Woman Gives Nigerian Scammer $500k After Meeting Him On ChristianMingle.com

from the scamboozled dept

Maybe it's my natural level of skepticism, which generally hovers somewhere between extreme and nuclear levels, or perhaps I've simply never spent much time reading any emails or communications I get from sources I don't recognize, but I've never understood how people fall for "Nigerian Prince" style schemes, often to the tune of sums of money that are nearly unfathomable to me. Yet, in one iteration or another, these things continue to take advantage of people.

I don't know that I've ever come across these types of foreign scammers trolling dating sites, however. But that's what one story suggests has happened, with a 66-year-old woman getting bilked out of half a million dollars by a Nigerian scammer that found her on ChristianMingle.com.

The 66-year-old victim, whose name wasn't released, was targeted on ChristianMingle.com by a man who called her, texted her and sent her flowers before asking her to loan him money to run a business. The impostor used a bogus picture and created a fake website, where he listed the victim's name as a company official, investigators said.

The woman, who is divorced, gave him money from her retirement account and refinanced her home, most recently wiring $200,000 to a Turkish bank account at his request late last year, authorities said. But she soon realized she had been conned and called Santa Clara County prosecutors, who contacted the bank, said Deputy District Attorney Cherie Bourlard.
I suppose it feels a little unsporting to bash a divorced woman in her sixties just trying to find a new Christian soul mate, but what the hell? A hundred dollar loan? Fine. Five hundred? Okay. A thousand dollars? Well, I'm already getting a little itchy. Half-a-mil-do? No, I'd rather die cold and alone than wire someone I've never met in person that much money.

Happily, at least some amount of justice was done in this case, where typically there might be none to have at all.
When Wisdom Onokpite, an associate of the suspect, showed up the next day in hopes of withdrawing the money, the bank notified the Turkish National Police, who arrested him. Onokpite, a Nigerian national who entered Turkey using a fake passport, is being prosecuted for fraud in Turkey, authorities said.
This isn't "the guy", who has been tracked to somewhere in Nigeria (of course), but it's nice that at least an associate was nabbed. For everyone else out there, a good rule of thumb is to not wire that much money to someone you've never met, no matter whether they're promising you money in return or to love you for the rest of your life.



Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 5:55pm

    Pretty smart of the scammers really, you're tying into a preselected demographic of people engaged in a faith based belief system, which isn't exactly a hallmark of high intelligence.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 6:07pm

    I hate the way these Nigerians scamboozle people, and spoil the name for other good Nigerians.
    Such a shame really.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 6:11pm

    Apparently I've been hitting the wrong dating sites...

     

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  4.  
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    DMNTD, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 6:15pm

    SO wait, what exactly can they beat authority over here? Are there contracts, is it over "fraud"? I am not sorry when I say that this sounded like a legit bamboozle and the twit lady lost out. The magical land of America where no one has to be accountable....except that guy over there, maybe....wait..nope..nevermind.

     

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  5.  
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    Namel3ss (profile), Jan 17th, 2014 @ 6:19pm

    Re:

    You know there's really no need to insult people of faith, of which I am one. It's a life choice, after all.

    That said, there's no way in hell I would ever send that kind of money to anyone who wasn't close family. This woman exercised poor judgment, and is very lucky she was able to get at least part of her $$$ back.

     

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  6.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 17th, 2014 @ 6:41pm

    Re:

    What in the world is a "legit bamboozle?" Is that what scumbag thieves tell themselves in order to be able to sleep at night?

     

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  7.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jan 17th, 2014 @ 7:03pm

    something something snarky comment about the ChristianMingle site...

    Isn't the deeper story here about the profound loneliness in peoples lives?
    The site used to contact people isn't important, it happens on every dating site.
    Much like the teenagers who fall for every meme that is posted about their pop idol.
    Much like the "adults" who believe wild claims that support the crazy ideas they decided were true.
    Even people raised on the net can fall into traps.

    FSM help me, but I saw a woman on the Dr. Phil show who even after they proved she was being scammed and her imaginary lover hadn't shown up still refused to accept the fact he didn't exist and had taken her for huge sums.

    It is a trap anyone can fall into, they tell you what you want to hear and you will do anything to keep them. We can see if in all sorts of interactions, it is not new or unique to the interwebs.

    Perhaps we need to work on helping people break this cycle and improve everyone's lives.

     

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  8.  
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    sorrykb (profile), Jan 17th, 2014 @ 7:07pm

    in this case...

    It was a very targeted scam. They went after a senior citizen on a dating site. Someone who was hopeful and also someone who no doubt had posted information that allowed them to tailor the scam even further. Scammers prey on the hopeful and vulnerable -- I'm more cynical myself but what a world we'd be in if everyone was so suspicious. (And yes, of course she should have been more careful, but...)
    And targeting a lonely older lady like that... Bastards.

     

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  9.  
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    sorrykb (profile), Jan 17th, 2014 @ 7:10pm

    Re:

    @That Anonymous Coward:
    If I could vote "insightful" a hundred times for your comment, I would.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 7:11pm

    I love to fuck with those assholes it's pretty entertaining. Especially when you tell them you have no money but a ton of electronics and they send you a crate with no shipping weight limit, you can get really creative.

     

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    GMacGuffin (profile), Jan 17th, 2014 @ 7:12pm

    My first reaction was: Dude's actually from Nigeria? Moneyline odds for a Nigerian would be like +1800.

     

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  12.  
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    steell (profile), Jan 17th, 2014 @ 7:14pm

    Re:

    Intelligence has nothing to do with it, it's an emotional thing. Anyone that takes a good look at religion will tell you it's a great deal, if you can make the leap from fact based to faith based decisions.

     

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  13.  
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    Nigerian King, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 8:08pm

    HA! I laugh at all you fools gobbling up this government conspiracy. They want nothing more than to trick me but it is I who have tricked you. I shall not fall for your lies and deceit and if you apologize now, when I am KING of Nigeria, I may let you enter my kingdom of paradise! It might have cost me a hundred thousand dollar transfer fee but being king of a country I can just raise taxes as I wish. You all mock me now but soon you will know my wrath and fear my power!

    Now excuse me, I have a flight to catch and documents to sign. Farewell peasants!

     

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  14.  
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    Prophet, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 8:38pm

    Tax on stupidity

    "ChristianMingle.com"

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 9:20pm

    Re:

    Given wealth differences I honestly find it hard to blame Nigerian Scammers. Sure it isn't exactly right but I can certainly understand being willing to do anything to get out of poverty and the vast temptation that the first world presents. Look at industrialization where people flock to long, hard, and dangerous jobs since despite the many downsides it is still superior to farm work. Say what you will about fraud, at least it is pacifistic.

     

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  16.  
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    Manabi (profile), Jan 17th, 2014 @ 10:01pm

    Re: Re:

    Say what you will about fraud, at least it is pacifistic.

    But fraud isn't pacifistic actually. Just because the fraudster doesn't directly beat the victim or kill them doesn't make it that way. What happens when the victim was bilked out of the life savings and loses their house? What about when they can't afford food because they lost all their retirement savings? Victims can easily end up dying cold, alone and homeless because of that "pacifistic" fraud.

    Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, if you scam someone out of money, they no longer have it, and they will suffer in proportion to their loss. I don't care how bad the poverty is there. Putting someone else into poverty to get yourself out of it is not acceptable behavior anywhere in the world.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 11:29pm

    Putting someone else into poverty to get yourself out of it is not acceptable behavior anywhere in the world.

    Nigerian princes, mediums, astrologers, cults, TV evangelists, casinos, bookmakers, big pharma, the local pot dealer... all put/keep people in poverty in order to get rich. For something that is "not acceptable behavior anywhere in the world" it sure is common. Some of these are quite acceptable, even repectable. Others less so. Different people have different ideas about which activity falls into which category.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 11:30pm

    It's not a black and white issue.
    When you do something stupid it's your own fault.
    If someone cons you into doing something stupid is it entierly their fault?

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 12:50am

    Wow. Doesn't sound like she got her money back at all. I feel sort of bad for this woman. There's studies that suggest as humans age, they become more susceptible to scams due to their brains no longer throwing up red flags at suspicious activities.

    Then again, it's also been said that there's a sucker born every minute.

     

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  20.  
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    Manabi (profile), Jan 18th, 2014 @ 1:20am

    Re:

    Ever single "job" you mentioned are, at best, controversial ones and some are considered flat-out criminal in the whole world. Others toe the line, but there's a big difference between being, say, an astrologer who makes a living charging people for readings and one that causes/talks a person into mortgaging their house to pay them. The latter one is a con artist, the former is just preying on gullible people, but not putting them into poverty.

    The same applies to all of those things actually, you can make money by charging gullible people, but if you start literally putting people into poverty you have crossed a line. And yes, I do include big pharma in that.

     

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  21.  
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    Manabi (profile), Jan 18th, 2014 @ 1:22am

    Re:

    No, they do deserve some blame for being gullible, but being gullible generally isn't a criminal act. Conning people out of their money is. So the con artist gets the biggest share of the blame.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 2:49am

    Reminds me of a simpsons quote, "stealing is a victimless crime, like punching someone in the dark"
    True on so many levels, you get away with assaulting someone and you can also minimize it away by not looking that person in the face

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 2:55am

    Re: Re:

    I think that assumption is flawed in the fact that every business out there is specifically designed to separate you from your money and I mean all of them.

    Banks create schemes to charge people, telcos create schemes to charge people, every single business do that and the only real protection people have is competition but that is another matter.

    That is why there are so many sayings about "a fool and his money shall soon part ways" or something like that.

    Personally I believe that hard experiences are good, they provide stories that others use to guide themselves and if anybody was able to "cheat" you out of something he deserves to keep it, not being empathetic is not a crime yet, and I don't think it ever will, the emotional appeal you do is very convincing but in practical terms means nothing, some of those Nigerian princes would die if they did not do what they did too, how can you chose which one should live or not? in Nigeria there are no public safety nets you are on your own, there is no medical attention of any kind without money, there are no food centers, there is no salvation army to get clothes so people find ways to get "money" which they believe is the thing that will make their lifes easier, on the other hand in industrialized countries work is so demanding that it is easier to work in a farm than it is to work in a factory doing 12 hours shifts and all the emotional toll that continues deadlines have on people.

    In the end we as a society must agree on what is acceptable or not, there is no difference between a Nigerian king telling tall tales to get money from others and Telcos talking tall about the dangers of high traffic just to get a better monopoly deal, the system beneath it is the same and it always a wonder to me why we accept one and not the other, we chose and pick what to accept, maybe is because some companies give something back a product a service and "scammers" give nothing.

    Do you know how to improve the lifes of desperate people so they don't do such things? (for the Nigerian princes)

    Can you improve the lifes of others so they don't have to worry of losing everything? (for the gullible that live in industrialized countries)

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 3:23am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I read a lot of stupid things today, but this has to be the most stupid.

    Are you seriously comparing a Nigerian scammer with a legitimate business? It is not just about "...parting with one's money....", but there is the fact that the participants in the transaction are wilful and knowledgeable. That is basic contract theory.

    Do you really believe that if the woman had full knowledge of the context that she would send the money? Probably not.

    To relegate the distinction between a scammer and a business as an arbitrary preference is ridiculous.

     

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  25.  
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    ottermaton (profile), Jan 18th, 2014 @ 5:03am

    Re: Re:

    You know there's really no need to insult people of faith, of which I am one.

    I know. But it sure is easy. And fun.

    It's a life choice, after all.

    Yea? Is that in the same way as believing in Santa Claus is a "life choice"?

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 5:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The only difference between them is the law, the inner workings are all the same, they both collude to divorce you from your money do they not?

    What is the difference of a banker creating new "financial products" that are nothing else than promises and a Nigerian prince promising you the sky?

    What is the difference between a real state seller disguising all the property warts to make you buy it?

    What is the difference between a food manufacture telling all its clients that they have the higher standards of quality when they are using the most cheap raw materials money can buy? or even getting caught in the wrong by schoolchildren testing their products.

    Have you been to IKEA or Walmart, they all claim they have high quality products but if you look under the hood that is not true at all.

    Do you really believe you have full knowledge of the context when you make a purchase anywhere? because you probably not.

    Is not a preference is how business is done, scammers are just less sophisticated about it but they operate under the same principals that any other business. Their methods resemble more business than criminal activity.

    Now here comes the hard part, since they are essentially the same thing we start to pick and chose arbitrary rules to more or less try to guide the direction things go, taking money from the elderly without giving anything at all in return we say is bad, taking everything from that elderly by financial schemes oh well they should have known better shouldn't they?

    My personal view on the subject is that even though I find it abhorrent, if you sent money to anyone at your own freewill without getting any sort of paper stating what the deal was you should have no recourse, why are you sending money to somebody you don't know or even met without any written records of the transaction?

    Eldery doesn't mean stupid, some old people are devious too, can I send money to some account and claim later that the holder of such account is trying to scam me?

    When those things happen then you say "oh wait, why nobody thought of that before to protect the innocent?" well dude, because people like you were crying foul on the other side screaming bloody murder without thinking about the whole picture that is why!

     

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  27.  
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    ottermaton (profile), Jan 18th, 2014 @ 5:47am

    Re: Re: Re:

    But fraud isn't pacifistic actually.

    Yes, it ACTUALLY is. (Kinda like the difference between LITERALLY and FIGURATIVELY.

    Just because the fraudster doesn't directly beat the victim or kill them doesn't make it that way.

    Yes, it ACTUALLY does. Perhaps you need to look up the definitions of actually (In fact; in reality) and pacifism (opposition to war or violence as a resort in the settlement of disputes) source

    What happens when the victim was bilked out of the life savings and loses their house? What about when they can't afford food because they lost all their retirement savings? Victims can easily end up dying cold, alone and homeless because of that "pacifistic" fraud.

    So? Just because you feel bad for the lady (and I do too) doesn't mean you get to change the DEFINITION OF WORDS. What's next? Are you gonna call him a terrorist?

    Every action has an equal and opposite reaction,

    I'll help you out here since you seem to have a problem with words. That's called karma

    if you scam someone out of money, they no longer have it, and they will suffer in proportion to their loss. I don't care how bad the poverty is there. Putting someone else into poverty to get yourself out of it is not acceptable behavior anywhere in the world.

    I agree. But that still doesn't mean you get to change the DEFINITION OF WORDS.

     

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  28.  
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    art guerrilla (profile), Jan 18th, 2014 @ 6:25am

    Re:

    1. it wasn't a scam, it was tithing...
    (um, wait a minute, let's think this through...)
    2. it may have been 'here' or at slashdot where i saw an explanation for the obviousness of the 'nigerian prince' type scams: they WANT to quickly weed out the 95-99% of the semi-aware human beans who would immediately dismiss this widely known scam technique, and ensnare the noobies, and mentally impaired oldsters, etc who *MIGHT* get caught up in the scheme...
    they are simply playing the odds: they send out 1 million emails, it doesn't matter 99.99% of the people delete them immediately, the .01% = 10 000 potential marks who have been 'pre-qualified' to be clueless, naive and/or otherwise mentally impaired...

     

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  29.  
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    art guerrilla (profile), Jan 18th, 2014 @ 6:30am

    Re:

    yes, if only po' persecuted xtians had some PLACE, some fancy building that sits empty 99% of time, some untaxed shelter where they regularly gathered together locally with like-minded xtians and they could meet up that way...
    ...if only such a place existed...
    *snort*
    po', po' xtians, no wonder they have to resort to such desperate and disreputable means of meeting on the inertnet tubes ! !!

     

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  30.  
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    David, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 6:50am

    Re: Re: Re:

    But fraud isn't pacifistic actually. Just because the fraudster doesn't directly beat the victim or kill them doesn't make it that way.

    It's worth mentioning that several Nigerian scam victims were made to travel to Africa and were robbed and killed there.

    So it is definitely not every fraudster who draws the line at swindling people.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 7:37am

    Re: Re:

    "human beans"

    lol

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 8:47am

    Thank God I'm poor

    I want to feel sorry for this women but 500k. I know she was lonely and this was a Christian website with the so called good "church people", that phrase alone starts my alarm bells ringing. Please folks get a clue you do not meet people on a computer go out into the world and talk to people. Yes, you may still get scammed but at least you can put a face on the scammer.

     

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    btr1701 (profile), Jan 18th, 2014 @ 9:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    > It's worth mentioning that several Nigerian
    > scam victims were made to travel to Africa
    > and were robbed and killed there.

    How were they "made" to travel to Africa? Don't you mean they were *asked* to travel to Africa and they stupidly agreed to do it?

     

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  34.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Jan 18th, 2014 @ 9:23am

    Re: Re: Re:

    > > You know there's really no need to insult people
    > > of faith, of which I am one.

    > I know. But it sure is easy. And fun.

    I've often found that the people who make sport of Christians and their beliefs and think it's hilarious to mock them, *only* do so with Christians. They never mock Muslims in the same way, for example. Indeed, they're often the first to condemn others for being 'insensitive' and 'bigoted' for doing just that.

    It's an interesting bit of hypocrisy to observe.

     

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  35. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Paddy Cakes, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 9:36am

    Nigerans

    There are no good Nigerians.

     

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  36.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 18th, 2014 @ 9:59am

    Re: Re: Re:

    But it sure is easy. And fun.


    And petty.

    I am an atheist myself (roughly, but close enough for this discussion), but ridiculing others for their beliefs is just stupid and never makes you look good.

     

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  37.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 18th, 2014 @ 10:04am

    Re:

    Different people have different ideas about which activity falls into which category.


    Yeah... not so much. TV evangelists, casinos, bookmakers, big pharma, and the local pot dealer are not engaging in fraud.

    If you are lying to people and toying with their emotions in order to get them to fork over their life savings, you are a scumbag. Doubly so if the people you are lying to are particularly vulnerable.

    In the end, it's no different than mugging them. They are left no less ruined for it.

     

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  38.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 18th, 2014 @ 10:06am

    Re:

    It is indeed a black and white issue. The question of how much fault belongs to who is irrelevant. One person is a criminal, the other is not.

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 10:19am

    I think people need to get over the idea that their partner needs their religious faith or other things like that.

     

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  40.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 18th, 2014 @ 12:20pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I am truly astonished at the amount of logical contortions that people are willing to go through to justify stealing and ruining other people's lives.

    This sort of rationalization, aside from being ludicrous, makes the scammer even more loathesome. If you're going to be a cruel thief, at least be up front about what you're doing.

     

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  41.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 18th, 2014 @ 12:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You cannot say that your crimes are OK merely because others also engage in criminal behavior.

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 12:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I do not find this to be the case at all.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 12:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, unwarranted ridicule is petty.

    However, there are times when it is warranted and therefore not petty. For instance when the belief system attempts to make demands upon others who do not share in those beliefs, it petitions governments to institute their beliefs into law and persecute those who they do not adhere to it. What really stand out is when they claim they are doing this because they are the ones being persecuted and they are simply demanding their rights.

     

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  44.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 18th, 2014 @ 12:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No, it's still petty even in those instances. What would be legitimate is to criticize them for their specific acts, not for their religious beliefs.

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 1:01pm

    Re:

    That's a silly argument; there're multitudes of highly intelligent people who have faith in God. Some even Genius-level.

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 1:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You're fighting on the wrong side

     

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    Mythedup, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 1:40pm

    So that's where they get all of that lottery money they give away!

     

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  48.  
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    Kronomex, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 2:44pm

    To put it simply; I have no sympathy for her or anyone else who gets burnt by these schemers.

     

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  49.  
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    ottermaton (profile), Jan 18th, 2014 @ 3:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I've often found that the people who make sport of Christians and their beliefs and think it's hilarious to mock them, *only* do so with Christians. They never mock Muslims in the same way, for example.

    Nah, not me. I mock them all. Anyone who believes in fairy tales is worthy of ridicule, in my opinion.

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 4:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Romantic love is nothing but a scam and a fairy tale.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 4:33pm

    Re: Re:

    How do you know she's white?

     

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  52.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 6:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Hmmm - it is easy to conflate the two.

     

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  53.  
    identicon
    Robert spano, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 8:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It's mythology actually

     

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  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2014 @ 4:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You cannot call it a crime only when others do it either, but not when you do it.

     

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  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2014 @ 4:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Is me giving you money stealing?

    Have you ever actually checked upon the facts of any salesperson to see how much they actually do lie about what they are selling?

    Make no mistake about it, a salesperson and a Nigerian prince are not that far apart.

    What makes the Nigerian prince lies a crime but not the lies of a salesperson?

    There are many things I don't like in life, it doesn't mean they should all be illegal or I should care and waste my time trying to fix it.

    I don't even know the lady, what if she is the one pulling a Nigerian Prince scheme on everyone?

    The stupidity of mortgaging your own home to send money to someone you barely know should raise red flags everywhere, what if this is an attempt of insurance fraud?

    The issue is not if the lady is that dumb and should be protected but how to sieve the good from the bad since both are so similar, the problem is identifying it and seeing the truth in a world of lies that is everywhere and creates a fog so thick is almost impossible to see what is there.

    Call me cynical I think I have lost the "press this button to see me scream" thing a long time ago.

     

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  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2014 @ 4:42am

    Re: Re:

    The question is who?

    The lady or the Nigerian Prince?

    Here is an educational movie.

    IMDbThin Ice (2011)

    The story of a insurance salesman getting conned after trying to con others.

    If the lady is the real Nigerian Prince you swallowed it hook and sink.

    Do the stupidity of sending half a million dollars to an offshore account to a person you don't know not raises any red flags?

    What if is you who got con by a sob story?

     

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  57.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2014 @ 4:55am

    This thread may or may not be proof that if you tell a sob story others will believe it, no matter how fantastic it is.

    How many would contact the old lady and offer her help?


    http://www.livescience.com/10041-7-greatest-scams.html

     

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  58.  
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    ottermaton (profile), Jan 19th, 2014 @ 7:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I don't think you're understanding what he's saying. At least it's different from the way I read it.

    You cannot say that your crimes are OK merely because others also engage in criminal behavior.


    I understood his comment to be saying the things he mentioned are also immoral/unethical and we just haven't criminalized them. Yet, at least.

    I may be wrong, though.

     

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  59.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2014 @ 8:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You can not have a hi court/lo court system where money buys excuses argued by high priced mouth pieces before biased judges and juries. Heh ... riiiiight.

    Affluenza anyone?

    Corporations get a slap on the bottom line rather than removal of the special rights the government gives them (at everyone else's expense).

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2014 @ 8:50am

    Re: Re:

    TV evangelists not fraud?
    Not so about that one.

     

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  61.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2014 @ 4:11pm

    Scary world!

     

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  62.  
    icon
    Eldakka (profile), Jan 19th, 2014 @ 6:00pm

    Re:

    “When so many are lonely as seem to be lonely, it would be inexcusably selfish to be lonely alone.”

    ― Tennessee Williams, Camino Real

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
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    Eldakka (profile), Jan 19th, 2014 @ 6:14pm

    Re:

    But maybe SHE's the scammer (no I don't think this, devil's advocate) and is trying to get people to donate money to her?

     

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  64.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2014 @ 10:10pm

    Re:

    *tips fedora*

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2014 @ 1:05am

    Re: Re:

    She may be a scamer after attention not money.

    Wikipedia: Münchausen syndrome

    She may have seen an opportunity to scam others using Nigerian princes as patsys.

    She may be that dumb, she may be emotionally incompetent, she may be mentally ill, she may be a dozen other things.

    What is she? and how we qualify(as in typify), quantify and deal with it? those are the real issues.

    Should we care, could we care?

    The more I think about it, the more complex it becomes.

     

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  66.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2014 @ 4:38am

    Re: Re:

    You are not implying... unfathomable... GOOD SIR! RETRACT THOSE WORDS AT ONCE! Churches aren't dating-grounds for negotiating and initiating unspeakable things like relationships that might in etreme cases even lead to...

    ooooh no. you tried to trick me into dirty-talk by making me protest against your satanic slur on the houses of the holy.

    But you are not going to get this kind of satisfaction, as I am pure and good and have seen the light.

    You, however, I sincerely hope will burn in hell in unmesaurable pain for all eternity, being punished for smearing this wonderful religion that teaches love and understanding!

     

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  67.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2014 @ 6:27am

    Re: Re:

    The twisted logic behind this is, that if people stupid/gullible/vulnerable/human enough to be swindled, it's their own fault for being stupid/gullible/vulnerable/human so that the scammer *gasp* isn't responsible for the repercussions of his actions!

    I love it when people bend the concept of responsibility to always point away from themselves, maybe even while critcizing everyone they try to delegate their own responsibilities to for refusing to be made their 'garbage dumps'.

     

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  68.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2014 @ 7:34am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Okay. I hereby postulate that if you are stupid or whimpy enough to let yourself be mugged and robbed, possibly killed and/or raped in the process, it is your fault for letting it happen and not being strong enough to defend yourself.

    Your mugger-robber-rapist is to go free and enjoy everything he has gotten from you and your loved ones.

    Same goes if you fail to securely fortify your house against B&E - if someone is clever/brutish enough to enter your home, he may then proceed to do as he likes to teach you a 'hard lesson'.

    idiot.

     

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  69.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2014 @ 7:37am

    Re:

    fault and responsibility are part of the overall topic, but "it's not a crime to be deceived". Deceiving someone may, depending on the circumstances/consequences of the deception, be a crime.

     

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  70.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2014 @ 7:38am

    Re: Re:

    oh and:

    'Was it my fault the girl at the bar had such perky tits and a short skirt? She totally made me horny... so I raped her in the parking lot. And you really say that I'm entirely to blame? How DARE you!'

     

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  71.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 20th, 2014 @ 8:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You are correct.

     

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  72.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2014 @ 8:39am

    Re:

    So what would you say about the people that Bernie Madoff scammed? They probably aren't Christian and/or religious. I guess atheists are just as stupid?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  73.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 20th, 2014 @ 8:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Is me giving you money stealing?


    If you're giving me money because I'm defrauding you, then yes, it is absolutely stealing.

    Make no mistake about it, a salesperson and a Nigerian prince are not that far apart.


    Irrelevant. As I said earlier, that others engage in fraud does not make it OK for you to engage in fraud. A pox on all their houses.

     

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  74.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 20th, 2014 @ 8:42am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah, that's iffier. It depends on the particular televangelist. There is plenty of fraud in that circle, for sure.

     

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  75.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2014 @ 8:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    For instance when the belief system attempts to make demands upon others who do not share in those beliefs

    Ah, just like Obamacare with their requirement for churches to fund birth control. That is a case of atheists pushing their agenda on others. But don't let facts get in the way of your made up argument.

     

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  76.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2014 @ 8:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'll help you out here since you seem to have a problem with words. That's called karma

    Karma? I thought you just said you didn't have religious beliefs yet you feel there is some force called karma that will right wrongs? I guess your "life choice" is the right "life choice"?

     

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  77.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 20th, 2014 @ 8:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    There is no requirement for churches to fund birth control. In some cases (church-run businesses), there is a requirement that birth control coverage be included, but the businesses can absolutely opt out of funding that coverage.

    This birth control business is actually a case of churches pushing their agenda on others, not the the other way around.

     

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  78.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 20th, 2014 @ 9:09am

    Re:

    And I'll have no sympathy for you when you get burnt by a scammer. That would be just desserts.

    Perhaps what you're missing is that, although this particular case is something that it's easy to say "she should have known better" about, everyone can be easily taken for a ride by scam artists. The method that works on her may not work on you -- but there is a different method that will work on you.

    In fact, most studies indicate that the odds are excellent that you have already been scammed even if you don't know it. The truly expert scammers leave their victims unaware that they've been ripped off.

    Getting scammed is not indicative of being stupid, by the way. It's indicative of being emotionally vulnerable.

     

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  79.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2014 @ 11:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It does matter, it matters because it defines the limits of what is acceptable or not, it matters because it defines the rules or lack thereof, it matters because without having this debate we will never reach something that is more just or even satisfactory, it matters for all the innocents that could end up in the wrong side of the law.

    This is not something that is black and white, the way you define fraud could end up hurting people and without having this discussion you will be happy to be ignorant about the merits or demerits of your argument.

    So I will respectfully disagree, it does matter.

    I don't want end up in a world where fraud is defined as lying to others to get some sort of reward, which would put others lying to get attention in jail and give the power to judges and government to harass others.

    How to detect, determine, quantify and correct things? see I am not using the term punish, I have no interest in punishment all I want is to see things working, I don't believe in punishment.

     

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  80.  
    icon
    minijedimaster (profile), Jan 20th, 2014 @ 1:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    What a sad, pathetic, pointless life you must lead. I feel sorry for you.

    Oh also, we should stop feeding the trolls.

     

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  81.  
    icon
    minijedimaster (profile), Jan 20th, 2014 @ 1:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Or like when atheist groups demand that monuments that have been in place for many decades that are christian in nature be removed because it goes against their faith in atheism...err I mean some mythical separation of church and state in the Constitution.

    1. Atheism requires just as much faith if not more so since they have no "proof" that their belief in evolution and anything not "creation" related is true. Feel free to prove there is no God. Better yet, stop feeling so threatened by a God you're so sure doesn't exist.
    2. Constitution states that the federal government will not establish a state mandated religious institution that all civilians must follow (ie... church of England est by Henry the 8th).
    3. Having any type of religious based monument at a government facility does NOT meet the requirement of point 2 (first amendment).

     

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  82.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Jan 20th, 2014 @ 1:56pm

    I get these types of scams at least once a week. I used to report them, but now I just delete them. I also know two people who almost fell for other internet scams until I looked into them (basically just did a Google search) and told them that they were scams.

    The first was the "buying a car through escrow" scam. He had found a car for sale online and the seller claimed that the money would be held by an escrow service until the car was delivered and he was happy with it. Of course the escrow service is bogus and they just take the money.

    More recently someone I know answered a help wanted ad on Craigslist for a "secret Shopper" job. His resume included his address, so without any additional contact between them, he received a check in the mail for $3,200 with instructions to deposit the money and then contact the given email address for instructions on his first assignment. He got suspicious and emailed the guy first and was finally told that his mission was to evaluate the clerks at the local Walmart. He was to deposit the money, then go to Walmart, buy $50 worth of stuff that he could keep, keep $150 as his pay, then use the rest to buy six $500 Green Dot Money Pak cards. Supposedly he was to note the clerk's professionalism during this. Then he was instructed to scratch off the protective coating on the backs of the cards and send the PIN numbers to the email address they provided. He was suspicious, but was considering doing it. Of course it was a scam. The check would turn out to be fake and he'd be out the $3,050 that he spent for the cards and other stuff. He tried reporting it to the police so that others wouldn't fall for it, but they said that since no money had been lost, they couldn't be bothered investigating.

     

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  83.  
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    minijedimaster (profile), Jan 20th, 2014 @ 1:59pm

    Re: Re:

    no wonder they have to resort to such desperate and disreputable means of meeting on the inertnet tubes

    You mean like, the millions upon millions of non christians that use the same means and methods of meeting others through sites like match.com and others? I don't get it, your argument is illogical and self defeating.

     

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  84.  
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    John85851 (profile), Jan 20th, 2014 @ 2:41pm

    Sounds like a good business plan

    In all fairness, this doesn't sound like the usual scam of "send me $2,000 and I'll send you a million". Maybe the lady really thought she was helping him start his own business. And to be honest, she did help him build his business- the business was taking money from gullible people, but still.

     

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  85.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 20th, 2014 @ 6:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    like when atheist groups demand that monuments that have been in place for many decades that are christian in nature be removed because it goes against their faith in atheism


    I actually agree that this is often wrong. But sometimes, it's not. It all depends. For example, displaying the Ten Commandments in a courtroom should not be allowed, as it's more than a small indication that the law is based on a religious belief. The lighted cross you see on hilltops in various communities? I think people who object to that are themselves being rather intolerant.

    Atheism requires just as much faith if not more so since they have no "proof" that their belief in evolution and anything not "creation" related is true.


    Pure hogwash. First, Atheism and evolution are two completely different things. Most people who believe that evolution is a proven fact are people who believe in God.

    Atheism itself is not a "faith" in any logical sense. It's simply refusing to believe in something for which there is zero evidence.

    By the way, you may not want to "believe" it, but evolution is, simply, a proven fact. The evidence for it is literally everywhere you look. You can demonstrate it experimentally, even. You can watch it happen. It requires no faith.

     

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  86.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 20th, 2014 @ 6:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Karma is hardly a religious, or even a supernatural belief. All karma means is that how you behave in the world shapes that world. Admittedly, most people who use the term misunderstand it, thinking that it's some kind of score-keeping or retributive force. It is not.

     

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  87.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 20th, 2014 @ 6:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I don't want end up in a world where fraud is defined as lying to others to get some sort of reward


    Too late. That's precisely how "fraud" is defined by law, and has been for an incredibly long time in just about every nation on Earth for as far back in history as you wish to look. And why shouldn't it be illegal? Under what circumstances is it actually OK to cheat people out of things of value?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  88.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 20th, 2014 @ 6:43pm

    Re: Thank God I'm poor

    Please folks get a clue you do not meet people on a computer


    That's overstating it by quite a lot. Online dating is not inherently more dangerous than in-person dating, and you are no more at risk to be taken for a ride by it. Properly done, it's a whole lot safer than the old-fashioned way. Also, properly done, you're not staying online with someone for that long. A face-to-face date should happen pretty quickly.

    Here's my personal example, and it is the way these things usually go for most people. I have been happily married for 7 years now to a woman I met on match.com. The benefit of using the online service was that I actually knew something about the women before I decided if I wanted to meet them. Despite the stereotype, people really don't tend to lie in their profiles. Before I met my wife, I had an uncountable number of initial meets over coffee, and in all that time the most egregious lie I encountered was a woman who posted pictures of her when she was overweight, and didn't mention anywhere that she'd shed the pounds and turned into a stone-cold fox.

    In any case, the kind of people you meet on dating sites is pretty much exactly the same kind of people you meet anywhere else: normal people (or as normal as people ever get).

     

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  89.  
    identicon
    Sacredjunk, Jan 21st, 2014 @ 1:46am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Sadly, that is the reality in some countries

     

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  90.  
    identicon
    LDoBe, Jan 21st, 2014 @ 2:55am

    Re:

    heh, Osmium. Half a cubic meter weighs just shy of 12 and a half tons. Sign for that, bastard scammers.

     

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  91.  
    identicon
    Pragmatic, Jan 21st, 2014 @ 7:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Thanks, John.

    In any case, belief in an ideology can take on mythical/religious qualities, as I've discovered when people get all riled up when you question their beliefs about their politics.

    So actually, nobody gets to walk away claiming the intellectual high ground unless they are content to have their own beliefs held up to scrutiny.

     

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  92.  
    identicon
    Pragmatic, Jan 21st, 2014 @ 8:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    This birth control business is actually a case of churches pushing their agenda on others, not the the other way around.


    True, but only those churches on the right-wing fundamentalist end of the religious spectrum. We're not all against birth control and most of us are reasonable, rational people. You've all seen me rail against the war on women often enough to know that.

    So if we're going to insult or criticize anyone, let it be for their behavior or attitudes, not for their faith, even if it is misplaced.

    In the case of the unfortunate dupe, it seems her desire to help a person "in need" and to find a partner who shares her views got in the way of the skepticism that should have been employed in this case. Look around for more cases like this and you may find it happens to agnostics and atheists as well as people of faith too. It all comes down to how easily we fall for a sob story. That's a human thing, not a faith thing.

     

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  93.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 21st, 2014 @ 8:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    only those churches on the right-wing fundamentalist end of the religious spectrum


    Good clarification. I never meant to imply otherwise.

     

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  94.  
    identicon
    Pragmatic, Jan 21st, 2014 @ 8:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Most people who believe that evolution is a proven fact are people who believe in God.


    Thank you. I'm one of them.

     

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  95.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 21st, 2014 @ 8:52am

    Re: Re:

    Anonymous Coward wrote
    Sure it isn't exactly right but I can certainly understand being willing to do anything to get out of poverty and the vast temptation that the first world presents.

    I assume the $500,000 this scammer is giving to Nigeria's poor is simply being held up at the bank. Once they receive the $10,000 in customs and handling fees I wired yesterday, the money will be free and clear and UNICEF will get its check.

     

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  96.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2014 @ 12:16am

    So called religious people do bad things, hell look at the Muslims.

     

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  97.  
    identicon
    Pragmatic, Jan 22nd, 2014 @ 9:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No harm, no foul.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  98.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 8:31am

    Re: Re:

    Osmium? Sounds like something that's a little bit country and a little bit rock-n-roll and could only be delivered by a team of crazy horses.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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