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  1. But 'proof' isn't really the point (Scotty doesn't seem to get this either due to his need to defend the Genesis creation narrative as reality rather than a mythic account - hence his attempts to refute all evidence that runs counter to this). If the existence of God were provable, then that negates 'free will'. The argument is that people are free to accept or reject God, and who's going to reject a God that has been proved to exist if it means spending eternity in the fires of hell, getting pitchforked in the vitals by satan and all his little wizards? We are unable to apply objective criteria of proof to anything that exists outside time and space. As for the historical Jesus. I think the chances are there was such a person, for the simple reason that the Christian sect sprang from nowhere and had to start with something. Whether he was God Incarnate rather than an inspirational teacher is another matter altogether.
  2. If anyone's interested: there's this and this.
  3. I accept that, I was just playing 'Predict the response' - although on past form it was perhaps more likely that you were going to get no response at all. Since Scotty's default position on counter-evidence based on physics is that it's been faked, I just wonder if things might not be a little less predictable if we also interrogate the one source of knowledge that he believes can't be faked ... I'm still waiting for the explanation of how God inscribed the Earth as a circle on the waters in Isaiah (I think), yet this circle has four corners in Revelation.
  4. Since Scotty bases his cosmology on Genesis chapter 1, I imagine that his position would be that the firmament is closer to earth than one light year. Hence it's a distance that can't be travelled. All evidence that counters this is fake. The problem (well, one of the problems) with basing one's cosmology on Genesis, is that the book (along with a number of others in the Bible) is evidently a compilation of texts based on sources that came from different traditions. For example, at Genesis chapter 2 verse 4, we suddenly get a different name for God (a switch from Elohim to Yahweh), and this switch coincides with a different version of the creation of Adam and Eve. This would make no sense if we were dealing with the word of God; it makes perfect sense if we're dealing with a book that's a compilation of man-made texts.
  5. Yup, Noah's curse of Ham was used as a justification for slavery within Christendom but as you say it was used in all societies in pre-Christian times; and women weren't notably more 'empowered' in societies untouched by the Abrahamic religions. Any road, no point in continuing with religious ping pong - folk feel the need to polarize a phenomenon that is neither 'good' nor 'bad' in itself but has motivated actions that fall into both camps.
  6. I'm not sure that it's possible to suggest a balance between 'good' and 'bad' in that sense - it's a discussion that could go on for ever. The abolition of slavery was motivated by religious ideals while the prohibition of contraception is not an issue with most religions, and the disempowerment of women is more a social than a religious issue.
  7. Ah, there was me thinking your comment was an aside from the great 'Bible-believing Christian / God gives kids cancer' debate and you were turning your ire on my humble proffering of faith-based aesthetics. My error. Apologies. Incidentally, picking up on Toepoke's point about architecture and others' response regarding the cost ... I suspect most folk, whatever their metaphysical convictions, find the great cathedrals awe-inspiring and, especially when a choir is giving it full chat, even uplifting to some extent - and that effect cost a huge amount, but it should also be remembered that prior to the welfare state, those with no other means of support had to find their relief through charity, and most charities over the past centuries were religious in nature. Indeed, in Islam it is one of the pillars of the faith to make a tithe to the poor. It's not like all the great wealth of the religious went on the construction of fan-vaulting and spires (or paedophile rings for that matter).
  8. Where did I suggest any of that? I never mentioned the faith or otherwise of the artists themselves apart from Eliot - or are you claiming he wrote Four Quartets for the brass? I said "religion has been at the root of [...] some of the greatest art ever created", that is, whether as sponsor or through direct faith-based inspiration. Nor did I say that there would have been no great art if there were no religion - there is plenty of great secular art.
  9. If there were no religion, we would have to invent it. Again. Of course there'd be wars. Humans just don't like other humans who dare to be different, be it colour, creed, country or political ideology. On the plus side, religion has been at the root of some of the greatest art - figurative, literary, musical - that has ever been created. I've just been reading Eliot's Four Quartets for the umpteenth time. It's an incredible piece of work, and shot through with a profound faith. The best English poetry of the last hundred years.
  10. I really don't get the hard/impossible-sell argument. The other (non-permanent currency union) options are wide open to attack for being unsustainable and reliant on the goodwill of institutions who would have no interest in supporting such arrangements. Previous precedent doesn't support it either. A Scottish Pound, on the other hand, would be an uncompromised currency which could be used to its full effect to maximize the benefits and minimize the risks of independence. The government would have full control of the monetary and fiscal levers and would therefore be able to adjust these to react to events for the benefit of Scotland. The argument just needs to be made and sustained long before the next referendum campaign gets underway. Scare-mongering about 'devaluation' is a red herring. Even if the markets did decide to settle the Scottish pound at a lower rate than sterling (far from inevitable), that would have significant competitive benefits as Slovakia discovered (and the fall in sterling post-EU-referendum hasn't resulted in the predicted apocalypse - and the economy of an independent Scotland would be more amenable to fiscal tweaking than the relatively unwieldy UK economy). The most easily defendable currency option is an independent currency. People just need time to get used to the idea and for the counter-arguments to be aired and refuted. So the SNP needs to raise it sooner rather than later - it might result in a drop in pro-independence poll ratings but that wouldn't last. At the moment, it's looking as if exactly the same mistakes are being made as last time around, all because of a fear of 'frightening the horses'. The horses just need to be given the time to calm down again.
  11. Irrelevant to the question of a limited-term shared currency. The issue would be political will to sustain it, not the state of the economy (not that the Communist-era economy in Czechoslovakia had been "battered from pillar to post" for thirty years prior to the split - the whole point of relying on central planning rather than the market is to impose apparent stability). Again, irrelevant to the question, and again inaccurate anyway. The Czechs and Slovaks had had free federal elections. That's how Vladimir Meciar came to power in Bratislava and that's what led to the split. One would expect an amenable world view to have led to favourable support for the Koruna union, but that's not how these things work. In part, as we saw with the ERM, it's political commitment of the constituent governments that is tested, but mainly it's just folk betting on future currency movements. Again, completely irrelevant. The issue was relative perception of the two economies - it matters not a jot what percentile those economies are in. Nor does it matter whether there would be any difference - it's the perception that's the key. Eh? We've already seen what the general population thinks of a putative, one-sided shared currency. The Czechs and Slovaks split on Jan 1 1993. The plan was to maintain economic and monetary union for at least six months. The resulting currency speculation led to the collapse of the union on February 2 1993. From then, in effect, there were two new currencies floating on the world markets. Living there at the time, apart from having to hand in my banknotes to have them stamped, it made no appreciable difference to the Koruna in my pocket. The two currencies did diverge by about 14% but this led to useful inward investment into Slovakia. It wasn't until 2008 that they dropped the Slovak Koruna and joined the Euro.
  12. I've given a case study of a "transition plan to move to [an independent] currency" via limited-term sharing - it doesn't work, for the obvious reason that people bet on the value differentiation of the two future currencies as soon as they know that two currencies is the end game. It's completely unstable and it wouldn't be in the BoE's interest to stabilize it as it's very unlikely to be a formal currency union (for the same reason - a limited-term union would have no inherent stability). Go on then, explain the relevant differences.
  13. This was done to death on here in the lead up to the referendum. Of course it's not legally possible to stop an independent Scotland using the pound; there's plenty of states around the world using other countries' currencies - usually the US dollar. The thing is they have no say in the fiscal and monetary policies of the currency's central bank. In the Scottish scenario, once Scotland's economic cycle began to shift away from the rUK's (which wouldn't take very long given the different fundamentals on which each economy is based), the BoE would work to align sterling with the needs of the rUK. Another factor is that most of those wishing to keep sterling were saying that it would only be a short term measure. This was tried at the start of the Czecho-Slovak split and collapsed within weeks. Folk 'banked' on the Czech Koruna being more valuable than the Slovak Koruna when the shared currency period was over and so there was a massive run on the Slovak banks as people put their Korunas into the Czech Republic. The two countries floated their currencies independently within a month rather than the year that had been planned. Overall, sharing the pound is not a stable option (even if Westminster were happy to go along with it). An independent nation needs an independent currency or a permanent currency union (which begs the question of its fiscal and monetary independence). As has been said many times since (and was said by some of us on here before), the currency issue was a massive flaw in the independence campaign and chuntering that "it's our pound too" doesn't make it any better.
  14. Or the 'circular' Earth having four corners in John 7:1. Or an acknowledgement that he misled us about Biblical Hebrew using 'sphere'. Or a rebuttal of the '79 - '82 polar circumnavigation, following his claim that such a thing had never been attempted.
  15. He's referring to footage from Skylab. Do keep up ...