Posts tagged ‘Society’
It is something that has not really occurred to me until recently, but there is much to be skeptical about in the realm of law. I have always, or at least nearly as long as I can remember, been a skeptic (and, depending on who you talk to) a contrarian at heart.
It is not as though law exists in a vacuum, though. It is something fluid and it changes society just as society changes it. Often times, our laws are propped by up by claims of necessity and social good, and it is just these types of claims that can be put under a ‘microscope’, as it were. Further complicating matters is the inherently political nature of law and, by extension, the nature of politics itself. Things that aren’t actually true are true nevertheless, at least as far as public perception is concerned. Throw a little fear and religion into the mix, sprinkle with mass media, and a generous helping of corruption and you end up with an area that is just ripe for skeptical analysis.
They all think child rape should be execution-worthy.
The SCOTUS came back today with a decision on Kennedy v. Louisiana, in which they rejected the state of Louisiana’s assertion that rape of a child under the age of 12 should be subject to the death penalty in a split 5-4 decision. Personally, I was pretty surprised. I thought it was going to be a split court, but I thought that they were going to come down on the side of the State.
The illustrious PZ Meyers over at Pharyngula wrote a piece yesterday that I think marks one of the low points for my blame-America-first patriotism. Apparently, Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis and all-around religious nuttery fame was invited to a Pentagon prayer breakfast. Here’s PZ:
I had heard several months ago about the (in)famous case of a presiding judge barring the word “rape” from a rape trial, ruling that it was too prejudicial towards the defendant. This morning I caught an article on Law.Com reporting that the practice is spreading:
Originally written October 14th, 2007
I was speaking with my father tonight. My father is a very wise man, who I don’t get to speak to nearly as often as I could and who I haven’t listened to nearly as often as I should. I cannot remember how we got on the subject, but he was telling me about when he used to live in Boston. He was telling me about how, on one early morning, he went out for a jog. During his run, he encountered two men who attempted to mug him. One grabbed his arm, and my father shoved him to the ground while the other tried to sweep my father’s legs. My father dodged him and began to punch this man in the face as hard as he could, over and over. Through the blood and the broken teeth, this man started to scream “Stick it in him! Stick it in him!” Terrified, my father thrust his thumbs into this man’s eye sockets, causing him to collapse to the ground in agony. My father ran as fast as he could. Tonight, my father told me that he still remembers how his eyes felt, and that he still regrets feeling like he had to do that.
Originally written June 15th, 2006
I will agree with pro-life-minded individuals on one thing: abortion is a tragedy. I am not a female, so I know I cannot speak to that aspect of it, but for my part I will always wonder what could have been.
Abortion is a tragedy. Just because I’m an atheist and a materialist, I’m often accused of being unsentimental and unfeeling. That things like this hold no sway sway me – that a fetus is a “bag of meat”. It’s a long read from “should not be extended the same rights as you, me, or even Tom DeLay for that matter” to “bag of meat”. Would I like to live in a world where conditions where such that abortions needn’t be performed? In a heartbeat. I wish that we lived in a world where people didn’t make mistakes. Where there were enough resources and time to go around. Where you were physically unable to have sex until you reached a certain level of psychological maturity. Unfortunately, that world is nothing close to the one we live in.
blight n. – Something that impairs growth, withers hopes and ambitions, or impedes progress and prosperity.
The question is simple – to paraphrase Bertrand Russell, is religion the dragon that needs slaying in order to facilitate the societal progress that will benefit all of humanity? I’m not entering into this discussion with a solution in mind. I know that I have fairly heretical views (okay, very heretical views) regarding religion, but this post isn’t a rant, nor is it meant to offend. I think that you would have to either blind or willfully ignorant to not be aware of the societal problems that face us on a massive scale. Disease, violence, and poverty – to name just a few. And I think that you would have to possess a character of malice or be genuinely apathetic not to think, even just every so often, about what can be done.