>> Definitions are the sine qua none of understanding: they are the only proof
>> that we have an understanding.
but thought that I should not
> be so defensive to religionists? Atheists and other idealogues (such as > Hitler and Stalin) also do these bad things.
Well, when people advocate Stalinism I will be on their case too ;-)
Of course these two are quite like religion-leaders; they relied on "charisma" and power, two things which for some unknown reason we respect. In organizational psychology there are theories of leadership built around charisma - they really are frightening to behold: arguing in effect that we should design enterprises to run on blind faith.
My wish is that people never do Anything at the point of a gun or for which there is no evidence.
>> Actually, the one person whom i respect most on this list (not
>> saying who) is also the person whom i would predict would be the most kind
>> and for whom I would, never having met them, do most anything.
> Why not say who it is? Can't we let people know it when we admire them? Is > this reticense an extropian meme?
Because I was frightened of earning someone's wrath who recently criticized me for personifying positions ;-) It is interesting I guess that those who demand tolerance of others views often actually create fear of dissent. We see this all the time in academia. A good antidote and tonic is reading Thomas Sowell's book "inside American education".
If you buy a book of his, i recommend this one "The vision of the anointed: self congratulation as a basis for social policy". <http://www.booksamillion.com/cat/books?id=9200028393272&isbn=046508995X>