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What the extremist-fundamentalists ignore

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In other words, you're a Christian who doesn't believe in the Golden Rule.

Non sequitur. LaClair is either thinking illogically or lying.

I believe in the Golden Rule as based on unalienable rights endowed by a Creator, not in "univeral" (where "universal" doesn't mean universal) values built on a tautological foundation that is said to result in the Golden Rule.

Blather, rinse, repeat.

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What "facts" need to be considered in coming up with a system of ethics?  You insist on sticking with "our common humanity" even though I've pointed out that it's essentially a tautology that leads nowhere.  You concede the point, then reiterate the need for facts--but which facts?

Based on everything else that has been written, the facts have to do with the kind of species we are and our preferences, which flow in substantial part from our nature. Just because you "point out" that the most elemental fact about us is tautological doesn't mean that it is. You don't really think that your say-so makes it fact do you? So why keep reminding us what you've "pointed out" that we're not buying?

You want our humanity to mean nothing unless the God you believe in created us. Sorry, Bub, but it means plenty to me either way.

The only concession is the concession stand we should set up to watch Bryan make a fool of himself.

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Guest Melanie
The last sentence is too ambiguous to allow to pass.

What "facts" need to be considered in coming up with a system of ethics?  You insist on sticking with "our common humanity" even though I've pointed out that it's essentially a tautology that leads nowhere.  You concede the point, then reiterate the need for facts--but which facts?

Odds are you'll play a shell game with the facts and end up appealing to ends-based morality--a strategy that fallaciously begs the question.

You can't get there using "all humans are human" (tautology), but you can get there with "all men (humans) are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights."

You reject the formula that works in favor of one that doesn't.

If I start with that premise, then I have fallaciously begged the question of whether the moral system I'm proposing is morally right.

How would you justify claiming that we must reason the issue based on a fallacy?

Seriously, Paul, why continue this charade of pretending you have some idea what you're talking about?

Same argument, different words.

Even if we were suppose that human experience is shared (a proposition vigorously opposed by modern philosophers of a postmodernist bent (such as the recently-deceased Richard Rorty), we don't get from there to the universally shared values that Paul trumpeted earlier.

To be sure, logic is foreign to the argument you're advancing.

What core priniciple is that?  Is this where you magically turn universally* shared experiences ("is") into universal* values ("ought")?

*the reader should be aware that LaClair uses these terms to mean ~universally and ~universal where ~="not"

There is if you just tried to cross the is/ought divide, which appears to be the case, and there is if you intend to imply that a set of values is logically implied by anything you've written, which also appears to be the case.

Sorry, but I don't go along with gratuitously re-assigning meanings to words that conflict directly with their ordinary meanings.

I think it's misleading and/or dishonest.

I'll point out yet again, that you're pulling a fast one.  Me wanting me to be healthy does not mean that I share a value with George X who wants George X to be healthy.  Our values are parallel--not shared.

When you present the situation otherwise, people are likely to be misled--it's the equivalent of lying to them.

This is exactly why getting specific definitions is so critical in logical reasoning.  Ambiguous terms tend to lead to fallacious reasoning.

People like Paul can prey on those who don't pay close attention.

Speaking of supposedly universal values--you wouldn't want people to mislead you with fallacies of ambiguity--would you, Paul?

Yes, I'm overjoyed that you wasted everyone's time by posting the same argument again in different words without addressing the problems that have been pointed out numerous times.

Cut the charade.  You don't know what you're talking about.  Stop pretending.

Picking up especially on this (Bryan): "Even if we were suppose that human experience is shared (a proposition vigorously opposed by modern philosophers of a postmodernist bent (such as the recently-deceased Richard Rorty), we don't get from there to the universally shared values that Paul trumpeted earlier."

Bryan, the name-dropping isn't useful. There's little point in speaking in shorthand for a philosopher, dead or alive.

More important, you're missing the central point. Paul is referring to how we value our lives intrinsically. In that sense, "values" refers to things like health and happiness. You seem to be arguing against a different point, shifting the definition of values outside the individual. The argument that our common humanity is a sound foundation for ethics, etc., is that we all value the same basic things, such as health and happiness. Once we recognize that in each other, we have a basis for doing unto others as we would have them do unto us. There are people who criticize that idea, but I happen to think it's pretty good, far better than imagining that there is a creator who caused the whole thing to be this way.

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Picking up especially on this (Bryan): "Even if we were suppose that human experience is shared (a proposition vigorously opposed by modern philosophers of a postmodernist bent (such as the recently-deceased Richard Rorty), we don't get from there to the universally shared values that Paul trumpeted earlier."

Bryan, the name-dropping isn't useful. There's little point in speaking in shorthand for a philosopher, dead or alive.

At the very least, it provides a keyword that might enable those who don't have a clue about postmodernism to begin to explore the idea.

Some won't be curious enough to do that. That's okay. Nobody's forcing them.

More important, you're missing the central point. Paul is referring to how we value our lives intrinsically.

^_^

I doubt it, but do go on.

In that sense, "values" refers to things like health and happiness.

The intrinsic so-called "values" of good health and happiness only apply to one for whom it is intrinsic, AFAICT. How is it intrinsically good for me if Joe Smith is healthy and happy?

I've brought this to Paul's attention several times. He doesn't address it. I don't expect you to do any better, even if you're brave enough to try.

You seem to be arguing against a different point, shifting the definition of values outside the individual.

Paul called the values "universal." Values that do not stretch beyond the individual are not "universal" values. They are individual values.

I think you misunderstand Paul's point, and even if you don't you're not helping him out any.

The argument that our common humanity is a sound foundation for ethics, etc., is that we all value the same basic things, such as health and happiness.

Again (repeating again what I've emphasized to Paul), if Joe Smith and I both value our own peace and happiness we do not share our values. We have parallel values.

Once we recognize that in each other, we have a basis for doing unto others as we would have them do unto us.

You have a potential pragmatic basis for doing unto others as you would have them do unto you (you think you'll benefit from the arrangement). On the other hand, parallel values may also be exploited in Nietzschean fashion.

What you most certainly do not achieve, Melanie, is a coherent philosophical basis for your morality.

There are people who criticize that idea, but I happen to think it's pretty good, far better than imagining that there is a creator who caused the whole thing to be this way.

Except that the latter can be philosophically coherent while the former is exceptionally doubtful in that same department.

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It looks like I've one.  It's been 10 days and Bryan has yet to answer.

Dick

That's an interesting comment on a number of levels.

Putting a whole response in a quotation box makes the whole thing look like old material, but thanks for calling my attention to it.

He teaches you to take verses out of context.

It's a valuable lesson.

No, it doesn't.

It wasn't that the Israelite slaves could not be released after seven years, it was that the law dictated that they would be released after no more than seven years.  That is, unless the slave asked to be made permanent out of love for the family to which he or she was attached (Deut. 15:12-17).

My statement was that Hebrew slaves could be released. You must have misread what I wrote. I have no quarrel with vers 17.

You must have misread what I wrote. Give it another go.

16 "Anyone who kidnaps another and either sells him or still has him when he is caught must be put to death.

I never said anything about kidnapping.  I was talking about foreign people taken as booty from a conquered country.

First, it doesn't matter if you said something about kidnapping or not. You said that the owner of a slave wasn't punished unless the slave died immediately.

Second, you haven't provided any justification for your assumption that the slaves from other nations were the result of war.

I predict that you won't do well with that one.

26 "If a man hits a manservant or maidservant in the eye and destroys it, he must let the servant go free to compensate for the eye.

27 And if he knocks out the tooth of a manservant or maidservant, he must let the servant go free to compensate for the tooth.

I have no problem with this.  I mentioned it in my last post.

Except you ignored it when you stated that a slave owner was never punished unless his slave died promptly.

What is bewildered's basis for claiming that non-Israelite slaves were not bondservants under Israel's laws?  Other than the fact that he is bewildered, that is?

The foreign slaves were treated differently than the Hebrew slaves.They were property.

The foreign slaves were treated differently than the Hebrew slaves, but it doesn't follow that they were property (other than their labor being owned by the master).

If you can quote me non-biblical sources I might be convinced, as long as they are not from christian apologists.

You might be convinced of what?

If you'll be convinced of something I'd like to know what it is before I try to hunt up the source that is supposed to convince you.

Otherwise I will stop answering your posts.

Promises, promises.

This is not a concession.  You have not won.

You mean I can't win unless you concede?

;)

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At the very least, it provides a keyword that might enable those who don't have a clue about postmodernism to begin to explore the idea.

Some won't be curious enough to do that.  That's okay.  Nobody's forcing them.

;)

I doubt it, but do go on.

The intrinsic so-called "values" of good health and happiness only apply to one for whom it is intrinsic, AFAICT.  How is it intrinsically good for me if Joe Smith is healthy and happy? 

I've brought this to Paul's attention several times.  He doesn't address it.  I don't expect you to do any better, even if you're brave enough to try.

Paul called the values "universal."  Values that do not stretch beyond the individual are not "universal" values.  They are individual values.

I think you misunderstand Paul's point, and even if you don't you're not helping him out any.

Again (repeating again what I've emphasized to Paul), if Joe Smith and I both value our own peace and happiness we do not share our values.  We have parallel values.

You have a potential pragmatic basis for doing unto others as you would have them do unto you (you think you'll benefit from the arrangement).  On the other hand, parallel values may also be exploited in Nietzschean fashion.

What you most certainly do not achieve, Melanie, is a coherent philosophical basis for your morality.

Except that the latter can be philosophically coherent while the former is exceptionally doubtful in that same department.

By these standards no values are universal. Each of us holds our own values individually. To have universal values according to this, we'd have to be literally of one mind, like the Borg from Star Trek. How about this for a universal value: I want everyone to be happy. If we all held that value, then it would be universal, and not only that, we'd surely live in a better world. All this guy ever does is throw a few ten-cent words (fifty cents would be vastly overpriced) at things he doesn't like. There's no philosophy in what Bryan is posting. He's just throwing words at some dogmas. In this particular case, he's just defining terms to rule out a philosophy he doesn't want to accept because it doesn't have a sky-god in it. And as always, he completely misses the point.

Respecting each person's desire to be happy, and honoring it as best we can. Sounds coherent enough to me.

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That's an interesting comment on a number of levels.

Putting a whole response in a quotation box makes the whole thing look like old material, but thanks for calling my attention to it.

You must have misread what I wrote. Give it another go.

First, it doesn't matter if you said something about kidnapping or not. You said that the owner of a slave wasn't punished unless the slave died immediately.

Second, you haven't provided any justification for your assumption that the slaves from other nations were the result of war.

I predict that you won't do well with that one.

Except you ignored it when you stated that a slave owner was never punished unless his slave died promptly.

The foreign slaves were treated differently than the Hebrew slaves.They were property.

The foreign slaves were treated differently than the Hebrew slaves, but it doesn't follow that they were property (other than their labor being owned by the master).

You might be convinced of what?

If you'll be convinced of something I'd like to know what it is before I try to hunt up the source that is supposed to convince you.

Promises, promises.

You mean I can't win unless you concede?

;)

Exodus 21:20-21 When a slaveowner strikes a male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies immediately, the owner shall be punished. But if the slave survives a day or two, there is no punishment; for the slave is the owner's property

Leviticus 25:44-46 As for the male and female slaves you may have, it is from the nations around you that you may acquire male and female slaves. You may also acquire them from the aliens residing with you, and from their families that are with you, who have been born in your land; and they may be your property. You maky keep them as a possession for your children after you, for them to inherit as property. These you may treat as slaves, but as for your fellow Israelites, no one shall rule over the other with harshenss.

Honestly, dick, can it be any clearer?

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Guest Melanie
At the very least, it provides a keyword that might enable those who don't have a clue about postmodernism to begin to explore the idea.

Some won't be curious enough to do that.  That's okay.  Nobody's forcing them.

;)

I doubt it, but do go on.

The intrinsic so-called "values" of good health and happiness only apply to one for whom it is intrinsic, AFAICT.  How is it intrinsically good for me if Joe Smith is healthy and happy? 

I've brought this to Paul's attention several times.  He doesn't address it.  I don't expect you to do any better, even if you're brave enough to try.

Paul called the values "universal."  Values that do not stretch beyond the individual are not "universal" values.  They are individual values.

I think you misunderstand Paul's point, and even if you don't you're not helping him out any.

Again (repeating again what I've emphasized to Paul), if Joe Smith and I both value our own peace and happiness we do not share our values.  We have parallel values.

You have a potential pragmatic basis for doing unto others as you would have them do unto you (you think you'll benefit from the arrangement).  On the other hand, parallel values may also be exploited in Nietzschean fashion.

What you most certainly do not achieve, Melanie, is a coherent philosophical basis for your morality.

Except that the latter can be philosophically coherent while the former is exceptionally doubtful in that same department.

My welfare doesn't have to be intrinsically good for you, or vice versa. We cross the is/ought divide by choosing to value the experiences and the welfare of others. You can't have it both ways, Bryan. You're right that getting beyond "is" requires at least one value judgment. We're saying that our humanity provides a framework and a grounding for doing that. You can't take it back to "is/ought" once we put in our value judgment.

Your alternative conception is to make up a god and imagine that "he" provides the framework. But all you're doing is projecting your own value judgments into this imaginary god. This leads a lot of people to get lost because they forget what moral, ethical and religious systems are about in the first place: our desires, or to use another word our preferences. There's no need for a mediator, especially an imaginary one. We can choose at any moment in our lives to care about all people and express that caring in our actions as best we can given our limitations in that moment. There are plenty of people who live that way. Some of them believe in a god. Some of them don't. It's not necessary one way or the other. We are free to care about others. All we need to do that is our humanity. We don't need a story about a god. That's not just an argument. It's an observable fact.

That is how I choose to live. If you don't like it, then don't do it. But I wish you would.

By the way, I know Paul personally, and I asked him whether I misunderstood his argument. He assured me that I had not misunderstood him at all.

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The foreign slaves were treated differently than the Hebrew slaves, but it doesn't follow that they were property (other than their labor being owned by the master).

You might be convinced of what?

If you'll be convinced of something I'd like to know what it is before I try to hunt up the source that is supposed to convince you.

Promises, promises.

You mean I can't win unless you concede?

;)

Exodus 21:20-21 When a slaveowner strikes a male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies immediately, the owner shall be punished. But if the slave survives a day or two, there is no punishment; for the slave is the owner's property

For latecomers, we've already been over this.

http://forums.kearnyontheweb.com/index.php...009entry60009

Leviticus 25:44-46  As for the male and female slaves you may have, it is from the nations around you that you may acquire male and female slaves.  You may also acquire them from the aliens residing with you, and from their families that are with you, who have been born in your land; and they may be your property.  You maky keep them as a possession for your children after you, for them to inherit as property.  These you may treat as slaves, but as for your fellow Israelites, no one shall rule over the other with harshenss.

Honestly, dick, can it be any clearer?

Obviously you got here late.

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My welfare doesn't have to be intrinsically good for you, or vice versa.

It does if you or Paul is claiming that we share values intrinsically.

And that's exactly what you appear to have done.

Feel free to clarify if you can do so without worsening the incoherent mess you've created.

We cross the is/ought divide by choosing to value the experiences and the welfare of others.

You apparently don't have any idea what the is/ought divide is.

Your statement is nonsense in light of Hume's arguments.

You can't have it both ways, Bryan.

How am I supposedly trying to have it both ways, Melanie?

You're right that getting beyond "is" requires at least one value judgment.

And where do you get that value judgment?

We're saying that our humanity provides a framework and a grounding for doing that.

You're saying that you can derive an "ought" from an "is," in other words (humanity is x, therefore we should do p).

You provide no justification, yet you're apparently not blushing (for the preposterousness of what you're attempting).

You can't take it back to "is/ought" once we put in our value judgment.

Of course I can. But you won't realize why until you understand the philosophical problem that arises when you try to cross the is/ought divide. And it very much looks like you have absolutely no clue about it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Is-ought_problem

Your alternative conception is to make up a god and imagine that "he" provides the framework. But all you're doing is projecting your own value judgments into this imaginary god.

Sounds nice, but once again you don't know what you're talking about. I haven't proposed any particular moral precepts, so you'd just be taking a stab in the dark regarding your claim. And, in fact, it is immaterial what beliefs I have about particular moral precepts. The point is that philosophically grounding morality in a supreme being works, and deriving it from physical observations appears to flatly fail (is/ought dichotomy).

So, Melanie, in effect you're changing the subject a bit (red herring) and resorting to a straw man argument (with a dash of the ad hominem fallacy).

This leads a lot of people to get lost because they forget what moral, ethical and religious systems are about in the first place: our desires, or to use another word our preferences. There's no need for a mediator, especially an imaginary one.

You appear to have also committed the fallacy of begging the question, unless I misunderstood what you just wrote.

If you argue that morality is derived from aspects of our humanity, and support that argument with the supposed fact that morality derives from a particular aspect of humanity (such as "desires" or "preferences") then you have fallaciously begged the question.

http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/b...e-question.html

We can choose at any moment in our lives to care about all people and express that caring in our actions as best we can given our limitations in that moment. There are plenty of people who live that way.

We can also choose at any moment in our lives to do violence to others. There are plenty of people who live that way.

What makes one right and the other wrong? Ask Paul or Melanie and they might answer that our common humanity makes the first one morally right.

But don't ask them how their justification works, because they don't have a clue.

Some of them believe in a god. Some of them don't. It's not necessary one way or the other. We are free to care about others. All we need to do that is our humanity. We don't need a story about a god. That's not just an argument. It's an observable fact.

Call it what you will, in terms justifying a moral system it's utter nonsense.

That is how I choose to live. If you don't like it, then don't do it. But I wish you would.

As I've written in response to Paul, I'm delighted whenever an atheist/agnostic/whatever lives as though there were an objectively true morality even if he can't justify it according to his worldview.

But it doesn't exactly address the issue we were discussing--does it?

By the way, I know Paul personally, and I asked him whether I misunderstood his argument. He assured me that I had not misunderstood him at all.

Then he's even more inept than I thought. I'll have to be more careful about granting him the benefit of the doubt. Thanks for the heads up on that one.

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Guest Paul

The foreign slaves were treated differently than the Hebrew slaves, but it doesn't follow that they were property (other than their labor being owned by the master).

You might be convinced of what?

If you'll be convinced of something I'd like to know what it is before I try to hunt up the source that is supposed to convince you.

Promises, promises.

You mean I can't win unless you concede?

;)

Exodus 21:20-21 When a slaveowner strikes a male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies immediately, the owner shall be punished. But if the slave survives a day or two, there is no punishment; for the slave is the owner's property

Leviticus 25:44-46 As for the male and female slaves you may have, it is from the nations around you that you may acquire male and female slaves. You may also acquire them from the aliens residing with you, and from their families that are with you, who have been born in your land; and they may be your property. You maky keep them as a possession for your children after you, for them to inherit as property. These you may treat as slaves, but as for your fellow Israelites, no one shall rule over the other with harshenss.

Honestly, dick, can it be any clearer?

It's abundantly clear to everyone who doesn't have his eyes closed and his fingers in his ears. I'm reading a book called Baptized in Blood: The Religion of the Lost Cause, 1965-1920 by Charles Reagan Wilson (history prof, U. of Mississippi, 1980), which traces the history of pro-slavery belief in the American South to the Bible, and the Confederate culture that has remained with us from those roots to this day. It's still not uncommon to hear rednecks say things like "if only the South had won the Civil War," and invariably these people are politically and religiously "conserative" if you can call that kind of radicalism conservative. There's no denying this point, except of course in the minds of those who can deny anything.

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It does if you or Paul is claiming that we share values intrinsically.

And that's exactly what you appear to have done.

Feel free to clarify if you can do so without worsening the incoherent mess you've created.

You apparently don't have any idea what the is/ought divide is.

Your statement is nonsense in light of Hume's arguments.

How am I supposedly trying to have it both ways, Melanie?

And where do you get that value judgment?

You're saying that you can derive an "ought" from an "is," in other words (humanity is x, therefore we should do p).

You provide no justification, yet you're apparently not blushing (for the preposterousness of what you're attempting).

Of course I can.  But you won't realize why until you understand the philosophical problem that arises when you try to cross the is/ought divide.  And it very much looks like you have absolutely no clue about it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Is-ought_problem

Sounds nice, but once again you don't know what you're talking about.  I haven't proposed any particular moral precepts, so you'd just be taking a stab in the dark regarding your claim.  And, in fact, it is immaterial what beliefs I have about particular moral precepts.  The point is that philosophically grounding morality in a supreme being works, and deriving it from physical observations appears to flatly fail (is/ought dichotomy).

So, Melanie, in effect you're changing the subject a bit (red herring) and resorting to a straw man argument (with a dash of the ad hominem fallacy).

This leads a lot of people to get lost because they forget what moral, ethical and religious systems are about in the first place: our desires, or to use another word our preferences. There's no need for a mediator, especially an imaginary one.

You appear to have also committed the fallacy of begging the question, unless I misunderstood what you just wrote.

If you argue that morality is derived from aspects of our humanity, and support that argument with the supposed fact that morality derives from a particular aspect of humanity (such as "desires" or "preferences") then you have fallaciously begged the question.

http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/b...e-question.html

We can choose at any moment in our lives to care about all people and express that caring in our actions as best we can given our limitations in that moment. There are plenty of people who live that way.

We can also choose at any moment in our lives to do violence to others.  There are plenty of people who live that way.

What makes one right and the other wrong?  Ask Paul or Melanie and they might answer that our common humanity makes the first one morally right.

But don't ask them how their justification works, because they don't have a clue.

Some of them believe in a god. Some of them don't. It's not necessary one way or the other. We are free to care about others. All we need to do that is our humanity. We don't need a story about a god. That's not just an argument. It's an observable fact.

Call it what you will, in terms justifying a moral system it's utter nonsense.

That is how I choose to live. If you don't like it, then don't do it. But I wish you would.

As I've written in response to Paul, I'm delighted whenever an atheist/agnostic/whatever lives as though there were an objectively true morality even if he can't justify it according to his worldview.

But it doesn't exactly address the issue we were discussing--does it?

By the way, I know Paul personally, and I asked him whether I misunderstood his argument. He assured me that I had not misunderstood him at all.

Then he's even more inept than I thought.  I'll have to be more careful about granting him the benefit of the doubt.  Thanks for the heads up on that one.

Speaking for myself, I do care about my brother's happiness and his health and his welfare; and my sister's too. I make that choice voluntarily, but I am able to make it because I know something about these things (happiness, health, etc.) since I experience them myself. That is the grounding for my ethics and my religion, and it isn't diminished because it comes from what is real; just the opposite, that's what makes it . . . real! What would you have it come from, fantasy? (Silly me, asking that question of a fundie.)

There's nothing incoherent about it. It's perfectly coherent, and what makes it better than the alternative suggested by Bryan is that it honors all people and results in a better world. If everyone lived like that (Kant, anyone?), the world would be not just a better place, but a vastly better place.

But since this doesn't support Bryan's notion that you can't have a coherent moral system without a wholly superfluous and imaginary god, he'll have none of it. You can't argue with people like that. They're always right, and the more wrong they are the more right they insist they are. It's really amazing watching someone like Bryan, who claims to be religious and a Christian no less, arguing in essence against the Golden Rule and "love thy neighbor." Just goes to show how wrong and how destructive religious fundamentalism is.

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Guest Tom
It does if you or Paul is claiming that we share values intrinsically.

And that's exactly what you appear to have done.

Feel free to clarify if you can do so without worsening the incoherent mess you've created.

You apparently don't have any idea what the is/ought divide is.

Your statement is nonsense in light of Hume's arguments.

How am I supposedly trying to have it both ways, Melanie?

And where do you get that value judgment?

You're saying that you can derive an "ought" from an "is," in other words (humanity is x, therefore we should do p).

You provide no justification, yet you're apparently not blushing (for the preposterousness of what you're attempting).

Of course I can.  But you won't realize why until you understand the philosophical problem that arises when you try to cross the is/ought divide.  And it very much looks like you have absolutely no clue about it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Is-ought_problem

Sounds nice, but once again you don't know what you're talking about.  I haven't proposed any particular moral precepts, so you'd just be taking a stab in the dark regarding your claim.  And, in fact, it is immaterial what beliefs I have about particular moral precepts.  The point is that philosophically grounding morality in a supreme being works, and deriving it from physical observations appears to flatly fail (is/ought dichotomy).

So, Melanie, in effect you're changing the subject a bit (red herring) and resorting to a straw man argument (with a dash of the ad hominem fallacy).

This leads a lot of people to get lost because they forget what moral, ethical and religious systems are about in the first place: our desires, or to use another word our preferences. There's no need for a mediator, especially an imaginary one.

You appear to have also committed the fallacy of begging the question, unless I misunderstood what you just wrote.

If you argue that morality is derived from aspects of our humanity, and support that argument with the supposed fact that morality derives from a particular aspect of humanity (such as "desires" or "preferences") then you have fallaciously begged the question.

http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/b...e-question.html

We can choose at any moment in our lives to care about all people and express that caring in our actions as best we can given our limitations in that moment. There are plenty of people who live that way.

We can also choose at any moment in our lives to do violence to others.  There are plenty of people who live that way.

What makes one right and the other wrong?  Ask Paul or Melanie and they might answer that our common humanity makes the first one morally right.

But don't ask them how their justification works, because they don't have a clue.

Some of them believe in a god. Some of them don't. It's not necessary one way or the other. We are free to care about others. All we need to do that is our humanity. We don't need a story about a god. That's not just an argument. It's an observable fact.

Call it what you will, in terms justifying a moral system it's utter nonsense.

That is how I choose to live. If you don't like it, then don't do it. But I wish you would.

As I've written in response to Paul, I'm delighted whenever an atheist/agnostic/whatever lives as though there were an objectively true morality even if he can't justify it according to his worldview.

But it doesn't exactly address the issue we were discussing--does it?

By the way, I know Paul personally, and I asked him whether I misunderstood his argument. He assured me that I had not misunderstood him at all.

Then he's even more inept than I thought.  I'll have to be more careful about granting him the benefit of the doubt.  Thanks for the heads up on that one.

As a human being, I experience pleasure/pain, satisfaction of my needs/want, health/illness, happiness/unhappiness, etc. I observe that others experience the same things, and value them pretty much in the same ways I do. I value my life, and also pleasure, satisfaction, health and happiness, and seek to avoid pain, want, illness and unhappiness. I observe that others do the same. I may not understand a Chinese child's spoken language, but I understand what her tears mean, and her laughter too. That's why autonomous organisms in the same species (with large brains and a capacity for symbolic thought) can talk about, construct and practice moral, ethical and legal systems in the first place. If we are to discuss a moral system at all, we will have to discuss how we relate to and treat others. Knowing that others want the same basic things I want, I choose to treat them with respect and dignity, and will attempt to the best of my limited ability to help them achieve their desires and avoid sufferng. The value judgment comes from the very nature of being human, but at the same time it is a choice. You can make it or not make it. I choose to make it because it promotes the good as I see it, not just for myself but also for others.

You can call that a lot of things, but it's not incoherent. In fact, it's basically just a reiteration of "love your neighbor as yourself" with a little bit of explanation.

What is philosophically incoherent is being a Christian and rejecting this. Bryan's arguments, and the assumptions and biases behind them, are so transparent as to be laughable. A loving god who creates most of the souls constituting the human race, knowing that they will spend eternity in exquisite torment at his hand - and then calls it justice! That's incoherent. Morally perfect rocks. Yes, I think that's incoherent, too.

And where does Bryan dig up the assumption that the sine qua non of life, or at a minimum its summum bonum (highest good) is philosophical coherence? If you want to question assumptions, why not question that one? Given the choice between philosophical coherence (which is often built like a house of cards, one unfounded assumption resting on another) and simply doing what seems to work, most people will probably choose what seems to work. Sometimes they're just lazy or incurious, but sometimes they're operating from a recognition that philosophy is not a hard science with any particular track record of great achievements. You can ask Bryan to justify his assumption until you're blue in the face. He won't. He'll call you foolish for asking the question, since it's not a question he wants to hear, or can answer.

It's time to follow Paul's lead and ignore this vacuous buffoon.

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Guest DingoDave

The Bible forbids the kidnapping of Israelites to be taken into slavery, but it it explicitly endorses the kidnapping of foreign women for use as sex slaves.

Behold this little known, wonderful piece of advice for returning Israelite soldiers.

How anyone could worship a book which endorses such practices is beyond me.

By the way I used the term 'worship' intentionally.

What fundamentalist Christians do when they give the Bible their complete endorsement, is that they set the book up as an idol which must not be questioned.

They are bibliolaters .

Anyway, read and gag.

Deuteronomy 21:

[10] "When you go forth to war against your enemies, and the LORD your God gives them into your hands, and you take them captive,

[11] and see among the captives a beautiful woman, and you have desire for her and would take her for yourself as wife,

[12] then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head and pare her nails.

[13] And she shall put off her captive's garb, and shall remain in your house and bewail her father and her mother a full month; after that you may go in to her, and be her husband, and she shall be your wife.

[14] Then, if you have no delight in her, you shall let her go where she will; but you shall not sell her for money, you shall not treat her as a slave, since you have humiliated her.

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Exodus 21:20-21 When a slaveowner strikes a male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies immediately, the owner shall be punished. But if the slave survives a day or two, there is no punishment; for the slave is the owner's property

Leviticus 25:44-46 As for the male and female slaves you may have, it is from the nations around you that you may acquire male and female slaves. You may also acquire them from the aliens residing with you, and from their families that are with you, who have been born in your land; and they may be your property. You maky keep them as a possession for your children after you, for them to inherit as property. These you may treat as slaves, but as for your fellow Israelites, no one shall rule over the other with harshenss.

Honestly, dick, can it be any clearer?

It's abundantly clear to everyone who doesn't have his eyes closed and his fingers in his ears. I'm reading a book called Baptized in Blood: The Religion of the Lost Cause, 1965-1920 by Charles Reagan Wilson (history prof, U. of Mississippi, 1980), which traces the history of pro-slavery belief in the American South to the Bible, and the Confederate culture that has remained with us from those roots to this day. It's still not uncommon to hear rednecks say things like "if only the South had won the Civil War," and invariably these people are politically and religiously "conserative" if you can call that kind of radicalism conservative. There's no denying this point, except of course in the minds of those who can deny anything.

The most satisfaction I get about hearing from Bryan that his god might have know what the word for a concept was he certaily did not convey the word to Barney or Fred who was taking his dictation. Just because god told them some group of people were property didn't really mean they were, like, propery. Just because I said rabbits eat their cud, doesn't really mean they eat anyone's cud

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It's abundantly clear to everyone who doesn't have his eyes closed and his fingers in his ears.

That would be Paul, refusing to look at the context in order to gain a better understanding of the ancient text, insisting that his view is correct without bothering to argue his point (unless we count argument by assertion), and finally through his act of (allegedly) putting me on "ignore."

It's very easy just to turn up in a thread and claim that your view is obviously correct, isn't it?

I'm reading a book called Baptized in Blood: The Religion of the Lost Cause, 1965-1920 by Charles Reagan Wilson (history prof, U. of Mississippi, 1980), which traces the history of pro-slavery belief in the American South to the Bible, and the Confederate culture that has remained with us from those roots to this day. It's still not uncommon to hear rednecks say things like "if only the South had won the Civil War," and invariably these people are politically and religiously "conser[v]ative" if you can call that kind of radicalism conservative. There's no denying this point, except of course in the minds of those who can deny anything.

Ah, the old tarring-the-other-side-as-racists trick.

The Republican Party is the party that gave us Abraham Lincoln, and the party that pushed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (without significant division).

The House of Representatives debated the bill for nine days and rejected nearly one hundred amendments designed to weaken the bill before passing H.R .7152 on February 10, 1964. Of the 420 members who voted, 290 supported the civil rights bill and 130 opposed it. Republicans favored the bill 138 to 34; Democrats supported it 152-96. It is interesting to note that Democrats from northern states voted overwhelmingly for the bill, 141 to 4, while Democrats from southern states voted overwhelmingly against the bill, 92 to 11.

http://www.congresslink.org/print_basics_h...ights64text.htm

In the Senate ...

Senator Richard Russell, Democrat from Georgia, led the so-called opposition forces. The group was also known as the "southern bloc." It was composed of eighteen southern Democrats and one Republican, John Tower of Texas. Although a hopeless minority, the group exerted much influence because Senate rules virtually guaranteed unlimited debate unless it was ended by cloture.

When Paul's in his lawyerly smear mode, he abandons facts like a streaker abandons clothing.

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Speaking for myself, I do care about my brother's happiness and his health and his welfare; and my sister's too. I make that choice voluntarily, but I am able to make it because I know something about these things (happiness, health, etc.) since I experience them myself. That is the grounding for my ethics and my religion, and it isn't diminished because it comes from what is real; just the opposite, that's what makes it . . . real! What would you have it come from, fantasy? (Silly me, asking that question of a fundie.)

How is the serial murderer's enjoyment of serial killing less real than the grounding of your value system?

There's nothing incoherent about it.

Well, yeah, if you don't think about it to any depth at all.

It's perfectly coherent, and what makes it better than the alternative suggested by Bryan is that it honors all people and results in a better world.

Better according to whom?

What you're missing, Fergie, is that your system appears to provide an equal foundation to opposing views. That will tend to result in contradictions. Systems that lead to contradictions are not "perfectly coherent."

If everyone lived like that (Kant, anyone?), the world would be not just a better place, but a vastly better place.

Coincidentally, Kant's nonconsequentialism conflicts directly with Paul LaClair's consequentialism.

Were you aware of that, Fergie?

But since this doesn't support Bryan's notion that you can't have a coherent moral system without a wholly superfluous and imaginary god, he'll have none of it.

Huh. You can't even make it through three paragraphs without making up a lie about me.

"Except that the latter can be philosophically coherent while the former is exceptionally doubtful in that same department."

http://forums.kearnyontheweb.com/index.php...indpost&p=61389

"Here's a blog by an atheist ethicist that underscores precisely the arguments I've been making against Paul's position:

http://atheistethicist.blogspot.com/2007/0...sion.html"

http://forums.kearnyontheweb.com/index.php...indpost&p=59955

Melanie:

You admit that it could be, but insist that this could be so (without a word of justification, either logical or factual) only if there was a god who so endowed it.

Bryan:

Ah, no. If I had said what you claim I've said then I'd be contradicting myself.

I allow that it's possible that morality could be a brute fact in a physicalist universe, but I have yet to see a coherent explanation for how it could be. In other words, I do not assume that it is impossible. I simply haven't seen an argument for it that can withstand moderate scrutiny. Because of the former, I am doubtful that an atheistic account is possible in actuality.

http://forums.kearnyontheweb.com/index.php...412entry61412

If you make up my position for me, does that mean I get to make up your position for you?

You can't argue with people like that. They're always right, and the more wrong they are the more right they insist they are. It's really amazing watching someone like Bryan, who claims to be religious and a Christian no less, arguing in essence against the Golden Rule and "love thy neighbor." Just goes to show how wrong and how destructive religious fundamentalism is.

Well, if you can't argue with people that advocate those straw man arguments, then why don't you try arguing against arguments that I actually use?

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As a human being, I experience pleasure/pain, satisfaction of my needs/want, health/illness, happiness/unhappiness, etc. I observe that others experience the same things, and value them pretty much in the same ways I do. I value my life, and also pleasure, satisfaction, health and happiness, and seek to avoid pain, want, illness and unhappiness. I observe that others do the same. I may not understand a Chinese child's spoken language, but I understand what her tears mean, and her laughter too. That's why autonomous organisms in the same species (with large brains and a capacity for symbolic thought) can talk about, construct and practice moral, ethical and legal systems in the first place.

Key term so far: "pretty much."

Other than that you've written nothing significant to the argument and nothing that I seriously disagree with (so far).

If we are to discuss a moral system at all, we will have to discuss how we relate to and treat others.

Why?

Knowing that others want the same basic things I want, I choose to treat them with respect and dignity, and will attempt to the best of my limited ability to help them achieve their desires and avoid sufferng. The value judgment comes from the very nature of being human, but at the same time it is a choice. You can make it or not make it. I choose to make it because it promotes the good as I see it, not just for myself but also for others.

Your statement that your value judgment "comes from the very nature of being human" looks like a contradiction in company with your admission that one can easily choose the other way.

Are you making the unspoken assumption that those who choose the other way are choosing against their values? How, then, can you account for the decision?

You can call that a lot of things, but it's not incoherent.

Tom, it very much looks like you've contradicted yourself. How would a contradiction be coherent? You either explain the apparent contradiction, or live with the fact that your system appears incoherent.

In fact, it's basically just a reiteration of "love your neighbor as yourself" with a little bit of explanation.

(incoherent explanation, at least so far)

What is philosophically incoherent is being a Christian and rejecting this.

I don't understand your basis for saying that I, as a Christian, should overlook your apparent contradiction.

Bryan's arguments, and the assumptions and biases behind them, are so transparent as to be laughable.

Oh, really? Can you name an example?

How about my argument that you contradicted yourself, above? Was that an assumption? Bias? Is it transparent?

Or are you just rippling with unintended irony today?

A loving god who creates most of the souls constituting the human race, knowing that they will spend eternity in exquisite torment at his hand - and then calls it justice! That's incoherent. Morally perfect rocks. Yes, I think that's incoherent, too.

You seem to have spared us the tortured logic that you used in reaching those conclusions. No doubt just as well. ;)

Isn't it laughable how I point up your lack of argument? Why, I must be biased to claim that you have not achieved a logical progression capable of being arranged in a handy little valid syllogism!

And where does Bryan dig up the assumption that the sine qua non of life, or at a minimum its summum bonum (highest good) is philosophical coherence?

Perhaps we should first discuss where Tom digs up the assumption that I make the assumption that the sine qua non of life (let along its summum bonum) is philosophical coherence?

It appears, as with Fergie, that he considers it his right to forge my positions for me.

If you want to question assumptions, why not question that one?

I just did.

:rolleyes:

I look forward to Tom's presentation of evidence that I hold the view he attributes to me (in high confidence that he can't do it without making more stuff up).

Given the choice between philosophical coherence (which is often built like a house of cards, one unfounded assumption resting on another) and simply doing what seems to work, most people will probably choose what seems to work. Sometimes they're just lazy or incurious, but sometimes they're operating from a recognition that philosophy is not a hard science with any particular track record of great achievements.

Well, if you don't count civilization ...

Could it be that Tom has never heard of the philosophy of science? Perhaps he agrees with me that science doesn't really have a scientific method as such.

:P

You can ask Bryan to justify his assumption until you're blue in the face. He won't.

That's true, since I haven't made the assumption you attribute to me.

He'll call you foolish for asking the question, since it's not a question he wants to hear, or can answer.

All true, except I haven't called him foolish (may not be a bad idea, though).

It's time to follow Paul's lead and ignore this vacuous buffoon.

And don't forget to ignore the contradiction in your supposedly coherent system, too!

:)

Reminder: The guy calling me a "vacuous buffoon" called a position with what looks like an obvious contradiction "coherent" and then proceeded to attack me via the creation of a straw man argument (a logical fallacy).

Delicious irony, no?

Moreover, during the preamble of his accusing me of a straw man assumption, he made the apparent unfounded assumption that "we will have to discuss how we relate to and treat others."

So--will he try to address these issues with reason, or simply retreat into his shell, insist that he's right, and ignore the "vacuous buffoon" who sank his argument?

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Exodus 21:20-21 When a slaveowner strikes a male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies immediately, the owner shall be punished. But if the slave survives a day or two, there is no punishment; for the slave is the owner's property

For latecomers, we've already been over this.

http://forums.kearnyontheweb.com/index.php...009entry60009

Obviously you got here late.

Don't patronize me, dick. I've been here all along. I registered and dropped the name bewildered, since it seemed to amuse you so much.

So tell, me when do the words "property", "possession", and "inheritance" don't mean "property", "possession", and "inheritance"? Most of us dropped the excuse, "because I said so" by the time we were three.

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For latecomers, we've already been over this.

http://forums.kearnyontheweb.com/index.php...009entry60009

Obviously you got here late.

Don't patronize me, dick.

I apologize for granting you the benefit of the doubt.

By your own account, you knew about the earlier discussion and ignored it.

I've been here all along.  I registered and dropped the name bewildered, since it seemed to amuse you so much.

Only because it fit you so well. I think you should have kept it.

So tell, me when do the words "property", "possession", and "inheritance" don't mean "property", "possession", and "inheritance"?  Most of us dropped the excuse, "because I said so" by the time we were three.

Words do not "have" meanings. They are simply symbols to which we attach meaning.

What that means, for bewildered types, is that you can't just assume that words have the meaning that you expect them to have. You have to look at the context.

You don't want to do that, apparently. Let me know when you're ready to change your mind.

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The Bible forbids the kidnapping of Israelites to be taken into slavery, but it it explicitly endorses the kidnapping of foreign women for use as sex slaves.

Dingo Dave is alive, well, and ready to read into the text what he wishes.

Behold this little known, wonderful piece of advice for returning Israelite soldiers.

How anyone could worship a book which endorses such practices is beyond me.

By the way I used the term 'worship' intentionally.

What fundamentalist Christians do when they give the Bible their complete endorsement, is that they set the book up as an idol which must not be questioned.

They are bibliolaters .

Anyway, read and gag.

Deuteronomy 21:

[10] "When you go forth to war against your enemies, and the LORD your God gives them into your hands, and you take them captive,

[11] and see among the captives a beautiful woman, and you have desire for her and would take her for yourself as wife,

[12] then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head and pare her nails.

[13] And she shall put off her captive's garb, and shall remain in your house and bewail her father and her mother a full month; after that you may go in to her, and be her husband, and she shall be your wife.

[14] Then, if you have no delight in her, you shall let her go where she will; but you shall not sell her for money, you shall not treat her as a slave, since you have humiliated her.

Do you have a "sex slave" (wife) at home, Dingo Dave?

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Guest DingoDave

Billtdee4 wrote:

So tell, me when do the words "property", "possession", and "inheritance" don't mean "property", "possession", and "inheritance"?

Bryan responded:

Words do not "have" meanings. They are simply symbols to which we attach meaning. What that means, for bewildered types, is that you can't just assume that words have the meaning that you expect them to have. You have to look at the context.

The context is perfectly clear. Bryan, you seem to be the only one here that stubbornly refuses to admit it. You are without a doubt, one of the most intentionally obfuscating and dishonest apologist hacks that I have ever had the misfortune of encountering.

Bryan wrote:

“Dingo Dave is alive, well, and ready to read into the text what he wishes.

Do you have a "sex slave" (wife) at home, Dingo Dave?”

You are one sick son of a B**ch Bryan. Have your mental processes been so distorted by your bronze-age religious superstitions that you have lost all sense of common decency and propriety? I have found more appealing creatures than you, living under rocks in my backyard.

How dare you compare my relationship with my wife with the fate of these poor girls as described in that vile passage from Deuteronomy?

Allow me to outline the differences between my wife and those poor unfortunate young creatures, taken captive as war brides by barbarous hoards of immoral degenerates.

I did not visit a foreign country and murder my wife’s family.

I did not take her captive against her will, and then lock her up in my house.

I did not force her to shave her head and pare her nails (presumably to prevent her from defending herself from my advances).

I did not change her out of her ‘prisoner of war’ clothing, allow her a month to mourn the murder of her loved ones, and then “go in to her” whether she liked it or not.

If I "have no delight in her", I cannot simply kick her out of the house without any means of support and allow her to "go where she will"; Nor would I wish to.

If there really is a god who cares about human behaviour, then may he have mercy on your black and twisted soul.

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That would be Paul, refusing to look at the context in order to gain a better understanding of the ancient text, insisting that his view is correct without bothering to argue his point (unless we count argument by assertion), and finally through his act of (allegedly) putting me on "ignore."

It's very easy just to turn up in a thread and claim that your view is obviously correct, isn't it?

Ah, the old tarring-the-other-side-as-racists trick.

The Republican Party is the party that gave us Abraham Lincoln, and the party that pushed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (without significant division).

The House of Representatives debated the bill for nine days and rejected nearly one hundred amendments designed to weaken the bill before passing H.R .7152 on February 10, 1964. Of the 420 members who voted, 290 supported the civil rights bill and 130 opposed it. Republicans favored the bill 138 to 34; Democrats supported it 152-96. It is interesting to note that Democrats from northern states voted overwhelmingly for the bill, 141 to 4, while Democrats from southern states voted overwhelmingly against the bill, 92 to 11.

http://www.congresslink.org/print_basics_h...ights64text.htm

In the Senate ...

Senator Richard Russell, Democrat from Georgia, led the so-called opposition forces. The group was also known as the "southern bloc." It was composed of eighteen southern Democrats and one Republican, John Tower of Texas. Although a hopeless minority, the group exerted much influence because Senate rules virtually guaranteed unlimited debate unless it was ended by cloture.

When Paul's in his lawyerly smear mode, he abandons facts like a streaker abandons  clothing.

It's not tarring them as racists. By definition and practice, the modern Republicans who are pandering to racism are racists. You are dead wrong about the Republican party being "the party" that supported the Civil Rights Act. It was passed by large majorities with bipartisan support in both houses of Congress. In the Senate, for example, 67 of 100 Senators were Democrats, but 21 were from the South and they adamantly opposed it. The measure won passage because the Republicans of that era (they would be called liberal Republicans today and couldn't win an election) joined the Northern Democrats in supporting it. That was true in both houses. Opposition was mainly from the South, keeping in mind however that a Democrat from Texas named Lyndon Baines Johnson used his political skills to get it passed with such wide support. Bryan's implication that the two main political parties are the same as they were 40 years ago and 140 years ago reveals a woeful lack of historical knowledge and appreciation.

The crying shame of these statistics is that we've spent the last forty political years pandering to and appeasing racists, who like Hitler cannot be appeased. It's mind-boggling that people who consider themselves religious will get into bed with this. The Democrats and Republicans changed places pandering to racism about 40 years ago (4 years after passage of the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act) when Nixon realized he could create a Republican majority by what he called his Southern strategy. Kevin Phillips wrote a book on the subject, titled The Emerging Republican Majority, explaining what was going to happen, and it did. That's why the South is now Republican instead of Democratic, why the Republicans have won most of the recent presidential elections, why the only Democrats to be elected to the presidency since JFK have been Southerners and why the filthy rich have been able to leverage themselves into power by successfully taking advantage of two groups who are apparently too stupid to realize that they're being used for the purpose of allowing the rich to pick their pockets: Southern racists and fundamentalist Christians. (A recent book on the subject is called "What's the Matter with Kansas.") A Southerner hadn't been elected president without first being vice president from the end of the Civil War until Nixon, a full 100 years; since Nixon, three (if you don't count Bush I) or four (if you do count Bush I) of our last five presidents have been from the South. I'm happy to see the South rise to a more equal position with the North, but not by reviving racism! It won't last forever, but it's doing a lot of damage.

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