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    Mudlark @mudlark


    Moving the discussi0n of Halloween here, since it doesn’t have much to do with music beyond the Strictly Come Dancing connection.

    Halloween, the eve of the Christian festival of All Saints/All Souls/All Hallows, has long been marked in many parts of Western Europe, and emigrants from there took it with them to the US where the associated customs developed in their own way, to be exported eventually back to the places of origin. I guess that the idea of ‘Trick or Treat’ originated with Mischief Night, moved back to a date which made more sense in the context and evolving into a more domesticated form.

    Halloween itself seems to have been one of many pre Christian seasonal festivals which were co-opted into the Western Church calendar in adapted form.  The date of the festival of All Saints was, I think, actually moved in the 9th century CE  to coincide with Samhain and its equivalents. Samhain, in Ireland and Gaelic speaking Scotland, and probably also in pre-Roman Britain and Gaul, was a late autumn festival marking a significant point in the turn of the year and the farming cycle; a liminal time in which it was believed the spirits of the dead and of the unseen supernatural world could cross into the world of the living. In Mexico a similar festival among the indigenous people was adopted and adapted as the Day of the Dead.

    So no, it is a tradition far older than the USA, even if the associated customs vary.


    idiotsavon @idiotsavon

    Thanks @lisa for your comments. No big response from me just now. I’m mulljng it all over though.

    @craig Basically everything you said I agree with. (Except Scottish Independence. If that happens I’ll never see anything but a Tory majority again in my lifetime. Please think it through!) But it’s really refreshing and kind of nice to get an alternative take from people patient enough to explain where they’re coming from. In my own family we can go about 15 mins before everyone climbs onto their high horse and starts repeating stuff loudly.

    @bluesqueakpip It’s an interesting point that we may be using the same word to talk about two different things. I’m still mulling that one over…

    I looked up Charles de Gaulle’s veto speech to try and get a grasp of what you were saying, and it was quite illuminating. I need things to be pretty concrete in order to feel confident I’ve really understood and not just wrongly interpreted what I’ve heard/read – and de Gaulle gave many concrete reasons why the UK’s economic activities rendered it incompatible with the Common Market at that time. So that was really interesting and helpful.

    I think I can agree with you to a large extent about European expansion (Hungary springs to mind more readily than the Greece/euro debacle) and it’s interesting that de Gaulle was wary of it. However, reading his speech, it seems he did envisage the Common Market growing and transforming – he just didn’t believe it was the right time. So on that basis, do you think there’s merit in the argument that the Common Market *did* grow ; *did* transform, and that Europe and the UK (and indeed the world) have changed so much since 1963 that de Gaulle’s reasoning no longer applies?

    Maybe I need to think a bit more to make the link between CDG’s speech and what you said about this other kind of sovereignty. But I’m not seeing it right now. At the moment “sovereignty” in the Leave sense feels kind of ethereal.

    There’s a bit in the De Gaulle speech that feels so relevant to the whole Brexit debate, and the passion on both sides, it’s almost as if no time had passed. I can’t resist the urge to quote it…

    “In this very great affair of the European Economic Community… it is the facts that must first be considered. Feelings, favourable though they might be and are, these feelings cannot be invoked against the real facts of the problem. What are these facts?”


    idiotsavon @idiotsavon

    Just to point out I wrote that at 8-ish then got distracted. I missed what followed.

    Craig @craig

    @idiotsavon Thanks. But it’s actually a myth that Scottish votes swing it for Labour. As I said, there are so few Scottish MPs that it doesn’t matter how we vote in Scotland. All that matters is how England votes.

    I can give you charts if you want. 🙂

    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    OK, I’ve been deliberately staying the hell away from Brexit (one of the advantages of no longer being a hack is that I don’t have to engage with this stuff every day).


    That’s a pretty fair assessment and I pretty much stand with you on this. (Although I am one of those annoying gits who also has Irish citizenship so will avoid most of the visa hell at least.)


    Where to begin…

    I wonder if Scotland will still get free University if they leave the UK

    Bearing in mind that Scotland gives more to Whitehall than it gets back, I’d say that tuition fees will be fine. Also if they left the UK, Holyrood would also have far more freedom on how the block grant was actually spent and this could have a positive effect on spending for the NHS, education etc. (And given your love for small Government, care to explain why Scotland staying in the UK union and being governed by people they emphatically didn’t vote for at Westminster is somehow preferable to the EU?)

    Scottish fishing industry feel about Brexit?

    Well, historically they’ve obviously resented EU quotas but as they’ve recently found that Westminster are intent on bartering their fishing rights to the highest bidder and without the protections that the EU offered, there’s been a considerable political shift in that opinion over the last year or so. Ditto agriculture.

    If the EU continues to insist on a hard border then any issue with the IRA will be on them!

    Sorry but that’s just gobsmacking in its blase ignorance. Let’s leave aside the threat of bombing that people in the UK used to live under, or the suspicion, prejudice, and outright miscarriages of justice visited upon the Irish by the British state throughout the Troubles (a euphemism I hate. Let’s just call it what it was, shall we? A civil war), let’s look at the general improvement on both sides of the Border in the 20-odd years since the GFA. Ireland, with a few ropey years, has largely boomed and even Ulster has seen a dramatic improvement in its lot — much of it thanks to EU regeneration subsidy.

    The reinstatement of a hard border is nothing to do with the EU and their approach has been very far from scaremongering. They didn’t ask for any of this but seem to me be just trying to protect the people who will still be within their union, as they should be. It’s down to the UK to show how a border is going to work and they haven’t a clue — and they’ve shown every sign that they’ll throw the people of Ulster under a bus if it comes to it. But it’s one thing to be so cavalier about trading relationships, it’s quite another to essentially potentially restart a civil war for no apparent, easily definable, reason.)

    It’s not for the EU — or Remainers — to define the reasons for keeping the status quo. It was up to the Brexiters to give solid reasons (beyond ‘sunlit uplands’ and mystical trade deals) for wanting to make that change. They haven’t. And misinformed and dangerous handwaving and shifting of blame is really not helpful, especially at this critical juncture.

    idiotsavon @idiotsavon

    @craig Really?? I’ve been hearing that one so long I never thought to check. Surely a combination of Scottish Labour and SNP put a nice spanner in the works though?

    Craig @craig

    @jimthefish I haven’t yet read everything but I hate you already. 🙂

    My family (on my mother’s side) is from Ireland and I looked into getting an Irish passport. But it was too many generations ago. You lucky beggar.

    Craig @craig

    @idiotsavon Scottish Labour hates the SNP – so much so that in many Scottish councils they have done deals with the Conservatives to keep the SNP out of power.

    I’m not even joking. You couldn’t make it up!

    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord


    Yes, I’m afraid the animosity between Slab and the SNP (which seems kind of one-sided actually) is incredibly vicious and unlikely to go anywhere soon.


    Yes, sorry about that. I was actually quite dismayed to find that I’m not half as Scottish as I always previously assumed.

    Craig @craig

    @jimthefish I’ll let you off, you non-Scottish person!

    idiotsavon @idiotsavon

    @craig @jimthefish Blimey. That’s absolutely crazy.

    I don’t even know where I got my wrong opinions from. Sorry.


    lisa @lisa


    Scotland did have that independence proposition?  The bartering situation is ridiculous!

    However on 1 hand I can understand how the UK would want to make the most of their fishing/

    agricultural resources but I also agree they have to protect them too. My understanding about the

    hard Irish border has to do with the customs union.  We have  between Canada and the States

    an electronic scanning system that deals with all of that sort of  trade thing.  I’m sure both sides know

    about this system.  This situation shouldn’t even be a situation but from what I’ve read its the EU

    that keeps saying that the solutions coming from the UK are unacceptable.   I think they’re throwing

    up unfortunate road blocks over this.

    Finally I’ll say this.    I cant see how your parliament will unite to get this vote thru.

    Maybe you all need to take a deep  breath and prepare for that no Brexit and  those WTO rules?




    @craig @jimthefish

    Fun fact: EU subsidies make up the entire profit margin of British agriculture.

    Also: at any one time the UK has on hand between 4 and 7 days food.

    Also (also): we do not have the customs infrastructure to deal with things (at the Tunnel there is literally nowhere to build a customs post).

    So (so (so)): the only solution will be to waive the rules, massively increasing the scope for fraud by people who are already fabulously wealthy. Look forward to a generation of British oligarchs. You know, like those nice defintitely-not-gangsters Russian ones.




    We can’t. The WTO has already ruled it out.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    So on that basis, do you think there’s merit in the argument that the Common Market *did* grow ; *did* transform, and that Europe and the UK (and indeed the world) have changed so much since 1963 that de Gaulle’s reasoning no longer applies?

    I think de Gaulle’s reasoning still applies. Yes, the ‘maritime’ has changed, but the ‘exchanges’ (read finance) is still global. The economy is now more ‘services’ than ‘industry’, but it still isn’t very like a lot of Continental Europe. The habits and traditions are still quite distinct, and there is still that rather ‘centre of the universe’ feeling that you get on an island.

    Essentially, if there are going to be strains and stresses in the EU, you’re probably going to see them first of all in the countries that are not ‘keeping pace’ – that have to make quite large changes to be able to converge with the rest of the EU. I don’t think historians in the future are going to see Brexit as an unexpected shock – there are fairly clear long term causes – though they might well speculate on what would have happened if the vote had been the other way.

    If we’d had a referendum back in 2006 about approving the proposed EU Constitution, we might not be Brexiting now – because I think that would have vented a lot of the strains and stresses. Opinion polls were consistently reporting that over 50% of UK voters did NOT want an EU constitution. Maybe there’d have been more of a discussion about what type of European union the people who live in Europe want, rather than the type of European Union that the ‘movers and shakers’ wanted.

    Or maybe not, because France and the Netherlands did get to reject the proposed Constitution – and instead of taking that as ‘please slow down’, the choice was to go forward with the Treaty of Lisbon. Since Treaties are Royal Prerogative, that meant that a referendum wasn’t required.

    lisa @lisa


    Where did you read that? Your a full member of the World Trade Organization!

    There will surely be some steps you need to go thru.  I very much doubt its been ruled out

    when the UK has already been making a special budget to do this and  it’s not up to the WTO

    whether or not to ‘rule out’ the  UK.  Rather its up to all the other countries to accept trading

    with the UK.  I very much doubt that most of Europe wont want to.  It will effect them as much as it

    effects you!  BRW, the UK is already trading with lots of countries outside of the EU under WTO


    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    Also: at any one time the UK has on hand between 4 and 7 days food.

    Yeah, that’s because pretty well every first world country only has between three and seven days food in its warehouses. We’re not going to be eating rats, you know, if we had to fall back on our own food production. We would be willing to kill for a banana if, for some mysterious reason, we had to become completely self-sufficient – but they don’t come from the EU anyway.

    Broccoli would be in short supply. Meat – we produce about 80% of our own meat. We’d probably get really sick of potatoes. We are totally self-sufficient in potatoes. 🙂

    If you want a fun article about our lack of self-sufficiency, as opposed to a fun fact, it’s here

    Mudlark @mudlark

    @bluesqueakpip  – and others

    No doubt I will regret diving into this debate, and there is a small and not at all admirable part of me which whispers, ‘Why not just sit back and let things fall as they may? I probably won’t be around long enough to reap the worst of the whirlwind.’

    Few, even among the most fervid of remainers, would argue that the EU is not a flawed institution, but nothing in all the myriad words and heated arguments I have seen since the referendum  has convinced me that we would be better off outside it.  Within it the UK has in many ways been in a privileged position, as for the example in the matter of the rebate and being able to opt out of the eurozone and the Schengen agreement. As a member we have, in my opinion, had far more clout politically and economically than we could ever have outside it in the world as it is today, and whether we have used that influence for good or ill so far has been up to us and our government. In economic terms alone, membership of the EU has brought valuable investment in industry and infrastructure after years of decline as a result of mismanagement and resistance to change and innovation, culminating in the ravages wrought by the Thatcher government, which barely took into account the needs of the communities affected.

    As for regaining sovereignty, in or out of the EU we never lost it.  It was bitterly ironic (in the looser sense of that adjective) that, when the Supreme Court ruled that parliament had the right to have the final say on any Brexit deal with the EU, newspapers such as The Daily Mail and the Express, whose editorial line had always been Europhobic and strident in proclaiming the need to ‘reclaim sovereignty’, produced screeching headlines accusing the court of being  ‘Enemies of the People’. But the ruling was correct, since sovereignty has been vested in parliament ever since James II was kicked out in 1688 and still is, whatever the recently assumed presidential pretensions of Prime Ministers and their governments.

    The question of EU regulations, which has got some people’s knickers in a twist, has been muddied by years of nonsense and misleading or downright lying reports in the anti EU press. Boris Johnson, for example, has cheerfully admitted that when he was Brussels correspondent for the Telegraph he made up stories out of the whole cloth on that score, and he had previously been sacked from The Times for his ‘inventive’ approach to reporting.

    There will inevitably be some people who find regulations governing the environment or standards in manufacturing industry or food inconvenient, but on balance it is has been for the general good and the wider the range of agreed standards the better. With regard to food standards in particular, even if the details may sometimes seem pernickety, it is surely better that members within a trading bloc and trading partners outside it understand exactly what is in the foodstuffs being traded and how they have been produced. This didn’t even originate with the EU. Ten years before the UK joined the EEC there was the WHO Codex Alimentarius, the index of internationally agreed food standards. My father was on the committee concerned with standards in the chocolate confectionary industry and, whilst sometimes exasperated by the tedious wrangling involved he was, when the time came, fully in support of the ideals of what became the EU.

    For better or worse, and independent of the EU, economic globalism is a fact of the modern world and, in or out of the EU, the UK or its constituent nations will have to deal with it. National isolationism on the other hand threatens to lead back into a very dark past. As I see it, the only people who really stand to gain from Brexit are those leaders of the ‘leave’ contingent who see it as an opportunity to bring about a low regulation, low tax, dog-eat-dog free-for-all from which they can profit.

    As for the future of the UK, my first thought on reading the headlines the morning after the referendum was, ‘That’s it then and the UK is fucked; Scotland will have yet another good reason to leave the Union and will if it possibly can; and it’s back to square one with Northern Ireland and the Good Friday agreement.  I’m English but have lived in both Edinburgh and Belfast, and I have no words 🙁






    Except that we won’t be able to gather our crops, because the southern and east European labourers who do it won’t be here.

    And every other country will still be part of the trade agreements that we have just ejected ourselves from.

    “Self-sufficient” does not mean what you think it means.

    idiotsavon @idiotsavon

    Oh, I’m so slow at this. I formulated some thoughts in my mind that applied more than two hours ago, and now I sit down to write and there’s loads more to read. And it’s bedtime!

    I do really want to respond to @thane16 just to say I really appreciated your comment, and I’m really glad to know this discussion has sparked an interest for you. I’m reminded of a comment you made recently where you said that, like the Doctor, you’re “still cooking,” or something, Great self awareness, perhaps. But that in no way makes your opinions and feelings less valid than mine. And I for one would be really interested to hear your take on matters, if at any point you feel like joining in.

    And @mudlark I found your last post really beautiful to read. So thank you.



    lisa @lisa

    @jimthefish  and all following this topic

    So I decided to do some light reading tonight about the IRA point.   🙂

    I came across this piece

    hope this pastes cause I had a bit of trouble with this one

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave


    Puro, I know we both love the music of “Where Eagles Dare” (the greatest opening title music  ever?) so I had to tell you about a new book called “Broadsword calling Danny Boy” by Geoff Dyer. It is a short, but wonderful, Penguin title that captures everything that is brilliant about it, including the music.

    Obviously, I should attach the clip.



    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord


    Again, a blase piece that dwells on the text of the GFA but has zero understanding of how that actually affects people on the ground on both sides of a hard border. It’s more useful, I think, to heed the warnings of former NI secretaries on both sides of the political equation, contemporary PMs who actually had to deal with the (boak) ‘Irish question’, still-living architects of the GFA and former heads of British intelligence, all of whom maintain that the existence of a hard border will reignite sectarian violence.

    Trade is not the issue — and fantasyland electronic scanning solutions have already been rejected on the basis that the necessary tech does not yet exist. The Canada/US analogy does not really translate, largely because citizens of Canada and the US do not have a tradition of hooding, knee-capping and car-bombing each other, and as recently as 20-odd years ago. The fear of a few cheap DVD players slipping across Lough Foyle is secondary to the psychological wound that the necessary infrastructure and boots on the ground again in Ireland will reopen.

    And this is the real problem. There’s a lot of blue-sky thinking by people who have no conception of what life on the ground in Ireland was like before the GFA (and by extension in the UK). The EU is not scare-mongering but merely has the advantage of having members of the Irish Government to tell them this stuff. The UK Brexit team has notably kept Ulster, and any other ‘region’ out of negotiations. Probably because of the embarrassing fact of Northern Ireland, never known as a hotbed of leftie liberalism, voted to Remain.

    Also probably not a good idea to make the automatic assumption that a resumption of sectarian violence would be solely down to the IRA. There’ll be plenty of Unionist balaclavas getting dusted down as well.

    @pedant @bluesqueakpip

    The question around feeding ourselves and self-sufficiency is not so much whether we could or not (almost certainly couldn’t) but more what planning has been put in place to make sure that food supplies keep coming into the shops, regardless of where they come from. Personally, I don’t think telling people that they can no longer have broccoli and can only have meat once a week but can make up for it with lots and lots of potatoes is not going to be a vote winner, let alone a recipe for civil harmony. And let’s not get started on there being British Army-run electricity barges off the coast of Northern Ireland to keep the lights on once it loses access to the supplies largely generated south of the Border at the moment.

    syzygy @thane16


    I liked that link on the web site page. I think nekrosys would’ve benefitted too.

    Certainly there’s a difference between sarcasm -the jumpy-man’s wit- and good irony, real wit, burlesque, lampooning and sharpness. I love words!

    And also, music.  @blenkinsopthebrave  Absolutely, Where Eagles Dare is spectacular. We watch it every Christmas (that’s Mr Puro’s choice along with any Frank Capra and for me, The Christmas episodes of Die Hard 🙂 Thank you for writing about the Dyer book. I will most definitely find that as a leedle gift for the Puro Head of The House (because, as you know, I believe in the HOH most sincerely, when I’m trying to be satirical, or lampooning something or even just being very silly indeed!)

    And we all need a good Christmas holiday. It is going to be very hot here with humidity between 75 and 99% in the past 4 weeks. Puro x

    @idiotsavon At last mum and I are in the same time zone. Normally, she’s either here, at home, or in That Other Place. Sometimes, like yesterday, I respond from school (oops).

    I have learned from experts that the  EU is a really good tool for keeping things equal. I’ve also learned that the EU is really annoying and not always successful. But then I hear these same people say: “two things you don’t want to see being made: sausages and laws” as well as “democracy: it’s awful sometimes, but it’s the best of everything there is.”

    I also believe, personally, like a lot of DEMS and Liberals – that is, Liberals to Americans (but here Liberal is right wing. So voters a little bit on the Left are called ‘Labour’) that Big Government is VERY important.

    Small government does not favour the middle income earners, those in marginalised groups in society or the low-income earners. Big Government and discussions around Federalism are best able to provide the best schools, health-care-systems, roads and highways, policing by actual police and Members of Parliament voted in by people who actually care about the politicians they vote in and vice versa.

    Aus people often moan about politicians and some of those don’t know much about how politics works. And they should. I also think politics underscores everything we do. People know that I actually favour politics……over….here it comes… Because family is often run by ‘one’ person or two people. Also, people might say, “my family is SO important. It’s more important than other families” which is problematic.

    I know my grandparents fought for safety and against right-wing governments. I think we said elsewhere that they both won the equivalent of a DSM when they were only 16, during war time and then had to escape. I think that’s another reason why I think knowing things is important, why listening is necessary and that information found on web-sites has to be assessed for its: veracity, independence, context, motive, bias, confirmation bias, usefulness and whether it’s reliable or backed up by evidence. That is why some books (not all) are often better than random links to sites which can be harmful and used by others as a method of supporting their ‘argument’ even though their argument may be specious (?).

    Big Post! T16



    LionHeart564 @lionheart564

    that Big Government is VERY important.

    Small government does not favour the middle income earners, those in marginalised groups in society or the low-income earners. Big Government and discussions around Federalism are best able to provide the best schools, health-care-systems, roads and highways, policing by actual police and Members of Parliament voted in by people who actually care about the politicians they vote in and vice versa.

    Living in a an authoritarianism nation has made me think somewhat poorly of Big government. I think a effective government takes care national defense and law enforcement, the school and health system is funded  by government but operate in competitive market will be the best way to do it, and government provide Universa Basic Income as the only social welfare. I don’t mind tex as long as it is being put into good use. Also it will be nice we can actually vote for our chosen politicians you know like a people’ republic

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @jimthefish then again Capaldi seems immensely Socttish, and his parents are Irish and Italian…

    syzygy @thane16

    So, I’m at the pub wanting a very large drink!

    I have a poor philosophy teacher this term -in my remotely not humble opinion. He can write very well but teaching the concepts? Not exactly. He’s so chilled one of the kids sleeps on the floor and he ignores him. If the entire class are on phones, he ignores them and gets on with things. Except, not.

    Philosophy, huh? 🙂

    Anyone who could spend 5 mins (or even 2) on this question will be most favoured with butter beer:

    Can the existence of God be established using rational argument?

    We choose a ‘can’ or a ‘cannot’ and I’ve chosen: “we cannot establish the existence of God using rational argument.”

    It sounds almost simple but I don’t find it so. The fact I have 6 days makes it more difficult due to sweat and panic.

    The 2nd part involves counter-arguments such as the ontological, the teleological (Intelligent Design -clever prime mover) and cosmological (Aquinas =everything has a beginning and everything has a cause [because there’s an effect]  ). The counter arguments I’m absolutely fine with (but not the first part about ‘establishing.’

    Headache, chocolate, running away fast, sweat…


    syzygy @thane16


    You should never put schooling and healthcare into competitive market places (taxes provide those essentials) because it simply cannot work. Look outside China and into the U.S. Then, look at Australia. Really look.


    Cath Annabel @cathannabel

    Re Brexit.  I hesitate to chip in, not because I don’t have strong views about it, but because the very word fills me with such weariness and foreboding.  There are two parts to this – the first is obviously the simple binary vote (in or out) that took place over two years ago, and which went (fairly narrowly) against what I believe is in the interests of this country and our neighbours.  I would have lived with that, however reluctantly, but the second element is the dishonesty, arrogance and incompetence of those who have been entrusted with delivering ‘the will of the people’.  It was clear that they did not expect the outcome to be Leave, but that doesn’t let them off the hook – any sensible, responsible government would have got some of its best minds together before the Ref to discuss how they would go about things if the vote went that way.  Failing that, immediately after the outcome was known.  But it seems that even now, with very little time remaining before our departure date, they are bumbling along without ever sounding remotely competent or as if they even understand the issues.  No wonder the EU are pushing us – if they weren’t, I doubt that anything at all would be happening.  What the consequences of this dereliction of duty will be, we don’t know.  A hugely messy ‘no deal’ or a bad deal?  What will it mean for trade, for NI, for migration, for staffing in the NHS and other major employers, for EU citizens whose homes are here, and for British citizens whose homes are in Europe?  The will of the people who voted was narrowly to leave, I accept that.  But it didn’t specify what that meant, and who knows what those individuals actually thought it meant.  Many appear to have thought it meant that all foreigners would forthwith disappear from the UK to whence they came.  Some appear to think we can have an Empire again now we are free from the shackles of the EU.  Of course many took a much more nuanced and informed view and voted Leave for reasons other than xenophobia or nostalgia – but it’s very hard to find clear, concrete examples of how we will benefit, as most of the claims made pre-Ref have either been shown to be false or those claiming them have rowed back vigorously.  It’s all still incredibly vague, to say it’s supposed to be happening so soon.  Even if Leave was the right result, even if I’d voted for it, I’d be furious about the arrogance, ignorance and incompetence, and I wouldn’t trust the powers that be to deliver anything resembling the promised land.  I am, as I said, incredibly weary of this, and fearful of the future – more for my children and their children than for anything that will immediately affect us.  It’s more than the fear of another economic crash – it’s about the kind of country we will be living in after we leave.  Because if it’s the country that Farage and Johnson and Rees-Mogg want us to be living in, I’d rather be very much elsewhere…

    syzygy @thane16

    I have to apologise for being Teenager From Lazy-land. It sounded like (whining) “please do my whole assignment” but no, not at all. If anyone has a sentence or two I would be very grateful. And if you do not wish to do that then no worries . I enjoy paying attention at school 🙂

    @cathannabel  on Brexit.

    Mum was saying “its a fraught issue”  – I totally get your weariness. A member of my fam in London said she’s worried about her grandkids future too. It’s as if no-one planned it happening when if there are people wanting it to happen and change people’s minds then it seems like having several plans would help in order to change futures. It’s basic thinking.


    Anonymous @

    @thane16 – I’m not much help with your assignment, but whenever a topic like that comes up, my first instinct (after Basically, run) is to ensure everyone’s got the same definitions for the terms being used.  “God” isn’t usually too difficult, but “rational” is…

    LionHeart564 @lionheart564

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>@thane16</p>
    I believe in public school and hospital but I see without some sort of competition it just to ineffective. So a special market for only the public owned and regulated by government  education companies and health services companies that are accessible for every citizen with Universa Basic Income but still competing with each other

    idiotsavon @idiotsavon

    @thane16 I’m with @kevinwho about definitions. In particular, how are we defining God? Might be worth looking up Spinoza and pantheism. I’m massively oversimplifying but basically if we define God as the universe and everything in it, then you can establish God’s existence by simply pointing at a thing and saying “There you go.”

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @lionheart564 how would publicly owned and regulated education and health service companies be in competition with each other, though? If they’re not profit driven, their main order of business is to do as much as they can do with the available budget.

    idiotsavon @idiotsavon

    @thane16 Thinking about it, and re-reading your post, I’m not sure what you’re being asked to do. Is it a case of exploring the rational arguments both for and against God’s existence? Or is it more a discussion of whether rational argument is even appropriate when you’re dealing with an omnipotent God who, almost by definition, transcends logic?

    I haven’t forgotten about Brexit. Distracted by a toddler though!

    LionHeart564 @lionheart564


    They are profit driven but within limitations set by the government. companies owned by public can be profit driven, look up world 500 and if you see any Chinese company 9 out 10 it is state owned and regulated by government.

    Craig @craig

    @thane16 I only just saw your question. Sorry. This won’t answer your question, but it will educate. One of my favourite talks about science and the existence of God. It’s very entertaining, Neil deGrasse Tyson is a fun watch, so enjoy. And it asks, is our idea of God just a God of the gaps that gets narrower and narrower as we learn more? It’s up to you to decide and make your own mind up.

    But the main point is, it seems to me anyway, that the more we learn and discover, the less a belief in God becomes important or even relevant.

    LionHeart564 @lionheart564


    If you define God as a Omniscient , Omnipotent and Omnibenevolence being like most of Abrahamic Religions then god is a self-contradiction. If it is Omniscient and Omnipotent then it cannot be Omnibenevolence Because There’s are sufferings which God can know it will happen, has the power to stop it before it happen and yet God didn’t stop it. That’s the Problem of Evil. If God is Omnibenevolence than cannot be Omniscient and Omnipotent because God either can’t know when, where and how sufferings will happen or just don’t have the power to stop it.

    If God isn’t Omniscient and Omnipotent,than what is the essentials make God God? What is the essential difference between God and A very powerful alien being like superman , the doctor or a very advanced future human?

    If God is Omnibenevolence , Omniscient and Omnipotent, Then why it causes all the sufferings which ain’t caused by human’s free will?So God must be Evil therefore It cannot be Omnibenevolence than what different God from Devil or that are just the some thing? If God is Evil why should we worship it as God?

    If God is Omniscient and Omnipotent and it want our worship, then why God dose not  just make us worship it?

    So existence of Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnibenevolence God cannot be established using rational argument because it self-contradict with it’s own state essentials.

    Intelligent Design

    If life is Intelligent design then we are batter designers then said Intelligent, one good design clockwork can work longer then any life form,a human designed car can move faster than any life form and many other things that human designed works better than life itself in comparison and future human design has the potential to surpass life in every aspect.So if said Intelligent is God it surely isn’t Omniscient by any means.

    cosmological (Aquinas =everything has a beginning and everything has a cause [because there’s an effect]  )

    The First Cause can be anything, I can say it is a teapot and it still fits cosmological argument because it only argued for existence of The First Cause but not existence of God. If you apply Occam’s razor then The First Cause is the Big Bang end of story.


    LionHeart564 @lionheart564


    If you define God as the Creator of Allthing and Everthing then God is a infinite loop because

    cosmological (Aquinas =everything has a beginning and everything has a cause [because there’s an effect]  )

    The First Cause must be the effect of itself


    Intelligent Design

    God must be it’s own design

    so God need to create itself before God exist,so God must create God over and over and over and over and over to infinite times.

    So existence of Creator God cannot be established using rational argument because it is a paradox

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    You need an argument that leads to your conclusion.
    Okay, so your argument is that you cannot establish the existence of God using rational argument

    The important thing is to define ‘establish’ – I’d guess that your teacher intends ‘Show (something) to be true or certain by determining the facts’ (OED). In everyday English, you’ve picked ‘you can’t prove that God exists by using rational arguments.’

    It would be perfectly valid in most philosophy of religion courses to discuss the point that Reason is only one means of proving the existence of God – and if most religions (as they do) rely on Revelation and Experience, that certainly suggests that Reason is, in itself, going to be insufficient proof. It’s also perfectly valid to say that none of these arguments can stand alone: all of them really need supporting by other evidence.

    Okay: the arguments you are trying to knock down are the Ontological. The big counter argument to the Ontological would be Kant – his argument was that ‘existence’ isn’t a predicate. If we say that dragons don’t exist, we aren’t saying that there are non-existent dragons in some other dimensions – we are saying that there’s no such things as dragons. A predicate, according to Kant, must be a genuine property. You should also bring in Bertrand Russell, because he discusses this as well. (admittedly, I find Russell’s argument a bit on the circular side, but still).

    Then look up Gottfried Frege, because he has some nice things to say about first order predicates (a thing’s nature) and second order predicates (a concept about a thing) and whether ‘existence’ is first or second order. There’s also Brian Davies, who discusses the use of ‘is’ and the way we use it to define – A Time Lord is a noble Gallifrayan – and to explain that something exists – There really is a Gallifreyan race in our universe.

    You can see that the first use of ‘is’ defines something alright – but it’s defining something imaginary. It’s only the second usage (which isn’t defining anything) that claims Gallifreyans exist. So how can you argue from a definition – we can define God – to proof of existence?

    On the arguments for God’s existence, make sure you use Alvin Plantinga, and Norman Malcolm.

    Teleological: Kant (again). If there is order in the universe, how do we know that that apparent order isn’t a function of our own minds?
    David Hume and John Stuart Mill: generally, even if we prove that the universe was designed, it doesn’t prove that it was, say, a omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent god. Both argue that the existence of evil is evidence against this. Hume also suggests that since we have rather limited experience of the universe, how do we know only one God designed it – you might want to drag in the Big Bang at this point. Things have moved on since Hume. 🙂

    The various Darwinian arguments are also popular, as the neo-darwinian suggestion is that evolution does the ‘design’ work.

    The pro teleological arguments come from Aquinas (of course), Paley, Swinburne. F.R. Tennant’s Anthropic Principle – the mathematical chance of conditions existing for life is miniscule. He also uses the Aesthetic argument – if natural selection explains everything, what ‘purpose’ does our appreciation of art, music, or Doctor Who serve? 🙂

    Cosmological: Hume again. Why does the universe have to have a beginning (again, Big Bang. How do we know that was the real start?). Even if it did, why does it need a cause?
    Again, Russell also uses this argument: just because everything we can see has a cause, it doesn’t mean that the universe can’t just have always been there.

    The Steady-State theory is generally rejected nowadays, but you could certainly bring it in, as it relates to Russell and Hume.

    Kant: we’re arguing outside our experience. God, if He exists, is outside our space-time experience, so we can’t know what God created. Supported by the idea that we have no idea, what, if anything, existed before the Big Bang. Well, unless you watch The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit.

    Hope this is helpful. I’ve mostly tried to give suggestions rather than doing your homework for you



    The short answer is no, because reason and faith deal with entirely different things. This is despite the fact that many of the earliest profound insights for what we now call science (which is reason’s greatest achievement) were made in monasteries. But to William of Occam, the existence of God was not an assumption. His razor is still a damned handy tool though.

    The slightly more succinct answer is that your teacher is an idiot who came up with what sounds like a clever question, but is mere wordplay not even attaining the patina of sophistry. But you know that already, and if you don’t your mum sure as hell does.

    As a guiding principle (and as I imagine you realise), rational argument requires a minimum of two things:

    • A valid chain of logic in which each link is sound;
    • A sound premise.

    If any link or the premise is unsound, the entire argument falls.

    You could make an argument that the question, as posited, cannot meaningfully be answered because it is impossible to come up with a sound premise that does not (one way or the other) assume its own conclusion (ie which begs the question).

    You could then bullshit for as many pages as you need about what form a better and more meaningful question might take. That is, after all, 99.99recurring percent of philosophy. So you might as well follow @bluesqueakpip‘s leads, even if she thinks that evolutionists believe in design (they don’t) and that physicist are unaware of the possibility of something prior to Big Bang (they aren’t, and are quite comfortable with the idea that there might be). Chuck a bit of Popper in for good measure. He’s always good for stirring up the wishy-washy liberals.

    LionHeart564 @lionheart564


    I will argue that existence of God as a philosophical question can be only dealt with Reasoning.Faith is a personal experience and self-assurance therefore it’s isn’t universal, so it cannot be used as argument . A Christian’s faith is meaningless to a atheist who never had any religion beliefs. God as concept isn’t trademarked by religion believers.

    syzygy @thane16


    I appreciate your suggestions! Thank you. I’m not sure you can use paradox fallacies in philosophy. Premises and predicates as well as ontological, teleological or Aquinas’ cosmological arguments counter the argument. And are used as expressions of the arguments. Annoyingly, philosophy essays have a very specific method of argument also using Logic (capital L)  -and the other proponents mentioned above.  BUt thank you so very much. BIG thanks.

    @bluesqueakpip So, just getting back to dragons. And thank you -most helpful. Absolutely did I not wish for people to write my entire script. I would never do this or expect this. After all, what would I learn? Very little…


    If we say that dragons don’t exist, we aren’t saying that there are non-existent dragons in some other dimensions – we are saying that there’s no such things as dragons.

    If we say god doesn’t exist we aren’t saying that there are non-existent gods in some other dimensions. We are saying there are no gods, no nirvana, no such things as a god…

    But the question states: “we cannot say, establish or know that God, or nirvana, the Great Emptiness or all god(s) exists using rational argument.

    We are not saying: “God exists if we use other methods of decision-making (love, babies, sunsets, personal preference, cherry picking from scriptures) ….are we?

    We can use those arguments for god’s existence in the counter argument but yes, the principals you’ve listed as first argument -or strongest arguments – make sense to me. Sort of. I have about 1200 words which is actually a lot. And the counter arguments will take up most of the presentation.

    So much appreciated



    syzygy @thane16


    I didn’t even SEE your post! I’m sorry, thank you, that was awesome! Love Dr Neil.


    Good question! It is: Can God’s existence be established by rational argument?

    We chose. I chose this: God’s existence cannot be established using, or by, rational argument.  You have a toddler. Say no more!

    It’s very very tricky. We cannot use a paradox fallacy. But there’s no reason as @lionheart564 says that we can’t argue that if God is the first beginning, and there is no ‘other’ beginning’ then the very reason we use to establish cause and effect and something being ‘moved’ by another can’t continue to be used because the ‘mover’ has to be the ‘move -ee’ at some point which only suggests that ‘yes, there’s a beginning’ but also ‘that particular beginning was also an end of the thing (or universe, or God) that came before it.’

    So it is paradoxical, in a way, but as @pedant said: there must be 2 things:

    • sound argument across every ‘link’ in the chain of the argument, but also
    • the question must emerge from a sound premise in the 1st place.

    Therefore, you could say: Logical analysis can’t be used to prove His existence. Because we use sound analysis for everything else (and we do…some might say, “oh no, we don’t. Look at love. It’s illogical or babies -look how mothers coo at their infants” when all of those things can be proven nowadays to the extent that ‘love’ isn’t what people necessarily think it is) we must use reason to find for God’s existence and because we can’t, we therefore can’t. I’m at that point: Reason can’t be used to find for God’s existence. We might use other things but then again, you see, that is not the way the question is phrased.

    I believe the problem is IN the question, more than anything else and I suspect when I meet one of the mates in class at the gym, I’m pretty sure he’s going to suggest the teacher re-phrase it. This guy’s pretty amazing. The teacher seems to listen to him.

    A very odd state of affairs mum said. She’s right.


    syzygy @thane16

    Also, if we use Plato at all: and why the teacher gave us a handout on Plato and Aristotle I do not know because, as @bluesqueakpip has said it’s Russell and Aquinas, Plantinga and Frege which are most useful. Plato’s forms and the perfection of the ultimate ‘thing’ are all well and good -these are ways that point to some perfect idea that started the more perfect Form of the pizza, horse, bunny rabbit, time lord. But none of those ‘methods’ or ideas about Perfect Form are in any way “rational.” Neither do they rely on Argument as Hume, Locke and Kant would have us understand.

    The teacher is most displeasing to me: unfortunately we’ve moved on from Plato and into Kant etc…and yet this was his only form of assistance.


    I have learned more here, and from Gym Guy! Thank you. Sometimes talking aloud helps. Reading all this aloud helps too. So again, thank you!

    syzygy @thane16


    how would publicly owned and regulated education and health service companies be in competition with each other, though? If they’re not profit driven, their main order of business is to do as much as they can do with the available budget.

    I believe that’s quite sensible @lionheart564  ?

    I really think that you can NEVER expect profit driven companies to produce a service to people. If it’s about profit we know it can never serve FIRST. And service should be first. See, I don’t believe in a society bowing to the Great God Market? People do it all the time.

    I believe in society, first, second and third. I’m also a virtual- socialist -and so is Puro so it’s hard to say that somehow our taxes shouldn’t pay for the very issues we use to determine the signs and signals of our best selves, the very things that move our civilisation.

    Our society should respect the elements which build the space in which we all live, all equally. Profit driven schooling causes nothing but inequality and regression. Our own societies are worthless if we do not care -or help those -who, by design or accident, are hurt, suffering, lonely, illiterate or perhaps unskilled in some way.

    Education is one way to help people to care for those who feel they cannot, anymore, care for themselves. That is why we have -or should have -excellent welfare for everyone who needs it. It’s not impossible. Everybody, by and large, wants to work. They want to produce for their group or family or loved ones or simply to produce for those they’ve never seen but still need the things the former can produce. Certainly they should be remunerated properly. And obviously there are some people (although I’ve never met any) who want to get something out of the system without putting anything in.

    And that is something that be halted through education: of the BEST kind. I’m not speaking of Communist Re-education. No way. That’s something that my grandpa fought against all his life and  before that against fascism. God knows what he’d say about the horrible alt-right rubbish in the States made by people so low, so stupid, so historically underqualified to tell anyone anything, that it “beggars belief.” I have to admit to not knowing that phrase but my dad uses it a lot! I wanted to go and live in America but I don’t now. Not for another 7 years at least. Mum lived there for awhile, but on the East Coast and up North which she said was “rarified” which is like ‘high air’ and I actually don’t know what that means.

    Also, I am avoiding the assignment…..


    idiotsavon @idiotsavon

    This issue has caused serious tensions and rifts in my own family, and maybe for that reason, I feel the need to put my soapbox away and at least try to understand and respect the Leave argument, and to find points of agreement. That’s hard within my family at the moment, because – well, families. So I’m very appreciative of the explanations given by @lisa and @bluesqueakpip, and their willingness to debate kindly, without antagonism.

    Sooo… sovereignty. Point by point.

    Different histories when it comes to the formation of nations. Agreed and understood. I think.
    Different legal systems. My immediate thought is “common law vs civil/Roman” law. Am I thinking along the right lines here?
    Economics is on a rather different basis aswell. Economics not my strong point. Are we talking about the kind of business we do and who we do it with? Or government economic/monetary/fiscal policy? Or something else?
    Being born free vs. being allowed freedoms. I don’t understand how or why that’s the case, but I’ve heard it said before and I take that point.

    I’m really struggling here, because desperately want concrete examples – something I can put my finger on and say “There. That’s something that happened that demonstrates why the UK isn’t sovereign while it’s in the EU.”

    While reading around what you said, I stumbled across Chris Bickerton and because there was a lot of concrete stuff in there, so I was drawn to it. So here’s my attempt to understand and find points of agreement with the “sovereignty” argument, via Bickerton.

    With EU membership comes an inevitable shift in authority toward the Cabinet and away from the Commons. MPs are disenfranchised because any policy/legislation decided on a European level is agreed in Brussels by the relevant cabinet minister, and merely brought back to Parliament for rubber-stamping.
    Now, my instinctive response to this is “Good.” Because so often, EU directives and regs concern such pressing issues as what information to include on a packet of baby milk, or how much deterioration is acceptable on a banana skin. I’m very happy that this kind of thing is being decided centrally in Brussels and not taking up time and money in Westminster. It makes sense to me.
    But then, there are the more controversial regulations, such as opening public services up to the market. I understand, of course, that “open up to the market” does not mean “relinquish any and all state ownership and involvement forever” and that for at least 20 years successive UK governments have been quite happily mortgaging off public assets not because of Europe, but because they wanted to.
    BUT in principle, I’m not sure I’m comfortable with the fact that a cabinet minister can swan off to Brussels and come back with a policy package that fundamentally affects our government’s right, and the right of future governments, to open or restrict market access to the public sector in whatever way they (and more importantly their electorate) see fit.

    Us ordinary people are still empowered. We can and do petition parliament, write to our MPs and get things done, and laws made or changed. That grassroots, ground-up mechanism for change is still alive and well. BUT it’s not as healthy as it could/should be, because our cabinet ministers are looking in a different direction, toward Brussels. Their time and attention is taken up by the EU and to some extent, their authority is derived from their position on the Council of Ministers, and so no longer flows from their democratic mandate.

    Another thing Bickerton mentions, which was news to me, is that the Syriza/EU negotiations went badly for Syriza because of what he calls a “failure of etiquette” on the part of Yanis Varoufakis. Basically, to paraphrase in my own crude terms (and no doubt get it wrong in the process,) the normal etiquette would be to sit around the table and behave like a group of like-minded colleagues working together objectively to solve a problem. Varoufakis, on the other hand, saw it as his duty above all to represent the will of the Greek people. Therefore, from the outset, he assumed an attitude of conflict, making demands and doing battle. And the response was, effectively, “That’s not the way we do things here.”
    What does that mean for the UK? I suppose it means we have to accept that when our executive sit on the Council, they do so not as tenacious defenders of the national interest, giving voice to the will of the people, but merely as equal council members, setting nationalism aside in the spirit of cooperation.
    That’s not a bad thing. There is a lot wisdom in it, I think. However, it seems to me that it is in direct opposition to the democratic notion that politicians have a duty to represent and advocate for their electorate. And that’s a problem.

    So @bluesqueakpip, @lisa Am I even a fraction of the way toward understanding where you are coming from on any of this?


    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @lionheart564 when a company is profit driven it will tend to start to prioritise profits. The NHS, struggling with budgets, will extensively treat elderly people suffering from cancer as well as other medical conditions, spend a lot of money on treatment for people who don’t, for other reasons, have much time left.

    I also fear that a company motivated by profit would find people like my boyfriend an utter drain on the system. Giving someone spinal surgery when they already suffer from chronic pain from other conditions, prescribing a very expensive list of medication long term. I have concerned about the quality of care such people would receive if you introduce market forces to the equation.

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @thane16 I’ve recommended this book to someone else on here, but do see if you get can hold of David Graeber’s ‘Debt: the first 5,000 years’. It’s not objective (no book is in my opinion) but throughly researched and well argued, and very interesting on this history of the idea of ‘The Great God Market’ (and why this is such a good way of putting it) and how many economic theories are at complete variance with the experience of anthropologists.

    syzygy @thane16

    just look at this place @craig! I’m getting a bit weepy. See how people here are explaining things, answering questions, helping others and with absolutely no remuneration to each personally but because talking helps society they talk, and explain, and if one says, “hang on?” another pops in to offer an opinion -a really well-educated thought out opinion.

    So @idiotsavon you absolutely need to write a book about issues with the EU and Brexit. You have a particular way with words that helps me (someone who doesn’t cope with economics)  understand .

    @miapatrick. Exactly, that’s the Social Conscience Question. How far do we go to keep people going? When we look at an individual as a person we can say “we go all the way. We don’t ever stop.” Or: We never give in and never give up.

    Earlier this year, Mum said this and I wrote it and kept it (phew) @bluesqueakpip “Kant was undeniably one of the most intellectually gifted philosophers operating at a time where a intellectual crisis of deep perplexity was occurring. On one hand he had the claim of science to a genuine knowledge of the world and on the other the claim philosophy had on how experience in no way could give rise to knowledge.”

    Then, & I recall this bit from what she said: Kant, like Hume said that if the mind only derived things from the senses and if complex ideas like god came from sensory impressions then anything at all concerning the universe or its nature (definition needed of ‘nature’) that went beyond experience and became speculation was unfounded.  Experience did not produce knowledge. Or, as @pedant might say “anecdote isn’t in itself a truth” -and I might have that totally wrong.  🙂


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