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genghiscant

Project Reason

http://www.project-reason.org/about/
The Boyg

They've got another club. That's nice for them.
genghiscant

Quote:
They've got another club. That's nice for them.


Yes, but we've got a long way to go before we reach the 38000 clubs that you've got.
The Boyg

genghiscant wrote:
Quote:
They've got another club. That's nice for them.


Yes, but we've got a long way to go before we reach the 38000 clubs that you've got.


There's no need to be jealous, I'm sure you'll get there in the end.
Leonard James

Re: Project Reason

genghiscant wrote:
http://www.project-reason.org/about/

Splendid! It's nice to see concrete moves to combat the sick indoctrination of religion that ensnares so many innocent people.
cyberman

What are "secular values"?
Shaker

cyberman wrote:
What are "secular values"?

Values which are based on secular foundations, I'd imagine, i.e. those which don't take a religious ethos and religiously-based values into account. A value which is not predicated on the perceived wishes/desires/wants/needs of an alleged supernatural figure, I guess.
cyberman

Shaker wrote:
cyberman wrote:
What are "secular values"?

Values which are based on secular foundations, I'd imagine, i.e. those which don't take a religious ethos and religiously-based values into account. A value which is not predicated on the perceived wishes/desires/wants/needs of an alleged supernatural figure, I guess.


And which values are those? This is just rephrasing the label; you haven't told me what values can be labelled as secular values.
Shaker

cyberman wrote:
And which values are those? This is just rephrasing the label; you haven't told me what values can be labelled as secular values.

I don't see it as simply "rephrasing"; the concept that values can be constructed without reference to a supposed supernatural entity and its assumed wants/wishes/needs/desires seems clear and distinctive enough to me - clear and distinctive enough a difference from religiously-predicated values, I mean.

Try this on for size. I assert that a religiously-based worldview is founded ultimately (sometimes proximately, sometimes not, but always ultimately) upon four specific and discrete things - faith; authority; tradition; revelation. That as far as I can see is what makes any given value a distinctively religiously-inspired and religiously-motivated value. A secular value is one which doesn't admit these four things as admissible ways of forming values.

Of course, any given value can still be arrived at - coincidentally - from a religious or a secular perspective. Take, as an example, the current debate about assisted dying. Arguably the lion's share of opposition comes from those who espouse a religious worldview as previously defined (F/A/T/R). Nevertheless, there are those religious figures - Lord Carey and Desmond Tutu are exemplars here - who fully support the concept. They're religious men, not irreligious ones. Or take today's vote by the C of E to accept the ordination of female bishops. Once you hack your way through the thickets of verbiage, what these decisions ultimately boil down to is the the opinion that "[My conception of what I believe to be] God [in my personal opinion] approves of this [or contariwise] God disapproves of this." We know that most of the non-religious general public supports a law change in favour of strictly-safeguarded assisted dying. So do some religious people.

In short, two disparate groups of people - disparate because of the complete divergence of their views of the world and the nature of reality - have come to the same destination, but by a different route. When such coincidences occur the salient difference then becomes one of primary motive or worldview.
cyberman

So when Project Reason are asking for money so that they can promote "secular values", they just mean values which could be espoused by anyone?

What I don't recognise from what you have written above is your formulation along the lines of "I am against [e.g.] assisted dying simply because I think God is against it". As with women priests, one arrives at ones own conclusions about what is right and what is wrong. I think you are making an unjust assumption (you're not the only one to do this!) that theists are lazy and unreflective.
Shaker

Ballsed up a post AGAIN Sincere apologies - I've tried to rescue it as well as I'm able.

cyberman wrote:
So when Project Reason are asking for money so that they can promote "secular values", they just mean values which could be espoused by anyone?


By anyone only coincidentally, as already described. I don't know that much about Project Reason - it's an American intitiative - but I assume that they favour secular values as I have defined them, i.e. values which are not informed by reference to religious concepts, values informed by a naturalistic worldview.

cyberman wrote:
What I don't recognise from what you have written above is your formulation along the lines of "I am against [e.g.] assisted dying simply because I think God is against it". As with women priests, one arrives at ones own conclusions about what is right and what is wrong. I think you are making an unjust assumption (you're not the only one to do this!) that theists are lazy and unreflective.


No. The rock upon which this founders, in the end, is here: "one arrives at ones own conclusions about what is right and what is wrong." That's simply not entirely true, is it? For a convinced religious believer, they don't typically arrive at their own conclusions - their conclusions are informed by their religious tradition: by faith, by authority, by tradition and by revelation. No religion does without these entirely but they emphasise each component differently. There's a very different admixture of these depending on religious denomination. Catholicism is especially hot on all four. Arguably Islam likewise. Buddhism sits very loose to the four components but doesn't dispense with them entirely - Tibetan Buddhism in particular is strong on all four but not as much so as Catholicism. Liberal Christianity = faith and revelation, the others not so much. Orthodox Christianity all four. And so forth.

Their views are informed, coloured if you like, by the religious tradition to which they belong which rests ultimately, all window-dressing aside, on an assumed, on an alleged supernatural force or forces. Whether that's one god, several gods or some other supranatural entity or force, the ultimate buck-stopping rationale resides there. That doesn't happen in an entirely secular worldview - the sort that I assume Project Reason actively supports and espouses.

It's not so much that theists are lazy and unreflective, but from a strictly secular point of view it's that the things which theists may reflect upon and which inform their values are deemed from a strictly secular p.o.v. to be insufficiently certain, insufficiently rigorous, vague, unproven, untested, untestable and therefore inadmissible. A firm warrant for such value-basing criteria is missing, in other words. Everybody can have a rational, evidence-based discussion on, for instance, the Government's policy with regard to benefits cuts and the impact on the poor, the sick and the unemployed. On the secular view everybody can chip in to that one on an equal footing. But if somebody bases their values on their religious beliefs, in some intrinsic sense they automatically exclude anyone and everyone who doesn't share them. In practical terms they may well arrive at even an identical conclusion, but they will have got there by a wholly different route. The Catholic Church disagrees with and disapproves of abortion. Convinced and confirmed atheists such as Christopher Hitchens and Nat Hentoff disagree(d) with and disapprove(d) of abortion (Hitchens is dead, Hentoff is still alive), but it's fair to say that their views rest on fundamentally different premises; the agreement is purely coincidental.

A few years back the admirable Richard Holloway wrote a good book called Godless Morality in which he argued that for the good of one and all it would be better to keep religious belief out of ethical discussions (about abortion, assisted dying, and so forth) for precisely this reason - doing so levels the playing field. It admits everyone to the table on an equal footing.
cyberman

Shaker wrote:
it would be better to keep religious belief out of ethical discussions (about abortion, assisted dying, and so forth).


I entirely agree. But, for some reason, whenever I debate abortion or euthanasia on forums like this, my (usually atheist) opponents keep bringing God into it. I wonder why they do that?
Shaker

cyberman wrote:
I entirely agree. But, for some reason, whenever I debate abortion or euthanasia on forums like this, my (usually atheist) opponents keep bringing God into it. I wonder why they do that?


They're not bringing God into the discussion for their own sakes, though, are they? Chances are what you're referring to is people complaining about religious belief being invoked as though it's a discussion-stopper - a religious warrant being deemed to be enough to ride roughshod over the different beliefs or non-beliefs of others. While same-sex marriage was being floated we had religious groups of various stripes arguing not merely that they were against it but that it shouldn't be allowed, shouldn't go ahead, shouldn't be permitted - not just for their own acolytes but for anybody and everybody (who might want to avail themselves of it). We see the same thing with the abortion debate, stem cell research, assisted dying. In the words of A.C. Grayling:

Quote:
The great premise of the moraliser is this: I donít like it, so you mustnít do it; I donít like it, so youíre not allowed to see it; I donít like it, so you canít read it. That is the great premise of the moraliserówanting to close things down for other people.
cyberman

Shaker wrote:


They're not bringing God into the discussion for their own sakes, though, are they? Chances are what you're referring to is people complaining about religious belief being invoked as though it's a discussion-stopper - a religious warrant being deemed to be enough to ride roughshod over the different beliefs or non-beliefs of others.


Absolutely not. What I am talking about is when I give reasons for wanting abortion restricted etc. - which I do without any reference whatsoever to God or religion - they often end up saying things like "you are trying to impose your religious beliefs on everyone" or quite often "if God doesn't like abortions why are there miscarriages?"

It is they who are trying to use religion as a discussion stopper, in fact. Although I don't mention religion, they are playing a "Your views are religious, and therefore inadmissable" card.
Powwow

I would have no faith if I cut my God out of life and death.
cyberman

pow wow wrote:
I would have no faith if I cut my God out of life and death.


But if a pro-life position is right (which I believe it is) then it has to be possible (and is possible) to explain good reasons for that position to people who don't believe in God, without expecting them to first start believing in God and then listen to your arguments.

I think my reasons for believing that, for example, 23 week foetuses feel pain and have a right to be resuscitated if delivered early etc., which don't require the hearer to share my ideas about God.
Shaker

cyberman wrote:
Absolutely not. What I am talking about is when I give reasons for wanting abortion restricted etc. - which I do without any reference whatsoever to God or religion - they often end up saying things like "you are trying to impose your religious beliefs on everyone"

Perhaps not with regard to you personally but in general there's a precedent for this, is there not?

Quote:
or quite often "if God doesn't like abortions why are there miscarriages?"

In itself a perfectly good question.

Quote:
It is they who are trying to use religion as a discussion stopper, in fact. Although I don't mention religion, they are playing a "Your views are religious, and therefore inadmissable" card.

You don't mention religion? Ever? At all?
Shaker

cyberman wrote:
I think my reasons for believing that, for example, 23 week foetuses feel pain and have a right to be resuscitated if delivered early etc., which don't require the hearer to share my ideas about God.

That's both a good and a bad example.

Bad, because that specific position isn't supported by any current medical evidence.

On the other hand, it's a good example not so much in and of itself but it's the kind of discussion which can be had by all. Pain is bad and should be avoided wherever possible - all but a minority of sadists agree on this, so that's the sort of principle which can get everyone around the table regardless of their beliefs about the nature of reality, supernatural figures and the like. If values are grounded in human givens, basic facts about reality - pain is bad and to be avoided, likewise fear, and so on and so forth - I think you stand a vastly better chance of coming to a working consensus than if people are talking past each other, some espousing that position whilst others are grounding their values in a transcendental, immaterial, supernatural entity/realm.

Holloway's godless morality at work, I'd say.
Powwow

I agree Cyber, since atheists have no idea when life begins they shouldn't be all for killing the innocent. Ask the atheist marxist when exactly life begins and of course the evidence to prove it. I don't buy the, feel pain, idea. Nor that some magic happens when the baby passes through the birth canal. Nor do i think a parent or doctor has the right to kill a sick little baby like they do in Belgium. Does a pregnant lady go around talking to a non life form in her belly? No, she knows that's no non life in there, she is talking to her child.
Feel no pain, well that bodes well for those with leprosy if the atheist marxist gets in a position of authority. Yikes, God preserve us! And then of course one must ask the atheist(leaving God out of it) how he can say yes to abortion but not if you are killing the non life cause it's female.
As far as trying to convince a godless atheist marxist of anything, can't be bothered unless they try and preach to my loved ones or try to force their BS onto our Christians schools over here. Atheism, world wide is shrinking and that is a positive thing.
Shaker

pow wow wrote:
Atheism, world wide is shrinking and that is a positive thing.


Is it?

According to whom?
cyberman

Shaker wrote:
cyberman wrote:
Absolutely not. What I am talking about is when I give reasons for wanting abortion restricted etc. - which I do without any reference whatsoever to God or religion - they often end up saying things like "you are trying to impose your religious beliefs on everyone"

Perhaps not with regard to you personally but in general there's a precedent for this, is there not?

Quote:
or quite often "if God doesn't like abortions why are there miscarriages?"

In itself a perfectly good question.

Quote:
It is they who are trying to use religion as a discussion stopper, in fact. Although I don't mention religion, they are playing a "Your views are religious, and therefore inadmissable" card.

You don't mention religion? Ever? At all?


Not when I'm having that particular debate, no. What would be the point? It would be like you telling me that voting for party X is clearly what David Lloyd George or the Harlem Globetrotters would have wanted me to do. Why would I care?
cyberman

Shaker wrote:
that specific position isn't supported by any current medical evidence..


It is.

In neonatal units they used ot not give pain relief to prems born at 23 - 25 weeks, because they thought they could feel no pain. Now they know that that is not the case, so now they do give them pain relief. I have first hand experience of this. Why would they waste all that morphine if there was no evdience at all that the babies felt pain?
Shaker

cyberman wrote:
Shaker wrote:
that specific position isn't supported by any current medical evidence..


It is.

In neonatal units they used ot not give pain relief to prems born at 23 - 25 weeks, because they thought they could feel no pain. Now they know that that is not the case, so now they do give them pain relief. I have first hand experience of this. Why would they waste all that morphine if there was no evdience at all that the babies felt pain?


So where is the medical evidence, or rather, at what point in the last four years did the evidence appear to render this story out of date?
cyberman

Shaker wrote:
cyberman wrote:
Shaker wrote:
that specific position isn't supported by any current medical evidence..


It is.

In neonatal units they used ot not give pain relief to prems born at 23 - 25 weeks, because they thought they could feel no pain. Now they know that that is not the case, so now they do give them pain relief. I have first hand experience of this. Why would they waste all that morphine if there was no evdience at all that the babies felt pain?


So where is the medical evidence, or rather, at what point in the last four years did the evidence appear to render this story out of date?


I don't know. But eight years ago when my daughter was born she was given morphine, as were the 23 weekers (mine was 25 weeks) and we were told that this was a change as in the recent past it had been thought that they didn't feel pain.

So my evidence is medical professionals telling me so. I don't know what their evidence is.
Shaker

cyberman wrote:
So my evidence is medical professionals telling me so. I don't know what their evidence is.

That's rather what I was hoping to find out!

ETA: Hold on, I knew something was niggling away at me and I've just re-read your latest post. You wrote:

Quote:
But eight years ago when my daughter was born she was given morphine, as were the 23 weekers (mine was 25 weeks) and we were told that this was a change as in the recent past it had been thought that they didn't feel pain.


Eight years ago - 2006. But the article I linked to comes from 2010 - four years later. The evidence supporting no pain before 24 weeks is more recent than what you were told.

What you can take from this is that what you were told in 2006 - that it was formerly believed that 23-weekers felt no pain, though that was no longer believed by somebody or other in 2006 - was actually subsequently borne out by later evidence.
cyberman

It clearly isn't compelling, because they haven't reverted the practice; and it certainly was the case that when they spoke to me, they had previously believed that they felt no pain.
Shaker

cyberman wrote:
It clearly isn't compelling, because they haven't reverted the practice; and it certainly was the case that when they spoke to me, they had previously believed that they felt no pain.

Why isn't it "clear"? You're referring to something said to you eight years ago. I'm referring to a scientific study of four years ago.
Ketty

http://www.doctorsonfetalpain.com...nce/3-documentation/#.U8YTxqhg-t8

It seems that this subject to ongoing research in medical science with no total agreement.  The dead foetus is not going to spring back to life with the gift of speech to say 'actually, when you ripped off my leg, to say it hurt is an understatement'.
cyberman

Shaker wrote:
cyberman wrote:
It clearly isn't compelling, because they haven't reverted the practice; and it certainly was the case that when they spoke to me, they had previously believed that they felt no pain.

Why isn't it "clear"? You're referring to something said to you eight years ago. I'm referring to a scientific study of four years ago.


Oh I see - no, I am still in touch with neonatal nurses and doctors, and I know they haven't stopped giving them morphine. Out of interest, if you were to stand there day and night jabbing pins into a premature baby delievred at, say, 24 weeks, at what point do you imagine it would start to hurt them?
Betty

cyberman wrote:


I think my reasons for believing that, for example, 23 week foetuses feel pain and have a right to be resuscitated if delivered early etc., which don't require the hearer to share my ideas about God.


It's very rare for a healthy 23 week foetus to be aborted, mind you. Most abortions are carried out on foetuses that are less than 16 weeks. It's not sensible to use your understanding of the foetus at 23 weeks to support your view on abortion generally.
cyberman

Betty wrote:
cyberman wrote:


I think my reasons for believing that, for example, 23 week foetuses feel pain and have a right to be resuscitated if delivered early etc., which don't require the hearer to share my ideas about God.


It's very rare for a healthy 23 week foetus to be aborted, mind you. Most abortions are carried out on foetuses that are less than 16 weeks. It's not sensible to use your understanding of the foetus at 23 weeks to support your view on abortion generally.


But it is sensible to use it to inform my view about aborting 23 and 24 weekers, though, isn't it?

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