Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The Donald Trump of atheism

Dawkins is kind of the Donald Trump of atheism. But he has his following, just as Trump does. 

Does the Bible support slavery? Well, it depends on what parts you cut out.

Apparently slaveowners were afraid to let their slaves read the whole thing, because they might rebel if they read it.


Friday, May 10, 2019

Is there anything you accept on faith?

think it is Dawkins' view that you should never take anything on pure faith. But on the one hand, if you take statement X, and say that statement needs proof, then someone might say ask for proof of that statement, and then ask for proof for that statement, and then ask for proof for that statement. etc. So there  has to be something you believe that doesn't have to  be proved by something else.  Is what you believe without proof something you believe on faith? If so, what are those things you don't need proof for? 

Is gay monogamy a myth?

I think the tendency on the part of people of a more conservative bent to nonetheless find gay marriage acceptable depends largely on their ability to see gay marriage as a mirror image of straight marriage, only with a same-sex as opposed to an opposite sex couple. Some, however, doubt that this kind of mirror image can exist in the gay community. 

“Male homosexuals are very seldom monogamous,” Dr. Elizabeth Iskander asserts, “they overwhelmingly reject the type of relationship most heterosexuals think of when they think of marriage: a long-term relationship where sexual activity is strictly limited to one’s marriage partner.”


Friday, May 03, 2019

A gay rights slogan

It is a slogan to say that allowing gay marriage allows gay people to be who they are. 

Is a person's true identity to be found in their sexual feelings? Not their beliefs, their ideas, their friendships, their occupation, etc? What about people who never find the right person to have a relationship with? Are they unable to be who they are?

Wherever you stand on issues like this, beware of slogans. 

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Punting to the government for our morals

Why do we always punt to the government to decide whether something is right or not? That is, if we think something is wrong, we want the government to pass a law against it, and if the government doesn't pass a law against it, we assume it's OK? There was a woman in Colorado who was asked why she smoked marijuana during  her pregnancy, and she replied by saying that since the government said that smoking pot was legal, she figured it was OK for her to smoke pot while pregnant. The government need not be our moral compass, or abortion, on homosexuality, on marijuana, or on whether it's OK to tell a woman you love her in order to get her to go to bed with you, even though you don't. Nor should it decide whether it is OK to show up at funerals of AIDS victims with "God hates fags" signs. Of course it's not OK, but we don't want the government stopping it either.  

Adam, Steve, Donald, and Melania

It seems to me that you could take the anti-gay position from a theological point of view (homosexuality is wrong in God's eyes), and still support same-sex marriage in the civil realm. This is what most people do with respect to Donald Trump's marriage. If we are enforcing Christian standards in the area of marriage through government, then you would have to say that someone who is dumping his wife for a younger woman for the second time, and is a well-known serial adulterer, should not be given another marriage license.  Instead, we ask him "are your prior divorces final," and if they are, he gets a license. If you are going to say that Adam and Steve can't get married because of what the Bible says, then you also have to say that Donald and Melania can't get married because of Mt 5:32 and other passages.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Abortion and demographics

People who accept traditional understandings of these monotheistic religions have a greater tendency to oppose abortion that those who are, say, religious skeptics. But the arguments on both sides of the issue rarely mention God or the Bible directly. 

Thursday, April 18, 2019

What does "abortion is murder" mean?

What exactly is packed into the idea of murder is interesting. For example, if you do not believe that the things whose life you are taking is a person, is it still murder? Is manslaughter murder?

 What if you deceive yourself into believing that some being who clearly are persons are not persons---Jews, for example? In cases like that my intuition support the use of the word “murder” because the perpetrators clearly and unmistakably ought to believe in the personhood of their victims, even if they do not. Is abortion murder in that sense? Is the full and complete personhood of the fetus so clearly true that to deny is to, to use Paul's phrase, "suppress the truth in unrighteousness?"

What if you take the life of a person for reasons that you morally justify taking the life of a person, but sub specie aeternitatis, they do not justify the homicide? Are you then a murderer? 

 The word homicide does not carry the negative connotations of the word murder. Should the word murder be used for all homicides that lack moral justification? 

It looks as if the term "murder" in the context of abortion, even if appropriate, needs some parsing. 

What should the punishment be for abortion if it is to be punished?

Pro-lifers believe that abortion is not currently a crime, due to Roe v. Wade, but it should be one. Though, interestingly enough, they often think that abortion providers, not the women who get the abortions, should be punished, and the punishments they recommend are not nearly as severe as the punishments for first degree murder. Does this make sense? If pro-lifers are right about the fetus, what kinds of punishments should there be for the parties involved in an abortion? 

Monday, April 15, 2019

Is there a dissonance between the legal and the moral arguments concerning abortion?

Roe is based on this argument:
1. The right to bodily autonomy, and privacy with respect to medical decisions (absence any superior countervailing right) is known to be established by the Constitution. For example, as decided in the Griswold case from 1962, state governments do not have the right to prohibit artificial birth control.
2. The fetus's right to life prior to viability is not a right we can be sure of. Reasonable opinion differs as to whether the fetus has such a right.
3. A right of which we are certain takes precedence over a right over which there is uncertainty.
4. Therefore, because of the uncertainty with respect to the fetus's right to life, the right of the mother to bodily autonomy and medical privacy takes priority, and a woman has a right to an abortion prior to viability.
What do you think is the bad premise in this argument, (if you think there is one)? What is surprising to me is that the anti-Roe legal arguments seem to concentrate their firepower on premise 1, but people interested in the moral issue of abortion object to premise 2. There seems to be some dissonance between the legal arguments on Roe v. Wade and the moral arguments concerning abortion. Does anyone besides me find this troublesome?

Abortion and the beating heart

I've never understood the significance of the heartbeat in the abortion controversy. The brain, not the heart, is the organ of thought, and the heart is a blood pump. Either life begins at conception, or the development of the cerebral cortex is what is relevant. Is this another example of pro-life political pragmatism?