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76  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Where in Portugal have you been to ? on: January 30, 2017, 04:01:00 pm
Algarve (parents own a place there) and Lisbon (which I love)
77  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Update for Everyone V: Born Under A Bad Sign on: January 29, 2017, 11:48:20 am
I'm booked up and paid for the USA in March. I am struggling right now as I don't think I can visit in good conscience.
Maybe your visa will be cancelled for being a Scottish terrorist seeking to dismember the UK. It would make as much sense as anything else Trump's done so far with immigration.

Apparently when I renew my waiver I might be subject to hand over details concerning my social media. Even my own government hasn't asked for that and I work for them.
78  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Update for Everyone V: Born Under A Bad Sign on: January 29, 2017, 09:21:06 am
Am going to a meeting with my Local MP at uni Rachael Maskell about the EU and Article 50 vote- apparently she's considering rebelling and resigning from the Shadow Cabinet over the issue, so I'm going to go and give me two cents- although she may remember me from when I heckled John Mcdonnell 

What is the Labour leadership's position on the Article 50 vote? I can never tell.

Twirling, always twirling towards socialism.
79  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Ongoing prejudice against atheists on: January 29, 2017, 06:23:54 am
America has a weird 'thing' with the non religious which as a European I struggle to get.
80  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Update for Everyone V: Born Under A Bad Sign on: January 28, 2017, 07:19:03 pm
I'm booked up and paid for the USA in March. I am struggling right now as I don't think I can visit in good conscience.

Where in New York are you going?

Not just NY. Pennsylvania, Florida and I'd planned a short trip to Boston.

Yeah, but where in New York Tongue

Washington Heights Smiley
81  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Faith is - Drag. on: January 28, 2017, 07:17:51 pm
http://www.verygoodlight.com/2017/01/26/drag-queen/

This is very beautiful. 'The story of a man who went from the ministry to mini skirts.'
82  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Update for Everyone V: Born Under A Bad Sign on: January 28, 2017, 06:55:24 pm
I'm booked up and paid for the USA in March. I am struggling right now as I don't think I can visit in good conscience.

Where in New York are you going?

Not just NY. Pennsylvania, Florida and I'd planned a short trip to Boston.
83  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Update for Everyone V: Born Under A Bad Sign on: January 28, 2017, 06:08:15 pm
I'm booked up and paid for the USA in March. I am struggling right now as I don't think I can visit in good conscience.
84  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: The ban just enacted includes legal US residents on: January 28, 2017, 05:48:16 pm
UK Olympic gold athlete Mo Farah is technically banned from entering the USA.
85  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Poll on the meaning of life on: January 28, 2017, 02:53:30 pm
We are here because we are here. You don't 'have life' as such. You do life. You are life. When your brain can no longer sustain the electrochemical patterns that make up your consciousness, the 'you' part dies.

It's the bit in the middle of an almost endless sea of nothingness. Like every other collection of atoms, you are subject to decay and the lowest energy state. We just happen to be conscious and aware. and we ponder it all. Enjoy it.


86  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Do you think the Pro-Choice faction will gain steam? on: January 28, 2017, 08:39:04 am
My hope is that the issue will become de-partisanized, which means that, yes, this is very likely to happen instead.

Also what in the world does "pro-voice" mean? This is the second thread I've seen this term used in.

You seem to be someone I consider to be "pro-voice". You don't think a first trimester abortion on a 30 or 40 year old woman should be a felony, but not a right either where someone can "just go get an abortion". Instead, I think you would be comfortable where if a woman or teenaged girl doesn't want to have a child, they should be able to be listened to as to why they need an abortion and if the reason is not frivolous or repugnant (and not just for the 5 or 10% gravest or most heinous reasons), an abortion should be then performed.

My position is that states should have leeway to experiment both with abortion restrictions and with adjusting other policies and norms accordingly in anticipation of an eventual, but probably not imminent, complete or almost-complete ban. Please don't read into my views.

Probably the most genuinely frightening political thing you've ever written (and no, please don't go off on one!)

If nothing else I've ever written about politics is more frightening than this then I don't know what I'm doing wrong.

'Experimenting ' with women's sexual, medical and psychological health and considering it as such, is quite frightening!

I had a fairly detailed response here but on second thought having this sort of discussion is even less worth it to me right now than it should be anyway.

It's one you never seem to want to have. I asked you about it a year ago Smiley But it's cool.

There's something about you in particular that I find it really anxiety-inducing to have these sorts of conversations with. This isn't meant to fault you; it probably has much more to do with my psychology than with yours; but it's why I so often beg out of these threads with you. I hope you don't hold it against me.

No. It's quite alright.
87  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Do you think the Pro-Choice faction will gain steam? on: January 28, 2017, 08:22:03 am
My hope is that the issue will become de-partisanized, which means that, yes, this is very likely to happen instead.

Also what in the world does "pro-voice" mean? This is the second thread I've seen this term used in.

You seem to be someone I consider to be "pro-voice". You don't think a first trimester abortion on a 30 or 40 year old woman should be a felony, but not a right either where someone can "just go get an abortion". Instead, I think you would be comfortable where if a woman or teenaged girl doesn't want to have a child, they should be able to be listened to as to why they need an abortion and if the reason is not frivolous or repugnant (and not just for the 5 or 10% gravest or most heinous reasons), an abortion should be then performed.

My position is that states should have leeway to experiment both with abortion restrictions and with adjusting other policies and norms accordingly in anticipation of an eventual, but probably not imminent, complete or almost-complete ban. Please don't read into my views.

Probably the most genuinely frightening political thing you've ever written (and no, please don't go off on one!)

If nothing else I've ever written about politics is more frightening than this then I don't know what I'm doing wrong.

'Experimenting ' with women's sexual, medical and psychological health and considering it as such, is quite frightening!

I had a fairly detailed response here but on second thought having this sort of discussion is even less worth it to me right now than it should be anyway.

It's one you never seem to want to have. I asked you about it a year ago Smiley But it's cool.
88  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Do you think the Pro-Choice faction will gain steam? on: January 28, 2017, 05:28:04 am
My hope is that the issue will become de-partisanized, which means that, yes, this is very likely to happen instead.

Also what in the world does "pro-voice" mean? This is the second thread I've seen this term used in.

You seem to be someone I consider to be "pro-voice". You don't think a first trimester abortion on a 30 or 40 year old woman should be a felony, but not a right either where someone can "just go get an abortion". Instead, I think you would be comfortable where if a woman or teenaged girl doesn't want to have a child, they should be able to be listened to as to why they need an abortion and if the reason is not frivolous or repugnant (and not just for the 5 or 10% gravest or most heinous reasons), an abortion should be then performed.

My position is that states should have leeway to experiment both with abortion restrictions and with adjusting other policies and norms accordingly in anticipation of an eventual, but probably not imminent, complete or almost-complete ban. Please don't read into my views.

Probably the most genuinely frightening political thing you've ever written (and no, please don't go off on one!)

If nothing else I've ever written about politics is more frightening than this then I don't know what I'm doing wrong.

'Experimenting ' with women's sexual, medical and psychological health and considering it as such, is quite frightening!
89  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: How have your views on abortion changed over the years? on: January 28, 2017, 05:23:17 am
More pro-choice due to women I've met in my life.
90  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Do you think the Pro-Choice faction will gain steam? on: January 27, 2017, 06:17:22 pm
My hope is that the issue will become de-partisanized, which means that, yes, this is very likely to happen instead.

Also what in the world does "pro-voice" mean? This is the second thread I've seen this term used in.

You seem to be someone I consider to be "pro-voice". You don't think a first trimester abortion on a 30 or 40 year old woman should be a felony, but not a right either where someone can "just go get an abortion". Instead, I think you would be comfortable where if a woman or teenaged girl doesn't want to have a child, they should be able to be listened to as to why they need an abortion and if the reason is not frivolous or repugnant (and not just for the 5 or 10% gravest or most heinous reasons), an abortion should be then performed.

My position is that states should have leeway to experiment both with abortion restrictions and with adjusting other policies and norms accordingly in anticipation of an eventual, but probably not imminent, complete or almost-complete ban. Please don't read into my views.

Probably the most genuinely frightening political thing you've ever written (and no, please don't go off on one!)
91  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Queer Theory on: January 27, 2017, 03:58:23 am
From an old effort post;


Society is shaped by those who hold authority. Many people held authority by virtue of having a penis. There will always be identification and demarcation along gender and sexual lines precisely because society based on serving the needs of heteronormative power model (and I make no apology for going all ‘feminist’ here) is the hegemony. The reason why sexuality is an issue for those who have a minority sexuality is because same sex acts were opposed by the hegemony. It didn’t matter whether you just liked casual same sex encounters or wanted to be able to be publically seen and safe with a romantic sexual partner for life. Everything on that spectrum was oppressed. If homosexual behaviour was not specifically excluded (or excluded by omission) in civil, social and religious structures and statutes then there wouldn’t be an LGBT identity as you know it today, because it wouldn’t be defined as a characteristic. There would never have been a black identity either because skin colour like sexual attraction would never be identified as a discernable characteristic. It’s not as if society divides along hair colour, though there are issues of ‘preference’ involved even in that. And of course this demarcation with proscribed gender roles and correct and incorrect sexual behaviour is perpetuated within certain understandings of religious revelation as being mandated by god and this can further perpetuate this.

If you say to someone that heterosexuality is a construct, therefore deconstructing everything from marriage to an erection, you’ll be casually dismissed in various academic and scientific circles (as well as the local pub) because it doesn’t fit in with someone’s sexual-social experience. But if you say that homosexuality is a construct there are enough ‘bourgeois’ (to use that term) who have an issue with homosexuality that stems from religious, social, cultural and power structures to take note. Therefore the constructionists are essentially ‘useful idiots’ and the very playthings of the structures they so vehemently oppose. Why people are straight and do straight things like marry and have children or associated with that; cheat, divorce and abandon their children is of no real concern to anyone. Funny that. Perhaps it should be, but it’s not. You can’t engage people on that premise. However if you make the issue about the gays, then you can demonstrate your philosophical prowess to an audience that doesn’t give two sh-ts about Marxist theory because a predominantly straight audience really want to know why people don’t think and act like they do.

So we have the ‘constructionist’ camp; i.e the concept of sexual orientation was invented in the 19th Century mainly through medical discourse which constructed the heterosexual/homosexual dichotomy for bourgeois purposes (because everything, apparently, is a class struggle) This means that prior to this point homosexuality was characterised not by sense of identity but by sexual acts which were perceived as structures of power (with an active and passive role) This view is ideologically and in many ways politically grounded. You need to have your Marxist hat on. Despite the fact that most people don’t wear that hat, hasn’t deterred many constructionists within queer theory who in full Frankfurt School mode neglect to communicate that the primary focus is not necessarily to discover an accurate historical model but to foster a new social construct reflective of their political leanings. To them, the homosexual can’t simply ‘accept’ his or her groundings as a gay/LGBT because that is part of the heterosexual/homosexual dichotomy that is symptomatic of bourgeois capitalism. Instead they should, in effect be politicised into someone who questions all the concepts in the basket of the bourgeois, such as gender and heterosexuality and class therefore meaning that all these things (even men and women themselves) disappear as a class and are no longer subjects of oppression. If you de-stable heterosexuality then you eradicate homophobia (or so was the thinking) But once you start deconstructing something, therefore proving that it’s a construct, you start doing it with everything. It made no difference to them throwing both heterosexuality under a bus as throwing homosexuality under a bus. Even when LGBT academics do this and crawl up from underneath the wheels, they still realise (not that they assumed anything other than that) that they are sexually attracted to whom they are attracted to and therefore the whole experiment hasn’t really validated anything. Whatever the other sciences are up to at this time doesn’t concern them because academic bubbles are precisely that.

However constructionists also make a mistake in assuming that the ‘now’ is more entrenched and is therefore more relevant than the ‘then.’ What is considered ‘gay’ now might not be what is considered so in a hundred years’ time, or a new term is used that describes the social grouping or self-identification of those with non-heteronormative sexuality. Or they might simply do different things in an environment that is more open or more closed towards them. Therefore what is currently the ‘now’ will for the future be the ‘then’ and because what they did ‘then’ is not what they do ‘now’ so the ‘then’ is dismissed. The experiences of those in the past are dismissed and the new ‘now’ are told that their experiences are constructed. Which as you can see is deeply problematic.

In contrast to this you have ‘essentialists’ (which would be my own view) where both knowledge and practice are not constructed but are ‘discovered’ (for which you can at times read inherent) but subject to repression and then rediscovery through both history and experience. It emphasises continuity and the dichotomy of liberation/suppression to what was already there.
92  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Where in America have you been to? on: January 26, 2017, 04:50:45 pm
Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, D.C
93  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2020 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Next US President on: January 22, 2017, 10:01:43 am
94  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: The idea of life at conception on: January 22, 2017, 09:57:26 am
I believe neither that society is inherently good or evil nor that individuals are inherently good or evil. Relative benevolence is not a factor here. Rather it is that individuals don't function in isolation. They are part of a society, and thus restrictions on individuals that benefit society as a whole are generally a good thing. (I'm aware that not every such restriction put forth with that claimed goal actually is beneficial to society as a whole.)

Not only that, but I doubt that even you would argue in favor of allowing infanticide if a woman gave birth yet felt no connection to the infant. So clearly there's something beyond the woman's point of view to be considered in deciding when a life becomes a human life. Something determined by society.

When a woman gives birth the baby is clearly a human with associated rights. I'm talking about defining personhood before the point of viability which I think rests with the mother. I have no idea what you are trying to argue about.
95  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: The idea of life at conception on: January 22, 2017, 08:05:57 am
I think ontology is important here.

First of all I've always found an irony in say, bodies like the Catholic Church making appeals to embryology as a scientific support for its position given what the study of embryology actually entails. Fetal personhood as a modern day ontological concept is only possible because people can actually see whats happening in the womb in it's earliest stages. Which as a pursuit of scientific understanding, involves the destruction of embryonic 'life'. Likewise with the backwards march of viability (which no one who is pro-choice has much issue with) due to advances in neonatology.

But that's not really what I take issue with. Ultimately what concerns me, is the pursuit of defining 'life' by some medical or scientific definitive point by which one can then martial morality around. This turns pregnancy and it's impact on a mother from what is a human experience, a female experience to something outside of that. I think many pro-life advocates are terrifyingly bleak on that proposition.

If you define 'life' at conception, then armed with the fact that 50 to 80 percent of even implanted embryos spontaneously abort, then those spontaneous abortions are the ending of a 'life', without anyone's knowledge. Something that happens as a natural cycle. This is before we even get to known miscarriages later in a woman's pregnancy. These are now 'deaths', even if you want to treat them or categorise them differently. You are then saying that the womb, that a woman's reproductive system effectively is a place where death occurs far more often than life. That's a dangerous psychological route to go down and a worrying subversion of womenhood and pregnancy.

Even from a scientific perspective there isn't a neat consensus. Gastrulation for example is the point at which an embryo can no longer divide to become identical twins. It can no longer become more than one thing. Surely before that point, then all that embryo is, is a 'potential'; potentially one thing, or two things or three things or nothing. I think Anthony's point on life v existence above is quite an important one.
 
I've always felt that the person who is pregnant should get to decide when it's a person and everyone can have different understandings of that and not be morally or legally judged. Which seems to be a strangely radical proposal these days.

A person's psychological health is vitally important to them. Pregnancy can be hell for women. For many women who fall pregnant, psychologically there is 'no child'. It's just a state of being. If a woman is pregnant and does not see it as a person, and does not wish to be in 'the state of pregnancy' and that is causing her psychological distress, then she has a right and her doctor has a right to respond to that harm.

Waving development charts about and talking about 'life' and being so clinical or scientific about what is happening inside 'women like her' without actually caring about whats happening inside her (and how she is responding to this) is of absolutely no relevance and no help to her. At worst, dismissing her psychological concerns in some weird utilitarian fashion, demanding the child be carried to term, then taken away from her if she doesn't want it, simply adds what could be a life long psychological response to pregnancy, delivery, post natal responses and removal of the child, onto what was already pre-existing.

To a large extent I agree with you here. Where I differ with you is, as usual, over the absolute priority you seem to give the individual, without any concern of the effects of actions on society. Or rather, on your apparent assumption that one can maximize social good by having a society where each individual is free to act to maximize their personal good. It's a good starting position, except for your point of view that if a woman doesn't think that if what is inside her is not a child, then it isn't one, regardless of the views of others. That sort of logic can easily lead to the justification of dehumanizing various groups of humans. It's why the individual perspective should be the starting point, not the finishing point for determining social positions.

My own viewpoint is that personhood begins at some point between when the embryo becomes a fetus and viability. I don't have any strong views on where therein to define the point where under the law a life becomes a human life. Biblically, quickening might seem like a good point except we now know that the perception of quickening does not happen in every pregnancy at the same point of fetal development. Still, the fact that point rather than once a pregnancy was known to be was used seems a strong argument to me against claiming conception as the point for those arguing from religion.

I don't think 'society' has a claim to the destiny, or finality if you will, of a womans embryo. That sort of thinking can lead to eugenics; decisions taken by the state or authorities to force a woman to abort against her will. Do not assume that 'society' or rather who exerts influence within it, is benevolent in that regard.

You raise an interesting point with 'the quickening'. As much as women now can know much earlier of their pregnancy, the point at which she knows and accepts her pregnancy as her 'future child' then barring medical issues that require an induced abortion, that to me is her moment of defining it's personhood. For some women that is early. For others it's after thought for the future of herself and her family. For some, it can be never because cannot, in her own mind and of her own volition cannot carry it to term.
96  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Update for Everyone V: Born Under A Bad Sign on: January 21, 2017, 05:21:42 pm
I will be in the USA from mid to late March; NY, Orlando, St Augustine. Will visit either Boston or Philadelphia if anyone fancies saying hello.
97  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Women's March Megathead on: January 21, 2017, 04:11:26 pm
I'm genuinely surprised at how big these marches have been.
98  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Women's March Megathead on: January 21, 2017, 12:43:11 pm
Grab back, sisters, Grab back.
99  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: The TRUMP inauguration thread on: January 20, 2017, 01:47:29 pm
Worst speech since Kang or Kodos told us as a child he dreamed of being a baseball.
100  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: The TRUMP inauguration thread on: January 20, 2017, 12:32:15 pm
'Triumph des Willens' was better directed tbh.
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