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News: Atlas Hardware Upgrade complete October 13, 2013.

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1  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Should underage male (non-medical) circumcision be banned? on: Today at 02:04:48 pm
It's not as if there's no precedent for adult circumcision (see: Father Abraham).
2  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Do you support the death penalty? If so, in what cases? Why or why not? on: Today at 02:04:04 pm
You're still missing the point, my friend.
3  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Do you support the death penalty? If so, in what cases? Why or why not? on: Today at 01:22:31 pm
"Humanity" is a title that we confer on people in recognition of certain virtues.

No it's not. Read a dictionary.

I think I see the source of our confusion: You assume that the rights of every biological human were handed down from Mount Zion, inscribed on a tabula rasa by John Locke Himself. What interests me, however, is working out why people's rights and privileges have fluctuated over time without assuming that their current condition is anything more than just another fluctuation.
4  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Do you support the death penalty? If so, in what cases? Why or why not? on: Today at 12:57:03 pm
I do believe that some crimes are so dehumanizing, those who commit them forfeit the right to be treated as humans. The case that comes immediately to my mind when I say this is gang rape.

This is quite possibly the argument I hate most in this debate. When we say that, what we're doing is refusing to acknowledge the reality that human beings are capable of the worst deeds. It might help you sleep better at night to bury your head in the sand like this, to pretend that people who do horrible things belong to a different species, that they're "not like us", but it's extremely unhelpful both for thinking about morality and for devising a criminal justice system. It's what leads people to refuse to acknowledge when people close to them do these things - because surely "such a nice guy" could never do such a thing. Instead, we need to face the reality that "human nature" doesn't shield us from doing horrible things, and seek to understand what it is that leads some people to be virtuous and others to be less so.

You misunderstand: "Humanity" is a title that we confer on people in recognition of certain virtues. The absence of those virtues permits us to revoke that designation, and - what's really important here - the privileges that that title confers.

Of course, we're still obliged to treat people with the compassion that we show towards animals, which in my worldview (though perhaps not in the worldview of an omnivore) means quite a lot.

There's a lot of gross stuff on this website, but this is among the grosser things I've seen here lately.

Thanks! You too!
5  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Do you support the death penalty? If so, in what cases? Why or why not? on: Today at 12:47:43 pm
I do believe that some crimes are so dehumanizing, those who commit them forfeit the right to be treated as humans. The case that comes immediately to my mind when I say this is gang rape.

This is quite possibly the argument I hate most in this debate. When we say that, what we're doing is refusing to acknowledge the reality that human beings are capable of the worst deeds. It might help you sleep better at night to bury your head in the sand like this, to pretend that people who do horrible things belong to a different species, that they're "not like us", but it's extremely unhelpful both for thinking about morality and for devising a criminal justice system. It's what leads people to refuse to acknowledge when people close to them do these things - because surely "such a nice guy" could never do such a thing. Instead, we need to face the reality that "human nature" doesn't shield us from doing horrible things, and seek to understand what it is that leads some people to be virtuous and others to be less so.

You misunderstand: "Humanity" is a title that we confer on people in recognition of certain virtues. The absence of those virtues permits us to revoke that designation, and - what's really important here - the privileges that that title confers.

Of course, we're still obliged to treat people with the compassion that we show towards animals, which in my worldview (though perhaps not in the worldview of an omnivore) means quite a lot.
6  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Do you support the death penalty? If so, in what cases? Why or why not? on: Today at 06:46:59 am
I do believe that some crimes are so dehumanizing, those who commit them forfeit the right to be treated as humans. The case that comes immediately to my mind when I say this is gang rape.
7  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Do you support open borders? on: August 23, 2016, 07:53:38 pm
The thing with borders is that I still find them hard to really justify morally. It's hard to justify a global regime that keeps people mired in poverty for essentially selfish means (that it could effect the living stabdards of somebody in my position). Especially when the rich and global companies have long passed the point of caring about national borders (aside from when they exploit them for financial gain) I think it's naive to think we should treat them as these immutable sacrosanct institutions.

I think that this is one of those issues that really boils down to how one views human nature. If, on the one hand, you believe that people's only real interest in this world is economic, and that every other expression of human existence is transient or superficial, then there's no reason that every nation wouldn't throw in its lot with every other nation, all dedicated to the economic uplift of all. On the other hand, if you believe that economic advancement is just one in a bundle of aims that communities strive after, then it follows that members of one community ought to be allowed to deny membership to people(s) whose aims might diverge from theirs.

There is however the important issue that communities and nation-states do not always coincide. There are in fact communities that predate the borders that divide them up.

I wholeheartedly agree: if there is one legitimate basis for reforming the nation-state, it's to make it more responsive to the communities whose aspirations it serves.
8  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Do you support open borders? on: August 23, 2016, 05:26:08 pm
Huge numbers of people are locked within countries literally without the capital to support them (and by support I mean not just keep alive but develop them to meet their full potential).

But hasn't the last two and a half centuries proven that capitalism is perfectly capable of thriving within the borders of one country? And hasn't the last fifty years proven that capitalism, like water, seeks equilibrium? Yes, the Invisible Hand has refrained from lifting some peoples up, but that always seems to be a result of local impediments, not of a systemic shortcoming.

I'm a socialist, too. That means that I don't believe anyone deserves to live and die in poverty because of where she was born. That means that I also believe that we should fight hard to preserve the progress that our ancestors fought hard to make - and I have a hard time seeing how two billion of the world's poorest people moving into the world's most developed countries would resolve in anything other than societal collapse.
9  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Do you support open borders? on: August 23, 2016, 07:22:19 am
The thing with borders is that I still find them hard to really justify morally. It's hard to justify a global regime that keeps people mired in poverty for essentially selfish means (that it could effect the living stabdards of somebody in my position). Especially when the rich and global companies have long passed the point of caring about national borders (aside from when they exploit them for financial gain) I think it's naive to think we should treat them as these immutable sacrosanct institutions.

I think that this is one of those issues that really boils down to how one views human nature. If, on the one hand, you believe that people's only real interest in this world is economic, and that every other expression of human existence is transient or superficial, then there's no reason that every nation wouldn't throw in its lot with every other nation, all dedicated to the economic uplift of all. On the other hand, if you believe that economic advancement is just one in a bundle of aims that communities strive after, then it follows that members of one community ought to be allowed to deny membership to people(s) whose aims might diverge from theirs.
10  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Do you support open borders? on: August 21, 2016, 07:33:47 am
Pathological idealism.

EDIT: Of course I understand that the impetus to open borders comes from a desire to destroy the nation-state. However, whether that's a noble goal or not, I fear that this particular means would have consequences that its advocates aren't even considering.
11  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Post your most controverserial oponions on: August 13, 2016, 03:35:13 pm
Oddly enough, I support allowing at least children who are old enough to read a ballot the right to vote.

I wouldn't go quite that far, but I definitely think there's no valid reason to prevent children above 10 or 11 (isn't that around when the capacity for abstract thinking develops?) from voting.

Other than or in addition to the fact that they have no idea how a county/state/nation should be run?

I mean, most adults don't possess that knowledge either, but at least they possess the capacity

12-year-olds also very clearly possess the capacity. Congrats, you've done a very good job debunking your own argument.

12-year-olds can regurgitate abstract ideas, but they don't have the life experience to know how things ought to be.

Neither do most adults.

Which, I think, is a good segway into my most controversial oponions:

People aren't competent to regulate activity that doesn't affect them directly. The modern nation state pretends that its laws are objective, but they inevitably reflect the interests and ideals of the dominant class; this contradiction will only be solved when people are allowed to form and reform the bonds of community in accordance with their goals - and respect the right of others to do the same.
12  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Post your most controverserial oponions on: August 13, 2016, 03:11:37 pm
Oddly enough, I support allowing at least children who are old enough to read a ballot the right to vote.

I wouldn't go quite that far, but I definitely think there's no valid reason to prevent children above 10 or 11 (isn't that around when the capacity for abstract thinking develops?) from voting.

Other than or in addition to the fact that they have no idea how a county/state/nation should be run?

I mean, most adults don't possess that knowledge either, but at least they possess the capacity

12-year-olds also very clearly possess the capacity. Congrats, you've done a very good job debunking your own argument.

12-year-olds can regurgitate abstract ideas, but they don't have the life experience to know how things ought to be.
13  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Why did we stop inventing gods? on: August 13, 2016, 01:05:51 pm
If you think that all religion is invented, there's plenty of evidence man is still being inventive. Ever hear of Scientology or Heaven's Gate?

Lest we forget this guy



Bad example: practically everything about Mormonism (even - especially - the weird stuff) has precedence in tradition; Joseph Smith was just the first to make an organized religion out of it.

Actually, I'd be interested in hearing what our resident Mormons make of that fact, given that certain important figures in the LDS tradition did not shy away from the connections between their faith and, say, Freemasonry.

Not... really.  Maybe traditions, yes, but their theology is so distinct from mainstream Christianity that many Christians (myself included) hesitate in even calling them Christian.  Smith plays a key role in their theology as the last prophet.

Ah, but I never said that Mormon theology had precedence in mainstream Christianity Smiley
14  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Post your most controverserial oponions on: August 13, 2016, 12:50:12 pm
Oddly enough, I support allowing at least children who are old enough to read a ballot the right to vote.

I wouldn't go quite that far, but I definitely think there's no valid reason to prevent children above 10 or 11 (isn't that around when the capacity for abstract thinking develops?) from voting.

Other than or in addition to the fact that they have no idea how a county/state/nation should be run?

I mean, most adults don't possess that knowledge either, but at least they possess the capacity
15  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Why did we stop inventing gods? on: August 13, 2016, 12:32:16 pm
If you think that all religion is invented, there's plenty of evidence man is still being inventive. Ever hear of Scientology or Heaven's Gate?

Lest we forget this guy



Bad example: practically everything about Mormonism (even - especially - the weird stuff) has precedence in tradition; Joseph Smith was just the first to make an organized religion out of it.

Actually, I'd be interested in hearing what our resident Mormons make of that fact, given that certain important figures in the LDS tradition did not shy away from the connections between their faith and, say, Freemasonry.
16  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Vegan parents in Italy may be criminalized... on: August 11, 2016, 08:20:28 pm
So are we just going to pretend that raising kids on junk food (a major problem in the omnivore community) doesn't set them up for a lifetime of malnutrition?
17  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Would you sit back and let a crime happen when you could prevent it safely? on: August 11, 2016, 06:00:53 pm
You can't have synthesis without negation, man.
18  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Opinion of Albert Camus on: August 06, 2016, 03:49:25 pm
It's always interesting to read people's attempts to acclimate themselves to modernity, but since I don't actually believe that life is absurd, I doubt that I would get much from this attempt in particular.
19  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Should unwilling parents be forced to pay child support if we'll have a UBI? on: August 06, 2016, 07:54:20 am
I have a hard time seeing child support as anything other than an unnatural compromise between two worldviews - one accepting that people have the right to live their own lives, the other imposing on parents the social responsibility of raising their offspring.

I voted No.

Writing a check is not "raising their offspring".

That's my point.
20  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Will your county vote for Trump? on: July 31, 2016, 10:18:17 am
Yes, by no less than 35 points.
21  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: How masculine/feminine do you rate yourself? on: July 31, 2016, 08:03:31 am
64% Masculine, 53% Feminine

Well on the basis of that, I voted 2 (under 30).

22  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Christians: Most influential person in your faith? on: July 30, 2016, 01:35:57 pm
Mary.

How?
23  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Should unwilling parents be forced to pay child support if we'll have a UBI? on: July 29, 2016, 06:41:24 pm
I have a hard time seeing child support as anything other than an unnatural compromise between two worldviews - one accepting that people have the right to live their own lives, the other imposing on parents the social responsibility of raising their offspring.

I voted No.
Wouldn't child support be an acceptance of the latter worldview rather than a compromise between these two worldviews, though?

The way I see it, there are four possible views: either parents have both a right to and are responsible for their children (in which case divorce would be illegal); OR parents have a right to their children but are not responsible for them (I can't really imagine anyone holding this view); OR parents are responsible for their children but don't have a right to them (this is how the state acts when it denies parents custody... yet how can you be held responsible for something you don't have power over?); OR parents have neither a right to nor the responsibility for their children (this is how the state acts when it turns children into wards).
Why exactly would divorce be illegal in the first case here, though?

Because parents can't fully exercise their rights and responsibilities wrt their children if they're divorced from each other.
Can you please elaborate on this part?

How can you exercise power over your children if you only see them every other weekend?
24  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Should unwilling parents be forced to pay child support if we'll have a UBI? on: July 29, 2016, 06:10:18 pm
I have a hard time seeing child support as anything other than an unnatural compromise between two worldviews - one accepting that people have the right to live their own lives, the other imposing on parents the social responsibility of raising their offspring.

I voted No.
Wouldn't child support be an acceptance of the latter worldview rather than a compromise between these two worldviews, though?

The way I see it, there are four possible views: either parents have both a right to and are responsible for their children (in which case divorce would be illegal); OR parents have a right to their children but are not responsible for them (I can't really imagine anyone holding this view); OR parents are responsible for their children but don't have a right to them (this is how the state acts when it denies parents custody... yet how can you be held responsible for something you don't have power over?); OR parents have neither a right to nor the responsibility for their children (this is how the state acts when it turns children into wards).
Why exactly would divorce be illegal in the first case here, though?

Because parents can't fully exercise their rights and responsibilities wrt their children if they're divorced from each other.
25  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Should unwilling parents be forced to pay child support if we'll have a UBI? on: July 29, 2016, 05:20:02 pm
I have a hard time seeing child support as anything other than an unnatural compromise between two worldviews - one accepting that people have the right to live their own lives, the other imposing on parents the social responsibility of raising their offspring.

I voted No.
Wouldn't child support be an acceptance of the latter worldview rather than a compromise between these two worldviews, though?

The way I see it, there are four possible views: either parents have both a right to and are responsible for their children (in which case divorce would be illegal); OR parents have a right to their children but are not responsible for them (I can't really imagine anyone holding this view); OR parents are responsible for their children but don't have a right to them (this is how the state acts when it denies parents custody... yet how can you be held responsible for something you don't have power over?); OR parents have neither a right to nor the responsibility for their children (this is how the state acts when it turns children into wards).
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