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Old 01-27-2008, 10:19 AM   #16
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So what are you interested in?

(I guess I'm allowed to ask questions in my own "ask" thread. )
Sure you are.

My greatest interest used to be history, and I still like very much to read about everything related to that. However, I've never been so keen on remembering all the years and dates and often are not sure whether I'm mixing things up. I'm certainly lacking a lot of detail.
But I loved it in school and usually was the only student that participated, so it was basically a conversation between me and the teacher. I also have the suspicion that my fellow students weren't too unhappy about it.

I later changed for a school that focused on economics in order to get my A-levels (Abitur) and since then I'm mainly interested in economics. Now I'm about to finish my third semester and want to focus on economic development, environmental economics, world trade and such. This is one of the reasons why I'll spend a semester in Montana later this year.

And I think I have a healthy interest in politics, which is also in many ways connected to both history and economics.

As you say, many things stuck through repetition, so maybe I should focus on that part, and perhaps spend less time on this forum, although it's a great source to gather information.
On a good note, reading on this forums has improved my English more than school could ever have.
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Old 01-27-2008, 10:29 AM   #17
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Yes, and if all goes as planned, my permanent residency should be approved in March.
Awesome, congrats! Whereabouts are you heading?
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Old 01-27-2008, 10:34 AM   #18
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Combine those history, economics, and politics together with classical and modern Western philosophy, and I imagine that would make you quite unstoppable, intellectually. I make mention of philosophy here, only because I stumbled upon it quite late in my academic career, and it made such a difference, to me, that I wish I had encountered it at least ten years prior to when I did. And I still have a lot to learn!

This forum is good in moderation, I'd say, because it was actually quite helpful for me, as a form of repetition. I am quite a vigorous debater, as many have noticed.

Good luck with your studies, though, and good luck with Montana. I have a feeling, though, that it won't be much at all like Berlin!
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Old 01-27-2008, 10:38 AM   #19
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Awesome, congrats! Whereabouts are you heading?
Toronto, which is nice, if only because I'm not terribly far away from where I'm living right now. It should help make it a smoother transition for me.

I already go there several times a year as it is, and I quite like it there. It may not have the sheer activity of NYC, by any stretch of the imagination, but Toronto seems to do a great job of combining urban life with livability.
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Old 01-27-2008, 12:10 PM   #20
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Combine those history, economics, and politics together with classical and modern Western philosophy, and I imagine that would make you quite unstoppable, intellectually. I make mention of philosophy here, only because I stumbled upon it quite late in my academic career, and it made such a difference, to me, that I wish I had encountered it at least ten years prior to when I did. And I still have a lot to learn!

This forum is good in moderation, I'd say, because it was actually quite helpful for me, as a form of repetition. I am quite a vigorous debater, as many have noticed.

Good luck with your studies, though, and good luck with Montana. I have a feeling, though, that it won't be much at all like Berlin!
I did have some philosophy classes in school, and though it's certainly quite interesting I didn't feel like I was very good in analysing such texts. It would certainly be a challenge to take on, and I'm sure I will have to do some reading especially of economical philosophers in order to get a deeper grasp on the concepts modern economic theories are still drawn from. It's definitely important for discussions in that field, and though many of the concepts and theories have been debunked by reality there always are aspects that those people got right. And it's also good to see where they are wrong, especially as some people are following their concepts so blindly and sometimes even ignore reality.

Philosophy is a vast field, and starting with the likes of Aristotle, Plato, or later philosophers like Kant and Nietzsche in school may do philosophy a disservice in attracting young people. It's like starting with probability or geometry in maths.

It's great to read sophisticated arguments like yours. For one thing, it's a challenging yet very understandable level of English, and on the other part it's nice to see a well-crafted, based in logic and facts kind of argument containing a lot of information. Certainly something to aspire.

Montana is bigger than Germany and has just one million inhabitants. It will be a change, but luckily I grew up in a small village in the north of Germany, so it won't be the first time for me to be living in a rather provinial surrounding.
Certainly a difference, besides being another country, will be that this is a larger university, the University of Montana in Missoula with 13,000 students (here it's just 5,000) and studying at US universities is a lot different than at German universities.
From what I've seen so far it's really nothing like Berlin, and I'm very looking forward to it.
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Old 01-27-2008, 07:44 PM   #21
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You seem to have a view towards a God that can be reconciled with reality (theistic evolution, recognising the evidence for the development of beliefs over time, seeing the flaws in religious texts as a concequence of history, historical criticism of the bible etc.).

To cut to the chase.

Do feel that you believe in God?

Are you more of a Theist or Deist?

Incidently damn right about history and philosophy being important, I am reading up on some materialistic philosophy of science stuff (Popper and Kuhn - good places to start) and it makes me think more critically about where research in a more historical science (palaeontology) sits.
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Old 01-29-2008, 08:27 AM   #22
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I just wanted to let you know that I've read your question, and that I will respond soon. I just don't have a lot of time to answer at this moment!
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Old 01-29-2008, 04:48 PM   #23
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Originally posted by melon


Toronto, which is nice, if only because I'm not terribly far away from where I'm living right now. It should help make it a smoother transition for me.

I already go there several times a year as it is, and I quite like it there. It may not have the sheer activity of NYC, by any stretch of the imagination, but Toronto seems to do a great job of combining urban life with livability.
i always KNEW you were a loyalist, melon. i'm so happy to see you join us in our utopian society under her hrh.

soon you'll be singing god save the queen with the rest of us.

oh yes.
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Old 01-29-2008, 10:05 PM   #24
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Do feel that you believe in God?

Are you more of a Theist or Deist
I would say that I am a theist, but yet I generally feel that I have little in common with most self-described Christians. A lot of this has to do with my knowledge and understanding of Christian history, and that the beliefs that one would say are "Christian" are often a matter of time and place. I'm reminded of something rather interesting that St. Augustine of Hippo wrote once, in City of God, regarding whether there were people living in the Southern Hemisphere ("Antipodes"):

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Chapter 9.—Whether We are to Believe in the Antipodes.

But as to the fable that there are Antipodes, that is to say, men on the opposite side of the earth, where the sun rises when it sets to us, men who walk with their feet opposite ours, that is on no ground credible. And, indeed, it is not affirmed that this has been learned by historical knowledge, but by scientific conjecture, on the ground that the earth is suspended within the concavity of the sky, and that it has as much room on the one side of it as on the other: hence they say that the part which is beneath must also be inhabited. But they do not remark that, although it be supposed or scientifically demonstrated that the world is of a round and spherical form, yet it does not follow that the other side of the earth is bare of water; nor even, though it be bare, does it immediately follow that it is peopled. For Scripture, which proves the truth of its historical statements by the accomplishment of its prophecies, gives no false information; and it is too absurd to say, that some men might have taken ship and traversed the whole wide ocean, and crossed from this side of the world to the other, and that thus even the inhabitants of that distant region are descended from that one first man. Wherefore let us seek if we can find the city of God that sojourns on earth among those human races who are catalogued as having been divided into seventy-two nations and as many languages. For it continued down to the deluge and the ark, and is proved to have existed still among the sons of Noah by their blessings, and chiefly in the eldest son Shem; for Japheth received this blessing, that he should dwell in the tents of Shem.
Needless to say, we now know that, during Augustine's time, there were plenty of people living in the Southern Hemisphere--not to mention the Americas, which he would never have fathomed. But such an idea was unfathomable, because it could not be reconciled with two main ideas:

1) That God would not place people where Christian missionaries could not access, thus condemning these people to Hell.

2) That, if these people did exist, Jesus could not have appeared a second time in the Antipodes, because that would contradict their understanding of Scripture.

And, because of this, as far as St. Augustine of Hippo was concerned, there were no people in the Southern Hemisphere, if, indeed, it existed at all. 1,600 years later, we know that medieval Christianity was wrong. Not only were there people living in the "Antipodes," but Jesus had not appeared to them either (again, not mentioning the fact that the future "New World" existed entirely outside of their known world).

I bring this up solely to bring up a point that there are many Christians, today, who are insistent that "true believers" believe in no shortage of nonsense, from believing in young Earth creationism or intelligent design; or that we live in a world that is "especially evil," ignoring completely the historical context that our ancestors lived through far greater "evils" of their time (incessant war, genocides, enslavement, famine, disease [Black Death, smallpox], and highly corrupt secular and religious leadership).

What makes me feel "aloof," I guess, is that I reject the notion that God would want us to believe nonsense. There are certain essentials to faith, which I think are ultimately quite narrow, when applied to the vastness of the human experience. And, undoubtedly, there is also much that we wouldn't know about God, merely because He exists beyond our physical senses. That is why, I guess, I approach my beliefs with confidence, yet tempered with humility.
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Old 01-29-2008, 10:34 PM   #25
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good answer
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