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Momentous Big Bang Findings Questioned

Fesh Re:Peer review (154 comments)

I'm really glad to see folks pushing back against the junk history that's being used to beat Catholics over the head. Kudos!

about 4 months ago
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Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

Fesh Re:Are you kidding (818 comments)

Spontaneous miscarriage is not the result of a willed choice on the part of the woman. It's just the way the human body naturally works. When you engage your free will to actively end a life, however, that's when you're on the wrong side of the line.

about 5 months ago
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Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

Fesh Re:Are you kidding (818 comments)

In a way, you're absolutely right. In others, not so much.

about 5 months ago
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Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

Fesh Re:Are you kidding (818 comments)

Adding my support to P/GP. The Catholic Church is much more concerned for and supportive of the poor and disadvantaged than she gets credit for. But somehow we get lumped in with the worst that the Protestants have on offer after doing 2000+ years of philosophical inquiry into what it means to be a human being.

The main thing is that Catholics who are faithful to the teachings of the church do not fit anywhere in the narrowly-defined left/right spectrum that people use to try to understand politics in the US. Speaking for myself, I can't throw my support behind any party currently on stage. I tend to agree with the Libertarians because that direction gives the best chance for dismantling the centralized power structures and implementing something more in line with the principle of Subsidiarity. I'd encourage anyone who's tired of the choices we've been presented with over the last few decades to have a look at Distributism.

about 5 months ago
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The Quiet Fury of Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates

Fesh Re:They could afford the talent with enough money (341 comments)

The system is upside down. The people with the most power should live locally and be elected locally.

Couldn't agree with you more on that one. One of the reasons I'm such a big fan of Distributism.

about 8 months ago
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The Quiet Fury of Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates

Fesh Re:No, there is no proficiency test (341 comments)

Living in Alabama, I have to wonder if some states have the maturity to be responsible for their own governance... I'm convinced that the only reason we have Interstates is that the Feds paid for all of it. And I say that as a believer in States' Rights... I just don't know how to let states have completely free rein and still have a decently uniform standard of living across the nation. Heck, we don't even have a uniform standard of living now...

about 8 months ago
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The Quiet Fury of Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates

Fesh Re:Cranky for a military takeover, are we? (341 comments)

When they actually pay that rate without using dodges and loopholes... Let's be honest here. The middle class doesn't have the same access to accountants and lawyers, so appealing to the rate is meaningless if you're trying to argue that the plutocrats are paying just as much as the average worker.

about 8 months ago
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Thieves Who Stole Cobalt-60 Will Soon Be Dead

Fesh Re:Tough luck.. (923 comments)

Crap. Bad moderation. Sorry...

about 9 months ago
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Healthcare.gov and the Gulf Between Planning and Reality

Fesh Re:guy at the top was in on the ruse too (494 comments)

One thing I've wondered, though... If the market predicts that the project will fail and then the project is cancelled based on the market prediction... Do the payouts for the people who bet on failure still go through?

about 10 months ago
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Red Cross Wants Consequences For Video-Game Mayhem

Fesh Re:Man i hate this game (288 comments)

Lately it seems to me that the real cops are behaving much more like the GTA ones than "legally and sanely".

about a year ago
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U.S. Government: Sorry, We're Closed

Fesh Re:Fucking idiots (1532 comments)

Refusing to authorize a raise in the debt ceiling would create a situation where the President is legally bound to do two different things (he MUST spend the money, but he's NOT authorized to do so).

For whataever reason it's being done, my impression is that this administration no longer feels legally bound to much of anything if it's not in the interests of those in charge.

about a year ago
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Obama Asks FCC To Make Carriers Unlock All Mobile Devices

Fesh Re:Cell radio nets shuold be a single entity (378 comments)

So basically exactly the same argument for creating a monopoly across the wireless spectrum that was used to create monopolies across wired infrastructure. Look at the history of electrical and wired telephone rollout... Everything went fine until--

The monopolies lobbied for and got deregulation. Now there is no accountability and we get to either accept it or not have electricity and telephone communication.

Look, I get the economic benefits of centralizing. But to pretend that the monopoly formed will stay regulated in perpetuity flies in the face of history. In fact, given the way change has accelerated, I wouldn't give you a decade before a scheme became corrupted.

1 year,3 days
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Members of Parliament Demand Explanation For Detention of David Miranda

Fesh Re:Would not have expected? (321 comments)

Common sense needs a common perception of reality in order to be effective. Relativism has pretty well destroyed that common base, and so the sense went with it.

about a year ago
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DEA Program "More Troubling" Than NSA

Fesh Re:Joking about serious things? (432 comments)

That's why the National Guard would be used instead of the Active Duty personnel.

about a year ago
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US Lawmakers Want Sanctions On Any Country Taking In Snowden

Fesh Re:Money has corrupted everything (650 comments)

There is less difference than many suppose between the ideal Socialist system, in which the big businesses are run by the State, and the present Capitalist system, in which the State is run by the big businesses.

G. K. Chesterton

about a year ago
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US Director of National Intelligence Admits He Was Wrong About Data Collection

Fesh Re:wrong? (296 comments)

This is what I like about Slashdot. I can always find something new to learn. You're right that I've been guilty of prejudice in thinking that nihilism and solipsism were the position that modern atheism is based on. I see that in assuming that, I've disrespected you and many other people. I apologize sincerely for that. Equally so, I respect the amount of thought that you've put into this conversation and thank you for taking the time to discuss this rationally. And I agree totally with the distinction of society and government/corporate power that you elaborate here. My wording was imprecise. However, corporate interests appear to be driving the overall culture, and don't see that culture respecting individuals the way you so eloquently describe it.

That being said, you seem to be much smarter than me as well as much better read, so you've got plenty of firepower at your disposal that I don't have the capability to answer. My only choice at this point is to say, "Well played, sir."

I don't reject outright the existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or godlike pink unicorns. The universe is simply too large and we don't know nearly enough about it for me to be arrogant enough to reject even the possibility of such things. I believe in a God that loves each and every one of us as a child made in His image and likeness. A God that only wants the best for us, despite the poor choices we insist on making. Now I know that the Old Testament seems to refute that, but if you asked a child to write a story about their parent after being punished for unacceptable behavior, you wouldn't get a very flattering result either. Christ's coming was an attempt to rescue us from childish behavior and clarify God's nature which we have consistently misunderstood.

I've come to this belief in God by way of personal experience, and of course I can't expect anyone to accept that as evidence. Being cured of an addiction to pornography instantly and completely after deciding that you're lonely enough to return to the church you were raised in has a way of doing that to a guy, though. I know how weak it looks, but this belief is what I need to get through each day without shutting down due to the pointlessness of it all. Your mileage appears to vary.

There's a few things that I don't understand, though, and I'd be interested to see what your answers are.

1) If the Golden Rule is completely sufficient for deriving what is moral versus immoral behavior, then is it morally justified for a masochist to torture someone or a suicidal person to commit murder? The wording I'm familiar with doesn't contain exceptions for deviant ways of wanting to be treated. Also, the fist-swinging wording doesn't seem to allow for self-defense the way I understand it.

2) When does human life begin? At what point does the Golden Rule start applying? Biologically speaking, human life begins at fertilization but there seems to be some controversy over when that life becomes worthy of being treated like a person.

3) How is "Life has value because life values itself" not a tautology? Because my understanding was that basing an argument on a tautology is a logical fallacy. And even if it's not a tautology, it does appear to assume itself and thus beg the question. I'd appreciate being corrected on this matter.

Again, well played, sir. I wish you all the best in life.

about a year ago
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US Director of National Intelligence Admits He Was Wrong About Data Collection

Fesh Re:wrong? (296 comments)

Ok, good. Now we're getting somewhere.

I'll lay my cards on the table here. Postmodern philosophy (if you're intellectually honest and you follow things to their logical conclusion) eventually leads one to conclude that nihilism and solipsism is the only rationally defensible position. And if you've done that, we're done with the conversation because we're not playing on the same board. That's the limit of rational truth in this universe. I believe Gödel incompleteness was mentioned earlier, and that's absolutely true. If you choose to only believe rational truths and reject faith in unprovable truths, we have no basis for argument.

But I suspect that a lot of people are uncomfortable with that. Something inside us doesn't like those choices very much. You can come up with all sorts of rationalizations to comfort yourself, but if you're interested in nothing but rational truths that's the road you're led down. Now you can argue that belief in God is just another of those rationalizations, and you wouldn't be logically wrong in thinking that. But that doesn't make it any less valid of a coping method than any other you could come up with (such as ignoring the problem altogether and not thinking through the logic). So the hostility of some atheists towards religious is not the result of an honest search for the truth, in my opinion.

Now points 1 and 2 I concede. It's a symptom of stereotyping, and also assuming that anyone who's honesty searching for truth yet trying to take God out of the picture must necessarily have followed the logic all the way to nihilism. But those don't really hurt my argument.

Now as to the value of human life, something either has value or it doesn't, yes? Ignore intrinsic vs. extrinsic for a moment. Something either has value or it doesn't. If the value is extrinsic, in other words, dependent on circumstance, then it's not guaranteed to be there at all times. Value can be reassigned or taken away. Only if value is intrinsic does it stay no matter what the external circumstances are. That's why I believe objection #3 is invalid. Once again, if you're all way down the road to nihilism, it doesn't matter and nothing I say is going to make a difference anyway.

Now the question of value is important because the Golden Rule is not a reality in itself but is dependent for meaning on whether or not you value other individuals enough to take their well-being into account. There doesn't seem to be any rational basis for the belief in inalienable human rights (as mentioned in the Declaration of Independence) other than the intrinsic value of human life. I'd be happy to learn of any other logically supported grounds for our rights as individuals. So if inalienable rights depend on the value of human life, they can't be inalienable if based on extrinsic value and can be taken away due to external circumstances. So inalienable rights depend on intrinsic human value. Now again, if you're a nihilist or a solipsist, then the Golden Rule doesn't really apply to you anyway, right? You just prefer to live that way, you're not rationally required to.

Now as to #4, I would be interested in other suggestions for another basis for the value human beings such that there is a rational argment for the existence of individual rights. My life experience has led me to make the leap of faith that my theology is a sufficient basis. Given other arguments for the existence of God and none against other than "you can't prove it!", it seems to me that Occam's razor favors that notion.

So here's the bottom line. Our society has lost focus on the value of individual human life and has cheapened it to such an extent that we're all just cogs in a bureaucratic machine, easily replaced and only valued as long as someone's making money off it. So yeah, you're absolutely right about the dismal state of affairs regarding lawyers. It wasn't intended to be this way, as evidenced by the writings of the founding fathers. There was a belief that self-government of individuals was an inalienable right. That right has been usurped as we've forgotten the value of human life over the desire for short-term satisfaction.

So to bring things back around... All of the crap that the government has been pulling behind our backs, all the lying and unconstitutional behavior, has as its root cause the lack of respect for the value of individuals. Until we get that back, we might as well bend over and take it or go all French Revolution in reverse because we won't be able to recover what made this country great over the years.

about a year ago
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US Director of National Intelligence Admits He Was Wrong About Data Collection

Fesh Re:wrong? (296 comments)

Well, just enumerate off the top of the list, then. I'm interested in exactly what erroneous assumptions I've made. Or are you full of it?

about a year ago

Submissions

Fesh hasn't submitted any stories.

Journals

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Fesh Fesh writes  |  more than 12 years ago

Huh. Interesting concept. Not quite sure what it's good for.

Ah well.

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