April 30, 2012

Anonymous Posts (4.23.12-4.29.12)

Every week, we collect anonymous entries sent in using the link on our sidebar and post them all on Monday. We post anything as long as it doesn't contain personal attacks, hate speech, or express or insinuate that one is at risk for hurting themselves or someone else. Please read this for an explanation of this policy and seek help if your or a friend find yourself in that position. With those exceptions aside, please feel free to submit your thoughts and questions. :)

Well, finals are here y'all. The blog will be trying to post new material as much as possible during this week to provide you with little study breaks, but we might not have something every day. As I'm sure you know, things get really busy around here during finals and so we might be a little slower than usual. Thanks for understanding, and good luck with finals! Notes from OC:

In light on Amendment one in North Carolina, citizens of Iraq are facing similar hatred with worse consequences. As much as we should vote against Amendment 1, the people of Iraq need someone to speak out as well so I thought I might share this website. http://allout.org/en/actions/stopthekillings/taf
Matt OBrien

This petitition could use more signatures. Unbelieveable!
I reject the church’s views on claims that it is all ad hoc and dialectic. The claims of the church originate from an unsupported body of documents. The Bible is an unjustified body of work. Little outside evidence can support not only that the authorship of the books was original but that what was attested did in fact happen. As such, the basis of its belief system is mere conjecture. This could be fine, if there was a degree of coherence in views. One need not read too much of the Bible nor study discrepancies between beliefs to arrive at a conclusion of inherent inconsistency of statements, but also an incompatibility of metaphysical assertions (a being cannot at the same time omnipresent, omnibenevolent, and omnipotent). Moreover, basic tenets such as prayer, retribution, saving grace, etc. hold no logical sway given the asserted metaphysical attributes. In addition, the bible asserts a number of claims that are contrary to evidential, observable fact. As such, the bible is both internally inconsistent and disconnected from reality. With this in mind, if the basic beliefs from which all the church’s morality derive are inconsistent then it does not serve as a compass for moral action. I’d also like to weigh in on the “bigotry” argument going on. Note the is-ought distinction of claims. The “is” is the summation of all observable facts in the world. Men are stronger. It obtains that x. etc. etc. The “ought” premise is where one gives logical thrust to a moral argument. It is this ought premise where you decide whether the claim is bigoted. This is where your code of ethics comes in. Think of it like this: x + y = c Where: X: statement of fact about the world Y: ought premise derived from a body of ethics C: logical, deductive conclusion X and C are outside the scope of ethical accountability. Y is where one is at liberty to say if that claim is bigoted and/or wrong. However, this problematizes things. If Y derives from an internally consistent body of ethics, it is a precarious position to say it is bigoted. Y just like C in that it was logically derived from other premises. One must then go back to the basic premises. And this is where one is at liberty to accept or reject claims. In regard to homosexuality: This basic premise might take the form of: all things unnatural are morally derisive and acts that are such should be punished/warded against so as to preserve ___what may have you__. Ought claims are very difficult to judge. However, in this specific example I would ask one to define unnatural. More importantly, I would see if this basic claim holds with our intuitions. Is soap unnatural? Should I not use it to bathe? Is driving an automobile unnatural? Is studying linguistics unnatural? It so seems untenable for this basic belief to hold. Well, what else might be the basic belief that one could hold to judge homosexuality as a vice? Sexual activities should only partaken in for there teleological purpose (their end. i.e. conception of children). In this I think we have found the moral intuition of the Catholic church. In fact, to my surprise, they are actually fairly coherent on this one, at least in regards to women and masturbation (sin of onan). There are numerous occasions in the bible where it doesn’t seem like men are held to a standard of sexual “purity.” But even assuming we omit these parts, one is stuck defending why sexual activity comes under the realm of morality. Ethics proper is a “science” of how one engages with other people (and a metaphysical being should one believe in one; if one supposes that this being exists, one should have good reasons for making this claim). As such, cases of rape and public sexual activity make sense in regards to prescribed ethical behavior. However, why do some ethical theorist feel like they have the right to regulate one does with another consenting adult (or with oneself) in a private setting? As a sexual libertine myself, I do not see how my sexual conduct affects myself as a person and how someone can pass moral judgments on me for my actions. But I will entertain possible claims: 1) the claim for “proper” sexual conduct is based on one’s relationship with a divine being. By some metaphysical relationship, this relationship is subverted by sexual activities outside “proper” accepted behavior. Reply: prove to me that a) god exists, b) your god is the right god, c) we have good reasons to believe that this metaphysical relationship obtains. 2) the claim of “proper” sexual conduct is a principle one should take because of its benefits, i.e. mental and physical health reply: this is a bit paternalistic to me; I am a full grown adult and am capable of making my own risk-analysis; if you want to lay chains on my sexual behavior show to me the health benefits of it; moreover, show to me why you have stake in me having mental and health benefits; if what I do is only damaging to myself, what business is it of yours? I could understand if somehow you were hurt by it, but until you are able to show this, you have no right of regulating my behavior. Moreover, your claim of health benefits is observably wrong. Sexual deprivation is damaging to animals (as a matter of fact). Furthermore, claiming that homosexuality is a mental or physical defect has been debunked by almost every psychological society in there is.

Please remember that there are a number of resources available on campus and in the local community. These resources are available over breaks and throughout the school year. If you or a friend are experiencing thoughts or urges to harm yourself or somebody else, please reach out to the following resources: In an emergency, please don't hesitate to call CAPS at any time, including "after hours" at (919) 966-3820. Ask to speak to the advice nurse and tell them you are a Duke student. You may also call the Trevor Project, a national hotline specifically for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and questioning youth (college students included). Their number is 866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386).


  1. @#3: The first part of your post (the "the Bible is unsupported and philosophically contradictory" bit) shows a radical ignorance of history, the content of the Bible, theology, AND metaphysics. And the second part of your post (where you attempt to weigh in on the "bigoted" devate) is totally irrelevant to the Church's stance and is, in fact, precisely the kind of uniformed argumentation that Shane's post was talking about. You are entitled to your opinions, but I ask that you please check that those opinions contain at least some truth before posting them in a public forum.

  2. anon 5:39. In regards to the first part, I am far from mistaken in my judgment. I can see here you are a radical apologist for a religion that has no credible justification for its supposed truth. As someone who has actually read the bible and numerous scholarly articles and hundreds of apologetics and anti-apoletics, I can firmly say I am much more educated than you. And in regards to metaphysics, I am stooped by how you arrive at the conclusion that I am ignorant in this area. I take it you accept the ad hoc machinations of biblical "scholars."

    Secondly, my delineation of the ethical argument was a proper way one comes at when studying ethics. What I stated were not opinions, just regurgitated observations. As such, they the concept of truth does not belong to them. I do not want to claim they are fact, and so definitionally true. But they are more than just opinion.

  3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pt9x3CnxApo

    this video here will explain many of common arguments about metaphysical contradictions that people who posit a god as described by the christian faith must cope with.

  4. Dear anonymous folks - keeping in mind that you actually do not know each other, I wonder if it might be possible for each/all of you to keep from making assessments about who the other person is or what their level of education / elucidation / experience is with the topic at hand. Obviously this is heavy, heavy material and the temptation to extrapolate is huge but the benefit of doing so is non-existent. I just get the feeling that in a forum such as this one, sticking precisely to the facets selectively exposed by the poster is difficult, but somewhat necessary, for a legitimate conversation to take place.

  5. I apologize for my crass reply to the original commenter. I did not intend to belittle his own intelligence. I just have knee-jerk reactions to people who assume I am ignorant on matters which I have devoted a significant amount of time studying (literally thousands of hours). I cannot even begin to share what I have read, viewed, and heard. Because of the constraints of free time and the confines of posting size of this blog, I am relegated to giving very shorthand accounts of what I know. As such, I take great offense to these simplified accounts as being wholly ignorant. Still, my reply was unwarranted and I do apologize to him.

  6. #2- paragraphs are your friend