Archive for the ‘Dangerous thoughts’ Category

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This is not a baby.

June 19, 2009

This is a fetus, and as such it has no legal right to existence.

how_life_begins

This is a fetus at 18 weeks.  It is not a baby.  It can be removed from the womb piece by piece and all that is occurring is the removal of a tumor.

Image taken from World’s Famous Photos

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Fleshy Mannequins

May 22, 2009

How often do you notice mannequins?  We notice their clothes, but we never really notice them.  I thought about this while walking on the Danforth the other day.  We have a lot of store fronts with a lot of mannequins, and I never really think about them.  

There is something else we have a lot of on the Danforth as well: Homeless people.  I realized that I tend to treat them the same way I treat the mannequins.  I pay no attention and walk right past them.  I used to chalk this up to being a classic introvert.  It struck me recently though that I’ve dehumanized them, rendered them part of the background landscape.  I’m now trying to at least say hi, and share a few coins if I have them.  They are not just fleshy mannequins.  

 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”  Matthew 25

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Life after People?

April 2, 2009

I just watched the documentary Life after People from the History Channel.  It was a very interesting idea.  Their concept was to document the progression of the planet if humanity suddenly disappeared.  The music and voice-over give it a distinctly creepy feel; which sort of makes sense given that it is discussing the planet without us.  The most interesting part about it though is watching some of the scientists they interview.  Their glee at how earth would restore itself when we are gone emanates from the screen.  It is unsurprising, especially in the case of the Greenpeace scientist they interview.  It is weird though, because if sentience is extinguished from the universe does it really matter if life goes on?

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Ethics, Science, and Power.

March 11, 2009

Today in my History of Psychology class we were discussing (or perhaps being discussed to) Neitzsche.  I’m fascinated by his view of the consequences of atheism on ethics.  So far as I can tell from Beyond Good and Evil Neitzsche* believed that when ethics meets relativism right is decided by the most powerful.   So where does this fit in with Science?  Wired published an article on the trouble of the terminology surrounding Obama’s lifting of Bush’s restrictions on stem cell research.  Phrases like Bush’s decision being a “really, really unwelcome intrusion of politics into science” proliferated in the wake of Obama’s decision.  In a democracy though, laws are ostensibly the tools of the citizens to ensure distasteful actions do not occur.

What Wired missed though was a much deeper issue.  In the penultimate paragraph Brandon Keim says this,

But there will be plenty of cases in the future when the aims of science — or, to be more precise, certain scientists — conflict with widely held values. And if the legacy of the stem cell debate is to label all conscientious objection as anti-science bias, it will be a toxic legacy indeed.

The idea that “widely held values” is enough to define morality runs into trouble not just with science (imagining how people from a hundred years ago would have viewed embryonic stem cell research might cast light on this), but also with much larger issues.  The atrocities in Rwanda were perpetrated by the majority.  We have in a situation like Rwanada a clear demonstration of the poverty of “widely held values.”

So here is my question.  Knowing that Hitler’s policies enjoyed support so wide it even surprised him.  His reaction to Krystalnacht is one demosntration of this.  Also while keeping in mind that most in Europe and the wider world did not go to war because of Hitler’s racial ideology but because of his aggressive militarism.  What would have been the case to intervene in Germany assuming they never invaded another country?

*I’ve yet to read much of it, although I’ve tried.

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How could this happen?

March 5, 2009

I’m looking for more information on this, but apparently a couple of Jewish students were attacked threatened and intimidated at a lecture at U of T.  The reason?  They asked the typical question that anyone listening to discussions about Israel and Palestine should ask regarding the anti-semetic, anti-israeli nature of the Hamas charter. In typical fashion, the Hamas apologist ducked the question, and when students demanded a straight answer they were bullied and kicked out.

This week is apparently Israeli Apartheid Week, which is becoming not only a vehicle for anti-semitism but also a catalyst for goon tactics similar to what Christopher Hitchens dealt with in Syria.  I’m appalled that this could happen first in a city as multicultural as Toronto, and second in Canada.  We cannot allow this sort of behaviour to go unacknowledged.

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A Truthtelling Cartoon

February 25, 2009

Jon Birch hit the nail on the head with his latest. You can read all of his cartoons here.

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I want to comment

February 7, 2009

But Althouse says it so much better. The story itself is horrifying, and the fact that nobody cares that the baby was born alive is sickening.