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 Post subject: Re: Philosophy
PostPosted: May 11th, 2009, 9:35 pm 
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42317 wrote:
spazmaster666 wrote:
Where does your sense of "higher moral code" come from though if not from religion?

Tough one. Religious heritage is so ingrained in almost every society that even the most hardcore atheist will have problems not finding the basics of his ethical behavior in religion.

Or maybe... hen or egg?
Did morality come from religion or was religion born from "universal" standards of morality?

I do think that morality is rooted in the fear of reprisal.
You treat me respectfully or I'll rearrange your haircut with my whackstick.
No... more general... in order for a prehistoric society/tribe to survive there neded to be rules of behavior I guess... hierarchy granted organization and coordination, increasing survivability. When organized religion appeared some time later it further solidified the notion that following rules makes a community stronger for the survival of the fittest. It is not surprising that the most successful empires of history were the ones that handed down the most persistant judicial principles and that the introduction of a new religion into some societies has brought forth advances in many aspects. At least for a time.


It may be a chicken and egg issue, but I'm no sociologist. I was raised Christian, so much of my moral basis comes from the Christian doctrine so I must admit to the influence of religion in shaping me. Not sure about fear of reprisal particularly for the polythiestic religions (there are so many legends, you could prove just about anything), but it certainly seems to hold for Budhism and Christianity. Having so much marketing experience provides me with an extremely cynical lens through which to view religion- in christian masses I primarily hear messages designed to instill self-doubt and reliance upon the infallible wisdom of the church. Not much better in Buddhist meetings I've attended.

42317 wrote:
spazmaster666 wrote:
Unless you're trying to argue that morality is somehow not objective

It's objective, universal?
Aren't there phenomena or behaviorisms that are totally accepted in one culture but taboo in another?


Absolutely! Such as ritual cannibalism (an ancestor honor/worship ritual for head-hunter tribes in Indonesia- also how we determined origin of Mad Cow's disease...), eating pork (taboo in Jewish and Islamic faiths), eating beef (taboo for Hindu), smoking (Zoroasrians), etc.

spazmaster666 wrote:
In any case, I think moral decay is a natural result when society decides to eradicate it's religious traditions. This has already happened in much of Europe, and it's slowly happening here in the US. Certainly some traditions need to be changed in our modern society, but we need to realize that the core values of our modern society were founded based upon age-old traditions. The foundations of democracy and individual freedom for instance is based upon the concept that all are born equal (i.e. everyone has fundamental rights because those rights are God-given and hence should not be deprived by the state). In fact, the very basis of "equality" even in our modern sense of the word has clear religious origins.


What traditions are the ones to save? I can't think of any that reinforce the values you describe. In the middle ages, didn't the church and religion fully support serf-dom and slavery? Doesn't most Christian doctrine still maintain that those who do not believe in Christ are doomed to hell and thus, not equal to Christians? The Catholic Church only recently (in the last couple hundred years, so recently by % of existance) recinded the point of view that Jews should share the guild over the crucifiction of Christ.

Of course, I presume you mean the loss of Christian traditions and not say, human sacrificial traditions of the Aztecs. Not all moralities and traditions are considered equal in the eyes of the law for better and for worse. Ultimately, I dislike traditions because to me it implies blind adherence to the past. Most religions discourage active thought and consideration because it threatens to sway those weak in faith. Meanwhile, I have witnessed "Christians" commit crimes and then devoutly walk into church on Sunday... Traditions just do not equal morality. :(

I'm rushing right now, so perhaps this will come off blunt and rude. I actually respect faith quite a bit for the comfort and guidance it can provide to those who posses it. However, blind faith and traditions are dangerous...

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 Post subject: Re: Philosophy
PostPosted: May 12th, 2009, 2:59 pm 
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PunkDaddy wrote:
I primarily hear messages designed to instill self-doubt and reliance upon the infallible wisdom of the church. Not much better in Buddhist meetings I've attended.

I experienced something different in Japan. It went more like, "everything is transient, the phenomenon called Buddhism, too. Treat sentient beings with respect and everything's gonna be fine." In a nutshell. It's more treated like a philosophy than like a religion, a way of life among many. Maybe that's because, unlike other major religions, Japanese Buddhism has no footing in mundane power? They're mostly responsible for handling the dead...

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 Post subject: Re: Philosophy
PostPosted: May 12th, 2009, 10:33 pm 
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42317 wrote:
PunkDaddy wrote:
I primarily hear messages designed to instill self-doubt and reliance upon the infallible wisdom of the church. Not much better in Buddhist meetings I've attended.

I experienced something different in Japan. It went more like, "everything is transient, the phenomenon called Buddhism, too. Treat sentient beings with respect and everything's gonna be fine." In a nutshell. It's more treated like a philosophy than like a religion, a way of life among many. Maybe that's because, unlike other major religions, Japanese Buddhism has no footing in mundane power? They're mostly responsible for handling the dead...


Probably because my experience is with Soka Gakkai International (SGI) which is rather evangelical. They maintain a similar standpoint to the temples but add in a strong dose of chanting is the way to enlightenment and you must try it! Giving credit where credit is due, they actively seek to work for world peace instead of simply accepting everything as simply transient, so they are generally a benevolent organization like many Christian groups. I just have a special brand of cynicism I suppose. I admire those with strong faith, yet at the same time I view them quite suspicously... :shifty:

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 Post subject: Re: Philosophy
PostPosted: May 14th, 2009, 1:36 pm 
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PunkDaddy wrote:
chanting is the way to enlightenment and you must try it!

Such practices depend on the sect. In Zen Buddhism you can reach enlightenment/Nirvana/Satori by meditating. In silence. :D

Anyways, about religion and morality: To me it seems like religion has given humanity a framework of rituals that guided social behavior. The decrease in religious influence on people's lives would therefore bring forth a loss of such rituals and thus a weakening of social coherence and integrity.
Can a secular philosophical model replace religion?
In order to succeed, imho, "god" would have to be replaced by some other universal and mundane authority, but what or who would that be?
The alternative would be proper education of children in universal ethics, but I fear that is impossible due to the nature of the task and the many opinions about what is proper and what is not, not to speak about widespread stupidity in form of prejudice, hypocrisy, and violence.
I'm afraid it will be difficult becoming one humankind since humans can only define their identity by pointing out differences to other individuals, and for evolutionary reasons they will always form groups to further distinguish themselves from yet other groups... aarrrrghlll... just thinking about it makes me mad... if this was something like SimHumans I'd press the reboot button and start the game over...

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 Post subject: Re: Philosophy
PostPosted: May 15th, 2009, 6:08 pm 
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42317 wrote:
if this was something like SimHumans I'd press the reboot button and start the game over...


:lol2: :d^_^b: I couldn't agree more. But getting it perfect is imperfect as long as it is just humans...


42317 wrote:
Anyways, about religion and morality: To me it seems like religion has given humanity a framework of rituals that guided social behavior. The decrease in religious influence on people's lives would therefore bring forth a loss of such rituals and thus a weakening of social coherence and integrity.
Can a secular philosophical model replace religion?
In order to succeed, imho, "god" would have to be replaced by some other universal and mundane authority, but what or who would that be?
The alternative would be proper education of children in universal ethics, but I fear that is impossible due to the nature of the task and the many opinions about what is proper and what is not, not to speak about widespread stupidity in form of prejudice, hypocrisy, and violence.



Perhaps I don't understand your thoughts. You and Spazz seem to agree that no religious traditions leads to a slide into immorality and a weakened social coherence. I'm having trouble understanding why you feel that way. To me, we have many conflicting religous traditions now, and losing some would be an opportunity to decrease social tensions. I don't see any of my neighbors in church, yet that would never stop me from saying hello and from interacting with them. Are you trying to say that religions force people from broader areas into one place for social interaction? I'm not being sarcastic, I truly don't understand.

As for finding a new authoricy figure, I haven't studies sociology, but from a logical standpoint, I have trouble accepting your point of view. Humans have been on Earth for what, at least 10,000 years, right? Religion may have always been around, but the religions that are active have been around for only a small part of that period. Religion provides an unassailable authority figure for those who cannot accept the authority of other people, but has never been the only framework. Social castes, racial biases, suspicion of strangers and other more base trends seem to be universal despite many different religions and varying degrees of faithfulness towards whatever religion they claim to patronize. Heck, the parable of the 'Good Samaratin' (sp?) is about how a non-believer does the right thing despite a lack of religous framework!

Regarding education, we don't have to teach universal ethics, just logic and the local laws. Sure they are most likely based upon religion now, and there will be regional and international differences that cause problems. They already do. But with or without religion, that will likely continue. The US president who most loudly proclaimed a specific religious affiliation was George W. Bush. Forgive me for my doubts about the benefits of a religious framework... In any case, logic will help people to understand how to think critically and to converse reasonably and the local laws provide the do's and don'ts until they can understand the logic of why.

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 Post subject: Re: Philosophy
PostPosted: May 16th, 2009, 8:06 pm 
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PunkDaddy wrote:
You and Spaz seem to agree that no religious traditions leads to a slide into immorality and a weakened social coherence.

... because right now I cannot think of a better answer... and despite the fact that Spaz and myself are coming from rather opposite ends of the faith spectrum. He has actively decided to follow the Christian faith, whereas I was born into that religious circle and decided that it was not in harmony with my views of the world.

PunkDaddy wrote:
Are you trying to say that religions force people from broader areas into one place for social interaction?

Maybe you're seeing what I say a bit too narrow. I don't mean "the church over there" and "your neighbors"... I mean something more like Christian values that are ingrained in western society without being realized much, values that guide our ethical thinking in a naturalized way... like the notion that bad behavior will be punished and good behavior will be rewarded... that good will always prevail... with religion being washed away and giving way to easing so far interreligious tensions these ethical guidelines are also more or less unconsciously eroding as long as there is nothing to replace these values or reformulate these values in a secular way.

PunkDaddy wrote:
The US president who most loudly proclaimed a specific religious affiliation was George W. Bush. Forgive me for my doubts about the benefits of a religious framework...

I was talking about the values that western society conveys us who have grown up in its midst, not about the implications of the organizations who claim to be the keepers of truth. I dislike the concrete framework, too, but I am looking for the benefits of the abstract contents.

Replace religion with logic and law. Good idea. But it won't work, we need something deeper. Religions exploit the fact that people are afraid of things they do not understand and cannot understand, e.g. due to the respectivly contemporary limits of science, and many people are afraid of death because they cannot even imagine the absence of existence. Who can, actually?
The atheist idea that what you consider your "self" is just an illusion, in the course of evolution created by the brain's synapses in order to enhance the survivability of the species, and that death is the ultimate end of that self, is pretty scary to many people. A religion that preaches rebirth or an afterlife is soothing for them. Only Buddhism is different, because they managed to "sell" the notion of becoming nothing as something desirable by stressing the pain and sorrow of this world. What would be needed is a strong philosophical framework that everybody can agree on and that manages to get people used to the idea that they are eventually transient, not just their bodies, but also their minds.

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 Post subject: Re: Philosophy
PostPosted: May 18th, 2009, 12:42 am 
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42317 wrote:
Tough one. Religious heritage is so ingrained in almost every society that even the most hardcore atheist will have problems not finding the basics of his ethical behavior in religion.

Or maybe... hen or egg?
Did morality come from religion or was religion born from "universal" standards of morality?

I think before we go any further, we really need to look more closely at what religion is from a philosophical point of view. To that point I agree with a definition that one of my sociology professors gave: "Religions are sets of beliefs, symbols, and practices oriented toward super-empirical (i.e. not observable with the five senses) orders that make claims to organize, guide, and make human life meaningful". So religion tells about the nature of people, the way that life should be lived, what is of ultimate value, the character of the world, and what may lie behind or beyond it. Hence, it seems very clear to me that it's quite impossible to separate religion and morality. In fact, it seems to be me that religion, as we have come to understand it, consists essentially of two parts: one part of which is moral (the objective, ritualistic, ideological, and consequential part), and one part of which is spiritual (the subjective, experiential part). I use Christianity as an example (mainly because it is the religion I have the most knowledge of). In Christianity, there is both an emphasis on being "moral" (i.e. overcoming one's desire to sin) as well as an emphasis on being "spiritual" (i.e. growing closer to the "spirit" of God). These two facets are also closely related because becoming closer to God spiritually would also lead to becoming more moral (since God is the ultimate moral authority, the perfect moral being, becoming closer to God would mean becoming more moral).

So what's my point? Well the point is that asking whether morality came first or religion came first really isn't a very useful question because ultimately you can't really separate religion from morality. Because if you take the moral aspect out of a religion, then all you're left with is the spiritual aspect. And without a moral foundation, the spiritual aspect of religion ultimately loses meaning. Hence, without morals religion ceases to be religion and instead reverts to baseless spirituality. Spirituality without a moral foundation is not religion.

But what is a moral? Here's my definition: an orientation toward what is right and wrong, good and bad, worthy and unworthy, just and unjust, that is not established by our decisions or preferences but exists apart from them, providing standards by which our decisions and preferences can be judged. This is what "objective morality" means: morality exists not because of our "moral preferences" but rather our moral preferences exists because objective moral standards exist.

42317 wrote:
I do think that morality is rooted in the fear of reprisal.
You treat me respectfully or I'll rearrange your haircut with my whackstick.
No... more general... in order for a prehistoric society/tribe to survive there neded to be rules of behavior I guess... hierarchy granted organization and coordination, increasing survivability. When organized religion appeared some time later it further solidified the notion that following rules makes a community stronger for the survival of the fittest. It is not surprising that the most successful empires of history were the ones that handed down the most persistant judicial principles and that the introduction of a new religion into some societies has brought forth advances in many aspects. At least for a time.

Well what you are referring to is more about rules and law than about morality. Remember that law and morality are separate entities. Law is about keeping order, morality is about doing the right thing. Certainly in many cases what is moral turns out to be what is lawful, but I would argue that a society based on law isn't necessarily a moral society, because in some cases morality and societal order conflict with each other. Hence I don't think you can use a evolutionary argument (survival of the fittest) here since in many cases, doing the moral thing reduces the "fitness" of a society, rather than increase it (and as we know, in evolution, a decrease in fitness is unfovorable in the eyes of natural selection)

42317 wrote:
It's objective, universal?
Aren't there phenomena or behaviorisms that are totally accepted in one culture but taboo in another?

True, but what you're referring to is cultural relativism, which is poor argument against objective morality. Because even though different cultures have different moral values, there is no such thing as two cultures having absolutely no moral values in common. Some morals transcend cultural boundaries and are deemed as moral values in all cultures. If you compare a primitive tribe of cannibals to a modern democracy, you will still find that there are moral values in common. If there is even one moral value that exists among all cultures, then that is proof enough that objective morals exist. In other words, all I'm saying is that objective moral standards exist, not that morality is always objective in every situation/circumstance.

PunkDaddy wrote:
What traditions are the ones to save? I can't think of any that reinforce the values you describe. In the middle ages, didn't the church and religion fully support serf-dom and slavery? Doesn't most Christian doctrine still maintain that those who do not believe in Christ are doomed to hell and thus, not equal to Christians? The Catholic Church only recently (in the last couple hundred years, so recently by % of existance) recinded the point of view that Jews should share the guild over the crucifiction of Christ.

Well it's important to realize that while slavery for us is more or less a moral/ethical issue, for most of history, it was more of a political/economic issue, and a complex one at that. And especially early on in history, the church wasn't particularly strong on political issues, nor did the laiety always follow the teachings of the church leaders. For instance, you can find that there has been papal condemnations of unjust slavery since the early 1400s, but yet many church-goers still participated in the slave trade well into the 1800s. Also, it's important to consider that in some cases servitude is not unjust such as voluntary servitude or servitude as punishment for criminal acts.

PunkDaddy wrote:
Of course, I presume you mean the loss of Christian traditions and not say, human sacrificial traditions of the Aztecs. Not all moralities and traditions are considered equal in the eyes of the law for better and for worse. Ultimately, I dislike traditions because to me it implies blind adherence to the past. Most religions discourage active thought and consideration because it threatens to sway those weak in faith. Meanwhile, I have witnessed "Christians" commit crimes and then devoutly walk into church on Sunday... Traditions just do not equal morality.

You're correct that I'm mostly referring to Christian traditions because after all, America was founded upon Judeo-Christian values. The issue with change is that change isn't always for the better. Some truths are timeless and transcendental, and no matter how much time passes some truths will remain the same. For instance, no matter how much society "evolves" the concept that all are born equal should never be challenged. This concept after all is really a traditional one, and again rooted in Judeo-Christian tradition. To put it in another sense, if something is "true" why would you want to change it?

I still have some more text to sort through so more discussion on this later. I'm too sleepy tonight to continue . . . :P2:

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 Post subject: Re: Philosophy
PostPosted: May 18th, 2009, 12:53 am 
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Holy hell...I entered cause I was curious....

And for sure I'm heading back out :blink:

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 Post subject: Re: Philosophy
PostPosted: May 18th, 2009, 4:44 pm 
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spazmaster666 wrote:
So religion tells about the nature of people, the way that life should be lived, what is of ultimate value

Now I finally understand what you meant, making that claim!
I can see a good deal of common ground here.

spazmaster666 wrote:
the point is that asking whether morality came first or religion came first really isn't a very useful question because ultimately you can't really separate religion from morality.

I used a prehistoric example... for a good reason. Because I think that religion and morality are cultural phenomena, and I also claim that culture was not always a part of human life (although I guess it appeared not long after shedding the ape-fur).
Fear, on the other hand, is a fundamental emotion. What I am trying to say is that before early humans were even able to develop anything like cultural behavior their behavior was instinctive and emotion-driven, and I believe that what was later turned into a notion of morality - like that you don't just take what you want from somebody (that's where morality meets law I suppose) - started out of an evolutionary need to keep people together to form a tribe. If everybody just behaved the way s/he wanted to there'd never be a tribe and perhaps we wouldn't even exist today. So the egotist caveman behaved because he knew he would be punished, like killed or sent into the wild, alone. That's bad for him, but also bad for the tribe because they lack two arms which could help with the hunting and gathering.

spazmaster666 wrote:
what you are referring to is more about rules and law than about morality.

Aren't rules rooted in morality, however twisted it might have developed?

Fresnokila wrote:
Holy hell...I entered cause I was curious....
And for sure I'm heading back out :blink:

You too chicken for some deep thought? :mrgreen:

Just kidding, of course. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: The Anything Goes Thread . . .
PostPosted: May 20th, 2009, 3:53 am 
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42317 wrote:
You own a gun, you feel powerful. Power tends to corrupt people.

I know what you mean. I've got this two ton car that I drive around and all I can think about is how easy it would be to just run people over with it. They can't stop me or fight against it. When I drive down the road and see someone walking I hold their life in my hands. I just hope this feeling doesn't happen to many of the other billion car owners or we're all in trouble.

But honestly, I don't see how the power corrupts stuff could be applied only to guns, and thus how it could make sense to only target guns with its effects. The "power tends to corrupt people" is like saying we should never have a manager, politician, CEO, coach, teacher, or someone who has any sort of command or power over someone else because the feeling of power it gives corrupts. Not that power can't corrupt, but it's the person not the position or object that's the problem. One can feel power from anything they can touch, control, or do. Speaking of guns specifically, you could be corrupted to kill with it. The same could be said for a knife, bat, fork, pillow or your hands. Where do you draw the line and finally say, it's not the item that's flawed but the person? That they can take power from anything and apply it to their flawed psyche and thus use it towards evil ends? Sure, a gun makes killing people easier, but it also makes stopping them easier.

42317 wrote:
I don't have a problem with guns... there are very cool designs out there... but I tend to not trust people who "need" guns, and when they form groups to lobby the government it's over.

You and me, like oil and water :P2:

The fear should not be that they exist, that they own guns or knives or even the dreaded spork, but that they don't succeed and the government takes away our rights. Whether it be the right to bear arms or any other fundamental right for that matter. That is the time when it's most important to own a firearm. Because what is a gun if not a means to protect yourself and your rights with? The government trying to take away our means of protection not only from criminals but from itself is a frightening proposition (at least to me). Is not the right to bear arms the first right a country would take away before going after others, now that you've been disarmed?

Let me put it a different, more idealistic way. This country was founded because we were tired of injustice and tyranny. The way to keep your government in check? An armed populace able to remove those who would dare try to take away our rights as free human beings. A government wary of the consequences that could be wrought upon it by any grave injustice to its people is a government that will keep itself from delving too far down that road for fear of its own destruction. Obviously this was a more manageable ideal back in the old days, when an army and militia would be fighting on mostly equal footing (certainly not at all the case today) but I like the think the principle of it still shines through. As unlikely an occurrence as this may seem in this day and age, filled with peaceful elections and exchanges of power (at least in the US and most of the world), the problem is that you just never know what tomorrow holds.

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 Post subject: Re: The Anything Goes Thread . . .
PostPosted: May 20th, 2009, 12:30 pm 
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Acmurphy wrote:
But honestly, I don't see how the power corrupts stuff could be applied only to guns, and thus how it could make sense to only target guns with its effects.
i do not think anybody here is saying it is only about guns. well, at least i am not saying it. i have no problem with guns, it is for some of the reasons that people buy guns that i am against. whenever i hear someone say, "it is for my protection" i must roll my eyes. from what? doomsday end of the world scenarios. home invasions? how many friends and family do you know who have been mugged at gunpoint? now, how many have died of cancer?

Acmurphy wrote:
The "power tends to corrupt people" is like saying we should never have a manager, politician, CEO, coach, teacher, or someone who has any sort of command or power over someone else because the feeling of power it gives corrupts. Not that power can't corrupt, but it's the person not the position or object that's the problem. One can feel power from anything they can touch, control, or do. Speaking of guns specifically, you could be corrupted to kill with it. The same could be said for a knife, bat, fork, pillow or your hands. Where do you draw the line and finally say, it's not the item that's flawed but the person? That they can take power from anything and apply it to their flawed psyche and thus use it towards evil ends?
yes, guns are not the problem. 42317 also is fine with guns. the misuse and desire for power is the problem. and no, it is not the same as saying we should never have anybody have authority.

Acmurphy wrote:
Sure, a gun makes killing people easier, but it also makes stopping them easier.
do you not see the problem in this mentality?

Acmurphy wrote:
The fear should not be that they exist, that they own guns or knives or even the dreaded spork, but that they don't succeed and the government takes away our rights. Whether it be the right to bear arms or any other fundamental right for that matter. That is the time when it's most important to own a firearm. Because what is a gun if not a means to protect yourself and your rights with? The government trying to take away our means of protection not only from criminals but from itself is a frightening proposition (at least to me). Is not the right to bear arms the first right a country would take away before going after others, now that you've been disarmed?
why do you have this fear? where do you learn it?

Acmurphy wrote:
Let me put it a different, more idealistic way. This country was founded because we were tired of injustice and tyranny. The way to keep your government in check? An armed populace able to remove those who would dare try to take away our rights as free human beings. A government wary of the consequences that could be wrought upon it by any grave injustice to its people is a government that will keep itself from delving too far down that road for fear of its own destruction. Obviously this was a more manageable ideal back in the old days, when an army and militia would be fighting on mostly equal footing (certainly not at all the case today) but I like the think the principle of it still shines through. As unlikely an occurrence as this may seem in this day and age, filled with peaceful elections and exchanges of power (at least in the US and most of the world), the problem is that you just never know what tomorrow holds.
again. why? you the people are the government. you make it seem that as soon as citizens sign their government contract they become these automaton robots that are inhuman. this "tomorrow" you are afraid of will never come. and if it does, i am sure all the guns floating around will be used for more than just, fighting "the government". they will be used against one another.

then again. why should i care. let people shoot themselves. that will help lower our bigger problem of overpopulation. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Philosophy
PostPosted: May 20th, 2009, 6:53 pm 
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dbd_addict wrote:
whenever i hear someone say, "it is for my protection" i must roll my eyes. from what? doomsday end of the world scenarios. home invasions? how many friends and family do you know who have been mugged at gunpoint? now, how many have died of cancer?

My family has had two home break-ins over the past decade. Maybe that's why I cannot grasp how you could possibly "roll your eyes" at the idea that a gun can be used for protection. Maybe you haven't needed one, yet, to protect yourself, but that doesn't mean no one else has. You find this somehow a ridiculous notion worthy of your contempt? Nice to see one's protection, whether it be from larger world events or someone invading their home, is such an inconsequential matter to you.

I don't know what the cancer comment is driving at. Ya, a lot more people die of cancer than being shot. Same case with car crashes or heart disease. You're comparing two completely different things that have no relevance to one another. I'm obviously not getting your point so you will have to further expand on it if you so desire.

dbd_addict wrote:
do you not see the problem in this mentality?

I don't argue against the fact that guns are more deadly than a knife, sword, crossbow, what have you. They are not, however, more deadly than a vehicle. It's not guns that are killing people, it's people. If you take guns away you don't just get rid of all those deaths, you just get a number of them from other weapons. It's tougher to kill people with a knife or your hands, but it doesn't get rid of the desire to see someone dead. Now surely some people will not want to chance it without a gun, but the problem, in America at least, is the whole gang mentality that exists. You don't get rid of it by getting rid of guns. They still want to fight and kill. And if there were no guns you could apply the same comment to a knife. Britain has strict gun laws but is thus rife with stabbings. Should they ban knives too because they are being used to kill people? Where does it end exactly?

dbd_addict wrote:
why do you have this fear? where do you learn it?

What? Where did I learn it? I breath. I've lived. I'm a human being. Do you have no concern about the fact that there are forces out there trying to take away your rights? How much "learning" do you have to have to know that losing your rights is not a good thing? If this was the freedom of speech we were talking about would you ask the same question? Wouldn't you think it was plain as day why someone would not want their freedom of speech, religion, assembly, etc., taken away? You may just view a gun as an object, but I view it as a protection of my rights. Which is why I view them all as equally important and have a hard time answering your question, because, shouldn't every person on the planet have the same fear? It's not like it isn't happening, it's happening all the time. In the US you have the Patriot Act, that took away some of our rights to privacy. You have the anti-gun lobby trying to take away my right to bear arms (thankfully failing at the moment, but they are trying). There's a bill in congress known as card check that will take away people's right to vote privately in companies with respect to unionizing, opening up the ability of unions to intimidate those who don't vote their way since they will know how people vote. Ya, there are a lot of things out there that are being done to take away little bits and pieces of our rights, and that should be something that is watched closely. It doesn't have to be one thing all at once, over time the restrictions on our lives add up. And it isn't just happening in the US.

And I'm not talking about sitting in the corner of your room shaking in the fetal position from the fear that the world will turn itself upside down. I'm talking about the recognition that the world is not a some sort of utopia where people do not tread on others' rights. It's like when you drive a car. You realize that you could be in an accident, be killed or kill someone, so you make sure to pay attention to what you're doing and what's going on around you to try and make sure that doesn't happen. It shouldn't stop you from driving, but you shouldn't just be oblivious to it either.

dbd_addict wrote:
again. why? you the people are the government. you make it seem that as soon as citizens sign their government contract they become these automaton robots that are inhuman. this "tomorrow" you are afraid of will never come. and if it does, i am sure all the guns floating around will be used for more than just, fighting "the government". they will be used against one another.

Ah yes, because we live in a world of peace and love, where people have no evil ambitions and never try and grasp power when and where there is an opportunity. The world has never seen dictators rise to power, the fall of a democracy, people of a country rise up against injustice, or the oppression of peoples' rights. These events that have happened countless times throughout the millennia, across all of human history, and occur in countries around the world still. Why then, can such an event never come? What precludes "us" exactly? (As I assume you were specifically referring to more developed democracies, since your comment hardly applies to all countries in the world today.)

Just because things are relatively stable now, at least in most parts of the world, is no indication of what the future will hold. Just because we elect officials doesn't mean that can't come to an end, that they truly have our best interest at heart, or that it can't be changed by an outside event. Look at the civil war. That was fought because, as the south viewed it, the north was trying to take away their right to own slaves. That issue went too far for a large enough population that a war was fought over their attempted succession. Not that I am arguing in favor of slavery, but the premise of the situation holds true. As you said, it doesn't just have to be against the government and its military alone, but also the people who are on their side of the issue as well. Regardless, if they try to take your rights away it doesn't really matter who they are or what title they have, does it?

I'm not sure what you mean by the automaton comment exactly, but I'll take a stab. A government can do what it needs to do within the confines of its given power. The government is not all powerful, and does not have the right to infringe on our god given rights. It can attempt to think up its own meanings for the lines in the bill of rights (like saying the right to bear arms applies only to militias), arguing about its wording and such, but that is not its job. It's job is to protect those rights, not infringe upon them. So yes, in a sense, the government is a placeholder for the framework of the US and upholds its laws and values. It is not the job of each administration to come into power and change everything to their own whim, will and desire. If you want to view them as automated robots in that respect than sure. Some things the government just needs to protect. Nothing more, nothing less.

Hopefully the tomorrow I fear will never come to the US and the other countries of the world. That those who would restrict my rights will fail, that there will be no destabilizing wars or depressions that foster those who would grasp greater power to do so. But I will not be so blind as to say it can't, won't, hasn't or isn't happening. Just as it has for thousands of years. And, I might add, will always happen as long as humans are, simply, human.

Ah, these topics are just so much fun! I'm gonna need that vacation after this :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: The Anything Goes Thread . . .
PostPosted: May 21st, 2009, 12:08 pm 
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This argumentation cannot lead anywhere. I don't see common ground, and all we can say is that our different cultural (and historical) backgrounds shaped our ways of thinking - which is to say we can only state:
"I don't agree with you but I sure respect your opinion."
I will therefore leave the gun issue aside and only comment on two other things.

Acmurphy wrote:
I've got this two ton car that I drive around and all I can think about is how easy it would be to just run people over with it.

As long as it is a kind of disturbing thought and no arousing imagination it's okay I guess. :mrgreen:

Acmurphy wrote:
The "power tends to corrupt people" is like saying we should never have a manager, politician, CEO, coach, teacher, or someone who has any sort of command or power over someone else because the feeling of power it gives corrupts.

Well, more power corrupts more. I hear there've been lots of cases of child abuse in Catholic institutions in Ireland lately... not the norm, of course, but still an example from the relatively harmless teacher level.

And higher? Do you actually trust professional politicians and stinking rich managers, who handle billions of dollars and thousands of jobs any way they want without having to fear much prosecution if they fail in their jobs?
Those people are more of a necessary evil in my opinion.
Yes, there are responsible politicians who want to help the people, but few of them are willing to walk over dead bodies to reach the most influencial positions - unlike those who just like power.
Those managers who brought entire corporations to their knees with their greed should have their entire fortunes confiscated and be forced to live like the unemployed they created.

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 Post subject: Re: Philosophy
PostPosted: May 21st, 2009, 1:04 pm 
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42317 wrote:
This argumentation cannot lead anywhere. I don't see common ground, and all we can say is that our different cultural (and historical) backgrounds shaped our ways of thinking - which is to say we can only state:
"I don't agree with you but I sure respect your opinion."

I certainly agree with you there.

42317 wrote:
As long as it is a kind of disturbing thought and no arousing imagination it's okay I guess. :mrgreen:

lol, not arousing yet. Let's hope I don't fall too far down that road! (For some reason I am conjuring images of the serial killer in Silence of the Lambs :sweat:)

42317 wrote:
And higher? Do you actually trust professional politicians and stinking rich managers

I certainly don't. I agree with you, they are are a necessary evil.

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 Post subject: Re: Philosophy
PostPosted: May 21st, 2009, 5:35 pm 
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I'm glad we could settle this without static disputes. :wink:

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