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

27 February 2013

Secular Spiritual Values: Philosophy in Action Podcast

By Diana Hsieh

On Sunday's Philosophy in Action Radio, I answered a question on spiritual values. The question was:

What are "spiritual" values? In your recent discussion of "Materialism in Marriage," you talked about the importance of "spiritual values." However, I found that confusing, since I've always associated "spirituality" with religion, often of the woozy variety. So what are spiritual values? How are they different from material values? Why are they important?

My Answer, In Brief: Understood rationally, "spiritual values" are values that sustain and nourish the mind. They are objective requirements of a person's life and happiness.

Download or Listen to My Full Answer:

Tags: Art, Ethics, Friendship, Introspection, Pleasure, Spiritual Values, Values

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

A podcast of the full episode – where I answered questions on spiritual values, advancing liberty through a new political party, welfare reform versus immigration reform, declining a friend's plans for business partnership, and more – is available here: Episode of 24 February 2013.

You can automatically download podcasts of Philosophy in Action Radio by subscribing to Philosophy in Action's Podcast RSS Feed:
About Philosophy in Action Radio

Philosophy in Action Radio applies rational principles to the challenges of real life in live internet radio shows on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

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25 February 2013

Link-O-Rama

By Diana Hsieh

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22 February 2013

Democrats and Republicans: United for Rapists

By Diana Hsieh

If you thought that only Republicans made idiotic comments about rape, think again. According to Colorado Democrat Joe Salazar, women on campus are incapable of understanding the basics of self-defense law, and so they should be disarmed so that they don't "pop a round at somebody."



Here's what he said:

There are some gender inequities on college campuses. This is true. And universities have ben faced with that situation for a long time. It's why we have call boxes. That's why we have safe zones. That's why we have the whistles. Because you just don't know who you're gonna be shooting at. And you don't know if you feel like you're gonna be raped, or if you feel like someone's been following you around or if you feel like you're in trouble -- and when you may actually not be, that you pop out that gun and you pop, pop a round at somebody.
Basically, the Democrats want to disarm women, so that they can't fight off a rapist. Then the Republicans want to prevent those women from obtaining Plan B or an abortion, if they get pregnant. It's lovely to see both sides united in the "War Against Women."

Also, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs advises women to "Tell your attacker that you have a disease or are menstruating" and "Vomiting or urinating may also convince the attacker to leave you alone." Because nothing could go wrong with that, right? (Note: That wasn't posted in response to any of the recent debates about gun control, thankfully.)

Here's what I said about the importance of allowing concealed carry on campus in a prior blog post:
When I was a graduate student at CU Boulder, I had to walk a few blocks off-campus, through a residential neighborhood, to get to my car. I took classes in the evening on occasion, and during those times, my walk was dark and lonely. Like other students, I'd receive periodic reports of sexual assaults just off-campus, and that worried me.

The police chief's advice of carrying a "safety whistle" was pure absurdity to me. If I was attacked, that wouldn't do me a lick of good. Also, I knew that I couldn't hope to outrun my attacker: I'm a slow sprinter, and even in elementary school, I only ever beat the fat girl in running the 50-yard dash. Really, I wanted my "safety Ruger" -- because that could have actually kept me safe! Instead, I often took Kate, my German Shepherd with me to those late classes. She probably wouldn't have helped much if I'd been attacked, but she might have deterred a criminal.

Moreover, in the wake of school shootings, I hated to think of being disarmed and defenseless, particularly as a teacher in a classroom full of terrified students. I'd have an obligation to protect my students as best as I could, yet I'd be unable to do much of anything. I hated that with a passion.
I suspect (and even hope, somewhat) that the Democrats have reached their high-water-mark in Colorado with these new gun controls... if only the Republicans don't out-stupid them before the 2014 election.

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21 February 2013

North Dakota Passes Personhood Legislation

By Diana Hsieh

Here's some very bad news from North Dakota, particularly for couples suffering from infertility:

North Dakota's Senate approved two anti-abortion bills on Monday that would ban the destruction of human embryos and outlaw abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy based on the disputed premise that at that point a fetus can feel pain.

Senators voted 30-17 to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The measure is a challenge to the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion up until viability, usually at 22 to 24 weeks.

The embryo measure narrowly passed 24-23, with the full Senate present. The measure's aim is to prohibit the intentional destruction of embryos and to regulate in-vitro fertilization, in which a woman's egg is fertilized outside her body. The bill defines a human being as "an individual member of the species homo sapiens at every stage of development."

For more on what's wrong with such "personhood" laws, read The "Personhood" Movement Is Anti-Life: Why It Matters that Rights Begin at Birth, Not Conception by Ari Armstrong and myself.

Also, worse might be coming from North Dakota:

The North Dakota House this month also passed a bill that would ban doctors from performing an abortion if a fetal heartbeat were detected. The House also has passed a bill would prevent women from having abortions based on gender selection or a genetic defect, such as Down syndrome.

Every restriction on abortion means forcing the burdens of pregnancy -- and likely motherhood -- on unprepared, incapable, and unwilling women. That's a violation of their right to life, and it's a serious moral evil.

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19 February 2013

The Value of Marriage: Philosophy in Action Podcast

By Diana Hsieh

On Sunday's Philosophy in Action Radio, I answered a question on the value of marriage. The question was:

What is the value of marriage? How is it different from living with a romantic partner in a committed relationship? Is marriage only a legal matter? Or does it have some personal or social benefit?

My Answer, In Brief: The explicit, considered, and public commitment of a marriage offers major legal, business, social, and personal benefits over and above merely living together.

Download or Listen to My Full Answer:

Tags: Dating, Family, Law, Marriage, Relationships, Romance

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

A podcast of the full episode – where I answered questions on the value of marriage, antibiotic resistance in a free society, concern for attractiveness to others, semi-automatic handguns versus revolvers, and more – is available here: Episode of 17 February 2013.

You can automatically download podcasts of Philosophy in Action Radio by subscribing to our Podcast RSS Feed:

About Philosophy in Action Radio

Philosophy in Action Radio applies rational principles to the challenges of real life in live internet radio shows on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

Philosophy in Action's NewsletterPhilosophy in Action's Facebook PagePhilosophy in Action's Twitter StreamPhilosophy in Action's RSS FeedPhilosophy in Action's YouTube Channel

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06 February 2013

Atheism as Religion: Philosophy in Action Podcast

By Diana Hsieh

On Sunday's Philosophy in Action Radio, I answered a question on atheism as religion. The question was:

Is atheism just another form of religion? I often hear from religious people that atheism is just another form of religion – and just as much based on faith as Christianity and the like. Is that right or wrong?
My Answer, In Brief: Atheism is not any kind of religion or faith. Religion involves belief (without adequate evidence) in the supernatural, and atheism denies such claims because they're utterly without rational foundation.

Download or Listen to My Full Answer:


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

A podcast of the full episode – where I answered questions on the value of studying personality, the golden rule, yelling at employees, atheism as religion, and more – is available here: Episode of 3 February 2013.

About Philosophy in Action Radio

Philosophy in Action Radio applies rational principles to the challenges of real life in live internet radio shows on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

Philosophy in Action's NewsletterPhilosophy in Action's Facebook PagePhilosophy in Action's Twitter StreamPhilosophy in Action's RSS FeedPhilosophy in Action's YouTube Channel

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05 February 2013

The Christian Conservative Echo Chamber

By Diana Hsieh

In his recent article, Why I'm Canceling my SI Subscription, Andrew Klavan is up in arms about the supposedly hostile leftism of culture -- Sports Illustrated in particular. It begins:

I am going to let my subscription to Sports Illustrated lapse when it runs out this year. I hope lots of other people will do the same. Like too many other publications, the magazine has become dishonest, dishonorable and even occasionally despicable in its conformist, lockstep left-wing bias. Republican politicians and conservative positions are routinely insulted in articles having nothing to do with either. Yawn-inducing left wing predictability is brought to the discussion of every issue. No SI writer is allowed to disagree with leftism ever. Despite its great photographs and occasionally good athlete profiles, the magazine has remade itself into crap in the name of political conformity.

For me, the Super Bowl issue with its smarmy and poorly reported article on religion in football was the last straw. The article was not an offense to God, it was an offense to journalism. Mark Oppenheimer, a left wing anti-religion writer for the left wing New York Times, among other left wing venues, does the left wing hit job on football players of faith. ...

Despite all that overblown rhetoric, he cites just one one example from the article. Here is the offending quote:

It's clear that for a substantial number of athletes and coaches, there is no tension between being a Christian and being an aggressive athlete. On the contrary, many of them argue that football builds character and thereby makes a man more of a Christian -- a commingling of faith and football now accepted by fans.

But is that a mistake? Just 50 years ago such coziness between public Christianity and football would have seemed absurd. Athletes were nobody's idea of good ambassadors for religion; they were more likely to be seen as dissolute drinkers and womanizers -- more the roguish Joe Namath than the devout Roger Staubach.The aggressive, violent play preached by coaches of an earlier generation was accepted as natural precisely because sport was pagan, not Christian. Christianity was peaceful, charitable and pious. Sport was bloody, ruthless, impious.

In the 1950s and 60s that antagonism began to soften..."

That's it. Not only does that example not support Klavan's hyperventiliating about left-wing bias, but it also equates public expressions of Christianity by private individuals with conservativism, such that any skepticism about that is nothing but left-wing bias. In fact, (1) most political leftists are Christians, and (2) many devout Christians are uncomfortable with the loud expressions of faith often heard from football players.

Are conservative Christians unaware of just how silly this makes them look to anyone outside their echo chamber?

Alas, I think not. Lord have mercy on us!

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