Our rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness
can only be secured by a state strictly separated from religion

20 June 2012

Pro-Choice and Surrogacy

By Diana Hsieh

Over on the blog of The Objective Standard, Michael LaFerrara has a good post on opposition to surrogate pregnancy, particularly when the woman has no genetic relationship to the resulting baby. He writes:

Remarkably, though unsurprisingly, various people and groups want gestational surrogacy outlawed. Demarco notes that “Opponents of the bill run the ideological gamut, from New Jersey Right to Life to the National Organization for Women.” Their main beef is encapsulated by attorney Harold Cassidy: “The exploitation of women if this bill becomes law is unfathomable.” Critics fear that the bill “will create a for-profit business, where ‘brokers’ will make a profit off vulnerable women.”

These busybodies apparently believe that women are incapable of determining what is in their own best interest. They also apparently regard women’s choice to be surrogate mothers for pay as inherently wrong—and brokers (those who help potential parents and surrogates meet each other and work out the details of their agreement) as somehow immoral. Their view, in short, is that women are stupid and profit is evil.
Go read the whole thing.

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18 June 2012

Morality without God: Philosophy in Action Podcast

By Diana Hsieh

On Wednesday, 13 June 2012, I broadcast a new episode of Philosophy in Action Radio on "Morality without God" with live callers.

If you missed the live broadcast, you can listen to the audio podcast. You'll find that posted below, as well as on this episode's archive page: Advice Radio: 13 June 2012.

Philosophy in Action Radio: Episode: 13 June 2012

Listen or Download:


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15 June 2012

Philosophy in Action Radio: Staying Objective

By Diana Hsieh

On Sunday, 10 June 2012, I broadcast a new episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, answering questions on staying objective, deliberately unhealthy choices, consuming celebrity news, refuting Marxist arguments, and more. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers was the episode's co-host.

My discussion of staying objective might be of particular interest, particularly given that so many theists claim that objectivity is impossible without God.

How can a person be certain of his own objectivity? It's often difficult to stick to the facts in reasoning, and it's even harder to make sure that you're focused on all and only the relevant facts. How can a person know that he's being objective – as opposed to relying on unwarranted assumptions, ignoring relevant facts, or rationalizing what he wants to be true?
My Answer, In Brief: Objectivity is not easy, but a person can keep his thinking tethered to reality by carefully monitoring and directing his mental processes.

Listen or Download:


Tags: Emotions, Epistemology, Ethics, Introspection, Objectivity, Rationality

Relevant Links:To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts live every Wednesday evening and Sunday morning. Take a peek at the Episodes on Tap for information on upcoming shows!

In the meantime, Connect with Us via social media, newsletter, RSS feeds, and more. Check out the Show Archives, where you can listen to any past episode or question. And visit the Question Queue to submit and vote on questions for upcoming episodes.

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13 June 2012

Tonight: Morality without God on Philosophy in Action Radio

By Diana Hsieh

In this evening's episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I'll discuss "Morality without God" with live callers.

Is objective morality possible or necessary without God? Can and should morality be based on observable facts? Join me for an engaging half-hour call-in show on the secular basis of morality!

  • What: Philosophy in Action Advice Radio Show

  • Who: Dr. Diana Hsieh with live callers

  • When: Wednesday, 13 June 2012 at 6 pm PT / 7 pm MT / 8 pm CT / 9 pm ET

  • Where: www.PhilosophyInAction.com/live


If you attend the live show, you can share your experiences and ask questions by calling the show or via the text chat. If you miss the live broadcast, you'll find the audio recording of the whole episode, as well as individual questions, posted to the episode's archive page: Advice Radio: 13 June 2012. From that page, you can post comments on the questions before or after the broadcast.

Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts live every Wednesday evening and Sunday morning. Take a peek at the Episodes on Tap for the scoop on upcoming shows!

In the meantime, Connect with Us via social media, newsletter, RSS feeds, and more. Check out the Show Archives, where you can listen to any past episode or question. And visit the Question Queue to submit and vote on questions for upcoming episodes.

I hope that you'll join us tonight!

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Jesus, Prankster

By Diana Hsieh

These pranks by Jesus are downright hilarious:



I'm so glad to live in a culture in which people don't believe that the prankster is actually Jesus or some other miracle-worker! (Well... some poor souls do seem to experience a few moments of awe.)

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12 June 2012

The Criminalization of Bad Mothers

By Diana Hsieh

The NY Times recently published an lengthy article entitled The Criminalization of Bad Mothers. It examines the criminal prosecutions of women for endangering or harming their fetus due to drug use under "chemical endangerment" laws:

There have been approximately 60 chemical-endangerment prosecutions of new mothers in Alabama since 2006, the year the statute was enacted. Originally created to protect children from potentially explosive meth labs, Alabama’s chemical-endangerment law prohibits a “responsible person” from “exposing a child to an environment in which he or she . . . knowingly, recklessly or intentionally causes or permits a child to be exposed to, to ingest or inhale, or to have contact with a controlled substance, chemical substance or drug paraphernalia.”
The law is being applied to pregnant women due to the efforts of "personhood" advocates, who seek to grant full legal rights to zygotes from the moment of fertilization.

The result is not that fetuses are magically protected from harm. Instead, pregnant women are concealing their addictions to avoid prosecution, driving across state lines to give birth, and forcibly separated from the born children who depend on them. The stories are heartbreaking -- and frustratingly complicated.

That's appalling, but it shouldn't be surprising to anyone who has read Ari Armstrong's and my policy paper, The 'Personhood' Movement Is Anti-Life.

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07 June 2012

John Hagee: Atheists Should Leave the US

By Diana Hsieh

Pastor John Hagee is no friend of the separation of church and state:



As it happens, I discussed whether the United States is a Christian nation in a recent Philosophy in Action Radio Show. It's Question 4 of the 3 June 2012 Q&A. The question was:

Is the United States a Christian nation? People often claim that the United States is "a Christian nation." What do people mean by that? Why does it matter? Is it true or not?
Listen Now

You can also download the MP3 Segment. It's just over 14 minutes long.

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05 June 2012

So Much Wrong in So Few Words

By Diana Hsieh

This World Net Daily article -- Evolution to Fall in 2012? -- is so much wrong in so few words that my head nearly exploded on reading it. For instance, the article...

  • Confuses American public opinion with science.
  • Cites a Gallup poll on evolution versus creationism that assumes God's existence.
  • Uses Google search trends as evidence of popular opinion, even though they can't be validly used that way.
  • Laudes the increase in young-earth creationists, while criticizing evolutionary theory for its lack of scientific basis.
  • Flatly lies about the scientific evidence that proves evolutionary theory.
  • Confuses evolutionary theory with mere randomness.
It's a creationist train wreck, from beginning to end... and a good reminder of the scientific disaster that is the religious right.

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01 June 2012

Fight Church

By Diana Hsieh

I must admit, I'm a bit alarmed by any pairing of Christianity and violence. However, this Fight Church Trailer is so strange as to be funny:



Yes, it's real, not satire. See the Kickstarter project and this USA Today article.

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