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View Poll Results: If you were/are registered as a U. S. voter, who would/did you choose?
John Kerry (Democrat) 27 52.94%
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  #141  
Old 11-11-2004, 10:02 PM
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Bush's current strategy of "stick your fingers in your ears and think about grandma" is *not* *working*. It's reasons like this that I distrust people that campaign on their morality: too much morality is self-destructive.

Brief digression to reduce the antagonism somewhat:
During Grade 11 or 12 Sex Ed, a friend and I elected to refrain from taking the course (mostly 'cause we'd heard it all before and we're interested in another lecture). Normally that option is taken by kids with overly-prudish parents who are afraid to let their precious innocents learn the differences between boys and girls, but that's not really relevent.

We were sitting in the multipurpose room when the teacher who taught the class that had been appropriated for Sex Ed (Social Studies 11, I think), came out of the staff room. Someone else pointed to us and said "Hey Mr. Davy! Shouldn't they be in Sex Ed?" and he said "Why? They're never going to need it."

I didn't like him so much after that.
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  #142  
Old 11-12-2004, 12:19 AM
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To change the subject a bit, I've made 5MV's Remembrance Day update, taking some advice from Valium earlier in the thread.

To change the subject back a bit, contraception is one of the few serious issues where I disagree with my church's stand on the subject. Maybe birth control is a sin -- that's a tough call to make, and I haven't made it myself yet. But trying to keep everyone from having access to birth control is a horrifically bad idea. The US is a predominantly Christian nation with laws that spring from Judeo/Christian morality, but not everyone in it is Christian, and freedom of religion is one of the nation's founding principles. That's not the real problem, though.

The problem is that we have to do something to stem the tide. STDs are rampant. AIDS hasn't been a "gay problem" for at least ten years. IJD has the stats on accidental pregnancies. And the problems we have with unprotected sex in the West are nothing compared to the situation in Africa. And yet the Church is busy discouraging condom use, not just for its followers but for everyone. It's like enforcing the speed limit out of town in the middle of a nuclear reactor meltdown.

Yes, it would be a lot better if sex had never been trivialized -- if people treated it with the respect and significance it deserves. But we don't, and there's no realistic way to fix that any time soon. Right now what's needed is, if not a cure, a control. Something to lessen the damage. To slow the spread of disease, to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies. Condoms aren't a solution. In the long run, maybe they're not even a good thing. But they are by FAR the lesser of two evils.

By the way, one reason my stand on this is different from my stand on abortion is that the religious argument is the only one against contraception. There's a strong secular case against gay marriage. There's an overwhelming secular case against abortion. But there is NO secular case against birth control. That makes a big difference in a country with freedom of religion.
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  #143  
Old 11-12-2004, 06:17 AM
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Nobody laughed at my Middle Ages thing....I thought it was funny. lol
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  #144  
Old 11-12-2004, 08:01 AM
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Too much above me I agree with to quote, so I won't bother. IJD, well said. That's why I think England is starting to get the idea with Family Planning Clinics. Any person, no matter what age, can go in and get advice and birth control for free. Basically, we are realising that this is happening and instead of ignoring it we're taking steps to reduce teenage pregnancy.

It's interesting that a group of young adults and teens can have a discussion and, no matter what their views or religious beliefs, basically agree on good and bad solutions to important problems, when politicians and older members of this Earth can't...
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  #145  
Old 11-12-2004, 09:17 AM
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If I may draw up our conclusions:
- Abortion is a Bad Thing
- Contraception may well be a Bad Thing
- But in the long run, Contraception is less of a Bad Thing than Abortion.
- Far improved sex ed and other attempts to stem the tide of abortions would be a Good Thing
- Abortion should perhaps only be used when a mother's life is in danger
- Edmund Mortimer was Warwick the Kingmaker (or vice versa) - sorry, obscure reference, that.
If I could just say, abortion is meant to be both physically and mentally harrowing for the mother, and that the foetus is thrown away like common garbage. Also, in Britain, the Daily Telegraph recently uncovered that a "charity" which was actively supported by our NHS was encouraging women to go out to Spain, to a clinic where they could have children terminated after the twenty-four week limit. This is illegal in Spain as well. Also, I believe that the twenty-six week limit on children who perhaps have something like downs syndrome is wrong, because just because they are less able than others doesnt mean they're less people. Also, if you carryon down this path, you get to genetic perfection and correcting peoples DNA and stuff like that which it is VERY tricky to claim is right.
oh, and Xeroc, I think you meant o-e spelling on foetus - it's from a greek word (I think) which is why it has the dipthong. The reason I don't accept american spellings is that the British spellings show the roots of the words. American spellings do not as they are, if you will excuse me saying this, "mis-spelt" - they do not show the origins of themselves. :wink:
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  #146  
Old 11-12-2004, 09:20 AM
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Word, IJD. Well put.

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  #147  
Old 11-12-2004, 11:52 PM
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Even though i am not a religious person, i have to agree with zeke in what he says, and i really liked what IJD said, because it gave me a different perspective.
  #148  
Old 11-13-2004, 12:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chancellor Valium
- Edmund Mortimer was Warwick the Kingmaker (or vice versa) - sorry, obscure reference, that.
Oo, is the obscure reference to 1066 And All That?
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  #149  
Old 11-13-2004, 02:58 AM
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Hey, y'all, newbie/lurker here.

Finally have something I want to say, which I haven't heard anyone say yet, so here goes...

I speak from a conflicted position: I'm a religious conservative, social liberal mother of three, biology professor (hence the name; also, hence the boring name--too busy writing/grading tests for poor folks like Zeke to think of better name) that is pro-life, also pro-choice.

I can speak to some of the ideas tossed out on this forum. I am one of those women who know what it's like to be find themselves pregnant and really, really, not want to have a child (but love her so much now anyway). It gets my goat (dating myself here!) to hear people talk about a woman's right to choose, since it's *her* body. How can scientists (or any reasonably informed person) not acknowledge (as did one earlier poster:Thank you!) that the genetic code of the life form from conception onwards is unique (unless later twinned) and thus what we are talking about is not her body, it's another person's (nascent) body completely dependent on hers? Argue if you like about the right of a woman to terminate that life. Although I do not like to see abortions occur, I actually think that she may have the right to have one, but I don't propose that it's her body when it's a genetically different individual. I wish pro-abortion folks would just admit that it is, at some point during pregnancy, a human life that they think a woman should be able to terminate. Then I could have more respect for their arguments.

(And don't call this "flip-flopping". It's called thinking and taking a careful, reasoned approach to a complicated topic. As opposed, to, say, adopting a dogmatic stance based on *lack* of thinking and remaining inflexible in light of development of evidence to the contrary of one's opinion...)

Although I intellectually can sympathize with our appointed president's stance on abortion, there is unfortunately ample evidence that his programs to have sex ed & abstinence programs are NOT working. Actually, there have been more abortions since he took office. I wish there weren't. I wish that people would listen & take responsibility for their actions. But don't take my word for it; see this article by a *pro-lifer*: http://www.courier-journal.com/cjext...1011-5709.html.
(Yes, although I made my web page, I can't be bothered to figure out how to link this. Apologies, but that ain't gonna get me tenure. sigh.)

Bottom line of the article: Bush has screwed up the economy, etc. so much, that the culture we are living in makes it harder for women to feel like they can support another child. So his administration has indirectly, at least, caused more abortions to happen by their actions.

A point I don't think I've seen someone make here: one cannot separate lofty moral values (of which I am very dubious about Dubya's, based on his many other actions) from the pragmatics of a country's economic and cultural landscape.
That's (just one reason) why I don't vote for Bush although I have pro-life sympathies.


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  #150  
Old 11-13-2004, 03:17 AM
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[Edited to add Wowbagger's name at left. - Z]

Vedra, sorry if I sounded cross with my direct question to you. I figured you were most fit to answer that question, as the only person who had struck me as endorsing the legality of most abortions. Not trying to flame you (is that the correct use of the verb?).

Valium, I respect your right to choose to say "foetus," but I would never choose to do so myself. After all, I speak, like, American, you know, whatev?

Oh, so much to say, so little time to waste online doing so.

1) Zeke, perfectly said. I would not use contraception. My religion opposes it, and I happen to agree with the religious argument against it. However, there is no secular argument against it that I can find.

2) Abortion, a red herring? I must disagree. Yes, a reduction in teen pregnancy rate would be great for a lot of reasons in addition to the reduction of the abortion rate. However, the teen abortion rate is about half that of the abortion rate among woman 20-24, and equal to that of the 25-29 bracket. As the Allan Guttmacher Institute's handy Tablemaker tool shows, abortion is not just a teen problem.

3) When we begin to talk about Gatac's "meaningful correlation" or maraplanauta's "sentience," we have crossed a very fine line from science and the legal realm into philosophy and religion. Who was it who recently said that we could draw the line at viability, or birth, or being able to care for itself, or the development of language, or puberty, "with progressing silliness of the argument?"

(EDIT: Found that quote, by Gatac:

Quote:
Wowbagger: Define independant. Is it being geneticall different from it's host organism? Then it's conception, yeah. Is it having an own circulatory system? Early pregnancy. Recogniseably human? Late pregnancy. Physically disconnected from the mother? Birth. Able to care for itself? Eh...I think we're looking at a few *years* after birth with progressing silliness of the argument.
)

Why is this silly? Seriously. Why is one member of homo sapiens as important as another? Is this a question for the courts, or for any man, to answer? I should say not. However, this thread has slipped to the philisophical, so I shall follow the discussion into the fever swamps of politics.

The points I am about to make are based closely enough on a single article to merit a citation. This it is (Yoda!):

Quote:
Joyce, Robert E. "The Human Zygote is a Person," The New Scholasticism, 52, 1 (Winter 1978), pp. 97-109.
A person is a being with the natural potential to know, love, desire, and relate to self and others in a self-reflective way. There are a lot of different ways to say that, but one of the keys in that definition is natural potential, as distinguished from functional capacity. If, as some argue, one must have the functional capacity to be do those things, then the comatose, senile, retarded—even sleeping—humans would no longer be persons. This, as Mr. Joyce points out, seems out of step with our consciences (though, with the advent of euthanasia in the Switzerland-Norway-Netherlands area and China's Draconian one-child policies, perhaps it won't be for long).

The obvious counter to that, as any developmentalist will argue, is that we should rule that anyone who has, in the past, fulfilled that functionality should receive the protection of society. This seemed to be the position of the American Supreme Court, until it ruled in Planned Parenthood vs. Casey that anyone can kill anybody else in its infamous "Heart of Liberty" clause.

I would say, however, that a person is not merely an individual with a developed capacity for reasoning, loving, etc., but is any individual with the potential for those things. Individuals may never attain or may one day lose that functional capacity to fulfill their human nature, but this inability does not destroy the nature itself, although it is then harder for us to appreciate.

Neither a human or a rabbit embryo can functionally reason or love. Neither will write a treatise such as this, nor be as long-winded. But the radical difference between the two is that the human embryo has, within itself, the (some would say God-given) natural capacity to do so. To directly quote, "For all its concerns about potentialities, the developmentalist fails to see the actuality upon which these potentialities are based."

Every potentiality is in itself an actuality. The potential of a black "3/5 of a person" man to cross the street is an actuality that the tree next to him does not have. A woman can give birth, which is an actual potential a man simply does not posess. The potential of a human conceptus to think and talk is an actuality. This actual potential (don't you love how I put the important terms in italics, like in high school textbooks?)—not just logical potential—is a much more reasonable ground for affirming personhood than some subjective standard of sentience.

Whoa. I think that covers most of my philisophical underpinnings. Sorry about the length; my friends often complain that my opinions get too long, especially on abortion, and they're probably right.

A couple of clarifications:

4) An extreme view would not have masturbation or wet dreams or menstruation as mass murder. Sperm (Spermatozoae? or is it 2nd decl. neuter? or is this irrelevant?) and ova are not potential persons, they are potential causes of persons. You could leave an ovum in a womb for a millenium and that would still be all you had (actually, you'd probably have a dead ovum). If you combine a sperm and an ovum and leave them there, the two will destroy each other and form something new, which will change into an adult, reproducing human in 9-18 years, depending on gender and genetics.

5) As I've said, I don't believe that any of this discussion of personhood is necessary. The law really ought to avoid endorsing any single philosophy (as it does with religion), and give the fetus/foetus the legal "benefit of the doubt," so to speak.

6) I have said that allowing abortions in cases of extreme jeopardy to the mother's physical health would be acceptable. I repeat that here.

7) Finally, and startrekprof makes an excellent lead-in to this, I speak on abortion not as a woman, but as a former fetus. I was one of those high-risk fetuses. When Mom got the shingles or what-have-you (dating myself here!), and the tests started coming back badly, "they" started predicting that I had a sizable chance of being born blind or, more likely, dead. "Others" advised abortion. As you might guess, Mom did not follow such advice. My little sister, now a wonderful ten-year-old, had about 9 chances in 10 of being born with Downs. Again, Mom chose life. The point of this is that there are personal stories from both the mother and fetus's points of view.

startrekprof, why bother ending the rant when ENT comes on? I've just been saving and quitting on MS Word on-and-off for about 36 hours now, as necessary.

Guns: I live in Minnesota. 'Nuff said, except for this thought for you political junkies out there: "How do you ask a goose to be the last goose to die for a campaign stunt? How do you ask a goose to die for a photo op?

This isn't well-edited, cause I just finished, don't want to work on it any more, and need to go right now and watch DS9 with my other sister.

Really, I am going to comment on the War on Terror and on "Iraqistan."

Soon.
  #151  
Old 11-13-2004, 04:39 AM
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I wasn't saying I was in support of abortion, but I'm not going to deny it to someone. I don't see it as right to push your beliefs on anyone, religiously or morally or lawfully. That's why I'm against the gay marriage ban and against banning abortion, but I do support controlling abortion. Anyway, back to not pushing beliefs. That's why I don't let religious people in when they knock on my door; if I wanted to hear about it, I'd go to their church. (which I would never do, since I see the only difference between "religion" and "cult" to be your tax-exempt status.)

Oh, and unless this is just something your preacher told you, please give me a quote or other supporting evidence from the Bible that contraception is wrong or goes against God...or whatever. There are more reasons to use contraception, like condoms, than just preventing pregnancy. I would never deny myself protection just because someone told me that the world's ultimate imaginary friend said I shouldn't. That's foolish. And yes, that was also a really bitchy thing to say,but, I mean, look at my avatar. I'm one pissed off cat.

Oh,and I just read anothertrekprof's post. Ya know, I suppose I hadn't totally considered that. It's DNA is unique. But until a certain point, it's still just a clump of cells, correct? Without it's mother, it would die, there's no argument on that. And in that way, rather than being a separate organism, it's simply a foreign growth. I'd call it a parasite, if that word didn't have negative connotations. So, anyway, in a sense, it still is her body.
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  #152  
Old 11-13-2004, 09:12 AM
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The "progressing silliness" of tha argument is that which leads us to declare that until you've left your parent's home, make your own living and have a child yourself, you do not count as "independant". It's merely me stating that the argument about "indepedantly alive" can quickly be lead ad absurdum through defining "indepedency". Heck, we could go so far as to say that "independantly alive" is an oxymoron, seeing how you depend on air, food, water...THAT is the silliness.

Something I feel the need to clear up (once more): I am not pro-abortion, I am pro-choice. All I'm saying is that it's a difficult topic. If you think it's wrong to have an abortion, don't get one, but also don't get in the way of those who feel differently.

The "potential" of a cell (because we all start from one cell) to develop into a full-grown human being is not independant of it's environment. If you remove a freshly fertilized ovus from the womb, it will probably die unless steps are taken to conserve it. Even then, it can not develop further outside of a womb. As such, it is a combination of human DNA, the flexibility of stem cells AND the life-supporting environment which enables the fetus to actualize it's potential. If I get cut and bleed, do my blood cells have potential to eventually grow into another me? Is a fetus in cold storage going to grow up to be a human? No to both. The fetus is intimately connected to the mother. They can not be seperated until quite late in pregnancy. Unless somebody invents an artificial womb, that factor will continue to play a role.

I can understand opposition to abortion if you owe your life to a mother who didn't do it. However, that is largely irrelevant to the discussion. By the same token, you could be radically anti-firearms because somebody you knew was shot - that is understandable, but doesn't make your case more compelling than it already is. (Unless it leads you to research the facts and come to the logical conclusion that private possession of firearms is bad, but that's why we're arguing, not just nodding to the words of the first person who makes an emotional plea.)

Everybody has potential, but nobody knows how and if it will be realised. If I say that my hypothetical newly-born child has the potential to be a genius, I'm probably right, but that doesn't say anything about whether it *will* be a genius.

Gatac
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  #153  
Old 11-13-2004, 09:12 AM
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While the percentage of teenagers partaking in abortions may not be as large as that of other groups (I'd like to see a link on this, if you have one), I still think the best way to solve the abortion problem is by educating teens.

Especially when one considers that America's rate of teen abortions to teen births is actually relatively low. Yeah, we've got a lot of abortions going on. But that's only half of the picture.

Also, by educating teenagers we are effectively educating the whole nation. Okay, perhaps plenty abortions are performed for older women. But older women were teenagers once. It's the same solution as increasing the literacy rate. You work on increasing standards of education in the youth.

Ultimately, I think of abortion as a necessary evil. It happens too much in this country, and the U.S. (and indeed, the whole world) needs to work on reducing how many abortions are "required" of women. But if a country can get these rates as low as possible, then I think having medically available abortions is a necessity. It's far better than the alternative. As soon as abortion is made illegal, then it changes from a clinical, relatively safe procedure into an almost unfathomable act relegated to barbaric means. I don't want to see it become this. Think of how much worse it could be as a black market affair.

As long as the rates are as low as possible, then I think it's a necessary evil. And if it's against a person's morals, then nobody's forcing it upon anyone.

All that said, I still think the teen pregnancy question is ultimately more important than the abortion one.

I'm really damn tired right now, and probably incoherent. If I just lost all resemblance to intelligence, then perhaps I'll make up for it later. Or not.
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  #154  
Old 11-13-2004, 12:51 PM
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You say you wouldn't press your beliefs on someone, Vedra, but your arguments are worryingly one-sided and biased IMO...Leaving the subject of abortion for JUST a moment - as regards your sig, Vedra, the whole POINT of the message of Christ was that we AREN'T all obsessivly chaste monks, that we DO make mistakes, and that you should ask forgiveness and try to be better, and if you fail, ask forgiveness and try again. Oh, and forcing your opinions, calling someone's point of belief "the world's biggest imaginary friend" comes pretty close, and in any case is damned offensive.
If we take your argument to it's extremes (as the well-known atheist Douglas Adams did - indeed, I quote his example...), we get the Adamsian example "I believe that the moon is made of rock, but I must equally respect your belief that it is cheese." While we can't debate this on the subject of God (its very hard to prove or disprove the existence of God, so please don't try and force your opinion on others), if we take another example: Is murder right? Answer by the sane population of the world: Of course not!
So why is it allowable to kill someone just because they are in their mother's womb. If a woman killed her child she would be in deep horseshit, but at 24 weeks, a foetus is fully damn formed! And yet they can be killed! Indeed, in the US, a child can be killed when half out of the womb, at which point it will have started to breathe!
Also, children with as little as a cleft pallette can be terminated just because of that up until when they are about to be born! If the mother's life is in danger, fine - I have no problem with that. But many terminations are just laziness on people's part. Oh, and abortion is apparently very harrowing both mentally and physically for a mother.
Better sex ed - that is what we need.
Oh, and I am not at all against contraception.
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  #155  
Old 11-13-2004, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ijdgaf
And if it's against a person's morals, then nobody's forcing it upon anyone.
(ijd isn't the only one to have made this particular point, but his was a concise quote so I picked it.)

It seems to me that a person can have 3 possible moral stances on abortion:

1. It's morally right for anyone and everyone.
2. It's not morally right for me, but it's morally right for anyone who thinks it is.
3. It's not morally right for anyone.

The problem with the quote above is that it assumes people who are morally opposed to abortion fall into the second category. That isn't the case. People who fall in that category, in my experience, are generally pro-choice - they consider the main issue in the debate to be over whether a woman should have the right to choose an abortion, and they say yes, she should.

People who are pro-life, again in my experience, are generally in the third category. If I think abortion is the termination of a human life, and I don't think it's right for individuals to terminate human lives, then I'm not just opposed to personally having an abortion; I'm opposed to anyone having an abortion.

Put the child on the other side of the womb and let's suppose that infanticide were an issue (yes, I know it isn't, but work with me here). Let's suppose that some people think an infant, who's dependent on others for basically everything, isn't really a human being, so they have no problem with infanticide. Others think that dependence isn't the issue, since the baby has human DNA and is a living human person; they think infanticide is tantamount to killing. Would you tell the anti-infanticide people, "Well, just don't terminate your own babies, then. No one's forcing you to do that. But it's intolerant to keep others from terminating their babies if they don't believe they're human."? Of course not. If the issue is truly about life, then it's not just about protecting your own offspring; it's about protecting all the innocent lives. That is why pro-life people are not content simply to refrain from having abortions themselves while having no problem with the rest of the world having abortions.
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Old 11-13-2004, 03:27 PM
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Which brings us back to the question whether killing a freshly-born baby is morally equivalent to killing a just conceived fetus...

Fascinatingly complex topic, hm?

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Old 11-13-2004, 03:58 PM
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Horrendously so...
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Old 11-13-2004, 05:08 PM
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Religion is perhaps an even worse topic to get any sort of productive agreement from - that's why I'm agnostic.

Most everybody will agree that murder is wrong, but that is a question of culture, not of sanity. (Depending on the situation, purposedly killing somebody might be the most rational solution; the fact that we will probably not end up in such a situation over the course of our lives does not mean this point can be glossed over.) Now, if we could get people to agree that abortion is murder, the problem would be rather resoundingly proved, right? Unfortunately, there is no agreement on this point.

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Old 11-13-2004, 05:57 PM
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Perhaps you're right. I can't think of any circumstances where killing someone would be the logical solution, barring Saddam Hussein and the First Gulf War, that is. But I thought we had come to some sort of conclusion on this - as I drew up on the last page....sigh...
EDIT: just read last page. I'm in total agreement with Wowbagger and anothertrekprof. Oh, and yes, Zeke, that was a 1066 reference, and so is this (concerning the end of the first world war):
"PEACE TO END PEACE
Though there were several battles in the War, none were so terrible as the Peace which was signed in the ever-memorable Chamber of Horrors at Versailles, and which was caused by the only memorable American statesman, President Wilson and Col. White House, who insisted on a lot of points, including
1. that England should be allowed to pay for the War: this was a Good Thing because it strengthened British (and even American) credit;
2. that the world should be made safe for democracy, i.e. anyone except pillion-riders, pedestrians, foreigners, Jews, riffs, R.A.F.S., gun-men, policemen, peasants, pheasants, Chinese, etc.;
3. that there should be a great many more countries: this was a Bad Thing as it was the cause of increased geography;
4. teh Freedom of the Seas: this was a Good Thing as it did not apply to Britain or America (or Switzerland);
5. that the Kaiser should be hanged: this was a Good Thing as it was abandoned, together with Mr. Lloyd George, the Irish Question, etc.

CHAPTER LXII
A BAD THING
AMERICA was thus clearly top nation, and history came to a ."

Note: This book was written in 1930, and was designed as a satirical look at history through the eyes of a slightly tipsy and stupid english ex-public-schoolboy - totally biased, and often completely wrong, but amusing, nonetheless. It is a complete farce, and definitely should be bought repeatedly by anyone looking for christmas presents. Try second-hand bookshops. by W.C. Sellar and R.J. Yeatman.
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  #160  
Old 11-13-2004, 06:40 PM
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Of course, it is inconceivable to resort to murder under any circumstances where there are laws to be followed; throw that out of the window, and survival quickly becomes "Me vs. Everyone else". Sad and wrong when seen from any civilised perspective, true, but unimaginable? Not so.

As for Hussein - please, let's not open that can of worms. For the sake of your sanity...

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