Drix D'Zanth

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About Drix D'Zanth

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  • Birthday 05/15/1986

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    I save the lives of orphans. Orphans with *diseases*.
  • Occupation
    Bounty Hunter
  1. [quote name='Shy'][size=1]In my experience, they are. Prove me wrong, though! I'm Agnostic myself, and quite content. -Shy[/size][/QUOTE] Well first, I should point out that Agnosticism and Atheism are complimentary. Unless someone is foolish enough to say ?I know for certain that there is no God?, a claim that no one can make reasonably, they are both Atheist and Agnostic. As an Atheist, Agnostic, Humanist, Secularist, myself? I acknowledge that not only am I privy to the Gnosticism (knowledge) of religion, I also am [i]without[/i] a belief in a personal God, or ?a-theist?. I concur with your experience, if only because I think there are [i]bad[/i] reasons to be atheist. I think you bring up an important point, which is why I like the Humanist message on the Bus, it?s a positive one: Live your life well and don?t waste it on what are, essentially, myths! [quote name='Darren'][SIZE="1"]Well I'll disagree with you on point 1. I'm atheist; I [B]believe[/B] that God doesn't exist. Furthermore, if atheism isn't a belief, then why would they bother to advertise. They shouldn't care. Point 2: I slightly agree. I don't think it's necessarily shoving beliefs on others... But my whole point is that atheists shouldn't have to advertise. They shouldn't care because they're not a religion... By advertising on the buses, they're defeating the whole idea behind atheism.[/SIZE][/QUOTE] Darren, calling atheism a belief is sort of like calling ?bald? a hair color. I don?t believe that there is NO God, I just don?t think there is any evidence in favor of the God of Christianity. In addition, I think belief in God is bad because it replaces our ability to think for ourselves on matters like Evolution, Gay Marriage, and other matters of social concern with a Divine Authority that has about as much evidence for it as other ancient Gods, such as Mithras, Dionysus, and Baal. I wouldn?t listen to them to inform my politics, so why should I let Christianity inform what should be a secular, inclusive society (a society that would permit freedom to practice your chosen religion privately, of course). [b]James[/b], I think [u]The God Delusion[/u] is a fairly well-written book. However, if you are hoping to find a fantastic, readable, and thorough dissection of religion I would recommend Richard Carrier?s [u]Sense and Goodness Without God: A defense of Metaphysical Naturalism[/u]. The book is not only a thorough refutation of most modern theisms, but it provides POSITIVE arguments for a naturalistic worldview including overlooked topics like ethics and aesthetics. In addition, it is completely consistent with science. Best of all, it is a very readable book. I recommend it strongly. Anyway, it?s a fun ad. And despite its whimsical nature, it really is an important message.
  2. [IMG]http://strangemaps.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/popvssodamap.gif[/IMG] Coke+Absolut Vanilla for teh win.
  3. Chibi, I hope this isn't too harsh, but aren't these threads simply rehashing what could easily be found if anyone were to google "Pundit Kitchen" and look at their sister websites: lolcats, loldogs, lol celebs, failblog, etc? I mean... isn't repeating your favorite images a [IMG]http://laughingsquid.com/wp-content/uploads/royal-fail.jpg[/IMG] ..in itself?
  4. [quote name='Korey'][FONT="Franklin Gothic Medium"] Does anyone else think that Chibi's mind is going a tad bit too far? I live with my parents sweetie, rest assured nothing like that will happen while they are around and my brother sleeps in the bottom bunk.[/FONT]:p[/QUOTE] That's a shame. Making stains can be a fun.
  5. Gorgeous kid, QA. She has the cutest button nose :) Dragon Warrior.... Dragon Warrior, let's see, "Oh, Drix, since we're pirate buddies, can I take your sister on a date? ;D Haha." Of course you can. Now, there is a catch. You know the giant blowgun that I'm holding in the 2nd to last picture in my post? Well, you have to scale a mature Kapok tree and leap along the canopy (evading my poisoned assault) until you reach the cliff side of angel falls. If you can successfully swan dive, avoid the rocks below, and bring back the carcass of a Jaguar eating an Anaconda... you can have a first date. Oh, and i taught [u][URL="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-cU490W9PE"]THIS[/URL][/u] guy how to use a blowgun. Now, that's only because we are pirate buddies.
  6. [quote name='Miss Anonymous']Heck, I'll bite, if only cause I have the perfect actor to present. [center][IMG]http://www.smh.com.au/ffximage/2008/02/03/michaelcaine_narrowweb__300x451,0.jpg[/IMG] [b]Michael Caine[/b][/center] Yes, I would do an old man. >> Not only was he Mr. Scrooge in [i]Muppet Christmas Carol[/i] (my first instance seeing him), but he also starred in such classics as [i]Dirty Rotten Scoundrels[/i], [i]Secondhand Lions[/i] (omg, squeeeee), and the recent Batman films. Seriously, he's such a great actor (in my eyes at least) and his accent is great. You gotta love him for trying to put on a Southern accent in [i]Secondhand Lions[/i] too.[/QUOTE] You are the first person in a loooooong time to earn my respect with that pick. Brava.
  7. [URL=http://img66.imageshack.us/my.php?image=n1140051931270869251rk5.jpg][IMG]http://img66.imageshack.us/img66/8497/n1140051931270869251rk5.jpg[/IMG][/URL] Here I am next to some sort of weird tower. [URL=http://img113.imageshack.us/my.php?image=n11400519312707765092zg0.jpg][IMG]http://img113.imageshack.us/img113/7715/n11400519312707765092zg0.jpg[/IMG][/URL] Here?s me at Montmartre in Paris. I love this hill. It provided spectacular views of Paris and was the setting for one of my favorite scenes in the movie Amelie. [URL=http://img385.imageshack.us/my.php?image=n743864025510552838fi8.jpg][IMG]http://img385.imageshack.us/img385/1873/n743864025510552838fi8.jpg[/IMG][/URL] Here is my sister and I in Barcelona. We managed the entire Europe trip with backpacks, rail passes, and a few hundred bucks. It was ridiculous and unforgettable. ---- [URL=http://img66.imageshack.us/my.php?image=n11400519306908864894pk0.jpg][IMG]http://img66.imageshack.us/img66/1738/n11400519306908864894pk0.jpg[/IMG][/URL] This is taken in the Amazon rainforest near the border between Ecuador and Brazil. I went there to do some field research for my degree. [URL=http://img232.imageshack.us/my.php?image=n11400519306938509830ye9.jpg][IMG]http://img232.imageshack.us/img232/3388/n11400519306938509830ye9.jpg[/IMG][/URL] So this is me attempting to hold a fairly authentic blowgun. These things are massive, heavy, and I don?t know how the native people shoot these accurately enough to hit moving targets (specifically monkeys). More recently? [URL=http://img217.imageshack.us/my.php?image=n220467945574458609jc1.jpg][IMG]http://img217.imageshack.us/img217/4723/n220467945574458609jc1.jpg[/IMG][/URL] Here?s me with my g/f and good friend Steve after a tough round of exams at medical school.
  8. I know there is a thread up with regards to proposition 8, and I wish somehow these threads could be merged, because I see a lot of parallel discussion. I wanted to wait for the election to end before I posted again on this thread primarily because I was aware of the Proposition 8 Ballot in California and awaited their decision. I was sad to see the liberties of homosexuals impinged by a ?yes? decision. However, the debate has renewed vigor and hopefully we can anticipate some big changes in our political landscape. On the ?silver lining? note, it appears that Connecticut has recently permitted equal marriage rights for homosexuals. I want to address CrimsonSpider?s rebuttal. I feel disappointed with the effort, honestly. And I think the rhetorical regurgitation is revealing how strained your arguments are. In fact, you don?t really address my key arguments. Some say marriage is an objective act. The reason it is an objective act is because of the ?biological definition of marriage? which serves as the foundation of marriage. So if there is no biological definition of marriage, the idea that marriage as a legal institution being objective falls apart. I graduated with a degree in Biology. I?ll tell you that ?marriage? is not a biological behavior. Even if it were, we are capable as reasoning human beings from removing ourselves from our biological past in order to live by the rule of LAW instead of the rule of NATURE. There is evidence to suggest we are naturally polygamous, naturally xenophobic, naturally violent, human males may have a natural inclination to violence and rape, naturally inclined to murder out groups (other bands of humans). But our ability to empathize, reason, and construct social institutions permits us to define a set of rules that runs in direct opposition to some of these ?natural? phenomena. I simply submit that our law will oppose the natural homophobia that many opponents to gay marriage experience. Marriage isn?t then an objective activity? it resumes to be law subjective to the desires of the people. If marriage were objective, then it wouldn?t make sense to permit slaves to marry, women to have equal claim to the property of marriage, and interracial marriage. All of these are [i]changes[/i] in our definition of marriage throughout history. Despite the fact that laws are effectively subjective, we do have a Constitution that creates a boundary that each law must fit within. For instance, it doesn?t matter how the subjective interests of the people change, we will all have the freedom to speech. Marriage is an institution created by our government and defined by our government. I argue that by inhibiting an otherwise legal equal from participating in an institution we violate the 14th Amendment. You haven?t actually refuted this claim. [IMG]http://www.constitutioncenter.org/timeline/flash/assets/asset_upload_file450_12097.jpg[/IMG] Your argument will invariably be, ?Gay people [i]can[/i] get married, so long as a gay man marries a woman or a gay woman marries a man.? But this statement is NO different than telling a black man, pre-circa 1967, that he, ?can get married, so long as it isn?t to a white woman.? Your follow up is insulting. You suggest that bestiality is substantiated by the arguments for Gay Marriage. My response is simple: Do we permit animals (other than Humans) to vote? Do we permit them to take part in other legal institutions like education? Do we acknowledge them in our constitution? If you can answer these questions, then you can understand why bestiality is outside the sphere of my argument. I?m only disappointed that I have to make this clear. I thought you were a wiser person. The best part of this dialogue is that you made my argument for me: [quote name='Crimson Spider']What reasons do I think that interracial marriages should be legalized? As I mentioned before, there is really only one reason to change the definition of an objective act: The Ideology. Particularly, the issue of civil rights was largely an issue over the discrimination against individuals in regards to their race. The projected goal of the movement was the equal treatment of individuals of different races. The clauses against interracial marriages exist primarily as a factor to discriminate against race, and for a complete blending; they would need to be abolished.[/quote] What reasons do I think gay marriages should be legalized? As I mentioned before, there is one huge reason in a multitude to change the definition of an ?objective act?: The ideology. Particularly, the issue of civil rights today is largely an issue over the discrimination against individuals in regards to their sexual orientation. The projected goal of the movement is the equal treatment of individuals of different sexual orientations. The clauses against gay marriage exist primarily as a factor to discriminate against sexual orientation, and for a complete equality; they need to be abolished. Thank you for listening. [IMG]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/81/Gay_Couple_from_back_hand_holding_on_CSD_2006_Berlin_-_Make_Love_Not_War.jpg[/IMG]
  9. I haven?t been able to reply to this as much as I?d like as my job right now is, foremost, to be a good medical student before I?m a good forum debater. But in my absence, I?ve been able to do some thinking about the debate, particularly on how the argument has been going. I think that Crimson will agree that we?re getting somewhat cluttered in our post format. So, with his permission, I?m going to do less quote-and-reply and more quote the only necessary bits as well as arrange my arguments as clearly and (this is tough) concisely as possible. Simplicity is beauty, after all (or is it the other way around?)? moving on. I?m going to make my case for Gay Marriage following a very particular train of thought that I?ll outline and then elaborate. Many of these topics have been discussed thoroughly, so I?ll avoid being redundant as much as possible. [SIZE="3"] [b][u]My Case [b]For[/b] Changing the Civil and Legal Definition of Marriage to Include Same Gender Couples[/u][/SIZE][/b] First, we?ll begin with definitions: 1. What do we mean by marriage in this context? 2. What are Same Gender Relationships? (this is important in our analogy within the Civil Rights Argument) a. What is homosexuality? And the conclusion? this is painless. :-D 3. The Case for Civil rights a. The importance of Civil Rights. b. Gay Marriage is a matter of civil rights that is different, but analogous to the change in marriage law to include interracial marriages. I will ultimately argue that the Supreme Court case that recognized Interracial Marriages as a civil right under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution has. [b][SIZE="3"][u]1. What do we mean when we say Marriage?[/u][/Size] [/b] [quote name='Crimson Spider']We have all talked about marriage in our own terms. My ordering toward procreation, TimeChaser's expression of love, Corvines "human well being", and all of that, these are not the objective definition of marriage. If you are to look at just the objective definition of marriage, without any connotation whatsoever, it is just a word. Marriage means marriage, just like how cheese means cheese, and jump means jump. [/quote] The debate that we?re having concerns the civil, legal union of (at the moment) of a man and a woman. For the purposes of this debate, we are only talking about the civil institution of marriage as it is recognized by the government. That is, informal or non-legal union (such as any religious ceremony) is [b]not[/b] what we?re talking about. Because we are talking about the civil institution, it is subject to law, and law is subject to lawmakers. These lawmakers can change the law to reflect the desires of their voting constituencies (the people) while at the same time ensuring as much personal liberty as possible (ideally). So, marriage in this sense, is a [i]social creation[/i]. Also, it doesn?t appear that the people of the U.S. want to get rid of marriage and still wish the institution to persist? so I?m not going to concern my arguments with whether or not we should get rid of it. This also raises another important point: Marriage exists only as how we define it as a civilization. Marriage has not looked the same over time, and responds to the rapid evolution of our social mores and taboos. -Until the mid 19th Century, women had no legal rights in marriage. They could not own property, sign contracts, or legally control any wages they might earn. -As late as 1930, twelve states allowed boys as young as 14 and girls as young as 12 to marry (with parental consent). -As late as 1940, married women were not allowed to make a legal contract in twelve states. -In 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down state anti-miscegenation laws in Loving v. Virginia. As a result of the decision, Virginia and fifteen other states had their anti-miscegenation laws declared unconstitutional. Those states were: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia. [quote name='Crimson Spider'] Here is the interesting part: most of the connotations of marriage are derived from the objective definition, and its practice. If you change marriage, you change the connotations that are attached to it. [/quote] This illuminates a fundamental flaw in many arguments concerning same sex marriage: opponents believe that there is some objective definition of marriage. Examining the historical record shows that this is simply mistaken. [u]Here are some attributes of a civil and legal marriage and the attached connotations:[/u] 1. The people getting married must be of legal age and consenting adults. In most instances this is 18 years old (the time the country recognizes, for the most part, that you are an adult). This completely invalidates any argument for pedophilic marriages (they aren?t adults or legally consenting) or human-animal marriages (they aren?t legally consenting citizens). 2. Marriage typically requires proof of citizenship; however it doesn?t preclude one partner from having citizenship in a different couple from getting a legally-recognized marriage. I just tacked this on there because it further invalidates the human-animal marriage ?rebuttal?. 3. You also must be mentally lucid in order to get married. This is important because it (ideally) prevents people from obtaining marriages while intoxicated for obvious reasons (namely that it distorts our judgment and ability to give sound consent). This is just the final nail in the coffin of the human animal marriage argument. 4. You cannot be too-closely related to your intended spouse. So incest is out. 5. Either partner can have any possible ethnicity without prohibition or penalty. We?ll get to why this later. [u]Here are some things about marriage that [b]aren?t[/b] required.[/u] 1. You are not required to be in love. This is because there is no way in a court of law for us to prove one way or another that two people are or aren?t in love. This usually is not an issue because marriage is a contract made by consenting adults, and people that aren?t in love don?t tend to get married. I make this point because any debate about whether or not homosexuals are in love is just as irrelevant. 2. You are not required to have sex, to prove you?ve had sex, or to pledge to have sex. I?m sure this sounds strange when talking about marriage, but bear with me. Shakers can get legally married. Celibate monks can get married. Marriage is not a recognition of a sexual relationship, it is a recognition of a legal relationship. This is also why it is a false distinction to suggest that ?sex matters? when homosexuals wish to get married. Recognizing a Same Sex [b]Relationship[/b] does not, therefore, require that there be any commentary on the sex life of that relationship?it is a legal non-issue. This also means that, contrary to what Crimson Spider has stated, marriage is not changed so that it connotes their ?sexual behavior?. Here?s where CS gets it wrong: [quote name='Crimson Spider']If sexual preferences or the act of sex is irrelevant, then a homosexual can enjoy marriage to a member of the opposite gender (another irrelevant point) just as much as a heterosexuals could enjoy this marriage. So, there is no reason to alter the definition of marriage to suit sexual desires, preferences, or orientation because those are irrelevant to the issue and to practice. If you are saying that sex is such a relevant factor that constitutes change to marriage (the defining factor for homosexuals), then you are tearing down the loving, caring, and compassionate side of marriage to being about sex and sexual acts that are not about procreation. You say things by doing this, like the relationship that a man and a woman have can't be what it is without the sexual desire/act in regards to non-procreative purposes. This, of course, is a slap in the face of these relationships. [/quote] You should understand from paragraph 2 why this is an erroneous position. Even though I say sex is irrelevant, I [b]do not[/b] say that the consensual relationship is irrelevant. Quite the opposite, in fact. You bring up procreation? which leads to the next point? 3. You are not required to [i]ever[/i], if the consenting adults choose, make children. As many marriages do tend to result in childbirth, the institution has accommodated this through multiple benefits as well as equally (legally) shared partnership by the couple over the raising of the child. Now, I think that these benefits should be given to all parents, regardless of the marital status and for the most part they are?if only for the sake of the child. The reason I bring this up is because Crimson Spider says this: [quote name='Crimson Spider'] I have to repeat this point nearly every post it seems: "Ordered Toward" does not mean "Only a Means to". The key difference is that success or failure at an attempt does not change the nature of that attempt at all. Therefore, the infertility of a couple is classified as a "failed attempt" at procreation, instead of being different in nature altogether. If you have a relationship that is [i]founded[/i] on the infertility of one or both of the partners, then this is an abomination that does not deserve the respect of marriage.[/quote] You probably know why this statement is also wrong. Marriage is not ?founded on fertility? (my quotes, not CS, I know what his statement reads). This is not how we define marriage. Marriage makes legal provisions for a couple that decide to have babies, but it is not about babies. Tangentially, it should also be noted that an infertile couple?s ?attempt? at procreation will be as successful as a homosexual couple?s attempt?every time. Neither are ?failed attempts?, they are both ?futile attempts? (depending on the severity of the infertility, of course). However this makes me wonder? if the last line is to be supported, what about the young married couple that decide they don?t want to procreate? What if the woman gets a hysterectomy? Should we then remove their rights as a married couple because they are willfully abstaining from procreation? I suspect not ;) [B][SIZE="3"][u]2. What are Same Gender Relationships?[/u] [/size][/b] This one should be easy. Same gender relationships or, if you prefer the Greek, homosexual (meaning of the same sex, or gender) relationships are by all definitions completely similar to their heterosexual counterparts except in two regards: -The members of the relationship are the same gender! -Because they are the same gender, any sexual activity that they choose to participate in will not produce offspring! Other than this, there is no reason to believe that same gender couples cannot carry on the same relationships that heterosexual couples (you know, the folks we let marry each other) do! [b]But that?s strange! Why would anyone be attracted to the same gender?[/b] Good question. There?s no smoking gun that people are born with their sexual orientation completely sorted out. However, there is good evidence to suggest that there is a genetic component and environmental component to the people they desire to have relationships with. But there is an important lesson to be learned: asking for the specific reasons that people are homosexual is a valid scientific inquiry, it is actually secondary to an even more important fact. Human beings have no [i]choice[/i] in what gender they choose to form meaningful (sometimes intimate) relationships with. It?s also worth mentioning that we don?t consider homosexuality the same as Albinism or Klinefelter Syndrome because (and this should be patently obvious) there is no [i]pathology[/i] associated with homosexuality (there?s also intrinsic to Klinefelter or Albinism that would preclude them from getting married). Now why is this important?? Let?s examine a bit of history: [B][SIZE="3"][u]The Case for Civil Rights[/u][/SIZE][/B] Rewind the clock to April of 1967. The Apollo program has started up recently, the Vietnam War is in full swing, and one year from now (nearly to the day) Martin Luther King Jr. will be assassinated. However, he would live to see some of his dream fulfilled. For 3 years ago, in 1964, congress passed the U.S. Civil Rights act which stated, ?All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin or sex.? This also validated the 14th Amendment, which ensures [b]all people[/b] due process and equal protection under our laws. Anyway, the Supreme Court is hearing a case. A white man, Richard Loving, married a non-white (she was of mixed Native American and African American descent) woman outside of their home state of Virginia. They did this because Virginia had a law known as the ?Racial Integrity Marriage? which banned the marriage of any white and non-white couple (this was known as an anti-miscegenation law). Police discovered them in their home (after they had returned to marriage) and attempted to prosecute them for breaking this law?.a case which worked its way up to the Supreme Court and this eventful day. The trial lasted from April until June 12th; when the Supreme Court made its, unanimous, decision that the anti-miscegenation laws were indeed unconstitutional and violated the right of the couple to due process and equal protection of the law (including marriage) protected by our 14th Amendment. So why do I bring up interracial marriage as an analogy? Because this statement: [quote name='Crimson Spider'] If sexual preferences or the act of sex is irrelevant, then a homosexual can enjoy marriage to a member of the opposite gender (another irrelevant point) just as much as a heterosexuals could enjoy this marriage. [/quote] ?is no less bigoted than a Virginian suggesting that because interracial marriage is an aberration of ?his definition? of marriage, Loving can [i]enjoy a marriage as long as it?s with a white woman[/i]. Some people grow up and find they are attracted to blondes. Others like brunettes. Still others prefer a sense of humor, curly hair, compassion, honesty, small feet, a big nose, green eyes, a laugh, a brilliant smile, dark skin, light skin. Some men like men. And some women like women. None of us have a choice in what general characteristics we like. Hopefully all of us will find someone who finds us as fascinating, unique, beautiful, funny, and profound and choose to spend their lives with us. Usually our country doesn?t care about our preferences. And they shouldn?t. Because if two consenting adults decide to live the rest of their lives together and have this union recognized by the country, I believe they have a Constitutional Right to do so. And I have yet to hear a good reason that this shouldn?t be so. I?m proud of my country. It was founded on this idea of freedom. But when it comes to the story of Same Sex Marriage? we still live in a tragic era where we deny the civil liberties based upon a moral objection against a particular relationship preference. My moral objection shouldn?t impinge upon your freedoms so long as your freedoms don?t limit mine. I?ve got hope that the ideologues will set aside their freedoms and embrace the idea that, ?while I might not agree with your choices, I?ll protect to the death your liberty.? [IMG]http://www.wilsonsalmanac.com/images/declaration5.jpg[/IMG] Think about it.
  10. [quote name='Crimson Spider']Good to see you again, Drix.[/quote] You too, Crimson. This should be an interesting discourse. Perhaps in the future, you and I could arrange for a more formal debate on another subject that you and I might disagree on... religion? evolution? PM me if you're interested. [quote name='Crimson Spider'] TimeChasers analogy would be accurate, had there not been many more questions on the matter other than the personal preference of individuals on the debate over interracial marriages. I do think that no, personal preference is not a substantial reason to allow even interracial marriages, and this does annoy me that people will transition the faulty argument of a previous debate onto a current issue. Oh, how it annoys me how my giving insight into a stance of moral relativity from the misunderstanding of one doctor has somehow made all of my statements "Biblical”. [/quote] I should take the point for understanding as you mistakenly inferred an accusation from my statement when I was simply framing the debate. My saying “the Bible has nothing to do with it” doesn’t necessarily mean that I thought your arguments were Biblical, at all. Regardless, you are also ignoring the fact that it is the very “personal preference” that you don’t find adequate to [i]change marriage[/i] that is all that is required to [i]get married[/i]. [quote name='Crimson Spider'] Homosexuals [i]want[/i] their relationships to be condoned and seen as equals in regards to society and the state as a whole, with the full benefits of legal action, romantic connotation, and a raised social acceptance. This is the reason why civil unions would be completely unsatisfactory, and ironically also why completely removing the advantages/benefits of marriage would be unsatisfactory. [b]The homosexual is in a dire predicament, because in order to climb the tallest mountain, he/she has to make it shorter. [/b][/quote] (bold added) Now this is remarkable. Essentially you are saying that by changing marriage to include homosexual couples it would somehow reduce or diminish marriage? Could you defend this statement a bit more? [quote name='Crimson Spider']Most are satisfactory with just changing the institution, but not all of them. There are plenty of movements to try to remove biologically tied gender identity as a whole from any legal processes. Instead of changing marriage, they remove the terms "Man" and "Woman" from the record as a whole. This is the closest similarity to the "interracial marriage" comparison between the issues. [/quote] I think this is because there were laws that specifically defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman of the same “race”. In 1661, a white woman marrying a black man (who at that time would have certainly been a slave) would forgo her freedom and be considered a slave as well. Now, in 1967 the case [i]Loving v. Virginia[/i] went up before the supreme court. The court issued the following statement, “Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.” They were referring to the 14th Ammendment that ensures Equal Protection and Due Process. From that point on it was no longer permissible for states to create systems that could render interracial marriage illegal. Here’s the icing on the cake: the court case that changed the civil definition of marriage to [i]include[/i] interracial couples fits the exact same profile that you describe as “making (the mountain) shorter”. My question to you is this: What reasons would you give to permit interracial marriage in pre-1967 Virginia where the definition has read from before the [i]establishment of our nation[/i] “same race”? After answering that, I submit the same reasons races are protected by the 14th amendment, so too should homosexuals. [quote name='Crimson Spider']Again, the burden of proof system is violated when someone makes a claim, it should stand because I have not disproved it. However I digress.[/quote] You do digress. Without warrant, I'll add. As I [i]have[/i] met the burden of proof and supported the affirmative case with evidence. [quote name='Crimson Spider'] The institution of marriage having a man-woman definition places value on the relationship that exist between a man and a woman (though more than just sexual means). By altering this definition primarily to suit the desire of a sexual instance instead of the celebration of biology, you are stating that biology means nothing in lieu of the great sexual desire. [/quote] First, I would expect something better than the Naturalistic Fallacy. Except you don’t even [b]meet[/b] the criterion for the naturalistic fallacy because [b]nature[/b] doesn’t support this statement. Human beings naturally practice [i]polygyny[/i] (see references: 1,2,3). Also, while there is a lot to be discovered about the complex behavioral phenotype of gender identity and sexuality, the evidence currently suggests that the incidence of homosexuality (and we don’t need to specifically talk about sexual intercourse here, we can just say the loving, caring, attraction to the same gender) is a naturally-occurring phenomenon—perhaps some of which is genetically heritable (I can cite the articles if you want). [quote name='Crimson Spider'] A Norwegien (sic) Sociologist Moxness argues that the support for legalizing same-sex marriages doesn't necessarily come from a greater acceptance of homosexuality, but that marriage has become an institution of very little value. [/quote] Halvor Moxness? The Norwegian theologian? I’d like to read what he has to say, but my searches aren’t coming up with anything other than a debate he had in a church with regards to whether or not the church should recognize gay marriage… could you PM me the citation? [quote name='Crimson Spider'] Indeed, so many have made a very fundamental mistake of devaluing marriage in order to allow same-sex marriages to be legalized. This is counter-productive to the stance, because by saying that marriage is essentially worthless, you undermine the reason why it is marriage should be changed. It is worthless, so why care? The shift towards sexual desires and relationships outside of the nature of procreation has various negative side effects, not only through the large absence of positive side effects that were present with these types of relationships, but other effects like out-of-wedlock births, the dehumanizing effect of objective sexual gratification, and the destruction of deeper family relationships. The greatest burden of same-sex marriage legalization is the endorsement of this greater problem on the cultural level. [/quote] Really? Is this your argument. After we’ve clearly established that two homosexuals can have the same meaningful, caring, loving relationship without having sex? I can’t believe I’m saying this, it feels patronizing that I have to. But [b]changing[/b] marriage to include same-sex couples doesn’t [b]devalue[/b] it. That’s an affirmative statement. Since you’re a fan of the burden of proof: prove that it does. [quote name='Crimson Spider'] Odd, I thought that the unbiased section of the scientific community has admitted a 50/50 stance, where genes contribute, and then personal upbringing takes hold from there. It is like the very old "what is responsible for alcoholism" issue, in that no "gene" makes you suddenly walk up to a bar and take out your frustrations on your wife. Are there genetic factors that increase the probability of homosexuality? To this, I can undoubtedly say that yes, there is. [b]Mainly through genes that lack specificity toward one particular gender.[/b] But... are the other various factors that contribute to homosexuality that are environmental/controllable/treatable? To this, I can also undoubtedly say that yes, there is. So, the comparison between homosexuality and race doesn't hold true in that aspect. There are several other problems, like comparing an observation to an admission, comparing a state to an act, and so on, but then this does raise an interesting question. Now, if we accept that homosexuality is a genetic abnormality like down syndrome or albino syndrome (one that specifically has the negative effect of removing the ability to procreate), then why not attempt to cure it? [/quote] The bolded statement is simply wrong. Either you honestly believe that there are genes specific to gender (there are thousands of such genes). Or, if I read into it and give you the benefit of the doubt, you’re saying there aren’t genes that say “attraction to men” or “attraction to women” and these can’t get mixed up. Let’s not be trite. Of course there are. There are genetic motifs that result in [i]gender[/i] confusion for goodness sake. That is, a child is born biologically male, but grows up phenotypically female. Now, I’m not suggesting biological determinacy. Alcoholics certainly have a choice to go to the bar even if they have a genetic predisposition. But, while [b]heterosexuals[/b] have a genetic predisposition to form a relationship with a member of the opposite sex, they still must make the “choice” in who they form relationships with and “choices” in how they interact with other potential partners. 50/50? I’m not certain. Meta-analysis of twin studies suggests 60% biological. This is ignoring the most recent work into genetic marker differences between sexual identities. However, it is difficult to tell simply because we are still learning about the subject. Unlike the biology of “race” which manifests clearly and relatively simply. Behavioral genetics often involves very complex genetic backgrounds and a wide variability of behavioral phenotypes, many of which (because they are behaviors) can be consciously suppressed. For example, men are genetically predisposed to be attracted to many female partners, however a significant portion of men in westernized nations have suppressed this biological desire in order to establish monogamous relationships (there are also good evolutionary reasons for this, but we don’t need to get into them). Even if genetics does compose some 60% of sexual orientation, it is likely that the “environmental” factors have little to do with choice. Instead, the other 40% is likely post-zygotic but biological—such as maternal hormones affecting the fetus or sociological stressors, such as number and type of siblings, on the developing (and quite plastic) neonatal brain. I’ll remind you, that none of these factors permit a homosexual any “choice” in the matter of who he or she is attracted to. As to why we don’t treat homosexuality as a genetic “abnormality” that is to be “cured”. Well from the cold bench of hard science, there is no significant deleterious health effect of the homosexual individual compared to the heterosexual. There are also some good evolutionary reasons for homosexual individuals to thrive. Why is this question being asked? You are smarter than that, and I think you know the answer to your own question. [quote name='Crimson Spider'] + 10 points for making me laugh.[/quote] I always like making children laugh. [quote name='Crimson Spider'] {snip} 1. Individuals want to change the definition of marriage. 2. This change will alter marriage into being about sexual fulfillment and romantic ideals of love (this includes same-sex marriage). 3. This violates many of the biological uses/factors of marriages, and changes the nature of the "family" to be one where sex is the priority. 4. Therefore, we should not change marriage. [/quote] Premise 1- Agreed. Premise 2- No and no. This doesn’t need to be true in order to support the changing of “Marriage” to include same-sex couples. Premise 3- It will change the social definition of “family” to include same-sex adoptive parents. However, this has nothing to do with sexual intercourse. If by “sex” you mean “gender” I think that it is hyperbole to assume that “gender” is a priority. In fact, [i]restriction[/i] of same-gender relationships is what requires gender to be a priority. Permitting same-sex couples the same definition removes gender considerations from the prerequisites. Conclusion 4- fails on the grounds of false premises 2 and 3. [quote name='Crimson Spider'] In regards to the first rebuttles, there is a contradiction that is placed on the circumstances to allow same sex marriages. If you say that sex does not matter, then [i]sex does not matter[/i]. The sexual preferences and actions of the individual become irrelevant, and therefore a man can marry a woman regardless of how sexually attracted he is to her for all of the loving, compassionate, and caring that he wants from this relationship. You would need to argue a reason why it is that the homosexual relationship would need to be condoned, and this is ultimately contradictory to the premise: sex matters. [/quote] I suspect this is just a confusion of terms. Sex—as in sexual intercourse—doesn’t matter. I think there’s some confusion between “sex” and “gender”. So if we use the word sex to describe the act, we should probably (and I’ll do this too) say “sexual intercourse”. Sexual intercourse doesn’t matter. Let’s agree on this. [quote name='Crimson Spider'] In regard to the second rebuttle, the "biological technicality" that homosexuals had to "give up their dream for" automatically assumes that biology is a factor. Anyway, I know very well about the ideology about homosexuality being "normal" and "natural" and "O.K.". I just do not operate under these circumstances, so my bias will show up on occasion. [/quote] It’s not so much an ideology for me, as it is the force of evidence—genetics, psychology, sociology, evolutionary biology, even obstetrics lends to my argument, not yours. Homosexuality [i]is[/i] natural. [quote name='Crimson Spider'] For my own personal definition, I define marriage as the biological and legal union of a man and a woman for solidarity. [b] Cut, due to length[/b] Incidentally, a pre-condition of homosexuality is that there is sexual desire for properties possessed by the members of the same sex. Unless you are going to say that homosexuals are ignorant of their inability to procreate, or cannot due to a genetic defect to their nature that dictates above free will, then procreation in regards to sex is not a factor of the sexual relationship that a homosexual has. Instead, the relationship is based upon, or maintained from the vanity aspect of sex. It just isn't the same as the preferred model for a sexual relationship. [/quote] There are 2.1 million infertile married couples (source: [URL="http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/FASTATS/fertile.htm"]Infertility Stats (click)[/URL]). That’s 2.1 million heterosexual couples that don’t meet your definition of “healthy heterosexual relationship.” That’s 2.1 million couples whose marriage apparently [i]lacks[/i] the intrinsic quality of other “healthy” heterosexual marriages. What about the large number of infertile men and women that aren’t married? Should we consider their marriage to be intrinsically “less” than a fertile couple? Your reduction of sexual intercourse to two functions is also mistaken. Sexual intercourse has MANY functions other than procreation and “vanity aspect of sex”. I managed to find a little excerpt of the book I was going to quote from: [URL="http://books.google.com/books?id=wR-_vgtCQP4C&pg=PA43&lpg=PA43&dq=functions+of+sex&source=web&ots=-4oOBIJ4NY&sig=3x9xd7DlLXwI7QodnCtCMz10p4c&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=5&ct=result#PPA46,M1"]CLICK[/URL] Regardless, we don’t live in the dark ages. Fertility is now a medically-tenable position. Infertile couples now have many options for which to create a family, including IVF, adoption, and surrogate mothers. Many of these options are also available to same-sex couples who are (obviously) unable to procreate, and who otherwise have the same sexually-fulfilling lives that heterosexual couples have. [quote name='Crimson Spider'] Honestly, I don't know what argument would convince me that same sex marriages should me legalized, because my experiences, ideas, thoughts, and the like on the issue have backed me into a relatively unmoving stance. An argument would essentially be one that would convince me that all my experiences and purely honest perceptions on life are incorrect, and essentially would be capable of convincing me that gravity doesn't exist. [/quote] This represents a poverty of imagination. Even I know what would convince me that gravity doesn’t exist. The idea that your position is unassailable even by self-reflection reveals that you care less about evidence and more about dogma (note, I don’t say “religious” dogma). [quote name='Crimson Spider'] Unfortunately they don't. Separated because of Wall of Text Syndrome. 1. Marriage existing as a legal institution and a right is never denied. Privileges (though procreation would immediately be defined as the founding cause, to the dismay of elderly married people) really don't make a good case for either preservation or for alteration. However, you have also made a common mistake: Homosexuals are [i]never[/i] denied the right to marriage. Sexuality in this issue is of absolutely no consequences to granting rights. Homosexuals have the exact same rights regarding marriage as I do. The difference between me and homosexuals is made up of whether or not our personal preferences or lifestyles would neatly fit into exercising this right. [/quote] This argument is absurd and ignores the issue of the relationship between two homosexuals. Saying “homosexuals” can get married, it just can’t be a marriage between the same genders, is sort of like saying in (pre 1967 Virginia) that black people can get married just like white people… just not [i]to[/i] white people. [quote name='Crimson Spider'] 2. The similar misconception about the denial of rights above also applies to this statement. You can achieve any right other than the romantic connotation (which the law should not re responsible for. Never in the constitution will you find that a law exists "because they like to") applied, even without invoking civil unions. Any question on the distribution of these rights is a question of other bureaucracies and legal distributions, and not of marriage. [/quote] Actually, same-gender marriage should be protected under the 14th Amendment. The only reason it isn’t is because of many of the arguments that people like you make to suggest that there is an inherent difference between heterosexual relationships and homosexual relationships, all of which have been refuted. In fact, many of our constitutionally-protected freedoms have [i]everything[/i] to do with volition. [quote name='Crimson Spider'] 3. Essentially this is a statement that the personal mental condition of a person is the responsibility of the state (again, the misconception of discrimination applies here as well), and this brings with it not only the irrationality that someone's own ideas and happiness is out of their control, but also that a governing body must alter the nature of an institution from discriminating against one group, to discriminating against another group. In this case, the "heterosexual having his right to marriage violated" mirrors and contrasts the ideology of altering an institution due to the other group not being happy. The hierarchy, the labeling, and the discrimination are all strictly arbitrary in relationship to the culture and the individual, and therefore are not substantial grounds to change a law. [/quote] [b]Really?[/b] No doubt there were plenty of African Americans who found happiness in the era of “separate but equal”, but wouldn’t you agree that abolishing these laws in favor of equality recognized their human dignity? Would you use your argument to say, “It’s not the responsibility of the state to make you feel equal when you don’t” in favor of segregation? We altered many of our institutions to include racial minorities, including marriage. I submit that the homosexual community is protected under the same laws that protect the equality of ethnicities simply because homosexuality is no more a choice than the color of one’s skin, and (to borrow from MLK Jr.) has no more effect on the “content of their character.” 1. Smith, Robert. 1984 Pp. 610-59. [i]Human Sperm Competition and the Evolution of Mating Systems[/i]. New York: Academic Press 2. Gaulin, Steve, [i]et al.[/i] 1997. “Matrilateral Baises in the Investment of Aunts and Uncles: A Consequence and Measure of Paternity Uncertainty.” [i]Human Nature.[/i] 8:139-51. 3. White, Douglas. 1988. “Rethinking Polygyny: Co-Wives, Codes and Cultural Systems.” [i]Current Anthropology.[/i] 29:529-58.
  11. Thanks for the clarification, TimeChaser. I?ve also been thinking about another argument used in opposition of homosexual equal rights: the ?Definition argument?. I addressed this to an extent in my earlier post. But the more I thought about it, the weaker it seems. It goes sort of like this: ?Marriage is a union between a man and a woman. If we permit the inclusion of a man and man union or woman and woman union we [i]change[/i] the definition of marriage. This will either diminish the value of Marriage, ruin it, we won?t be able to call it ?marriage?, etc.? This argument is an Appeal to Tradition and very similar to the No True Scotsman Fallacy (Correct me if I?m wrong). It?s a No True Scotsman Fallacy in the sense that we assume that ?Marriage? is somehow defined independently of our society. That is ?It?s not marriage if it includes gay couples because ?marriage? only refers to a man and a woman?. Well, it is exactly society that sets the standard for marriage. And because we do, the word that we use to describe ?marriage? can include gay couples the same way the word ?gravity? doesn?t have to be discarded because our accepted understanding of what gravity is has changed from Newton to Einstein (this is just an analogy of the linguistics, I?m not implying that our subjective definition of marriage is objective natural law like gravity).
  12. I made this today: [URL=http://img20.imageshack.us/my.php?image=holloweencatcopyut9.jpg][IMG]http://img20.imageshack.us/img20/149/holloweencatcopyut9.th.jpg[/IMG][/URL][URL=http://g.imageshack.us/thpix.php][IMG]http://img20.imageshack.us/images/thpix.gif[/IMG][/URL] It might also surprise you to know [COLOR="Red"][u][URL="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1080042/Meet-Mr-Green-Genes--worlds-glow-dark-cat.html"]Glowcat is REELZ[/URL][/COLOR][/u] (
  13. Why hello? I?m back to see a lovely thread up (a usual topic). In fact, back in the day, I used to take the position that Crimson here would take; in defense of ?traditional marriage?. However, plenty has changed. I?m no longer a Christian. I also endorse the scientific and medical communities in their representation of this issue, including the softer sciences like sociology and psychology. I think there are several mistakes in Crimson Spider?s reasoning. Let?s start: [quote name='Crimson Spider']I wouldn't mind a vote again, myself, because there are many other justifiable reasons to allow interracial marriage other than to just make people happy. It really is a question of policy on those issues, particularly about the existence of "race" in general. They would, no doubt, remain legal. Anyway, I do agree that civil rights are given to everyone one equally. They are given to everyone equally, and I have used this as an argument before. I never backtracked. I said that people aren't seeking for marriage to be abolished. I am saying that the standards that we accept for marriage will be different through time if we allow it to change. The rest of this paragraph is an ad-hominem that begs the question. And yes, changing marriage does change the marriages of heterosexuals, because it is changing marriage fundamentally to suit another ideal completely. [/quote] The reason TimeChaser?s analogy works here is because it reveals that the same inconsistencies that would support a ban of interracial marriage are used in opposition to homosexual marriage. When we define marriage as a State, it no longer becomes an issue of biblical or ?traditional? definitions. Marriage (as it stands) is an institution created to recognize, legally and financially, the voluntary union of a man and a woman that is uniquely set apart from other familial and social relationships due primarily to the degree of union that the couple commit to. More specifically, the fact that the man and the woman effectively legally ?share? almost everything is what separates Marriage from ?friendship? or even ?relationship?. This arrangement can exist without love, without the possibility of natural procreation (infertile couples can certainly get married), and without any justification other than the consent of the two individuals involved. Most importantly, because this is matter of State, the Bible should have nothing to do with the discussion. Now how exactly is this institution significantly affected when ?man and a woman? turns into ?two consenting, unrelated (since we can still preserve the spirit of the institution even if we include homosexuals), adults?? I haven?t really explained why TimeChaser is right in his analogy. Here it is: one of the most convincing reasons to include all races as equals in legal and civil matters is because race is 1)biologically determined and 2)there is nothing qualitatively (or quantitatively, I know it?s trite that I have to add this) superior about one race vs. another that justifies an inequality. You?ll find that the scientific community acknowledges that there is a strong genetic component to gender identity and homosexual attraction. The idea that there is anything in biology that precludes affectionate, loving, sexual same-sex relationships that are any less substantial than their heterosexual counterparts is? to call a spade a spade? [b]bigotry.[/b] [quote name='Crimson Spider'] Anyway, regarding the question, I ask a question in response: "Why is it that their dream MUST require a violation of biology?" The loving, caring, and compassionate nature of marriage can exist without sex. Sex is not a requirement for these conditions, so arguing for a change in definitions in order to suit the sexual nature is why I don't support this change. [/quote] Let me get this logic straight (ha!): 1. TimeChange (and myself, I suppose) want to change the definition of marriage. 2. This new definition will change in order to acknowledge homosexual sexual activity. 3. This violates my understanding of biology. 4. Therefore, we should not change the definition of marriage. Two quick rebuttals? if marriage is a loving, caring, compassionate relationship that can exist without sex, then why can?t you change the definition in order to acknowledge the loving, caring, compassionate relationship of homosexual couples? Why not get rid of premise 2 altogether? I suggest we rephrase the argument (using your logic) like this: 1. Marriage is a loving, caring, compassionate relationship. 2. Homosexuals can have a loving, caring, compassionate relationship. 3. Homosexuals can get married. My second rebuttal has to do with premise 3. Homosexuality is no way a ?violation? of biology. This represents a profound ignorance on the subject. [quote name='Crimson Spider'] From the hypocritical discrimination against my own views on the issue, I find that these ideals are all-too-often a cop out to the personal desires that someone has. So I always require better reasons for changing tradition other than your own personal desire on the issue, because you otherwise create a new standard that ignores prior practices, precedents, and the reasons behind them. To be blunt, the burden of proof for change is on the pro same-sex side, and not the anti same-sex side, for they are the ones who are making the claim against what is already accepted. I am more in fear that the current western culture has already embraced moral relativity, and that same-sex marriages are just a side issue on the matter. A product, not a cause. Indeed, our stances on issues have drastically changed in the past 60 years.[/QUOTE] Crimson, I agree with you with regards to many of your arguments. Moral relativity, I think, is a bad position. I am definitely not in favor of relativism for the simple reason that it fails the law of non-contradiction, e.g. the statement that ?Moral truth is relative? is invalidated by the question, ?Is [i]that[/i] relative?? And I agree that the burden of ?proof? is on the affirmative. I think we can both agree that, insofar as civil unions are concerned, there is no reason to deny heterosexual couples the same civil rights as homosexual couples in a legally recognized union. Now, what about Marriage? How do you differentiate the term ?Marriage? from ?Civil Union?? Ideally, when we are talking about ?Marriage? we are recognizing, as a society, a relationship of love, support, and mutualism (which you mentioned earlier). Earlier you also mentioned that intercourse has nothing to do with marriage. Certainly by this standard, the ability to make kids doesn?t define marriage either. So if homosexual couples have equally fulfilling, loving, caring, supporting, mutualistic relationships, how don?t they meet the more stringent definition of ?Marriage?? Their dangly bits? I mean, isn?t this just [i]arbitrary[/i] if sexual intercourse has nothing to do with how we define marriage? [quote name='Crimson Spider'] Marriage being re-defined in the past is no excuse to re-define it now. You must have better reasons than the fact that it has changed. You must state why you make this change. [/QUOTE] I?m curious? what argument would convince you that the definition of marriage should be changed to include homosexuals? Do any of these? 1. Even if marriage isn?t a right, but a privilege, we then are faced with the [i]opportunity[/i] to enjoy the privilege. If this is so, on what grounds do we have to restrict the [i]opportunity[/i] of one sexual identity to seek the privilege? 2. ?Marriages? in our society, include every benefit that encompasses a ?Civil Union? AND the small, but profound difference of the label ?Marriage?. This label, because it is being afforded to only some groups of people and not others, is discriminatory unless applied equally. Now, this sort of discriminatory behavior isn?t always bad. However, banning the institutions for reasons beyond the control of the discriminated-group (such as Interracial marriage) is unjust. Homosexuality no more a choice by the group than their race. Therefore, we should recognize homosexuals as falling within the constraints of our definition of marriage. 3. Labeling has obvious sociological and psychological consequences. The hierarchy of ?Marriage? with ?Civil Union? below it ostracizes the group that can only participate in one arrangement and not both. It also has negative psychological consequences on the ostracized group that can be roughly interpreted. Therefore, by permitting the ostracized group to participate in ?Marriage? (which would then eliminate the necessity of a distinction between Marriage and Civil Union) we respect the human dignity of that group. Peace, Drix
  14. It?s been fun seeing the intellectual discourse on this thread, a lot of great opinions out there and perspectives. I?m actually pleased to see the more superstitious worldviews are starting to withdraw into more realistic, skeptical perspectives. Unfortunately, this may be my last post unless this thread can survive into mid-June as I?m going backpacking through Europe until the 9th. Hopefully I?ll be able to post at internet-wired hostels. [quote name='Fasteriskhead'] You write in response to Raiha: "Which of [Thomas Aquinas'] ?proofs? are still valid today?" I assume you're referring to the "five ways" in Summa Theologiae 1a question 2, which have since been called "cosmological arguments." My objection is that if you read Thomas carefully, he doesn't seems to understand these arguments as [I]positive proofs[/I] in the sense that we would take them today. What Thomas attempts to show with his proofs is that there is, e.g., some being which conditions others but is itself is unconditioned, without [I]specifying[/I] in a positive way what such a being might be (in fact, by his own "via negativa" this would be impossible). The only knowledge learned in such demonstrations is negative; it only says what a certain being [I]cannot[/I] be (see [URL="http://www.diafrica.org/kenny/CDtexts/ContraGentiles3a.htm#39"][U]this text[/U][/URL] from the earlier Summa). And the proofs in this stripped-down form are still fairly widely accepted in terms of soundness (although I have my own objections which are a bit too technical to voice here). The most well-known criticisms (Hume and Kant) aren't against the proofs' [I]validity[/I], but simply point out the fact that they can't go far enough on their own to prove the existence of God. But I don't think that was what Aquinas intended. The point, as I read him, wasn't to rationally prove the truth of the Christian gospel, but to show that it could be [I]defended[/I] in the court of natural philosophy. [/QUOTE] I might be remiss if I didn?t mention that the Dawkins rebuttal to Thomas? five arguments are both comprehensive and entertaining. No, I don?t misinterpret the method that Thomas used to argue for the existence of a God (e.g. ?via negativa?). However, examine the argument from first cause where Thomas seems to assume that there must be an end to an infinite regression; and so he assumes that God is an ?uncaused cause?, which essentially contradicts the preceding argument that every effect must have a cause (this is also re-interpreted as something called the Kalaam Cosmological Argument). I realize that I?m only quickly addressing Aquinas, but I think that given the basic understanding of the universe modern science has given us we are able to see that none of Aquina?s proof would hold up in such a court. [quote name='Fasteriskhead'] You're correct to point this out; I should have been more clear in my examples. However, I don't think the difference is quite as crucial as you assume. Now, it's true that a statement like ∃x ("at least one being x exists") is logically quite different from Px ("x is P"). The latter predicates a certain fact of a thing, while the former simply posits it existentially (Kant famously pointed out that the ontological proof of God by Anselm and Descartes rests on a confusion of these two kinds of statement). Nevertheless, both kinds of proposition are quite sensible: they are alike in this respect. The question is whether it's still sensible to talk of [I]God[/I] in this way, and (by way of how God was previously defined) I don't think it is. The problem doesn't even occur when we talk about God (or, indeed, Haruhi) as being "invisible" or somesuch. We can very easily say ∃x(Hx & Ix). The basic difficulty is not that God is spoken about in a way which makes it very difficult to verify whether God exists or not. The real problem, which was also the great medieval question of "divine names," is that [I]anything[/I] which can be properly predicated of God will have to escape and surpass all creaturely understanding (if it doesn't, then what was named wasn't really God). And at that point our language breaks down. I'm not quite sure what you mean; I only brought up Anselm to introduce the issue of "divine names." Could you clarify this a bit? [/QUOTE] I think I?ll take a stab at both of them because they can be answered in similar respects. That is, I don?t think the believer including St. Anselm does not get away with the ?transcendent? argument. First, it?s an easy card to play. ?My God is beyond understanding.? Well, how can the statement even come close to being true if you are able to [i]make[/i] that statement? Even if you describe an [i]aspect[/i] of God (if it is unknowable) you still encounter the same problem Heidegger faced when trying to identify existence: you can?t objectively define existence from without existence. And you can?t talk about non-existence in any positive manner, for in doing so you impose a contradictory state of existence on non-existence, rendering your argument logically invalid. Second, no one worships a transcendent (unknowable) God. I made this point before, but through prophet, revelation, and personal experience?people claim to have physical, knowable interactions with the divine. These, I think are natural occurrences that are still subject to scientific inquiry. I think Hume gets it right when he critiques the occurrence of miracles. I don?t argue that one can know a transcendent divine ?God? if indeed it exists, but I do argue that it is implausible that some man named Jesus could turn water into wine without some sort of cheap parlor trick. [quote name='Fasteriskhead'] Well, fair enough, but there is still a danger here that God's being "above" reason can just be taken to mean: one "believes" in the existence of a being called God regardless of a lack of proof. This (which is the way of taking "belief" I've been pressing against) is not Kierkegaard's opinion. So far as I can tell, faith, for him, just means the free decision to [I]obey[/I] in a pure and unequivocal manner. Which is, as you rightly note, something absurd. [/QUOTE] Point taken, I can see how my comment may have misconstrued what Kierkegaard was talking about. [quote name='Fasteriskhead'] Also, which Heidegger are you referring to? I can't recall where he might have said that, and I'd like to look at the text before I respond specifically. More broadly, though, I think the point you make is the same that was made against Thomas Aquinas by Duns Scotus: namely, that at the very least [I]being[/I] should be spoken in the same way for everything that is, including God. There is much that could be said about this (especially just what Scotus understood by "being"...), but for right now I think it's probably better to just note the point and skip over it. [/QUOTE] I think this might be for the best. [quote name='Fasteriskhead'] Well, the Jews have been doing highly interpretive, "esoteric" readings of such biblical events for several thousand years now. I see no reason why this option should be denied to everyone else. I tend to think that only someone very egotistical (or very naive) could believe that there's just a single way one could read such a bafflingly complex book.[/QUOTE] Fair enough. I?m just advocating that we treat Jesus? resurrection the same way we treat Thetis dipping Achilles into the river Styx. In all, I think we are agreeing with one another for the most part. Especially here: [quote name='Fasteriskhead']If an opinion is, in fact, foolish and brutish, I see no shame in pointing it out.[/QUOTE] As far as I?m concerned Fasteriskhead may be jumping the gun when he identifies the [i]people[/i] as foolish and brutish, but he is [b]quite right[/b] when he calls the conscious refusal and willing ignorance of creationists a foolish and brutish position. No doubt the poor popularizing of science has lead to misunderstandings of evolutionary theory but I think it should be repeated in classrooms nationwide: [b] Evolution is a theory that explains the facts of life?s emergence and diversity, it explains correctly our origins as well as the origins of all other species, and it is the only theory compatible with all of the accurate and verifiable scientific evidence. Reconcile with your belief system however you like, but evolution is as ?true? as gravity.[/b] (I?ll also point out, interestingly enough, that we know more about evolution than we do gravity). I haven?t taken my own survey, so I think I might before I depart for Europe. 1. If you believe in God, why do you believe? I don?t. 2. Why do you think others believe in God? According to surveys (I?m cheating, muahaha) the most common reasons people believe are: 1)The complexity and seeming improbability of the universe/life/our predicament, 2) The experience of God in everyday life, 3) The comfort, purpose, and meaning a belief gives to a person?s life, and 4) The Holy texts 3. The most popular conflict between faith and reason is usually on the evolution/creationism controversy. What?s your take on the issue? Can science be compatible with belief? Do you accept evolutionary theory? I think there are certainly unscientific concepts in the bible (the stopping of the sun, walking on water, the parting of the [i]Red[/i] sea [note I didn?t say [i]Reed[/i] sea], flaming vortices from heaven) that just don?t follow what we know about the physical world. In these cases I think it?s wise to image them much like you would other colorful mythologies. However, the Genesis story [i]can[/i] be compatible with a scientific understanding of evolution. 4. What do you think are the most compelling arguments to not believe in God? Or, what do you think are the greatest challenges to peoples? faith. for instance; some people think the existence of evil, in light of an all-powerful, all-good God, is a tough question that theologians don?t have a clear answer to and may lead people to non-belief Some people misunderstood the question, or didn?t bother answering it honestly. Take the argument from evil. There is evil and imperfection born from a supposedly omnibenevolent, perfect being. Typical response is ?free will? or ?sin? is why evil happens. Sorry, [u][b][URL="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/15/world/asia/15morgue.html?_r=1&ref=world&oref=slogin"]this[/URL][/b][/u] was no man?s fault (I think this is a legit point, so don?t misinterpret my example as an appeal to emotion). I think we should accept the bitter truth of the world and recognize that life is unfair, brutish, and short. Therefore, we should get off of our knees and try to better it. 5. Do you think there is such thing as ?reasonable faith?? Or, do you think they are in conflict? I concur with Retribution. A ?reasonable? faith is a stretch and requires a decent amount of demysticism. 6. Lastly, if you believe in God. What evidence do you have in favor of your belief? I?ve yet to hear any good arguments to change my opinion. But I remain open to the possibility I?m wrong. I look at it this way. We?re all atheists to a degree. There are thousands of Gods, Godesses, and Idols which we could be worshiping. Thousands of revelations that suggest they are the ?truth?. But you don?t believe in [i]other[/i] Gods. You don?t believe in Thor or Mercury. Why is this? Think about the reasons you don?t. If you?ve given it honest thought, you might empathize with me when I say I?ve just gone [i]one ?god? further[/i] than you have.
  15. [quote name='Aberinkula'][COLOR="DarkSlateGray"][SIZE="1"]That stuff stays in my head, I don't let beliefs get in font of my actions. [/SIZE][/COLOR][/QUOTE]] Are you sure about this? I?m not sure this is possible. But, if by ?beliefs? you mean ?religious beliefs? (Fasteriskhead brought up the semantics error in later point with me), well, that?s admirable of you. [quote name='Aberinkula'][COLOR="DarkSlateGray"][SIZE="1"] [B]4.[/B] But stuff like the human veins and stuff, seems too complicated. Why would god go scientific and make are body so complex? It's not like we're walking Rubix Cubes that need solving lol. [/SIZE][/COLOR][/QUOTE] This is interesting. The appearance of complexity is actually something that would be an argument [i]against[/i] a designer? Interesting point. Perhaps a good one. If Intelligent Design assumes that complexity inductively fills the challenge of the complexity with a ?Designer? it begs the question: what?s the better mousetrap? The more complex or the less complex? Indeed, the complexity of our bodies also makes some of our medical dilemmas more potent than if we had simpler mechanisms to achieve the same ends (metabolic, etc.). For example, study our digestive system- specifically the Kidneys. They are frankly poor examples of ?design?. They function by absorbing water, losing water, re-absorbing water, and hopefully absorbing enough to maintain a gradient that will permit waste removal. Compare that with a dialysis machine which achieves the same outcome in a single, smooth step. Couldn?t God have made something a bit simpler and efficient? [quote name='Rachmaninoff']Compelling arguments? Nothing beyond the obvious that proving such a thing is in my mind, not really possible. [/QUOTE] No one is suggesting a smoking gun, I hope. In fact, there shouldn?t be ?negative? proof, really since you can?t logically prove a negative (disprove anything). We should all acknowledge the burden of proof is on the affirmative case (God), however it might be worth discussing some of the challenges faith ?faces?. [quote name='Retribution'][font=Arial] Well, it's kind of judgmental for me to make sweeping generalizations when everyone's reason is different. [/font][/QUOTE] First, I don?t think anyone?s going to be making sweeping generalizations. The idea is for everyone to consider the question as they have already?putting themselves in the shoes of believers if necessary. Second, I think this is, at least, a sociologically relevant question. There have been studies taken asking the same two questions (Why do you believe? Why do you think others believe?) (1). If there?s any [i]debate[/i] about faith (and why shouldn?t there be?) it?s good to know the reasons for believing in the supernatural. [quote name='SunfallE'][COLOR="RoyalBlue"][FONT="Lucida Sans Unicode"] Ironically I have no issue with the concept of evil disproving something like God. However that ties into the Mormon beliefs that I was raised with [[SIZE="1"]though I no longer follow that faith[/SIZE]] since in that belief the concept that you have to make your own choices, good or bad, is something I agree with regardless of religion. [/FONT][/COLOR][/QUOTE] You bring up a good point SunfallE. However, this begs the question (Rach brought it up earlier in a hypothetical): Is our ?will? free? Fasteriskhead, excellent post. I appreciate the depth of thought you?re contributing to the topic. [quote name='Fasteriskhead'][SIZE="1"] The problem starts with the word "belief": when someone says they believe in God, how should we understand this? Usually when we say "believe" we mean that a certain person holds something to be true. So for instance, if I say, "I believe the new season of Haruhi won't be as great as the first one," I mean that I have considered a certain [I]fact[/I] (the quality of the new Haruhi season) that looks like it could go one way or another, and for various reasons (patterns I may have spotted from past shows, or whatever) I have decided that one of those options is the case to the exclusion of the others. [/SIZE][/QUOTE] I?m not sure your analogy works here. Because the [i]existence[/i] of something is different than the qualitative nature of something. Your belief that Haruhi won?t be as great as the first still assumes, [i]a priori[/i], that Haruhi exists. A better analogy of this might be: I have no idea what Haruhi [i]is[/i]. You talk to me about the show (I?m assuming it?s an anime?) and tell me about how ?great? it is. I would (as a skeptic) first likely ask, ?What is Haruhi?? If you were to show me the DVD, let me watch the show, and experience it?that would be sufficient to prove to me that Haruhi indeed exists and I could later come to some subjective judgment about it later. However, if you were to say something like. ?Haruhi plays in your heart when you believe in Harhui. It?s a fantastic show, but it?s invisible and quite supernatural. But if you truly believe, you will get to watch Haruhi in your mind.? That would be quite another thing to consider. [quote name='Fasteriskhead'][SIZE="1"] But belief in God might be something different. Of course, depending on how the word "God" is used it might not be - I might really believe that God exists in the same way that I might believe something about Haruhi's quality (and I think when people argue that it's more likely or less likely, or more reasonable or less reasonable, that God exists, that they are using the word in this way). [b]The usual understanding of God, though, is of something all-powerful, all-good, all-knowing, and all-loving - what St. Anselm called "that than which nothing greater can be imagined." These kinds of terms stretch our language and our ideas to the breaking point (maybe beyond). And [I]properly[/I] speaking, I don't think we (us humans) can make [I]sense[/I] of such a thing. That, presumably, is why the same St. Anselm also says that God is not only that than which nothing greater can be thought, but also "something greater than can be thought." [/b] And with that, we hit upon the very strange fact that atheists and the (more thoughtful) believers actually have a lot in common. Atheists will look upon the concept of God - something all-powerful, all-knowing, etc. - and say that this idea can't be understood, that we could never possibly perceive or experience such a being. The believers (if they have given it some thought) will [I]also[/I] say that God can neither be understood nor really experienced (at least, within natural means). The atheists infer from this that God could never possibly exist, while the believers find that this is the only being that could ever [I]deserve[/I] the name God - precisely because it's beyond such comprehension. The atheist thesis that if God existed then God would have to be completely unlike every other being is the [I]basic starting point[/I] of theology. Justifiably so: what would a God be, if it were an easily digestible object of knowledge like any other? [b] If I can be forgiven for quoting Kierkegaard: "If I can grasp God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do so I must believe." [/b] When I believe something about Haruhi, I do so because I can [I]conceive[/I] the show in various ways (as related to certain states of affairs). God, by our definition, is inconceivable. Belief in God, when it happens, thus has to work in a way completely alien to every other kind of belief. This is nicely summed up by Luther's famous line that "faith is permitting ourselves to be seized by the things we do not see." [/SIZE][/QUOTE] (I added the bold emphasis) Interesting, but St. Anselm?s ontological proof [i]didn?t[/i] assume a God transcending interaction with the natural world, did he? That?s the difference. Correspondingly, Thomistic theology also arranges a ?rank? of being where God?s ?subjectivity? is our ?objectivity?. That is, what we observe as reality is a plaything for an omnipotent being like God, answering the question ?is God beholden to truth?? with ?No, God decides Truth, God is Truth.? I guess that?s why he breaks his own rules so much in the Bible. Regardless, I think it?s important that you bring up Kierkegaard. He was a big fan of the perceived ?absurd? nature of God, where God can promise one thing and tell you to break his promise (Abraham sacrificing Isaac being Kierkegaard?s golden example). Kierkegaard followed this to the conclusion that God must be ?above? reason. Hiedegger (and your post sort of reminds me of his work) nails Kierkegaard and Anselm by re-examining the ontological dilemma. He questions: If God is so big and beyond any effort to constrain by normal definitions, what about ?existence?? Is God outside of existence? Doesn?t God, if he exist, necessarily constrained by the [i]actual[/i] dichotomy of existence and non-existence? Even if we entertain Anselm?s challenge, what other attributes does God take? God is beyond the ultimate notion of ?good?, ?true?, ?powerful?; why not ?evil? ?smelly? ?nonexistent?? A transcendental notion of God opens up a bigger gap to stick God into, but that?s not the sort of God people believe in. They believe in a God that exists (even if outside space and time) and seems to interact with us (via revelation, holy text, and sometimes prophets or incarnations of God). [quote name='Fasteriskhead'][SIZE="1"] Broadly speaking, having faith in God means [I]not knowing[/I] what it is you have faith in. This is clear even in Christian literature, sometimes agonizingly so: Augustine, the best example, constantly doubts whether his conversion was "real" or just some momentary sense of pleasure, or even a trick by the devil. That he nevertheless pressed on (despite apparently recognizing that his "conversion" may have been the result of something he had eaten earlier that day) indicates not an "irrational belief" - what, exactly, would he be holding as true? - but rather a sort of [I]practical[/I] absurdity. That, it seems to me, is more typical of faith than "belief" of the usual sort: faith is a sort of state wherein one acts in a way which even to oneself makes no real sense and has no real justification, while one nevertheless [I]wishes [/I](or even expects) that at some place, at some time, at some level, those actions will come to mean something. [/SIZE][/QUOTE] I agree, good point. [quote name='Fasteriskhead'][SIZE="1"] As I tried to say above, this is not the case with God, since a scientifically knowable God wouldn't be God. Science can, as Laplace once said, do without the assumption of God, but that also means it can speak neither for nor against such a being. [/SIZE][/QUOTE] Overall, I concur with most of what you?ve said. I?m certainly not arguing with the idea that science cannot comment on the existence of ?God?. However, what about where God supposedly interacts with the natural world in the form of miracles? Aren?t these scientific questions. What about when Elijah has God ?stop the Sun? in the sky for three days so that he may finish a battle? [quote name='Fasteriskhead'][SIZE="1"] All right, that's all. If you've read this all the way through, thank you for the effort. I hope I've been reasonably clear, at least; in any case, I don't think I could do very much better.[/SIZE][/QUOTE] I?ve had a jolly time reading your post. I?m looking forward to further discussion. [quote name='Decay'] If I could remember more of the several Psychology classes I took and went all Freud on you[/QUOTE] No worries. You can spare us the Freud. :-p [quote name='Decay'] The biggest argument I hear is "Well, they've found proof that Mount Everest was underwater at one time, so that proves the whole entirety of the bible." That was a bit overdramatized but you get my point. Most religions have a flood stroy. It's actually eerie how many do. [/QUOTE] I think a better explanation is because most large cultures have been traditionally costal (Assyrians, Egyptians, Chinese, Babylonians, Romans, etc.). You?ll probably note an absence of flood stories for, say, northern European cultures, mid-north American cultures. [quote name='Decay'] I don't, and evidence isn't necessary. Believe what you will, live and let live, and quit fights and wars over stupid belief battles. It's your belief, you don't have to explain it to anyone. Simply believe in it. That was fun! :smirk:[/QUOTE] I don?t think this is a good idea. Of course, everyone is free to believe what they choose. But [i]wanting[/i] to believe in something or believing in something without evidence begs the question to me: Is it true? Hey Raiha, been a long time? how have you been? [quote name='Raiha'][COLOR="DarkOrchid"][FONT="Times New Roman"] But back to this. It appears that moral relativism has sunk it's claws firmly into the populace. Oh goodie. [/FONT][/COLOR][/QUOTE] I think you?ve got a point. I think a postmodern approach to the debate is intellectually bankrupt. [quote name='Raiha'][COLOR="DarkOrchid"][FONT="Times New Roman"] 5.See: Thomas Aquinas. [/FONT][/COLOR][/QUOTE] Which of his ?proofs? are still valid today? [quote name='Raiha'][COLOR="DarkOrchid"][FONT="Times New Roman"] 6. My evidence is the faith in things unseen. [/FONT][/COLOR][/QUOTE] This is awfully circular. To put it another way: Faith is belief in the absence of evidence, my evidence is faith, my evidence is the absence of evidence?? I?ll post my replies when I get back from travel planning. Source: (1) Michael Shermer and Frank J. Sulloway, ?Religion and Belief in God: An empirical Study,? in press 2006. Survey obtained by Survey Sampling, Inc. The discussion of the survey?s results and interpretation of data is well furnished in Shermer?s book [u]Why Darwin Matters[/u].