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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Presidential Election News & Discussion Center 2012 - Inauguration Day! (Page 20)

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Author Topic: Presidential Election News & Discussion Center 2012 - Inauguration Day!
SenojRetep
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quote:
Originally posted by Jon Boy:
I just can't figure out why he keep saying it. Has he never seen a map of the Middle East? Has no one pointed out the two major problems with his statement? Or does he just like it so much that he doesn't care and keeps using it anyway?

To me, without any further information, it seems likely he's talking specifically about access to the Mediterranean Sea, which would be important for, say, using small boats to evade the Israeli blockade or to smuggle CBRN material into Europe.
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kmbboots
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That still makes no sense as Iran and Syria don't share a border. Iran has to go through Iraq or Turkey to get to Syria.
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Jon Boy
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
At some point, words can't mean whatever we want them to mean at a given moment. That's not how language is supposed to work.

I understand that words change in definition over time and its a constantly evolving process. But at what point does true mean false and left means right, and the whole endeavor just loses coherence? If words stop having universally understood meanings, then we'll stop being able to understand each other, which I think is evidenced, this year especially, in presidential elections.

As far as I know, language never gets to that point. The story of the Tower of Babel aside, I don't know of any cases wherein people lost the ability to communicate because words no longer had stable meanings. People are simply too invested in being able to communicate—even in a hostile political environment like this—to let the whole endeavor just lose coherence, as you say. Even when people argue like this, they're doing so to understand each other.
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Jon Boy
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
That still makes no sense as Iran and Syria don't share a border. Iran has to go through Iraq or Turkey to get to Syria.

And Iran is not on friendly terms with either Iraq or Turkey. Plus, Iran can still get to the Mediterranean through the Suez Canal. It's a little roundabout, but I'm sure it's a lot easier than crossing through unfriendly territory.
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Xavier
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In elementary school we had the "fact vs opinion" dichotomy drilled into us. If it was something that could be evaluated for an objective truth value then it was a fact, whether it was true or not. This was contrasted with opinions which could be true statements relative to the speaker. Or something like that anyway.

So I didn't bat an eye at BlackBlade's usage. I heard it used that way many times before this one.

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Dan_Frank
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This "fact" discussion is interesting to me because Lyr's use IS the more common one, I think. But today has led to lots of people using "fact" the way BB describes while masquerading as using it the way Lyr describes.

Lots of "fact checks" and similar are not about facts at all, they're about arguments. Calling them facts just gives them the trappings of authority.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
This "fact" discussion is interesting to me because Lyr's use IS the more common one, I think. But today has led to lots of people using "fact" the way BB describes while masquerading as using it the way Lyr describes.

Lots of "fact checks" and similar are not about facts at all, they're about arguments. Calling them facts just gives them the trappings of authority.

Wow. I agree with Dan about something. [Wink]
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Vadon
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We have a truth-neutral term which I prefer: claims. Claims can be true or false. Until verified as true or false, I prefer to describe these statements as claims.

If a claim is true, I call it a fact. If a claim is false, it's simply not true but demands investigation on why the person made the claim: Were they misinformed? Was it a slip of the tongue? Was it deliberate?

Because this is how I use the word "fact" (true claims), seeing incorrect fact does strike me as an oxymoron. Now, I get that there is that truth-neutral definition of fact. But it's a definition that I think is so far out of line with how the word fact is usually used that its not unreasonable to reject the definition in common usage. Communication requires mutual understanding, we tend to use "fact" in a non-truth neutral sense. Including a truth-neutral definition increases ambiguity and results in bad communication.

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Vadon:
We have a truth-neutral term which I prefer: claims. Claims can be true or false. Until verified as true or false, I prefer to describe these statements as claims.

If a claim is true, I call it a fact. If a claim is false, it's simply not true but demands investigation on why the person made the claim: Were they misinformed? Was it a slip of the tongue? Was it deliberate?

Because this is how I use the word "fact" (true claims), seeing incorrect fact does strike me as an oxymoron. Now, I get that there is that truth-neutral definition of fact. But it's a definition that I think is so far out of line with how the word fact is usually used that its not unreasonable to reject the definition in common usage. Communication requires mutual understanding, we tend to use "fact" in a non-truth neutral sense. Including a truth-neutral definition increases ambiguity and results in bad communication.

The problem with this attitude is that there are so many things which we can think are true and then turn out to be false because we didn't have sufficient understanding of the issue.

This is less often the case, but still happens, with basic facts about the physical world around us. And more importantly, it's incredibly common with countless other issues people disagree about (including politics, the issue of this thread.)

I think once someone is convinced that something they believe is a verified "fact" they entrench that idea and resist further criticism of it. This has negative consequences, and as far as I can tell no positive ones. Better to hold your ideas tentatively, and be open to criticism and argument in case you've misunderstood something.

Kate: [Big Grin]

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Vadon
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by Vadon:
We have a truth-neutral term which I prefer: claims. Claims can be true or false. Until verified as true or false, I prefer to describe these statements as claims.

If a claim is true, I call it a fact. If a claim is false, it's simply not true but demands investigation on why the person made the claim: Were they misinformed? Was it a slip of the tongue? Was it deliberate?

Because this is how I use the word "fact" (true claims), seeing incorrect fact does strike me as an oxymoron. Now, I get that there is that truth-neutral definition of fact. But it's a definition that I think is so far out of line with how the word fact is usually used that its not unreasonable to reject the definition in common usage. Communication requires mutual understanding, we tend to use "fact" in a non-truth neutral sense. Including a truth-neutral definition increases ambiguity and results in bad communication.

I think once someone is convinced that something they believe is a verified "fact" they entrench that idea and resist further criticism of it. This has negative consequences, and as far as I can tell no positive ones. Better to hold your ideas tentatively, and be open to criticism and argument in case you've misunderstood something.

That's fair.

Though I would say not all claims are equal. Just because further testing may invalidate some claims previously held as true does not justify saying that no claim should be held above another. While I agree that we must make sure we remain open to criticism, I also think we shouldn't go too far the other way and value untested claims to the same degree as rigorously examined claims which, for the evidence we have, appear to be true.

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Dan_Frank
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I agree completely and unambiguously. It's important to recognize that truth and facts exist, even if we can't know for sure we've found them!

I don't even really have a problem with people thinking something is true or is a fact. I'm mainly wary of it in the context of arguments and discussions. I think we often have a tendency to say "No, I'm right because X is a fact." Which isn't actually an argument. Even if X is a fact, it may not mean what you think it means or have the consequences you think it has.

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SenojRetep
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quote:
Originally posted by Jon Boy:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
That still makes no sense as Iran and Syria don't share a border. Iran has to go through Iraq or Turkey to get to Syria.

And Iran is not on friendly terms with either Iraq or Turkey. Plus, Iran can still get to the Mediterranean through the Suez Canal. It's a little roundabout, but I'm sure it's a lot easier than crossing through unfriendly territory.
It didn't stop them from recently smuggling at least one drone to Hezbollah. Border smuggling and intrusion is a persistent problem, even in advanced states like the US; getting stuff from Iran to Syria is maybe risky, but certainly not prohibitively so.

The alternative route around the peninsula and through the canal is much more heavily monitored and regulated, and would probably (I'm no expert) require larger boats that would make stealth incursions through the Israeli blockade or into European sea space more difficult.

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kmbboots
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I think, perhaps, a more likely explanation is that Gov. Romney confused Iran with Iraq - which does share a border with Syria and is otherwise almost landlocked.
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Destineer
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Wow, there's been a crazy huge shift on Intrade today. Obama to win down by more than 40c. I can't understand it.
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Lyrhawn
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Third party debate was pretty interesting.

Things I like: they talked about incredibly important issues that haven't been discussed at all, or for a long time. They provided a great political alternative and did a great job of showing how broad the political spectrum is and how narrowly Obama and Romney occupy it.

Things I didn't like: They were only asked six questions that by and large made them almost all sound exactly the same. While they all differed greatly from Romney/Obama, they sounded in lockstep with each other on most things. I know in reality that for everything Jill Stein and Gary Johnson agree on that differs from Romney and Obama, there are three things they disagree on. But we never really got into that.

I'll say this though, if Stein and Johnson had been on state with Obama and Romney, it would have been a frigging sight to see.

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Destineer
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
Wow, there's been a crazy huge shift on Intrade today. Obama to win down by more than 40c. I can't understand it.

Make that 60 cents. WTF? Some people spent some serious money today.
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Rakeesh
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Well, some of the talking heads are saying that although Obama clearly won this latest debate by a substantial margin, Romney may have still done what he needed to do in the long run by a) not screwing up egregiously in the area the public thought him weakest and b) adding extra 'seems Presidential' cred to his rep.
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Strider
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Couldn't it be a consequence of the steep drop in the Dow Jones over the last few days?
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Samprimary
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http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1012/82806.html

Broken party.

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Samprimary
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I think i already have to wash the taste of that out with oppa ban-ki moon style

http://i.imgur.com/utfp8.gif

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Dan_Frank
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I don't really get the furor over this. It was stupidly phrased, but anyone with half a brain can discern his actual meaning.

If I thought abortion was murder I'd oppose it in cases of rape, certainly. It seems logically consistent. The kid didn't ask to be put there, and murdering him because of someone else's actions would be wrong.

I mean, it's not a kid yet and has no preferences, so it isn't murder. But if it was, a rape exception would be hard for me to swallow.

[ October 24, 2012, 02:23 PM: Message edited by: Dan_Frank ]

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
I don't really get the furor over this.

Go up to rape victims who have been impregnated by their attackers, and without any concern for whether they follow a conservative religious viewpoint about these sorts of things, tell them what happened to them was intended by God. Handwring to be sure to let them know that rape is wrong, of course, but the pregnancy is a gift by God and it would be wrong to offer them the choice to terminate the pregnancy because it is divinely intended that the attack impregnate them. In essence, represent Mourdock's Discerned, Actual Meaning to them.

If some of them can really honestly still talk after being told this, be sure to let us know if you still genuinely don't get their furor.

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Dan_Frank
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Don't Christians believe all hardships are intended by God? Isn't that, like, part of believing in an omnipotent God in the first place?

Having never been a Christian, maybe some part of that is eluding me. What am I missing?

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Dan_Frank
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Also, no, you're still sort of obfuscating the actual meaning of what he said, but that's less interesting to me than the questions I asked above.
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Destineer
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quote:
Don't Christians believe all hardships are intended by God? Isn't that, like, part of believing in an omnipotent God in the first place?
Not necessarily. The more standard line is that the bad things that happen are unintentional (foreseen, perhaps, but regrettably unavoidable) side-effects of God's plan.

I don't think that point of view makes sense when you look at the details, but then the view that God intentionally sent a dude to rape you makes even less sense.

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Rakeesh
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Dan,

(Please note that while there will be a lot of anger in this post, it's not directed at you, but rather at Mourdock and those who actually agree with, rather than can understand, what he thinks.)

Before anyone even comes to the inhumanity of telling someone who was raped, "God meant for this to happen," there's an even more absurd, fundamental problem with what Mourdock said. It's just awfully, wickedly stupid before one even gets to the part where you tell the victim their abuse had divine sanction.

That problem is this: if you believe that God intends a rape to happen, then you must certainly also believe-or else just be a completely arbitrary hypocrite-that everything that happens, good or bad or in between, is a reflection of God's will. From the miraculous remission of a cancer to a toddler dying in agony to the working man who's decently well off but doesn't get the raise he was hoping for. That is just a senseless, evil world order but if Mourdock does believe that, alright.

Except he doesn't. Here is the real problem, the real glaring hypocrisy, the real sign that he is both a moral and an intellectual scrub. When Mourdock's children or family gets sick...where will he take them? Will they go to church, or to see a freaking doctor? Or is it God's will that a woman be impregnated by rape-and thus we shouldn't interfere-but it's not God's will that we die of a burst appendix, therefore in that instance we should? Does Mourdock brush his teeth? Bathe? So it's God's will that a woman be impregnated by rape, but it's not God's will that we stink and our teeth gradually rot and then fall out, therefore we can't interefere in the one case but we can in the other two?

How in the hell does Mourdock grade which event is God's will and which isn't? Actually I don't know, but surely Dan you can already see that there isn't any rhyme or reason to it. But I can say this: there are all sorts of things in Mourdock's daily life that would naturally occur is not prevented, but because prevention makes human life better, Mourdock does so like the rest of us. He brushes his teeth, he bathes, he visits a doctor, he uses indoor plumbing, he first rides in an automobile and then uses a seatbelt, he has health insurance, so on and so forth.

That means one of a few possibilities. One, God's will was for a woman to be impregnated by rape but it's not also God's will that he pray his way through a bout of bronchitis. Two, it's God's will for a woman to be impregnated by rape, and God's will that he pray his way through bronchitis, but Mourdock ignores God's will in the latter case. Three, it's not God's will in either case, and Mourdock is simply wrong-with all of the remaining hypocrisies.


Which begs the question: why is Mourdock willing to label rape pregnancies as God's will that must not be interfered with, but not everything else? Is it only God's will for the great big events to happen, such as the creation of life? If so, how does Mourdock know where that cut off is? At what point does an event go from being God's will to being the sort of thing humans can safely utilize planning and technology to change or avoid?

I hope I've explained myself well, and that you can see why it is actually very reasonable to look at Mourdock's statements with revulsion and contempt even before you get to what will likely be the most common reaction: disgust over the contempt it expresses for women. It would seem God really stuck it to women, because men can be raped, but they cannot ever be impregnated by rape. I wonder if this extra vulnerability is just a carryover of Eve's tempting wickedness in the Garden of Eden or some absurdity.

People actually do step forward and claim that it is God's will that human beings grow sick and die in agony from various illnesses. 'Before his time' isn't a phrase that has meaning for these people, even in the case of children. They will claim that God has a plan, and that plan clearly includes illness but does not also include antibiotics or vaccinations. They'll claim that God's will is that their child must struggle through a given terrible illness, and that any method aside from prayer (hah. 'method') of handling the illness is in defiance of God's will.

Society rightly holds these people in contempt, and what's more we're fine with holding them in contempt. We are content to say, "You can make that decision for your own self, but we're not going to allow you to make it for anyone else," even though the rationale is exactly the same as Mourdock's.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Don't Christians believe all hardships are intended by God? Isn't that, like, part of believing in an omnipotent God in the first place?

Having never been a Christian, maybe some part of that is eluding me. What am I missing?

No. And too much to fill in the gaps here.
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Dan_Frank
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Okay so I retract my comment that anyone with half a brain can discern his intent. Clearly, I was wrong.

Here's the thing, Rakeesh: I don't disagree with the thrust of what you're saying, but I also don't think much of what you said really follows from his line of thinking.

I think it goes more like this, in his head:

The creation of human life is a miracle from God, because humans are chosen by God and can go to heaven and whatnot. Murdering an innocent human (including a bundle of embryonic cells which counts as a human) is wrong. Punishing a child for its father's sins is wrong (except I guess when God does it?)

So when someone commits a terrible sin (rape) and a human life comes about from that, then (like all pregnancies) that life is a gift from God. And it's a person in its own right, innocent of the wrongdoing of its father. So murdering that person would be wrong.

--

Your comments about preventative measures like bathing and doctors aren't really relevant, though I can see why you would think they were. Here's the thing: I'm sure that if a woman shot an attempted rapist in the face (thereby preventing possible pregnancy!) Mourdock wouldn't object. It's only after the pregnancy has occurred that he cares, because now there's an innocent human life in the mix.

The same way that if a doctor saved your mom from cancer, I suspect Mourdock wouldn't mind. But if the doctor couldn't stop the cancer, and then instead helped your mother commit suicide because of the agony she was in, I bet that Mourdock would think that was wrong.

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Don't Christians believe all hardships are intended by God? Isn't that, like, part of believing in an omnipotent God in the first place?

Having never been a Christian, maybe some part of that is eluding me. What am I missing?

No. And too much to fill in the gaps here.
Are you just speaking for yourself, here, or what? Because I'm quite sure I've seen this sentiment many, many times before.
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Rakeesh
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Dan,

Oh, I'm quite sure he has constructed-or told himself he has-a philosophy in which all of this nonsense makes sense. So in your opinion, his outlook is that pregnancy really IS a special case, and all of the other bad things aren't...because they don't involve life? Or something.

Therefore it should be considered reasonable to intervene in events for, say, cancer because although that did happen, we can't say it's...God's will that it happened? Or we can, but in this case God's will is that it's permissable that we intervene. But when a rape pregnancy happens, then we can't intervene, because it's also God's will that it happen, but because there is a life involved, we can't intervene? Or...what, exactly?

I'm not talking about the completely unprovable (one way or another) claim that it's a human life from conception, I'm talking about the worldview that labels that conception as God's will and whether it makes a lick of sense or not. The only way it can be said to do so is if you start admitting all sorts of exceptions, qualifications, and special rules for special circumstances that Mourdock claims to have insight into not because of rigorous personal research but because of a moldy old book that tells us painful pregnancies are one of God's punishments on women!

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Rakeesh
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What drives me nuts is that the only reason society as a whole credits the sort of bul@#$it thinking that Mourdock is using isn't because it's so potent and reasonable on its own, but because a whole bunch of other people think it and because our ancestors thought it. If he were saying, "I disapprove of and would disallow a rape exception because it could very well be a human life from conception, and we shouldn't take that risk until we know," I wouldn't look at him with such contempt. But no. Not only is Mourdock not uncertain whether it is a human life or not, he speaks for the sovereign of the entire freaking universe and tells us it absolutely is! But I suppose this is to be considered Christian humility, or something.
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:

Punishing a child for its father's sins is wrong (except I guess when God does it?)

But continuing to punish the rape victim by forcing her to carry the offspring of the person who raped her for nine months is not wrong? Forcing her to keep in her body for nine months and then live with the rest of her life this reminder of what we can only hope is the worst moment of her life rather than allowing her to move forward is okay?

Only if one considers the rape victim less worthy of consideration than a fetus.

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Rakeesh
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Well, no, because if that actually is a human life-which no one right now can claim to know, and anyone who says they do is selling something-then if it's terminated it's dead forever. We generally regard killing someone to be the ultimate in punishments, regardless of how awful the alternative might be.

So if someone-say an arbitrary God-appeared before me and plopped me down right in between the door to your home and your neighbor's and said, "I made a wager with Satan again, to see which you would decide: shall we subject kmbboots to some seriously nasty psychological torture and potentially some pretty serious physical suffering, both of which could have a shelf life of months or years; or shall we kill her neighbor outright?" and I picked you, I'm not sure you could then tell me* that I thought you were less worthy of consideration than your neighbor.

*Well, you could of course, because I did pick you and cause that suffering, and it would hardly be unfair for you to complain or seek vengeance for it. But that wouldn't be because I felt you were less worthy of consideration.

-----------------

Anyway, it's a bunch of frigging nonsense. If I claim tomorrow to have had visions that all life is sacred, period, and therefore we need to cease using soap and antibiotics because they kill trillions of bits of bacterial life, at best I wouldn't be taken seriously. I might depending on how committed-pun intended-I was to my newfound faith actually be committed, as a danger to myself and others.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Don't Christians believe all hardships are intended by God?

quote:
Isn't that, like, part of believing in an omnipotent God in the first place?
If these were "yes," and we are talking about the omnipotent christian god, you have a theological belief stuck having to admit not only that the pregnancy was intended by God, but that the rape itself was intended by God, and that either God intends and attentively creates specific acts of evil suffering to befall people, or that the act of raping someone is not evil (especially so if the end result forces the 'blessing' of life upon a woman, natch). Do you know what percentage of Christians are going to, if asked, fall in with that line of trainwreck philosophy?

In addition,

quote:
Also, no, you're still sort of obfuscating the actual meaning of what he said
Triple No.

Applying the direct and necessary meaning of what he said is not obfuscating what he said. Telling it straight in all of its connotations directly to the face of those who have suffered through "God's intent" is not obfuscation. Unpacking his literal and legislative intent based on that view is not obfuscation. The issue is that I am discerning his actual meaning, and you are diffusing the meaning and cutting off the harsh edges.

But the main issue that the scenario attempts to address is that you literally don't understand the outrage at his comments. How people could be mad about them. I'm saying: take the absolute application of his statements and apply them directly as an assertion to the people whose situation he speaks to. If you still don't understand how furor can and will result ..

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Dan_Frank
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Sam, when I say "I don't get why people do X" I don't actually mean "I don't understand what motivates people to do X." I actually mean "I disagree with people that do X."

It's an imprecise use of language on my part, that leads to misunderstandings. Sorry about that.

Anyway, lots of Christians (hell, lots of non-Christians too) love platitudes about things happening for a reason without thinking through the ramifications of what they're saying very well.

"Everything happens for a reason," in quotes even, gets over 5 million hits on google. It's a common sentiment. It is fundamentally the same sentiment that Mourdock expressed here, albeit badly and on a controversial subject.

That, plus the adamant belief that clusters of embryonic cells are an innocent human life with full rights, of course.

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Rakeesh
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Another area in which I do wish politicians would stop treating us like idiots: in defense of Mourdock's statements, more than one Republican has explained that what he actually meant was to affirm his belief that life is a gift from God.

Goodness, yes, and the next time executing minors comes up I'm sure we'll hear all about that respect for life from these same freaking politicians. I very much hope I live to see the day that when someone explains that they said something from a position of faith, that by default that makes it a good thing.

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kmbboots
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"I do not believe that just because you're opposed to abortion that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking. If all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed, and why would I think that you don't? Because you don't want any tax money to go there. That's not pro-life. That's pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of what pro-life is.” Sister Joan Chittister
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Lyrhawn
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I have to say, I've never been a fan of organized religion, but in the last year, American nuns have started to really turn me around. I've only recently discovered some of the comments made by nuns like Sister Chittister and Sister Simone Campbell, and I'll say this: if they were giving weekly sermons, I might actually go. They're engaging, friendly, funny, and seem to align perfectly with my own personal morality but with the arbitrariness or demonizing I grew up with in church. The Vatican shouldn't be trying to silence them, they should be giving them a megaphone.

I'm surprised to be saying this, but, I think I actually hew closer to Dan's reading on this. (write it down Dan, it's not going to happen often [Wink] ). Rakeesh more or less explained my thoughts on the process. If you think abortion is murder, then while it's not fair to the mother and it's damaging, it remains the lesser of two evils between suffering and murder. I do happen to think abortion is murder, and I actually support legislation to ban late term abortions. For people who believe that and believe they can enforce that belief upon others, the method of conception is tragic but irrelevant to the larger question.

I think the Mourdock comment was foolish and insensitive on such a hot button issue, but the general sentiment behind it, that all life is precious and rape isn't a good enough reason to snuff out that life, is a perfectly valid opinion.

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Rakeesh
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Oh, just as I disagreed with kmbboots, I'll have to disagree with you too, Lyrhawn. I don't think the method of conception is irrelevant, because the whys and hows of killing are always always relevant to what we decide the law is, I think.

Would we permit someone, a birthed human being to be specific, who if they grow ill through no fault of their own, to appropriate the bodily resources of a random other human being who has had no interaction with them at all, much less cause the need in the first place?

Would we permit such a thing if the first person, realizing they were sick and had only one way to live, latched onto this stranger and effectively forced their need on the second's body? Well, likely not, and with plenty of arguably good reasons.

But what if, as impossible as it is, the joining happened entirely by accident? What if the two people were kidnapped by some bizarre Saw villain guy (never seen any of them, don't know the name) and medically joined as a whimsically cruel experiment? Once the two people managed to escape the villain's clutches, would we then say that the second human can cut off the first...or that the first can insist the second not cut them off? I don't know. Maybe to either of them.

Don't really know, but I do think the question of how the need for the mother's body came to exist isn't relevant.

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Lyrhawn
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Those are interesting ways to pose the question that certainly muddy the black/white nature of the question on a moral basis.

But as I said, if you're someone who believes that abortion is murder regardless, then the circumstances don't alleviate the wrongness of murder. At the end of the day, the unborn child is still innocent of any possible justification that could be used for killing it short of a contest of health concerns between killing it or it killing the mother. The crime is with the father, not the unborn child. You can't transfer guilt to the fetus and carry out the sentence. So I maintain that, for people who believe abortion is murder, the circumstances of conception are irrelevant.

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Vadon
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Oh, just as I disagreed with kmbboots, I'll have to disagree with you too, Lyrhawn. I don't think the method of conception is irrelevant, because the whys and hows of killing are always always relevant to what we decide the law is, I think.

Would we permit someone, a birthed human being to be specific, who if they grow ill through no fault of their own, to appropriate the bodily resources of a random other human being who has had no interaction with them at all, much less cause the need in the first place?

Would we permit such a thing if the first person, realizing they were sick and had only one way to live, latched onto this stranger and effectively forced their need on the second's body? Well, likely not, and with plenty of arguably good reasons.

But what if, as impossible as it is, the joining happened entirely by accident? What if the two people were kidnapped by some bizarre Saw villain guy (never seen any of them, don't know the name) and medically joined as a whimsically cruel experiment? Once the two people managed to escape the villain's clutches, would we then say that the second human can cut off the first...or that the first can insist the second not cut them off? I don't know. Maybe to either of them.

Don't really know, but I do think the question of how the need for the mother's body came to exist isn't relevant.

This looks like a derivation of the Violinist example from Judith Thomson's essay "A Defense of Abortion." I think it's well worth a read.

To Lyrhawn in particular, Thomson explains the significant difference between murder and abortion in the article. It probably wouldn't be persuasive to most who already oppose abortion, but as someone who was on the fence, it persuaded me.

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Lyrhawn
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I didn't read the whole thing but I scanned through it. She does indeed make some persuasive arguments, but I'm sure it changes my mind.

I've gone back and forth on the acorn vs. the tree argument. I don't think that aborting a clump of cells is murder per se, but it strikes me as a sort of preventive murder. I've been through this debate on Hatrack before, but I believe that killing it before it's allowed to form sentience doesn't work as a moral loophole. And I believe, as I think most people would when pressed, that the baby does achieve sentience at some point well before actually being born. Extreme premature births produce viable babies all the time, more and more so as premature births become more and more commonplace. So while the line is arbitrary, the line is there, and there is a point at which it would seem most people would accept that its simply wrong. But I could be wrong in that last assumption.

Whether nor not rape is relevant depends, I suppose, on your justification for why abortion is right or wrong. Personally I don't have a clear answer to the question, but then, I've also never been in favor of legislating most restrictions on abortion, in part due to my own constantly changing stance on the issue.

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Rakeesh
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quote:
But as I said, if you're someone who believes that abortion is murder regardless, then the circumstances don't alleviate the wrongness of murder. At the end of the day, the unborn child is still innocent of any possible justification that could be used for killing it short of a contest of health concerns between killing it or it killing the mother. The crime is with the father, not the unborn child. You can't transfer guilt to the fetus and carry out the sentence. So I maintain that, for people who believe abortion is murder, the circumstances of conception are irrelevant.
Well if you start out, by default, with the stance that abortion is murder, then no amount of circumstance will change anything except perhaps degree. But again, we and most human societies recognize the possibility of context changing a given killing, whether to raise it (so to speak) to murder, or lower it to manslaughter or even a negligent death, or even ennoble it by deeming it an act of defense.

The trouble is, you don't know it's murder-bear with me while I explain that remark. You don't know it's a human, so how can you then claim it's murder? It seems to me, and I hope you'll correct me if I'm wrong, that you're starting from not one but two positions that cannot be argued or even reasoned with. One, that the life at any point in the pregnancy is human, a human child in fact; two, that any killing of that child under any circumstances is murder, short of a clear threat to the mother's life.

Is it still, for example, to be murder if the mother was raped, impregnated, and then her doctors inform her that carrying the pregnancy to term will likely result in lifelong serious health risks and problems for the mother? Suppose for example this mother is 14, and because of the usual tragedies attending rape, she doesn't get prenatal care. When the pregnancy become impossible to hide, it's clear she suffers from, I don't know, preeclampsia. Others can talk about that better than I, along with some of the other heavy hitters.

She's a child too. Is the answer always, in every single case, that the maybe-human fetus's life outweighs every single other concern short of the mother's-willing or no-life in exchange? Why? We wouldn't tolerate that sort of disparity of rights anywhere else.

Suppose I'm a doctor fresh out of medical school. My child needs a type of rare blood or even an organ quickly, and it is unlikely or even impossible that one can be found before the child dies. But I'm a doctor. I could conceivably take the blood or even an organ, from a complete stranger to save my child's life.

Would the person thus deprived of blood or organ(s) not then be able to demand justice and punishment of this doctor? Why is this any different?

The hypothetical scenario game can go indefinitely, and the only reason I offer it now is because of the way you offered, as mentioned above, what I perceived as two positions that you state as fact but that are actually hugely questionable.

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Chris Bridges
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To someone who truly believes life begins at conception, this would be morally equal to a woman being raped and then being presented by the rapist with a 2-year-old child to raise. The rape was a despicable act, and the pro-life person can feel horrible for the victim, but it still doesn't justify shooting the kid in the head to make the woman feel better. To the pro-life person, there is no difference between a 2-week fetus and a 2-year-old child.

(Note that I am pro-choice, I do not believe humanhood begins at conception, and I realize this doesn't begin to convey the horror of having to carry your rapist's child to term and then raise for life. And pro-lifers don't care about kids after they're born, yadda yadda. I'm just saying I can understand the logic.)

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Rakeesh
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I understand that to many pro-lifers it may feel as though those situations are the same, Chris, but no matter how earnestly they might feel that way it doesn't do anything to change how valid the comparison is, either more or less.

Some key differences: the two-year old is unquestionably a human being, by everyone's standards. There have been cultures in the past that didn't consider life even past birth to be fully human, in the sense of ideas such as not mourning (to the same extent) a child who dies at a few weeks old, but I don't think anyone has considered two-year olds to be lacking humanity. If the pro-lifer wishes to consider a cluster of cells a human life, they must actually make that case rather than insist it be considered a given.

The second major flaw in such a comparison is the idea that an abortion is done to make the mother feel better, case closed. While certainly there are people after such an event would feel better having all tangible reminders of it destroyed, it does nothing to address the fact that in that scenario, the woman is faced with much more than simply feeling bad about the reminder of the rape.

Speaking more generally, and about American politicians rather than grass roots organizations, I do think a charge of gross hypocrisy can be leveled at many of the same people who proudly lay claim to pro-life status, when we look at the comparative willingness between the two parties to make cuts to various social programs. The only potential excuse would be another unproven assertion, that such cuts will be covered by private charities.

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Lyrhawn
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Rakeesh, I posted my response in the Election Thread Annex. You can respond to me there if you'd like, but I didn't want to gum up this thread for a sustained period of time.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Sam, when I say "I don't get why people do X" I don't actually mean "I don't understand what motivates people to do X." I actually mean "I disagree with people that do X."

It's an imprecise use of language on my part, that leads to misunderstandings. Sorry about that.

ohhhhhhhhh.

okay.

to keep the issue grossly political and smug though: I am appreciative of the rapidly rising stigmatization of "no abortion even in case of rape" people because a) they're dangerous in terms of their patriarchal overreach and have to be the first ones targeted if one is pro-choice, and this is because b) making their position reliably untenable furthers a schism in pro-lifers which comfortably keeps pro-life morality too fragmented to do anything but concertedly promise old people that Roe v Wade is going down.

IN OTHER NEWS

A PERSON WHO, in this election at least, WE CAN ALL COMFORTABLY LAUGH AT

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505267_162-57539897/donald-trump-$5m-offer-to-president-falls-flat-joke-to-many/

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Lyrhawn
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A lot of people were speculating that Trump had access to divorce papers the Obamas had drawn up when they went through a rough patch he describes in one of his books.
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Hobbes
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Some of us speculated that Trump was a gasbag and a fraud. Some of us were right.

Hobbes [Smile]

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Samprimary
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http://www.cracked.com/blog/10-stories-about-donald-trump-you-wont-believe-are-true/
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