stuff.

If God magically enforced that the odds of horses winning races at the tracks are the actual odds in a worldwide sense, then one may rationally estimate that betting on the long shot is best and someone else will rationally estimate that betting on the best odds is best, depending on their values and goals.  If the goal was to maximize the number of winning horses bet on over their lifetime, and ignoring the bet winning $ themselves, then wouldn't the best, rational strategy always be to bet on the best odds horse?  Let's say that God is also making it so there are no other valid reasonable correlations that can be made to determine which horse is going to win, there's no 'he's good in the mud'-type analysis of the horses themselves that can be made, from our limited perspective at one track it seems random outside of the odds.  With the maximum win goal in mind, is it rational to ever bet on a higher odds horse?  I don't see how, I think I've closed off all avenues of further information on which to base a rational decision.  Does that change if it actually works, if by luck or whatever irrational method one chooses the long shot accurately a few times and wins more races than they would have if they always took the best bet?

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Um, you do realize that there is a scholarly literature about this, right?

Errr, uh yea, of course; you do realize that our understanding of science and history and medicine are not complete yet?  Presumably the same reliable heuristics are continuing to be used in these areas and almost zero of them intersect in any way with anything having to do with beauty?  Not sure what you are disagreeing with exactly or what I said that makes you think I'm ignorant of the above.  I'm just pointing out the limitations of your statement, "what is beautiful might not be true, and might not be useful, either. That last sentence is true. It is also no rational reason to avoid aesthetic considerations while trying to reduce search spaces".  I disagree insofar as the fact that what is beautiful might not be true is a rational reason to avoid beauty considerations when trying to reduce search spaces pertaining to non-beauty related objective truths.  Which is a popular search space.

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Stubbly_Dooright
4 hours ago, Sherapy said:

I don't think Frank is poimting the indoctrination finger and excluding himself. We all are conditioned to our culture, our influences, and our own ideas on things. For me, I think he did an exceptional job of creating a distinction between beliefs and reality. Just like you did an excellent job of pointing out that humans are great at rationalizing including, their gods or lack there of. I didn't see a squirming Frank as he isn't shy about sharing just what he "really "thinks, this includes his take on things too. And, Frank did tip his hat to your post  on making this point. 

Hammer, for the record your contributions and perspective on religion and all things god is fair and sees both sides, this doesn't escape many of us. I learn a lot from you! 

I agree with this, Hammer. *shrugs* Frank, I don't believe, deserve this. Plus, I do, as well as Sheri, consider you a very essential poster here. I think, both you and Frank, have very good insights. :yes: 

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eight bits

LG

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In what way will or does the heuristic 'empiricism' 'run out'?  Just at the threshold of where we run out of evidence?

Since a heuristic search rule isn't always correct, every winning streak will end, unless the winner ends first. There may also be "second order" performance deterioration (e.g. a heuristic with a good track record gets applied to harder and harder searches, which hastens its time to failure. What makes for a good story is when the problems are not just harder, but for higher and higher stakes. Then the consequences of failure worsen. Mmm, mmm, there's a bunch of good stories like that).

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I think all I'm pointing out is that I find it a lot easier to use 'rational' with respect to truth which is objective (obviously leaving aside supposed 'truths' that are represented by the impenetrable, 'true to me') as opposed to 'useful' or 'interesting' which are not.

Contingent truths have a lot of subjectivity to their acceptance. As to interesting, that Donald Trump is President impresses me as interesting and in many ways that matter, the interest is objectively founded. Useful may be more subjective in that case.

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I have little doubt that racists can get all kinds of use and interest out of applying the general heuristic, 'people of other races are intellectually inferior', and although that is not true and thus of questionable 'rationality', depending on our search space it is a valid heuristic.

Heuristics can be better or worse than other heuristics. I suspect with a little effort, your racist could come up with a heuristic that was just as factually inaccurate, but more useful than the proposed one in just about any search. Also, one mustn't confuse morally reprehensible with irrational. :)

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Expand that to the search space, 'that which makes me happy', and there essentially is no such thing as an invalid heuristic, rational or not.

So it would seem. Maybe I shouldn't have used that smiley face just now. But even under your premise, there would still be better and worse heuristics, presumably, based on effectiveness in achieving that particular goal.

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On the other hand if you are calculating the speed of asteroids by rolling a bunch of dice, the heuristic is irrational, even in the case where it gets one to the correct answer, and its irrationality can be argued against.   

I am not following what the problem is where rolling the dice ever gets the right answer. If it gets the right answer, I suspect "irrationality" would be the availability of better ways to solve the problem, in which case the heursitic is inadmissible.

If there aren't better ways available, and the heursitic gets the right answer sometimes, then what is irrational about using it in your view? What do you propose to do instead, if nothing better is available?

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 is it rational for our mathematician to publish something interesting if doing so causes him anxiety and suffering?

That's kind of a deep question, no? That's Kurt Godel in a nutshell. Anyway, far above my paygrade.

The "ordinarily extraordinary" mathematician is whom I had in mind. She wants tenure at a good university; to win a medal or two would help, so she picks her shots accordingly. To pull the trigger, she'll need demonstrative proof, but not to choose the problems in the first place.

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I've slammed right into a tautology here, but irrational heuristics get you to the truth by accident or coincidence (I guess otherwise they'd be 'rational'), but irrational heuristics can be valid ways to reach subjective goals.

It seems to me if a search strategy works 99% of the time, then I need to consider seriously the possibility that whether this occasion I'm using it is one of the 99% or one of the 1% is a matter of accident or coincidence.If not, then I can improve the heuristic, and then using this one becomes inadmissible. So, too, for all win-loss splits (100-0 is not achievable by heuristics); so, too, then for all heursitics.

What is true of all heuristics can't be used to distinguish among heuristics (e.g. to designate some as "rational" and others as "irrational").

Also, don't confuse "I don't understand why it works, but it has worked" with "irrational." Plenty of people don't understand how their car works; they are not irrational to drive one based on observed performance alone.

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Hmmm, I guess it depends on what you mean by 'good advice'.  Are you basing this on something scientific that people trusting their intuition leads to more accurate results than not?  If not, then what's the difference between 'instincts' and 'astrology' in the above, if there is one?

Well, there is work on the problem, although I don't work on that myself. Something that's popular and done by a quality researcher (Nobelist in economics) might be

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/kahneman-excerpt-thinking-fast-and-slow/

I wasn't worried too much about being so formal, though. There is a lot of room between this and astrology. (Having said that I don't work on this, let me add that I'm not an astrologer, either. In other words, I live my whole life in that "roomy in between," and so far, so good.)

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I'm having trouble cogitating someone choosing to increase the chances of a softer landing unless they thought that was optimal, but I'll admit I find myself straying on to tautology street frequently when thinking about this stuff.

Don't sweat it. It is self-referential. You can no more rationally decide to decide rationally than you can prove that a demonstrative proof is true. For the same reasons. Thank you, Kurt Godel, for publishing that interesting thing that caused you so much anxiety and suffering.

Horse betting

DEFINITELY not my field of study. If I knew the optimal strategy (and assuming that even the optimal strategy I could really implement were profitable on average), then I'd be doing that instead of this.

Or, to put it the other way around, the only optimal strategy I know of is to own a racetrack. I ain't got that kinda dough (nor the, um, right "connections" if you know what I mean).

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Presumably the same reliable heuristics are continuing to be used in these areas and almost zero of them intersect in any way with anything having to do with beauty?

I wouldn't bet on that. Problem selection alone ensures aesthetic considerations (or other non-truth criteria: usefulness, interestingness, etc., as already discussed) will be used. Experiments are often expensive, so aesthetic (etc.) considerations will plausibly influence the order in which hypotheses are tested.

In the long run we're all dead (J.M. Keynes). If everything (contingent) we learn in life is from experiments actually performed, and aesthetics influences the order in which experiments are performed, biased toward (say) "beautiful is scheduled ahead of ugly," then everything (contingent) we each learn is biased toward the more beautiful. Knowing that, I might rationally choose ... you get the picture.

Edited by eight bits
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jmccr8
7 hours ago, Stubbly_Dooright said:

Yes, I do have to remember that. I think I remember my husband making an example of this, by saying to our dog, or his past dog, saying in a positive voice, if he wanted to go do something horrible. And the dog reacted excitingly, because it was all in the tone. In which, I think even tones, make for different expressions of communication

I talk to anything with ears, :lol:. I was working on pipeline up north years ago and had gone off into the bush to take a wizz, when I stepped back out onto the right of way I saw something in the peripheral of my left. When I turned to look there was a bull moose standing close enough that I could have reached out and scratched his nose so I started talking to him and slowly moved away, good thing it wasn't mating season he might have thought I was competition. :lol:

 Having spent a fair bit of my youth working on the farm I spent a lot of time around animals and never had a fear of them so my body scent usually reflects that and they don't get nervous around me.

jmccr8

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Stubbly_Dooright
1 hour ago, jmccr8 said:

I talk to anything with ears, :lol:. I was working on pipeline up north years ago and had gone off into the bush to take a wizz, when I stepped back out onto the right of way I saw something in the peripheral of my left. When I turned to look there was a bull moose standing close enough that I could have reached out and scratched his nose so I started talking to him and slowly moved away, good thing it wasn't mating season he might have thought I was competition. :lol:

 Having spent a fair bit of my youth working on the farm I spent a lot of time around animals and never had a fear of them so my body scent usually reflects that and they don't get nervous around me.

I grew to up to cats only. My daughter being an animal lover, have had a menagerie right til she moved out.

She has a Animal Science degree and is using it now. Through her, I have come to really respect animals and see them as individual personalities. I think I can see a particular sense of communication with them. :D 

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Frank Merton
8 hours ago, Sherapy said:

I don't think Frank is poimting the indoctrination finger and excluding himself. We all are conditioned to our culture, our influences, and our own ideas on things. For me, I think he did an exceptional job of creating a distinction between beliefs and reality. Just like you did an excellent job of pointing out that humans are great at rationalizing including, their gods or lack there of. I didn't see a squirming Frank as he isn't shy about sharing just what he "really "thinks, this includes his take on things too. And, Frank did tip his hat to your post  on making this point. 

Hammer, for the record your contributions and perspective on religion and all things god is fair and sees both sides, this doesn't escape many of us. I learn a lot from you! 

Yes -- I think Hammerclaw has it quite wrong and what he posted irritated me a lot.  Way too much ego and not enough introspection or attention to the subtleties he accuses me of squirming around.  In fact the message would have been insulting if it wasn't so uncomprehending.

You are of course much more generous to him than me.  That is a good thing in you.

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back to earth
18 hours ago, Hammerclaw said:

Oh, thanks a lot. Now I can't get that song out of my head!   "They call him Flipper, Flipper faster than lightning, no you se-e-e, is smarter than he-e-e-"

Ooops   sorry ... here I can fix that in a few seconds ;

 

 

Edited by back to earth
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Hammerclaw
7 minutes ago, back to earth said:

Ooops   sorry ... here I can fix that in a few seconds ;

 

 

No thanks, I prefer this. It dispels the misconception that the Champagne Band were squares.                                             

 

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back to earth
10 hours ago, Stubbly_Dooright said:

See my reply to jcmm. :D 

When I lived out bush in S.A.  we got sheep dog on the cheap because he was 'no good' . When we asked the owner  what he meant, he goes ... in this weak faltering unsure voice that I could hardly hear  " I got him from an old farmer who said he was good ! But look  '  Go on blue, round the back .... bring them into the gate ... come one Blue ....   <then to us >  see ... nothing ! ."

" Yeah, we will take him. "  < get home > and my friends dad ( the farmer ) ;   " Gharn ya lousey mungrel ! Out the back !

 ..... dog is off like a rocket and gets the sheep in a group      :D 

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back to earth
10 hours ago, Stubbly_Dooright said:

This kind of reminds me of an old 'Top Gear' episode and the three wheeled car. :lol: 

1452787848-reliant.gif

 

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Hammerclaw
58 minutes ago, Frank Merton said:

Yes -- I think Hammerclaw has it quite wrong and what he posted irritated me a lot.  Way too much ego and not enough introspection or attention to the subtleties he accuses me of squirming around.  In fact the message would have been insulting if it wasn't so uncomprehending.

You are of course much more generous to him than me.  That is a good thing in you.

You start out by saying how much you don't like the word believe and call belief a cop out--the squirming part. Then you make your canned statement of Atheism you've used, over and over and then pontificate on why an opinion not backed up by data is superior to a belief not backed up by data. It really wasn't very deep--in my opinion.

Edited by Hammerclaw

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back to earth
1 hour ago, Hammerclaw said:

No thanks, I prefer this. It dispels the misconception that the Champagne Band were squares.                                             

 

 

One gray night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more
And Puff, that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar

Image result for no rollie papers

 

http://9gag.com/gag/a2q6ZME/no-rolling-papers-no-problem  ;) 

Edited by back to earth
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Hammerclaw
5 hours ago, Stubbly_Dooright said:

I agree with this, Hammer. *shrugs* Frank, I don't believe, deserve this. Plus, I do, as well as Sheri, consider you a very essential poster here. I think, both you and Frank, have very good insights. :yes: 

I think highly of both of you, but there are times when I simply can't see the world through your eyes--lovely as they are.

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Sherapy
28 minutes ago, Hammerclaw said:

I think highly of both of you, but there are times when I simply can't see the world through your eyes--lovely as they are.

Ha ha ha ha you are a charmer Hammer, it goes without saying we think the world of you too. 

I know you will work through things with Frank and vice versa you both are cherished and adored posters to Stubbs and me. :wub::wub::wub:

 

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Stubbly_Dooright
8 hours ago, Hammerclaw said:

I think highly of both of you, but there are times when I simply can't see the world through your eyes--lovely as they are.

No, of course not.You wouldn't be you. I wouldn't expect you to be , because it's you. I just feel that Frank doesn't deserve that harshness. Like I see you, I think Frank has a very fascinating outlook on the subjects involved. :) 

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Stubbly_Dooright

Ooops   sorry ... here I can fix that in a few seconds ;

 

................................................................................................................................................................

    :w00t:         Well, that was a must!

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Stubbly_Dooright
9 hours ago, back to earth said:

When I lived out bush in S.A.  we got sheep dog on the cheap because he was 'no good' . When we asked the owner  what he meant, he goes ... in this weak faltering unsure voice that I could hardly hear  " I got him from an old farmer who said he was good ! But look  '  Go on blue, round the back .... bring them into the gate ... come one Blue ....   <then to us >  see ... nothing ! ."

" Yeah, we will take him. "  < get home > and my friends dad ( the farmer ) ;   " Gharn ya lousey mungrel ! Out the back !

 ..... dog is off like a rocket and gets the sheep in a group      :D 

I was trying to find a gif from the Chevy Chase's movie, where a dog ran off and never came back, but I thought this will do. :)   

it's not from the movie though,

d3iutQhKQ3aUPMK0YYwZ_Dog%20Ridin%20Tract 

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Stubbly_Dooright
8 hours ago, Hammerclaw said:
9 hours ago, Frank Merton said:

Yes -- I think Hammerclaw has it quite wrong and what he posted irritated me a lot.  Way too much ego and not enough introspection or attention to the subtleties he accuses me of squirming around.  In fact the message would have been insulting if it wasn't so uncomprehending.

You are of course much more generous to him than me.  That is a good thing in you.

You start out by saying how much you don't like the word believe and call belief a cop out--the squirming part. Then you make your canned statement of Atheism you've used, over and over and then pontificate on why an opinion not backed up by data is superior to a belief not backed up by data. It really wasn't very deep--in my opinion.

Is this about not liking the word believe? I hope not, because I feel this separates the one ones who claim the truth when it's not and the ones who have every right to express their opinion in the form of I believe, as one of the expressions.

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Hammerclaw
2 hours ago, Stubbly_Dooright said:

No, of course not.You wouldn't be you. I wouldn't expect you to be , because it's you. I just feel that Frank doesn't deserve that harshness. Like I see you, I think Frank has a very fascinating outlook on the subjects involved. :) 

He has a subtle derisive way of expressing disdain that rankles me, prompting my caustic and equally disdainful  ripostes. It's always been that way with us. Harshness? Hardly. Frank can be quite merciless with believers and I only return his inconsideration in equal measure.

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Hammerclaw
2 hours ago, Stubbly_Dooright said:

Is this about not liking the word believe? I hope not, because I feel this separates the one ones who claim the truth when it's not and the ones who have every right to express their opinion in the form of I believe, as one of the expressions.

No, it's about the contempt for the one's who do like the word and believe. There are Atheists, Agnostics, and Theists in this thread having lengthy, articulate and erudite discourse on the topic in a very cordial manner. It's the height of ill manners to interject one's own personal animus into the such a conversation.

Edited by Hammerclaw
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Sherapy
1 minute ago, Hammerclaw said:

No, it's about the contempt for the one's who do like the word and believe.

Reread post 281 and 286. 

 In this case, IMHO you have misread Frank.

It could be ( and I do it too) that we read certain adversarial posters ( we all know who mine is) on auto pilot. Frank does say in post 286 that he can come down on belief a bit strongly. 

If the truth be told, for me, you are the poster who reminds me all the time to watch that I don't make it about my biases or triggers. 

 

 

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Hammerclaw
Just now, Sherapy said:

Reread post 281 and 286. 

 In this case, IMHO you have misread Frank.

It could be ( and I do it too) that we read certain adversarial posters ( we all know who mine is) on auto pilot. Frank does say in post 286 that he can come down on belief a bit strongly. 

If the truth be told, for me, you are the poster who reminds me all the time to watch that I don't make it about my biases or triggers. 

 

 

I suggest you peruse the archives and read a bit more. I feel I have greater depth in time with this particular poster.  If someone responded to one of your posts expressing themselves about the word Atheism and Atheists in a similar vein, how would you react?

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Sherapy
12 minutes ago, Hammerclaw said:

No, it's about the contempt for the one's who do like the word and believe.

Even harsh he has the right to express his opinion as you have the right to dispute it. But, in this case you misread or missed his posts. 

He tips his hat to you. Frank can be direct in his style, but he is fair and he will give credit where due and if he has been reactive instead of thoughtful he will apologize. 

 

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Hammerclaw
Just now, Sherapy said:

Even harsh he has the right to express his opinion as you have the right to dispute it. But, in this case you misread or missed his posts. 

He tips his hat to you. Frank can be direct in his style, but he is fair and he will give credit where due and if he has been reactive instead of thoughtful he will apologize. 

 

I'll never be able to see him through your eyes, darling--let's leave it at that.

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Sherapy
8 minutes ago, Hammerclaw said:

I suggest you peruse the archives and read a bit more. I feel I have greater depth in time with this particular poster.  If someone responded to one of your posts expressing themselves about the word Atheism and Atheists in a similar vein, how would you react?

Hammer, I am only referring to this case. 

In this exchange, this time, in my view, he demonstrated  fairness, humbleness, and graciousness to you. 

 

Edited by Sherapy
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