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richard
Posted on Wednesday, March 08, 2006 - 05:52 am:   

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/07/national/07abortion.html?th&emc=th

Be afraid.............be VERY afraid
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Neal Asher
Posted on Wednesday, March 08, 2006 - 08:54 am:   

Nice business opportunity in the nearest state where it isn't banned: just build a clinic by the state line.
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richard
Posted on Wednesday, March 08, 2006 - 09:22 am:   

at the moment, yeah. But if these people get their way in the long term, the nearest state where it isn't banned is likely to be Canada.
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AT
Posted on Wednesday, March 08, 2006 - 01:04 pm:   

This attitude is an American export, too, aggressively pushed. Here are my pieces (in my blog) in the past few days.
The first one:
http://medlarcomfits.blogspot.com/2006/03/but-if-she-wasnt-religious-well-having .html
The second one:
http://medlarcomfits.blogspot.com/2006/03/simply-put-now-is-time.html
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paulw
Posted on Wednesday, March 08, 2006 - 01:23 pm:   

Not only that, but these folks want to make it illegal for women to travel out of state for an abortion even if it is legal in the state to which they are traveling.
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AT
Posted on Wednesday, March 08, 2006 - 03:09 pm:   

Paulw, is there a Constitution left?

It makes me think of this poem:

WHEN ADAM DAY BY DAY

When Adam day by day
Woke up in Paradise,
He always used to say
"Oh, this is very nice."

But Eve from scenes of bliss
Transported him for life.
The more I think of this
he more I beat my wife.

- A.E. Housman
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Neal Asher
Posted on Thursday, March 09, 2006 - 01:58 am:   

This kind of thing is why we need a firm secular definition of what a human being is and why its life should be valued, or not.
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Lawrence A
Posted on Thursday, March 09, 2006 - 03:24 am:   

yeah man this is the worst abuse of human rights and freedoms that is happening right now in the world, it really is. I mean there is no way you can compare the ongoing genocide in Darfur, the systematic murder of the Dinka and other ethnic groups in Sudan and the mass murder, maiming, pillaging, rapes, torture and abducution of children as soldiers in Uganda and the Congo to this horror in S Dakota.

Glad to see that Morgan and Tambour have their priorities in order, and an accurate perspective on contemporary crises in world affairs. I mean next to the arrest of these characters this very week
http://www.yorkshiretoday.co.uk/ViewArticle2.aspx?SectionID=55&ArticleID=1376320
in Morgan's UK for possible terror related offences, the Dakota thing across the Atlantic is not only far more newsworthy, but something Morgan is naturally more afraid of. And the fact that news broke this selfsame week of a Yemen newspaper editor who now may face a state execution for publishing those Danish cartoons http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4786322.stm is likewise not such a big deal re human rights abuse. I mean he's a blasphemer so he got what he asked for.



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Neal Asher
Posted on Thursday, March 09, 2006 - 03:59 am:   

So, because there's some bad shit happening in the world, the less-bad shit should be ignored? For goodness sake wipe the spittle off your screen.
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paulw
Posted on Thursday, March 09, 2006 - 04:56 am:   

What, Lawrence A, is there a limited number of outrages against human worth and dignity that you can wrap your mind around at one time? Or is it only that the South Dakota debacle is directed primarily against women, so it really doesn't matter in the larger scheme of things, in the light of truly serious offenses such as the ones you mention. In fact, they are all related, and if you can't see that, I'm sorry for you.
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Lawrence A
Posted on Thursday, March 09, 2006 - 06:03 am:   

the truly serious offences or bad shit as Asher puts it are the ones never mentioned by Morgan - that's the point I'm making, which is naturally over everyone's head.

As far as crimes against women are concerned, Paulw you lamebrain, I suggest you pay a visit to the Persian Gulf, Pakistan, and north Africa, where honour killings, genital mutilations, forced marriages including adult men to underage girls, and allround mistreatment of women are routine - the point is that Morgan will never initiate a thread on the horrific human rights abuses of women in these countries.

that's the point Paulw which you don't get.

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Shrouding Lawrence A
Posted on Thursday, March 09, 2006 - 07:11 am:   

Jesus, another fuckwit. At least this wasn't a 5 kB screed like usual.

Lawrence, your towering intellect is obviously wasted here. Why don't you and Thomas R get together and start -Brokeback Forum-?
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paulw
Posted on Thursday, March 09, 2006 - 07:23 am:   

Lawrence A, the point that you don't get is that all these crimes against women are related, and that they don't arise from one particular culture or country but are found, and must be opposed, everywhere. By pointing to the injustice of South Dakota's law, I am not dismissing or denying other, perhaps for now more egregious, crimes against women (and other groups) occurring elsewhere. You seem to feel that as long as others have it worse elsewhere, the US can claim the moral highground. This is not a tenable position.
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richard
Posted on Thursday, March 09, 2006 - 07:37 am:   

oh god not Lawrence again

Okay, see, Larry, in addition to Paul and Neal's points above, you might want to consider that Sudan doesn't often go round claiming to be a guiding beacon of democracy and civilisation to the rest of the world. Africa is a fucking mess, and no-one expects to see anything but evidence of that mess when you look there. America - we are told - is the home of modern democracy and civilised values. Hence the jaw-drop on this Dakota bullshit. If you want an analogy, no-one was very surprised by the post-tsunami mess in south east Asia, because those countries are under-developed and don't have the civilisational infrastructure to deal well with natural disasters. But we were all stunned by the footage coming out of Louisiana after Katrina because, fuck, this was supposed to be the richest, most powerful and most modern nation on Earth. it's a simple question of expectations. Do you really think we should expect no more from America in civilisational terms than from some civil war-torn failed state in East Africa?
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AT
Posted on Thursday, March 09, 2006 - 05:22 pm:   

Lawrence,
Your comments are as relevant re Sudan here as they would be in a football thread. What people are doing about Sudan is not the topic here, but for your information, I know I'm not the only one on this board actually doing. Many of us do all sorts of things that we don't mention on this board. What do we accomplish? What can anyone accomplish if there are not enough people interested, and people don't speak up? If we are content to live with situations as they are? I know a guy whose whole life is peacemaking in a place where there has been no peace, and there is none for the foreseeable future, and the children are growing up to hate. He still works for it. But he doesn't brag about what he does, nor kill himself for his failure, nor berate others because they don't fucking care. The point in this discussion (minus you) is that there are people here who do care about a range of issues, who can look beyond one act to see consquences, and who try to think and act constructively. Why don't you try to be a constructive force in the world?

Here's a little something that I did a disgustingly long time ago to be a button, and that floats around the web. I shouldn't feel the need to justify myself in front of you, nor should anyone else, because your comments are never constructive, but I can't help thinking that people like you would benefit, seeing this little graphic.

Again.jpg

And if you read the posts that I put on my blog about this thread topic, you would have found quite a few links worth reading.

Here they are, so that you don't have to read my postings but can go straight to what I linked my text to.

Hyperlinks in:
But if she wasn't religious, well, having the baby'd serve her right

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/law/jan-june06/abortion_3-03.html

http://www.overlookpress.com/book.php?ISBN=1-58567-389-7

http://www.fpa.net.au/

http://atheism.about.com/od/abortioncontraception/p/BirthControl.htm

http://www.aegis.com/news/ips/1996/IP960901.html


Hyperlinks in "Simply put, now is the time"

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/gate/archive/2006/03/03/notes030306.DTL&type=printable

http://www.theage.com.au/news/opinion/australia-forgets-its-own-democratic-principles/2006/02/09/1139465790450.html?page=2

http://www.hrw.org/

http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2005/09/07/supreme_court_term_limits/


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AT
Posted on Thursday, March 09, 2006 - 05:24 pm:   

Sorry that that graphic came out so big.
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Lawrence A
Posted on Friday, March 10, 2006 - 01:49 am:   

"shrouding Lawrence A" calling me a fuckwit is nothing but projection on your part. Why don't you stop hiding behind new pseudonyms whenever you post, stupid putz.

Actually the Sudanese and their ilk are never self-critical and consider themselves superior to the West and the Khartoum regime recently kicked out a bunch of foreign journalists from a press conference in Khartoum after journalists there started asking hard questions of the regime, in fact by the very fact that the Khartoum govt is a religious fundamentalist one, it is convinced it is a guiding light of how to live and act according to God's/Allah's will as are the murderous Janjaweed that they back. So Richard you get it wrong as always. African regimes are always ignoring their own brutality and kleptocracy and point fingers at the West, which has the aim of detracting the populace from their own regime's brutality and corruption. Richard you do the same.

And it is racist of you Richard to hold America or any other Western nation to unprecedented standards of ethics and morality in the history of western so-called civilisation (why all of a sudden, America blitzed Cambodia and financed death squads in Central America so why do you hold it to standards it has never achieved?) while giving warlords and tryants and thieving killers and deranged fanatics in Africa a free ride simply because that's their history.

Why's that Richard? Are we to expect less from Africans just because you expect less from them? While at the same time we hold America and the West to much higher ethical and moral standards merely because they are uh Western? The racism of the so-called non-racist "Left" is simply obvious here but you won't see it Richard and neither would those like-mindless. So Richard is on record as excusing Africans to behave in a destructive and murderous and thieving fashion simply because they often do so, while at the same time he expects Westerners and Americans not to. As if the former are somehow naturally sub-human who can only be expected to act accordingly (they're Africans after all) and the latter failing in their easy to realise potential superhumaneness, being white and American, why it's all just so infuriating.

The fact that you hold Africans, not so much to a low standard of morality and ethics but a non-existent standard, and hold the Western nations to a standard they have never attained in their history, is racist period. As if the former are not human and not expected to behave humanely and the latter more than human and expected to act accordingly. Talk about moral relativism. How is that any different from the racism of white South Africans and the KKK and antebellum and Jim Crow South and the anti-black racism of white Westerners as a whole?

You don't ever criticise Sudan Richard and the horrific abuses of women in the Third World because it don't fit your ideological script, and your PC filter filters it all out. That's why.

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Alistair Rennie
Posted on Friday, March 10, 2006 - 03:07 am:   

A crass response, Lawrence. Crass and stupid. Sludges of foam dripping from your mouth, nothing more.

Anyway, this spurious, lame, weakly inflammatory accusation of racism is a nothing more than a slur that, anyone can see, doesn't stick. I resent it and am happy to declare that I am today poised to order a new pile of books, among which are a couple of Richard's, which I very much look forward to reading. It's all about grip, Lawrence. And you don't have one.

The point is that we should and must hold western nations to standards that, whether or not they have actually attained them, is besides the point. They shoulad at the very least be striving to attain them and we are entitled to demand that they do and to criticise them voraciously when they clearly don't. Even while perfect government, perfect society or whatever is an imposibility, to strive towards it and insist upon it (however abstract that concept seems) means that there will at least be continual improvement. We are quite entitled demand standards, whether or not our countries have ever had them. If we didn't do that, we'd still be burning women at the stake (which is what this Dakato issue may well yet lead to).

And, moreover, nobody here is holding the US (in this case) to some kind of standard it doesn't possess. They are holding the US accountable to standards that it (as Richard clearly says above) CLAIMS to possess to almost fanatical proportions. Bush's government have sort of colonised the word "freedom". And the meaning of the word is so bent out of shape by now that it no longer seems to mean anything other than "the world according to us."

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Lawrence A
Posted on Friday, March 10, 2006 - 03:39 am:   

Rennie you are going round and round in circles, using a moral relativist argument to justify a moral relativist conclusion.

You just repeat Morgan's moral relativism re the West and the rest of the world as some kind of liberal manifesto.

Your post Rennie is nonsensical and moronic and thinking that the Dakota issue is going to lead to women being burned at the stake again...in America is standard shrill Lefty hysteria, baseless exaggeration and utter stupidity.

You really need to get a grip Rennie, 'cause you have lost it.

As for who has twisted the word freedom, everybody twists the word to suit their own ends you moron. The Jacobins did it in revolutionary France. Everybody does it, the Soviets did it, Mao did it, the Khmer Rouge did it, Castro, McCarthy, Thatcher etc etc.
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richard
Posted on Friday, March 10, 2006 - 05:00 am:   

FAO Lawrence A:

"The treatment of women in Sudan, Pakistan and other comparable states is disgraceful, barbaric and an offense against civilised humanity which needs to be countered in whatever (productive) ways are available."

Signed

Richard Morgan

Happy now?

Good. Let's get back to dealing with the issue of South Dakota.......
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richard
Posted on Friday, March 10, 2006 - 05:08 am:   

btw - I'd be pissed off with you for the attempt to tar me as a racist, if it weren't so pitifully obvious that you are, once again, disappearing up your own arse. I quote:

"African regimes are always ignoring their own brutality and kleptocracy and point fingers at the West, which has the aim of detracting the populace from their own regime's brutality and corruption."

closely followed by:

"Are we to expect less from Africans just because you expect less from them?"

Well you evidently do have low expectations of African societies - because you've just said so. But for me to make the same statement is racist? Yeah, right.
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Shrouding Lawrence A
Posted on Friday, March 10, 2006 - 05:25 am:   

--"shrouding Lawrence A" calling me a fuckwit is nothing but projection on your part. Why don't you stop hiding behind new pseudonyms whenever you post, stupid putz.--

Wrong in one, Lorenzo, old bean. Just another occasional lurker who calls it like it is. From what I gather, frank, intelligent discussions and differences of opinion are welcomed on this forum, and it's a handful of fuckwits - that would be you in that subset, pal - that denigrate the boards. Have a spiffy day.
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richard
Posted on Friday, March 10, 2006 - 05:54 am:   

Personally, Lawrence, I have no particularly high or low opinion of African INDIVIDUALS, just as I have no high or low opinion of American individuals, or for that matter British individuals. To do so would be jingoistic in the extreme.

What we are talking about here is the fabric of societies, which is to say the legal, ethical and communal structure of those societies and what we can expect from that structure. Suppose a family are walking down the street in Madison Wisconsin (nice town, by the way, from the brief acquaintance I had with it), and men armed with machine guns leap out of a side alley, hold them up, rape and brutalise the women and children in the party, and then shoot everybody to death. In the wake of such an atrocity, the reaction of the Madison citizenry is not going to be "Oh, well......what can you expect? This sort of thing happens in Sudan all the time." Citizens of middle American cities do not expect to have their lives torn apart in this way because there is a social infrastructure that prevents it. Citizens of poverty-stricken, war-torn repressive regimes in Africa or elsewhere do not have access to that civilisational infrastructure, and so can expect to suffer exactly these kind of depredations, and regularly do. For that reason, I'm not driven to statements of stunned disbelief when I read about them.

For a woman to have control over her own body is a basic human right, which in most civilised nations is no longer disputed at an executive or legislative level. Our expectations as citizens of a civilised and well ordered society is that this right is entrenched, and in no more danger of being challenged than the right of a black man to use the same toilets and restaurants as a white man. There are, of course, religious lunatics who might be unhappy about this, but then there are also lunatics who believe in the superiority of the White Race (whatever exactly that constitutes) over anyone with dark skin - in a civilised society, we don't take the views of either of these groups seriously (though their existence is of course a cause for concern in much the same way as bird flu). Therefore, to see this kind of idiot psychosis emerging on the statute books of a civilised nation, is a major shock, and a blow to civilised society. I do not understand why you can't see this rather rudimentary point.
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Trashhauler
Posted on Friday, March 10, 2006 - 10:38 am:   

This issue does relate to the fabric of society, but US society is not monolithic. One presumes that the South Dakotan legislature will pay whatever price is exacted by the electorate for their action. If the people there approve of the measure, then they'll validate it by reelecting the legislators. This will probably be challenged in court. Even if not challenged, it is not necessarily a calamity.

Surely, not many other states - no Blue states, in any case - are going to follow suit with such a measure. But it does make one wonder what would happen if all the states made independent decisions about abortion, particularly those with the referendum process. Are we going to see a state by state polarization along the abortion fault lines? And, if so, is that necessarily the worst thing that could happen?
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Alistair
Posted on Friday, March 10, 2006 - 01:18 pm:   

Lawrence: "As for who has twisted the word freedom, everybody twists the word to suit their own ends you moron [!]. The Jacobins did it in revolutionary France. Everybody does it, the Soviets did it, Mao did it, the Khmer Rouge did it, Castro, McCarthy, Thatcher."

--and Bush.

Thanks, Lawrence, that's exactly what I was getting at. Bush on a par with the Kymer Rouge and Chairman Mao. Couldn't have put it better myself.

Carry on.
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richard
Posted on Friday, March 10, 2006 - 03:47 pm:   

>>Are we going to see a state by state polarization along the abortion fault lines? And, if so, is that necessarily the worst thing that could happen?<<

If you're an American woman, then, yup, I think it is pretty much the worst thing that could happen (short of the whole nation being dragged into a ban which, I think, is a likely eventual consequence of the polarisation you mention)

I admire your faith in the electoral wisdom of the South Dakotans, but I have a horrible suspicion that the "values" armlock the Right seem to have on reasoned debate will trump specifics like this.
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Matt Hughes
Posted on Friday, March 10, 2006 - 05:26 pm:   

but I have a horrible suspicion that the "values" armlock the Right seem to have on reasoned debate will trump specifics like this.

I don't know about that. The largest political constituency in the US comprises those who don't vote, because they don't believe there's anything voting for. But they might well be ready to come out and vote against something, and this could be it. It will be interesting to watch.

Matt Hughes
www.archonate.com
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paulw
Posted on Saturday, March 11, 2006 - 06:12 am:   

Matt, polls suggest the American electorate would on the whole punish legislators who enact restrictions on abortion similar to those in South Dakota, should they pass court review, as seems increasingly likely they would. But once the laws are on the books, and have the imprimatur of the Supreme Court behind them, it is not so easy to reverse them. New legislators can attempt to repeal the laws or enact new ones, but these attempts will be subject to court challenges on constitutional grounds, where, with the makeup of the current court, which may become more conservative still before the end of Bush's term, it is quite possible that they will be rejected. We may well see a Balkanization of abortion rights among various states -- and as I noted in an earlier post, many of the anti-abortion laws currently under consideration will make it illegal to travel to, and return from, a state where abortion is legal for the purpose of having an abortion. Obviously anything so sweeping will also be subject to court challenges, but again the results are impossible to predict. All in all, I don't feel too optimistic about the future of choice in this country, both in its narrow sense, vis-a-vis abortion, and its broadest possible contexts.
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Thomas R.
Posted on Saturday, March 11, 2006 - 05:41 pm:   

But if these people get their way in the long term, the nearest state where it isn't banned is likely to be Canada.

TR: Unlikely. Many to most US states have a fairly strong majority of Pro-Choicers. Also there is no way this will survive in court, not even this court.

It is an attempt to get the thing banned, but unlikely to be one that succeeds. It's also a cause celebre to get people hyped up to vote Democrat I suppose, hence the point of this thread, but how well it'll do that is uncertain. The House is probably going to go Democratic this election anyway and the Senate might as well.

It's actual real world impact is probably very minimal. South Dakota has few abortion clinics or abortions anyway. Most states that would try this are likewise. They won't get the chance to do even that as it's highly unlikely any court, even this one, would allow any state to be this strict. The law will probably be struck down before reaching the Supremes.

In principle I'd of course be for much of what they're doing or in least for a states right to try this. Although by not allowing even sensible exceptions they made something that's just going to die without any influence.
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richard
Posted on Sunday, March 12, 2006 - 10:31 am:   

>>In principle I'd of course be for much of what they're doing or in least for a states right to try this. Although by not allowing even sensible exceptions they made something that's just going to die without any influence.<<

I'm curious, TR - what constitutes a "sensible" exception? I mean, once you insist on your principle (which, correct me if I'm wrong, is the old Pope's stand-by that unborn embryos and foetuses are human souls and lives indisinguishable in moral terms from you and me) how are you going to allow any exceptions except the one SD is prepared to entertain (threat to the life of the mother). After all, if a woman is raped, she doesn't have a legal right to murder her rapist; why then would you permit her the right to murder the unborn child of said rapist. You wouldn't be permitted to murder a person simply because they had been born of an incestuous relationship; why should you be permitted to abort that person before they are born? Seems to me you're on slippery ground here......and slipping dangerously close to a humane, rational humanist stance (in which case, you are most welcome with us here in the modern age. What can I get you from the bar?)
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Trashhauler
Posted on Sunday, March 12, 2006 - 11:28 am:   

What South Dakota passed is almost exactly what the Catholic Church still teaches. It is, at least, consistent.
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Thomas R.
Posted on Sunday, March 12, 2006 - 01:26 pm:   

richardI'm curious, TR - what constitutes a "sensible" exception?

TR: The exemptions that are mainstream in countries that restrict abortion and in this case that could be accepted by the people of South Dakota.

I mean, once you insist on your principle (which, correct me if I'm wrong, is the old Pope's stand-by that unborn embryos and foetuses are human souls

TR: My religious principle does not need to be the same as my scientific or legal principle. You have this need to believe that I think Catholic principles should be law or that my views on abortion are solely religious in nature.

From a scientific or legal perspective restrictions before the eighth week of conception are implausible. The brain of the fetus, foetus is a mistake in British spelling which is scientifically non-standard, doesn't exist before the eighth week. Some would argue that the neural network is not fully formed until the 33rd week, but worrying about that does get to a very slippery slope. This is because neural interconnections before age three after birth are also incomplete in many ways. So limiting or banning abortion after the eighth week is likely the most a society can do.

Even on Catholic teaching it does allow tolerance for an evil to avoid a greater evil. Allowing the exemptions and compromises necessary to have any such law is better than having the liberal abortion laws of the present US. In principle though yes abortion remains morally wrong in early weeks and also in cases of rape or incest. However many things are morally wrong, but can't and shouldn't be made illegal.

rational humanist stance (in which case, you are most welcome with us here in the modern age. What can I get you from the bar?)

TR: The modern world is not now nor ever was solely defined by middle to upper class people in London or Stockholm. Most of the world's people, even modern people, are not rational humanists.

The US also has some of the most liberal abortion laws in the world. In this case even more liberal than the Swedes who do restrict it after the 18th week. I direct you to the center for reproductive laws. The US is in the "without restriction" column. However unlike Sweden or France there is no asterix indicating there are any gestational restrictions. The only provisos are on parental consent. The Swiss have no provisos whatsoever, but the US is clearly among the least restrictive. Our abortion rate is the highest outside the former or current Communist world, exempting Sweden. Granted that's more because of our rates of poverty and lack of aid to unwed mothers.
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richard
Posted on Monday, March 13, 2006 - 05:10 am:   

Thank you for satisfying my curiosity, TR....

....though I still think your basic human decency is getting the better of your religious principles here, and inevitably turning you into a better person (ie the classic patriarchal constructs of God's Will and Papal Infallibility get subordinated to a smaller scale but infinitely more humane concern for individuals and their local circumstances. Like I said - welcome).

>>Most of the world's people, even modern people, are not rational humanists.<<

Most of the world's people are not MODERN, since they recoil at the complexities that human progress has revealed and prefer knee-jerk reaction to rational thought. It's an unfortunate situation, but given the appalling record of almost all government in the areas of development and education, it's perhaps not surprising. In the absence of decent educative coding and the presence of a palpable lack of justice from those charged with governing, human beings will inevitably fall back on instinctive, gene-based behaviour - might makes right, difference is frightening, do what the big dominant male tells you, fuck and fill your belly. Religion is merely the bulk of this tendency given a thin mantle of scriptural respectability. And the extent to which it departs from this path is exactly the extent to which it has been sapped by rational human inquiry. The process is on-going, we can but hope it won't get reversed.
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Thomas R.
Posted on Monday, March 13, 2006 - 02:14 pm:   

I have a sense of what's plausible or reasonable in a multicultural democracy. I was also born after Vatican II. Although even before Vatican II there was a sense that in a majority non-Catholic or non-Christian society certain things were impossible. If you asked me if Malta should end it's laws on abortion, which are as strict as the proposed SD ones, you'd get a rather different answer.

I also assure you that your understanding of rational humanism or your view of what's "decent" I find elitist and repellent. Basically you judged or dismissed most everyone of all times as beneath you. I could never be that snobbish. I could never seek the "progress" that comes from destroying every other mindset or religion out there. Granted that's just a personal preference thing, many Catholics or Christians do favor that kind of destruction. I'm not an Evangelist though, you or Pat Robertson are otherwise.

I assure you though I have no more interest in your bizarre notions than I would in those of any other Evangelical preacher. And with that I bid you adieu.
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richard
Posted on Tuesday, March 14, 2006 - 04:28 am:   

heh, heh, heh.........
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richard
Posted on Tuesday, March 14, 2006 - 04:47 am:   

oh, p.s. -

>>Basically you judged or dismissed most everyone of all times as beneath you. I could never be that snobbish.<<

No, but you could - and presumably do - avow that there is one true God, that only through Jesus Christ can mankind be saved, and that anyone (eg Hindus, Animists, anybody living longer than 2,000 years ago) who doesn't partake of this faith is barking up the wrong tree. (Either that, or you're the most bizarre form of Catholic I've ever come across). So you practice a more limited snobbery than mine, perhaps, but an undeniable one nonetheless.

Lighten up, TR - accepting that previous generations were comparatively ignorant is not a sin; a hundred and fifty years ago in the southern US, slavery was a widely accepted practice. Is it snobbery to view this with revulsion? Go back a couple more centuries and they were burning witches at the stake. Is dismissing this as superstitious barbarism a sign of snobbish elitism? People used to believe that the world was flat and that the stars were set in a crystal sphere. Do we have to offer some pseudo-populist reverence of that as well? Come ON!
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James M. Pfundstein
Posted on Tuesday, March 14, 2006 - 08:27 am:   

richard the redeless wrote:


quote:

No, but you could - and presumably do - avow that there is one true God, that only through Jesus Christ can mankind be saved, and that anyone (eg Hindus, Animists, anybody living longer than 2,000 years ago) who doesn't partake of this faith is barking up the wrong tree. (Either that, or you're the most bizarre form of Catholic I've ever come across).




This is mere squawking ignorance, you know. Dante, not the most liberal of Catholics, puts one Pagan (Cato of Utica) in charge of admission to Purgatory and another (Trajan, who authorized the persecution of Christians) in Heaven. No one but a bigot would identify a particular form of religious ritual with virtue and, contrary to your evident belief, not all Christians are bigots.

To have an opinion about the existence and nature of God is no more "snobbish" than to have any other opinion that other people disagree with (about, say, beer, or politics, or gravity).

JMP
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Sue
Posted on Tuesday, March 14, 2006 - 03:08 pm:   

It's quite clear that South Dakotan lawmakers view women as baby-machines first and foremost, and are willing to restrict their rights to self-determination over their own bodies because of it. I suspect that they are influenced by religion in this, as this is traditionally how women are seen in Judeo-Christianity and in Islam, among others.

I thought it would be interesting to take a peek at how an evolutionary biologist views pregnancy. Interestingly, they see it not as the God-given responsibility of Eve to fulfill God's will that humans be fruitful and multiply -- but as a silent biological struggle between the mother and the fetus -- who is after all, an alien incubus only partially carrying her genes. :-)

An excerpt:


quote:

Pregnancy can be the most wonderful experience life has to offer. But it can also be dangerous. Around the world, an estimated 529,000 women a year die during pregnancy or childbirth. Ten million suffer injuries, infection or disability. To David Haig, an evolutionary biologist at Harvard, these grim statistics raise a profound puzzle about pregnancy.

Pregnancy is absolutely central to reproduction, and yet pregnancy doesn't seem to work very well," he said. "If you think about the heart or the kidney, they're wonderful bits of engineering that work day in and day out for years and years. But pregnancy is associated with all sorts of medical problems. What's the difference?"

The difference is that the heart and the kidney belong to a single individual, while pregnancy is a two-person operation. And this operation does not run in perfect harmony. Instead, Dr. Haig argues, a mother and her unborn child engage in an unconscious struggle over the nutrients she will provide it.

Dr. Haig's theory has been gaining support in recent years, as scientists examine the various ways pregnancy can go wrong.

His theory also explains a baffling feature of developing fetuses: the copies of some genes are shut down, depending on which parent they come from. Dr. Haig has also argued that the same evolutionary conflicts can linger on after birth and even influence the adult brain. New research has offered support to this idea as well. By understanding these hidden struggles, scientists may be able to better understand psychological disorders like depression and autism.





Now, I'm not saying I agree with everything the article has to say about pregnancy and evolution, but I wanted to insert it into this discussion because all of us already know what religion thinks about abortion, pregnancy and women.

Why not consider what evolutionary biology has to say?

Does an appreciation of the whole evolution of sexual reproduction demystify it and lead to a different view of abortion than held by those governed by religious belief?

Does Atheism lead a person to be pro-choice?
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richard
Posted on Tuesday, March 14, 2006 - 07:29 pm:   

James -

>>To have an opinion about the existence and nature of God is no more "snobbish" than to have any other opinion that other people disagree with (about, say, beer, or politics, or gravity).<<

Yes, quite - and if you took the trouble to read the previous posts, you'd see that snobbery was not a concept I introduced here, it's Thomas's own. He calls me a snob because I dismiss religious belief in favour of rational humanism (my own particular "opinion about the existence and nature of God" - ie that there isn't one); I was merely pointing out how ludicrous his stance is, since by the very act of holding ANY firm belief, we all dismiss other contradictory beliefs as a matter of course. You cannot believe in the Christian god AND believe that the Hindus, Animists and Odinn worshippers got it right as well. Hence my point about trees and barking up them. In religious terms, once you've chosen your tree, you've got to believe the other dogs are wrong.

Quite what this has to do with a work of fictional verse by a long dead Italian, I'm not sure - unless you mean to argue that Catholics believe in the literal truth of Dante's fiction. Do you?

Moving swiftly on:

>>No one but a bigot would identify a particular form of religious ritual with virtue <<

Well, James, you must have read different history books to me then, because as far as I'm aware that's what the bulk of religions, including Christianity, have been doing since time immemorial - and those less bigoted indviduals who didn't toe the line and thought more tolerance was in order were more often than not put to death in some excruciatingly painful fashion. These days of course, with the advance of a more civilised outlook on life, token gestures in the direction of intra-faith tolerance are more common - though not generally among Southern baptists, I note.

>>contrary to your evident belief, not all Christians are bigots<<

Actually, once again, you haven't read the text very carefully - I wouldn't say (and certainly haven't said here) that all Christians are bigots (though organised faith certainly is a marvellous vehicle for bigotry). In fact, to the extent that I've actually stated my belief on this subject at all, what I said was that the process of religious bigotry softening into a wider tolerance has been very much driven by rational human inquiry, which is by definition at odds with the concept of faith because it demands rational explanations rather than resting on blind belief.
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richard
Posted on Tuesday, March 14, 2006 - 08:06 pm:   

Hi Sue,

Nice angle - I've always been fascinated by the foetus-as-parasite dynamic; it's exactly the sort of fucked up nastiness you expect from the natural world.

As to whether atheism would automatically lead you to be pro-choice, I would guess not - you don't have to be religious to be a sex fascist, you just have to consider women an inferior species.

But a lack of religious faith certainly makes it easier to address the salients intelligently - if you don't believe in an immortal soul, then you don't have to slither about desperately trying to square that with (for example) the latest medical findings on the process of twinning - do identical twins share a single soul, and if not where does the second one come from, or are souls divisible; has a twin which subsumes its sibling in the womb committed murder; what about Siamese twins; etc, etc... Instead, freed from this angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin idiocy, you can just sit down and work out the human costs and the humane solutions to the problem. In the end this comes down to drawing lines for ourselves, rather than wishing desperately that there was a God-given line already in place.

One of the things I find is rarely considered by gung-ho pro-life legislators is the fact that most women don't have abortions for fun; terminating a pregnancy does amount to snuffing out a potential human being, and no-one is more aware of that, I think, than the woman having the procedure. I know a number of women who've had abortions and they all suffered some degree of regret and emotional damage as a result - but not one of them that I've talked to about it would have preferred not to have had the choice.
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James M. Pfundstein
Posted on Wednesday, March 15, 2006 - 08:05 am:   

After I cited Dante on the salvation of some pagans, richard redelessly remarked

quote:

what this [discussion] has to do with a work of fictional verse by a long dead Italian, I'm not sure




It means that Dante, by no means a contemporary ecumenical Christian, did not feel that non-Christians were necessarily "barking up the wrong tree" in the terms of your brilliantly original but not especially applicable metaphor. Also: fiction, schmiction. If you don't think Dante's _Commedia_ is drenched in Catholic theology and medieval philosophy, you obviously haven't read it.

richard moved swiftly on:


quote:

James, you must have read different history books to me then




Generally I find that, when someone cites unspecified "history" to support their claims, they're blowing smoke out of some orifice not designed (intelligently or otherwise) for that purpose.

All you can show, if you did cite some relevant history (for instance, the Inquisition, the Albigensian Crusades or similar blots on the escutcheon of human civilization) is that some Christians have felt this way and acted accordingly. But modern atheists have been as ruthless and bloodthirsty in their pursuit of ideological purity. (Stalin and Pol Pot leap to mind.) This is clearly a human trait, not one attached to any particular belief system or lack thereof.

The notion that virtue and specific religious practices and beliefs are not identical is not a novel one, derived from "rational inquiry" or other things supposed to be modern inventions. (In case you missed it, that's a big shout out to Socrates, Ockham and all the old boys at the Hemlock Club.) This notion is hard-wired into Christianity. See, for instance, Matthew 7:15-23.

None of this, by the way, is meant in support of the fat-headed SoDak legislators and governor. As far as I'm concerned, they can crawl up their own smoking orifices and disappear.

JMP
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richard
Posted on Wednesday, March 15, 2006 - 09:54 am:   

Okay, let's nail this down because it's getting silly -

James: 1) Are you a Christian?

2) If you are, do you also believe in Odinn the Allfather and his band of Aesir? Do you believe in Krishna, Kali et al? (NB - not: do you believe that worshippers of these gods will be given a pass and let into heaven on the basis of "oh well, nice try, you weren't to know" - do you actually BELIEVE in the existence of the deities these worshippers honour(ed) in the same way you believe in God the father and his son Jesus Christ?)

If your answers to these two questions are yes and no respectively, then I think we've proved beyond reasonable doubt what I was saying about dogs barking up trees. If not, then I await a fascinating discussion over the parameters of your exact brand of Christianity, which is certainly one I've never heard of.
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jim
Posted on Wednesday, March 15, 2006 - 10:10 am:   

the Divine Comedy (if you'll pardon my crass use of English) is hardly considered any kind of definitive text in terms of religious accuracy. Neither is Milton for that matter. And, um, hello, just how many heathens and pagans did Dante place in Heaven? One? Wow, obviously that trumps both dogmatic and doctrinal teachings of the Catholic faith. From someone who studied to become a priest, I can assure you NOBODY in the Catholic Church is citing Dante as anything but a work of fiction. NOBODY thinks Trajan is in heaven because Dante's work says so. YIKES.
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Sue
Posted on Wednesday, March 15, 2006 - 12:58 pm:   


quote:

One of the things I find is rarely considered by gung-ho pro-life legislators is the fact that most women don't have abortions for fun; terminating a pregnancy does amount to snuffing out a potential human being, and no-one is more aware of that, I think, than the woman having the procedure. I know a number of women who've had abortions and they all suffered some degree of regret and emotional damage as a result - but not one of them that I've talked to about it would have preferred not to have had the choice.




Agreed, Richard. I can only think these people must be ideologically blind to reality through adherence to a religious doctrine, or they have no appreciation of how women feel about unwanted pregnancy and its realities. Or they are just plain old misogynists.

I had two pregnancies and both were wanted. With both, the most horrific thought was that I might lose them. But to a woman who does not want to be pregnant? Submitting to a pregnancy and birth against one's will would be a horror.

Women don't relish the idea of having an abortion, and it is likely an agonizing decision for them, but they are willing to undergo one in order to not be pregnant. In fact, many women are so desperate to have abortions, they will travel far and wide, pay money out of pocket, in order to get them legally. If they can't get them legally, they'll pay some back-street abortionist to perform one, risking life and limb. Or worse, they'll try to do it themselves with coat hangers or poisons and end up killing themselves and their fetus. Failing that, some women -- especially young girls in denial -- will hide the pregnancy and resort to infanticide to avoid being mothers.

In a civilized society -- one that recognizes women's right to self-determination and security of the person -- we do all we can to prevent unplanned pregnancy without restricting the rights and freedoms of the woman or women. That means providing safe, inexpensive (or better, free) contraception, sex education, promoting responsible sexual behavior, safer sex. When that fails, when women become pregnant against their choice, they are provided quick access to safe abortions in the first trimester -- on demand. That should take care of the bulk of unwanted pregnancies through prevention and through termination early on.

After the second trimester, I'm willing to see some restrictions in cases where the fetus is viable, but that's a personal opinion.
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James M. Pfundstein
Posted on Wednesday, March 15, 2006 - 04:10 pm:   

richard, getting out his hammer and nails:


quote:

Okay, let's nail this down because it's getting silly -




Does one always nail down silly things? It seems a little extreme, but I'd be for it in some cases. The Energizer Bunny, for instance, or Star Trek TM novels.

reverend richard intoned:


quote:

James: 1) Are you a Christian?




I'll leave that as an exercise for your rational inquiry. (Surely you wouldn't accept my answer on faith? That's the bad thing, isn't it?) My religious beliefs aren't really relevant, anyway. Christianity is a historical phenomenon, existing independently of anyone's particular religious opinions or lack thereof, and I would not discuss it with you on any other grounds.

But what you (and jim) seem to miss is that Catholic dogma doesn't bark up only one tree. Someone who's not a Catholic or a Christian can be saved when others who are Catholics or Christians are damned. On this point, Dante is quite orthodox, and that was the point of citing him. There's at least one other pagan in Dante's _Paradiso_ (or _Heaven_, I suppose I should call it to avoid offending sensitive spirits like jim): i.e. Ripheus. jim, counting noses, may not be impressed by the number three, but if so he will miss an important point: Dante is not performing a census of the afterlife; anyone he goes out of his way to mention is significant somehow. (And 3, in particular, is the key to most of the number games Dante plays in the _Commedia_.)

richard sputtered:


quote:

do you actually BELIEVE in the existence of the deities these worshippers honour(ed) in the same way you believe in God the father and his son Jesus Christ?)




A Christian could come to believe in the reality of non-Christian gods by several different routes. She could argue that non-Christian gods actually exist because they are demons who took divine forms to delude human beings. (This sort of thing was asserted all the time in early Christianity.) He could argue that the gods were misunderstood perceptions of unfallen angels. (I can't offhand think of anyone who argues this seriously, unless you count C. S. Lewis in his "Ransom" trilogy. But that's fiction and, as we know, fiction can never be evidence of anything.) She could argue that non-Christian gods are partial impressions of the actual God, so that the ideas about them are wrong but the underlying phenomena are real. (Lewis says something like this in his apologetics.) He could argue that all finite impressions of an infinite being would necessarily be incomplete and erroneous and accept that the difference between his perception of the divine and a pagan's perception of the divine is merely a matter of degree.

The less orthodox one is the less difficult this sort of religious pluralism is. The Roman Emperor Alexander Severus kept a statue of Jesus among his household gods. And Constantine (the emperor, not the comic book character) worshipped both the Sun and Jesus, although not necessarily at the same time. (He was a cagey bastard, though, and may have wanted to hedge his bets.)

But this is getting to be infernally long so I'll stop (not that anyone is still reading it anyway).

JMP
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Sue
Posted on Wednesday, March 15, 2006 - 05:06 pm:   

I was reading, JMP.
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richard
Posted on Wednesday, March 15, 2006 - 05:33 pm:   

James

>>The less orthodox one is the less difficult this sort of religious pluralism is.<<

Indeed. A cynic might paraphrase this as "the further from the declared specifics of your religious creed you allow intelligence or humane empathy to carry you, the more likely you are to take an enlightened view of life and your fellow humans, regardless of what specific religious creed they happen to follow."

>>Catholic dogma doesn't bark up only one tree. Someone who's not a Catholic or a Christian can be saved when others who are Catholics or Christians are damned.<<

Yes - they can be saved by adhering to a set of behavioural principles laid down in the aforementioned dogma. Which are to be found up this tree labelled Catholic Faith. Woof Woof.

I note you avoided answering my questions honestly - but I'm not really surprised.
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James M. Pfundstein
Posted on Wednesday, March 15, 2006 - 09:11 pm:   

Sue: Thanks; it's good to know I wasn't typing in vain.

richard huffed:


quote:

I note you avoided answering my questions honestly - but I'm not really surprised.




What do you see as dishonest in my answer? My deliberate non-answer was at least honestly expressed.

As to your "cynical paraphrase", it's all too cynical but can't honestly be called a paraphrase. You speak with such certainty of the "specific religious creed" of people you've never met or conversed with, but this is just the certainty of ignorance again.

JMP
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richard
Posted on Thursday, March 16, 2006 - 07:12 am:   

James -

I note you continue to avoid answering my questions honestly - but I continue to not really be surprised.

You've been called. Why don't you show us what you've got, or quit the game?
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James M. Pfundstein
Posted on Thursday, March 16, 2006 - 07:20 am:   

richard mumbled:

quote:

You've been called. Why don't you show us what you've got, or quit the game?




What do you mean? What do you object to in my previous answer(s)? I can't respond to a criticism you don't have the nerve to make explicit.

JMP
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Matt Hughes
Posted on Thursday, March 16, 2006 - 09:04 am:   

James and Richard:

I think I see the problem: one of you is playing poker, while the other is playing chess.

Matt Hughes
www.archonate.com
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richard
Posted on Thursday, March 16, 2006 - 01:44 pm:   

richard sighed.

Okay James, here it is again: you entered this thread by taking issue with my assumption that Thomas R, as a Catholic, would have an exclusive attitude to belief - to wit, that he would assume people who worshipped (for example) the Norse or Hindu gods were wrong, while he in his worship of God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost was right. Your attack was somewhat confused and seemed to revolve around the idea that pagans CAN get into heaven, so there, just look at Dante's Divine Comedy.

In fact, I was not disputing who does or does not get into heaven (mainly because I know that, like Santa Claus and Fairies at the bottom of the garden, the place doesn't exist); what I WAS doing was pointing out the necessarily exclusive nature of religious faith (briefly summed up; we are right, the rest of you are wrong, or at best misguided). In order to focus on this point more clearly, I asked you two very simple questions with Yes/No answers (I'm not going to repeat them; scroll up), which you declined to answer.

Since then you have dodged about like a smirking Jesuit wannabe, making vaguely insulting remarks, and tying yourself up in knots of logic unrelated to the core of what we were discussing. Fair enough, it's your time, spend it how you will. But I am interested in clear communication, and through clear communication, some form of resolution, or at least comparative evaluation. So, in the interests of clarity, let me (re)state my own position:

I do not have any religious faith; more or less, I view all religious dogmas as equally childish attempts to make their adherents feel better about the unpleasant realities of the material universe. This is, I suppose, a form of elitism, but only in the same way that it is elitist to explain Tourette's syndrome in terms of mental dysfunction and not demonic possession, or thunder and lightning in terms of atmospheric electrical discharge and not the gods fighting with each other or riding their chariots particularly hard among the clouds.

Now, James - that leaves you. Can we PLEASE have a clear answer to the two questions I asked you, in order that we may establish to exactly what extent you also maintain a form of elitist thought.

Thank you.
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James M. Pfundstein
Posted on Thursday, March 16, 2006 - 03:07 pm:   

I'm not going to discuss my religious opinions with you, richard. You'll have to lump that. I'm the guy who gets to run my side of the conversation.

I did sketch out a set of ways (some of them historically attested) by which a Christian might believe in the reality of non-Christian gods. This was different from the yes/no you expected. So what? Despite your complaints about it, it was a perfectly serious answer.

Do you think you have some sort of right to an answer which you expect? If so, you must live in a world which is alternately very dull and very frustrating.

JMP
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Thomas R.
Posted on Thursday, March 16, 2006 - 09:03 pm:   

I believe Arnobius, or some other "A" letter church father, stated that "pagan" Gods existed but were instead angels. Arnobius is like six or seven books worth of writing at the Catholic Encyclopedia so I'd rather not hunt that up. Anyway I can't say whether that idea is correct or not, but I suppose it's possible.

If you are going to speculate on what I think anyway I guess I might as well come back to tell you. (I've done bad this week on Lent) Anyway your idea of "right" and "wrong" is rather simplistic.

Still I'd agree that if you believe in a religion you believe it's more correct than others. This doesn't make the other totally wrong though because "religion" is dealing with a large thing not a simple yes or no question. This isn't the best analogy, but different reference books have different levels of comprehensiveness and accuracy. The ones that are less accurate and comprehensive aren't automatically bad or false. Catholicism teaches that you can create a proper ethical system simply by reason. Other religions are true in so much as they are properly worked out and reasonable. Even before Vatican II other religions were said to be correct in some areas and "in error" in others. They aren't false, but they are considered less accurate or more in error. A religion would only be "false" if it rejects the core principle "love God and your neighbor." If you can think of a religion that expressly teaches hatred of God and other people that would be false. Randian Objectivism or Nietzcheanism is the closest I can think of off hand. (I considered Nazism but it does allow love for some kind of people as twisted and vile as its idea of love is)

However your statement was "Religion is merely the bulk of this tendency(referring to "might makes right, difference is frightening, do what the big dominant male tells you, fuck and fill your belly.") given a thin mantle of scriptural respectability. And the extent to which it departs from this path is exactly the extent to which it has been sapped by rational human inquiry." I would never say that Hinduism or Islam are bad exempting the aspects that have been influenced by Roman Catholicism. Nor would any Catholic I've heard of since maybe 1911 or even before. To whit


quote:

Indians and all other people who may later be discovered by Christians, are by no means to be deprived of their liberty or the possession of their property, even though they be outside the faith of Jesus Christ; and that they may and should, freely and legitimately, enjoy their liberty and the possession of their property; nor should they be in any way enslaved; should the contrary happen, it shall be null and have no effect.

Sublimus Dei Paul III

"The highest religious result to which human reason unaided by revelation, can attain" is the deliberate verdict of a learned Jesuit theologian (Father Ernest Hull, S.J., in "Bombay Examiner" 28 March, 1903). This estimate does not appear exaggerated.

Catholic Encyclopedia on Avesta theology aka Zoroastrianism




Lastly religious tolerance to freedom didn't begin with some rationalist notion. It began after the Thirty Years War and French wars of Religion. People realized they couldn't keep killing each other over it. The Quakers also developped notions of tolerance and freedom from their religion, not from any rational humanist notion. So your idea of "religion is X without rational humanism" is not only elitist it's historically bogus.

I doubt any of this will register with you, but maybe it will with more enlightened people here.

(And yes I concede a particular disdain of you as you called me a Nazi for disagreeing with you on abortion and seem about as viciously personal on most issues)
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doubting Thomas
Posted on Thursday, March 16, 2006 - 09:48 pm:   

That was "adieu?"
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STR
Posted on Thursday, March 16, 2006 - 10:18 pm:   

doubting Thomas: G'day.

Thomas R: If you look up sententious in the dictionary, there's a blurred picture of the anonymity that is you.
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Thomas R.
Posted on Saturday, March 18, 2006 - 02:35 am:   

I am not at all anonymous, certainly not as much as I ever wished to be.

It's true that I don't give out my real or e-mail address, but I can be contacted through Bewildering Stories magazine. That link will send you to the bio I have up there. As for real world address I live with other people and I respect their desire not to get angry letters or phone calls from dorks at a sci-fi forum.

That's all I have to say on the matter. I also do not want this to become a thread about me so I'd agree coming here was a mistake. Please return to discussing South Dakota, abortion law, or religion instead.
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doubting Thomas
Posted on Saturday, March 18, 2006 - 05:16 am:   

So this is adieu, again? Say it ain't so!

The thing is, Thomas, that's precisely what you want, that it become a thread about you. Otherwise you wouldn't return again and again and again, and do the same damn thing, ie, offer your literal-minded footnoted idiocies as testimony to your astonishing lack of imagination, creativity, and common sense.

No matter how many bios you post, you will remain essentially an anonymity, a mediocrity, a droning fly, and your only legacy will be the number of people who tried to swat you away from their plate.
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Trevor
Posted on Saturday, March 18, 2006 - 09:47 am:   

"I do not have any religious faith; more or less, I view all religious dogmas as equally childish attempts to make their adherents feel better about the unpleasant realities of the material universe. This is, I suppose, a form of elitism, but only in the same way that it is elitist to explain Tourette's syndrome in terms of mental dysfunction and not demonic possession, or thunder and lightning in terms of atmospheric electrical discharge and not the gods fighting with each other or riding their chariots particularly hard among the clouds."

Religion ain't the problem. It's human hubris whether it's cloaked as religion or rational humanism.
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Sue
Posted on Saturday, March 18, 2006 - 12:57 pm:   

Ah, but I would suggest that in fact religion is the problem. Religion is and has been both a weapon and the reason for using weapons.

In other words, religions have been used by the cynical to attain power -- televangelists come to mind as a modern example, and for a historical example, one need only point to the priests and bishops who feathered their nests by selling access to heaven. Religious beliefs have been used to justify getting and keeping power -- think of the end of the Knights Templar and the Albigensian crusade and attack on of the Cathars as examples.

The Taliban might be a good example of a modern use of religious beliefs to gain power over a territory and people and in using religion as a weapon.

Personally, I think the Christian "right" in America is heavily involved in this project, and is using religion in both ways today as well.
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Trevor
Posted on Saturday, March 18, 2006 - 02:17 pm:   

"Ah, but I would suggest that in fact religion is the problem. Religion is and has been both a weapon and the reason for using weapons."

It's hubris coupled with ideology whether that ideology is secular based as with Stalin and Co. or religious based which is the historic norm until relatively recently.
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Sue
Posted on Saturday, March 18, 2006 - 04:33 pm:   

Please show me how rational humanism is a problem.
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Trevor
Posted on Saturday, March 18, 2006 - 05:39 pm:   

Rational humanism per se isn't much of a problem, yet, and I sincerely hope that with a little humility, it won't become one. However, the world has been bathed in blood by hubristic secular ideologies from nationalism to Marxism. As a secular humanist of sorts myself, I think we'll be all right if we keep a little humility. Otherwise, it's going to eventually turn very ugly.
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STR
Posted on Saturday, March 18, 2006 - 06:24 pm:   

doubting Thomas: You are a person of wit and perception.

Thomas R: To paraphrase Buzz Lightyear...'You're a strange, sad little man, and you have my pity.'

Though it is mildly amusing to [figuratively] watch the froth collect at the corners of your mouth when you're called on one of your inanities, it's getting stale.

Go back to your home at Asimov's where you have friends. Please.
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Sue
Posted on Saturday, March 18, 2006 - 06:49 pm:   

Hey, STR, you're entitled to your opinion, but so is Thomas, and he has every right to post. Last I heard, there was no political litmus test to post here. Besides, I only come to understand my own views when I have to defend them against those that differ from mine. I appreciate reading differing points of view for that reason. In reading posts from Thomas and others on the other end of the political spectrum from me, I realize how right I am to hold my views. :-)

Besides, I got that same "Get thee to Nightshades" when I posted dissenting political views at Asimov's and I don't think that is any way to deal with differences of opinion. Nor do I think that any one political stance has or should have a monopoly at this or Asimov's messageboard.

I don't always do it so mea culpa, but I do think it's better to attack the content of the post, not the poster, unless there is no content at all. Then, bash away.

I think Thomas is wrong about many issues, but he does try to refer to evidence to back up his opinions.
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STR
Posted on Monday, March 20, 2006 - 10:59 am:   

Hey Sue,

I agree Thomas R has the right to an opinion, informed or otherwise. What I found particularly annoying is him dissing the posters at Night Shade in general at the Asimov's board, then traipsing over to Night Shade to share his erudition with the unwashed.
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Sue
Posted on Monday, March 20, 2006 - 03:30 pm:   

Fair enough, STR. There is a tendency to paint people on the two boards with a broad brush that is a bit too broad, IMO. Most of the posters at either board are far more moderate than the more political posters. It just seems to me to be the attack of least substance to tell someone to leave. The best strategy is to either ignore their posts so that they fall into oblivion, or if you can't, play with them as a mindless diversion. :-)
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Thomas R.
Posted on Sunday, April 09, 2006 - 01:23 am:   

I agree Thomas R has the right to an opinion, informed or otherwise. What I found particularly annoying is him dissing the posters at Night Shade in general at the Asimov's board, then traipsing over to Night Shade to share his erudition with the unwashed.

TR: I can say that I dislike the general political climate here yet still post here I think. I dislike the general political climate at the Asimov's political area almost as much. They have a great deal of Right-wing paranoid extremists of late. If they don't like me saying that, too bad.

Anyway to get back to the issue the governor of South Dakota has had a substantial drop in popularity in the last month. He still has majority support, but he lost 14 points in a month.

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