Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Trump made his money through tax fraud. Does anybody care?

Apparently not.  Or maybe people think that whatever comes from the NY Times can be safely ignored.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Large-earthers and small-earthers

Actually, the idea that people who were critical of Columbus were flat-earthers is a well-known historical mistake. Everyone knew the world was round. There were two types of people, those like Columbus whom we might call small-earthers who thought you could get to the Indes after a relatively short trip, and large-earthers, who thought there was a large ocean to cross and that it would not be cost-effective to have lots of ships sailing West to get to the East. The large-earthers were right, of course, but Columbus made it into the history books because there was this other continent between Europe and Asia on the Westward route, what eventually became know as the Americas. 

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Christine Blasey Ford in the land of Narnia?

Why don’t they teach logic at these schools? There are only three possibilities. Either your sister is telling lies, or she is mad, or she is telling the truth. You know she doesn’t tell lies and it is obvious she is not mad. For the moment then and unless any further evidence turns up, we must assume that she is telling the truth. (pg. 52) 

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Four consistent possibilities

1. Roe v. Wade was rightly decided, and abortion should be legal. 
2. Roe v. Wade was rightly decided, but abortion should not be legal. 
3. Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided, and abortion should be legal. 
4. Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided, and abortion should not be legal. 

2 and 3 are the surprising combinations. 2 is consistent because abortion can always be rendered illegal through a constitutional amendment. 3 is consistent because it is possible that abortion can be defended for other reasons than that offered by Roe. But everyone assumes that 1 and 4 are the only options. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Legalizing murder: The argument from reasonable doubt

I have a strong inclination toward these two positions. 

1) Abortion is murder. 
2) Abortion should be legal. 

Which means I think murder should be legal in many cases, that although very wrong, the remedy for it should be moral rather than legal. That is because the personhood of the fetus is not provable beyond reasonable doubt, therefore the status of abortionists as murderers is not proved beyond reasonable doubt, and that is the standard for convicting someone of murder in America.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

What price pro-life

 I think it is a mistake to make the acid-test of whether someone values life whether we are willing to put people who provide abortions in jail, when there are so many other things that can be done that we don't do to have a child-friendly society. When Roe v. Wade came out in 1973, women could be fired if they carried their babies to term. Employers didn't have to give them unpaid time off to have their babies, and when this was outlawed under Bill Clinton, the very party that is supposedly pro-life, or at least most of their Senators, voted no on the Family and Medical Leave Act. If we want women to have their babies and not abort them shouldn't we want to make sure they have health insurance? Yet the Trump administration cut the CHIP program. If we don't want to see abortions, aren't we going to see more babies born in difficult economic circumstances? Are we willing to pay higher taxes to see to it that these children don't starve? Are we doing enough to show people that life with a disability can be worth living, so that mothers who face the prospect of bearing a child with a disability will be more inclined to have that baby rather than abort it? And yet the party of life has been working on a law that undercuts the Americans with Disabilities Act, and conservatives in Texas want to eliminate all mention of Helen Keller from the American history books. If we want to stop abortions, do we really have to accept arguments that deny that a woman has a right to privacy in her medical decisions, because the legal arguments against Roe are all about rejecting and limiting the right of privacy, and not at all about a fetus's right to life. (If you think the route to getting rid of abortions is through conservative justices, that is what their argument is for overturning Roe. They never argue that the fetus has a provable right to life. Ever.)

I'm pretty sympathetic to pro-life. I don't think the pro-life position is provable to all reasonable persons, but I would never want to be party to an abortion myself. But pro-life seems to include a package deal which includes the Republican agenda. If have been told that I have to accept a President whose behavior harms the country in more ways than I can count, all because, by golly, he'll put people on the Supreme Court who will save all of those fetuses, all the while trying to take health insurance away from millions of people, including those very fetuses once they are born. If he shot five people to death on Fifth Avenue, some people would say "Yes, but at least he's pro-life."

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

From the Left to the Outer Darkness

Intolerance and political correctness is the poison pill of the political left, the road out from some political viewpoints, many of which I am inclined to support, into the outer darkness of totalitarian thinking. 

Christians are terminally politically uncomfortable. Every ideology has a poison pill.