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 Dear Gomez & EHE

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Taraiha
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PostSubject: Dear Gomez & EHE   Sat Jan 02, 2010 7:46 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Dear Gomez & EHE   Mon Jan 04, 2010 8:00 pm

I will be intrigued to see just how they manage to uphold this law.

The definition of blasphemy is apparently to be "publishing or uttering matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby intentionally causing outrage among a substantial number of adherents of that religion"

It seems to me that everything must therefore hang on the intent to cause outrage. This is tricky enough if it applies only to one religion, but if we are to apply it to all religions it becomes a minefield.
Isn't it insulting christians to say Jesus was not the son of God, but insulting to other religions to say he was?

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PostSubject: Re: Dear Gomez & EHE   Tue Jan 05, 2010 12:00 pm

Perhaps so, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the intent is to cause outrage.

I see this law as an extension (albeit tenuous) of the generally accepted idea that you can't arbitrarily yell "fire" in a crowded room.

You see, the whole point of law is to maintain order. Law goes askew when we forget that important point. Prohibition attempted to legislate morality. It was an epic-level fail. It increased alcohol consumption and gave us Al Capone, one of the greatest super-villains in history. History is rife with other such problems. Conversely, we also have chaos when there AREN'T laws passed to prevent disorder... I don't even think I have to justify that. You have to have laws against dangerous things and that's flat.

So my only question in analyzing a new law is "Will this help maintain order?" Now, I suppose you could go to far with that, there's plenty of sci-fi about oppressive laws that maintain order by reducing man to the level of an ant, however, I challenge that whole setup. I don't think totalitarianisms really induce order in the long run so much as they induce riots against the system. 1930s Mexico is a good example of the principle.

Anyhow, I don't see this law as saying you can't put forth the idea that Christ might not be divine. It's saying you can't do it in such a way that you are trying to incite riots. The point is the riot, not the idea. Riots are disorder. It's the duty of law to try to do something about that.

The two points I find interesting here are these:

1-
Atheists are trying to claim that being insulting is a religious right inherent to the practice Atheist religion. (which is funny a couple different ways)

2-
Richard Dawkins says God is masochistic, which is an ... odd ... kind of idea, and that he's filicidal, which sort of hurts my brain.

I rather imagine that for all their talk, these people would be just as upset if theists started spewing random profanity and irrationality at them, but it's perfectly fine for THEM to do it, because they're atheists, and I guess that just makes them that much cooler than us.

Also worth noting is this Nugent fellow who says
Quote :
It is silly because medieval religious laws have no place in a modern secular republic, where the criminal law should protect people and not ideas.

I don't see as this fellow is qualified to talk about medieval history or modern law if he sees a corrolary here. It doesn't strike me as being written at all in the style of the laws of the Middle Ages. I suspect this is just more flaming; that he thinks the word "medieval" is a swear word of some sort.
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PostSubject: Re: Dear Gomez & EHE   Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:00 pm

Gomez wrote:
Perhaps so, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the intent is to cause outrage.
The problem is that the law hinges on assessing a person's intent, rather than just considering their words or actions. Different people are offended by different things, meaning we then have to assess whether the accused judged that their words would offend the person that was going to hear them.

In the past I have argued against creationism on the basis of Incompetant Design. You have not agreed with me, yet you have not been offended. I know other people who would take offence at the suggestion that their omnipotent God is a bit of a bodger when it comes to designing animals. Am I blaspheming when I speak to them, but not to you?

Gomez wrote:

The two points I find interesting here are these:

1-
Atheists are trying to claim that being insulting is a religious right inherent to the practice Atheist religion. (which is funny a couple different ways)
Not true. For a start this is one group of atheists, not all: we are as disunified as you god-botherers!
Secondly they point out that atheism is not recognised as a religion. I thought you would have spotted that as you have pulled me up on that point before. Razz
They are saying that it is wrong to silence people to protect ideas. Not just atheists, all religions. They include a quote insulting to atheists because atheism should be as open to debate and criticism as any other belief.

Gomez wrote:

2-
Richard Dawkins says God is masochistic, which is an ... odd ... kind of idea, and that he's filicidal, which sort of hurts my brain.
"sadomasochistic", not masochistic. Enjoying the giving and receiving of pain and discomfort. There is a whole debate in that alone. I don't want to get caught up on that one detail, but I would say that an omnipotent god who creates so many painful and debilitating diseases does leave himself open to suggestions of sadism from certain quarters. (I'm not going to argue this point: I don't believe He exists, therefore he cannot be sadomasochistic. Besides, I can see that argument turning nastier than I wish to be here. Unlike Dawkins, I am not anti-religion.)

"filicidal": Christ was killed according to prophecy. If God ordained his son's death, he can be accused of filicide. Again, not a point I want to go into in depth; I just want to show Dawkins' reasoning.

Gomez wrote:

I rather imagine that for all their talk, these people would be just as upset if theists started spewing random profanity and irrationality at them, but it's perfectly fine for THEM to do it, because they're atheists, and I guess that just makes them that much cooler than us.
Actually we are used to it.
Statements such as "Jesus Saves" are visible outside churches in any town.
Theists consider they have the right to knock uninvited on our doors and assail us with their own beliefs, usually presented as facts.
When the GWE was in hospital, someone told me that now I HAD to thank God for making her better (glossing over the question of 'who' gave her congenital heart disease in the first place.)

It is a two way street. We're just cooler than you because we can do all the naughty stuff. Wink

Gomez wrote:

Also worth noting is this Nugent fellow who says
Quote :
It is silly because medieval religious laws have no place in a modern secular republic, where the criminal law should protect people and not ideas.

I don't see as this fellow is qualified to talk about medieval history or modern law if he sees a corrolary here. It doesn't strike me as being written at all in the style of the laws of the Middle Ages. I suspect this is just more flaming; that he thinks the word "medieval" is a swear word of some sort.
Apart from the word "more" I'm inclined to agree with you on this point, though I must confess to being rather rusty on medieval law myself...

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PostSubject: Re: Dear Gomez & EHE   Wed Jan 06, 2010 3:47 pm

One quick note: I do have to apologize for painting with a wide brush. I said "atheists" where I meant to say "these atheists." I should have said that explicitly.

And I just realized, since when do Buddhists believe in reincarnation? I guess I need to brush up on modern Buddhism.

Björk wrote:

The Buddhists say we come back as animals and they refer to them as lesser beings. Well, animals aren't lesser beings, they're just like us. So I say fuck the Buddhists.

Anyhow, on with the post:

EvilHippyEmperor wrote:

The problem is that the law hinges on assessing a person's intent, rather than just considering their words or actions.

...

Am I blaspheming when I speak to them, but not to you?

This is really the crux of the matter, and your points are well made, but law often does this. It charges people with possession of controlled substances with intent to sell. Intent is the crux of matters involving corruption and bribery. Matters of sexual propriety from inappropriate conduct to rape often hinge around notions involving intention, as judges and jurors can attest.

Now, I'm not denying this is a sticky wicket. It's very difficult to know for certain what a person's motives are a lot of the time, and were I a judge (which I'm not, thank goodness) I would dismiss those cases where it was difficult to judge - if you can't know, you can't know and there's no case.

However, I believe that in the proper interpretation of this law, it is designed to stop people from deliberately causing riots, and that falls within the jurisdiction of the law. Moreover, I think it's quite obvious when people are trying to do such a thing.

It's similar to treason - I am free to criticize my government, but I am not free to actively undermine it and try to develop rebellion against it. I think this is natural and understandable; again in the context that Law exists to maintain Order.

This does not mean that anti-treason laws cannot and have not been extensively abused. That's a plain fact of history - but it's part of another discussion. Law and Law Enforcement are separate things, as too few people see. The fact that a law can be abused is no argument against that law, but an argument against corruption in law enforcement.

Similarly there's the problem of rape. Let me set the backdrop by saying that rape is bad and that all rapists should be buried in an anthill until we can think of something worse. That in mind, if a woman cries "rape," how do you know? I have friends (female, of course) who've told me stories of girls who didn't like someone so they sent him to jail - it's a simple thing to do, and they bragged about it later since it's so very funny.

To me, this doesn't mean that laws forbidding rape are bad - in fact they're necessary. It does mean that proof and enforcement are tricky things, and you should rule (again, rulings belonging to Law Enforcement, not Law) on the side of caution when it comes to removing a person's liberty, whether that be sending a man to jail or squelching political slogans. It comes to the matter of Burden of Proof. If you can't prove it, let it be.

EvilHippyEmperor wrote:

They are saying that it is wrong to silence people to protect ideas. Not just atheists, all religions. They include a quote insulting to atheists because atheism should be as open to debate and criticism as any other belief.

I simply missed the quote insulting to atheists, and though that does mitigate things quite a bit, I still say that these things can be handled without deliberate insult, and deliberate insult is easy to catch in certain circumstances. This is one of those, even if they're insulting atheists. The obvious and stated intent is not explicitly to provoke discussion so much as simply to insult. I think you can provoke discussion without being insulting, even while I do agree there are a few loose canons out there who will be insulted by things that are not insulting. My point is that it is wrong to be obviously insulting - if that is your clear motive.

EvilHippyEmperor wrote:

Statements such as "Jesus Saves" are visible outside churches in any town.
Theists consider they have the right to knock uninvited on our doors and assail us with their own beliefs, usually presented as facts.

I hold these as quite separate. Advertisement of an idea such as "Jesus Saves" I don't think is really invasive, or at least no more so than "best burgers in town" or "vacation in sunny Cancun."
Proselytizing as some purported Christians do by knocking on doors and assailing is not only impolite and insulting, but highly ineffective. I would not oppose a law against it.


In summery, not I do not believe you've ever done something for the purpose of insulting me and setting me off. I further believe that you have the common sense necessary to exercise varying levels of tact depending on how delicate the situation seems. Similarly with me, I've said things that some might call insulting to you, but never if I thought you weren't man enough to take it with a chuckle and answer intelligently. I don't think you're trying to incite violence, and that's the point of this law.

Now if we're worried about ABUSE of this law, then I'm barking up the wrong tree entirely, that's a whole different discussion.
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