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Topics - Benocrates

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Alright, here we go with another classic 'atheist v theist' debates. However, what sets this particular debate apart is the sophistication and honesty that unfolds between the two classically opposed camps. For anyone who is familiar with this arena may already expect this when they discover that God's council are sophisticated Rabbis.

In the heathen corner we have Christopher Hitchens

Venomous anti-theist
Dying of cancer
No longer can drink/smoke, must be pissed
Thinks religion fucking sucks

And Sam Harris

-Neuroscientific atheist and anti-theist
-Hates Islam and pretty much all the rest
-Ethnic Jew
-Scientifically accepts mysticism

On God's behalf, we have Rabbi David Wolpe

-Conservative/Conventional Jewish leader
-Theological and sophisticated
-Head of Sinai Temple in LA
-Wrote book on faith in the face of illness

And Rabbi Bradley Artson

-Conservative Jewish leader
-Fully accepts evolutionary (and all other) science
-Writes Jewish blog and books on Jewish philosophy
-Has an autistic son he likes to mention

What makes this video worth creating a topic for is the progression from total opposition to relative common ground. It would be wrong to say that any of the panel changed their mind about their position on the afterlife, but they came to realize how close their beliefs might be. Also, as I mentioned in the title, the end of the debate has an interesting discussion about the Jewish tradition of belief and success in the modern West in comparison to Christianity and Islam.

The discussion is over an hour long, but I'm sure that anyone who has read this far into my topic will be the kind of person to find the time. Reply with thoughts.


The Lounge / fluckin eh!
« on: March 10, 2011, 12:07:59 PM »
Dear [Benocrates]:

I am pleased to inform you that we are recommending to the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs (FGPA) that you be admitted to the Masterís program in Political Science, beginning with the Fall term, 2011.  Congratulations!  You will be receiving a formal offer via email from FGPA shortly.

The list of reasons for choosing to study political science at Carleton University include the advantages of studying politics in Canadaís capital with a faculty that has a national and international reputation for innovation and excellence.  There are a number of initiatives in the department that you may find interesting; you can read about them on our web page at

 ;D ;D ;D

What is your opinion on the recent case of a dying Windsor baby in a London hospital? I have a relatively strong view, but I'll wait to see what you guys think first.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Alright folks, I've got a question
« on: February 26, 2011, 07:21:12 PM »
about the word 'folks'. Lately I seem to be noticing the word 'folks' used every time someone, particularly in politics, refers to individuals and groups in general. I've noticed it more so in American media, but it seems to be spreading to Canadian media too. I have a few questions about this new or resurgent phenomenon:

1) Am I actually noticing an increase in the use of 'folks', or is it merely confirmation bias?
2) Assuming the word is becoming more popular, what is the reason? Is it an attempt to sound more 'folksy' or 'down-to-earth'?
3) Assuming the word is becoming more popular, what do you think about it? Is it merely an evolution of language, or would you rather see the words 'people', 'citizens', 'individuals', 'Canadians/Americans,etc.,' used instead?

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Gay Marriage v Incest Marriage
« on: February 18, 2011, 06:13:44 PM »
If we allow gay marriage, and dismiss the arguments of institutional protection and 'naturalness', why not allow the marriage of siblings, parents, grandparents, etc?

Arts & Entertainment / Dubstep
« on: February 12, 2011, 09:29:17 AM »
So...anyone else into it? I've just recently started listening to it, and I love the dirty bass. Finally a techno-like music I can get behind. But I don't know where to start. What is the best dubstep that I should be listening to?

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Does pronunciation matter?
« on: February 07, 2011, 05:19:16 PM »
Does pronunciation matter?

I just watched an episode of The Agenda with Steve Paikin (great TVO show) and an expert on Middle Eastern media (white, or at least not Arabic), who seemed very intelligent, insightful, and well spoken, but pronounced hyperbole as hyper-bowl. I was shocked. Should I have been?

The Lounge / How do you pronounce...
« on: February 05, 2011, 11:32:23 AM »
My username: Benocrates

It's my username for most things, and I'm getting frustrated how people pronounce it.

Arts & Entertainment / British Media
« on: January 18, 2011, 03:05:51 PM »
I've always been into Brit shows because of my Welsh heritage, but lately I've been getting right into it. I started by watching the obligatory Mr. Bean,A Touch of Frost, and Fawlty Towers (best sitcom of all time) when I was a young boy. I never have really enjoyed Coronation Street, but have the theme song burned into my brain from morning tea every Sunday. I faded from the scene for a while until I was exposed to Ricky Gervais and the glorious The Office. Luckily I discovered it rather late, so Extras was already out. I devoured that and was searching for more.

It was then that I found Peep Show, perhaps one of the best and most honest series I've ever seen. From there I discovered the rest of Mitchell and Webb's repertoire. I then looked up some history and discovered Blackadder which demonstrated an alternate view of Rowan Atkinson and Hugh Laurie that I'd never seen before. Then I discovered Father Ted, which has such a lovely charm. But I wanted something more modern, and quickly discovered the 2004 series Shameless after watching the pilot of the American version. So far it's a solid and gritty exploration into urban estates, and I'm definitely enjoying.

But at the moment, I have to say that the show Survivors has captivated me. Not the new version, I'm going to watch that after, but right now I'm watching the 70's version. The characterization is so well crafted and the stories are interesting. I've seen the first few eps of the modern series, which I got hooked on after seeing that Johnson from Peep is in it. But most importantly, the show I just finished was Gavin and Stacey and all I can say is wow. Fucking incredible show, both in comedy, characterization, casting, writing, drama, romance. I've already watched it through twice, and have deeply fallen in love with the characters in a way I haven't experienced since Six Feet Under.

So...after all that, I just wanted to know what people think about these shows and hopefully for some Brits to recommend some other shows that I can get into. Any discussion concerning the BBC or British media in general would also be welcome.

The Lounge / Kids will be Kids, right?
« on: January 06, 2011, 11:06:04 AM »
What do you think about this news story. It seems like it's trying to depict a cute young girl that did what kids do, and the cops are blowing things out of proportion. To me, it seems like a penguiny little bitch and her big haired douche father refuse to take responsibility for her vandalism.

What do you read from this?

Arts & Entertainment / Bass Players
« on: December 09, 2010, 09:51:56 AM »
Anyone here play bass, or guitar I suppose. I've been playing for about a month and a half, getting halfway decent. I just wanted to see if anyone else did the same and could discuss the bassy world.

The Lounge / FET v RET debate in one minute
« on: November 30, 2010, 01:34:34 PM »
I'm not sure what board to post this in, so I'll just leave it here. I was watching vids of this great brit quiz show and discovered the perfect example of how every FEvRE debate has ever gone. I'll leave you to guess who represents which side.

" class="bbc_link" target="_blank">Debate, first minute

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Humanities v Sciences!
« on: September 19, 2010, 08:04:36 AM »
Alright you plebe fucks, let's have a debate on the importance of humanities v sciences in our future. Should we both teaching humanities subjects in High Schools and Universities, or focus on the scientific subjects of physics, biology, psychology, etc.

I'm all horny about this one from this CBC Link. It's an interview on the Sunday Edition with Martha Nussbaum. She's a contemporary philosopher that I've studied for a few years. It's fucking awesome to hear her talk.

The Lounge / Metal, Metalcore, Hardcore, Post-Hardcore, etc...
« on: September 16, 2010, 12:04:07 PM »
This thread is for all that kinda music. This isn't a thread to discuss genres, just post some sweet 'hard, metal type' music and/or discuss bands and songs, etc. This is how I started my feud with nomad (that still continues in my mind), but let's hope to keep genre debate out of it.

I'mma start off with a Post-Hardcore double rainbow cover I just found. I blew my load (and still am) listening to it, and want some other good metal/hardcore, blah blah blah. Apparently the band is from Mississauga, which is right near me. I've faded out of the whole scene with my ridiculous fetish with the pop-punk band Bayside. I need back in.

" class="bbc_link" target="_blank">Double Rainbow by Horizons

For fuck's sake, I posted this in the lounge. I've done this twice now. I suppose it's meant for the arts section.

Arts & Entertainment / COD MW2, get in here fools
« on: August 29, 2010, 03:31:50 PM »
Just got a 360 and COD. Add me fools. Also, this topic can be used to discuss COD in any way. Oh, and plz pm me if you add me, just so I don't get spammed and shit.

Technology, Science & Alt Science / Is Technology Neutral?
« on: August 05, 2010, 08:27:21 PM »
I just watched an interview on the amazing CBC show The Hour with the best interviewer on TV George Strombolopolous. It was with Peter Nowak, the author of Sex, Bombs and Burgers, a new book that analyzes the way in which the military, porn, and fast-food industry have changed life in the modern world. I haven't read the book, but I got the gist from the interview and it seems like a relatively interesting book. But more importantly to me, this touched upon my main area of study in my work, i.e. technology in the modern world.

Although the interview was relatively banal, and the actual content of the book seems to be little more than mass-digestible quasi-intellectualism, there was one interesting topic raised. At one point, George mentioned that (without having the literal quote) many people consider technology "value-neutral" but that in reality it isn't because of the way it is used. The author responded a bit more explicitly by saying that of course technology is value neutral, but that the morally weighted discussion involved analyzing that toping was outside of his focus.

Which brings me to this topic: Is technology neutral. I've framed the question without the word 'value' because I feel that the word itself is an element in understanding what neutrality actually means. So I'm going to leave myself out of this one at the beginning, and interject with my own view depending on the responses. But I will prompt the initial discussion by asking for some good analysis into technology itself, neutrality itself, and of course values themselves.

So, let's see what you've got.

First refer to this well-written, relatively short article about the trial and conviction of Canadian Captain Robert Semrau. Short version: He was charged with murder for the mercy killing of a severely wounded, unarmed Afghan insurgent.

I would like to have a good debate about mercy killing and 'soldiers' creeds', but first I also want to discuss whether or not he should be found guilty of the charges against him. I'll start off by arguing that, regardless of any argument surrounding the legitimacy of mercy-killing, both international law and Canadian military law are unambiguous: Mercy killing is illegal. As soon as an enemy combatant is disarmed, they are entitled to full protection.

Now, what do you think?

The Lounge / BBQ suggestions?
« on: June 02, 2010, 07:24:56 AM »
I'm grilling a pork tenderloin today and want to make my own glaze and or sauce. I've got some ideas already, but I wanted to see if any of y'all have any favourite recipes or techniques, particularly anyone from the southern states.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Hegel or Nietzsche
« on: November 27, 2009, 11:33:53 AM »
The philosophy of Hegel claimed that reason has evolved in history through a dialectical process. This reason has progressed through the negation of the given thesis by an antithesis, creating a synthesis of new truth (cf. French revolution). This history is pointed toward an end, in which all humankind will live in the Universal Homogenized state (cf. North American Continentalism, UN internationalism). Nietzsche continued with the discussion of the progress of reason through history, but unlike Hegel, claimed no teleological end could ever be reached. The will in its constant striving to overcome was the only force moving history.

Contemporary liberal democracy is essentially founded on the Nietzschean concept of the striving will, though can somewhat be in tension between the both of them. Without a transcendent order providing a standard to which we can hold Liberal ideals (diversity, inaliable rights, etc.), i.e. since the dropping of protestant moral values from political reason, contemporary liberalism is essentially nihilistic. Where do you place yourself in the question of Hegel and Nietzsche? (Note, although American and Canadian Conservatives/Republicans label themselves as conservative, they are, in fact, politically liberal)

The Lounge / Spanish??
« on: August 27, 2009, 10:33:17 AM »
yoyo homos, anyone here speak Spanish??? I need a really short lyric translated better than an automated online one can. Your reward is the satisfaction that your bi/multilingualism is being put towards a good cause...or at least a cause of some kind.

The Lounge / Wow, that was insane...
« on: February 21, 2009, 07:57:56 AM »
Jesus, so last night my best friend from home came up and brought a bunch of shrooms. We did like, 4.5 gs each and had the most fucked up night ever. This morning our toilet is over flowing and the place is a mess. My one friend moved into our spare room and spend the night tripping out/freaking out by the cat food. I can't be sure, but I think he was eating it.

The Lounge / Exclusive: Found video of KingMan
« on: February 20, 2009, 08:07:58 PM »

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Someone figure this out...
« on: January 18, 2009, 06:24:42 AM »
If anyone can explain this piece to me, you win 3 internets and become the new token Philosopher of FES. I have to present this in a seminar tomorrow afternoon, but I just can't fuckin' understand it. It's Hegel, and is concerning the relation between Master and Servant, but I can't get past the introductory metaphysics. Maybe I'm just missing one simple point, but the meaning of all this is escaping me.

Here it is: Hegel, from Phenomenology of Spirit.

Independence and Dependence of Self-Consciousness. Lordship and Bondage.

The Lounge / Canada Time
« on: January 05, 2009, 04:52:30 PM »
Anyone else watching the World Junior gold medal game? I'm not huge on Canadian nationalism anymore, but you can't help but feeling patriotic when we play hockey. I guess it's because it's the only respected thing we're really good at. Regardless, this topic will be for discussion about the game, and afterward general Canada talk.

No anti-Canada trolling unless you're not being a douche-tard about it.

The Lounge / Metal anyone?
« on: December 23, 2008, 07:24:01 PM »
I doubt it, but does anyone here listen to metal or any variations on metal? If so, discuss here. Oh, and one rule, no pretention (i.e. that's not teh metalz!!! METALLICA 4 LIFE).

I just bought the Between the Buried and Me Colors DVD today and am watching it now. It came with a demo of two songs by a band called "A Hero A Fake" which blew me away.

The Lounge / Really trippy but good music
« on: December 22, 2008, 06:55:06 PM »
If you have headphones, put on the track "Krusty's not so fun house" and crank it....well, crank it either way and enjoy. My best friend from back home made it and described it as "lite electronoise bitpop...or something."

The Lounge / I'm moving
« on: June 23, 2008, 08:33:01 PM »
" class="bbc_link" target="_blank">

I would consider enacting my dual citizenship, and moving to the US just to vote for this man. It's just so damn refreshing to see a prominent American leader talk like a rational human being. Could be an old vid, but I just watched it.

29 An evolutionary biologist has conducted a 20 year bacteria evolutionary expeiment, in which evidence of major cell function evolution has been revealed.

   Read the article for more detail, it's pretty incredible. The conclusion seems to be that major changes in later generations may require many random mutations in sequence to allow for a radical mutation.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Isn't Atheism just a leap of faith?
« on: June 10, 2008, 06:08:01 AM » Here's a wicked video of a response to the claim that atheism is a leap of faith, on par with the theistic leap.

    I love the ending; it seems like the caller realizes his error in logic, refuses to give up his faith, and lashes out angrily at himself for his epiphanic realization.
" class="bbc_link" target="_blank">

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