Jump to content

Our common humanity


Guest Paul
 Share

Recommended Posts

Guest Paul

Human beings have been devising, designing, implementing, revising, discarding and replacing legal systems for thousands of years. We haven’t come up with a perfect one yet. Among the finest of those systems, arguably, is the American Constitutional system, written by some fine and excellent men in Philadelphia some 220 years ago. Yet for all its beauty, that system still generates disputes and conflict that require interpretation by a Supreme Court, and as we see, even the members of that body often do not agree on what the document means.

Human beings have also been devising philosophical systems for thousands of years. Those philosophies have changed with human knowledge and experience, and even among philosophers of the same time and place, disagreement is widespread.

Human beings have also been devising, designing, practicing, revising, discarding and replacing religions for thousands of years. Despite claims of absolute and unchanging truth in some religions, not one of them is perfect or unchanging either, certainly not Judeo-Christianity or Christianity. It has undergone profound changes over time, and is deeply divided among its sects and factions. In fact, there is a wider divide between fundamentalist Christians and mystical Christians than there is between fundamentalists in general or mystics in general.

What the religions do have in common at their best is a simple statement. The Christians express it as “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” A corollary of that same principle is written into the Preamble of our Constitution, most elementally as a statement promoting “the general welfare.” This is the philosophical and practical foundation for our system of laws, and the best in our religions.

In both cases, the mere statement of the principle is enough to give reasonable people an idea of what is meant. That is because human beings widely share a conception of the good. They won’t always agree on the details, but if they are honest with themselves, they will know that these principles are not consistent with slavery or genocide, and certainly not with self-destruction. Perhaps the greatest tragedy of our American history is that our country did not adhere to its founding principles, but instead turned its back on them in the body of the document for which the Preamble was written.

Many people say that these simple statements don’t really say much of anything. I disagree. They are simple but profound statements about the very nature of what works for human beings as a whole over a long time. They are true, they are enduring and they look to the good. They may not bridge the philosophical gap between is and ought, but they come closer than anything else. As we understand more and more about how evolutionary principles apply to social systems, this will become clearer and clearer.

Democracy (or our Republican system, if you prefer to call it that), for example, is not a perfect system. Winston Churchill described it as the worst system, except for all the others. The reason democracy is the best among imperfect systems is that through processes of social evolution it best expresses and promotes human preferences. The people may err in their choice of leaders, but as they see the effects of their mistakes they will refine their choices and the nation will survive. If citizens are informed and sincerely patriotic, the nation will prosper. That is the idea, and despite our many fits and starts, it has worked pretty well so far. As Benjamin Franklin told someone as the Constitutional Convention was ending, we’ll see if we can hold it. The Christian theologian Reinhold Niebuhr put it like this (I’m paraphrasing): “Man’s capacity for good makes democracy possible. Man’s capacity for evil makes democracy necessary.”

In the end, it is a choice, as all ethical, moral and religious systems are. We can invite people to choose wisely and for good reasons, but none of us can command the human species, certainly not in all ways or for all time. We can try to form perfect systems, but are well-advised to remember that we are dealing with complex creatures whose goals and aspirations differ widely in the details. We can build our societies on someone’s conception of a god that may not exist, and then consume ourselves with endless arguments, fights and wars over whose absolute truth is really true; or we can build our societies on our hopes and dreams, grounded in our common humanity and our capacity for the good.

My belief is that the latter is the best course. We don't need a mediator in the form of a story or a personified universe. What we need is our intelligence, our common humanity and a constant devotion to honoring the worth and dignity of all people.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 101
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Guest Guest
Human beings have been devising, designing, implementing, revising, discarding and replacing legal systems for thousands of years. We haven’t come up with a perfect one yet. Among the finest of those systems, arguably, is the American Constitutional system, written by some fine and excellent men in Philadelphia some 220 years ago. Yet for all its beauty, that system still generates disputes and conflict that require interpretation by a Supreme Court, and as we see, even the members of that body often do not agree on what the document means.

Human beings have also been devising philosophical systems for thousands of years. Those philosophies have changed with human knowledge and experience, and even among philosophers of the same time and place, disagreement is widespread.

Human beings have also been devising, designing, practicing, revising, discarding and replacing religions for thousands of years. Despite claims of absolute and unchanging truth in some religions, not one of them is perfect or unchanging either, certainly not Judeo-Christianity or Christianity. It has undergone profound changes over time, and is deeply divided among its sects and factions. In fact, there is a wider divide between fundamentalist Christians and mystical Christians than there is between fundamentalists in general or mystics in general.

What the religions do have in common at their best is a simple statement. The Christians express it as “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” A corollary of that same principle is written into the Preamble of our Constitution, most elementally as a statement promoting “the general welfare.” This is the philosophical and practical foundation for our system of laws, and the best in our religions.

In both cases, the mere statement of the principle is enough to give reasonable people an idea of what is meant. That is because human beings widely share a conception of the good. They won’t always agree on the details, but if they are honest with themselves, they will know that these principles are not consistent with slavery or genocide, and certainly not with self-destruction. Perhaps the greatest tragedy of our American history is that our country did not adhere to its founding principles, but instead turned its back on them in the body of the document for which the Preamble was written.

Many people say that these simple statements don’t really say much of anything. I disagree. They are simple but profound statements about the very nature of what works for human beings as a whole over a long time. They are true, they are enduring and they look to the good. They may not bridge the philosophical gap between is and ought, but they come closer than anything else. As we understand more and more about how evolutionary principles apply to social systems, this will become clearer and clearer.

Democracy (or our Republican system, if you prefer to call it that), for example, is not a perfect system. Winston Churchill described it as the worst system, except for all the others. The reason democracy is the best among imperfect systems is that through processes of social evolution it best expresses and promotes human preferences. The people may err in their choice of leaders, but as they see the effects of their mistakes they will refine their choices and the nation will survive. If citizens are informed and sincerely patriotic, the nation will prosper. That is the idea, and despite our many fits and starts, it has worked pretty well so far. As Benjamin Franklin told someone as the Constitutional Convention was ending, we’ll see if we can hold it. The Christian theologian Reinhold Niebuhr put it like this (I’m paraphrasing): “Man’s capacity for good makes democracy possible. Man’s capacity for evil makes democracy necessary.”

In the end, it is a choice, as all ethical, moral and religious systems are. We can invite people to choose wisely and for good reasons, but none of us can command the human species, certainly not in all ways or for all time. We can try to form perfect systems, but are well-advised to remember that we are dealing with complex creatures whose goals and aspirations differ widely in the details. We can build our societies on someone’s conception of a god that may not exist, and then consume ourselves with endless arguments, fights and wars over whose absolute truth is really true; or we can build our societies on our hopes and dreams, grounded in our common humanity and our capacity for the good.

My belief is that the latter is the best course. We don't need a mediator in the form of a story or a personified universe. What we need is our intelligence, our common humanity and a constant devotion to honoring the worth and dignity of all people.

I just wonder why you spend time writing this and worst of all is I spend my valuable time reading this. For someone so possessed to try to breakdown religious barriers, you sure do make sure that you get your own beliefs publicized here. I remember when this web page was used for things about Kearny, not your own personal beliefs. Who or what your, mine, and whomevers religious beliefs are should be a personal matter not broadcasted. For what reasons that you hate people professing religion is identical to what you do here preaching your views.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest 2smart4u
Human beings have been devising, designing, implementing, revising, discarding and replacing legal systems for thousands of years. We haven’t come up with a perfect one yet. Among the finest of those systems, arguably, is the American Constitutional system, written by some fine and excellent men in Philadelphia some 220 years ago. Yet for all its beauty, that system still generates disputes and conflict that require interpretation by a Supreme Court, and as we see, even the members of that body often do not agree on what the document means.

Human beings have also been devising philosophical systems for thousands of years. Those philosophies have changed with human knowledge and experience, and even among philosophers of the same time and place, disagreement is widespread.

Human beings have also been devising, designing, practicing, revising, discarding and replacing religions for thousands of years. Despite claims of absolute and unchanging truth in some religions, not one of them is perfect or unchanging either, certainly not Judeo-Christianity or Christianity. It has undergone profound changes over time, and is deeply divided among its sects and factions. In fact, there is a wider divide between fundamentalist Christians and mystical Christians than there is between fundamentalists in general or mystics in general.

What the religions do have in common at their best is a simple statement. The Christians express it as “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” A corollary of that same principle is written into the Preamble of our Constitution, most elementally as a statement promoting “the general welfare.” This is the philosophical and practical foundation for our system of laws, and the best in our religions.

In both cases, the mere statement of the principle is enough to give reasonable people an idea of what is meant. That is because human beings widely share a conception of the good. They won’t always agree on the details, but if they are honest with themselves, they will know that these principles are not consistent with slavery or genocide, and certainly not with self-destruction. Perhaps the greatest tragedy of our American history is that our country did not adhere to its founding principles, but instead turned its back on them in the body of the document for which the Preamble was written.

Many people say that these simple statements don’t really say much of anything. I disagree. They are simple but profound statements about the very nature of what works for human beings as a whole over a long time. They are true, they are enduring and they look to the good. They may not bridge the philosophical gap between is and ought, but they come closer than anything else. As we understand more and more about how evolutionary principles apply to social systems, this will become clearer and clearer.

Democracy (or our Republican system, if you prefer to call it that), for example, is not a perfect system. Winston Churchill described it as the worst system, except for all the others. The reason democracy is the best among imperfect systems is that through processes of social evolution it best expresses and promotes human preferences. The people may err in their choice of leaders, but as they see the effects of their mistakes they will refine their choices and the nation will survive. If citizens are informed and sincerely patriotic, the nation will prosper. That is the idea, and despite our many fits and starts, it has worked pretty well so far. As Benjamin Franklin told someone as the Constitutional Convention was ending, we’ll see if we can hold it. The Christian theologian Reinhold Niebuhr put it like this (I’m paraphrasing): “Man’s capacity for good makes democracy possible. Man’s capacity for evil makes democracy necessary.”

In the end, it is a choice, as all ethical, moral and religious systems are. We can invite people to choose wisely and for good reasons, but none of us can command the human species, certainly not in all ways or for all time. We can try to form perfect systems, but are well-advised to remember that we are dealing with complex creatures whose goals and aspirations differ widely in the details. We can build our societies on someone’s conception of a god that may not exist, and then consume ourselves with endless arguments, fights and wars over whose absolute truth is really true; or we can build our societies on our hopes and dreams, grounded in our common humanity and our capacity for the good.

My belief is that the latter is the best course. We don't need a mediator in the form of a story or a personified universe. What we need is our intelligence, our common humanity and a constant devotion to honoring the worth and dignity of all people.

And furthermore, bla, bla, bla, bla, bla, bla and bla.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Guest
Human beings have been devising, designing, implementing, revising, discarding and replacing legal systems for thousands of years. We haven’t come up with a perfect one yet. Among the finest of those systems, arguably, is the American Constitutional system, written by some fine and excellent men in Philadelphia some 220 years ago. Yet for all its beauty, that system still generates disputes and conflict that require interpretation by a Supreme Court, and as we see, even the members of that body often do not agree on what the document means.

Human beings have also been devising philosophical systems for thousands of years. Those philosophies have changed with human knowledge and experience, and even among philosophers of the same time and place, disagreement is widespread.

Human beings have also been devising, designing, practicing, revising, discarding and replacing religions for thousands of years. Despite claims of absolute and unchanging truth in some religions, not one of them is perfect or unchanging either, certainly not Judeo-Christianity or Christianity. It has undergone profound changes over time, and is deeply divided among its sects and factions. In fact, there is a wider divide between fundamentalist Christians and mystical Christians than there is between fundamentalists in general or mystics in general.

What the religions do have in common at their best is a simple statement. The Christians express it as “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” A corollary of that same principle is written into the Preamble of our Constitution, most elementally as a statement promoting “the general welfare.” This is the philosophical and practical foundation for our system of laws, and the best in our religions.

In both cases, the mere statement of the principle is enough to give reasonable people an idea of what is meant. That is because human beings widely share a conception of the good. They won’t always agree on the details, but if they are honest with themselves, they will know that these principles are not consistent with slavery or genocide, and certainly not with self-destruction. Perhaps the greatest tragedy of our American history is that our country did not adhere to its founding principles, but instead turned its back on them in the body of the document for which the Preamble was written.

Many people say that these simple statements don’t really say much of anything. I disagree. They are simple but profound statements about the very nature of what works for human beings as a whole over a long time. They are true, they are enduring and they look to the good. They may not bridge the philosophical gap between is and ought, but they come closer than anything else. As we understand more and more about how evolutionary principles apply to social systems, this will become clearer and clearer.

Democracy (or our Republican system, if you prefer to call it that), for example, is not a perfect system. Winston Churchill described it as the worst system, except for all the others. The reason democracy is the best among imperfect systems is that through processes of social evolution it best expresses and promotes human preferences. The people may err in their choice of leaders, but as they see the effects of their mistakes they will refine their choices and the nation will survive. If citizens are informed and sincerely patriotic, the nation will prosper. That is the idea, and despite our many fits and starts, it has worked pretty well so far. As Benjamin Franklin told someone as the Constitutional Convention was ending, we’ll see if we can hold it. The Christian theologian Reinhold Niebuhr put it like this (I’m paraphrasing): “Man’s capacity for good makes democracy possible. Man’s capacity for evil makes democracy necessary.”

In the end, it is a choice, as all ethical, moral and religious systems are. We can invite people to choose wisely and for good reasons, but none of us can command the human species, certainly not in all ways or for all time. We can try to form perfect systems, but are well-advised to remember that we are dealing with complex creatures whose goals and aspirations differ widely in the details. We can build our societies on someone’s conception of a god that may not exist, and then consume ourselves with endless arguments, fights and wars over whose absolute truth is really true; or we can build our societies on our hopes and dreams, grounded in our common humanity and our capacity for the good.

My belief is that the latter is the best course. We don't need a mediator in the form of a story or a personified universe. What we need is our intelligence, our common humanity and a constant devotion to honoring the worth and dignity of all people.

Good God!!!! Paul you are really getting out of control............. This is ridiculous. You must love to hear yourself. I guess that's where your son gets it. Enough is enough... you have stated your case numerous times, please just stop your ridiculous postings. We are sick of seeing and reading what you have to say!

KOTW-- Can't we just stop posting his remarks? I think the people of Kearny and surrounding area are sick to death of his comments, and posts about stuff that does not belong on here. I used to love to come on this site, and read about the happenings in the West Hudson area, and the Kearny site is just awful with all this "PAUL" stuff on here... come on now, this is the last straw.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Keith-Marshall.Mo
Human beings have been devising, designing, implementing, revising, discarding and replacing legal systems for thousands of years. We haven’t come up with a perfect one yet. Among the finest of those systems, arguably, is the American Constitutional system, written by some fine and excellent men in Philadelphia some 220 years ago. Yet for all its beauty, that system still generates disputes and conflict that require interpretation by a Supreme Court, and as we see, even the members of that body often do not agree on what the document means.

Human beings have also been devising philosophical systems for thousands of years. Those philosophies have changed with human knowledge and experience, and even among philosophers of the same time and place, disagreement is widespread.

Human beings have also been devising, designing, practicing, revising, discarding and replacing religions for thousands of years. Despite claims of absolute and unchanging truth in some religions, not one of them is perfect or unchanging either, certainly not Judeo-Christianity or Christianity. It has undergone profound changes over time, and is deeply divided among its sects and factions. In fact, there is a wider divide between fundamentalist Christians and mystical Christians than there is between fundamentalists in general or mystics in general.

What the religions do have in common at their best is a simple statement. The Christians express it as “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” A corollary of that same principle is written into the Preamble of our Constitution, most elementally as a statement promoting “the general welfare.” This is the philosophical and practical foundation for our system of laws, and the best in our religions.

In both cases, the mere statement of the principle is enough to give reasonable people an idea of what is meant. That is because human beings widely share a conception of the good. They won’t always agree on the details, but if they are honest with themselves, they will know that these principles are not consistent with slavery or genocide, and certainly not with self-destruction. Perhaps the greatest tragedy of our American history is that our country did not adhere to its founding principles, but instead turned its back on them in the body of the document for which the Preamble was written.

Many people say that these simple statements don’t really say much of anything. I disagree. They are simple but profound statements about the very nature of what works for human beings as a whole over a long time. They are true, they are enduring and they look to the good. They may not bridge the philosophical gap between is and ought, but they come closer than anything else. As we understand more and more about how evolutionary principles apply to social systems, this will become clearer and clearer.

Democracy (or our Republican system, if you prefer to call it that), for example, is not a perfect system. Winston Churchill described it as the worst system, except for all the others. The reason democracy is the best among imperfect systems is that through processes of social evolution it best expresses and promotes human preferences. The people may err in their choice of leaders, but as they see the effects of their mistakes they will refine their choices and the nation will survive. If citizens are informed and sincerely patriotic, the nation will prosper. That is the idea, and despite our many fits and starts, it has worked pretty well so far. As Benjamin Franklin told someone as the Constitutional Convention was ending, we’ll see if we can hold it. The Christian theologian Reinhold Niebuhr put it like this (I’m paraphrasing): “Man’s capacity for good makes democracy possible. Man’s capacity for evil makes democracy necessary.”

In the end, it is a choice, as all ethical, moral and religious systems are. We can invite people to choose wisely and for good reasons, but none of us can command the human species, certainly not in all ways or for all time. We can try to form perfect systems, but are well-advised to remember that we are dealing with complex creatures whose goals and aspirations differ widely in the details. We can build our societies on someone’s conception of a god that may not exist, and then consume ourselves with endless arguments, fights and wars over whose absolute truth is really true; or we can build our societies on our hopes and dreams, grounded in our common humanity and our capacity for the good.

My belief is that the latter is the best course. We don't need a mediator in the form of a story or a personified universe. What we need is our intelligence, our common humanity and a constant devotion to honoring the worth and dignity of all people.

Paul,

Very well said. I couldn't agree more.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Human beings have been devising, designing, implementing, revising, discarding and replacing legal systems for thousands of years. We haven’t come up with a perfect one yet. Among the finest of those systems, arguably, is the American Constitutional system, written by some fine and excellent men in Philadelphia some 220 years ago. Yet for all its beauty, that system still generates disputes and conflict that require interpretation by a Supreme Court, and as we see, even the members of that body often do not agree on what the document means.

In fact, Paul arguably thinks that the original Constitution was a big flop since it did not include the 14th Amendment at that time. Various comments of Paul's suggest that he thinks the Framers gave us a theocracy.

But then he'll turn around and call it a great achievement. Which way is the wind blowing today?

Human beings have also been devising philosophical systems for thousands of years. Those philosophies have changed with human knowledge and experience, and even among philosophers of the same time and place, disagreement is widespread.

There's similar disagreement about the scientific method, but let's leave Paul's sacred cow with no more than that minor goring for now.

Human beings have also been devising, designing, practicing, revising, discarding and replacing religions for thousands of years. Despite claims of absolute and unchanging truth in some religions, not one of them is perfect or unchanging either, certainly not Judeo-Christianity or Christianity. It has undergone profound changes over time, and is deeply divided among its sects and factions. In fact, there is a wider divide between fundamentalist Christians and mystical Christians than there is between fundamentalists in general or mystics in general.

Hang on, people. It's possible that he's going somewhere with this.

What the religions do have in common at their best is a simple statement. The Christians express it as “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”

:D

Paul makes a moral judgment on the collective morality of religions ("at their best").

One of the things that causes a philosophical system to fall by the wayside is a tendency to beg the question on critical issues, such as Paul does here.

A corollary of that same principle is written into the Preamble of our Constitution, most elementally as a statement promoting “the general welfare.” This is the philosophical and practical foundation for our system of laws, and the best in our religions.

There is no content inherent to "the general welfare," and the phrase has nothing to do with the foundation for our system of laws.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/anncon/html/art1frag29_user.html

Paul seems to be making stuff up as a cover for his inability to provide a reasonable justification for his system of so-called "objective" and "universal" values.

In both cases, the mere statement of the principle is enough to give reasonable people an idea of what is meant.

(apparently "reasonable people" is code word for people who agree with what Paul is arguing--those who disagree are simply unreasonable)

That is because human beings widely share a conception of the good.

Wait a minute, here. I thought that the values were "universal"? Have we got some backtracking here after Paul has already used the "U" word dozens of times and insisted on it in the face of previous criticism?

They won’t always agree on the details, but if they are honest with themselves, they will know that these principles are not consistent with slavery or genocide, and certainly not with self-destruction. Perhaps the greatest tragedy of our American history is that our country did not adhere to its founding principles, but instead turned its back on them in the body of the document for which the Preamble was written.

Hmmm. Perhaps they didn't share the same conception of the good quite widely enough? Maybe the majority were unreasonable people.

Many people say that these simple statements don’t really say much of anything. I disagree. They are simple but profound statements about the very nature of what works for human beings as a whole over a long time. They are true, they are enduring and they look to the good. They may not bridge the philosophical gap between is and ought, but they come closer than anything else.

What's so profound about an appeal to pragmatism? Paul likes the way democracy works. Many people don't. Paul has them marked by default as unreasonable. Convenient, eh?

As we understand more and more about how evolutionary principles apply to social systems, this will become clearer and clearer.

There's faith for you. And the argument brilliantly parallels that of Karl Marx, whose notion of communism was a type of evolutionary understanding of society. Communism wouldn't spread simply because it was a good idea; it was posited as an inevitability.

http://facstaff.uww.edu/mohanp/theory5.htm

Democracy (or our Republican system, if you prefer to call it that), for example, is not a perfect system. Winston Churchill described it as the worst system, except for all the others. The reason democracy is the best among imperfect systems is that through processes of social evolution it best expresses and promotes human preferences. The people may err in their choice of leaders, but as they see the effects of their mistakes they will refine their choices and the nation will survive. If citizens are informed and sincerely patriotic, the nation will prosper. That is the idea, and despite our many fits and starts, it has worked pretty well so far. As Benjamin Franklin told someone as the Constitutional Convention was ending, we’ll see if we can hold it. The Christian theologian Reinhold Niebuhr put it like this (I’m paraphrasing): “Man’s capacity for good makes democracy possible. Man’s capacity for evil makes democracy necessary.”

In the end, it is a choice, as all ethical, moral and religious systems are. We can invite people to choose wisely and for good reasons, but none of us can command the human species, certainly not in all ways or for all time. We can try to form perfect systems, but are well-advised to remember that we are dealing with complex creatures whose goals and aspirations differ widely in the details. We can build our societies on someone’s conception of a god that may not exist, and then consume ourselves with endless arguments, fights and wars over whose absolute truth is really true; or we can build our societies on our hopes and dreams, grounded in our common humanity and our capacity for the good.

bold emphasis added

Note how Paul sets up the final sentence in the form of a dichotomy?

The implication is that if we base our society on a god that may not exist, then we might "consume ourselves with endless arguments, fights and wars."

Scary, huh?

Yet that's exactly what the Framers of the Constitution did. The Declaration of Independence based its legal appeal for independence on rights based on the existence of a god, and then proceeded to agree on a framework for a federal government that borrowed very heavily from their experiences with the individual state governments--and sought to leave the state governments in charge of a great deal.

When we look for examples of governments who eschew the divisive notion of God ... well, I don't think I need to go on. Paul won't want to count them (unreasonable by default, I would suppose). Paul probably won't even wish to remember the widespread sympathy for communism in the United States and Western Europe during the first half of the 20th century.

My belief is that the latter is the best course. We don't need a mediator in the form of a story or a personified universe. What we need is our intelligence, our common humanity and a constant devotion to honoring the worth and dignity of all people.

But don't ask Paul why the worth and dignity of all people is such a low priority for over half of the world's population. He's busy telling his story.

Blather, rinse, repeat. Paul argues around in a tight circle, and the reader would do well to ask whether or not Paul's opinion here is profound, as Paul claims it to be.

The Framers' idea of unalienable rights given to all men (that is, people male and female)--now that was profound. Paul's idea, that democracy favors his perception of what is good ... not so much.

Paul's history says that he will flop around for a bit in this thread with fallacious argumentation if he argues for his views at all. Later, he'll start a new thread where he says the same old thing again in different words.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Guest
Human beings have been devising, designing, implementing, revising, discarding and replacing legal systems for thousands of years. We haven’t come up with a perfect one yet. Among the finest of those systems, arguably, is the American Constitutional system, written by some fine and excellent men in Philadelphia some 220 years ago. Yet for all its beauty, that system still generates disputes and conflict that require interpretation by a Supreme Court, and as we see, even the members of that body often do not agree on what the document means.

Human beings have also been devising philosophical systems for thousands of years. Those philosophies have changed with human knowledge and experience, and even among philosophers of the same time and place, disagreement is widespread.

Human beings have also been devising, designing, practicing, revising, discarding and replacing religions for thousands of years. Despite claims of absolute and unchanging truth in some religions, not one of them is perfect or unchanging either, certainly not Judeo-Christianity or Christianity. It has undergone profound changes over time, and is deeply divided among its sects and factions. In fact, there is a wider divide between fundamentalist Christians and mystical Christians than there is between fundamentalists in general or mystics in general.

What the religions do have in common at their best is a simple statement. The Christians express it as “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” A corollary of that same principle is written into the Preamble of our Constitution, most elementally as a statement promoting “the general welfare.” This is the philosophical and practical foundation for our system of laws, and the best in our religions.

In both cases, the mere statement of the principle is enough to give reasonable people an idea of what is meant. That is because human beings widely share a conception of the good. They won’t always agree on the details, but if they are honest with themselves, they will know that these principles are not consistent with slavery or genocide, and certainly not with self-destruction. Perhaps the greatest tragedy of our American history is that our country did not adhere to its founding principles, but instead turned its back on them in the body of the document for which the Preamble was written.

Many people say that these simple statements don’t really say much of anything. I disagree. They are simple but profound statements about the very nature of what works for human beings as a whole over a long time. They are true, they are enduring and they look to the good. They may not bridge the philosophical gap between is and ought, but they come closer than anything else. As we understand more and more about how evolutionary principles apply to social systems, this will become clearer and clearer.

Democracy (or our Republican system, if you prefer to call it that), for example, is not a perfect system. Winston Churchill described it as the worst system, except for all the others. The reason democracy is the best among imperfect systems is that through processes of social evolution it best expresses and promotes human preferences. The people may err in their choice of leaders, but as they see the effects of their mistakes they will refine their choices and the nation will survive. If citizens are informed and sincerely patriotic, the nation will prosper. That is the idea, and despite our many fits and starts, it has worked pretty well so far. As Benjamin Franklin told someone as the Constitutional Convention was ending, we’ll see if we can hold it. The Christian theologian Reinhold Niebuhr put it like this (I’m paraphrasing): “Man’s capacity for good makes democracy possible. Man’s capacity for evil makes democracy necessary.”

In the end, it is a choice, as all ethical, moral and religious systems are. We can invite people to choose wisely and for good reasons, but none of us can command the human species, certainly not in all ways or for all time. We can try to form perfect systems, but are well-advised to remember that we are dealing with complex creatures whose goals and aspirations differ widely in the details. We can build our societies on someone’s conception of a god that may not exist, and then consume ourselves with endless arguments, fights and wars over whose absolute truth is really true; or we can build our societies on our hopes and dreams, grounded in our common humanity and our capacity for the good.

My belief is that the latter is the best course. We don't need a mediator in the form of a story or a personified universe. What we need is our intelligence, our common humanity and a constant devotion to honoring the worth and dignity of all people.

When primitive men first told stories that created the first religions, they served two purposes, both to explain and to inspire. We now know that the old stories did not really explain anything (except some things about the people who told and believed them), but at the time it seemed that they did. Today we have explanations from science. It doesn't explain everything, but it does a better job of it than the ancient stories did.

As science continues to advance, our task in the field of religion is to inspire through what we know instead of trying to inspire through stories that are not based on fact. Maybe we are starting to do that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just wonder why you spend time writing this and worst of all is I spend my valuable time reading this.  For someone so possessed to try to breakdown religious barriers, you sure do make sure that you get your own beliefs publicized here.  I remember when this web page was used for things about Kearny, not your own personal beliefs.  Who or what your, mine, and whomevers religious beliefs are should be a personal matter not broadcasted. For what reasons that you hate people professing religion is identical to what you do here preaching your views.

You've put your finger right on it.

Weeks ago, Paul removed the veil of standing up for the Constitution. It's not about standing up for the Constitution, but standing up for his own vision of religion and his own vision of what is right.

If the school taught that our common humanity was the appropriate source of human values, it is extremely unlikely that the LaClairs would have lodged any objection. A religious proposition that agreed with their view of religion would not have caused any objection worth noting--that breach of the separation of church and state would probably be okay with the elder and the younger LaClair.

It wasn't about standing on the principle of law, it was about manipulating the principles of law. You might say, in keeping with one of Gavin's comments, that the LaClairs intended to implore the gods (judges) to implement the LaClairs' beliefs about religion on a segment of society. Certain religious ideas with which the LaClairs disagree do not belong in public schools. Other religious ideas are okay (if they represent what is "best" in religion according to Paul's estimation).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just wonder why you spend time writing this and worst of all is I spend my valuable time reading this.

Don't forget replying to it. If it's such a waste of time, why didn't you just stop writing, cancel the post, and leave the thread? :lol: Do you have lots of time to waste?

For someone so possessed to try to breakdown religious barriers, you sure do make sure that you get your own beliefs publicized here.  I remember when this web page was used for things about Kearny, not your own personal beliefs.  Who or what your, mine, and whomevers religious beliefs are should be a personal matter not broadcasted.

Oh, come on. 'Broadcasting' of one's beliefs is a market that's definitely cornered by theists, especially fundies. Do you seriously, honestly think people like Paul 'push' it more than they do? Really, now.

For what reasons that you hate people professing religion is identical to what you do here preaching your views.

You clearly have not been paying attention to what he has been saying.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good God!!!!  Paul you are really getting out of control............. This is ridiculous.  You must love to hear yourself. I guess that's where your son gets it.  Enough is enough... you have stated your case numerous times, please just stop your ridiculous postings.  We are sick of seeing and reading what you have to say!

Paul created the thread. You know his post was first (and the only one for a time). Instead of whining, here's an idea: don't click on his thread if you don't want to read what he has to say!

KOTW-- Can't we just stop posting his remarks?

Are you high? If "Rectum remarks" made it past the admin, as well as posts by Bryan that nearly take up more vertical space than the average page of posts in a thread he doesn't post in, Paul's posts certainly will.

I think the people of Kearny and surrounding area are sick to death of his comments, and posts about stuff that does not belong on here.  I used to love to come on this site, and read about the happenings in the West Hudson area, and the Kearny site is just awful with all this "PAUL" stuff on here... come on now, this is the last straw.

Oh, boo hoo. If you were registered, I'd point you to the "Ignore user" link if you really are incapable of mastering the art of reading who the author of a thread is and then not clicking on it, and scrolling past his posts in other threads, but since you aren't--tough. Deal with it.

Coincidentally, a lot more crap would be weeded if instead of not posting Paul's posts, KOTW didn't post guest posts. How about you be grateful that this forum is one of the very few that would allow you to post in the manner you did, and not use your posts to demand that other users not be allowed to? Do you not realize how much of a hypocrite you're being?

It is KOTW's policy to allow as many points of view as possible.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

When primitive men first told stories that created the first religions, they served two purposes, both to explain and to inspire. We now know that the old stories did not really explain anything (except some things about the people who told and believed them), but at the time it seemed that they did. Today we have explanations from science. It doesn't explain everything, but it does a better job of it than the ancient stories did.

As science continues to advance, our task in the field of religion is to inspire through what we know instead of trying to inspire through stories that are not based on fact. Maybe we are starting to do that.

If we are, it looks like it's a very slow process--people have proven exceedingly unwilling to budge from 'tradition' in this aspect.

Hopefully I can see some real progress toward this end within my lifetime.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Guest
Good God!!!!  Paul you are really getting out of control............. This is ridiculous.  You must love to hear yourself. I guess that's where your son gets it.  Enough is enough... you have stated your case numerous times, please just stop your ridiculous postings.  We are sick of seeing and reading what you have to say!

KOTW-- Can't we just stop posting his remarks?  I think the people of Kearny and surrounding area are sick to death of his comments, and posts about stuff that does not belong on here.  I used to love to come on this site, and read about the happenings in the West Hudson area, and the Kearny site is just awful with all this "PAUL" stuff on here... come on now, this is the last straw.

Paul, I for one hope you will keep posting. You obviously hit the extremely raw (like an open wound) truth button of the right wing fundie hypocrites who have no problem at all proselytizing their religion anywhere they like, even telling students in a public school that they belong in hell if they don't agree, but if you give them a taste of their own medicine (using perfectly good sense, which they don't do), they want you to go away. You're right. This isn't about anything except what they believe, and they think everyone should believe the same way they do. If you challenge them, they tell you to go to hell, and if you don't go they ask KOTW to cut you off.

To the hypocrites: Paul identifies his topics very clearly. If you don't want to read them, don't open them.

As for me: Keep 'em coming!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just wonder why you spend time writing this and worst of all is I spend my valuable time reading this.  For someone so possessed to try to breakdown religious barriers, you sure do make sure that you get your own beliefs publicized here.  I remember when this web page was used for things about Kearny, not your own personal beliefs.  Who or what your, mine, and whomevers religious beliefs are should be a personal matter not broadcasted. For what reasons that you hate people professing religion is identical to what you do here preaching your views.

I'll can't speak for you, but I can tell you why I do it. I started posting here because someone opened a topic attacking my son for finally challenging an out-of-control right-wing fundamentalist who was misusing his position (for years) to proselytize in a public school. There has long been a taboo in our culture against criticizing this brand of religion. I have a personal commitment to doing what I can to break this taboo. So as long as KOTW will have me, and as long as you folks keep arguing with me, I will continue to post here and open topics for as long as I damn well feel like it. If you don't like it, don't read them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In fact, Paul arguably thinks that the original Constitution was a big flop since it did not include the 14th Amendment at that time.  Various comments of Paul's suggest that he thinks the Framers gave us a theocracy.

But then he'll turn around and call it a great achievement.  Which way is the wind blowing today?

There's similar disagreement about the scientific method, but let's leave Paul's sacred cow with no more than that minor goring for now.

Hang on, people.  It's possible that he's going somewhere with this.

:lol:

Paul makes a moral judgment on the collective morality of religions ("at their best").

One of the things that causes a philosophical system to fall by the wayside is a tendency to beg the question on critical issues, such as Paul does here.

There is no content inherent to "the general welfare," and the phrase has nothing to do with the foundation for our system of laws.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/anncon/html/art1frag29_user.html

Paul seems to be making stuff up as a cover for his inability to provide a reasonable justification for his system of so-called "objective" and "universal" values.

(apparently "reasonable people" is code word for people who agree with what Paul is arguing--those who disagree are simply unreasonable)

Wait a minute, here.  I thought that the values were "universal"?  Have we got some backtracking here after Paul has already used the "U" word dozens of times and insisted on it in the face of previous criticism?

Hmmm.  Perhaps they didn't share the same conception of the good quite widely enough?  Maybe the majority were unreasonable people.

What's so profound about an appeal to pragmatism?  Paul likes the way democracy works.  Many people don't.  Paul has them marked by default as unreasonable.  Convenient, eh?

As we understand more and more about how evolutionary principles apply to social systems, this will become clearer and clearer.

There's faith for you.  And the argument brilliantly parallels that of Karl Marx, whose notion of communism was a type of evolutionary understanding of society.  Communism wouldn't spread simply because it was a good idea; it was posited as an inevitability.

http://facstaff.uww.edu/mohanp/theory5.htm

bold emphasis added

Note how Paul sets up the final sentence in the form of a dichotomy?

The implication is that if we base our society on a god that may not exist, then we might "consume ourselves with endless arguments, fights and wars."

Scary, huh?

Yet that's exactly what the Framers of the Constitution did.  The Declaration of Independence based its legal appeal for independence on rights based on the existence of a god, and then proceeded to agree on a framework for a federal government that borrowed very heavily from their experiences with the individual state governments--and sought to leave the state governments in charge of a great deal.

When we look for examples of governments who eschew the divisive notion of God ... well, I don't think I need to go on.  Paul won't want to count them (unreasonable by default, I would suppose).  Paul probably won't even wish to remember the widespread sympathy for communism in the United States and Western Europe during the first half of the 20th century.

My belief is that the latter is the best course. We don't need a mediator in the form of a story or a personified universe. What we need is our intelligence, our common humanity and a constant devotion to honoring the worth and dignity of all people.

But don't ask Paul why the worth and dignity of all people is such a low priority for over half of the world's population.  He's busy telling his story.

Blather, rinse, repeat.  Paul argues around in a tight circle, and the reader would do well to ask whether or not Paul's opinion here is profound, as Paul claims it to be.

The Framers' idea of unalienable rights given to all men (that is, people male and female)--now that was profound.  Paul's idea, that democracy favors his perception of what is good ... not so much.

Paul's history says that he will flop around for a bit in this thread with fallacious argumentation if he argues for his views at all.  Later, he'll start a new thread where he says the same old thing again in different words.

Part of the Framers' genius was in writing grand principles into the founding document of a people that wanted to believe them, but was not yet willing to practice them. Nearly two centuries later, a generation of Americans (having heard these principles taught in our schools) finally insisted that these grand principles be taken seriously. That would not have been possible had the Framers not done what they did. You keep making the same false assumption, Bryan. The world isn't perfect, and philosophical consistency isn't the only thing that matters. The Constitution is subject to a great many criticisms. It is still a work of genius.

The general welfare clause is very much a part of our legal framework. You're citing cases that were decided as FDR was beginning the New Deal. Those cases forestalled his legislation for a time, but they are no longer the law today. (Be careful about discussing these things with a lawyer.)

Finally, the general shape of human preferences is universal. Very rarely someone comes along who exhibits strong tendencies toward sadism, but if you threaten him with a sharp stick in his eye, or starve him, you'll quickly see that his preferences look more like yours than even he realizes. These preferences are so universal that in our laws a person may be involuntarily committed to a mental institution if he is found to be a danger to himself or others. Most important perhaps, you're missing the point, which of course you would since you're not talking about life. The question is: What is the best foundation for moral, ethical and religious systems. A wise person does not attempt to answer that question by holding deviance up as a guidepost.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Guest
In fact, Paul arguably thinks that the original Constitution was a big flop since it did not include the 14th Amendment at that time.  Various comments of Paul's suggest that he thinks the Framers gave us a theocracy.

But then he'll turn around and call it a great achievement.  Which way is the wind blowing today?

There's similar disagreement about the scientific method, but let's leave Paul's sacred cow with no more than that minor goring for now.

Hang on, people.  It's possible that he's going somewhere with this.

:lol:

Paul makes a moral judgment on the collective morality of religions ("at their best").

One of the things that causes a philosophical system to fall by the wayside is a tendency to beg the question on critical issues, such as Paul does here.

There is no content inherent to "the general welfare," and the phrase has nothing to do with the foundation for our system of laws.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/anncon/html/art1frag29_user.html

Paul seems to be making stuff up as a cover for his inability to provide a reasonable justification for his system of so-called "objective" and "universal" values.

(apparently "reasonable people" is code word for people who agree with what Paul is arguing--those who disagree are simply unreasonable)

Wait a minute, here.  I thought that the values were "universal"?  Have we got some backtracking here after Paul has already used the "U" word dozens of times and insisted on it in the face of previous criticism?

Hmmm.  Perhaps they didn't share the same conception of the good quite widely enough?  Maybe the majority were unreasonable people.

What's so profound about an appeal to pragmatism?  Paul likes the way democracy works.  Many people don't.  Paul has them marked by default as unreasonable.  Convenient, eh?

As we understand more and more about how evolutionary principles apply to social systems, this will become clearer and clearer.

There's faith for you.  And the argument brilliantly parallels that of Karl Marx, whose notion of communism was a type of evolutionary understanding of society.  Communism wouldn't spread simply because it was a good idea; it was posited as an inevitability.

http://facstaff.uww.edu/mohanp/theory5.htm

bold emphasis added

Note how Paul sets up the final sentence in the form of a dichotomy?

The implication is that if we base our society on a god that may not exist, then we might "consume ourselves with endless arguments, fights and wars."

Scary, huh?

Yet that's exactly what the Framers of the Constitution did.  The Declaration of Independence based its legal appeal for independence on rights based on the existence of a god, and then proceeded to agree on a framework for a federal government that borrowed very heavily from their experiences with the individual state governments--and sought to leave the state governments in charge of a great deal.

When we look for examples of governments who eschew the divisive notion of God ... well, I don't think I need to go on.  Paul won't want to count them (unreasonable by default, I would suppose).  Paul probably won't even wish to remember the widespread sympathy for communism in the United States and Western Europe during the first half of the 20th century.

My belief is that the latter is the best course. We don't need a mediator in the form of a story or a personified universe. What we need is our intelligence, our common humanity and a constant devotion to honoring the worth and dignity of all people.

But don't ask Paul why the worth and dignity of all people is such a low priority for over half of the world's population.  He's busy telling his story.

Blather, rinse, repeat.  Paul argues around in a tight circle, and the reader would do well to ask whether or not Paul's opinion here is profound, as Paul claims it to be.

The Framers' idea of unalienable rights given to all men (that is, people male and female)--now that was profound.  Paul's idea, that democracy favors his perception of what is good ... not so much.

Paul's history says that he will flop around for a bit in this thread with fallacious argumentation if he argues for his views at all.  Later, he'll start a new thread where he says the same old thing again in different words.

Maybe so, but I'd still like to see you produce even on verifiable "religious fact"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest 2smart4u
When primitive men first told stories that created the first religions, they served two purposes, both to explain and to inspire. We now know that the old stories did not really explain anything (except some things about the people who told and believed them), but at the time it seemed that they did. Today we have explanations from science. It doesn't explain everything, but it does a better job of it than the ancient stories did.

As science continues to advance, our task in the field of religion is to inspire through what we know instead of trying to inspire through stories that are not based on fact. Maybe we are starting to do that.

"Trying to inspire through stories that are not based on fact". Kind of like what we see from Paul on a relentless and monotonous basis.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Guest
Human beings have been devising, designing, implementing, revising, discarding and replacing legal systems for thousands of years. We haven’t come up with a perfect one yet. Among the finest of those systems, arguably, is the American Constitutional system, written by some fine and excellent men in Philadelphia some 220 years ago. Yet for all its beauty, that system still generates disputes and conflict that require interpretation by a Supreme Court, and as we see, even the members of that body often do not agree on what the document means.

Human beings have also been devising philosophical systems for thousands of years. Those philosophies have changed with human knowledge and experience, and even among philosophers of the same time and place, disagreement is widespread.

Human beings have also been devising, designing, practicing, revising, discarding and replacing religions for thousands of years. Despite claims of absolute and unchanging truth in some religions, not one of them is perfect or unchanging either, certainly not Judeo-Christianity or Christianity. It has undergone profound changes over time, and is deeply divided among its sects and factions. In fact, there is a wider divide between fundamentalist Christians and mystical Christians than there is between fundamentalists in general or mystics in general.

What the religions do have in common at their best is a simple statement. The Christians express it as “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” A corollary of that same principle is written into the Preamble of our Constitution, most elementally as a statement promoting “the general welfare.” This is the philosophical and practical foundation for our system of laws, and the best in our religions.

In both cases, the mere statement of the principle is enough to give reasonable people an idea of what is meant. That is because human beings widely share a conception of the good. They won’t always agree on the details, but if they are honest with themselves, they will know that these principles are not consistent with slavery or genocide, and certainly not with self-destruction. Perhaps the greatest tragedy of our American history is that our country did not adhere to its founding principles, but instead turned its back on them in the body of the document for which the Preamble was written.

Many people say that these simple statements don’t really say much of anything. I disagree. They are simple but profound statements about the very nature of what works for human beings as a whole over a long time. They are true, they are enduring and they look to the good. They may not bridge the philosophical gap between is and ought, but they come closer than anything else. As we understand more and more about how evolutionary principles apply to social systems, this will become clearer and clearer.

Democracy (or our Republican system, if you prefer to call it that), for example, is not a perfect system. Winston Churchill described it as the worst system, except for all the others. The reason democracy is the best among imperfect systems is that through processes of social evolution it best expresses and promotes human preferences. The people may err in their choice of leaders, but as they see the effects of their mistakes they will refine their choices and the nation will survive. If citizens are informed and sincerely patriotic, the nation will prosper. That is the idea, and despite our many fits and starts, it has worked pretty well so far. As Benjamin Franklin told someone as the Constitutional Convention was ending, we’ll see if we can hold it. The Christian theologian Reinhold Niebuhr put it like this (I’m paraphrasing): “Man’s capacity for good makes democracy possible. Man’s capacity for evil makes democracy necessary.”

In the end, it is a choice, as all ethical, moral and religious systems are. We can invite people to choose wisely and for good reasons, but none of us can command the human species, certainly not in all ways or for all time. We can try to form perfect systems, but are well-advised to remember that we are dealing with complex creatures whose goals and aspirations differ widely in the details. We can build our societies on someone’s conception of a god that may not exist, and then consume ourselves with endless arguments, fights and wars over whose absolute truth is really true; or we can build our societies on our hopes and dreams, grounded in our common humanity and our capacity for the good.

My belief is that the latter is the best course. We don't need a mediator in the form of a story or a personified universe. What we need is our intelligence, our common humanity and a constant devotion to honoring the worth and dignity of all people.

Have you thought about becoming a poet? lol!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Guest
Paul,

    Very well said. I couldn't agree more.

Good Keith! I wouldn't expect less from you. Now wait until Strifey comes and we will have all of Paulie's cheerleaders ready to cheer. By the way, make sure to wear your uniform. Don't forget the skirt! In case you don't have one, you can just borrow from Matthew LaClair. :lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Keith-Marshall,Mo
Good Keith! I wouldn't expect less from you. Now wait until Strifey comes and we will have all of Paulie's cheerleaders ready to cheer. By the way, make sure to wear your uniform. Don't forget the skirt! In case you don't have one, you can just borrow from Matthew LaClair.  :P

Rah! Rah! Rah!

Hmm.....I guess you really told me. OUCH! You got me alright. Feel Better now?

Is that all you got? Can't you put together anything relevent to Paul's post?

I will sell my computer so that I may never have to feel the wrath of "guest" again.

Say what you will but until you have the cojones to indentify yourself nothing you say will have any creedence.

Have a nice day. :lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Part of the Framers' genius was in writing grand principles into the founding document of a people that wanted to believe them, but was not yet willing to practice them. Nearly two centuries later, a generation of Americans (having heard these principles taught in our schools) finally insisted that these grand principles be taken seriously.

What, you and junior?

You don't believe in the principles on which the nation was founded.

http://forums.kearnyontheweb.com/index.php?showtopic=8174

Junior probably doesn't, either.

That would not have been possible had the Framers not done what they did. You keep making the same false assumption, Bryan. The world isn't perfect, and philosophical consistency isn't the only thing that matters.

Where do I make either of those assumptions? Or is this a LaClair Inventive Extrapolation (LIE) ?

The problem with philosophical inconsistency is that another word for it is contradiction.

The Constitution is subject to a great many criticisms. It is still a work of genius.

So a document that sets out a plan for theocracy (which is what you called my adherence to the principles originally contained in the Constitution) is also a work of genius?

The general welfare clause is very much a part of our legal framework. You're citing cases that were decided as FDR was beginning the New Deal. Those cases forestalled his legislation for a time, but they are no longer the law today. (Be careful about discussing these things with a lawyer.)

It doesn't really take a lawyer to use a fallacy of distraction to try to eliminate the memory of what he wrote. You called the general welfare clause "the philosophical and practical foundation for our system of laws, and the best in our religions."

That's completely ridiculous. You realized it but you didn't want to admit it, so in this response you changed it to "very much a part of our legal framework." The latter statement is defensible, the former one is indefensible.

It doesn't really take a lawyer to deliberately try to trick people with the words he uses--but maybe it helps.

Finally, the general shape of human preferences is universal.

:lol:

So, other than the exceptions, it applies to everyone? Did that one also register on Paul's Profound-o-meter?

Very rarely someone comes along who exhibits strong tendencies toward sadism, but if you threaten him with a sharp stick in his eye, or starve him, you'll quickly see that his preferences look more like yours than even he realizes.

You've tried it? You have the evidence?

Sounds like a no-atheists-in-foxholes argument, to me.

These preferences are so universal that in our laws a person may be involuntarily committed to a mental institution if he is found to be a danger to himself or others.

Brilliant! The exception proves the rule!

Most important perhaps, you're missing the point, which of course you would since you're not talking about life. The question is: What is the best foundation for moral, ethical and religious systems. A wise person does not attempt to answer that question by holding deviance up as a guidepost.

Nor does the wise person hold up "universal" human values (as that foundation) when the values are not really universal--but Paul won't want to talk about that.

Instead, he uses yet another distraction technique (bringing up the apparent straw man position that deviant behavior was suggested as a guidepost in establishing a foundation for moral, ethical and religious systems).

Michigan's black eye just keeps shinin'.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest The Captain
Human beings have been devising, designing, implementing, revising, discarding and replacing legal systems for thousands of years. We haven’t come up with a perfect one yet. Among the finest of those systems, arguably, is the American Constitutional system, written by some fine and excellent men in Philadelphia some 220 years ago. Yet for all its beauty, that system still generates disputes and conflict that require interpretation by a Supreme Court, and as we see, even the members of that body often do not agree on what the document means.

Human beings have also been devising philosophical systems for thousands of years. Those philosophies have changed with human knowledge and experience, and even among philosophers of the same time and place, disagreement is widespread.

Human beings have also been devising, designing, practicing, revising, discarding and replacing religions for thousands of years. Despite claims of absolute and unchanging truth in some religions, not one of them is perfect or unchanging either, certainly not Judeo-Christianity or Christianity. It has undergone profound changes over time, and is deeply divided among its sects and factions. In fact, there is a wider divide between fundamentalist Christians and mystical Christians than there is between fundamentalists in general or mystics in general.

What the religions do have in common at their best is a simple statement. The Christians express it as “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” A corollary of that same principle is written into the Preamble of our Constitution, most elementally as a statement promoting “the general welfare.” This is the philosophical and practical foundation for our system of laws, and the best in our religions.

In both cases, the mere statement of the principle is enough to give reasonable people an idea of what is meant. That is because human beings widely share a conception of the good. They won’t always agree on the details, but if they are honest with themselves, they will know that these principles are not consistent with slavery or genocide, and certainly not with self-destruction. Perhaps the greatest tragedy of our American history is that our country did not adhere to its founding principles, but instead turned its back on them in the body of the document for which the Preamble was written.

Many people say that these simple statements don’t really say much of anything. I disagree. They are simple but profound statements about the very nature of what works for human beings as a whole over a long time. They are true, they are enduring and they look to the good. They may not bridge the philosophical gap between is and ought, but they come closer than anything else. As we understand more and more about how evolutionary principles apply to social systems, this will become clearer and clearer.

Democracy (or our Republican system, if you prefer to call it that), for example, is not a perfect system. Winston Churchill described it as the worst system, except for all the others. The reason democracy is the best among imperfect systems is that through processes of social evolution it best expresses and promotes human preferences. The people may err in their choice of leaders, but as they see the effects of their mistakes they will refine their choices and the nation will survive. If citizens are informed and sincerely patriotic, the nation will prosper. That is the idea, and despite our many fits and starts, it has worked pretty well so far. As Benjamin Franklin told someone as the Constitutional Convention was ending, we’ll see if we can hold it. The Christian theologian Reinhold Niebuhr put it like this (I’m paraphrasing): “Man’s capacity for good makes democracy possible. Man’s capacity for evil makes democracy necessary.”

In the end, it is a choice, as all ethical, moral and religious systems are. We can invite people to choose wisely and for good reasons, but none of us can command the human species, certainly not in all ways or for all time. We can try to form perfect systems, but are well-advised to remember that we are dealing with complex creatures whose goals and aspirations differ widely in the details. We can build our societies on someone’s conception of a god that may not exist, and then consume ourselves with endless arguments, fights and wars over whose absolute truth is really true; or we can build our societies on our hopes and dreams, grounded in our common humanity and our capacity for the good.

My belief is that the latter is the best course. We don't need a mediator in the form of a story or a personified universe. What we need is our intelligence, our common humanity and a constant devotion to honoring the worth and dignity of all people.

!lol ?teop a gnimoceb tuoba thguoht uoy evaH

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Guest
There's similar disagreement about the scientific method, but let's leave Paul's sacred cow with no more than that minor goring for now.

The scientific method - - - -

the method that our physicists used to develop technology to put a man on the moon . . .

the method that our chemists used to develop medicines that have extended life expectancies by decades within the past century alone . . .

the method that our biologists used to assist the chemists in understanding how our bodies work and how to keep them working . . .

the method that our scientists used to give us all the modern technology that has completely changed our lives, like television, automobiles, and the computers we all use to talk to each other on KOTW . . .

the method that our astronomers use to determine all kinds of things about our solar system and far distant galaxies, and may one day use to predict when a comet will approach the earth so that we can take action to prevent it from destroying us . . .

the method that our climatologists use to understand why the planet is warming (from carbon dioxide emissions) so we can take action to change course before we kill ourselves . . .

and on and on and on.

That scientific method. A sacred cow. Not really worth anything, but you make sure you don't kill it because someone told you it's really your great-uncle. That's more along the lines of your kind of religion, Bryan.

The scientific method. Not worth a thing.

Bryan . . .

you're an idiot.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Guest
You've put your finger right on it.

Weeks ago, Paul removed the veil of standing up for the Constitution.  It's not about standing up for the Constitution, but standing up for his own vision of religion and his own vision of what is right.

If the school taught that our common humanity was the appropriate source of human values, it is extremely unlikely that the LaClairs would have lodged any objection.  A religious proposition that agreed with their view of religion would not have caused any objection worth noting--that breach of the separation of church and state would probably be okay with the elder and the younger LaClair.

It wasn't about standing on the principle of law, it was about manipulating the principles of law.  You might say, in keeping with one of Gavin's comments, that the LaClairs intended to implore the gods (judges) to implement the LaClairs' beliefs about religion on a segment of society.  Certain religious ideas with which the LaClairs disagree do not belong in public schools.  Other religious ideas are okay (if they represent what is "best" in religion according to Paul's estimation).

You've got your finger right up it.

The reason religions like Christianity aren't promoted in public schools is that they are not universally shared and are not based on fact. Our common humanity is universally shared and is a fact.

Gavin laid Bryan flat, lost interest and left. Interesting that Bryan is now referring to him as an authority.

The LaClairs aren't promoting any gods. They're simply observing that what we all have in common is that we are all human beings. That's not a difficult point to understand, unless you don't want to.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share


×
×
  • Create New...