Saturday, July 23, 2022

Ontology and shaving

 If you are trying to avoid theism because it's a violation of Ockham's razor, and then you say you believe in the multiverse, then your shaving habits are highly questionable.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Can you get away with murder

 If atheists are right, someone could commit a murder, never get caught, and end up happier than they would have been If they had not committed the murder. According to religions, you can get away with murder on earth, but eventually you'll have to face your maker. Does that make a difference in anyone's conduct?

If materialism, then determinism?

 In the physical realm, a lot of things seem to be determined. Even assuming some indeterminism at the quantum mechanical level, the effect of this on macro events seems to be minimal. The amount of force and spin you put on a bowling ball guarantees whether how many pins will go down. If we are physical systems, should we not expect our actions and decisions to be determined in much the sameway that bowling balls are? We are more complex than bowling balls, butwe are simply "meat computers" then isn't it highly likely that determinism is true? 

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Abortion and democratic choice

 People, I suspect, on both sides of the abortion issue, would like to deal with the most extreme people on the other side. Sure, the pro-abortionist hard core is out there. They think the fetus should receive no moral consideration until it's born, and be viewed as a blob of tissue. These people are out in the marches making outrageous statements. Then you have the people who want laws that will force a 10-year-old rape victim to carry her pregnancy to term. But it's time for people to stop treating abortion moderates as if they don't exist, and recognize that people who are pro-choice are not necessarily pro-abortion. People who don't want Draconian abortion laws can and do recognize that there is a deep question of conscience that women have to make who are considering abortion. How would you like it if liberals were to consistently assume that if you are a conservative, you were really just fine with storming the Capitol and overturning election results without proof? (Actually, a lot of liberals make that mistake). Some conservatives really believe in that, but plenty don't. It's the same with abortion. Some pro-choicers really women to consider abortion with no qualms whatsoever, and are afraid of "stigmatizing" anyone who gets an abortion. They're very loud. But they don't speak for everyone who is concerned about access restrictions to abortion. Now, these more moderate pro-choicers could be WRONG, and you can argue that they are, but they actually do exist. Biden, whatever his faults may be, is one of them. Planned Parenthood has not been too crazy about Biden through most of his career.

Now here's the problem. The Supreme Court didn't decide that fetuses were persons from conception, and they never challenged Roe's contention that the fetus's right to life is not guaranteed in the Constitution. They just argue that the woman's right to an abortion isn't rooted in the Constitution either, leaving it up to democratic choice whether to ban abortion or not. I have my doubts as to whether deciding this on a state basis is Constitutional either, it seems to fly in the face of the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution, which indicates to me that fetuses and pregnant women need to have the same rights across the country. (A house divided against itself cannot stand). Be that as it may, because of the nature of partisan politics, state legislatures have enacted abortion laws that majorities in their states do not want. In Republican states majorities in the Republican party want strict abortion laws, but if the state if 55 percent Republican and 80 percent of Republicans want strict abortion laws, then Republicans elect only strictly pro-life candidates in the primaries and constitute a majority in the legislatures, but actually only 44 percent of the people want strict abortion laws, if Democrats are all pro-choice. But if Republicans go for abortion laws that are stricter than what the people want, they are going to hurt themselves in future elections. If the process of determining abortion laws is truly democratic, you might get some restriction over and above what Roe permitted, but not the kind of strict abortion bans that pro-lifers want. And the actual practice of bringing abortion restrictions into the real world is likely to produce collateral damage that will make people think twice. For example, the drug methotrexate is a drug used for lupus. But because it can be used to produce and abortion, pro-lifers are inclined to ban it, keeping lupus patients from drugs they need. IUDs are sometimes used for medical purposes that have nothing to do with family planning. Do we ban those because they are thought to be abortifacient? It is yet to be seen whether reversing Roe will really activate the democratic process and produce the laws that people want, which is what the jurisprudence in Dobbs implies, or whether our democratic process is so broken by partisan politics that we won't be able to come to any kind of sensible solution.

Do you believe in karma?

 I'm a little skeptical about karma myself, or least without the inclusion of some explicitly religious ideas. Some people commit murder, never regret it, benefit from the murder, and never get caught. Unless there's an afterlife (and for HIndus that's  a matter of reincarnation), what goes around does NOT come around. 

America First?

 Suppose you can spend X amount of money to help starving people. You can pay the amount you have set aside for this and save 2 people, but those two people live in America. Or you can save 10 people for the same amount of money, but those people are live in foreign countries. Who do you spend your money on?