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Comment Re:So (Score 1) 542

It'll take Vatican III to bring about any real progress, and with the current conservative trend I don't think Vatican III would come anytime soon.

You do know that the retiring pope is one of the progressive guys who brought about Vatican II, right? He's also a philosopher with tons of PhDs (as was the previous one) and in that position explicitly said he doesn't believe Jesus either resurrected or actually is God incarnate. These are a few among the many, many reasons actual conservative Catholics don't like him.

Comment Re:Explains a lot (Score 1) 214

I see absolutely no proposals from the pro-life crowd about what to do with an unwanted pregnancy after it does, in fact, become a viable human life outside of the mother's body.

True, but it at least open possibilities, while the alternative closes them. In any case, if an allowed to born person decides she absolutely isn't enjoying existing, she can always pursue suicide herself. That solves her own problem (in a way, at least), while not necessarily subjecting the other "allowed-to-borners" the same. The fact that most unwanted children chose to stay alive rather than suiciding is statistically significant enough, IMHO, for this data point to be taken into consideration. Were a sizeable majority suiciding due to the fact of being unwanted, or due to facts correlated to their unwantedness, and this would certainly weight in favor of abortion as a means of dealing with future unwanted children, since then it'd be little more than preempting an expected behavior pattern. As they don't, the weight shifts in the other direction.

Comment Re:Explains a lot (Score 1) 214

We all know that you claim the right to define what is or is not a lifeform, and THAT is what this debate is about.

Actually, I don't. My own personal position is that I'm against abortion because I don't know whether a fetus is or isn't a person, or at which point he/she/it becomes one. If I don't know, the only rational course of action for me is to not kill the fetus, since by killing he/she/it I might be killing a human person by mistake.

I guess a reasonable threshold of risk would be a 99.999+% chance of a specific fetus not being a person. But calculating that is all but impossible, hence not killing he/she/it is the only reasonable option left.

Comment Re:Explains a lot (Score 3, Interesting) 214

Well no, that's a lot of bullshit. What he doesn't agree with is that a fetus is not the same as a person.

The argument doesn't rely on that. If we are distinguish a fetus from a person, it's still a matter of an hierarchy of values. IMHO, it'd look roughly like this (subject to lots of refinements):

a) Liberal: person life > women rights over body > killing society threatening life > fetus life

b) Libertarian (typical): women rights over body > person life > killing society threatening life > fetus life

c) Conservative (typical): killing society threatening life > person life > fetus life > women rights over body

d) Conservative (Catholic): fetus life > killing society threatening life > person life > women rights over body

And so on and so forth. Mix and match to find other minor political ideologies.

Comment Re:Explains a lot (Score 4, Insightful) 214

Human rights and (rightwing politics, elite interests) of all colours generally don't get along.

Sometimes in the effects, but not in the causes.

For example, libertarians are usually all for human rights. What they are against are the "human duties" that come with many of those rights. So, as long as the right is something like "an human has a right to pursue happiness", that's fine. If it says "a man has a right to be happy", and this means someone else having the obligation to make him happy, not so much.

Conservatives, on the other hand, generally aren't agains the rights themselves, but they have serious issues with the hierarchy of said rights. For example, abortion. A conservative (a western one at least) does think a woman should have right over her own body. If he didn't think so he'd be against anti-rape laws, which are entirely based on the right for a women to decide who she lets or doesn't let inside her body. What he doesn't agree with is that said right be placed above a human (fetus or not) right to live. Which in turn they don't think should be placed above the right of society to kill those humans who threaten it the most.

It should be noted too that, from the perspective of many rightwingers, it's the left that doesn't respect many human rights, such as the right to fully express one's own personal beliefs wherever one is just because of one's profession by, for example, forcing one to remove religious symbols from one's work desk or wall.

Gray areas. This theme is full of them.

Comment Re:I'm a libertarian, we don't have "disdain" 4 go (Score 2) 45

The government is an irrational belief that exists in the minds of the overwhelming (but slowly shrinking) majority of people. This belief is that some class of priests, through some ritualistic exceptionalism, has a special right to get away with violence.

No, your reasoning is inverted. A better approach to understand this stuff is through motivations.

A sizable chunk of humanity has as its driving goal "having power". They will struggle to obtain power by any means available, that isn't something they chose to be, it's just what they are. And if you don't provide them the mechanisms to do this in a least damaging way, which is what a stable government with concrete prospects of power shifts by non-violent means is, you'll quickly find them doing it on their own in very damaging ways.

People with different driving goals are usually unable to understand how strong this one is, and as is typical for human beings try to reinterpret it in terms of their own different goals, thus reaching confusing and invalid conclusions. Libertarianism is a prime example. It is mostly composed of people with the goals of intellectual achievement and entrepreneurship and who are unable to understand either power thirst or, for that matter, stability seeking, which is what "workers" want above anything else. No surprise then they get to develop a well crafted utopic dream which can work provided those two cases aren't around, the only minor problem with it being that reality gets in the way by continuing to producing those two cases every single generation, no end in sight.

What Libertarianism lacks is balance. They have an excellent theory on how to create material wealth and should be commended for this. What they don't understand, and this is what clouds their mind, is that for the majority out there "material wealth" is of secondary importance, if not something they see as the "necessary evil" they must keep enduring despite their own best interests.

Comment Re:Religious rift in family (Score 1) 528

The question: how can the deeply religious be convinced (or reassured) that accepting what science teaches does not require rejecting their faith?

I don't know Dr. Bakker's specific denomination, but given he mentions Augustine the Catholic approach is at least relevant.

Catholicism nowadays is the most science-friendly of the Christian branches. The idea among Catholic theologians is simply that nature, like the Bible, was and continually is made through God's Word ("And said God let there be..."). Thus, both nature and the sacred text are equally important and equally canonical, whatever is revealed in and through nature having to be accepted, period. As for eventual divergences between what nature says and what other pieces of God's words says, those have at most to pass through some harmonization, usually of the kind that prefers to reinterpret the written-with-words text to make it compatible with the written-with-brute-facts one rather than the other way around. Sure, there were some bumps along the road, such as with the treatment of Giordano Bruno and Galileo, but even back then those cases were more exceptions than the rule. The end result is that this kind of stuff is quite easy when it comes to Catholicism and Catholics. As for other branches, not so much.

My guess is this mirrors how persons themselves work. When we're young we believe we have all the answers and certainties and we're righteous etc., but as we become older we stop worrying so much, become more accepting, shrug tons more stuff off, and so on and so forth. Religious institutions pass through the same process, only it's measured in centuries, not decades. "Child" and "adolescent" religious branches are the most idiotic, while the older ones acquire the wisdom of age.

Comment Re:And of course ... (Score 1) 240

Now enough people do this we loose quality digital media and we get "Fan Fiction" quality stuff where if we are lucky we may get a good product every once in a while, but most of it will be complete garbage, or just rehashing what already exists with little innovation or new ideas.

While this might have been true in the past, in the last few years the amount of high quality fan fiction has increased exponentially. Fan fiction authors aren't accountable to market research or thematically restricted to whatever will attract the most paying customers, and thus can do the craziest stuff in their work. It's come to a point where I find "normal" fiction predictable, repetitive and mostly boring, while fan fiction is consistently creative.

But I have to concede a point to your argument in that, for fan fiction to exist, there must be some original fiction for a fan to derived and improve upon. What the best fan fiction authors have in overabundance is the capacity to take preexisting characters, fictional worlds and scenarios and polish them up to perfection and beyond. What they lack is the capacity to create new good characters, worlds and scenarios, which is where original authors shine. Were we to promote rather than discourage the coupling of the exceptional tool-building of the later with the exceptional tool-usage of the former and we'd get the best of both worlds. Alas we don't. In any case, the point that there's some need for original fiction certainly remains.

Comment Re:Economy is not a science. (Score 2) 290

Even if you don't allow them, one can, for example, study behavior without understanding the biology behind it just as one can study economics without understanding the psychology behind it.

Not if economics is only a sub-field of psychology and not actually a separate discipline. Since money is indeed a psychological phenomena they aren't independent.

This was well studied by followers of the subjective theory of monetary valuation. When a monetary exchange happens both buyer and seller are exchanging something they value less by something they value more. For a cheese seller your $5 is worth more than his piece of cheese; for you the piece of cheese is worth more than your $5; you exchange and both of you are better off after than you were before. End result: $5 is "worth" simultaneously more and less than that piece of cheese. Worse: it changes depending on how many they both have already exchanged and a plethora of other variables, most of them hidden and of an ordinal (1st, 2nd, 3rd...), not cardinal (1, 2, 3...) nature. Given this isn't quantum mechanics, good luck trying to use that "$" number as a hard unit of measurement then.

Comment Re:Don't take this the wrong way (Score 1) 290

to my mind, the post from PPalmgren is completely out of order.

I see your point, but I have reasons for liking reactions such as his, see his answer to my comment and my reply. Besides, without his comment we wouldn't have had this sub-thread and I wouldn't have learned these interesting details on comma usage patterns you provided. :-)

PPalmgren's post also provided me with an interesting challenge: to try writing with fewer commas. I'm already liking this. Having an artificial constraint such as this will help me improve until I can determine what my comma usage pattern should be not because that's what I'm used to do, but because I'll be able to select the best one for any piece of text I'll write. Once it becomes automatic it'll be a win-win all around.

Comment Re:2 are better than 1 - ancient wisdom (Score 1) 57

Only problem I see, as I skim the surface, is that I'm quite anti-Catholic. But, the philosophy looks good.

Yep. I like to make a distinction between "Catholicism the religion" and "Catholicism the philosophy". They overlap quite a bit but one can be taken without the other and the later is much more interesting and universally applicable than the former. I myself am not Catholic, but I do absorb quite a bit of their philosophy. After centuries of very serious intellectual development it acquired a "solidity" that most alternatives lack. As such, it's a joy to study for those so inclined, even if they disagree with it in many things (or specially when they disagree -- we in the humanities are weird like that).

Comment Re:Don't take this the wrong way (Score 1) 290

Your command of the english language is exceptional so I wouldn't have guessed you weren't a native English speaker.

Hehe, thank you. About taking criticisms with open arms, I usually do that for any subject but even more so when it comes to my use of language. I remember waaay back when I began learning English that the better I became more compliments I received, until at some point I started receiving criticisms for it not being good enough. In other words, I had switched from being perceived as a struggling non-native English speaker to being perceived as a bad native speaker. It was amusing and very encouraging.

I guess I've managed to gain another level since then, as now the perceived problems aren't in my usage of the language itself, but in the style. Yay! :-)

Comment Re:Don't take this the wrong way (Score 1) 290

Its very difficult for most to parse language the way a lawyer can so I wouldn't be surprised if I'm not the only one who got lost in your comma minefield.

Thanks for the positive criticism. English isn't my native language. Maybe in addition to typos and grammar errors I also use commas in non-standard ways when writing fast in English. I guess I'd remove some of them if I were to revise the text, something I rarely do for forum posts...

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