Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:Boo hoo (Score 5, Insightful) 229

by DoofusOfDeath (#49383355) Attached to: NSA Worried About Recruitment, Post-Snowden

If you lack morals to the extent you would consider working for the NSA you'll find it much more lucrative to sell your soul to Wall Street instead.

Wall Street is peopled with thieves, but the NSA is peopled with traitors. A person of marginal morality could work in Wall Street while turning down the NSA on moral grounds.

Comment: Re:Tangible harm trumps imagined harm (Score 1) 1131

I'm very sympathetic to your point (I'm actually agnostic, so I tend to look at these issue through several lenses at the same time.) My take on the certainty of theism is that there's often better support for it than some will admit, but most of us don't see a slam-dunk case for it.

I do think you're missing one of my main points here, though. I agree that a certain form of harm is done to gay persons who are unable to get equivalent business accommodation for their weddings as do straight couples.

But my point was that Christians, and perhaps some other religious persons, also suffer a kind of harm: having to choose between committing acts that may be prohibited by their faith, and not being able to make their living.

I'm not arguing about a particular manner in which those two notions of harm should be balanced in public policy. I'm simply raising the point that it's not a simply matter of "harm A" vs. "no harm". To Christians, it's a matter of "harm A" vs. "harm B". Atheists, on the other hand, see it as "harm A" vs. "no harm". Or at last I think they do.

BTW, thanks for the civil discussion. You're raising good points in a friendly manner, which doesn't always happen. I really appreciate it.

Comment: Re:Different conceptions of harm? (Score 1) 1131

I think you've got a good point. It's interesting to read through your post and see which of your conclusions are supported without the presumption of the falsity of the religious beliefs in question.

We at least agree on one point: whichever beliefs are actually correct ought to triumph. But the problem, to which I think you alluded, is that we're looking for a form of governance which is workable even when we cannot come to an agreement about whose world view is actually correct.

It's a frustrating problem to be sure. Each world view entails some notions of what's a just government. And while we'd like to be considerate of people holding views different than our own, we can't get around the need to have some particular form of governance. And that's guaranteed to violate someone's conscience, unless we all happen to be on the same page, which just isn't going to happen.

Comment: Re:Different conceptions of harm? (Score 1) 1131

I see most of your point.

But by this ruling, no Christian cake baker anywhere in the country (or in that district? I forget the scope of the court) has the freedom to avoid this act of compelled religious speech and still make their living.

This was my original point: there's an argument over what constitutes harm. I think irreligious people are inclined to not see this as a matter of forced blashphemy, or to not care. Some religious people, depending on their theology, are inclined to see it as such, and to have a big problem with it. I.e., the two sides see the debate as being very differently framed.

Comment: Re:Different conceptions of harm? (Score 1) 1131

I don't think any rational person assumes ...

I disagree. I think that some rational persons, in particular many religious persons, consider themselves accountable to God for all symbolic activity in which they engage.

This view is supported in the New Testament in 2 Corinthians 5:20, which calls Christians to be ambassadors for Christ. Engaging in a form of symbolism is an act of speech.

The Old Testament / Hebrew bible is full of strictures against engaging in symbolic support of claims that the Lord is not in charge of everything and worthy of exclusive worship.

Thought experiments involving role-reversal are useful for everyone in this kind of discussion. Would you consider it okay for the law to compel a Muslim-owned advertising company to write "Islam is wrong. Mohamed was a militant con artist" all over a city's billboards? If not, why not?

Or would be okay, on your view, to force a Jewish-owned movie-making company to produce and promote a movie claiming that the Jews had it coming in the Holocaust, if it could somehow be shown in court that the submitted script was a guaranteed money-maker for them?

My contention is that some Christians consider writing messages counter to their theology to be objectionable in the same way. And that the very debate about whether or not it's sufficiently a matter of compelled religious speech is itself a question whose answer depends on one's religious viewpoint.

Comment: Re:Different conceptions of harm? (Score 1) 1131

Encouraging them in their sinful behavior. A gay wedding is a celebration, which I take as an affirmation that the thing being celebrated is good and worth of encouragement.

On some Christians' view, that's like having a celebration of giving a 6 year old a loaded gun. It puts them and those around them at heightened risk of death.

Comment: Re:Tangible harm trumps imagined harm (Score 4, Insightful) 1131

Exactly how is a religious person being harmed here?

If you assume that their religious view is false (which is a judgment the government is not supposed to make), then I'd say the religious person is being harmed in precisely the same manner as that of a gay person who can't get his/her cake decorated with a certain message: it's simply a matter of hurt feelings.

If a religious person's view is true, then you're forcing them to have an alienated relationship with God (the Christian view), or by apostate (I think a Muslim view, but I could be wrong), and at a heightened risk of eternal damnation.

A religious person's imaginary rules for themselves are not and never should become my problem.

A religious person could argue that an atheist's imaginary world view should not be his problem either. My point in saying that I can't see how to have a clear separation of church and state in cases like this. Secularists win and religious persons lose, or vice versa, as far as I can tell.

Comment: Re:Different conceptions of harm? (Score 2) 1131

There is absolutely no reason to treat these law abiding citizens as second class citizens in places of business.

I think you're perhaps missing part of my point.

I agree entirely that there are downsides to allowing business owners to make such distinctions. The point about black Americans is very valid.

But my point was that your dismissing a certain notion of harm, as perceived by religious persons. They consider themselves to be held accountable to God for their choices.

You're correctly arguing that gay people suffer a certain kind of harm by a business refusing to do a certain kind of business on their behalf. I'm saying that you're dismissing the harm done to religious persons by demanding them to violate their consciences and/or their obedience to God (on their view).

Comment: Different conceptions of harm? (Score 3, Insightful) 1131

I think something irreligious non-libertarians miss in these discussions is the notion of harm.

I'm guessing that they see clear harm to a gay person in having a business refuse to perform a particular service for them.

But they see no harm in forcing a religious person to choose between being faithful to God and making their living.

In reality, gay people can usually find another place to get a cake decorated, and religious people can actually write the requested message on a cake. But irreligious people are making the value judgment that the former is less tolerable than the latter.

As far as I can tell, that prioritization is itself a religious judgment. It's saying that it's more wrong to refuse to blaspheme, than to blaspheme. That strikes me as very much an Enlightenment era notion of morality.

Comment: Re:Oh goody (Score 1, Interesting) 352

by DoofusOfDeath (#49365855) Attached to: Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina Near Launching Presidential Bid

Maybe she can fire Congress and fill their positions with H1Bs. Not like they can do any worse.

Wait until the SCOTUS tells states that immigration enforcement is a federal matter, and that states therefore cannot prevent illegal immigrants from voting or holding elected office. That's basically your joke come true.

Real programmers don't bring brown-bag lunches. If the vending machine doesn't sell it, they don't eat it. Vending machines don't sell quiche.