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View Diary: I am a fundamentalist (278 comments)

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  •  We do not disagree (0+ / 0-)

    my point is that a rational approach differs from one where we make value decisions purely based on emotion. Championing a "fundamentalist" approach to "sacred" text, in the context of the cultural framing those words lend, would tend to support the notion that we need not reflect, review critically, or even question the merit of certain assertions - merely because they appear in a "sacred" document.

    I have argued that, on the contrary, a rational approach to policymaking and setting the standards of a civilized, pluralist society is better served with a rational approach to determining the principles and core values upon which that policymaking and standard-setting are to be based.

    To use a tangible example, two possible approaches to a woman's right to choose could be: "God imbues an egg with a soul upon conception, therefore abortion is murder." Following with an emotional, unquestioning response to this belief leads to further beliefs, such as "Blastocysts are little people, they feel pain, and are crying out for our protection. Women seeking abortions are evil feminists. There is no difference between birth control or a third-trimester abortion, it's all murder".

    An alternative approach would be say, "this is a case of asserting conflicting rights, we operate according the principle that a secular, impartial legal system should determine how to adjudicate conflicting rights. and we should rely on all available evidence to determine what rights are primary (or empirically even exist) according to our secular legal system".

    To help us make this determination, we should review what scientific research has taught us about the nature of a fertilized egg and all the potential interim stages may go through en route to being born. We should take into consideration all the legal precedent that has determined what principle rights an adult citizen has, whether those rights can be ignored or violated because they, by nature of nature, carry a fertilized egg to term in their own bodies, what rights, if any, a potential citizen may have, when the rights of a citizen come into existence, what implications such a decision has for society as a whole and the long term interests of preserving and realizing the core principles upon which our legal system is based. We should also consider and hear the moral arguments of various religious doctrines - but, according to our core principles, those may not dictate secular law governing civil or human rights.

    Note how much more complicated, exhausting and difficult to even articulate the rational process is.

    So much easier to just "go with the gut".

    However, the whole foundation of the American experiment is the notion that "going with the gut" has led only to tyranny, ignorance and suffering, and that the way to ensure a stable, just society, is to rely on human's ability to reason, and, based upon rational grounds - the things we all share, such as empirical evidence, logic and prior agreements based on same  - to come to common agreement.

    It is remarkable to me how little discussion, out of hundreds of comments on this diary, actually address the substance, and how many entirely address personalities, imagined grievances, side topics, unrelated topics, or are just "attaboys".

    Where is the substantive discussion on a substantive diary? Where are the substantive rebuttals to critical responses to the diary?

    Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

    by RandomActsOfReason on Wed May 05, 2010 at 10:08:26 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

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