Open "challenge" to any believers/converters
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06-04-2013, 03:48 PM
Open "challenge" to any believers/converters
It seems like any time I try to engage in friendly discussion with opposite numbers on the atheism/theism page, I'm drowned out by considerably more hostile (or, at least, less accommodating) atheists. So, I'm offering anyone from the opposite side who wants one an open conversation with me, be they theist, deist, or any other flavor of believer. Pick your topic, from the big to the small, from theology to the secular. Just state a clear topic or goal so I know how to stay on-topic. Let's keep it civil: Limit ad-hominems, honest attempts to understand the opposing viewpoint, benefit of the doubt. Otherwise, no particular rules or format. I'll probably pick the first one who responds to this invitation, unless I check in and there are multiple respondents, in which case I'll pick the one who I'm most interested in talking to.

(For the record, I'm an ignostic. There is considerable overlap between ignosticism and atheism, but I consider the two to be distinct. So if you're looking to talk to an atheist specifically, you might want to steer clear of me.)

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
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08-04-2013, 02:59 AM
RE: Open "challenge" to any believers/converters
I'm pro-life. If you have the opposing view, I'd be open to a match.

Vosur, Anjele, Hanoff.....have you learned nothing in my absence?
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08-04-2013, 03:54 AM
RE: Open "challenge" to any believers/converters
I am here to cheer for a civil conversation.

Want something? Then do something.
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08-04-2013, 11:52 AM (This post was last modified: 08-04-2013 12:04 PM by Reltzik.)
RE: Open "challenge" to any believers/converters
(08-04-2013 02:59 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  I'm pro-life. If you have the opposing view, I'd be open to a match.

Might be a bit difficult to keep civil, given the hot-buttonness of the issue, but I'll take a stab at this.

I'd like you to clarify what you mean by pro-life. Is it specifically on the topic of aborting pregnancies? Is it more general, extending to the topic of other forms of contraception (eg, condoms are anti-life because they prevent reproduction). Is it pro-life on another issue, such as capital punishment? Though I normally guess the first when I hear "pro-life", I've heard it used in all of these capacities.

I'm pro-reproductive-choice (the original phrasing of pro-choice), and assuming it's one of the first two topics, challenge accepted.

EDIT: Just remembered, euthanasia/right-to-die. I'd be up for debate on that as well.

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
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08-04-2013, 12:46 PM (This post was last modified: 08-04-2013 12:50 PM by TheGulegon.)
RE: Open "challenge" to any believers/converters
I'm generally unpleasant to speak with for a theist/deist who isn't related to me, but I'll suspend that maliciousness for a moment because I'm curious.

(08-04-2013 02:59 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  I'm pro-life. If you have the opposing view, I'd be open to a match.

Including artificial life? Like (if they existed self-aware) man made human clones? Because one could construe outlawing the creation of human clones aborting that potential lifeform before it has a chance.

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08-04-2013, 12:51 PM
RE: Open "challenge" to any believers/converters
(08-04-2013 12:46 PM)TheGulegon Wrote:  I'm generally unpleasant to speak with for a theist/deist who isn't related to me, but I'll suspend that maliciousness for a moment because I'm curious.

(08-04-2013 02:59 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  I'm pro-life. If you have the opposing view, I'd be open to a match.

Including artificial life? Like (if they existed self-aware) man made human clones?

Cloning someone is still making a human from the natural process. An egg gets fertilized... it just has replicated DNA. It, however, doesn't make it any less human. It will still be different that its host regardless if it shares the exact same DNA.

A copy, although exact, is still something completely different than the original.

This is a non-issue.

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08-04-2013, 12:56 PM (This post was last modified: 08-04-2013 01:00 PM by Heywood Jahblome.)
RE: Open "challenge" to any believers/converters
(08-04-2013 11:52 AM)Reltzik Wrote:  
(08-04-2013 02:59 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  I'm pro-life. If you have the opposing view, I'd be open to a match.

Might be a bit difficult to keep civil, given the hot-buttonness of the issue, but I'll take a stab at this.

I'd like you to clarify what you mean by pro-life. Is it specifically on the topic of aborting pregnancies? Is it more general, extending to the topic of other forms of contraception (eg, condoms are anti-life because they prevent reproduction). Is it pro-life on another issue, such as capital punishment? Though I normally guess the first when I hear "pro-life", I've heard it used in all of these capacities.

I'm pro-reproductive-choice (the original phrasing of pro-choice), and assuming it's one of the first two topics, challenge accepted.

EDIT: Just remembered, euthanasia/right-to-die. I'd be up for debate on that as well.

I would like to limit the discussion to strictly aborting pregnancies if that is okay with you? By pregnant I mean containing a developing embryo, fetus, or unborn off spring within the body....basically I consider a woman pregnant the moment the egg and the sperm fuse.

Vosur, Anjele, Hanoff.....have you learned nothing in my absence?
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08-04-2013, 01:02 PM (This post was last modified: 08-04-2013 01:09 PM by Heywood Jahblome.)
RE: Open "challenge" to any believers/converters
(08-04-2013 12:46 PM)TheGulegon Wrote:  I'm generally unpleasant to speak with for a theist/deist who isn't related to me, but I'll suspend that maliciousness for a moment because I'm curious.

(08-04-2013 02:59 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  I'm pro-life. If you have the opposing view, I'd be open to a match.

Including artificial life? Like (if they existed self-aware) man made human clones? Because one could construe outlawing the creation of human clones aborting that potential lifeform before it has a chance.

I would like to limit the discussion to natural human pregnancies. Also since this the boxing ring, I don't believe you are allowed to participate. Only Reltzik and I may post. You can only observe.

Vosur, Anjele, Hanoff.....have you learned nothing in my absence?
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08-04-2013, 02:00 PM
RE: Open "challenge" to any believers/converters
Well, I was a bit conditional in my acceptance, so there's some leeway. To make it official, yes, challenge issued and accepted, everyone else out of the ring.

First off, medical terminology, iirc, usually defines pregnancy as beginning with the implantation of a fertilized egg in the uteral or possibly fallopian wall (the latter being a Bad Thing). I'll try to stick to your definition, but forgive me if I slip back into the more standard definition from time to time.

Second, we haven't identified a specific question (just a broad topic), so I'll open by stating my positions.

The main thing for me to emphasize, is that I do not consider pro-life and pro-choice to be polar opposites. There is considerable overlap. For example, when a woman is pregnant and wishes to see the pregnancy to term, both sides are quite content with this state of affairs. Similarly, pro-choice groups would want her to have, say, prenatal care in support of that choice, and pro-life groups would want the same in interests of keeping the pregnancy viable. There is common ground here. (Though I'm sure we can dig up a few fringe examples from either side who would disagree on these points.)

This isn't to say that there's no area of conflict. But my perception is that this zone of conflict is absorbing tremendous societal resources, in terms of lobbyist money, political deadlock, etc, for very little results either way. (In the US, at least, like most Americans I'm somewhat ignorant of going-ons outside my borders.) Its trench warfare for inches. I'm appalled at how much good could be done if just a fraction of these resources were reallocated from the zone of conflict and sown into the common ground. When I involve myself in this issue, I try to focus on the common ground.

Within that zone of conflict, in my mind most of it comes down to a question of "personhood": When does it become a person, from a moral standpoint? This is an incredibly difficult question to answer as a society, because personhood is not a testable condition. I can dip a litmus strip in a liquid and have it change color if its an acid or a base; there's nothing like that for whether or not something is a person. My own view is that it's something of a gradiation, more gray-scale than black-and-white, but I fully recognize that this is subjective opinion in a sea of other subjective opinions and with no objective means of evaluating them. For the most part if it is a person, no-killy (unless its doomed to miscarry anyway and/or the mother's life is significantly at risk, and see the pianist argument for a different take), and if it's not a person, it's just the woman's body and so it's usually her call (though given the choice between aborting and inducing the premature birth of a viable fetus, the latter's the call to make).

But as said, there are no objective means of evaluating personhood, so this is hardly a criteria that can form a basis for decisions as a society.

There are elements of the Caution Principle to be applied here, but by-and-large I'd take a smaller-government argument. Someone's got to make that call. Governments aren't really competent to make it (though they are competent to make other decisions, I'm not really anti-government). Maybe individuals are, maybe not. So give the decision to the individuals, and especially the most-affected individuals that are actually in a position to make the decision. I'd argue that most other stances as a society would be A) ineffective, B) inefficeint, C) costly, and D) prone to abuse and unintended consequences.

Gotta wrap it up there, I'm late for work.

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
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09-04-2013, 01:27 AM (This post was last modified: 09-04-2013 01:48 AM by Heywood Jahblome.)
RE: Open "challenge" to any believers/converters
Thank you Reltzik.

I also officially accept the challenge. I chose the definition of pregnacy that I did in case the discussion begins to include plan b type contraception. Your definition is valid but I wanted to take it just a little further as a contingency. Now I will present one of my views. I chose this one because every abortion debate inevitably includes a reference to NAZI's at some point so I figured lets just get that out of the way instead of wondering when its going to happen.

What is the ideology that has caused the most evil throughout the history of humanity? Some will say it is religion, others will say it is communism, atheism or some other -ism. I assert that it is none of those things. I assert that the ideology which has caused the most evil in history is the notion that some human beings have more value than others..that some human beings are worth more than others. It was this ideology that allowed Americans to justify the slaughter of the "savage" american Indian. It was this ideology that allowed the NAZI's to justify wholesale genocide of that "sub-human" Jewish "race". And it is this ideology that is the foundation of the pro-choice movement and its widespread acceptance. If society valued the lives of unborn human beings to the same extent that it values the lives of 1 day old human beings or 50 year old human beings, abortion would not be legal or tolerated in this country.

Now, I understand that as individuals it is natural to value some human beings more than others. I put greater value on my family more than I do on your family so I am not telling you that you shouldn't make such value judgements. Society should not make such value judgements. Society should value all human beings equally to the extent that it is practical because when it doesn't, great injustices occur.

Vosur, Anjele, Hanoff.....have you learned nothing in my absence?
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