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Comment Re:And the point of these laws is? (Score 1) 933

My personal belief is that if you want to claim that consent was not able to be given, you have to prove so. You know, innocent until proven guilty. Proof may include medical data indicating the person hasn't reached puberty, psychological examination indicating a lack of understanding about sex and sexual issues, mental illnesses, a severe abuse of a trusted position (preacher, teacher, etc), and so on. Don't limit it to one thing, let the prosecution make a case, and let the jury decide if its valid. Whether someone is competent to consent is so arbitrary, that any hard and fast rule that doesn't allow gray areas is going to result in some very bad decisions.

I don't think that this would hinder the prosecution of the real predators out there, but would certainly make it a lot harder to prosecute those indiscretions between two teenagers, or some jail-bait with a fake ID.

As far as pornography, I think they should also have to prove that you sought it out, and were consuming significant amounts of it, and/or distributing it. Just clicking on the wrong link, and getting some in your browser cache shouldn't be enough to railroad you into jail. Again, they should have to make a case that you are encouraging the distribution or production of it, and thus encouraging illegal acts. None of this instantly-guilty bullshit.

Comment Re:Uhh, yes it does... (Score 3, Insightful) 933

Given that I've met "rapists" who's only sin was having consensual sex with a girl who had a boyfriend, I can certainly be that cynical. Rationality goes out the window when someone is accused of a sex crime in America. As soon as you're labeled, you're automatically guilty and whole-heartedly deserving of any punishment up to death.

Comment Re:I beg to differ (Score 1) 844

Well, now you're just redefining religion into something more general: the actual human condition. Ideologies, group think, herd mentality... they're traits that helped us when we were out in nature and had to depend on our group for survival. They helped the group form, adapt, and react quickly to challenges. The same mental and biological traits can be harnessed to good or bad ends.

In your freedom case, the message is that they are different than us, that they don't like that we are different, and will attack us because we're different. That hits all of the salient points that are involved in group think: their group is not our group, they are a threat (we know this because people don't like things that are different), we must deal with the threat.

If you want to place the blame, then place it appropriately. Just redefining religion to include any belief or way of thinking is intellectually dishonest. There is no god of freedom.

Comment Re:I beg to differ (Score 2, Insightful) 844

Depends on the flavor of religion. I know a lot of Christians that would be extremely difficult to organize into violence because their flavor leans heavily on the "turn the other cheek" aspects. On the other hand, I've known atheists who have advocated taking religious peoples' children away and committing them to a mental institution. Because, you know, teaching religion is child abuse, and theists are obviously insane. No, I'm not making this up, it was quite literally their position. I've seen genocide, murder, war, suppression, and various other atrocities advocated for such a wide variety of reasons it makes my head spin. The only commonality between the people is that they were all human.

So no, I don't think its safe to say that religion necessarily will make things easier. What makes it easy is that we're human, humans have the same fundamental survival traits as other animals, and these traits can either lead to lifting ourselves up, or putting others down, depending on which we feel is more advantageous to our survival.

For example, America didn't go into Iraq because of our religion, we went into there because our leaders told us that they had WMD, and that it was plausible that they would be used against us. We went there because our leaders told us we were simply defending ourselves. All other justifications were just intended to make us feel better about what we did after the fact.

Comment Re:Can somebody 'splain this? (Score 1) 361

On the consumer side, we also had a lot of people who believed that housing prices could only go up, and so over-extending yourself was OK, because you could refinance. I was personally told this by an agent trying to get me into a mortgage, and again by friends and coworkers. I opted to just keep renting, because I wasn't comfortable spending literally every penny of my monthly savings allowance on my mortgage and depending on a tax break to make up for it.

Comment Re:wow (Score 1) 844

Some scientists would. Others might come up with separate studies to try to confirm their bias. Some would dismiss the study as not being rigorous enough. There's a reason we do science the way we do. Double blinds, repeatability, testability, the scientific method... its designed to limit the amount that bias can affect the results. The reality is that even so-called rational scientists are irrational a lot of the time. They've just learned, as a discipline, to deliberately limit the influence that irrationality has on their results.

Do you think that we don't have violence over political philosophies? Territory disputes between nations? Hell, sports teams? Blaming religion is like saying that you're sick with a runny nose when you have a cold: its a symptom, not the cause. The problem is that humans inherently tend to form groups, and submit to group-think and herd mentality in order for those groups function. If you are able to make their group feel that they are at threat from another group, then the first group will try to suppress or harm the other group. It doesn't need to be religion.

Comment Re:I beg to differ (Score 5, Insightful) 844

Well but then you're not talking about religion but something else. What you're referring to is that its fairly easy to get humans to rally around any sort of idea or belief, and then paint their group as being under attack, which will provoke a defense response. Its a fundamental human nature that gave us a competitive advantage when we were still just small groups strewn about the globe.

I think people give religion too much credit. Religion is not some special-case organization, but rather a simple result of the mental quirks that evolved in humans to help us survive. You can see a lot of the behavior from people who adhere strongly to political parties, racial-supremacy groups, nations (nationalism), and even sports teams. Even the religion-is-bad crowd says a lot of shit that is stunningly similar to a lot of stuff that the religious crowd puts out.

The reality is that its a problem with humanity, not a problem with religious people. Religion just tends to be an easy and comfortable target to project their fears and anger on. Kind-of like the atheist version of Satan and heathens, so to speak. Of course, recognizing that its a human condition brings up all sorts of uncomfortable truths.

Comment Re:Internet crimes, like rape? (Score 2, Insightful) 502

Because people don't often care about the details and associate statutory rape with non-statutory rape, sexual assault on a child, and all sorts of other very nasty things. We've had stories of people looking up sex offenders on a list and meting out vigilante justice, only to find out that the person did not actually commit the crime the person thought they did. It can also be that the people in question felt that if charges were brought, then there must be more behind it. A sort-of if-theres-smoke-theres-fire mentality. People do not react rationally to crime, and the effect is several orders of magnitudes more pronounced when the crimes are sexual in nature. Its fairly common to find people who feel that a rape should be punished by torture, rape in prison, death, and a myriad of other extremely savage punishments. Furthermore, its extremely common to simply assume that if a person was accused of rape, he must be a rapist, facts be damned. Which brings us back to the subject at hand...

Comment Re:Victim's pain is less than a false allegation? (Score 1) 502

Did he entertain suing the woman for slander? She knowingly made false statements about him that had material impact upon him. Its the textbook definition. The woman definitely deserves to be hit hard for what she did. I'm guessing that the authorities would have viewed that as blaming the victim though.

Comment Re:Internet crimes, like rape? (Score 1) 502

Sorry, I think we're talking past each other. Whether it was actually criminal is besides the point. The point is that his buddy was subjected to severe discrimination and social stigma for what most would consider personally acceptable behavior at best, and probably slightly immoral at average. Its a far cry from what I would consider an actual rape, which has extremely severe emotional, physical, and societal consequences for the victim. That was the point that I felt the guy was trying to make: that public opinion is used as a bludgeon for retribution far beyond that which is deserved.

Comment Re:Internet crimes, like rape? (Score 2, Interesting) 502

The fact that he committed a crime doesn't necessarily correlate with whether a stigma is deserved, nor does it necessarily correlate with what type of crime the public thinks you committed. A relationship between a 17 and 21 year old is perfectly normal in a huge portion of the world. When accused of statutory rape, most people imagine a pedophile having sex with children. The two are worlds are part in severity. Furthermore, in the example, the father initially approved and then later filed charges as a way of getting back at the man. Its a perfect example of using the law to crucify a person in the court of public opinion. The fact that he broke the law doesn't change the fact that the social stigma was undeserved.

He deserves to be thought of as an idiot for not using protection, not as a child rapist.

Comment Re:Internet crimes, like rape? (Score 2, Interesting) 502

No, McGrew's point was that the woman falsely accused the team. The comment about her probably being a prostitute was an aside, probably to point out that the woman wasn't as squeeky clean of a woman as people like to imagine. Maybe it was irrelevant, but you're glossing over the main point that McGrew was clarifying: accusations of rape carry huge amounts of weight in public, and often cause very extreme consequences even if the accused is proven innocent.

Snowgirl basically sidestepped the point of the cautionary tale. The point was that the father saw no problem with this relationship. The father decided after the fact to explicitly use a relationship he previously approved of to "get back" at the person. This is a demonstration of how accusations of rape can carry serious consequences.

In this case the person did commit "statutory rape," but the point is reality of the situation is benign. A 17 year old sleeping with a 21 year old is not a big deal, and is, in many states, perfectly legal. But the public opinion turned this into something far more severe, and undeserved. Snowgirl ignored this point. Furthermore, I would submit that having a fairly normal sexual relationship is not deserving of such social stigma, and simply pointing out, in capital letters, that he commited a crime does not excuse the stigma.

As far as accusations of not being over the rape, its innapropriate, but not as unprovoked as you're suggesting. Comments like that tend to piss people off, myself included.

Comment Re:Internet crimes, like rape? (Score 1) 502

It depends on the state and school district. I certainly had fairly comprehensive sex education. It covered various types of protection, what types worked, how often they worked, the various diseases, methods of pregnancy... We also had a session where various myths were dispelled, such as double-wrapping. I'm not sure if federal laws have changed things in the past 10 years, but for the most part school curriculum are handled at a local and state level.

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I judge a religion as being good or bad based on whether its adherents become better people as a result of practicing it. - Joe Mullally, computer salesman