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About Thomas

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  1. Thomas added a post in a topic Natural "evil"   

    Since this is my last post at TGL, I hope it won't be edited or deleted by the Admin.

    Campanella has accused me (in a Private Message) of deliberately sabotaging this thread by getting our heated exchanges on the nature of evil transferred to the privacy of Academia. I leave readers of the entire thread to judge whether his accusation is true.

    I've enjoyed the intellectual recreation of visiting this site for several months. But I no longer wish to participate in a society of clever people that doesn't enforce its own rules effectively.

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  2. Thomas added a post in a topic Natural "evil"   

    I can't decide whether you're trying to patronize or to intimidate me. Either way, isn't the insolence of your de haut en bas attitude supposed be against the much talked about ethos of this site? Pissing territory? Perhaps you feel that the rules of civility here don't apply to you?

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  3. Thomas added a post in a topic Natural "evil"   

    I see you confirm that I'm "morally obtuse" - meaning an ignorant and unintelligent wretch, morally speaking: little better than a moral moron?

    I disagree. People who suffer from the impersonal violence of Nature do so by chance. The gale of wind that blows down my house and kills everyone in it, is a random event. There is nobody to blame for the suffering caused thereby.

    I cannot see any evil inherent in Nature. Natural phenomena are neither good nor bad: they are simply indifferent to the life of man. If we postulate an almighty God who could prevent all human suffering, then I can see a problem of evil which includes the torments of natural events. But otherwise, evil is originated and perpetrated by human beings.

    You say I'm confusing evil with responsibility. I think not. I'm trying to attribute evil to responsible human agents.

    As to your sardonic references to the parade of my convictions, begging questions, parading a narrow definition, handwaving away with loaded terms, Thomas's "book", your Q.E.D. etc., they are nothing more than contemptible bombast.

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  4. Thomas added a post in a topic Natural "evil"   

    You may write me off as "morally obtuse" if you wish, but the calamities of Nature do not seem to be evil. Indiscriminate slaughter by natural events is appalling and distressing, but those events are not human instruments or purposes and they cannot be avoided. They, like the rain, fall upon the just and the unjust alike.

    Evil "in my book" as you put it, arises from an intentional human act. If I accidentally cause injury to someone, I don't consider that I've committed an evil deed. I may have been negligent or stupid, but not evil

    If you imply that I'm indifferent to the suffering of people who are afflicted by a natural catastrophe, that is both unwarranted and false.

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  5. Thomas added a post in a topic Conspiracy Theory   

    I note that you haven't addressed the possibility that a conspiracy theory could be resorted to whenever someone has persuaded himself that the "true story" was otherwise than what corresponds to the discovered facts.

    Perhaps you could do better than my "simplified account" of Diana's death and speculate about the motives for her "murder"?

    The verdict that her death was an accident has already been given three times, despite your ironic quotation marks around the word "thorough". Have you any evidence that the conclusions arrived at by previous enquiries were biased or deliberately false?

    The case I cited happens to be an example in the news right now. I didn't claim that it alone reflects on all others. So there is no "fallacy" here concerning conspiracy theories theory, nor does anyone need to be reassured about their "lack of interest" in the story, should the inquest conclude (yet again) that Diana and Dodi were killed in an accident.

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  6. Thomas added a post in a topic Kant, Schopenhauer and the Problem of Evil   

    Cam: I have by no means digested everything you have to say about the problem of evil. I've just selected a small fragment of your discourse for an initial comment.

    I don't see how natural events such as epidemics of disease, earthquakes, tsunami, etc., can be described as "evil" because of their random and indiscriminate character. Lots of people suffer and die in such events, but nobody is meant to.

    If we ask what is the reason for an earthquake, then we can provide a scientific explanation - e.g. that it is a consequence of two tectonic plates suddenly sliding past each other along a gigantic fracture or fault in the earth's crust. But if we ask who is to blame for an earthquake, the question doesn't seem to make sense - unless perhaps we postulate a God who permits such a disaster to happen for his own inscrutable reasons.

    What I'm trying to clarify here is that only intentional acts of wickedness by human beings can be classified as "evil". And so there can be no such thing as natural evil.


    Thread split to "Natural Evil" in Academia By Listener
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  7. Thomas added a post in a topic Conspiracy Theory   

    A conspiracy theory could be constructed about almost any event in which someone has a vested interest that would be satisfied by overturning the evidence that supports a reasoned conclusion.

    A current example is the attempt by Mohamed Al Fayed to "prove" that Princess Diana was not killed in an accident, but was murdered by conspirators acting on the instructions of Prince Philip. This is after three thorough enquiries (French and British) have found evidence to suggest, beyond reasonable doubt, that Diana and her companion (Fayed's son) died because they were not wearing seat belts when their car driven by a drunken chauffeur went out of control.

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  8. Thomas added a post in a topic A small tidbit about the shoutbox   

    It is much better to use the privacy of Academia when complaining about abuse of this site (or its members) etc.

    Perhaps I haven't been paying close attention, but I haven't noticed any insults or petty insolence in the Shoutbox lately.

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  9. Thomas added a post in a topic Conspiracy Theory   

    Conspiracy theories - which sometimes can be the cause of epic tedium - are impossible to disprove and critics or doubters are simply absorbed as part of the theory.

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  10. Thomas added a post in a topic "We deny just one more God than you do."   

    I'm to blame here: I talked about my "solemn mental exercise", and the thread segued into a discussion of that.

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  11. Thomas added a post in a topic Seriousness and Levity   

    I think my tendency towards flippancy is sometimes (as Parody suggests) a defence mechanism. This doesn't mean that I'm in the habit of dismissing things I don't understand with a merry quip or that I try to undermine serious discourse with impudent humorous asides. It's more to do with a reluctance to take myself seriously even when I'm confident I know what I'm talking about. I've suggested this is a British trait or characteristic, but I wouldn't want to press that idea very far.

    I don't know any Americans and I've only been to the United States once. But I sense that educated Americans are more relaxed about their intellectual status than we are here in Britain.

    I guess on Mick's serious/humorous disposition levels, I'd have to place myself at 3.

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  12. Thomas added a topic in Site   

    Seriousness and Levity
    In answer to something qualia asked in the thread about God and atheism:

    I think I have a disposition towards levity and I admit this has probably developed because I fear the likelihood of being taken seriously.

    I know it's a generalisation, but I think many educated British people hide behind irony and a facile humour because of the anti-intellectual climate of opinion that often seems to inhibit serious discourse in this country. One mustn't be thought "too clever"; it's bad form to talk over anyone's head, even when it can't be helped; serious conversation is intolerable except in very small doses.

    In France, the philosopher is still regarded as someone worth respecting on account of his/her intellect - and a certain Gallic pride is invested in the public recognition of erudition. Here, in England, the intellectual "egghead" tends to be a figure of ridicule, though the scientific "boffin" who works on incomprehensible problems can be granted a kind of mystic reverence.

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  13. Thomas added a post in a topic "We deny just one more God than you do."   

    I should have said (in my previous post) that I don't see how one can believe in anything without thinking it's true.

    qualia : Do you believe that there is no mental exercise whatsoever that isn't lightened by strokes of levity? I do, as a rule, but my religious enquiries have been pretty humourless lately.

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  14. Thomas added a post in a topic "We deny just one more God than you do."   

    It might be true that I have been offered the "gift of faith" but didn't recognise it as such at the time, or I had it for a while and then lost it. Either way I'm in a bind because the gift might never be offered again and though I may diligently search for my lost treasure, I might never find it.

    Parody suggests being passionately committed is indispensable to the pursuit of religious answers (to questions of 'ultimate concern'?). But a commitment however passionate does not necessarily lead to faith. I do see how one can believe in anything without thinking it's true.

    I'm beginning to conclude that my religious enquiries are futile - except perhaps as a solemn mental exercise.

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  15. Thomas added a post in a topic Thought for the day.   

    Truth is mighty and will prevail. There is nothing the matter with this, except that it ain't so. (Mark Twain)
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