Author Topic: SCC and Trinity Western University  (Read 12160 times)

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Offline FJAG

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Re: SCC and Trinity Western University
« Reply #25 on: July 01, 2018, 22:52:47 »
FJAG....

You are entitled to your beliefs.  But others believe differently..... and thus: Democracy and parliaments.   ;)   :cheers:

And thus: Tyranny of the Majority https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyranny_of_the_majority

Here's where I actually agree with Ayn Rand who "wrote that individual rights are not subject to a public vote, and that the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities and "the smallest minority on earth is the individual"

Democracy fails miserably when the mass of the electorate is driven by emotion rather than common sense. Of course, others may believe differently . . .

 :cheers:

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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: SCC and Trinity Western University
« Reply #26 on: July 02, 2018, 00:48:58 »
And thus: Tyranny of the Majority https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyranny_of_the_majority

Here's where I actually agree with Ayn Rand who "wrote that individual rights are not subject to a public vote, and that the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities and "the smallest minority on earth is the individual"

Democracy fails miserably when the mass of the electorate is driven by emotion rather than common sense. Of course, others may believe differently . . .

 :cheers:

Which results in the least amount of blood in the streets?  Tyranny of the Majority?  Or Tyranny of a Minority?  I don't know the answer but I would suggest that one has a better track record than the other.
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: SCC and Trinity Western University
« Reply #27 on: July 02, 2018, 01:15:47 »
Just a small point of order, if I may Mr. president.

By definition, it is not possible for an atheist to proselytize or be fervent "in his/her belief", since by definition, an atheist does NOT believe.

Just point of order, that's all.  ;D

Though, I have described myself as a Radical Atheist, like Douglas Adams before me. Just so there are no doubts.  :nod:

Respectfully - an a-theist is the opposite to a theist.  A theist is one that believes in a god, any god.  An a-theist is one that believes in the absence of god, any god.

An a-gnostic "believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God."

The commonality is "belief". 

Nobody knows anything for sure.  Unless they are sure in their belief.

Or as some character currently living the High-Life in Washington put it on his Facebook page :  "Credo ergo est"

I believe therefore it is.

Atheists, and agnostics, can proselytize.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2018, 01:19:07 by Chris Pook »
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Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: SCC and Trinity Western University
« Reply #28 on: July 02, 2018, 14:03:58 »
>For me if a fervent Christian or Muslim does not believe in abortions then don't have them. But why deny others?

The answer to the question lies in switching from your perspective to theirs: "For me if a fervent Christian or Muslim does not believe in murder then don't [commit] them. But why deny others?"
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Offline FJAG

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Re: SCC and Trinity Western University
« Reply #29 on: July 02, 2018, 14:38:56 »
>For me if a fervent Christian or Muslim does not believe in abortions then don't have them. But why deny others?

The answer to the question lies in switching from your perspective to theirs: "For me if a fervent Christian or Muslim does not believe in murder then don't [commit] them. But why deny others?"

That's a value-loaded judgment from the "pro-life" side as to whether or not an abortion is equivalent to murder.

Currently in Canada 4 out of 5 people support abortions. https://globalnews.ca/news/3290006/support-for-abortion-rights-strong-in-canada-but-poll-shows-we-are-middle-of-the-pack-globally/

Similarly, 4 out of 5 people in the US support abortions in any circumstance or in some circumstances. https://news.gallup.com/poll/1576/abortion.aspx. Only some 20% say it should be illegal in all circumstances yet that 20% is driving the agenda in many States' legislatures.

I think it's virtually unanimous that everyone considers murder illegal. Not so abortions. IMHO before a legislature creates laws making a certain act illegal, (or a legal act inaccessible) there should be a fairly general and widely accepted consensus that the act has such a high element of moral blameworthiness attached to it that it deserves penal sanctioning or eradication by the state. That consensus does not exist in either Canada or the US.

The fact that I can see their side of the argument does not mean that they should have their way in it.

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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: SCC and Trinity Western University
« Reply #30 on: July 02, 2018, 15:21:34 »
I think Brad was referencing the "general" and not the "particular".

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Re: SCC and Trinity Western University
« Reply #31 on: July 02, 2018, 15:30:07 »
Society has decided that murder is wrong; murder being the taking of a life for reasons other than self-defence, protection of family and of country.  By the dictionary it is the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought.  Even when a killing could be considered justified a person can still be committing murder if the killing is morally reprehensible and brutal.  With the exception of the 'morning after pill' abortion is  a brutal way to end a life.  If the methods used in abortion were used to administer the death penalty the outcry would be overwhelming.  Just because 80 or even 99% of the population have no problem with the thought of abortion does not change what abortion is i.e. the ending of another life.  We, society, have allowed women to chose to commit murder by accepting the notion that the child isn't a 'life' until the birth actually occurs.  But for the accident of a few months we are in actuality legalising infanticide.  Meanwhile the same folks that are agitating for unlimited abortion are lobbying against the fur trade, blocking the seal hunt, boycotting dog and horse races and preventing laboratories from using rats to help in the development of medicines.  Can you say HYPOCRITE.

Offline Good2Golf

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Re: SCC and Trinity Western University
« Reply #32 on: July 02, 2018, 15:53:16 »
Society has decided that murder is wrong; murder being the taking of a life for reasons other than self-defence, protection of family and of country.  By the dictionary it is the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought.  Even when a killing could be considered justified a person can still be committing murder if the killing is morally reprehensible and brutal.  With the exception of the 'morning after pill' abortion is  a brutal way to end a life.  If the methods used in abortion were used to administer the death penalty the outcry would be overwhelming.  Just because 80 or even 99% of the population have no problem with the thought of abortion does not change what abortion is i.e. the ending of another life.  We, society, have allowed women to chose to commit murder by accepting the notion that the child isn't a 'life' until the birth actually occurs.  But for the accident of a few months we are in actuality legalising infanticide.  Meanwhile the same folks that are agitating for unlimited abortion are lobbying against the fur trade, blocking the seal hunt, boycotting dog and horse races and preventing laboratories from using rats to help in the development of medicines.  Can you say HYPOCRITE.

You're mistaking murder (culpable homicide) with non-culpable homicide.  Canadian law makes legal termination of pregnancy up to the point of birth.  Committing a legal act, by definition, precludes in Canada an abortion from being murder.

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Offline dapaterson

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Re: SCC and Trinity Western University
« Reply #33 on: July 02, 2018, 16:06:33 »
So, as an opponent of abortion (though I note you don't differentiate between surgical and medical abortions), I assume you're also a strong proponent of sex ed and contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancy?
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Offline Colin P

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Re: SCC and Trinity Western University
« Reply #34 on: July 02, 2018, 17:03:43 »
Just a small point of order, if I may Mr. president.

By definition, it is not possible for an atheist to proselytize or be fervent "in his/her belief", since by definition, an atheist does NOT believe.

Just point of order, that's all.  ;D

Though, I have described myself as a Radical Atheist, like Douglas Adams before me. Just so there are no doubts.  :nod:

Atheism is a belief and it's followers worship at the alter of disbelief. Amusing to think a grain of sand understands the universe to rule out such things. Atheism requires far to much belief in the righteous of their convictions for me. To give them their due, they are generally less fervent than Vegans...  8)

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Re: SCC and Trinity Western University
« Reply #35 on: July 02, 2018, 18:58:30 »
Actually, I believe that Canadian law says nothing about abortion.  When they made the Morgantalier (forgive my spelling) ruling they punted it back to parliament with the notion that the existing law was no good so come up with a better one.  Since then, parliament has ignored the issue.  We have no law and therefore no guidance whatsoever and we have yet to come up with a definition of when life begins. If I chose to murder a pregnant woman I will face one charge only of first or second degree murder whilst the infant is ignored even if he/she too is killed as a result.

Offline FJAG

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Re: SCC and Trinity Western University
« Reply #36 on: July 02, 2018, 20:41:21 »
Actually, I believe that Canadian law says nothing about abortion.  When they made the Morgantalier (forgive my spelling) ruling they punted it back to parliament with the notion that the existing law was no good so come up with a better one.  Since then, parliament has ignored the issue.  We have no law and therefore no guidance whatsoever and we have yet to come up with a definition of when life begins. If I chose to murder a pregnant woman I will face one charge only of first or second degree murder whilst the infant is ignored even if he/she too is killed as a result.

You're wrong on a number of counts.

For a fuller overview of the topic see here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_in_Canada

In short, parliament did try to implement abortion based criminal code provisions but failed. Once that became clear the government assured through the Canada Health Act that all provincial health care support for publicly funded abortions were equally accessible. Finally, there is no shortage of guidance within the medical community and the legal one as to what is or isn't legal and in particular the acceptance by the SCC of the common law  "born alive rule" and the holding that a fetus had no legal status as a person.

While there are always niche arguments and issues that need to be addressed from time-to-time there are no overarching uncertainties except in the minds of the small minority of people who do not want the law to be what as it is.

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Offline Good2Golf

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Re: SCC and Trinity Western University
« Reply #37 on: July 02, 2018, 20:57:27 »
Actually, I believe that Canadian law says nothing about abortion.  When they made the Morgantalier (forgive my spelling) ruling they punted it back to parliament with the notion that the existing law was no good so come up with a better one.  Since then, parliament has ignored the issue.  We have no law and therefore no guidance whatsoever and we have yet to come up with a definition of when life begins. If I chose to murder a pregnant woman I will face one charge only of first or second degree murder whilst the infant is ignored even if he/she too is killed as a result.

Abortion is covered by Canadian law, but in administration - the Canadian Health Act, RSC 1985 C-6. That is precisely the point about abortion in Canada.  It is not specified by the Criminal Code of Canada as a culpable-homicide, so it is not murder...nor is it illegal. 

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Re: SCC and Trinity Western University
« Reply #38 on: July 02, 2018, 21:02:31 »
The law on the beginning of life is legally "neat", but that is about it. It's based on from what I can tell rulings going back 300 years. I read a paper a few years on how the proliferation of ultra scans are are redefining fetus development, there is significant scientific basis to base the beginning of life at some point during the fetus development. However there appears to be no political or legal will to go there. It would open up a large box of worms, since you have two sets of competing rights within the same body and it would also mean that the biological father is on the hook for childcare and support during pregnancy. I suspect that the majority of Canadians given all the facts would settle on abortions being allowed in the early stages, but none at the later stages, except in dire circumstances. A law like that would not make the extremists on either side of the debate happy, but would suit the majority.       

Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: SCC and Trinity Western University
« Reply #39 on: July 02, 2018, 21:06:27 »
>That's a value-loaded judgment from the "pro-life" side as to whether or not an abortion is equivalent to murder.

It's not "value loading", it's calling it how they see it.  "Murder" has a moral meaning as well as a legal one; I refer to the former.  If abortion isn't murder, there isn't really a reason to object to it; people object on the grounds that it is a taking of human (a person's) life.  As for law, everything defined in law is arbitrary - it may be grounded on some sort of moral or other principle, but ultimately we can define anything we want, any way we want, in law.  What the criminal code has to say is beside the point when discussing the issue in basic moral terms.
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Offline FJAG

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Re: SCC and Trinity Western University
« Reply #40 on: July 02, 2018, 22:03:06 »
>That's a value-loaded judgment from the "pro-life" side as to whether or not an abortion is equivalent to murder.

It's not "value loading", it's calling it how they see it.  "Murder" has a moral meaning as well as a legal one; I refer to the former.  If abortion isn't murder, there isn't really a reason to object to it; people object on the grounds that it is a taking of human (a person's) life.  As for law, everything defined in law is arbitrary - it may be grounded on some sort of moral or other principle, but ultimately we can define anything we want, any way we want, in law.  What the criminal code has to say is beside the point when discussing the issue in basic moral terms.

"Some" people object to it; the majority don't.

The crime v morality issue is really the point. Crimes need to be defined and uniformly applied within a society. Within a multicultural society morality varies from group to group and even individual to individual. Oppression occurs when one group insists that it's moral construct must apply to everyone. Our current laws regarding abortion mean that they need only apply to those who want to make use of them. Others are free to choose not to make use of the procedure.

Murder is a legally and socially defined concept as Good2Golf states. While morality may play a part, it's the "unlawful" part that's the key to the term. Societies permit many forms of lawful taking of another life (in war - whether as a direct target or collateral damage, in self defence, in capital punishment, and more). None of those are murder.

By stating that abortion is murder, one is not simply stating their own moral opinion but making a statement that the act is illegal when in fact it is not. It's not only a misstatement but a misuse of language for the express purpose of inciting passion in the listener who is either like-minded or uninformed. That makes it "value-loaded".

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Re: SCC and Trinity Western University
« Reply #41 on: July 02, 2018, 22:40:56 »
Thanks for the correction on the legal information.  But abortion is still the taking of a life and in a very brutal fashion.  WE, society, has set a very low value on human life.  The right to party without fear of repercussions 9 months later is a greater right than that of the child to actually enter into life.  Sad. Doesn't say much for our society and its values does it?

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: SCC and Trinity Western University
« Reply #42 on: July 03, 2018, 00:56:30 »
"Some" people object to it; the majority don't.

....

Rather a tyrannical judgement, no?

By the way, has that judgement been tested in parliament recently?
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Offline FJAG

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Re: SCC and Trinity Western University
« Reply #43 on: July 03, 2018, 00:58:53 »
Thanks for the correction on the legal information.  But abortion is still the taking of a life and in a very brutal fashion.  WE, society, has set a very low value on human life.  The right to party without fear of repercussions 9 months later is a greater right than that of the child to actually enter into life.  Sad. Doesn't say much for our society and its values does it?

I'm not sure why I'm participating so much in this particular discussion. I do know that I don't have any objections to, or any ill will towards, individuals who subscribe to the pro-life view on this matter per se. I do, however, object to points of view that criticize, demean, attack or oppress others who are on the pro choice side.

For example, I believe that we, as a society, do have a very high value on human life. For example as a society we do not accept capital punishment. The issue on abortion is that we don't all agree as to when a potential human life becomes an actual one. I'm neither a biologist nor a theologian (and I presume very few of us on this board are) so won't get into a debate about how many angels are dancing on the head of this particular pin, but I can accept the rationale that the spark that changes potential human to actual human can occur very late in the process even if there are prior signs of biological activity such as a heartbeat and sensation.

The statement "right to party without fear of repercussions 9 months later" is IMHO condescending to women. I know that there are also some potential financial repercussions to the putative father, however, let's face it, it's the woman (and all too frequently a poor and uneducated one) who is the host for this potential life and will need to carry it for nine months and then care for it for decades later or leave it in the care of the state or others. I'm not a woman (and have never been one) but I can imagine that the carrying of a fetus to term and the raising of a child is more than a mere inconvenience. I very much support a woman's right to choose. I can only imagine that it is a difficult enough decision that she has to make without also being demeaned or bullied or cowed. Unfortunately in many jurisdictions down south it goes far beyond that and such women and girls are treated contemptibly if not down-right denied access to the procedure.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_in_the_United_States_by_state#State_regulatory_initiatives_regarding_abortion

The fact of the matter is that there would be considerably fewer unwanted pregnancies (especially amongst poor women) if government provided cheap and easy access to contraceptives and family planning. Paradoxically current governments south of the border are cutting funding to such things and, IMHO even worse, such decisions by the conservative majority of the USSC in Burwell v Hobby Lobby allowed privately held corporations to exert their owners' religious beliefs to deny their employees the ability to access contraceptives through the Affordable Care Act. This shortsightedness on the part of many pro-lifers effectively drives the need for more abortions.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burwell_v._Hobby_Lobby_Stores,_Inc.

I think that I'll jump out of this discussion now. It's becoming pretty much a zero-sum game.

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Offline SeaKingTacco

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Re: SCC and Trinity Western University
« Reply #44 on: July 03, 2018, 09:17:06 »
This has been an instructive and very interesting thread turn.  I want to congratulate all participants for, thus far, keeping it civil and constructive!

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Re: SCC and Trinity Western University
« Reply #45 on: July 03, 2018, 11:38:59 »
I'll echo everything FJAG has said, as it's pretty much where I sit.  I've tried to educate myself on this a bit, if only to understand the policy debate.

1.  The real problem is that "pro-choice" is a bad term - it paints anyone who has some concern for the fetus as some sort of neanderthal trying to lock woman up in the kitchen.  When someone says they are "pro-choice," they are generally just saying that they don't want to hear anything that challenges their extreme position (extreme in that only the right to access should be considered).  "Pro-life" is also a bad term - it paints anyone who supports some form of reproductive control for a woman as an immoral murderer.  When someone claims they are "pro-life," they are generally just saying that they don't want to hear anything outside of their extreme position (extreme in that there should be no access to abortion at all).  Folks under either of these labels are probably the 10-15% on either end of the spectrum that hijack the discussion.

2.  The real answer is, as usual, in the gray zone.  At some point, a fetus is viable and developed enough that most reasonable people would judge that it should be provided some (maybe not total) legal protection.  Before this point, the mother should be provided with a host of legal rights as to her own body.  As FJAG said, I'm not a biologist or a theologian, but I do feel this gray zone is where the 80% solution is at.

3.  But maybe Canada already has the 80% solution?  Its just not the law that does it, but rather the guidelines of the medical profession.  While Canada has eschewed a legal approach to regulating abortion, it has built a professional regime to govern the practice.  Medical professionals will only perform late-term (20+ weeks) abortions in certain (often dire) circumstances.  Statistically, they are 1-2% of the procedures conducted, and are only done when a mother's life is in danger, or the fetus is damaged.  Yet these procedures are often the boogeyman in the room used by opponents of abortion to trigger emotional responses in people.

4.  Thus the real area of discussion is the 12-20 week period.  Again, as FJAG said, I'm not a theologian or a biologist, so my opinion isn't worth much.  But here is the middle ground where any realistic discussion should focus on, but the extremes on either side won't let that happen.  If I talk about the fetus at 17 weeks, I'm immediately "against a woman's rights;" if I talk about an abortion at 17 weeks, I'm immediately a "murderer."  This is the reason, I'm sure, that 80% of Canadians are happy to leave the issue to the woman and her doctor.

5.  Finally, one thing that angers me is the characterization that "pro-life" folks often make by painting woman as flippantly going about terminating a pregnancy.   I know women first-hand who've went through the procedure, and none of them were happy with going through with it.  It's a psychological burden for them but for whatever personal reason, they saw it as necessary for their physical and/or psychological well-being.  They in no way should have to suffer abuse from some a**hole outside of a clinic hanging around with a sign and screaming at them.
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: SCC and Trinity Western University
« Reply #46 on: July 03, 2018, 13:09:02 »
I appreciate the discussion about the abortion issue but this item started with a discussion about the Supreme Court, Trinity Western and the role of religion in the public square.

Might it be appropriate to hive off the abortion debate to a separate thread?

Or is abortion the only reason that there is concern about having TWU's Christian lawyers arguing cases before the Supreme Court?  That might suggest to me that TWU is providing them such an exemplary legal training that they can skew the results in their favour when arguing before the SCC regardless of the case they are arguing.

My own opinions on abortion are my own opinions and largely, as far as I am concerned, not germane to the discussion on how a democratic society manages all opinions, including those informed by religious belief no matter how arrived at, and converts those opinions into a manageable body of law that generates enough support so as to minimize the blood in the streets.
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Re: SCC and Trinity Western University
« Reply #47 on: July 03, 2018, 13:23:35 »
…. the discussion on how a democratic society manages all opinions...
I'll continue with a slight  tangent by recommending Tom Nichols, The Death of Expertise: The Campaign against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters.  While the conflict between 'science' and 'religion' (as noted in this thread) is not remotely new, this book looks at a growing divide against thinking and expertise, writ large.
 
Quote
A rejection of actual informed expertise occurred due to: the openness of the internet, the emergence of a customer satisfaction model in higher education, and the transformation of the news industry into a 24-hour entertainment machine, among other reasons.

Paradoxically, the increasingly democratic dissemination of information, rather than producing an educated public, has instead created an army of ill-informed and angry citizens who denounce intellectual achievement.
 
Today, everyone knows everything: with only a quick trip through WebMD or Wikipedia, average citizens believe themselves to be on an equal intellectual footing with doctors and diplomats. All voices, even the most ridiculous, demand to be taken with equal seriousness, and any claim to the contrary is dismissed as undemocratic elitism.
The updated version, which I haven't read, covers "the alarming exacerbation of these trends in the aftermath of Donald Trump's election."  :panic:

It likely appeals even more  to my cognitive biases then.  ;D

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Re: SCC and Trinity Western University
« Reply #48 on: July 03, 2018, 13:35:45 »
FJAG speaks about women's right south of the border, interestingly enough the further south you go, the less rights the woman gets in regards to abortion and contraceptives. I find it amusing that many peoples criticism stop just North of the Mexican border. The US is a complex place when discussing legal and moral issues, with at least 52 different legal views on the matters. It's a bad habit we all have to consider it as a singular entity.

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: SCC and Trinity Western University
« Reply #49 on: July 03, 2018, 14:15:14 »
I'll continue with a slight  tangent by recommending Tom Nichols, The Death of Expertise: The Campaign against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters.  While the conflict between 'science' and 'religion' (as noted in this thread) is not remotely new, this book looks at a growing divide against thinking and expertise, writ large.
 The updated version, which I haven't read, covers "the alarming exacerbation of these trends in the aftermath of Donald Trump's election."  :panic:

It likely appeals even more  to my cognitive biases then.  ;D

The problem, as I see it, is that regardless of the basis on which opinions are based, scientific, political or religious belief, any individual has the ability to be disruptive of the social fabric.  That includes people with whom we disagree.

Our system of governance, as explicitly defined during the liberal era of 1867, did not aspire to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, or even Truth and Justice. It offered only Peace, Order and Good Governance - a system based on pragmatism, compromise and accommodation.  In my view the key word here is "Order".   Not used in the sense of "Ordnung muss Sein" but rather in the sense of the Speaker call the House to Order.  Order is not imposed externally.  Order is requested from people exercising self-restraint and self-discipline.

To be blunt the issue is not who owns the Truth.  Who is Right.  We had been down that path long  before the British experiment.  And it continued in conflict with the British experiment right through to the present day.  In the past the argument was given that any fool with a pound in his pocket could publish the most outrageous statements on those new-fangled presses of Gutenberg that Caxton imported into Britain.  Next thing you knew academicians were taking it upon themselves to communicate amongst themselves, meet without official sanction at the local taverns and form invisible colleges.   They were publishing opinions that any sane establishmentarian could understand the need for prohibiting.   Neither the problem nor the responses are new or unique to our era.

Again, the issue is not one of being right.  It is simply one of managing society so that people can live peaceably and provide for themselves and their families.  And, my belief is, that the majority of people are highly tolerant of compromise so long as they do not find a fist in contact with their nose.

One opinion is worth exactly one vote.

"Wyrd bið ful aræd"