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Date: Tue, 03 Sep 2002 23:03:21 -0000
From: auvenj@mailcity.com ("auvenj")
Subject: [lpaz-discuss] Faith and Gubernatorial Candidates
To: lpaz-discuss@yahoogroups.com
Reply-To: lpaz-discuss@yahoogroups.com

--- In lpaz-discuss@y..., "Alan Fanning" <apfanning@n...> wrote: > I suppose that philosophical libertarians are just constitutionally unsuited
> for electoral politics. Because of an issue that has been out of the states
> hands for 30 years, that may suddenly become one IF the Supreme Court
> reverses itself AND there is no federal law to muddy the waters and IF the
> state legislature passes a law, then the Governor MAY have the power to
> restrict....

What part of "However, that is not my real reason for being unable to defend a vote for Gary." was unclear?

> And the reason Gary holds this opinion holds no weight with you at all.

Quite the contrary, it is the only weight that matters since as we have all agreed his chances of actually affecting the issue are slim.

> You
> are so sure that a human life does not exist or is not "sentient" at 26
> weeks that the right to life is waved away as so much smoke.

You haven't been reading my posts, Alan. I'm not at all sure whether a fetus at 26 weeks is sapient. The notion I reject is an administrative assignment of rights based upon merely being alive and having human DNA. My position is simply that the crime of murder be defined as "killing a sapient being without just cause (ie self- defense)". If a prosecutor wants to prosecute someone for killing a fetus at 26 weeks, it's up to the jury to decide if the fetus was sapient.

> You say you
> have no faith. Of course you do. You worship every day at the altar of
> Science and Logic.

When I made the statement about faith, I stated my definition of "faith", which is Biblical: "The substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not yet seen." As defined by the Bible, faith takes the place of substance and evidence. In saying that I do not have faith, I am stating that I do not accept ANY substitute for substance and evidence as means to determining truth. In your statement, you use the word "faith" not as the Bible defines it, but one step removed: as a placeholder for one's _choice_, said choice being whether or not to accept substitutes for substance and evidence. Instead of the Biblical "faith = substance and evidence", you are saying "faith = choice about accepting substitutes for substance and evidence".

Your statement boils down tonothing more than mere semantics: "Choosing reason = having 'faith' in reason". OK, if you want to define it that way, then we have to call the Biblical definition something else, like "religious faith". In that case, I have 'faith' in reason and you have 'faith' in religious faith. Either way, it doesn't change the fact that there IS a significant difference in the way that you and I determine truth about the world, and no amount of semantic twisting is going to change that.

Similarly, you take a commonly understood physical action, "worship at the altar" and apply the term in a nonsensical way to a purely mental choice, in an apparent attempt to equate our decision making processes. You (presumably) enter a physical church on a regular basis and worship at a physical altar. I do no such thing. If you want to _redefine_ "worship at the altar" to be "choose to accept" I suppose you can, but it doesn't alter (pun intended) the reality of our situation one iota. You say I "worship at the altar of Science/Logic" = I choose not to accept any substitute for substance and evidence in determining truth. You say you "worship at the altar of God" = you choose to accept a substitute for substance and evidence.

Your words obscure rather than enlighten. Instead of recognizing that one may choose to have various religious faiths or reject faith altogether, you redefine "faith" so as to require only a choice of what one has "faith" in. Instead of recognizing that one may choose to worship at various altars or not to worship at any altar, you redefine the act of "worship" so as to require only a choice of which altar one "worships". This is not particularly useful, IMHO. If you're going to use words like "faith" and "worship" in unusual ways, at least state your working definitions of each term so that we can talk intelligently.

> What is not known to the apostles of this faith is
> automatically not true.

What is not known...is simply 'not known'. There is a presumption of falsehood for extraordinary claims, much as a suspect claimed by the state to be a criminal is rightly presumed to be "innocent until proven guilty". A claim that Allah will reward Islamic martyrs with a bunch of virgins in the afterlife is rationally presumed to be false until proven true.

Many postulations are simply not known to be either true or false: there is either no evidence at all or the evidence is contradictory. A good example is the question, "is there intelligent life on other planets?" A rational answer is "I don't know." I have good reason to suspect that there could be, but no evidence proving that there actually is. So I take no position on the matter. I certainly don't say it's "automatically not true."

> There are reasons why abortion, infanticide and
> euthanasia were anathema to the world's major religions for centuries. They
> are all de-humanizing practices that reflect a savage society. In an age
> where the State holds life and death power over its subjects like noage
> before, I tremble at the thought of what has so recently become permissible
> becoming mandatory.

At the risk of sounding "de-humanized", I think we are far too focused on human DNA. Sapience is what is valuable about human life, not the DNA sequence that (usually) leads to it.

> NOTA is fine when it is on the ballot. No one will count your abstention.
> The whole point of an election is to hold a ceremony that imparts legitimacy
> by participating. Not voting is always an option, however what are you
> going to tell folks in the general? Matt Salmon or Janet Napalitano are
> just the same as Gary or Barry? Everyone is flawed. Saying that neither of
> these guys are good enough for your vote is just a cop-out.

My answer for the general is the same as the primary, presuming neither Barry nor Gary change substantially. On principle, I cannot publicly defend a vote for Barry or Gary, and I SURE as hell cannot publicly defend a vote for Matt "let's fix the public schools" Salmon or Janet NapoliReno.

This is somewhat analogous to what the ALP did in regards to the marijuana medicalization proposition. No matter how much they really wanted marijuana to be available to medical patients, they could not defend a vote for the proposition because it entailed new government spending. So the ALP officially published an argument against the medical marijuana initiative in the voter guide, much to the consternation of pragmatic Libertarians statewide. They were quick to add, however, that what one does in the privacy of the voting booth may sometimes be different from what one can defend publicly on principle.

The same idea applies here, Alan. I can't publicly endorse Barry because I believe he deceived his contributors. I can't publicly endorse Gary because of his approach to the abortion issue. When I get in the voting booth on Sept 10th and November 5th, I may or may not choose to personally vote for one of them on pragmatic grounds.

--Jason Auvenshine

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