Split from: Male/female brains

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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby ElectricMonk » Wed Dec 23, 2015 9:32 pm

But Lance - they are 'self-evident' ! The constitution says so !
I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
Spoiler:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
- Douglas Adams

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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby Lance Kennedy » Wed Dec 23, 2015 9:40 pm

EM
Understood.
What does the skeptic's constitution say?

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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Dec 23, 2015 10:09 pm

"You can't prove a negative." Can this be the end of any analysis??? I would think if the issue boils down to having to prove a negative that such opinions should at least be held in low regard and even ridiculed if alternative provable causation can be pointed to.

You can't prove that storks don't bring babies. But...no one has ever seen this done, landing on chimneys is as close as we have.... closer than god by the way (hee, hee!~) so such notions should be held with little to no regard. Now, add in we can show how every baby known to man does arrive.... and I think its safe to say the Stork hypothesis is worthy of ridicule.

Same with Natural Law.
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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby Lance Kennedy » Wed Dec 23, 2015 11:30 pm

Well stated, bobbo.

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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby xouper » Thu Dec 24, 2015 12:32 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:One of the problems we have here, EM, is that these mystical 'natural rights' have never been defined or described. I think that has to be up to Xouper, since they appear to be his invention.

Lance, did your brain go on vacation? Have you forgotten what I posted in this thread?

1. I have repeatedly described some examples of natural rights.

2. I did not invent them.

3. The UN UDHR also acknowledges and describes some natural rights.
http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/

4. You know all of the above, the evidence is all over this thread, and yet here you are lying about it.

Sorry, Lance, your latest accusations are spectacularly stupid and beneath contempt. What the {!#%@} is the matter with you?

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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby xouper » Thu Dec 24, 2015 12:41 am

Speaking of vacations, I'll be away for awhile. Don't wait up.

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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby Lance Kennedy » Thu Dec 24, 2015 1:08 am

The UN declaration of human rights also talks of faith, which is not an accepted part of science. It talks of the rule of law, which is clearly human generated. Human rights are important, as are many human inventions, but they are not 'natural'.

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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby xouper » Thu Dec 24, 2015 2:11 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:The UN declaration of human rights also talks of faith, which is not an accepted part of science.

Science has nothing to do with it. Rights are not a scientific claim, they are a moral claim.

Lance Kennedy wrote:It talks of the rule of law, which is clearly human generated.

It also mentions inalienable rights.

Lance Kennedy wrote:Human rights are important, as are many human inventions, but they are not 'natural'.

That is your personal opinion. The UN does not agree with you, nor do any of the sources I cited agree you.

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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby Lance Kennedy » Thu Dec 24, 2015 2:26 am

Xouper

I do not believe in any deities, either, and most of the world's population disagrees with me on that one. Sadly, when it comes to superstition, most people are guilty.

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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby xouper » Thu Dec 24, 2015 3:04 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:Xouper

I do not believe in any deities, either, and most of the world's population disagrees with me on that one. Sadly, when it comes to superstition, most people are guilty.

That is not a valid argument for your position on rights. It's not even remotely relevant.

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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby Lance Kennedy » Thu Dec 24, 2015 3:16 am

The point, Xouper, is that when you are touting a superstitious belief, you will get plenty of people to agree with you, even though the belief is incorrect. Thus, claiming the belief of others on something superstitious, as you have done, is not a valid argument.

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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby xouper » Thu Dec 24, 2015 3:37 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:The point, Xouper, is that when you are touting a superstitious belief, you will get plenty of people to agree with you, even though the belief is incorrect. Thus, claiming the belief of others on something superstitious, as you have done, is not a valid argument.

You might be right except for one crucial problem. My belief is not a superstitious belief.

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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby Lance Kennedy » Thu Dec 24, 2015 4:29 am

A superstitious belief is one that is not based on credible evidence. You have failed to supply credible evidence, which leaves only one option - superstition.

Note that quoting others who may share the superstition is not evidence it is not superstition.

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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby ElectricMonk » Thu Dec 24, 2015 5:36 am

Yes, it is superstition - just because it's widely shared does not make it less superstitious.

Unless you actually have some evidence that you haven't shared yet?
I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
Spoiler:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
- Douglas Adams

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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby xouper » Thu Dec 24, 2015 6:51 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:A superstitious belief is one that is not based on credible evidence. You have failed to supply credible evidence, which leaves only one option - superstition.

Wrong.

Your definition of superstition is wrong. Superstition is the belief in supernatural causality. I make no supernatural claims whatsoever.

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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby ElectricMonk » Thu Dec 24, 2015 7:00 am

xouper wrote:
Your definition of superstition is wrong. Superstition is the belief in supernatural causality. I make no supernatural claims whatsoever.


yes you have - you have never explained the source of a natural right, except for 'it's there because of morals'. Morals are just as much a superstition as natural rights - they are social constructs, nothing more.

Instead of just negating everything everyone says, why don't you (re-)state your argument, like all debaters (except you) do all the time.
Heck, why don't you quote your posts in which you show evidence for natural rights besides 'it's in the UNDHR).
I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
Spoiler:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
- Douglas Adams

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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby xouper » Thu Dec 24, 2015 7:18 am

ElectricMonk wrote:
xouper wrote:Your definition of superstition is wrong. Superstition is the belief in supernatural causality. I make no supernatural claims whatsoever.

yes you have

Wrong.

Quote where I have done that. You can not because I have not.

ElectricMonk wrote: - you have never explained the source of a natural right,

Wrong.

Stop making false accusations. The evidence is in this thread that I explained where natural rights come from.

ElectricMonk wrote:except for 'it's there because of morals'.

That was not my explanation. No wonder you are confused. Apparently you can't read and understand what I actually wrote.

ElectricMonk wrote: Morals are just as much a superstition as natural rights - they are social constructs, nothing more.

Those two statements contradict each other. But let's go with your second claim that morals and natural rights are NOT superstitions. Thank you for validating that my position is not superstitious.

ElectricMonk wrote:Instead of just negating everything everyone says, why don't you (re-)state your argument, like all debaters (except you) do all the time.

Why don't you learn to {!#%@} read instead of demanding I do it for you.

Nonetheless, just for you, I found an explanation that is much better than the one I posted previously:
http://people.uwplatt.edu/~hood/inalienable.htm

Chew on that for awhile and then try to explain why any of it is wrong.

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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Dec 24, 2015 9:00 am

I hate Kant. One BS tautology after another. All meaningless drivel...... which is how I got my only "D" in college..........with a lifetime of study and experience behind me now, I'm sure I could go back to college and earn an "F."

Xouper--you misread EM for the most part. He is clearly saying that morals and natural law are both social constructs and therefor do not "exist" except where such social constructs are maintained. They are not as Kant would have it universal, intrinsic, nor infinite. To believe in a social construct as independent from the mutual agreement creating it, is to believe in something that doesn't exist. Now, I think supernatural is close but not an exact word for such a belief system, but its way closer than saying he hasn't read you correctly.

Ain't that a bitch?
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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby xouper » Thu Dec 24, 2015 4:12 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:I hate Kant. ...

I nominate that for Best Rebuttal of an Argument Ever.

:roll:

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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby Lance Kennedy » Thu Dec 24, 2015 7:01 pm

I hate the phrase 'self-evident'. That is simply a justification for bullsh@t that you do not then have to explain.

If there were 'natural rights', they would be expressed as instinctive behaviour. Such behaviour is universal - found in all societies - like the human smile is. I am unaware of any human behaviour that could be called a natural right that is found in all societies.

Believing in something because some famous person from the past had that belief is nonsense. The great astronomer Herschal believed in astrology. Isaac Newton in alchemy. Einstein believed in God. Fame does not make a superstition correct.

It Is time for Xouper to admit he has no rational justification for believing in 'natural rights'.

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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Dec 24, 2015 7:18 pm

Xouper---in a vacuum, that was funny. In any context other than a vacuum, you simply misstate what is clearly visible thereby losing any credibility at all. Kinda like Kant.

We are what we eat. To what degree do we think as we speak?

In either case, it sucks to be you. turn the intelligence you do possess as revealed by your humor and your intentional obscuration of arguments you have decided to oppose, ........... and do a better job. Arguments not so obviously deficient, or admit the truth of other peoples' counter, and take a better position.

I suspect you have tried to do that. could do it, or didn't like it. Emotional bondage.
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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby xouper » Thu Dec 24, 2015 7:29 pm

Lance Kennedy wrote:I hate the phrase 'self-evident'.

I'm not fond of it myself. Fortunately, being "self evident" is not a prerequisite for adopting an axiom. In fact, in mathematics, some axioms are not at all "self evident".

Lance Kennedy wrote:If there were 'natural rights', they would be expressed as instinctive behaviour. Such behaviour is universal - found in all societies - like the human smile is. I am unaware of any human behaviour that could be called a natural right that is found in all societies.

Self preservation is a common instinctive behavior, thus the natural right to life. Having your own thoughts is an instinctive behavior, thus the natural right to think what you want. Edited to add: Mating is an instinctive behavior, thus the natural right to have children if you want.

Lance Kennedy wrote:Believing in something because some famous person from the past had that belief is nonsense.

I agree. That's why I evaluate the merits of the arguments and decide for myself if they make sense. I have not argued that the credentials of the authors are evidence they are correct.

To argue otherwise is the fallacy of appeal to authority. My purpose in mentioning those other thinkers is to refute your unfounded accusation that I just made this up myself, and also to put you on notice that if you want to argue against the merits, you will also have to show why the arguments from those people are wrong. In other words, I am citing their arguments and claiming that those arguments stand on their own merits, not because the people themselves were "famous".

Lance Kennedy wrote:Fame does not make a superstition correct.

I agree. I have not claimed otherwise. Nor is my position superstitious, as you have been told repeatedly.

Lance Kennedy wrote:It Is time for Xouper to admit he has no rational justification for believing in 'natural rights'.

Wrong.

I gave a rational justification. You simply disagree. You have not shown how any of the arguments for natural rights are wrong. You have instead offered nothing but ad hominems, red herrings, non-sequiturs, ipsi dixit denials, and insults. It's interesting that you would try to pull that {!#%@} on a skeptic forum, of all places. :shock:
Last edited by xouper on Thu Dec 24, 2015 8:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby Lance Kennedy » Thu Dec 24, 2015 7:43 pm

xouper wrote:Self preservation is a common instinctive behavior, thus the natural right to life. Having your own thoughts is an instinctive behavior, thus the natural right to think what you want.



Well done, Xouper. That is the first half way rational argument you have supplied. There is, indeed, a little merit in that statement.

I do not believe it, myself, and I think I could argue against it using semantic arguments. I could also suggest that the 'right to life' is something never practiced. After all, Xouper, your nation applies the death penalty, and sends soldiers off to kill other people. Not to mention 'justified homicide' and police shootings.

The 'right to think' is not actually a right. It is, instead, an inevitability. It is like that silly right to the 'pursuit of happiness'. It is not a right. Just something everyone will do inevitably. Even a person committing suicide is pursuing a form of happiness, in that they think they will be less miserable if dead.

But more to the point, this argument does not cover gun possession.

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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby xouper » Thu Dec 24, 2015 7:58 pm

Lance Kennedy wrote:
xouper wrote:Self preservation is a common instinctive behavior, thus the natural right to life. Having your own thoughts is an instinctive behavior, thus the natural right to think what you want.

Well done, Xouper. That is the first half way rational argument you have supplied.

No, that's not the first.

Lance Kennedy wrote:I do not believe it, myself, and I think I could argue against it using semantic arguments. I could also suggest that the 'right to life' is something never practiced. After all, Xouper, your nation applies the death penalty, and sends soldiers off to kill other people. Not to mention 'justified homicide' and police shootings.


Death penalty: I do not agree with, I consider that a violation of the right to life.

Justifiable homicide: I have the right to defend myself and if it happens that the bad guy dies in the process, well, that's too bad. Maybe he should have thought about that possibility before trying to violate my right to life. Given the choice between him or me, his right to life does not trump mine. If he tries to violate my right to life, I have the right to stop him. That position is totally justified.

On war: Self defense of a nation is merely an extension of individual self defense. So it depends on whether the war is in self defense, or an unjustified aggression against another's sovereignty.

Lance Kennedy wrote:The 'right to think' is not actually a right. It is, instead, an inevitability. It is like that silly right to the 'pursuit of happiness'. It is not a right. Just something everyone will do inevitably.

That is your personal opinion. I do not agree.

Lance Kennedy wrote:But more to the point, this argument does not cover gun possession.

Yes it does. The right to life, liberty, and property includes the right to keep and bear arms.

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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby Lance Kennedy » Thu Dec 24, 2015 8:09 pm

Xouper

Do you think the American invasion of Iraq was an extension of self defense?

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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Dec 24, 2015 8:44 pm

xouper wrote:
Self preservation is a common instinctive behavior, thus the natural right to life. Having your own thoughts is an instinctive behavior, thus the natural right to think what you want.


............and then Lance agreed. Getting dumber by the exchange. Thats what bad ideas incessantly repeated does. Ref: Republican Voter Base.

Self preservation is a common instinctive behavior has not connection at all to: thus the natural right to life. What it does unavoidably give rise to is the conflict to stay alive to reproduce.

Having your own thoughts is an instinctive behavior, //// instinctive strikes me as the wrong word, by why use a dictionary at this point? But again whatever it is does not support: thus the natural right to think what you want. Again, you are confusing rights with power.

Basic English terminology is not being applied. Never a good thing. "We think with words." Without the dictionary as a foundation, the thinking ain't so good.
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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby xouper » Thu Dec 24, 2015 9:07 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
xouper wrote:Having your own thoughts is an instinctive behavior,

instinctive strikes me as the wrong word, by why use a dictionary at this point?

Why indeed.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/instinctive
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/instinct

According to that definition, I used the right word.

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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Dec 24, 2015 9:14 pm

Well, well..... is Christmas in the Air? Xouper gives us all and himself a present by providing a link to a definition. Like the link to Kant, I wonder if you even read it beyond the google description.

Your first link: instinctive: relating to or based on instinct : based on feelings or desires that do not come from thinking or learning

So.............you tell me, how is thinking an instinctive behavior if instinctive behavior does not come from thinking?

Or.....are you going to link to a definition of "thought" and leave it to us to ponder your mastery of the plain meaning of words?
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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby xouper » Thu Dec 24, 2015 11:48 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:So.............you tell me, how is thinking an instinctive behavior if instinctive behavior does not come from thinking?

Are you saying that thinking can only come from thinking?

If so, then how did the first thought get started?

Is it not possible that thinking is caused by something other than thinking?

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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby Lance Kennedy » Fri Dec 25, 2015 12:06 am

Let's not go down the road of claiming every damn thing people do are rights. In terms of defining the argument, let's stick to those things that are widely claimed to be human rights. Thinking is not normally claimed as a human right.

Owning guns falls into this category because of the idiotic second amendment. Free speech, freedom of association, freedom from torture, freedom from arrest without being charged, and a bunch of others are widely accepted as human rights. So let's not go all cockeyed claiming things not called rights as rights.

Xouper, all of these are written into laws as human rights legislation, by the United Nations, or by specific nations. They are "given" to the people by those in power. They do not derive from any deity, not even Gaia, and they are not automatic instinctive behaviours. Most are very recent, and have come with the development of modern civilisation.

They are not even universal. We all know that many nations are weak on human rights, and that includes the USA. Human rights are a development of the modern way of life, especially in western nations, and are definitely not of natural origin.

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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri Dec 25, 2015 12:41 am

Xouper--in the terminology used by people who study these things rather than make a quick off the cuff google, thinking is an emergent property of the mind. No rights, no powers involved.

Do you ever recognize new information?
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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby xouper » Fri Dec 25, 2015 1:41 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:Let's not go down the road of claiming every damn thing people do are rights. In terms of defining the argument, let's stick to those things that are widely claimed to be human rights. Thinking is not normally claimed as a human right.

From the UN: http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/

Article 18. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, ...

Looks like your favorite document contradicts your claim.

Lance Kennedy wrote:Owning guns falls into this category because of the idiotic second amendment.

That is your personal opinion. Many people do not agree with your opinion.

Lance Kennedy wrote:Xouper, all of these are written into laws as human rights legislation, by the United Nations, or by specific nations. They are "given" to the people by those in power.

The UN document linked above says otherwise. Another example: the US Bill of Rights does not grant rights. It written as a limitation on government not to violate pre-existing rights of the people.

Lance Kennedy wrote:They do not derive from any deity,

I agree. I have not claimed otherwise, so I don't know why you keep bringing up this straw man over and over and over. There is no point in arguing against a position I do not hold.

Lance Kennedy wrote:They are not even universal. We all know that many nations are weak on human rights, and that includes the USA. Human rights are a development of the modern way of life, especially in western nations, and are definitely not of natural origin.

That is your personal opinion. Many people do not agree with your opinion.

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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri Dec 25, 2015 5:31 am

I dunno. Would this help at all? We males sitting around the campfire arguing about what our rights are. TV right now talking bout gypsy life for the women right now in Moldova. Its a male driven society and the women have nearly no rights at all other than to do as the males in her family tell her.

Basically.....they have no rights at all. No autonomy, no education... no nothing. The right to raise the kiddies in the back of the house is about it. The UN is trying to get Moldova to do more to provide these rights for these people. Seems like the UN also recognizes such rights don't and won't exist until pressure is brought to recognize/enforce them. Hmmm....another view: rights: something you desire that if you have the power to do so, you can fight to exercise.................. Its all down to power. And who opposes and their power. Where is my right to live where idiots don't have guns? Can anything so wishy washy and contestable and denied be any less natural?
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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby ElectricMonk » Fri Dec 25, 2015 6:39 am

Natural rights have a build-in contradiction:

On the on hand, they are supposed to pre- and supersede all laws of the society. The whole point of the UNDHR is list rights that countries must respect.
Furthermore, this list is supposed to be more or less 'self-evident' or deducible if minor moralistic thinking by everyone. And all these rights are said to be exit the single individual. And they are said to be non-transferable.

But rights only manifest in groups: rights are always demarcation within which persons are allowed to act without interference from outside - but in the absence of any outside influence, the whole concept of rights falls apart:
why would I need a right to free speech if no one is there to stop me from speaking?

So only in groups does the question of rights even arise. But in all groups in history, even today, the idea that everyone has the same rights (the most simple setup) is not implemented: rights are constantly expanded or reduced, depending on your legal, social and economic status. It is so throughout the world and throughout time. We see absolutely no indication of an rights we could think of being preserved throughout history. And all so-called natural rights need legal protection, entire civilization build around them to protect and enforce them - they have no power on their own.

At the most basic - the right of 'self-preservation', that Xouper mentioned, we have plenty of exceptions: Feudal lords all other the world were perfectly in their rights to kill anyone of their charges (as were fathers in the the Old Testament), and none of them were allowed to even fight back: the ruler had the right over life and death, the peon had neither.
And of course people might give up that right willingly: soldiers or workers of dangerous occupations give up their rights to self-preservation for another good. The very sick or injured might want to give up this right, as might some heart-broken people.

Natural Rights in a true sense would mean rights that neither we nor others can change. That would be the Right to Sweat, the Right to Feel Sleepy, etc. - those are inalienable rights. But because they are, no one ever felt the need to put them Legal Code or create Moral systems to support them - a true Natural Right would not need such a protection, nor would it be subject to changes in time and location.



Now, Xouper is mentioning self-defense
I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
Spoiler:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
- Douglas Adams

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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby ElectricMonk » Fri Dec 25, 2015 7:04 am

xouper wrote:Death penalty: I do not agree with, I consider that a violation of the right to life.

Justifiable homicide: I have the right to defend myself and if it happens that the bad guy dies in the process, well, that's too bad. Maybe he should have thought about that possibility before trying to violate my right to life. Given the choice between him or me, his right to life does not trump mine. If he tries to violate my right to life, I have the right to stop him. That position is totally justified.


justifiable homicide is a violation of the right of life - no question about it.

You put in the qualifier 'justifiable', suggesting that there are circumstances in which it is ok to remove a natural right.
if I read you right, the attacker loses his right to life when he threatens yours.
But what about a murderer, someone who managed to actually take someone's life away? Surely that person lost his natural right to live when he attacked? But if the death penalty is a violation of the right of life, that would mean that the murderer, in-between killing someone and being convicted, somehow got his right back ...
Which would mean that you agree that even in self-defense, the attacker should not be killed, if possible.

Or is your viewpoint: no, the attacker never loses his right to life, it is just 'justified' in this case for you to violate it? But if that is the case, shouldn't we be obligated to make self-defense as non-lethal as possible? After all, we are knowingly violating a right to life. Or is that right not so important if it's in a 'bad man' ?
If the 'right to life' is a natural one, then he and you have it the same degree, no matter what. So you can defend your right against his violation, but you should not start violating his - all your right of life gives you is not to be killed - you must seek escape or incapacitating the attacker over killing every time - that is the case if you believe in an inalienable right to life.

Let's take it down a few notches: take stealing, a violation of the right to private property.

If someone steals from you, are you entitled to steal from him? Or do you have to involved the authorities to get your property back?
I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
Spoiler:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
- Douglas Adams

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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby xouper » Fri Dec 25, 2015 1:31 pm

ElectricMonk wrote:
xouper wrote:Justifiable homicide: I have the right to defend myself and if it happens that the bad guy dies in the process, well, that's too bad. Maybe he should have thought about that possibility before trying to violate my right to life. Given the choice between him or me, his right to life does not trump mine. If he tries to violate my right to life, I have the right to stop him. That position is totally justified.

justifiable homicide is a violation of the right of life - no question about it.

Agreed.

ElectricMonk wrote:You put in the qualifier 'justifiable', suggesting that there are circumstances in which it is ok to remove a natural right. if I read you right, the attacker loses his right to life when he threatens yours.

If you change the word "when" to "while" then that's a reasonable way to state my position. It is merely variation of the Golden Rule (or ethic of reciprocity).

ElectricMonk wrote:But what about a murderer, someone who managed to actually take someone's life away? Surely that person lost his natural right to live when he attacked? But if the death penalty is a violation of the right of life, that would mean that the murderer, in-between killing someone and being convicted, somehow got his right back

That's an excellent question. Perhaps I should have given more clarification about my position on that.

In my opinion, the victim is usually only justified in violating an attacker's rights while  the attacker puts those rights in direct conflict. Not before and not after. (This assume the existence of an appropriate criminal justice system put in place by society.)

1. In self defense, it is only justifiable to defend yourself against an immediate threat, and once that threat is stopped, it is no longer justifiable to kill the bad guy.

2. In the case of the death penalty, that is a punishment for a prior act, not an act of immediate self defense. And while I can accept punishing a convicted criminal by taking away some of his liberties (putting him in jail), I draw the line at taking his life.

ElectricMonk wrote:... Which would mean that you agree that even in self-defense, the attacker should not be killed, if possible.

It is my personal preference that the attacker should not be killed, but I do not agree that the victim has any obligation to take special care to avoid that outcome. Seeking escape is often the safest, most effective, and easiest method of defense, but the victim has no obligation to seek out that option in the heat of the moment.

Does any of that help clarify my position?

ElectricMonk wrote:Let's take it down a few notches: take stealing, a violation of the right to private property. If someone steals from you, are you entitled to steal from him?

The Golden Rule would seem to suggest yes, but in my opinion, it depends on what kind of criminal justice system is in effect. If you are asking me to explain the philosophy or ethics of the criminal justice system, I think that would a topic for a thread of its own.

Given the context of the criminal justice system in the US, then I would say no to your example, that stealing from the criminal would be retaliation, not self defense. Seems to me, the criminal justice system is set up to prevent vigilante eye-for-an-eye kind of justice. In this way, the Golden Rule is enforced by the state, not by the victim.

Likewise, if an attacker threatens your life (and let's say he succeeds in injuring you), and then he runs away, at that point the attacker is no longer an immediate threat and if you pursue him and kill him, that is retaliation, not self defense.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and none of the above is to be considered legal advice.

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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby xouper » Fri Dec 25, 2015 1:32 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:... another view: rights: something you desire that if you have the power to do so, you can fight to exercise...

That is somewhat similar to what I have been saying.

Merely claiming to have natural rights does not necessarily mean a person automatically has the power to enforce them.

ElectricMonk wrote:all so-called natural rights need legal protection, entire civilization build around them to protect and enforce them - they have no power on their own.

I agree with that.

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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby Lance Kennedy » Fri Dec 25, 2015 6:19 pm

Spiderman was told "with great power comes great responsibility".

If you have the power to take someone's life, that is great power. It is then your moral duty to be responsible with that power. That is, to exercise restraint. This applies in a case of self defense, as in every other case. To kill someone while defending yourself should be done only as an absolute last resort, and only if there is no other option.

In the USA, there are numerous cases where a killing is called "justifiable" where that rule was not exercised.

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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby xouper » Fri Dec 25, 2015 7:12 pm

Lance Kennedy wrote:Spiderman was told "with great power comes great responsibility".

If you have the power to take someone's life, that is great power. It is then your moral duty to be responsible with that power. That is, to exercise restraint. This applies in a case of self defense, as in every other case. To kill someone while defending yourself should be done only as an absolute last resort, and only if there is no other option.

That is a reasonable moral position. And in general, I agree with it.

This is one of the reasons I disagree with the death penalty. There is another option.

Lance Kennedy wrote:In the USA, there are numerous cases where a killing is called "justifiable" where that rule was not exercised.

It would seem that way, yes.

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Re: Split from: Male/female brains

Postby ElectricMonk » Fri Dec 25, 2015 9:56 pm

Thanks for the constructive reply, Xouper.

In the US, NRA and right-leaning media have strongly suggested that guns are the best way to defend yourself - which is just plain wrong. We have data showing that guns are almost never used in self-defense, and when they are they are far from effective in many cases.
Gun require proper and regular training, and they come with a large threshold: you usually don't want to be the first to draw in order not to appear as the aggressor.

If self-defense was the issue, irritation and incapacitation are the much better option: killing someone requires much more skill than hurting them in hard-to-ignore ways. (see basically any book on self-defense). The key skill is to recognize dangerous situations and avoid them. And if you have non-lethal ways of defense, you are much likelier and quicker to use them: a lawsuit for using pepper-stray on someone you thought wrongly was dangerous is quite unlikely to destroy your life - shooting someone harmless almost certainly will be.

But there is a strong narrative that guns provide safety - which can make gun holders take reckless risks: statistics show that gun owners are not safer.
On top of that, the current 'good gun with gun' appeal suggests that gun owners have a duty to carry and use their weapons to stop terrorism and crime. And the news-stories or murderers getting free on technicalities or after a few years, only to murder again, might leave a 'good gun guy' thinking that it is his duty to kill the perpetrator - to save the justices system time and money and protect possible future victims.
I am very concerned about the emphasis on 'stopping the bad guy' instead of 'getting yourself to safety' - it's a clear sign that punishing the attacker is more important than protecting the victim.
I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
Spoiler:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
- Douglas Adams


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