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  1. The logic of Athiests

    That's a bit of a generalization, I'm sure different atheists arrive at their beliefs in different ways. For me, as soon as I was old enough to think about it for myself I had to reject Christianity as an implausible fantasy story - I just do not believe the important bits. I have yet to encounter another religion that is believable for me. I don't believe in a creator, Im not convinced by the arguments in favor (but I don't rule it out). Science, it seems to me, offers no evidence for either belief in God or for disbelief.
  2. Thanks, I already read it. I think the STD thing is a recent discovery and urinary tract infections are not, as far as I am aware, so common that it would be obvious to associate them with the foreskin. I just meant that in a historical sense it is a curious innovation.
  3. I often wonder who first came up with the idea of chopping it off and what the rational was. If you get it done as an adult is there much scarring? Not that I am considering it or anything, it's small enough already and I am not Muslim.
  4. Dogs

    Zoroastrians: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices by Mary Boyce
  5. Dogs

    Hi. I'm not Muslim so I will not comment on the religious/theological stuff about dogs except to say that I recently read a book about Zoroastrianism. It said that Zoroastrians regarded dogs very highly (unlike frogs and various other creatures which they felt should be killed...) and that following the Arab conquest of Iran the Islamic conquerors started treating dogs badly basically as a way of trolling the Zoroastrians - it amused them to upset the Zoroastrians in this way. The book went on to say that a lot of anti-dog sentiment among Muslims started out in this way and became more formalized having previously had no basis in Islam. Is there a kernel of truth in it or is it nonsense?
  6. Same sex marriage legalized in Australia

    Just a few random points from reading through the thread... We live in a world of single parents, abusive and violent parents, with alcohol or addiction issues, plain old bad parents etc. In such a world the gender of people who do love children and rear them well does not seem to me a major concern. Also I don't believe there is any indication that parents have any influence on the sexual orientation that the child goes on to develop. Where did all the gay children of straight parents come from if that is so? The causes of homosexuality are still not known and despite what gets posted here there is no 'cure'. This whole area of conversion therapy is very controversial (see Google) and often quite damaging for vulnerable individuals who feel the need to go through it. By all means don't vote for gay marriage if you disapprove. But gay marriage has no consequences for anyone apart from gay people. Here in conservative Catholic Ireland we were the first country to introduce it by popular vote. Nothing has changed for anyone except gays. Gays are happier, less frightened, less rejected, less ostracized etc. On the point of disparate groups working together I like that people can find common ground and cooperate despite being opposed in other ways. Other examples relevant here would be the gay movement that organises in support of Palestine and against anti-Muslim bigotry.
  7. #metoo

    Here in Ireland - there are libel laws to consider. As far as i know you can't just make allegations against someone without any evidence. You're likely to wind up in court over it, along with any media outlets that repeat it. Any #metoo stories I've seen here that mentioned names have been fairly well backed up in that way. I don't agree with it having no value. Sure, everyone has to put up with a certain amount of crap. Sexual harassment by against men by women does in exist in any comparable way. It's just not acceptable and I don't think it has really been discussed in this open way before. Maybe there are things that have happened as a result that are not ideal but that should be separated out from the genuine attempt to make people think about their behavior and maybe even improve it.
  8. #iran is beautiful

    Can anyone suggest when is the best time of year to visit western iran - kurdistan and azerbaijan provinces? Any thoughts/recommendations about this area? I went to Iran last year (april/may) and loved it and I'm thinking of returning this year. I often see online photos of Iranians on mountainsides covered with flowers and I'd love to ramble around in these places. So, I'm guessing april/may would be best again. However last year I saw nothing except barren rocky mountains and desert, hardly a flower anywhere except in the nice parks. I was on the main tourist route around central iran on that trip, next time I want to go slightly more off the beaten track and not spend so much time in the cities... An Iranian friend told me that the Iranian government, in a fit of rage at the Kurdish independence vote, are triggering earthquakes in the area to punish the Kurds. Needless to say I don't believe that! But are there any security issues to be aware of?
  9. #metoo

    I think a lot of men are taking this too personally. If you treat women fairly and respectfully then #metoo is not about you and the women in your life know it. By "you" I mean you in general, not you guys here... I should have said "if one is not a sex pest then..." as the queen would. Women do have to put up with a lot of crap from men - from serious stuff to just plain rude and annoying stuff and it's time it was called out IMO. I do have reservations about naming and shaming people without a fair trial and that kinda thing, but it seems you can say what you like about people in America that you can't here in Ireland. "This guy sexually harassed me, that one stole my bike 8 years ago, and I saw that lady push a homeless man under a train"
  10. going to a gay wedding

    The happy couple are presumably already in a relationship and the OP has already worked out how to sustain the sisterly friendship in spite of this. In this context the ceremony and the piece of paper seem incidental. If they are friends then it's likely they know each others feelings and nothing new can be expressed by staying away. Attending doesn't express support or disapproval, really it's just about friendship.
  11. Whats one unusual or rare fruit you have eaten?

    Ah, the Cthulhu fruit
  12. Whats one unusual or rare fruit you have eaten?

    What about feijoa? I've only encountered them in New Zealand where they seem plentiful and popular but wikipedia says: Very sweet and tasty
  13. Whats one unusual or rare fruit you have eaten?

    I don't know if durian counts as rare or unusual but I've never seen it here in Ireland. I tried it in Malaysia where it seemed to be everywhere. It wasn't nearly as disgusting as I expected but I didn't particularly like it either.
  14. Any well-made materials for learning Persian?

    http://www.easypersian.com always gets a mention but it is excellent. It starts off teaching the persian alphabet but uses both alphabets. Pimsleur's persian is a good way to get the sound of the language and to practice speaking if, like me, you don't have any actual real-life persian speaking friends to practice with. Kinda expensive but maybe you can source it for less... http://www.pimsleur.com/learn-farsi-persian Persian Grammar for reference and revision by John Mace is good, but as the title says it's a grammar reference rather than an all-round language text. But when you have a specific query about persian grammar it's an excellent place to find the answer. It's in english but persian words are written in persian script. https://www.amazon.com/Persian-Grammar-Reference-John-Mace/dp/0700716955