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General Religious Discussion / Re: God Magic
« Last post by penfold on Today at 11:46:53 AM »

For example, say god decides to cure a person's cancer; how does that work? Whatever force he uses has to at some point interact with physical reality. His powers have to physically remove the cancerous cells.

And as god has to interact with reality, is this not something that is external to him, restraining him? As in, he has to obey physical rules? It's all well and good saying "God said 'cancer begone'; and it was gone!"; but a physical change has to take place, god has no option but to conform to this.

Nice argument. Princess Elizabeth of Bohemia made a similar point about the impossibility of an immaterial soul entering into a causal relationship with the physical body in her correspondence with Descartes[1].

I suppose there are two possible lines of 'escape' available to the theist.

The first would be a credulous assertion that God exists in a unique relation to the physical universe that allows her to generate events within the physical without having to cause them in a physical sense of the term. Almost all theists posit at least one event of this kind - creation. Of course such an assertion is unfalsifiable (I could never be sure if the event I was examining was genuinely uncaused or if I had simply failed to discern the cause). Moreover the evidence for the proposition that 'all events have causes' is so overwhelming that it is just not reasonable to disbelieve it[2]. In other words the only 'justification' for this view is a blind faith that flies in the teeth of empirical observation.

A second approach would be to argue that all physical causes represent God's intentions. In other words, God does work through the laws of physics, in fact the whole physical universe is a single expression of her will. However, this makes God directly responsible for all happenings (the uncured cancer as much as the cured one) which somewhat undermines the purpose of things like prayer and also places no small amount of strain on the notion of free will. An attractive account for very philosophical views of God perhaps (e.g. Wiles, Leibniz, Spinoza), but far removed from the kind of God worshiped by most theists.

 1. see Elizabeth's letter of 6.v.1643
 2. This, famously, is the argument made by Hume in Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding Ch X

So what is the real harm of counseling?  If counseling changes their mind then maybe abortion was not the right decision in the first place.  Nobody could have made me change my mind!  Nobody!
The problem is that the 'counseling' is biased and intentionally designed to pressure women into changing their minds.  Based on what I know about it, it presents bringing the pregnancy to term as having few or no downsides (which is false), as well as deliberately exaggerating the possible complications of abortion, in addition to forcing them to listen to alternatives which are often more expensive and/or costly.  In addition, it violates medical ethics, especially informed consent.

Maybe you wouldn't have been swayed if you had been forced to listen to deliberately misleading information about abortion, which seriously exaggerated the risks, and also been given equally misleading information about bringing the pregnancy to term.  But can you honestly say that it is even remotely close to fair to require women to listen to biased presentations such as those before they're allowed to have an abortion?

How do they pass a law that violates medical ethics?  What is the medical community doing about it?  Why are these women not suing somebody?

I don't agree with biased counseling and those counselors should be taken to task for violating medical ethics.  The sooner the better.  I'll go further than to say it's not fair, it's not right to lie in a medical situation period.

I would have given them so much hell over counseling.  I would have went somewhere else even if to another state.

Why are more women not informed that this is happening so she can prepare herself? 

Quote from: junebug72
Is there a study that shows the outcomes for the women and the children of those women who were convinced to not have the abortion?   They are probably happy with their decision, IMO.
So it's okay to mislead people into not having an abortion as long as they end up happy about it?

Did I not say if she was talked out of it maybe abortion was not the right decision for her to begin with?  Women have risked  and given their lives to abort before it was legal.  When a woman really really really don't want to have a kid she will not be persuaded by lies or even truth.

Quote from: junebug72
I want to know exactly how many women were denied abortion because of calling it a difficult decision please.  Thanks.
This is completely missing the point.  The problem is that abortion is treated as a 'difficult' decision even though it is often anything but, and this results in laws which require doctors to lie to women in order to get them to 'choose' not to have an abortion.

I am going to agree that the dialogue is not good, thank you Jag.  Her post really put that into perspective.

Quote from: junebug72
I want to know on what grounds women are made to wait too please.  Thanks again.
Because anti-abortion lawmakers pass laws which require waiting periods before a woman can have an abortion.  These are the same lawmakers who pass laws requiring doctors to give biased presentations exaggerating the risks of abortion while presenting only the positive aspects of carrying the pregnancy to term.

If a woman does not want a pregnancy, would rather die, she will not be persuaded by any means.  Don't forget coat hangers!

Quote from: junebug72
If calling it a difficult decision even if for some it's not and that keeps this issue from further polarization is that something you can live with?  I can.  To me it's a smidgen of common ground.  Common ground is good.  It's where productive conversations happen.  If you take an all or nothing attitude on this subject you might end up with nothing.  That would be the real tragedy.
It isn't actually common ground, though.  Are you familiar with the saying "give an inch and they'll take a mile"?  That's what abortion advocates using the "difficult decision" formulation actually accomplishes, whether they realize it or not - it allows abortion opponents to dictate the terms of the debate.  When you let the other side control the terms of the debate, you're most of the way towards losing it.  I don't know about you, but I don't consider that to be productive in any way, shape, or form.

The real tragedy here is the fact that laws in close to half the states require doctors to mislead women - tens of millions of women as a conservative estimate - about abortions in order to try to push them into not having an abortion, while those same lawmakers who passed those laws mislead their constituents about the actual intent of the laws by pretending that it's about giving women an "informed choice", when in fact it's about manipulating women by controlling what information they have access to.

I did say smidgen. ;)  Fair point on taking a mile.
Mr Blackwell I regret to hear about your struggles. 

I am not Jdawg but I have to say that it's the woman's choice over her own body and economics.  It's not about eliminating a certain kind of human being based on genetics.

General Religious Discussion / Re: God Magic
« Last post by wheels5894 on Today at 04:55:49 AM »
I don't think miracles consume time or energy, but I am no expert.

I quite agree with you, Eh! Miracles use neither time or energy... because they are a fiction! No one has ever been able to shown anything had a miraculous origin. The best the Catholics have managed is to restrict claims to medical issues and they only declare a miracle has happened[1] if there is no current explanation of a healing. This is hardly positive for miracles and seems to me to be a 'god of the gaps' idea anyway.

However, I was assuming that miracles actually did happen and clearly, if they did, energy is needed to change anything material  - even just in the brain so that a person 'hears' god talking. Such changes ought to be able to be measured - if they exist - but I notice that no religious organisation is rushing to commission research into this as lack of results would kill churches off.
 1. I notice that the only claims of miracles we ever see apply to dead people whom the church wants to make saints and is looking for an excuse evidence of anything to do this,
General Religious Discussion / Re: God Magic
« Last post by eh! on Today at 01:44:36 AM »
I don't think miracles consume time or energy, but I am no expert.
Funnily enough, from my perspective, the only ones that are dehumanizing a human into little more than bits of meaningless flesh are the pro-birthers - those who advocate for making abortions illegal and viewed as morally wrong.

How else am I supposed to interpret someone's declaration that "life begins at conception, and that life is of similar value as a human?"  At conception, the life that they are declaring as "of similar value as a human" is a clump of biological, genetic material.  There is nothing there that experiences.

So, to me, those you should be complaining about aren't the pro-choice people.  The pro-choice people feel that human life is more than just a clump of biological material.  At least I do.  That's why I don't put the clump of biological material on the same moral pedestal as human life.

My response is going to be short for now. I have had a very rough few days and many other more immediate concerns on my mind. I just wanted to say that this part of your post is the most intriguing to me because of the difference in perspective.

Short response to your analogy, the biggest problem I see is the attempt to take biology out of the equation. For example, in a manufacturing line like you described, at any point in the process before sentience is installed, if there is a defect it will be detected and the defective unit will be removed.

We have tools available to us today to detect defects in the developing embryo and stop the imperfection in it's tracks before it reaches sentience.

Tell me why we shouldn't be in the practice of enforcing eugenics today?

Chatter / Re: "What are you listening to now"... take three...
« Last post by Mr. Blackwell on Yesterday at 06:18:35 PM »
I was looking up Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band on youtube and stumbled upon this guy.

Someone started a thread a few years ago looking for unconventional covers of songs and I know there is a program now on NPR dedicated to that same theme. I can't remember who it was that was looking or where that thread is now but there is this cover by the same artist doing No Diggity that's pretty damn smooth.

Here's a very current report on the legal status on abortion across the country, and what laws were enacted in 2016 for a big picture sense of the US at the moment.
General Religious Discussion / Re: God Magic
« Last post by jetson on Yesterday at 02:30:14 PM »
That's precisely what I want the theists to address. They demand we show the science of everything; fine, I want the science of their god to be explained, because where it interacts with our world, that border can be tested and investigated. It becomes part of the physical world.

If theists cannot give us an idea of how this interaction takes place, then it is one more piece of evidence for their god being imaginary. And we should continue to refer to it as 'magic'.

In fact, and experiment could potentially go something like this...we watch the cancer cells under a microscope, and at the precise moment they are repaired, we see fresh cells that are no longer damaged. It will either be visible as it morphs, or it will be instantaneous, but it will be measurable. Granted, we can't do that to a living human with cancer, but should be measurable and there should be a distinct moment, or set of moments where the "change" takes place.
@ Jag

You made me smile and giggle.
Good, this is going well then.

That's good advice about Google.
Share it far and wide please. Google is not evil, but it can be problematic when looking for non-biased info.

  The reason I even mentioned it was because of this video I watched about crisis centers and how they are dishonest in their advertising.  Had a girl go in undercover.  You call them for a price and they say you have to come to their office for that then proceed to talk you out of having an abortion.  They will lie to you about how many weeks you are.  It's disgusting.
They often partner with religious organizations and are fronts for adoption agencies that place children in highly religious households. This, in and of itself, is not necessarily a bad thing. BUT, the laws are such that as I am registered as an ordained minister, all I need is a shady lawyer and suddenly, I can be making ridiculous sums of money for playing on people's desperation to be parents, with no governmental agency having ANY right to oversight of what I'm doing. THAT is really frightening to me. It's not about the well-being of the child, it's about profit[1].
<snip> now is I have coping skills.  I'm not a threat to myself anymore. 
I'm honestly really pleased to hear this.

If you don't want to answer me about the actual affect changing what you call the decision will have I don't know where else to go.  That is the topic.   It might not satisfy me but someone else reading may be satisfied by it.  I am honestly convinced it will further the polarization and that is not a good thing.  I am not as convinced that it could possibly affect the effort to focus on prevention if we get too casual about it. 
Ok, I'll give this a shot. I also want to address the last paragraph as well, but that will be a separate post.

I'm going to make your question a lot bigger in order to answer it. I'm not dodging it, I just can't address your specific question effectively without going into lecture mode. This is going to get long, so it may test how much you really wanted to know what I think  ;)  ;D

Remember that my interests and education are human communication, (specifically rhetoric and persuasion) and interpersonal conflict. I pay attention to messaging, themes, and narratives. I analyze the language used to talk about social justice topics I'm interested in almost instinctively now. And abortion happens to be one of those topics, for a lot of reasons.

In my opinion, the entire dialogue needs to change. Politically, the Right, while sketchy[2] with their use of facts, are FAR more effective at framing the dialogue than the Left. Dems want to share facts, figures, and analysis to lead people to make reasoned choices and decisions. But that's not how it works. Without getting to deep into this, there are (in a general sense) 2 paths to persuation - the Left is over-reliant on one, and the Right have done a fantastic job of exploiting the other - but not without consequences. (<That last is a different discussion, hopefully this is enough context for this one.)

The Right relies heavily on the "indirect" path to persuasion. They present information, but they use lots of emotional appeals - fear, outrage, indignation, disgust[3] and "trigger" words - brave, independent, proud, American, values, deserve, protect and so on. In many respects, they tell stories, literally and figuratively. Think about the average Muslim American as describe by the Right - that's a character whose attributes can be determined by the story teller depending on how the audience is intended to "see" him or her.[4]

The Left is overly dependent on the "direct" path. Again, it has a place, but it requires a lot from the receiver/audience to be effective. They need to be interested first, because this route requires thought, cognition, processing; all of these things take energy and if the interest isn't right there and easily accessible, most people don't do this. The Left isn't as good at telling a compelling story (a notable exception is Obama, but he has some weaknesses too in this respect). They try to be reasonable, rational, and expect everyone else to do so as well.

Abortion is a perfect example. The language most commonly used by everyone in the discussion is "pro-life" and "pro-choice". Set aside the context, and negate the "pro" on both sides. You're left with "life" and "choice".

Which word is more attention getting on it's own? Which word - on it's own -sounds more compelling?

This framing puts the pro-choice side at a disadvantage from the very beginning. No matter what the dictionary says, most people's not-thought-through - indirect - cognition process knee-jerks to "if this side is pro-life, the other side is Anti-life?". This leads to, more or less,  "Ew, how awful they must be" with no conscious thinking involved. I find that very unnerving.

The Right continues to frame the dialogue on any and all issues that touch on morality. Until the Left stops allowing it, little will change.

I hope I haven't bored you to tears already - I can get carried away talking about this, and I'm not done  ;)

The language most often used, or heard/read about abortion needs to change. For the Left to stop using the language of the Right, this is a perfectly reasonable place to start. It doesn't even have to be dumped all together - and in my somewhat expert opinion, it shouldn't be, not right at first. Just modify the existing message and phase out the phrase over time.

Modify the message? How about "For some women, abortion is a difficult decision. For others, it's the only decision." A small change, but one that reflects reality better than the first one, and it helps shift the dialogue just a little bit. And it stops reinforcing the message that choosing to abort is, by default, supposed to be difficult.

This isn't going to change the mind of a hard-core anti-abortion person. But it's going to stop privileging their frames like we do now by continuing to use them ourselves - this has the unintended side effect of subtlety weakening the argument enough that we need to quit doing it.

Abortion is one of several deeply connected (established by messaging) issues that have been programmed into the American culture as "hot-button" topics. Pause for a moment and think about the intersection of language regarding adoption and abortion. It's academically fascinating, in a horrifying kind of way.

Adoption is frequently held up as an alternative to abortion. But there's a big flaw staring us right in the face that we rarely notice, because it's not part of the standard narrative, the story we all tell and accept. Adoption is NOT an alternative to pregnancy, it's an alternative to parenting. This is the first of many, many rhetorical traps we fall into on this topic in the general, public discourse, if not necessarily when individually talking about it.

For some reason, when asking people who take this position if they have adopted a child themselves, it tends to get very, very quiet.

Worse, in the less public dialogue, adoption is still talked about far more negatively than not. This is based on both personal experience[5] and research. As a collective, the anti-abortion side verbalizes support for adoption, but individually, they do not act in accordance with that position.

The perception of adoption in our culture is highly skewed. It's fine for "other people" but fought against within one's own family. We talk about "giving away" or "giving up" a baby. We often treat adoptive parents as something akin to saints, and we pity their adopted offspring, behaving and speaking as though they were saved from some unidentified horrible fate, and should be grateful to have a family.

What do we say about the woman who gives birth to a child she chooses not to raise herself? I strongly suspect a high correlation between single mothers  and being raised in a household that expressed disapproval of women who choose adoption for their children.

This is deeply embedded in our culture. We're really not that far removed from an era in which young women who "got themselves in a family way" either had no choice but to marry, quickly, the father of their child to save the family from unbearable shame, or sent away to "stay with her aunt in <random far away place>", give birth in shame-inducing surroundings, and came home forbidden to ever mention it.

One way to look at this, a frame of my own devising, is this: a woman who gets pregnant when she does not wish to be pregnant - for whatever the reason - is caught in a three way bind. This young woman, we'll call her Penny, has several "identities" that are significant in her daily life. She's a family member (daughter and sister), a student, a church member, a friend, a neighbor, a citizen of her community. In all of these identities, she sees herself as a good person. Others do as well. She fits in with the culture of her various communities. She's also a teenager, head over heels in love for the first time. It's a small community, and there is no easily accessible Planned Parenthood, and the only pharmacist in town knows everyone because he's the only pharmacist in town - so Penny and her boyfriend Tony are too embarrassed to go buy condoms there. They're young and in love, and hormones are running rampant with no regard for anything but some goddamned relief! They're not dumb,they're not bad, they're human.

And Penny gets pregnant.

Three choices:
1. Sneak off and abort, knowing that she will have to keep this a secret from nearly everyone. She has been culturally conditioned to see abortion as an immoral, irresponsible choice. There will be guilt. She may or may not tell Tony what she is doing.

2. Continue the pregnancy and raise the child. This is going to change many, many things about her own life, her families lives, Tony's own and families lives. It's going to impact how she sees herself, and she is likely to be shamed by parts of her community. Tony may or may not remain actively involved. They're young, and the families may or may not agree about what is the best decision for all parties. But the baby will be raised in the family of origin, come what may.

3. Continue the pregnancy intending to become part of an adoptive triad. She may or may not choose to select the infant's adoptive parents. She may or may not choose to be involved to some degree with the child as it grows up. She will face her various communities with impossible to ignore evidence of her unintended, unwanted pregnancy, and will be subject to shaming from parts of it, perhaps most or even all. After her pregnancy is over and she returns to her communities with no baby, she continues to be subject to judgment and shaming from various parts of them, to varying degrees. This will continue as long as she tolerates it, or until she leaves it completely.

The above is just blending the stories of many women I've known. It's a story from the real world, the one we actually live in, not the one anti-abortion advocates seem to believe they can will into existence.

More! There is a really strong narrative tying womanhood to motherhood as though they coexist as a biological imperative for all women in eery circumstance. Women who choose to be childless are subject to all kinds of intrusiive, obnoxious judgments, and are frequently depicted as selfish. Umm...Selfish? What the f@ck? Why is half of the population of the US obligated to reproduce just to be seen as validly female?

I wrote a 32 pages paper about this ^ if you really want to know more. I'm sure I still have it somewhere  ;)

To avoid using a single phrase is not going to lead to significant social change. To reorganize the way we talk about a lot of things related to morals, being female, self-determination for both genders, and all kinds of other things is part of a bigger shift that needs to occur if "we" expect to make real headway.
 1. as usual, this is from researching for a school assignment
 2. I'm not willing to engage in a political argument about this topic with anyone in this thread
 3. these kind of strong emotions tend to bypass cognition and go straight to taking a position
 4. Ex: Asian immigrants are often depicted in the national narrative (the story we tell ourselves about who we are as a country) as the Model Immigrant. There's a lot of research on this in cultural studies if you're interested.
 5. I'm an adult adoptee and have heard all kinds of jaw-dropping things said about adoption throughout my life, often by adults who really should have known better.
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