Daily GUIDE-ance:

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Feb 29- Soap Box

I have actually dumped quite a bit of time and energy into this post. I have been shaping it since the epic discussion we had on MLK day. There were a few things that came up in the abortion discussion that I couldn’t, in good conscience, allow to pass unchallenged. (A few other things came up that were as challengeable logically, but that I am letting pass, for now, in the interest of sticking to the point).

In the course of putting this together, I had two epiphanies that I want to share.

Epiphany 1:
Victory is a mathematical certainty. The lifers are going to win. The only question is how long it will take and what the final cost in lives (and souls) will be.

Its hard to explain exactly how I know this, except to say that Pre-Civil war many knew that slavery would have to end some day. A culture cannot be built on injustice forever. The culture either changes or is destroyed.

Epiphany 2:
The structure and substance of many (if not all) the choicers arguments in favor of legal abortion are not designed to win the debate. They are only designed to prolong the debate- to put off defeat for their side as long as possible. It is almost as if there was a mastermind inventing the choicers talking points who knows that he/she/it has no hope of ever winning the debate and is only playing for time.*

I want to examine two of these talking points that came up in the MLK day discussion, noting particularly how they do not attempt to address the question of the morality of abortion, but instead, seek to draw attention away from it.


The Rape Exception
The amount of time/space/energy/matter expended on this exception made me do a quick Google on the topic to find out just how frequent the rape/abortion combo is. The first set of stats I found are as follows:

About 0.3% of all abortions are to end a rape/ incest pregnancy. (0.3% NOT 3%.)**

Cases of risk to maternal health or life, 1%.

Over 98% of abortions are elective. http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/abreasons.html

I’m thinking we should do something to save the 98% first- then we can sit down and have the rape exception debate and take our time over it.

In CS Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters, he discusses an technique that the devil uses to keep the world as screwed up as possible: get people running around with fire extinguishers during a flood. I believe the discusson of these very rare exceptions are exactly the sort of distraction Lewis is trying to warn about.

Another thing CS Lewis discusses in Screwtape is how the devil, when he finds that he can’t destroy someone’s compassion or charity, he instead tries to make that persons charity and compassion as useless as possible by directing it where it will do the least good and require the least action/change in one‘s day-to-day life. In this case, I think many basically kind people on the choice side of the fence have allowed their natural compassion to become directed exclusively to a very small percent (0.3%) the population, thus effectively destroying, or at least neutralizing, their compassionate instincts for the unborn.

I’d like to consider the rape exception as a closed topic for now-please no more discussion on this point- when Roe v. Wade is overturned, I’m good with a rape exception.***

Semantics
Another thing that I noted in our discussion about abortion was how often simple semantics and imagery came up:

“I'm trying really hard to be respectful of feelings here, but I find the term "pro-choice" really offensive,…”

“…Also consider that in the first trimester, the fetus isn't even a fetus yet - it's a grouping of cells with no heartbeat, and no brain activity. Call it killing a baby if you want…”

My take is - come on kids- its just words. We all know what the other side is talking about. I’m personally good with being called anti-choice (or anti-death for that matter). I mean, I am anti-choice, in this case. (yada yada with the rape exception and the danger-to-the-life-of-the-mother exception, obviously)

I could (and have in earlier drafts of this) gone on and on about the thin attempts to soften the emotional impact by using terms like “Cell mass” instead of “baby” (the term “abortion” itself is deliberately bland)- and about the historical precedents for verbally dehumanizing the enemy****…

But really, ultimately, what is the point?

What difference does it make what you call it? None.

The semantics are intended to keep people from thinking about the real question.
-Which is (you sub in your preferred terms below):

“Should it be legal to do A to B?”
A: Abort, kill, terminate, remove, slaughter, end, murder
B: Baby, cell mass, organism, fetus, child


An unborn child dies every 25 seconds. Time is precious.

Thanks for reading-

Me



*Many cultures believe in such a mastermind- they name him Coyote, Loki, Satan.

**Rape-pregnancy abortion and Partial-Birth abortion appear to be more or less equally uncommon.

***Moreover, it appears that the majority of women who become pregnant as a result of rape elect to carry the child to term.
http://www.abortionfacts.com/online_books/love_them_both/why_cant_we_love_them_both_29.asp

****It’s a constantly repeated theme in the history of war- the idea being its easier, emotionally, to kill something if you don’t have to think it as human. Nazi propaganda dehumanized the Jews, American propaganda dehumanized the Germans and the Japanese and of course (see original post http://johnseverfanclub.blogspot.com/2008/01/my-thoughts.html ) its how we justified slavery. In at least one sense, “Cell mass” is the modern equivalent of words like Jap, Krout, Gook, and nigger. But using such dehumanizing terms does not change the humanity of the person described, it only dehumanizes the person doing the describing.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Archive of Foolish Advice!

Snub someone for no reason.
Have tuna for breakfast
Store milk jugs upside down
Deliberately jam up a stapler
Bite someone
Deliberatly write all checks for $.04 too little
Lie about something trivial
Shake your fist at strangers
Today is Mismatched Shoe Day!
Preform an incantation
Loiter near a NO LOITERING sign
Take a grocery cart to walmart, or vice versa
Go jogging through the park shouting: STOP THIEF!
Wear a tie
Stare at someone
Ask about a disabled person's disablity
Give a stranger a pair of scissors
Thank someone for wearing pants
Write yourself a prescription for tylenol, and use it to buy some.
Invade personal space
Move fake produce to the real produce aisle and vice versa
Sell oranges from a roadside stand
Buy something and immediately return it
Red food coloring in all the public toilets
Inquire about the price of a sex change operation
Accuse someone of being a sabbath-breaker
Take a clipboard to the mall and conduct a survey. Offer to show people clips of movies. Take them back into the secret rooms of the mall and abandon them.
Jump on potato chips
Drink paint
Put a box of nails in a public microwave

The Answers

1) Superpowers:

Super-strength, Invisibilty, Flight
Super strength is clearly the best. I just lately changed my mind about the other two. I think I am becomeing more devious minded lately.


2) Alternative Religions:

Agnostic, Neo-pagan, Buddist, Evangelical Christianity, Atheism, Catholiscm
The hardest calls here were Neo-pagan vs Buddist and Atheism vs Catholiscm. I'd clearly be an agnostic first. Through my Dungeons and Dragons infulenced teenage years I have had several friends into one type of pagany religion or another and generaly found them to be pretty good company. I think that without my LDS background I might have enventually (like maybe by the time I turned 35 or so) embraced some form of Christianity, but not in any orgainzed man-made church.


Fill in the blanks:

3) Hoho (Booga, Eeka and Hoho were Brad and I's nonsense/swear words of choice when we were kids. I don't know why)

4) Deep Thought was the computer that deisgned the Earth in the Hitchhiker's Guide

5) We are the priests of the temples of Syrinx- Rush, 2112

6) Lord-Baron John Christopher Sever The Powerwielder. That's the title that I gave myself when I was about 15. Something I have in common with Snape and Voldemort.

7) Leery Fog Beast. Its a Magic card, that Bruce once attacked me with and lost dramatically when I blocked it. It was great.

8) Ugly Women:
Jessica Alba
Jessica Simpson
Angelina Jolie

They are all so frickin' boooooring. They seem to be as dumb as a box of dogcrap, and have about as much personality. A much more interesting problem would be to try to rank the other women in order of hotness. Also, honestly, have you looked at Alba or Jolie's face? They aren't kidding when they say that those gal's butts are thier nicest feature.

9) Lawyer.

I worked for one once. His job sucks. (so hahahahahahah!)

I wanted to play baseball professionally when I was a 13, 14. After I quit wanting to play baseball I decided that being smart and wanting to be rich I should become a doctor. Later I factored in that I hated school and threw that one out.

When I was in elementary school I planned on being both an astronaut and a dinosaur digger at the same time. I remember my 9 year old heart just aching at the thought that I might somehow, by some horrible accident, spend my whole life trapped on just this one tiny planet. I am still not resigned to it. Space tourism is happening now. By the time I am 60 or so, I am hoping that I will be able to afford to go to the moon. Jonni wants to come with me. It'll be great. Liz wants to stay home.

(oh yeah I am an engineer)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Bwahahahahahahahaha!

This morning I taught myelf Javascript! It was Eeeeeeeeasy! Like Breaking a toothpick!

Im smart! Im smart!

S-M-R-T!

All others are number 2 or lower!

Bwahahahahahahahaha! Die die die die worms eating your eye!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Just 2 humble links of interest

This is pretty much a nothing post. I'm sure most of you have seen Glenn Beck's Tribute to President Hinkley by now, but if you haven't, its short, like 3 minutes, and I liked it:
http://www.glennbeck.com/content/articles/article/200/5127/


On a totally unrelated note, quite a while back I said I wanted to post links to a couple of Michael Crichton's (i can never spell his name right) essays about Global Warming:


http://www.michaelcrichton.com/essay-stateoffear-whypoliticizedscienceisdangerous.html


http://www.michaelcrichton.com/speech-environmentalismaseligion.html



Oh and one other thing. (On yet another, even less related note).


Been reading CS Lewis's Mere Christianity. Good, although so far there have been no fist fights or shoot outs or sword fights (one of the characters does have superhuman powers though). I thought this bit about sex (SEX SEX SEX SEX)
was funny. (and well put)



Saturday, February 9, 2008

71 of my favorite books

Just for the devil of it, I started making a list of my favorite books of all time at work while I was waiting for Pro-E to regenerate. Then, just for the devil of it again, I found myself trying to put them in order of favoriteness. That was harder. This morning I found myself on the floor of my library with my list printed out and a pair of scissors, snipping and reordering titles.

I do like to read, but a good book can be hard to find, there being so many mediocre books out there.
What else is good? I would very much like to hear about everyone else's favorite books!

So here is the official 2008 JCS fanclub reccommened reading list:

1 The Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglas
Author:Frederick Douglas
Genre: Nonfiction, autobiography of a runaway slave
Age group: Adult

2 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Author: Mark Twain
Genre: Fiction

Age group: Young Adult

3 JK Rowlings' Harry Potter Series
Genre: Fantasy
Age group: Young Adult/children

4 The Hobbit
Author:JRR Tolkein
Genre: Fantasy

Age group: Young Adult

5 James Herriot's
-All creatures Great and Small
-All Things Wise and Wonderful
-All Things Bright and Beautiful
-The Lord God made them all
Genre: Nonfiction, autobiographical stories from an English vet. Fun!
Age group: Adult


6 Stephanie Meyer's Vampire Trilogy
-Twilight
-Eclipse
-New Moon
Genre: Fantasy/Teen Romance
Age group: Young Adult


7 Contact
Author: Carl Sagan
Genre: Sci-Fi
Age group: Adult

8 A Night in the Lonesome October
Author:Roger Zelazney
Genre: Fantasy
Age group: Young Adult


9 Last of the breed
Author: Louis Lamour
Genre: Adventure. A native American Pilot escapes capture in Cold War Russia
Age group: Adult


10 Centennial
Author:James Michner
Genre: Historical Fiction/ Western
Age group: Adult


11 A Christmas Carol
Author:Charles Dickens
Genre: Fantasy

Age group: Young Adult

12 John Fitzgerald's The Great Brain series
-The Great Brain
-The Great Brain at the academy
-The Great Brain is back
-The Great Brain does it again
-The Great Brain reforms
-More Adventures of The Great Brain
-Me and my little Brain
-The Return of the Great Brain
Genre: Funny stories about growning up in post civil war Utah
Age group: Children/Young Adult



13 CS Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia
-The Lion the witch and The Wardrobe
-Prince Caspian
-The voyage of The dawn Treader
-The Silver Chair
-A Horse and His Boy
-The Magician's Nephew
-The Last Battle
Genre: Fantasy
Age group: Children/Young Adult


14 Douglas Adam's Dirk Gently
-The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul
-Dirk Gently’s Holistic Dectective Agency
Genre: Sci-Fi humour
Age group: Young Adult


15 Barbara Hambly’s Vampire stuff
-Those who hunt the night
-Traveling with the dead
Genre: Fantasy
Age group: Young Adult/Adult


16 Fred Saberhagen's Dracula
-The Dracula Tape
-The Holmes Dracula Files
-A Matter of Taste
-A Sharpness on the Neck
-A Question of Time
-A Coldness in the Blood
-An old friend of the Family
-Thorn
-Dominion
-Séance for a Vampire
Genre: Fantasy
Age group: Adult


17 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Author: Mark Twain
Genre: Fiction
Age group: Young Adult


18 Jungle Book
-Jungle Book 1
-Jungle Book 2
Author: Rudyard Kipling
Genre: Fiction
Age group: Young Adult


19 Madeline Lengle's Time "Trilogy"
-A Wrinkle in Time
-A Wind in the Door
-A Swiftly Tilting Planet
-Many Waters
Genre: Fantasy
Age group: Young Adult


20 The Dragons Of Eden
Author: Carl Sagan
Genre: NF-Science-the evolution of human intelligence
Age group: Adult


21The Guide-Douglas Adams
-The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
-The Restraunt at the End of the Universe
-Life, The Universe, and Everything
Genre: Sci-Fi humour
Age group: Young Adult

22 Pale Blue Dot
Author: Carl Sagan
Genre: NF-Science-Astronomy

Age group: Adult

23 Cosmos
Author: Carl Sagan
Genre: NF-Science-Astronomy
Age group: Adult


24 JRRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings
-The Fellowship of the Ring
-The Two Towers
-The Return of The king
Author:JRR Tolkein
Genre: Fantasy
Age group: Young Adult


25 Dracula
Author: Bram Stoker
Genre: Fantasy/Horror
Age group: Adult


26 Harry Harrison- The Hammer and the Cross*
-The Hammer and The Cross
-One King’s Way
-King and Emporer
Genre: Fantasy/Alternative History
Age group: Adult

* This last series is the only one of this lot that I cannot unconditionally reccomend to anyone. Its a violent, sometimes graphic set of books. I like em, but I would feel guilty if I did not forwarn you.

Note: I did not mention The Bible or the Book of Mormon, because that's cheating, picking the Bible as your favorite book- But I will mention them both now. The Bible has shaped today' culture so deeply and subtly, as no other book has. No one with out some knowledge of it can, in my mind, consider themselves educated, and if you wish to be well educated you should read the whole thing lid to lid at least once. As for the Book of Mormon, the whole of the LDS religion is either true or false with The Book of Mormon and the only way to determine its truthfulness or lack thereof is to read it.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Golden Compass

Good point VA I did read The Golden Compass, and here is what I thought:

I did not really like the book. I do not think it is likely to become any sort of classic. I also do not think that I would have liked it if I had read it when I was a child. In fact, I think I would have been sickened by them as a child. It portrays a very bleak outlook on life, espcially for a "children's" book. For instance, several important child characters die miserable and undeserved deaths. I remember the first time I encounted a book as a kid that included real injustice as a part of its plot. It was hard for me as a kid to digest. Also the main adult characters turn out to pretty much pure evil.

Also it's climactic fight scence is quite graphic. Like, blood and severed body parts graphic. In a book for adults, this scence would be considered intense, but as a bedtime story for a child? Not if you want the kid to sleep again that week.


Its hard to say who this book realistically might be written for. It's really just too bleak and cruel for a children's book. And it requires you to take talking polar bears seriously, which makes it not fit very well into an adult or young adult type genre.

As to the anti-God stuff, I only read book one and it was not overtly anti-god. You can tell that the author has an athetistic worldview, but he doesn't get really preachy about it (unlike some other authors I could mention like... MERCEDES THE DORK LACKEY!!!!), which is a point is his favor.

And he does have some genuinely imaginative ideas.

But overall, the the author has a very serious shortcoming in that he has a seriously messed up idea of what appeals to kids.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

inane babbling

Well actually I do have quite a bit of extremely wise, deep, clear thoughts written down on that topic that must not be named ... but right now... oi... I am just not in the mood (Gurney Halleck enter's my mind now, shouting : "Not in the MOOD!? Mood's a thing for cattle and loveplay! Not Fighting!").

Whatever Gurney... Instead I think I will just babble mindlessly about some of the less heavy and deep things that have been on my mind. For instance:

1) If relativity is right and light's speed is unaffected my your frame of reference, why is there such a thing as blue and red shift?

2) I think it would be easier to build a case for polygamy using the Bible rather than against it.

3) Are Shem (from the Bible) Melchezidek (from the Bible) the same person?

4) well thats about it really... time to bail!