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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » What right do we have... (Page 2)

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Mirrored Shades
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...All right. Maybe I was wrong. Let me try this again.

An opinion is subjective -- but can be judged right or wrong by how it correlates with objective reality. Therefore if in your opinion the world is flat when there is proof the earth is round, your opinion is wrong.

But if 4000 years ago you had believed the earth was flat, your opinion could not have been either right or wrong, because the shape of the earth was a matter of opinion alone, with no definitive proof one way or another.


But I stand by what I said earlier about it being actions, not opinions, that people should be judged by. I'll try and put it another way: it isn't a crime to think the right thing to do is kill all the black people, though people probably won't like you very much if you voice that opinion. It is a crime to go out and try to kill every black person you meet. It is also, in most peoples opinions, *wrong.*

As for why we come up with these laws in the first place... well, it really is a matter of opinion. That's where things get hairy when it comes to matters like abortion, because everyone has an opinion and we're all fighting desperately not to let our country become something that terrifies us -- whether that's a place that allows women to kill their children, or a place that forbids women to have control over their own lives and choices. Every law is formed on the opinions of the governing body, the beliefs and desires of whomever has the power to enforce those beliefs.

Everyone wants a better world, we just can't ever agree on what a better world *is.*

...I've confused even myself, now. I suspect that somewhere along the line I stopped making sense. [Smile]

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
But if 4000 years ago you had believed the earth was flat, your opinion could not have been either right or wrong, because the shape of the earth was a matter of opinion alone, with no definitive proof one way or another.
It would still be wrong, even if it couldn't be proven.
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Jon Boy
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quote:
Originally posted by Mirrored Shades:
But if 4000 years ago you had believed the earth was flat, your opinion could not have been either right or wrong, because the shape of the earth was a matter of opinion alone, with no definitive proof one way or another.

No, the shape of the earth was a matter of things like gravity and planetary physics, just like it is today. Just because people did not recognize the proof does not mean that there was no proof.
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BaoQingTian
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You lost me about 4000 years ago [Wink] Seriously though, the opinion would still have been correct if you argued that the earth was round. Just because you were unable, by the methods of the time, to prove your position does not change the fact that your opinion was correct. Even though there might not have been definate proof at the time, the objective reality is that the earth is round. Just because we didn't discover that reality for 3500 years doesn't mean the person's opinion was right.

I think that was mph argument. We just don't know right now, but an objective truth is out there. Our children's children will write our history. If the truth is discovered at that time, it may be that the pro-life movement will be regarded as a backwards, anti-liberty group who tried to repress women; on the other hand it may be that the pro-choice group is remembered for encouraging the homicide of millions of unborn babies despite cries for restraint.

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mr_porteiro_head
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You understood my round earth argument.

I do not think, however, that general public acceptance of something makes that thing correct.

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Jon Boy
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I think he was implying that we might reach one of those two beliefs because we would realize that it was an objective fact.
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mr_porteiro_head
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Ah. If so, then I misunderstood.
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BaoQingTian
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Thanks Jon Boy. That's what I meant mph. That one day the question of the humanity of a fetus may be objectively answered-not answered by a common consensus of opinion. Sorry for the confusion.
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Mirrored Shades
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...There's a reason I try and stay clear of philosophical debates. So a belief that world is flat would be wrong even if there wasn't any proof that it was wrong. Got it. I'm not sure that that was what I was trying to say, anyway. I think my point was that *at the time* those opinions couldn't have been proved either way, so while today they're wrong, at the time -- while still wrong -- it didn't matter. It was a matter of opinion, and not something that could be argued until someone set out to sail around the world and didn't go over the edge.

As far as the abortion issue goes, whatever the objective truth is, we don't know it and have no way of knowing it. Potentiality is not actuality, a fetus is not a child, and as far as we are thus far able to tell, a first trimester abortion is not murder. This isn't fact -- it can't be. An argument about the ethics of abortion is going to be based on opinion no matter which way you argue, if you base that argument on the idea that abortion=murder, or fetus=nothing but a clump of cells. If your someday grandchildren find out that your opinion fits the objective facts, that doesn't change the fact that as of today, your opinion is just that: an opinion.

I'm going to go scratch my head and ponder, and let you all go forth and poke holes in my argument. I hold out hope that one day I will finally know enough to know what I am talking about.

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Sterling
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I would say you have the right to an opinion, and a right to discuss that opinion.

And you have the right to flat-out tell someone they're wrong, but if you make a habit of doing so out of sheer ire, you can expect to have your teeth handed to you and I'm not going to have a whole lot of sympathy for you when you do.

On the other hand, if you're going to try to make your opinion law, or otherwise prepared to dictate that everyone has to conform to your opinion- you ought to consider that opinion *very* carefully, and not just from "where you stand."

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
And you have the right to flat-out tell someone they're wrong, but if you make a habit of doing so out of sheer ire, you can expect to have your teeth handed to you and I'm not going to have a whole lot of sympathy for you when you do.
Please, please tell me that this is hyperbole and that you don't literally think this.
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Sterling
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Not entirely. I'm not of a mind to assault people for voicing their opinions, if that's what you're asking, even if I find those opinions personally repellant. But I understand that for some people, words are weapons. And I don't think people who shout others down without any attempt at understanding, sympathy, or compassion should be surprised if their attacks warrant hostile responses, simply because their attacks were "only" verbal or written.

For example, take the people who are making a business of hectoring people at military funerals because they believe their deaths are some kind of divine retribution for harboring homosexuals. Now, I wouldn't take a swing at one of those people. And if someone else did, my principled intellectual mind would be horrified that someone was assaulting someone merely for using their First Amendment rights. But somewhere in my reptilian brain, I would be delighted. And I certainly wouldn't be rushing over to help them up.

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Tresopax
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I think it is somewhat disrespectful to not tell me when you think my opinion is wrong. That suggests that you either think I am incapable of seeing the truth that you see, or that I am not worth the effort. And that you are willing to let me suffer the consequences of having mistaken beliefs.

quote:
As far as the abortion issue goes, whatever the objective truth is, we don't know it and have no way of knowing it.
Unless God tells us - that'd be pretty darn good evidence, if God is both omniscient and honest.
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Jon Boy
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quote:
Originally posted by Mirrored Shades:
As far as the abortion issue goes, whatever the objective truth is, we don't know it and have no way of knowing it. Potentiality is not actuality, a fetus is not a child, and as far as we are thus far able to tell, a first trimester abortion is not murder.

This is what I was trying to get at earlier—are these really safe assumptions to be making? Are we going to look back fifty or a hundred years from now and regret that we thought it was alright? After all, people have used the argument "They're not really human" to justify a lot of horrible things in the past.
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