Saturday, 30 April 2011

An example of the current discussion.

In the latest of my comments in the ongoing argument, I have used quotes from my opponents previous comment to make it somewhat readable to outsiders. Here it is for your comments, please let me know if I have missed any points or made mistakes. It's quite lengthy.

"Sex education in my country is considered conservative, just like the US, and moving away from this would lower cases of teen pregnancy and STIs.
“Therefore, in the 90s in the USA programs that promote abstinence and faithfulness (without reference to birth control) - and there they have produced excellent results - decreased number of underage pregnancies” – According to who? Abstinence only programs have repeatedly been shown to increase these issues. Only George W. Bush administration produces reports that showed these programs to be positive, these studies were quickly shown to be severely flawed. 

This means that real science does need to protect itself, against your ideology. These people were imprisoned for a short amount of time after refusing to pay fines. Children should be protected from parents who wish to hide information from them in the same way that governments need to protect children from violence. Is it totalitarian to stop parents from beating their children? You are unable to accept the overwhelming evidence that sex education benefits children and society.

You state that “The basic problem with sex education is that rather than warn against risky behavior (and of such is casual sex at a young age) to encourage them.”; This is completely untrue, good sex education teaches that people need to wait until they are ready to have sex and take appropriate precautions when then do. Condoms are freely available, but not handed out to children as you seem to think. This does not contradict the message, as the message is that sex ok when as long as you are protected both physically and mentally. Contraception is generally more than 99.99% effective, whereas abstinence, although 100% effective while being practiced, has been repeatedly shown to be psychologically damaging.

Abstinence is clearly not the only way to stop pregnancy, STIs, AIDs or anything else. Having sex before marriage has been proven not to damage marriage.
(I’d like to note here that my searches for information contained no biased wording and I have not seen any results that disagreed with my views so far)

“Another issue is to ethics (which of course also exists outside of religion, right?) - Do not treat another human being as a sexual toy, that his body be used only to satisfy their own instincts?”
Why not? As long as both parties are consenting and both mentally and physically protected, there is no reason for them not to enjoy physical contact. There are many people who engage in this behaviour because of pre-existing mental issues, yes, but there are also many more that engage in this behaviour with no ill effects.
A strong family unit does benefit children; however, this does not have to include a marriage and can include a same-ex couple. There is no evidence to say otherwise. Children find role models in many areas, not just parents.
You asked why I think your arguments are religious. I think this because you have no valid arguments for your views, they are all contradicted by research, observation and logic. Homosexuality does not damage marriage, it simply contradicts your ideology of marriage. Sex education benefits society. I can see no other reason than your religion to oppose sex education and homosexuality.

The point was not to blame catholics for Nazis. You started this topic by stating that Nazis were atheist, which they were not. They were a collection almost exclusively christian people and they attack churches and priest who opposed their vision of the world. Obviously, the majority of people opposed them, regardless of their beliefs, and were attacked accordingly. I understand that you would not consider them ‘christian’ as their views and actions oppose christianity, but that does not change the fact that they believed they were.

“And why should the "truth" is only what can be "proven"? have a narrow notion of "truth."If something is tangible, you can touch, weigh, examine, identify the structure, describe the structure and properties.”
1. the true  or actual state of a matter: He tried to find out the truth.
2. conformity with fact or reality; verity: the truth of a statement.
3. a verified or indisputable fact, proposition, principle, or the like: mathematical truths.
4. the state or character of being true.
5. actuality or actual existence.

There you go^. For catholicism to be truth, then it would have to be undeniable. To make this a little easier to discuss, we can ignore the existential philosophy that each person can only be sure that they exist and of nothing else.
“For example, the fact that as humans we are different from the animals - ie we have the characteristics which they do not have - such as freedom, reason, consciousness, ability to love, creation, language, etc.”
That does not prove the existence of god. Many animals have reasoning abilities, they create tools, they communicate through language, they can form life long relationships etc.
“For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much — the wheel, New York, wars and so on — whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man — for precisely the same reasons.” – Douglas Adams
“My view of God's existence implies that an intelligent being cannot arise from being that which was not created (which is matter, nature, evolution, etc.).”
That view cannot be considered truth, or even logical; it opposes all observable facts and there is no good reason to believe that an intelligent being cannot evolve.
“Atheists proclaim the irrational view that the wise man was created as a result of random evolution mindless nature. Other atheists in general do not distinguish human from the animal in terms of quality.”
Evolution is not random, while evolution by natural selection is not “somehow aimed” (at humanity or elsewhere, i.e., evolution is directionless), evolution is nevertheless not random because natural selection is about as non-random a force as you could possibly imagine. It selects from variation provided by mutation —although mutation is random—and natural selection, working on random mutation which directs evolution toward improvement. Atheists do not distinguish humans from other animals in terms of their origins.

“ You contradict yourself - after all, most of your anti-religious speech is a mockery of religion, with beliefs, with worship, Bible, etc.. So you fight with God. Your attitude is why I described as grotesque - if God does not exist then why fight it?”
Seriously? Most of this conversation has been pretty simple, but this is really pushing it. Religion, worship, the bible and god are all created by human beings. There have been hundreds of religions in the history of human beings, they were created to explain the things that people could not explain and have died out when better answers were found. People no longer believe that Ra moves the sun across the sky or that lightning is Thor’s wrath. As we discover more, the remaining religions will hopefully disappear. All religions were created by people; the origins of the most recent religions can be traced and studied to show this. A fairly simple example would be:
 I fight against those human beings who follow religion because they oppress others; women, children, homosexuals and anyone not of the same religion. I argue with you because I find your views morally abhorrent, your logic flawed and your knowledge lacking. You use of language is typical of your kind, trying to oppress others and calling it oppression when we try to stop you. You are unable to grasp the idea that stopping someone else marrying because you disagree is oppressive, not the other way around.

“What is "homophobic nonsense"? Have I said untrue?”
Yes, repeatedly. ”Two people who love each other and can’t have children” is a description that fits many heterosexual couples and is not a good reason to stop them from getting married. You state that somehow homosexuality is different from infertility, but there is no logic or even explanation behind that. I have already addressed several of your mis-conceptions about homosexuality, for example, your statement that it is un-natural and that it can be ‘cured’.

With regards to sex education, I believe you have 3 options;
1)    Prove that the studies I have shown you are flawed so much that they are incorrect and show me studies that have been conducted correctly that also support your views. If you do this, I will change my point of view accordingly.
2)    Conclude that the studies I have shown you are sufficient evidence and change your view accordingly.
3)    Admit that the studies I have shown are not flawed and explain why you will not change your view despite the evidence.

In fact, you can apply the same option to all of the arguments.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

When do I give up?

 After I decide not to react to the old lady who said "It's because of all the foreigners in the country, making it hard for white people to get jobs", I have been thinking about when to keep quiet and when to fight my corner. Recent Facebook discussions with Kamila's brother-in-law, about human-rights/religion, have always tailed off with resolution. I feel that I have been coming out on top, mostly because he is unable to sufficiently defend his views and descends in to him spouting clich├ęs and insults. As with all arguments/discussions, I find it frustrating that people are unable or unwilling to change their viewpoint in the face of any amount of evidence, logic or reasoning.

 I see the subjects I tackle as ones which have complicated, but correct, answers. The issue arises when the other party, as they inevitably do, refuses to change their view. How far should I push it? I feel that I should always stand up for the truth and tell people when I think they're wrong. As recent arguments have shown, they are wrong through religious indoctrination and lack of facts. What if someone eventually listens? I think it's worth upsetting a few people if they're in the wrong. Even if I can't change them, shouldn't they still be told they are wrong? These are not taste-based, 'which band is best' debates, they are fact-based 'unicorns exist' debates. While I can't prove empirically that unicorns don't exist, we can see that they were created as fiction and there is no evidence to show otherwise.

 The most recent example would be the enforcement of sex education, which was labelled as totalitarian, indoctrination and propaganda. Here is the original article which prompted the discussion, a google translate should be enough to understand the story. I see this as one of those fact vs. faith issues, rather than one of opinion. A lot of people have the opinion that sex education for young people is damaging, but studies have shown that it lowers teen pregnancy, lowers STD cases and produces healthier sex lives once those children mature.This article is the latest to give good results, it also is a good demonstration of the scientific method setting the boundaries; we don't need to take sex education too far, because we can't see any benefits. As I said before, this wasn't much of a discussion, as the other party refused to address any of these points and resorted to comparing atheists to Hitler, again. Do I leave it alone once he stops answering? I assume he thinks he's won, all scientific evidence that contradicts him is politically motived and therefore not fact. Could forcing him to address these issues with me make a difference? Could he realise that he is wrong? I've heard Ray Comfort be repeatedly berated and educated on evolution, but he is still unable to grasp the concept.

 Have movies lied to me again? Can people really not see the error of their ways and become 'enlightened'? Would it help if I was Jennifer Aniston?