The Life and Death Paradox

Supreme Court Crisis Pregnancy Centers, Washington, USA - 20 Mar 2018Okay, it’s time to stir things up a bit.

I don’t understand why those who oppose abortion also often oppose contraception. It seems rather paradoxical to me.

Contraception prevents unplanned, unwanted pregnancies, and women who choose to have abortions do so, to a large extent, because of unplanned, unwanted pregnancies. So doesn’t it follow that advocating the use of contraceptives and promoting their availability would reduce the demand for abortions?

But that logic seems to be beyond what many religious and social conservatives can grasp, so they continue to follow the paradox of being opposed to both abortion and contraception.

DAD7BB0F-89CB-4F7F-A4E3-2793DAB675A3In a related paradox, social conservatives often oppose sex education in public schools other than “abstinence-only.” They take this position even though the data shows that there is a greater teen pregnancy rate in school systems that teach abstinence-only than there is when a broad-based sex education program, including teaching about the use of condoms and other forms of birth control, is included in the curriculum.

“Oh Lordy, don’t teach the kids about condoms,” they say, apparently because they believe knowledge about condoms and their use promotes sexual activity.

Oh yeah, it also prevents pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

7CE49602-FC1E-4F86-8736-845B45DE6432And then there’s the paradox that many who are pro-life also support the death penalty. Can you really be pro-life and pro-death penalty? Where is the logic in believing it’s okay to terminate the life of an adult human being but it’s not okay to abort a fetus? And by the way, a fetus is not a baby, and thus, having (or performing) an abortion is not killing a baby.

Sure, those on death row are presumably bad people, but they are living, breathing human beings nonetheless. A fetus is not yet a living, breathing person, but pro-lifers are appalled at the idea of terminating a pregnancy while seemingly having no qualms when it comes to terminating the life of a prison inmate.

Liberals generally support a woman’s right to choose because they believe that a woman should not be forced to bring an unplanned, unwanted baby into a bad situation and that the government shouldn’t insert itself into private matters about what a woman can do with her own body.

And liberals tend to oppose the death penalty because they believe that the government doesn’t have the right or moral authority to take the lives of people, even allegedly very bad people, especially with the growing number of instances where DNA testing shows that some death row inmates were wrongly convicted.

Conversely, conservatives who oppose abortion do so because they believe that a fetus is a “person” as of the date of conception. But at the same time, they tend to support the death penalty because they want those evil, nasty criminals to pay the ultimate price for their crimes.

The question in my mind is whether there is a moral equivalence between abortion and the death penalty. When you get to the heart of the matter, it really boils down to the very sympathetic image of an unborn baby pitted against the very unsympathetic image of a hardened criminal who has been sentenced to death for committing heinous crimes against society.

Am I the only one who finds these matters of abortion, contraception, and the death penalty paradoxical? How about you?

63 thoughts on “The Life and Death Paradox

  1. cagedunn March 4, 2019 / 3:12 pm

    Well, I support whole-of-planet population control, so my response … no, if I say it, I’ll get shot down in flames, won’t I?

    Liked by 4 people

    • Paula Light March 4, 2019 / 3:54 pm

      I think there are some principled conservatives who are opposed to abortion and the DP. I know ONE anyway, a good friend.

      There are those libertarian types who don’t want to pay for other people’s BC. I get that. But then they’ll have to pay for the baby, because we’re not quite at the point of letting children starve in the streets. But hey who knows, with another term of this fuckhead POTUS.

      I support free BC for all women simply because I think it’s better than having unwanted children. BC is cheaper than abortion too.

      I’m not on board with abortions later in pregnancy however unless the mother’s physical health is at risk or the baby is severely deformed. I depart from liberals there. That doesn’t mean I’ll vote for a Republican, but I find the cavalier attitude toward abortion past the first trimester rather disappointing. These are babies we would otherwise try to save. They’re called babies if the mom is injured in a crime. There’s a lot of cognitive dissonance going on here.

      But early termination in the first month or so when it’s just a minuscule cluster of cells? That should not be anyone’s biz but the person whose body it is in.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Fandango March 4, 2019 / 4:25 pm

        “I’m not on board with abortions later in pregnancy however unless the mother’s physical health is at risk or the baby is severely deformed.” My position is a bit more liberal. I don’t support abortion after 24 weeks, but I’m okay with them before that. I guess that means the second trimester.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. myforever77 March 4, 2019 / 3:48 pm

    With all due respect to your observations; Let us take the example of eating, the main reason why we eat is to keep alive, God in His goodness in order for His Will that we live, He in turns adds a secondary reason to eat, to enjoy the taste of the food. However, if we put the second purpose FIRST we tend to gorge ourselves to the point where we can actually ruin our health. In fact, some even eat and eat, drink and drink, vomit and eat more. Fun right! Party time!
    Nothing wrong with having a good time, nothing, just moderation!

    Same with sex, Gods main purpose is to procreate, in order to procreate He allows pleasure and attraction toward the opposite sex. The pleasure is to encourage couples to multiply. However, if we put the second purpose first with the intention to destroy the plan of God we then have an inconvenience. To add to our disobedience now we make another mistake by obeying the liberals, who only know their own will what feels good to them at this particular moment in time.

    Getting back to eating, gorging, drunkenness losing our ability to reason properly we fall deeper and deeper with more serious problems such as living with the guilt of murder and endangering the health of women with an increase of breast cancer due to hormones (abortions) suddenly being misplaced in the body due to choices we make.

    There is so much more to the consequences of pushing God’s primary plans on the back burner, that add to the misery of one’s existence; no wonder today going to the psychiatrist offering need for mental health, including substance use disorders is a great field to get into.

    On the upside of my note here of which I am afraid will fall on blind eyes; no matter what mistakes or ideas you wrongly hold, God forgives, for there is no sin greater than the Mercy of God.

    The reason parents do not want their children to learn sex education in schools instead of abstinence is although they realize we all make mistakes, it is better for them to learn the right way first instead of their thinking there is only the wrong way.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fandango March 4, 2019 / 4:20 pm

      “…we make another mistake by obeying the liberals, who only know their own will what feels good to them at this particular moment in time.” Oh yes, like making sacrifices today in order to save the planet for future generations, while conservatives prefer to pollute our sir and water by promoting the use of fossil fuels while defunding and debunking alternative energy sources. You’re fortunate to have such insights into what God’s primary plans are. Too bad God doesn’t feel that he can share it with the rest of us. But then, God wouldn’t work in mysterious ways, would he?

      Liked by 2 people

        • Fandango March 4, 2019 / 6:28 pm

          I’m liberal and I don’t get mad when people talk about God. I actually find it humorous when people say they know what God wants.

          Liked by 2 people

          • myforever77 March 4, 2019 / 7:04 pm

            We all know what God wants, it is to obey Him, and we will have peace.
            It is written in our conscience, nothing funny about it, very simple.

            Liked by 2 people

            • Fandango March 4, 2019 / 8:04 pm

              We don’t all know that. But if that’s what you want to believe, you have every right to do so.

              Like

    • Tandi Tales March 4, 2019 / 4:57 pm

      Thanks for putting forward such a delicately crafted response on such a tough subject. I find myself wavering on this topic and your thoughts have given some good perspectives to consider.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Marilyn Armstrong March 4, 2019 / 4:00 pm

    My mother was pro-life pro-death penalty. She thought the really evil ones should be taken behind the courthouse and shot in the head. No long jail term. But I think if she were alive today, she would change her opinion. Garry was pro-life and pro-death penalty for a long time. Too many years in court rooms see unimaginable horrors in the field. But as he has seen how many people wind up convicted falsely, he has changed his opinion. Slowly. It took a long time.

    I think a lot of that depends on what you have seen in your world.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Tandi Tales March 4, 2019 / 4:16 pm

    Fandango, you’re brave to post such a controversial topic. I applaud you for it. I feel like I can understand how some can oppose both contraception AND abortion. They just naively think that the answer is no sex at all. It works in principle, but in practice? Nah!
    Thanks for the food for thought.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marleen March 11, 2019 / 12:06 am

      I kinda feel sorry for the kids singing that song.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Judi Castille March 4, 2019 / 4:35 pm

    To me it’s simple. Contraception. Get over it everyone. Don’t have kids you can’t look after, don’t want etc. Also taking control of your sexuality at a young age means you control the outcome of any sexual relationship whether wanted or unwanted. Why is it so difficult to grasp the fact that unwanted pregnancies is not ok!! Abortion is a necessary action and moralizing about foetus rights forgets about the implications often felt by the child throughout it’s life if on being born it’s disabled, put up for adoption or just plain treated badly. I could go on but really can everyone get with sex education and the real issues of not taking responsibility. Getting pregnant is never an accident.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Fandango March 4, 2019 / 6:32 pm

      Thanks for weighing in, Judi. Well articulated.

      Like

  6. rugby843 March 4, 2019 / 5:42 pm

    You really like to stir things up. . .i agree with this post. Have you invested in Kevlar vests yet?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fandango March 4, 2019 / 6:39 pm

      I probably should. It’s a good thing I blog anonymously.

      Like

  7. itseemedimportantatthetime March 4, 2019 / 8:55 pm

    There’s no paradox. The term ‘pro-life’ is merely PR, designed both to hide their intentions and to automatically portray their opponents as heartless murderers. When you rail against access to healthcare, continually play the straw man argument of welfare mothers and food stamp fraud despite the fact that actual data does not support the classist and largely racist accusation, and continually defund education to funnel more money into the military, you cannot possibly argue you care about the lives of these children. They are pro-birth, and unless you want to donate your child to someone in their church, they couldn’t give two shits about what happens after that.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Richmond Road March 4, 2019 / 9:29 pm

    I’ve always considered the term ‘death penalty’ to be something of a misnomer. It’s not a penalty – it’s more like a red card.
    I read once about a convicted criminal who, when strapped to the electric chair was asked, “Do you have any last words?”
    “Well,” he replied, “I think this will really teach me a lesson.”

    Liked by 3 people

    • Fandango March 4, 2019 / 10:10 pm

      A lesson that will last him a lifetime!

      Like

      • Richmond Road March 5, 2019 / 1:16 am

        And I do genuinely have a problem with ‘the death penalty’ …. the concept of murdering the murderer has never made much sense to me.

        Strangely I find myself also opposed to abortion to a degree …. there is something about the idea of terminating the ‘possibility’ of life that makes me uncomfortable. But if I took that idea to it’s logical conclusion then I would have to be opposed to contraception as well. Which, of course, is lunacy.

        I don’t know what God thinks about all this. By observation I would have to assume that He couldn’t give a fuck one way or the other.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Fandango March 5, 2019 / 7:47 am

          I would agree with your assumption if I believed that God existed, but I don’t.

          Like

          • Richmond Road March 5, 2019 / 11:38 am

            Ha ha! I only use the term in a very general (and somewhat sarcastic) sense.

            I don’t really know what a ‘liberal’ is but, unlike you, I do tend to get a bit angry when people bring God into the conversation as though such a concept were fact rather than the preposterous fantasy that it is.

            I think that it’s time our thinking moved beyond medieval superstitious claptrap and that people pushing such garbage were encouraged to get help.

            ‘God will’ remains, however, a useful term to substitute for ‘luck’. Both the good and bad variety.

            Liked by 1 person

            • myforever77 March 5, 2019 / 1:02 pm

              I feel like if the person starting the conversation, doesn’t want to really know what another person feels they shouldn’t ask the question or the very least not bait it with the beginning sentence to read as follows:
              Fandango –> “I don’t understand why those who oppose abortion also often oppose contraception. It seems rather paradoxical to me.”

              If others are “offended” by an opinion in this case MINE! Why not start off with a disclaimer:

              such as: Only opinions that are of the mindset of the author are welcomed!

              Although Fandango and I do not agree on many/most things I have always admired his tolerance of my contributions on his prompts.

              I will in the future be more careful however, people usually do post things they are passionate about, my bad! Sorry to disturb your peace of soul.

              Liked by 2 people

            • Richmond Road March 5, 2019 / 1:35 pm

              Oh, no. I did not wish to offend. I suppose I was confessing to a bit of personal intolerance on my part. And I do respect your right to express your opinion, just as I defend my right to criticise it.

              And I have gone down the path of debate with people of ‘faith’ before and come to the conclusion that such debate is pointless…. because to you ‘faith’ is the ‘truth’ yet to me it is the opposite.

              In another sense though, you are quite right. Fandango asked the question of ‘why those who oppose abortion also often oppose contraception’ and you gave him an answer …. “here’s why,” you said, and I agree with you. Though I think it is ill founded reasoning.

              Anyway, in the end, as you point out, God will forgive me. It remains to be seen if you will, of course.

              Liked by 2 people

            • Fandango March 5, 2019 / 2:23 pm

              I think her comments were more directed at me than at you. Or maybe at both of us. But as you said, and as I similarly stated in my comment, debating with the faithful is pointless because to them, their faith is the truth, and there simply is no other truth.

              Liked by 2 people

            • myforever77 March 5, 2019 / 2:48 pm

              Lets just call it a misunderstanding, and of course I forgive you, and thank you for your charity. Carry on!

              Liked by 2 people

            • Fandango March 5, 2019 / 2:11 pm

              I’m sorry if I came across like someone who is not respectful or welcoming of different perspectives from my own or if anything I wrote offended you. I have no issues with people who believe in God or whose faith guides their lives. What I DO have issues with are when people are so sure that their beliefs are the only truth and that anyone who doesn’t embrace their beliefs is immoral, unworthy, and lost. I’m not suggesting that you are that way. But you did get my hackles up by your very negative and demeaning generalizations about liberals and when you said that we all know what God wants…to obey him. So I reacted in a way that doesn’t reflect who I am. I am also concerned about how the Christian Right is attempting to legislate their beliefs into law, be it about abortion, sexual orientation, or whatever. Legislators should be looking out for everyone in our society, and not just those who share their race or religion.

              Again, I apologize if I came across as being intolerant of your beliefs.

              Liked by 2 people

            • myforever77 March 5, 2019 / 2:50 pm

              Thank you Fandango for your kind reply, I never feel anyone is lost, that would be judging their soul.

              Liked by 1 person

  9. Asbestos Dust March 5, 2019 / 8:17 am

    You’ve set up a couple of false dichotomies, primarily based on a cartoon-level reading of conservative thought combined with a slippery definition of what constitutes life. Most conservatives aren’t the raving loony-tunes you seem to think.

    I, for example am 100% in favor of abortion. Here in Texas we often conduct late-term abortions, most recently some turd who was well into his 213th trimester. Generally the difference is centers on our requirement that there be some culpability under law or inability to even remotely conform to societal norms (e.g., being a homicidal dickhead), which culpability seems optional to liberals before THEY kill people. Their decision point in fact seems to be whether the proposed dead guy is convenient.

    Which of course, gets to the second dichotomy: At what point does someone get to be a person? If we remove one neuron at a time from even a liberal, at some point they are no longer capable of forming the emergent property of consciousness. At that point, they are no longer human, and can be used for spare parts and/or hog chow. On the other hand, if we ADD one neuron at a time, at some point that chunk of meat crosses a line into humanity. If at that point, the “convenience” rule of thumb still applies, then being all huffy about how moral y’all are seems — well, ludicrous.

    I mean, I think parasites living off my paycheck, for example, are terribly inconvenient and change my life for the worse. Yet if I run around chopping them into chunks and sucking them into hefty bags to relieve myself of the burden, all of a sudden I’M the bad guy. Nope — no argument here. All you need to do is come up with a bright-line, workable definition of what counts as “human” then let me know whether we’re going to go ahead and legalize me pinching off the inconveniences in my life, and I think we’re on the same page.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango March 5, 2019 / 9:32 am

      “… a cartoon-level reading of conservative thought….” isn’t most conservative thinking at a cartoon level? How else can you explain why conservatives have so embraced Donald Trump. As to when “personhood” begins, I believe it’s when a fetus can survive outside of the womb, which most in the medical profession suggest is around 24 weeks after conception. That’s why I don’t support late term (third trimester) abortions unless the woman’s life is at risk. But before that, it’s a fetus, not a baby. Just like before it’s a frog, it’s not a baby frog, it’s a tadpole. Or before it’s butterfly or a moth, it’s not a baby butterfly or a baby moth, it’s a caterpillar. And, for what it’s worth, I also believe in death with dignity and would want to have the option of physician-assisted suicide were I suffering from a terminal disease as an alternative to living my life, for whatever short period of time I might have left, in constant pain.

      Like

      • Asbestos Dust March 5, 2019 / 11:57 am

        “How else can you explain why conservatives have so embraced Donald Trump.”

        Most haven’t. Most are like me — we’ll hold our nose and put up with a thin-skinned traffic cone with a 14-year-old girl’s hijacked Twitter account because the Democrats (in general) and liberals (in particular) keep finding samples from that .000001% of the population who would make even WORSE presidents and running them just like they’re serious.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Fandango March 5, 2019 / 1:05 pm

          Well, to each his or her own, I suppose.

          Like

  10. Fandango March 5, 2019 / 12:20 pm

    “I think that it’s time our thinking moved beyond medieval superstitious claptrap and that people pushing such garbage were encouraged to get help.” Amen to that!

    Like

  11. Melanie B Cee March 5, 2019 / 12:51 pm

    Deep questions, perhaps worthy of a post of mine own (just so I don’t clog YOUR blog with my responses. You really think of some posers, you know?

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Melanie B Cee March 5, 2019 / 3:07 pm

    The ping worked! That’s my dollar eighty four on the subject. I’ve been reading some of your comments on this one and am not surprised that “God” once again got dragged into something that is man made, man decided and so on. I know your beliefs on the “God” subject and I’m not here to change what you believe. I mention “God” in my post though. Briefly. For those of us who are not atheist, He (God) does figure in. But is He laughing at us crawling around in the dirt on this planet, is He sorry for us, or is He really not there at all? Too deep for me man. I hope you enjoy the read, if you do read my take. Thanks Fandango. I can’t wait to see what the provocative question will be this week. ‘Cos THIS ONE right here was a hum-dinger!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Fandango March 5, 2019 / 5:47 pm

      I did read your post and commented that weighing the circumstances is always wise counsel when it comes to issues like abortion and the death penalty, but I don’t think abortions should be illegal, as they were before Roe v Wade. Women should be able to choose, especially in the first and even second trimester. If abortions are once again criminalized, we will be reverting to back-alley abortions and putting girls’ and women’s health in serious jeopardy. Because even it’s illegal, women will still want, and get, abortions.

      Like

  13. Asbestos Dust March 5, 2019 / 4:01 pm

    God discussion: Atheists are just another form of true believer, snake-handlers for the current crop of people who Must Have Something. Their catechism is almost embarrassingly faith-based, at the end of the day. Just another pseudo-science that means nothing. I can’t remember who said it, but I agree: I’m an agnostic. I don’t know whether God exists or not. He just doesn’t seem to be necessary to explain the universe, which is another question altogether.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fandango March 5, 2019 / 6:09 pm

      As an atheist, I disagree with you statement that atheism is just another from of true believer (i.e., religion). Atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Asbestos Dust March 5, 2019 / 6:34 pm

        Disagree — not collecting stamps is a negative. Not believing in something you can’t prove one way or the other as an absolute is an invocation of faith. You believe it’s true — or you believe it might not be, in which events you are either a True Believer or an agnostic.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Fandango March 5, 2019 / 9:37 pm

          I do not believe that God exists. That makes me an atheist, not a “true believer.” Just as not collecting stamps does not make someone a stamp collector. Faith is believing in something DESPITE the lack of evidence. I believe that God doesn’t exist BECAUSE of the lack of evidence.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Asbestos Dust March 6, 2019 / 1:38 am

            (shrug) Suit yourself. You “believe” wholeheartedly in something that can’t be proven. There’s no proof at all that God does not exist — not a single shred. The only thing you’ve proven is that YOUR version of God doesn’t exist because he didn’t perform YOUR version of who he’s supposed to be. I’d bet some safe money that most Fundies, Catholics, Buddhists, Hindus, and tribal worshipers of the local mountain would agree with you 100% — YOUR version of God doesn’t exist for THEM, either. Applying that specific case or your 100% belief to the general proposition that there is no God at all is therefore a matter of faith, as utterly outside any analysis as their beliefs that no one else’s God exists.

            Face it. You’d just as well be slaughtering a flawless lamb on the altar of your certainty, as it’s exactly the same pure, unsupported faith in an unprovable core belief as any old-school priest’s.

            MY belief, on the other hand, is that God’s existence is a relatively very low probability, but not remotely near zero. I doubt God exists, but as with anything, Bayesian analysis needs new data to update priors. There hasn’t been any new relevant data to update the probability a tick since the early 1900s or before.

            The utterly fascinating thing is the certainty of both sides of the True Believer coin, how much they have in common, and how blind they are to it.

            So, keep banging the gong, priest, your pure faith carries no more water with those of us watching with fascination than does your brothers splashing of blood on the lintels and doorposts because they also KNOW the truth.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Fandango March 6, 2019 / 7:59 am

              Belief in God, at least the Christian and Jewish god (and probably most other gods), is based upon a “holy book” (e.g., the Bible). The Bible is alleged to be the word of God, the gospel truth, transcribed by around 40 different “authors” around 2,000 years ago and edited, augmented, and adjusted to suit the needs of the powerful ever since. The Bible is a book of supernatural fairytales with no basis in reality. It’s historically inaccurate. It’s scientifically inaccurate. But it’s good read. Full of adventure and allegory. Almost as compelling as “Lord of the Rings.” So yes, since all of Christianity is based upon an account written in the Bible of how a man, who was born out of wedlock to a teenage girl who claimed some supernatural entity got her pregnant, was executed, died, and three days later his spirit ascended to heaven to be with his “father,” all of which nonsense contributes to my belief that God was created by man in his own image and that throughout history, terrible atrocities of man against man have been committed in the name of God. I don’t proselytize or preach. I’m not a militant atheist, but I am not ashamed of being an outlier who doesn’t accept the mind-numbing bullshit that organized religion throws at its flocks in order to make them behave like good little sheep. When asked, I’ll argue my point, but I really don’t care what anyone else thinks or believes until it gets to the point that they try to enact laws or establish rules that impose their fantastical beliefs upon me and others who don’t embrace them.

              Like

            • Asbestos Dust March 6, 2019 / 8:39 am

              See? And there’s the error.

              Fact is that most religion throughout at least 10s of thousand if not 100s of thousands of years or history isn’t based much on books. The reason that the bible was codified into writing two- or three-thousand years ago is because up until then there wasn’t all that much in the way of literate, record-keeping people.

              In fact, comparatively, there weren’t even many AFTER that, but enough to sustain it, anyhow. And, incidentally, I agree. It’s a giant load of contradictory crap.

              Specifically, the entire New Testament is the result of the theological interpretations of a single man (Paul) who had what amounts to a seizure, and based on that misinterpreted the teachings of an otherwise unremarkable leader of a Jewish Apocalyptic Sect who got cross-threaded with the Roman State and wound up promptly nailed to something, a common outcome for trouble-makers in those days.

              The rest is just the collected tales of a nomadic bronze-age tribe roaming around the middle east collecting parts of other peoples’ religions and hammering them into a more-or-less monotheistic belief system.

              As I say this version (your version) of God — is debunked by actual verifiable science that disproves fundamental underpinnings.

              As to the question of whether there’s a God responsible for the creation of the universe for some purpose fo his own: Much shakier evidence against, and at least some good evidence in favor, “Morality” being a sloppy, unscientific, unprovable, un-analyzable example.

              Those who believe in some sort of God have the same reason to do so that you have to NOT — i.e.., “Faith”. Believe what you like — as with you, it’s no skin off me either way to the degree they’re not interfering in my or mine’s lives — but at least recognize how full of it most atheists are by claiming the logical high-ground.

              Liked by 2 people

            • Fandango March 6, 2019 / 10:08 am

              Yes, I do claim the logical high-ground, as you call it, because I don’t base my life and the way I live it upon a bunch of medieval (or earlier) superstitions and fairytales. I don’t think that makes me “full of it.” I think it makes me rational, reasonable, and pragmatic. And, despite my rejection of mind-numbing religious teachings and the God fantasy, I’m a moral person. Imagine that!

              Like

      • BlackSheep March 10, 2019 / 7:50 pm

        “Atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby.” Perfect.

        Liked by 2 people

  14. Asbestos Dust March 6, 2019 / 5:17 pm

    “I don’t base my life and the way I live it upon a bunch of medieval (or earlier) superstitions and fairytales.”

    Ah, good on ya’. Err….what DO you base it on?

    “I’m a moral person.”

    Do tell. Based on what measures?

    Liked by 2 people

      • Asbestos Dust March 6, 2019 / 5:20 pm

        And, for no apparent reason, I’m not allowed to “like” your stuff. So take it as read.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Fandango March 6, 2019 / 6:23 pm

          I don’t know why you can’t “like” my stuff. I didn’t do anything to prevent or block you from doing so.

          Like

    • Fandango March 6, 2019 / 6:21 pm

      I base the way I live on honesty, integrity, scruples, and not imposing my will on others.

      I’m a moral person in that I obey the laws (don’t commit crimes), and don’t harm others.

      Any other questions?

      Like

      • Asbestos Dust March 13, 2019 / 5:07 pm

        Sure, if you like.

        Obeying laws is coercive (i.e., you do it because you on some level fear punishments or censure — that’s why there are laws). That doesn’t take any moral fiber, it’s purely reactive, and does not amount to morality.

        I’m more interested in the “don’t harm others.” Pretty general, but I’ll take it on its face for the moment. The question is — why? Built-in? Learned? Or is there some spiritual kumbaya stuff going on in there after all?

        Atheists I’ve asked about this get pretty snotty about it and usually come up with some non-sequitur version of “Oh, so if there’s not God, that means you have no reason to not kill (or whatever)? The only thing keeping you from being a serial killer is your belief in Divine Order? The only reason you’re not a rapist is God telling you not to?”

        Pfft. (a) That doesn’t answer the question, (b) No, I don’t need a magic ghost deciding right and wrong for me, especially when I live in a state which will lock me in a small concrete room for doing it, but (c) If morality’s built in, there must be SOME basis for it. If not, it’s just some random human “feature” (or bug) of zero importance whatsoever.

        Whether morality as you conceive it even exists is a pretty big “if” as demonstrated by an interesting story the other day (well, February) about morality:

        Sixty cultures were studied concerning their views of morality and whether there were “positive valences” for various moral-centered ideas in those cultures. Turns out most (WAY over 50%) view the following as cultural moral norms:

        Helping Kin
        Helping Group
        Reciprocating
        Bring Brave
        Respecting Superiors
        Respecting Property

        Of those, “Respecting Property” was head and shoulders above all the rest as a normative value across cultures.

        On the other hand “Fairness” (Dividing Resources) was down around 20%. And virtually none of them have much input on violence or even killing outside the group (see “Being Brave” which translates in many cultures as “Being Fierce”) particularly in service of the other values.

        It seems that most people DON’T have the Western (or “Christian” if you prefer) concept of morality or “Good and Evil” after all. It’s not even clear to me that most Westerners have it.

        This means that other than those above, which actually have survival value for a social species and DO appear to be built-in, more esoteric definitions and standards of moral virtues are not a particularly widespread or cross-cultural trait. So where does it come from and why is yours better than mine? Or, for that matter, why is it better than a member of the Taliban who feels it’s his moral imperative to dress all the women he can find like Batman and keep them chained in their homes?

        Show me the mental acrobatics involved in coming up with a “morality” measuring stick that’s universal and outside your head — if not, it isn’t morality at all; it’s just an opinion you hold that you’re willing to force on others (see “violence” and “killing” above).

        (Current Anthropology, Volume 60, Number 1 | February 2019 | University of Chicago Press (Journals))
        https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/10.1086/701478

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