May 2008

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Melanie Stephan

Yes, I read just about everything everyone wrote. You all have valid points. But no solutions. The war with the Arab countries started before I was born, that was when the Jews returned to their home land. God promised the land to the Jews. Now this pissed the Arabs off, but they couldn't do anything about it. They didn't have any money. Then they found oil. Now they have money. Fifty years later they are still pissed, but now they can do something about being pissed cause now they have oil money. We gave them money so we can drive our big cars to and fro. So the Arabs are using our money to get back at us. So the only solution is to stop paying them, Steal the oil, run out of oil, stop driving, get rid of airplanes, drive them out, build the great wall of America, or toss up the big one up and blow it all to Hell. Then we could shoot all of the Buffalo, or we can just sit back and let God solve the problem, cause he hates these people more than we do. I like that, God is on our side. I can just see Mohammed getting his on judgment day, God will say something like "So you claim that you're a Prophet?". One thing for certain is that there will be no end to this problem until it is resolved one way or another. Melanie

Melanie Stephan

Some excellent comments on all sides. One thing though, I really got the creeps when that Arab came in with his views. It was like the Devil came in the door, he had some hate to spew. Any religion that inforces a dress code, beards for men and women must wear black sheets with small eye holes to see out of. I mean that shit just roars stone age stupidity. Then I am looking at videos of their cities. They arn't any women on the streets. All the women are under house arrest. I think the best way to solve the problem is to tell the men to get the freak out. Let them all move to China. Lots of work for them there. All the women can stay and they would be happier without the dope they were living with. To all my Arab sisters, take him to the curb. End of problem. Melanie

Melanie Stephan

Hi Scott. This isn't to far off the subject but. . . . This is an important News Update, please read and pass it along. God has made contact. The message is about Revelation. The message is from God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost respectively. It was sent in the Spring of 2006. It is about the meaning of First is Last and Last is First as written in Revelation. The message is this: In the morning I go to Heaven. In the afternoon I live my life. In the evening I die, death. What does this mean? In other words this means Birth is Last and Last is Birth. To understand this don’t think from point A to point B. Think of this as a continous circle of life. Birth is First, Life, Death, Birth is Last, completing the circle. God also said that Judgment will be before Birth in Heaven. AS birth on Earth is painful so will birth in Heaven. It is possible that this message was delivered by one of God’s Angels in the Spring of 2006. Yes, God has made contact and he sent a messenger. Spread this message along, just like a chain letter. Tell two people. Melanie Stephan


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Must say lost a bit of respect for you Scott, after reading this utterly forgettable article on Terrorists. While your theory on group intelligence or US politics or its foregin policy might be understandable, can not accept the way you've tried to portray Muslims which is unfortunate. I know you are very busy with your restaurant, comics, movies, real-estate and other businesses, but it would help if you could find sometime from your Coke-driven schedule to understand what Islam really is instead of this Al-Qaeda-propelled reasoning which is anyway getting outdated. You will know that Islam tells people not to worship idols and human beings however great they may be, which is nothing but logical. Muslims believe Jesus & Moses both were prophets but Jesus never said he was the God as some Christians would like us to believe. God can not be born or dead, can He?? Thats precisely what Islam wants us to believe but that is another issue altogether. The whole issue of terrorism is a direct result of your country's overwhelming greediness and has nothing to do with religion, pls kindly understand. Pls dont bring in Islam just for the sake of a phony argument and pls dont let it make enemies out of friends. Thank you.


So I'm really late to the part on this post.

I'm curious if you have read, or heard about the hypotheses "The Wisdom of Crowds"? ( I'm not challenging your point on people in groups/organizations essentially being idiots, but the author of the book might. Of course, if I remember correctly he did suggest that people in a group who all think the same way are useless. So essentially I have no point. Glad we cleared that up.

I would guess our government is an idiotic group of people because they are corrupted by special interestsgroups and money, not just because they are part of an organization. Of course, you already knew that and that wasn't the point of your post anyway.



Careful with those generalizations. I doubt you, or a single guide, can speak for all Muslims.

I'm sure it is true that ALL Muslims do not believe good Christians are going to Hell. But there are bound to be some ignorant, prejudiced "Muslims," just as there are ignorant, prejudiced "Christians."


Arifi Waked

Muslims don't believe that good Christians are going to hell. Kindly take the time out of your busy schedule coming up with new ways to offend people to at the very least read "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Islam" before putting words in our mouths. Thank you.


Excellent post, once again. As I was reading, the following thought occurred to me: given that people almost always vote party lines, how would you explain shifts in government (i.e. sometimes one party is in power, then come the next election the other party gets in). One might be tempted to assume the balance of power lies in the hands of the 10% undecided, but that obviously isn't so. Obviously the only thing determining the outcome of elections are the rates of citizens coming of voting age and the death rate!


You know, there will always be irrational people, but most irrational people don't join or support terrorist groups. Presumably, most people who join or support terrorist groups do so out of desperation or hatred or fanaticism -- probably due to poverty, a sense of persecution, ignorance, and isolation from other points of view. (I'm not suggesting that these people are acting rationally within their circumstances. I'm suggesting that their behavior has causes and is basically predictable.)

"Diverting the stalker" just means the terrorists will be targeting somebody more helpless than us, which is great for us in the short term but not so great for the world in the long term. If we can, we should be diverting the people who are in danger of *becoming* terrorists -- or to put it differently, diverting the cultures that *produce* terrorists. That sounds more complicated, I admit. Maybe it would involve offering education and other resources to those who need it.


I'll disagree with you on this one, Scott.
Terrorists will always be around. There's always going to be a group of disgruntled individuals who feel the need to blow crap up. They're everywhere, including here in the US.
You can't stop them short of killing them, or imprisoning them until they can't do anything short of drool, crap, and sleep.
But the extremists become DANGEROUS when they have a message, and that message gets wide support. With wide support, catching them is a lot harder, and they have the resources to do a lot more dangerous stuff.

Terrorism is defeated when the wackos no longer get popular support. Then it's relatively easy to roll up the wackos with some police raids, or infiltrate them and make sure they're fighting each other, and not forming one big coalition.

So, the purpose of changin US foreign policy is to change the level of PUBLIC SUPPORT for the terrorists, not make the terrorists stop what they're doing.

It's akin to bombing industrial centers during a regular, WWII-type war. You're not killing enemy soldiers, but you are keeping the enemy soldiers from getting what they need to fight.

So, let's get our crap together, and start changing US foreign policy!


Your all a sad bunch of losers if you think your opinion is of value. I bet you all come and post messages at this site becuase no one gives a crap what you think in the real world.
Guess what, no one gives a crap what you think here. Losers.

Billy B

How rational are you?

Fifty year old newly wed

Congrats on making it to what is now younger/mid adult. you are rich; you can afford any medical treatment. You are way cool, so you can be in any medical experiment you want. I'm on my way to "my" nursing home. Karma: every hour I spend making old folk (friends, whose stories are more than worth the smell and heartache) feel good is one week less than I will spend wallowing in my mindless gibber with the only human warmth coming out of my own bladder.

Ariel R. Orellana

I'm not sure this has been fully addressed in other posts but as I'm late to the party on this one and there are tons of posts now I wasn't eable to read every single one, but have you considered the following:

Basically, hatred of the US comes down to meddling, supporting dictators, supporting coups, sending troops, strong-arming governments into giving US corporations advantages, etc etc, depending on the interests of the moment has been a staple of US foreign policiy for well over a century. When that policy was confined to Latin America, resentment was confined to that part of the world. How many countries hated the US up to WWII? Afterwards meddling took place worldwide, by this time that quote about "the US doesn't have any friends, it has interests" began to be seen as true in most places but THEN the US ran into people who were pissed off enough (and whose cultural mindset enabled them to be violent) to do something about it. Even when doing the right thing, like going into the ex-Yugoslavia, everyone asks "what are they getting out of it?" so the benefit is mostly lost. The US has turned the world into a US-cynic.

The question is, what can be done and how long does it take? There's good news and bad news. The good news is that the course of action is pretty simple: stop sticking our noses everywhere, help out when needed, even protect our own when the ocassion merits. The bad news is that this will not turn the tide for at least 30 years: the time it will take the first generation that stops perceiving the US as meddling to grow up and start being in control. They'll be able to say "what the hell are you talking about 'the great satan'?" but it's too late to do anything about anyone in Iraq over 6 and elsewhere in the world over 15, they've been exposed. For examples of countries that no longer have an axe to grind see Vietnam, Japan and others.


Let's just say individuals are also irrational groups that haven't yet attracted members. the problem with your argument is that your criteria for irrationality is irrational. I'd suggest to go an read / listen to the Bahnsen Stein Debate where Bahnsen defends the Christian world view due to it's inherit rationality.

Adrian D.

"What do you think a majority of today’s volunteer military would have said in 2000 if they were told they might lose their life but they had a chance of averting 9/11?"

So, basicly, if they were lied to. The events you mention center on Iraq. The 9/11 attackers weree from supposedly friendly nations. So, no, they didn't "follow us home".


Some intresting extracts from

I will quote to you, brethren, a few lines from a hymn which I remember to
have repeated from my earliest boyhood, which is every day repeated by millions
of human beings: “As the different streams having their sources in different places
all mingle their water in the sea, so, O Lord, the different paths which men
take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or
straight, all lead to Thee.”

From Gita: “Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form, I reach him;
all men are struggling through paths which in the end lead to me.”

Much has been said of the common ground of religious unity.
I am not going just now to venture my own theory. But if any one here
hopes that this unity will come by the triumph of any one of the religions
and the destruction of the others, to him I say, “Brother, yours is an impossible hope.”
Do I wish that the Christian would become Hindu? God forbid. Do I wish that the Hindu or
Buddhist would become Christian? God forbid.


Acknowledgment - I'm off Scott's topic, but instead discussing the rightness or wrongness of a particular religion.

I am an engineer and appreciate the requirement of facts and consistency of information in order to determine what is true and what is false. But when you are interacting with people, it often does not matter what is true and what is false. Perception is reality. People act upon what they believe to be true, not what is in fact true. And subsequent truths are a result of people's acts. And so on.

As a whole, our behavior is based on our perception of what is true, which is based on other people's perception of what is true.

So you can point out that a religion is wrong because it is based on ideas which are in fact false.
- One person may perceive your observation to be true, and change religions.
- One person may perceive your observation to be true, but stay with their religion because it's more comfortable.
- One person may perceive your observation to be true, and feel threatened by it, and have you killed, hoping nobody else will make that observation.
- One person may perceive your observation to be false, and feel threatened by it, and have you killed, so nobody else learns of your false observation and perceives it to be true.
- One person may perceive your observation to be false, and ignore you (or give you a hug and forgive you).
- One person may perceive your observation to be false, but change religions because he thinks everyone else will perceive it to be true.

I presume by pointing out a persons religion is wrong the goal is to get them to (a) change religions and (b) join your own religion. I know there are many more possible responses than those I listed, but of those responses, only one seems to accomplish the desired goal. In two cases, the cost of being right is death.

But please, by all means, keep insisting you're right.


Scott, you don’t buy into “they’ll follow us home,” but they already did.
During the Clinton administration, we participated in the aftermath of Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. Doing so required that we stink up the Mecca neighborhood with Americans. Other than lobbing in a couple of cruise missiles, that was just about as aggressive as US foreign policy got. I can’t remember that we killed any terrorist leaders involved in the first WTC bombing, the barracks bombings, or the Cole incident. That behavior on our part precipitated the killing of over 3000 innocent people by aerial missiles manned by hundreds of other innocents.
During the Bush administration, we called what turned out to be Hussein’s bluff and invaded Iraq. That has put us in a direct, hot war with Muslim extremists. We are over there in much greater force than we were during the Clinton years, and we have large numbers of American soldiers hunting and killing terrorist leaders in Iraq and Afghanistan. Over 3000 volunteer soldiers have died and thousands more have been injured in the past five and a half hears… something the main stream media drums into us every chance they get.
Over 3000 innocent people died in one morning in the aftermath of the isolationist Clinton administration foreign policy. Over 3000 volunteer soldiers have died in five years of the Bush administration, but … wait a minute… I don’t remember any attacks on American civilians! Can it be?
It seems like you liberals have some momentum with your isolationist strategy, and if Obama/Clinton/Gore win we’ll probably pull up the drawbridge. Do you people seriously think a policy of isolationism and disengagement is going to pan out ten years from now?
What do you think a majority of today’s volunteer military would have said in 2000 if they were told they might lose their life but they had a chance of averting 9/11?


Some Dude:

That's a narrow (though regrettably common) view of religion. Empiricists inside and outside of religions (like Scott) keep wanting to shape a spiritual journey into something that can be measured, compared, tested, etc., and then they blame the religion when their misguided efforts fail.

In fact, the failure lies in their own inability to appreciate that spirituality is simply not empirical. Spirituality never was, and never will be.

I meet my spiritual needs by the sheer act of believing, and by shaping my life according to those beliefs. I don't need to believe that there is only One True Path, and that I was lucky enough to find it.

My faith does not insist that I be RIGHT, in some objective, measurable way, and thus it would be impossible for me to say that someone else is WRONG. There is no objective way to compare and empirically determine (for example) whether Jesus is part of the Trinity, or just another prophet. That sort of "comparison" is meaningless.

Rather, I simply have to decide for myself whether my faith is beneficial to me. My faith requires me to choose a belief system and apply it consistently. That works for me. It gives me strength, peace, and an intellectual workout. It helps me find joy in serving my community. There's more, but that is probably enough.

Because there is no objective way to compare the various belief systems, the ultimate choice is arbitrary. It is always foolish to insist that one is "better" than another, when there is no way to test that assertion.

I choose to be a Christian, and that is a convenient way to meet my spiritual needs. My faith is sincere, and not merely Pascal's Wager, but I do not pretend that it can be proven to be better than someone else's faith. If it could be proven, it would not be "faith" at all.

I will agree that I did not directly address Scott's point. That is because Scott's point is based on the false assumption that matters of the spirit can be tested and compared empirically. It is a trick question, like "Senator, when did you stop beating your wife?" There is no way to properly answer that question. Any response at all must instead attack the assumptions.


Some Dude

"Christianity is better for ME, but I don't think there is any way to objectively compare religions and say one is better than another."

Seems rather like you're missing the point. It's right, or it's not. Jesus is the Son of God or He isn't. This is not a question of relativism or rather or not you think it is good for you. If Jesus is the Son of God, then Christianity is the best religion for everybody, because it's the right one and the nature of the word best is not left open for discussion. If He isn't then Christianity is stupid.

Respect for other religions is obviously necessary, otherwise you get (even more) stupid people mistreating and killing each other for stupid reasons. However, the fact that we must respect everyone's right to believe what they think they should does not translate to some sort of idea that some religions are good for some people and others for others. Whichever one is right is good. The others are wrong. Not wrong for you, or wrong for me, but just wrong.

Of course, logically arguing that one is right with someone else is difficult. This leads back to the don't kill people you disagree with thing. However, it is important to dodge the idea that unknown means no answer, as this leads to the idea of moral relativism (that different morals are right for different people, and then inevitably and unfortunately that anyone's set of morals is right for them), which is, frankly, retarded.


From Get-it-straight:

If the Koran is SO clear on the fact that Christians will all go to hell, how do you explain this passage? BTW, I found this on a Koran search engine as you suggested doing:

[5.69] Surely those who believe and those who are Jews and the Sabians and the Christians whoever believes in Allah and the last day and does good-- they shall have no fear nor shall they grieve.

Sure doesn't sound like the Koran condemns Christians to hell by default, does it? I think you're just searching for what you'd like to find ;-)

I'm afraid that your quote doesn't help me as a Christian Get-it-Straight. Christians believe that Jesus is God and not simply another prophet as I understand it's taught to Mulsims. Jesus being God is a fundamental part of the Christian faith, it's what make His sacrifice on the cross for our everyone's sins possible. The Jews of the time sacrificed animals in reparation of their sins, one sacrifice per person per sin. It is because Jesus is God that His sacrifice is able to cover the sins of everyone on earth to this day and beyond. So I don't believe in the 'Allah' taught in the Koran is the same God that I worship because of this nor can any Christian I know.

For this passage to help me, I would have to convert to the Muslim faith and then I would no longer be a Christian but a Muslim. That is why I agree with Scott, it's the same with Christianity "Accept Jesus as Lord" and you're saved. But you couldn't be a Muslim anymore if you did.

Deepesh Garg

To know why religions are not mutually exclusive, and where do we mistake in interpretation, read

It may looks like a Hindu view, but is in fact very general.




The war in Iraq was about fighting terrorism by giving them an armored albeit accessible target. What did you think it was about? Ok - so Mr. Bush had it in for Saddam as well...

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