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Author Topic: California Proposition 8
Danlo the Wild
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Don't talk about sex, don't question religion and please don't interrupt religion as it preaches to you about sex, ok?
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Boris
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quote:
Originally posted by MightyCow:
quote:
Originally posted by Boris:
I'm making a point about how so many liberals have this really annoying tendency to just simply make fun of people who don't agree with them rather than engaging in meaningful dialogue.

...

I suppose it's so much easier to believe that you're right about everything if the people who don't agree with you are just idiots who don't know what's best for themselves.

Irony Explosion! [Evil Laugh]
Stating an observation about the attitude of a group of people is not mocking them. Mocking would be, "You stupid liberals, you don't have a clue unless someone tells you what to think! HAHA!" or perhaps, "I'm surprised about the election this year. I mean, those democrats are usually so stoned, I'm surprised they were able to find the voting booth." I didn't do that.

I'm more than happy to engage in dialogue. And I've tried to on many occasions. Unfortunately, it very hard to when you know that at some point the person you're talking to is going to treat you like you have brain damage rather than attempt to view the world from a different perspective.

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twinky
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quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
quote:
Originally posted by Boris:
... Thank you for proving, though, that one of the admirable tenants of liberal-mindedness, to avoid offending others, is something that isn't really held to very often.

Do the names Chretien or Trudeau, both famously outspoken Liberal Prime Ministers of Canada, mean nothing to you?
I love my country, but I don't think those names mean much to anyone outside of Canada. I'm sure that most Americans have no idea who they are.
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Scott R
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Trudeau? Doesn't he write and draw Doonesbury?

That strip totally jumped the shark when Reagan left office.

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by twinky:
I love my country, but I don't think those names mean much to anyone outside of Canada. I'm sure that most Americans have no idea who they are.

Thats obviously my point. Making a general statement about liberals is pretty silly if you don't know about some of the most prominent actual Liberals or what they believe.
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0Megabyte
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sarcasticmuppet:

Certainly not worth emulating. My point was clearly that if you look there, you discover that people in general tend to be the way Boris is decrying. Not just liberals.

As for Boris:

I didn't make fun of your beliefs at all. And the crack on your sexuality? The fact that you're so stuck up as to take that as a serious insinuation, as opposed to the clearly facetious statement it was, well, it says something. Nothing about your sexuality, certainly, but something.

All I was doing was pointing out how like a teenager you are acting like, and how annoying it is.

Through example.

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Boris
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quote:
Originally posted by 0Megabyte:
All I was doing was pointing out how like a teenager you are acting like, and how annoying it is.

I learned it from watching you!!! [Big Grin]
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0Megabyte
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Yes, well, I stopped being a teenager only recently; I suppose it isn't much of a stretch for me to act like one from time to time. [Big Grin]

Look, I'm sorry, man. It was rude, and I know it.

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Teshi
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What drives me crazy about this thread is that the truth of the situation seems, from a moral and common sense standpoint, quite simple.

The human race's ability to alienate parts of itself is incredible. The evidence that this alienation is most often unwarranted is overwhelming.

That uncertainty you feel is the same fear your ancestors felt with regards to any number of people they weren't quite comfortable with and with whom you now interact without blinking an eye. You do not quail to see a woman casting a vote at a ballot station. One day, your children will not quail to see a homosexual couple exchanging vows.

You might ask, "if I cannot trust my gut, what can I trust?" Don't worry, your gut is a powerful weapon and you will still have it when you need to. Murder, neglect, abuse, war- they will all still look wrong.

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Scott R
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quote:
Making a general statement about liberals is pretty silly if you don't know about some of the most prominent actual Liberals or what they believe.
Prominent? To whom?
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Armoth
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quote:
Originally posted by Teshi:
What drives me crazy about this thread is that the truth of the situation seems, from a moral and common sense standpoint, quite simple.

The human race's ability to alienate parts of itself is incredible. The evidence that this alienation is most often unwarranted is overwhelming.

That uncertainty you feel is the same fear your ancestors felt with regards to any number of people they weren't quite comfortable with and with whom you now interact without blinking an eye. You do not quail to see a woman casting a vote at a ballot station. One day, your children will not quail to see a homosexual couple exchanging vows.

You might ask, "if I cannot trust my gut, what can I trust?" Don't worry, your gut is a powerful weapon and you will still have it when you need to. Murder, neglect, abuse, war- they will all still look wrong.

I don't think it's the same, specifically, because I don't have that feeling you speak about.

I was part of a group of 5 friends in high school. We were all best friends with one another - 4 guys, and one girl. As high school progressed, each one of my male friends, one in 9th, another in 10th, and the last in the summer between 11th and 12th came out of the closet. It was sad for me as I suppose whenever I was speaking about women and stuff...they were humoring me. Seriously, all 4 of my best friends liked men...

ANYWAYS - I'm still insanely close with them. My best friend is the one who came out last, and he just visited his boyfriend's family for christmas.

Now they disagree with me vehemently on this issue, and I don't blame them - but I don't think the government should give incentives to gay families.

But I don't feel like im discriminating or that it is a matter of equality - I just think that the most successful familial unit is the heterosexual one. I don't think its icky, or that I don't want my children to be around "those people" - and I'm not going to toss around bible either.

I think Gays should be allowed to visit one another in the hospital, and all the trappings of couplehood, but I think that financial incentives which we currently give to married couples - which we give, presumably because we think it's a good thing for people to get married and start families - shouldn't be extended in this case.

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Paul Goldner
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Armoth-
" I just think that the most successful familial unit is the heterosexual one"

Successful how? What should we measure to compare different family structures? If those measurements show that homosexual couples form family units that are on average just as successful as the family units heterosexual couples form, would you reverse your position?

"but I think that financial incentives which we currently give to married couples - which we give, presumably because we think it's a good thing for people to get married and start families - shouldn't be extended in this case. "

What benefit do you think is gained by not providing the financial benefits to same sex couples planning on starting families that outweighs the benefits that would be gained by providing the financial benefits and protections that families headed by straight couples get?

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twinky
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quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
quote:
Originally posted by twinky:
I love my country, but I don't think those names mean much to anyone outside of Canada. I'm sure that most Americans have no idea who they are.

Thats obviously my point. Making a general statement about liberals is pretty silly if you don't know about some of the most prominent actual Liberals or what they believe.
Yeah -- my point was just that Trudeau and Chrétien are only prominent within Canada. Remember Jean Poutine?
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Threads
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quote:
Originally posted by Armoth:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Armoth:
I think Gays should be allowed to visit one another in the hospital, and all the trappings of couplehood, but I think that financial incentives which we currently give to married couples - which we give, presumably because we think it's a good thing for people to get married and start families - shouldn't be extended in this case.

Here's a partial list of some of the financial benefits that married couples have. Do you oppose granting any of those to same-sex couples?
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Armoth
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quote:
Originally posted by Paul Goldner:
Armoth-
" I just think that the most successful familial unit is the heterosexual one"

Successful how? What should we measure to compare different family structures? If those measurements show that homosexual couples form family units that are on average just as successful as the family units heterosexual couples form, would you reverse your position?

"but I think that financial incentives which we currently give to married couples - which we give, presumably because we think it's a good thing for people to get married and start families - shouldn't be extended in this case. "

What benefit do you think is gained by not providing the financial benefits to same sex couples planning on starting families that outweighs the benefits that would be gained by providing the financial benefits and protections that families headed by straight couples get?

I believe in gender roles and that any good partnership needs to be made of both gender roles. (I don't mean to say that men need to be males and women females, but that both the male and female gender role need to be represented).
The challenge to conquer the world, the encouragement and strength of the father balanced with the love, compassion, heart and soul of the mother. This is the formula, I believe, makes for a successful marriage, on the one hand, and breeds happier, more psychologically healthy, life-readier (I don't quite have a good word...), children.

There are straight couples who do not have this dynamic, I know. There are gay couples who do. There are single parents. But on the whole, I believe that it is essentially a heterosexual dynamic.

This is the argument I have with my friends - they ask that If I am proven wrong, will I change my position. Yes. In a heartbeat. It would make me even happier because it would make a lot of gay people very happy.

As for your second question, a bit more complex:

I think that the gain of giving gay couples incentives are psychological. That is not to belittle the psychological gains, I'm just prefacing. They would make a lot of gay people who feel discriminated against feel like they have gained "equality", respect, etc.

I think that the gain of NOT extending incentives is also psychological, and perhaps even preventative.
Psychological in the sense that a statement is made by our society that we believe that a more successful family, on the whole, is a heterosexual one. Perhaps this psychology will be reflected in adoption laws - that heterosexual couples will be given priority over homosexual couples.

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Paul Goldner
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So, if I provided several links to studies showing that the health outcomes for children of gay couples is essentially the same for children of straight couples, this would be compelling evidence that your position is wrong?

As for this...

"The challenge to conquer the world, the encouragement and strength of the father balanced with the love, compassion, heart and soul of the mother. This is the formula, I believe, makes for a successful marriage,"

All I can really say is I'm sorry you haven't experienced the world and the myriad successful relationships therein. It might be a personal belief that you hold dearly, but I don't think you could ever demonstrate it to be true enough to discriminate in law based on that belief.

And make no mistake: Denying same sex marriage while allowing opposite sex marriage is, by definition, discrimination. You might believe it is JUSTIFIED discrimination. But to claim it is not discriminatory is to redefine the word.

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Threads
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quote:
Originally posted by Armoth:
I think that the gain of NOT extending incentives is also psychological, and perhaps even preventative. Psychological in the sense that a statement is made by our society that we believe that a more successful family, on the whole, is a heterosexual one.

When you make your beliefs into law you force them on everyone else. This isn't necessarily a bad thing but it's clearly more than a statement. You can make a statement through community pressure.

quote:
Originally posted by Armoth:
Perhaps this psychology will be reflected in adoption laws - that heterosexual couples will be given priority over homosexual couples.

This is an appeal to stereotypes and is dangerous in general. Adoption agencies should be looking at the backgrounds of couples applying for adoption. They shouldn't be screwing around over surface details like sexual preference and religious beliefs (example of what shouldn't happen). We can make better-than-random predictions about whether or not someone is a good parent based off of their skin color too but it would be horribly unfair for us to give priority to white parents over black parents.
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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
quote:
Making a general statement about liberals is pretty silly if you don't know about some of the most prominent actual Liberals or what they believe.
Prominent? To whom?
Liberals

quote:
Originally posted by twinky:
Yeah -- my point was just that Trudeau and Chrétien are only prominent within Canada. Remember Jean Poutine?

Again, obviously my point. I hardly expect Boris to know about them. Hence the weirdness about him singling me out as a liberal and the fact that he's trying to generalize about them when he probably doesn't know a thing about the liberal tradition I am most likely to adhere to.

[ December 31, 2008, 02:20 PM: Message edited by: Mucus ]

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Scott R
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quote:
Originally posted by twinky:
quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
quote:
Originally posted by twinky:
I love my country, but I don't think those names mean much to anyone outside of Canada. I'm sure that most Americans have no idea who they are.

Thats obviously my point. Making a general statement about liberals is pretty silly if you don't know about some of the most prominent actual Liberals or what they believe.
Yeah -- my point was just that Trudeau and Chrétien are only prominent within Canada. Remember Jean Poutine?

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Darth_Mauve
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I had a whole conversation with some friends where we compared modern religions to the Star Trek incarnations.

I'd post it here, but when one guy started claiming LDS was Christian Fan-fic, I knew it could never see the light of Hatrack. We all know that the End Of Days is the true Bible Fan-Fic.

However, we explained the whole LDS backing of Prop 8 as that group of Star Trek Enterprise lovers camped out at a convention. The rest of the Trekies either ignored them or sought to convert them to the true Trek universe. Some claimed they weren't true Trekies at all.

In order to prove their Trekie-ness, the Enterprise lovers helped push a ban at the convention that would not allow Anime or their supporters at the convention.

"See" they would argue, "We are good Trekkies. We only support live-action Science Fiction in all its Star Trek glory. You perverted animation lovers, with your unnatural juvenile drawings are a blight, and lead directly to pedophilic porn." To prove how Trekie they were, the led the attack on non-Trekie outlets.

Armoth, I understand and appreciate your view on this issue. You are not a homo-phobe. You don't fear gays, nor are you a seething fanatic demanding that we bow down to your beliefs of right and wrong.

You simply believe that a heterosexual family is better than a homosexual one.

You simply believe that we give governmental monetary aid to support families that are of that better type.

You believe that a loving gay couple can visit each other in the hospital. Can I assume that you also believe that if one of the lovers is unconscious, the other should be able to visit, even if the unconscious one's mother orders the hospital to keep them out? After all, the mother is family, while the lover is only a gay lover. Here is where the hospital problem comes in.

All the trappings of couplehood you say. Yet not all the trappings of Marriage short of the financial incentives. Couple-hood has no trappings.

Financial incentives that they shouldn't share. Do those include the right to be on their partner's insurance? Right now I'm covered by insurance provided by the school my wife works for. If we were a gay couple, should I still be allowed?

You claim that homosexual families are less than heterosexual families. Are they less than institutional families? Right now in Arkansas it is illegal for a gay couple to adopt or foster a child. Several couples wish to, but the law says no. So children who could have a home are sitting in institutions, and may be their for the first 18 years of their lives.

How low do homosexual familiar units fall on your list?

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Scott R
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I'm petitioning all Jatraqueros to refrain from using metaphors when discussing this topic on this board.

Save the endangered allegory-- don't abuse metaphor.

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BlueWizard
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"But I don't feel like im discriminating or that it is a matter of equality - I just think that the most successful familial unit is the heterosexual one. "

You mean, like 50% successful. I don't think a 50% failure rate is anything to brag about, nor is it much of a success.

Also, you are stating a social and moral position, but this is strictly a legal question, and a question of Constitutional Equal Rights. Your moral view doesn't matter in this decision.

Strictly from a legal and Constitutional point of view, is it right to single out an isolated group of otherwise law abiding and productive people, and limit their rights? I don't see how anyone can say, yes, that's right.

Now, you are certainly most welcome to your social and moral opinion, as long as you realize it is an opinion, and as long has you realize your personal views are not the foundation upon which just and fair laws are built.


"I think Gays should be allowed to visit one another in the hospital, and all the trappings of couplehood, but I think that financial incentives which we currently give to married couples-..."

Again, your opinion and you are welcome to it, but, like it or not, random opinions are not the test of fairness in the law or the Constitution.

Married couple don't get legal advantages in order to encourage them to get married. The laws regarding rights and responsibilities exist to ensure that those involved in that marriage are treated fairly.

The tax advantages are because a couple is acting, from a financial perspective, as a single unit. They pool their money as community property, the share access to and ownership of property. They are, for all practical purposes, a single unit. It is purely a rational legal decision. Now certainly, it gives married couples an advantage, but no greater than corporation or those who make money off of capital gains.

So, social, religious, and moral objections aside, what are your legal objections to equal rights?

If a pair of people couple into a single functioning unit, and are willing to accept the responsibilities that accompany that 'unit', why should they be denied the right of that unit, from a PURELY LEGAL and CONSTITUTIONAL perspective.

When this issue is finally decided, those are the parameters that will drive the decision - purely legal and Constitutional.

Someone social, moral, and religious opinion simply can not be allowed to cloud the fairness of the law, and a fair and just interpretation of the Constitution.

In California, they won the right to modify the State Constitution to ingrain a form of discrimination. To isolate a select group of people and deny them rights. Very like, despite popular vote, that 'ability' is going to be declared unconstitutional in and of itself. The majority, for whatever reason, simply can not force tyranny upon the minority.

But I will add, that in all fairness, the minority (any) should not be able to force tyranny on the majority either.

Steve/bluewizard

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Armoth
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Darth - Thanks, I appreciate that.

I have not put in the deep thought and sensitivity required to say which incentives I'd be cool with and which not.

The one with the mean mother who doesn't want the boyfriend at the hospital bed, I think gays should be extended this right. Why? Because it seems to me to be a right and not an incentive.

As for insurance? That, to me, seems more of an incentive than a right. It is an expression of society viewing two people as a functional unit, and an incentive for that unit to remain together.

And of course - If children are not being adopted and are being raised in institutions, I think gays should be pushed, if not just permitted, to adopt them.

Blue Wizard:

Moral opinions? Do you mean religious opinions? Because my religious opinion stays out of this one. Morally, do you mean because I think that a heterosexual marriage is more successful especially for children? Well, Yeah. Then i guess it is moral in the sense that I think we should look after the welfare of children.

The U.S. believes in providing incentives. We give incentives based on what we believe will help us function best, will promote the betterment of society in general, etc.
The financial benefits extended in marriage, I view as incentives - not as rights. Why should I be allowed to benefit from my spouse's insurance? From my spouse's employer's benefits? I am not their employee. It is an incentive.

As such, as a society, we can come together democratically and decide who we want to extend incentives to and who not. Discrimination in such an area, in my opinion, is no dirty word.

I am not legislating, I am stating my opinion. That is all it is. But if my opinion triumphs in the democratic process - then it is legislating, and in that case, my opinion certainly matters.

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Danlo the Wild
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quote:
Originally posted by Teshi:
The human race's ability to alienate parts of itself is incredible. The evidence that this alienation is most often unwarranted is overwhelming.

Totally.

For some people to feel good, they have to believe lots of other people are very bad.

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Teshi:
What drives me crazy about this thread is that the truth of the situation seems, from a moral and common sense standpoint, quite simple.

The human race's ability to alienate parts of itself is incredible. The evidence that this alienation is most often unwarranted is overwhelming.

That uncertainty you feel is the same fear your ancestors felt with regards to any number of people they weren't quite comfortable with and with whom you now interact without blinking an eye. You do not quail to see a woman casting a vote at a ballot station. One day, your children will not quail to see a homosexual couple exchanging vows.

You might ask, "if I cannot trust my gut, what can I trust?" Don't worry, your gut is a powerful weapon and you will still have it when you need to. Murder, neglect, abuse, war- they will all still look wrong.

Let me tell you what drives me crazy about this issue.

The human race's ability to justify anything purely on the basis of, "It feels good." That the religious look at the areligious and are expected to learn the concept of, "Live and let live," but when the areligious look at the religious they are permitted to say, "They are all fools who think an imaginary being speaks to them," or, "When the belief in God is systematically eradicated then the human race will truly be free."

Now we can look at the religious and conclude that their opinions, "do not count" at least when we compare them to opinions based solely on science or even opinions based on feelings but to which no reference to God is made.

It astounds me that people can conclude that a system designed to help people get over themselves and serve others is bad for business but a system that says think of oneself first and then the community will be prosperous is the current zeitgeist.

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King of Men
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quote:
That the religious look at the areligious and are expected to learn the concept of, "Live and let live," but when the areligious look at the religious they are permitted to say, "They are all fools who think an imaginary being speaks to them," or, "When the belief in God is systematically eradicated then the human race will truly be free."
And yet, nevertheless, we permit these aberrations, these kludged-up mockeries of the human mind, to live, and indeed to pollute our public spaces with their falsehoods. Truly our mercy and goodness knows no bounds.
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Boris
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quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
And yet, nevertheless.

Hello Captain Redundant.
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Teshi
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quote:
The human race's ability to justify anything purely on the basis of, "It feels good."
We justify things all the time on "it feels bad." In fact, our historical record shows far more evidence of discriminating against things because "they feel bad" rather than embracing things that "feel good". Many of the older and longer lasting moral codes involve fasting and abstention from sex- it was these codes that were to be aspired to, not the other way around.

If God exists, I pray fervently that he shows favour not based upon apparently arbitrary rules that by all Earthly measures amount to a kind of torture, but on the goodness of the person's spirit, should such a thing exist.

quote:
are expected to learn the concept of, "Live and let live,"
If you think this is the message I intended to convey, you are grievously mistaken. The commitment of atheists and the areligious to oppose the suffering of fellow human beings is no less fierce than the religious.

"Live and let live" only applies when it is interfering that is causing the suffering.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
The human race's ability to justify anything purely on the basis of, "It feels good." That the religious look at the areligious and are expected to learn the concept of, "Live and let live," but when the areligious look at the religious they are permitted to say, "They are all fools who think an imaginary being speaks to them," or, "When the belief in God is systematically eradicated then the human race will truly be free."
Wow. The planet you're living on sounds a lot better than the one I'm living on. What's the economy like on Never-Existed-World?
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Threads
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
That the religious look at the areligious and are expected to learn the concept of, "Live and let live," but when the areligious look at the religious they are permitted to say, "They are all fools who think an imaginary being speaks to them," or, "When the belief in God is systematically eradicated then the human race will truly be free."

If that "expectation" actually exists then it is likely perpetuated by religious people. 92% of this country believes in a god and atheists have absolutely no political power.

And can we keep the stereotypes out? It shouldn't need explaining that a statement like "When the belief in God is systematically eradicated then the human race will truly be free" is not an accurate portrayal of atheists.

EDIT: Though I guess it depends on how you interpret "systematically eradicated". If it's through non-violent means and without state oppression then that statement would probably be accurate.

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ketchupqueen
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quote:
Originally posted by Boris:
quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
And yet, nevertheless.

Hello Captain Redundant.
Hey! What'd'ya mean? I thought that was me! I thought I was Captain Redundant!
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
The human race's ability to justify anything purely on the basis of, "It feels good." That the religious look at the areligious and are expected to learn the concept of, "Live and let live," but when the areligious look at the religious they are permitted to say, "They are all fools who think an imaginary being speaks to them," or, "When the belief in God is systematically eradicated then the human race will truly be free."
Wow. The planet you're living on sounds a lot better than the one I'm living on. What's the economy like on Never-Existed-World?
Tom you yourself have said that you think the removal of the belief in God is the only way the human race will be saved.

And to clarify I do not mean that currently the religious are held at gun point and forced to just sit there and take it. I am saying I perceive that more and more belief that even in part relies on religion is being seen as invalid.
-----

Threads:
quote:
If that "expectation" actually exists then it is likely perpetuated by religious people. 92% of this country believes in a god and atheists have absolutely no political power.
That is simply not true. I'm not going to say that the media is controlled by a secret atheist enclave, but even a cursory review of movies, books, television, etc shows that many criticisms of religion exist.

quote:
And can we keep the stereotypes out? It shouldn't need explaining that a statement like "When the belief in God is systematically eradicated then the human race will truly be free" is not an accurate portrayal of atheists.

EDIT: Though I guess it depends on how you interpret "systematically eradicated". If it's through non-violent means and without state oppression then that statement would probably be accurate.

Your edit is closer to what I was saying.
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Threads
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
If that "expectation" actually exists then it is likely perpetuated by religious people. 92% of this country believes in a god and atheists have absolutely no political power.
That is simply not true. I'm not going to say that the media is controlled by a secret atheist enclave, but even a cursory review of movies, books, television, etc shows that many criticisms of religion exist.
Fundamentalist religion sure but religion in general? I think maybe you are confusing secularism with atheism. The two are unrelated and while there is certainly a push towards secularism in this country there is still plenty of cut-and-dry discrimination against atheism.
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Teshi
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quote:
That is simply not true. I'm not going to say that the media is controlled by a secret atheist enclave, but even a cursory review of movies, books, television, etc shows that many criticisms of religion exist.
Yes. And?

Given the amount of religious literature out there, and religious literature that criticizes other religions, and religious literature that criticizes the unreligious, and literature that criticizes stuff in general, I think that having a few prominent books and authors who have written in opposition to religion is hardly an unfair percentage.

Atheism in America is astonishingly absent from politics, given there are more atheists in the US than there are people in Canada almost twice over. Almost every politician who wishes to get somewhere attends a church. Secularism exists, certainly, but as Threads has just noted, they are different things.

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Dagonee
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quote:
there are more atheists in the US than there are people in Canada almost twice over.
Could you provide a citation for this? It doesn't match up with any of the numbers I've seen, or the number quoted by Threads.
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King of Men
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Eh. It's very hard to measure atheists, because there's still a stigma attached to admitting you are one, which comes on top of all the usual problems with surveys. So you get people denying that they believe in any gods, and also denying that they are atheists, in the same survey. So you have to go to sneaky categories like "not members of a church" or "do not attend services more than X/year". There's a lot more of that than "self-identified atheist". Probably Teshi is referring to one of the more loose definitions. 70 million doesn't sound unreasonable for "not strongly affiliated with a church", say.
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Boris
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KoM, for someone who demands proof of stuff so much, you sure do have a hard time providing evidence for your claims. I seriously doubt that you could even come *close* to proving that the claim you just made is even remotely truthful.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Tom you yourself have said that you think the removal of the belief in God is the only way the human race will be saved.
Sure. And you're pretty sure that it's only through belief in God that the human race will be saved. I permit you to believe that, right? And an easy majority of people in this country believe that, right?

So where's this world in which you're "forced" to "live and let live," while we have the luxury -- not afforded to you, according to your POV -- of thinking you're deluded?

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King of Men
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Well. The US census for 2001 gives 30 million "no religion specified", of which about 1 million are "atheist". A further 11 million refused to answer the question. That gives 40 million total. Then consider that both these numbers have doubled since the 1990 census (same source) and extrapolate that for another 7 years, and 70 million begins to sound pretty accurate.

Apart from this, though, I would like to draw your attention to my careful use of language. I specified "not strongly affiliated" and "doesn't sound unreasonable", rather than "New Atheist and proud of it, damn you for an irrational theist" and "I will stand by this number through thick and thin". When a number doesn't sound unreasonable, that means I don't instantly see a problem with it, as I would if the population of the Earth were claimed to be in the thousands. It does not mean that I consider it a reliable number; if further investigation revealed that in fact it was wrong, I would retract it without embarrassment.

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Teshi
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I pulled the number off an atheist site, and it was 58 million. Whether this is atheist/agnostics, secular people, an estimate or from some survey I have no idea. I rounded a lot.

Can't find one, but here's some numbers which say 11%.

Online poll data in 2003 pulled off 20%.

So, I guess nobody really has a clue.

Either way, there are probably more atheists in America than a single population of Canada at the very least.

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King of Men
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Still, fair's fair: There an openly atheist state Congressman, in California, but I doubt there are any openly Canadian politicians at any level. So atheists do have more political influence than Canadians do.
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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
...
It astounds me that people can conclude that a system designed to help people get over themselves and serve others is bad for business but a system that says think of oneself first and then the community will be prosperous is the current zeitgeist.

I may point out that from the POV of an atheist, it doesn't really matter which system you pick, both are designed anyways. It is also unclear what the motives would be behind the people who designed particular religions, and while we have decent documentary-style evidence for some current religions, they all have been modified through the ages anyways by other people with other motives anyways.

So in the end, the difference from our POV is less than you might think. For some, its just the difference between the current zeitgeist and a zeitgeist that was in effect when the religion was created and updated in a laggy fashion.

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King of Men
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quote:
It astounds me that people can conclude that a system designed to help people get over themselves and serve others is bad for business
Hang on a sec. Is this your admission that religions don't in fact have anything to do with truth, but are deliberately designed for certain purposes? Or to put it differently, suppose I were able to show that Mormonism genuinely was bad for business, whatever that means; would you then abandon it? If not, why are you criticising people for not accepting religion on these grounds?
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Boris
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From Teshi's Source

quote:
85% of Americans self-identify as Christians. (2002)
7% of US adults classify as evangelicals (2004) (see Evangelical category for more information)
38% of US adults classify as born again, but not evangelical. (2004)
37% are self-described Christians but are neither evangelical nor born again
Atheists and agnostics comprise 12% of adults nationwide. (2004)
11% of the US population identify with a faith other than Christianity (2004)

The numbers for 2004 add up to 93% specifying a religious belief. Where are you getting 11% from that? Even 93% stating they believe in God in some way or in some faith in no way means that even 7% of those surveyed believe that there is no God, no way no how. It's just as reasonable for me to state that the large majority of the 7% of people left have no religious affiliation but do not discount the possibility that there might be a God. A sample is a really horrible way to figure out how many people really are atheists. And an Online Survey...yeah. Cause those are completely accurate.

And KoM, your suggestion that the numbers are "reliable" is a rash assumption, for the same reasons stated above. Choosing not to answer a specific question about god on a survey does not place a person in the "atheist" column, no matter how much you hope for it to be so.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
even 7% of those surveyed believe that there is no God, no way no how
We've covered this before, but I'll say it again: that is a useless, stupid definition of the word "atheist."

quote:
A sample is a really horrible way to figure out how many people really are atheists.
Um....What other polling method would you recommend?
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Boris
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Well, information from the Census Bureau could be useful. But as I've never actually filled out a census for myself, I don't know if they ask the question and how. And isn't the definition of the word atheist "a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings"? I mean, that's kinda what a dictionary is for. Providing definitions. Do you use one? Or do you think it prudent to create your own definitions to promote your purposes?
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TomDavidson
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quote:
And isn't the definition of the word atheist "a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings"?
And you get from that the phrase "no way, no how?"
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Boris
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The terms deny and disbelieve tend to imply no way, no how, don't they?
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Teshi
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Well, I flubbed there. It was 12%, not 11% in the data I pulled from, so that's probably a source of confusion.

I'm not sure what the number of atheists in America really has to do with anything, unless you believe that no religious people support same-sex marriage, which is not the case. Clearly atheists are not overrepresented in politics and they're certainly not overrepresented in the general image of America. America is a very religious country compared to comparable countries and more people are noisier about it than it countries like the UK and Canada. Go to either of those countries and you will find politicians being quiet about their religion, either because it would alienate secular people or it would alienate people of other religions.

Either way, the same sex marriage issue is not really a religious one. I know many devoted religious people who have no problem with marriage between same sex couples.

The Bible (for example) contains great numbers of rules and regulations, both old and new testament that in this modern age the vast majority of people who use the Bible as their guide to life choose, consciously or out of ignorance, to disregard.

Any rules that are followed, therefore, are not part of a firm unwavering framework but mostly to do with personal choice.

Unless you demonstrate that you follow all practical (I'll make allowances for changes in the era) tenets of your religion- and this usually means you're part of the small part of orthodox or evangelical religions who actually practice exactly what they preach, so I'd say no higher than 5-10% of the US, your religious opposition to same-sex marriage is more of a personal choice than a religious one.

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King of Men
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quote:
Originally posted by Boris:
And KoM, your suggestion that the numbers are "reliable" is a rash assumption, for the same reasons stated above. Choosing not to answer a specific question about god on a survey does not place a person in the "atheist" column, no matter how much you hope for it to be so.

I suggest that perhaps you need to reread that post. I specifically did not say that the 70-million number was reliable. And self-identifying as no religion is not the same as "no religion given".
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