/ Alabama and the new abortion law

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Offwidth 15 May 2019

And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free (unless you have an unwanted pregnancy, even though rape or incest) and the home of the brave (apart from the old white male republican state senate members who supported this).

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/may/14/abortion-bill-alabama-passes-ban-six-weeks-us-no-exemptions-vote-latest

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Whitters 15 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

Neglecting to mention the legislation was introduced by a female and will only be law if signed by the female governor.

7
Pedro50 15 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

So similar to Northern Ireland then?

3
Timmd 15 May 2019
In reply to Whitters:

> Neglecting to mention the legislation was introduced by a female and will only be law if signed by the female governor.

People can be conditioned into all kinds of weird, irrespective of sexuality or gender etc. 

Edit: Without getting into the merits or otherwise of abortion, that is. Conditioning happens to us all to shape our views.

Post edited at 19:02
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Whitters 15 May 2019
In reply to Timmd:

> People can be conditioned into all kinds of weird, irrespective of sexuality or gender etc. 

Firstly, I'm curious, when did it become "weird" to care about unborn babies?

Secondly, isn't it a little unfair to tar someone as "conditioned" when they disagree with the position you think they should take because of their gender?

It seems to me that the focus of the argument has been on the gender of the legislators rather than the issues they have legislated on.

31
Timmd 15 May 2019
In reply to Whitters:

> Firstly, I'm curious, when did it become "weird" to care about unborn babies?

> Secondly, isn't it a little unfair to tar someone as "conditioned" when they disagree with the position you think they should take because of their gender?

> It seems to me that the focus of the argument has been on the gender of the legislators rather than the issues they have legislated on.

See my edit after you posted.  

Post edited at 19:04
2
captain paranoia 15 May 2019
In reply to Whitters:

> Firstly, I'm curious, when did it become "weird" to care about unborn babies?

When we started to think of an unwanted foetus as a malignant growth?

When we stopped thinking that every sperm is sacred?

When we stopped thinking of women as God's baby-making machines.

When we started thinking about the rights of the woman to decide whether she wants to bear children or not.

There's a difference between caring about unborn babies, and forcing women who get pregnant to carry the child to term. You can't separate caring about an unborn baby form caring about the rights of the woman carrying that unborn baby.

5
Whitters 15 May 2019
In reply to captain paranoia:

> When we started to think of an unwanted foetus as a malignant growth?

Is that a good thing?!

> When we stopped thinking that every sperm is sacred?

> When we stopped thinking of women as God's baby-making machines.

Do either of those mean that we don't have to care about the child?

> When we started thinking about the rights of the woman to decide whether she wants to bear children or not.

When did they take primacy? Again what in that means that we have to stop caring about the unborn child?

> There's a difference between caring about unborn babies, and forcing women who get pregnant to carry the child to term. You can't separate caring about an unborn baby form caring about the rights of the woman carrying that unborn baby.

But yet we seem to...

45
Stichtplate 15 May 2019
In reply to Whitters:

> Firstly, I'm curious, when did it become "weird" to care about unborn babies?

Isn't it a bit weird and deeply intrusive to want to legislate on what strangers do with their bodies? As far as possible, any decisions that are both very personal and extremely subjective, I'd much rather leave up to the people directly involved.

4
Stichtplate 15 May 2019
In reply to Whitters:

> Do either of those mean that we don't have to care about the child?

> When did they take primacy? Again what in that means that we have to stop caring about the unborn child?

All very emotive but it's not even a foetus until the 8th week and the correct term remains foetus until birth. Even at week 9 the foetus more closely resembles something that'd shoot out of John Hurt's stomach, than a child.

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Whitters 15 May 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

Not really. The government does it all the time.

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Whitters 15 May 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

> All very emotive but it's not even a foetus until the 8th week and the correct term remains foetus until birth. Even at week 9 the foetus more closely resembles something that'd shoot out of John Hurt's stomach, than a child.

Call it whatever you want, it is still a human life.

58
Tom Loughlin 15 May 2019
In reply to Whitters:

So, just to be clear, you’re all for a woman who has been raped (even by a family member) having to carry, give birth and then presumably care for that child for the next eighteen years minimum? Or it be put into the care of the state? What about the right of the woman to make choices about her life and body? Didn’t women already have to fight for this right in the 1950s, 60s and 70s? 

2
Stichtplate 15 May 2019
In reply to Whitters:

> Not really. The government does it all the time.

Lots of things happen all the time. Me agreeing with something is entirely independent of the frequency that it occurs.

2
skog 15 May 2019

I imagine this thread is going to deteriorate fast, given the topic.

Before the bunfight, it might be helpful to consider why so many decent ordinary people disagree with your position (whichever position you hold).

Cards on the table, I'm very much pro-choice, at least for the first half or so of a pregnancy; I think it gets a lot murkier after that.

But I think I can very much see where most of the pro-lifers are coming from.

The crux of the matter is this: killing babies is wrong, and letting someone else kill a baby is wrong, even if not killing it has serious implications for them.

I suspect most people on both sides can agree almost completely on this, and the problem arises because they have different ideas of what actually is a baby.

For me, it's fairly easy - I don't believe in souls or the like - so it becomes a baby gradually, as it gets closer to being able to think, to have some sort of awareness, and to being a separate being. I don't know when all of this happens, and I'm pretty sure it doesn't all happen at once, but I'm comfortable that something that doesn't have much of a brain isn't there yet.

If, on the other hand, you do believe in souls and believe foetuses have them, or if you have another reason for believing that they are a baby, an actual miniature person, right from the start - then an abortion really isn't any different from killing a newborn, so you're probably going to react to it with similar horror.

As a pro-choicer isn't going to be able to convince a pro-lifer that it's OK to kill babies (and let's face it, it isn't!), you might as well not have that argument. Go straight to the real disagreement and don't get upset that they might think you're advocating the right to murder - if they're right about when it becomes a baby, then we actually are.

And as a pro-lifer, don't get upset that someone pro-choice is accusing you of effectively enslaving pregnant women to have them do your bidding - if you're wrong about when a foetus becomes an actual baby, that really is what you're advocating.

Pretty much whatever happens - even with a moderate, middle-ground solution - one set of people are forcing something terrible on another. And it all hinges on something that is very hard to prove, and that for many is a matter of faith. I know which side I fall on, but I think it's very important to keep this in mind and treat the other side with respect, as most of them are arguing in good conscience, for what they really think is right.

Post edited at 20:18
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Stichtplate 15 May 2019
In reply to Whitters:

> Call it whatever you want, it is still a human life.

Debatable. Can't see myself asking a collection of cells how life was treating them. 

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Tom Loughlin 15 May 2019
In reply to skog:

Well said. 

1
Whitters 15 May 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:.

> Lots of things happen all the time. Me agreeing with something is entirely independent of the frequency that it occurs.

You asked: 

Isn't it a bit weird and deeply intrusive to want to legislate on what strangers do with their bodies?

And I replied to that. My point being that actually it isn't weird because it is something that happens all the time and is something that most people would agree is usually a good thing. 

2
Yanis Nayu 15 May 2019
In reply to skog:

I’m pro-choice, but I can see why people have opposing views on it. I also think it’s a topic that should be debated by everyone, female and male. 

1
Timmd 15 May 2019
In reply to Whitters:

> Is that a good thing?!

> Do either of those mean that we don't have to care about the child?

> When did they take primacy? Again what in that means that we have to stop caring about the unborn child?

> But yet we seem to...

Thinking off the top of my head, what about things like the kind of life an unwanted child might have? I know a lady who was the result of an affair, and she definitely has psychological problems as a result of not feeling valued like her 'legitimate' sisters were.  Or the number of children living in care in need of adoption and loving homes? Having everybody growing up as well loved and happy children ( and later adults) would seem to be the ideal to aim for. There's something of a dearth of loving homes for children.

Post edited at 20:33
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Coel Hellier 15 May 2019
In reply to skog:

> I know which side I fall on, but I think it's very important to keep this in mind and treat the other side with respect, as most of them are arguing in good conscience, for what they really think is right.

You really haven't got the hang of an abortion debate, have you?  The other side (whichever that is) are of course the Devil incarnate, with nothing at all to be said for their position, which is held for entirely unreasonable and reprehensible reasons. 

No, seriously, well done on a sensible post!  The ability to see both sides of an argument is too rare these days. 

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Stichtplate 15 May 2019
In reply to Whitters:

> .

> You asked: 

> Isn't it a bit weird and deeply intrusive to want to legislate on what strangers do with their bodies?

> And I replied to that. My point being that actually it isn't weird because it is something that happens all the time and is something that most people would agree is usually a good thing. 

You think it's usually a good thing to legislate on what people do with their bodies? Any examples apart from abortion? I think matters of personal choice are better left up to the persons involved. Suicide was legalised 60 years ago, public opinion (if not legislators) supports assisted dying and you can indulge in any number of high risk activities without fear of sanction. 

2
Whitters 15 May 2019
In reply to Tom Loughlin:

> So, just to be clear, you’re all for a woman who has been raped (even by a family member) having to carry, give birth and then presumably care for that child for the next eighteen years minimum? Or it be put into the care of the state? What about the right of the woman to make choices about her life and body? Didn’t women already have to fight for this right in the 1950s, 60s and 70s? 

To be clear I said nothing of the sort. 

Truth be told I don't know what the answer is. I detest the idea that a woman is subjected to arguably the worst crime that could be inflicted on someone and then has to deal with the consequences and have a constant reminder for at least 9 months after. 

On the other hand I am deeply uncomfortable with the notion that you are imposing a death sentence on someone because of the crimes of their father. A sentence that can't be imposed on the perpetrator of the crime.

To me there is a clear distinction between a pregnancy as a result of rape and one that is simply unwanted. The issue of choice is an interesting one and throws up all kinds of problems.

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Whitters 15 May 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

> You think it's usually a good thing to legislate on what people do with their bodies? Any examples apart from abortion? I think matters of personal choice are better left up to the persons involved. Suicide was legalised 60 years ago, public opinion (if not legislators) supports assisted dying and you can indulge in any number of high risk activities without fear of sanction. 

I think that where your choice impacts on another person then yes (although I appreciate we will probably disagree on what constitutes a person).  If you are talking about simply what you can do to yourself I don't think that the government should legislate. I can also see an argument in relation to protecting the vulnerable (for example on assisted suicide). 

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Stichtplate 15 May 2019
In reply to Whitters:

> Truth be told I don't know what the answer is. I detest the idea that a woman is subjected to arguably the worst crime that could be inflicted on someone and then has to deal with the consequences and have a constant reminder for at least 9 months after. 

> On the other hand I am deeply uncomfortable with the notion that you are imposing a death sentence on someone because of the crimes of their father. A sentence that can't be imposed on the perpetrator of the crime.

> To me there is a clear distinction between a pregnancy as a result of rape and one that is simply unwanted. The issue of choice is an interesting one and throws up all kinds of problems.

At least we have some common ground. I'm also deeply uncomfortable with the moral dilemma posed by abortion. Where we differ is that I'm so conflicted as to the rights and wrongs of the matter that the only sensible conclusion I can reach is that any decision should be left in the hands of the Mother until the foetus approaches viability.

2
john arran 15 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

>  The ability to see both sides of an argument is too rare these days. 

Very true. Unfortunately the ability to do so is probably correlated with a lack of strong feelings one way or the other. If only we were all impartial and objective!

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Whitters 15 May 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

> At least we have some common ground. I'm also deeply uncomfortable with the moral dilemma posed by abortion. Where we differ is that I'm so conflicted as to the rights and wrongs of the matter that the only sensible conclusion I can reach is that any decision should be left in the hands of the Mother until the foetus approaches viability.

And to be honest I totally get that. I think I just come down on the other side.

Though like every debate at the moment it seems like people are so convinced that they are right that they then end up demonising those on the other side. My main issue with the coverage of this law is that it is being portrayed in a manner which isn't accurate (it's just old white men telling women what to do) in order to discredit the other side without having to deal with the actual moral arguments in issue.

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Tom Loughlin 15 May 2019
In reply to Whitters:

Fair enough, I apologise if my reaction was hyperbolic. It is a very emotive and difficult topic. Having kids myself I can totally understand why people would want to protect the unborn: they seem to be born with such different temperaments and are responsive while in the womb that it’s clear to me they develop a degree of sentience before birth.

My problem here is removing the right of women to have any say whatsoever in their body and the carrying of a child. I don’t actually necessarily see a distinction between rape and unwanted pregnancy: in both cases you have a woman with a baby she does not want. I believe it should ultimately be left up to the woman, within reasonable medical boundaries. Whether that is 24 weeks or less I believe should be based on medical evidence and specific circumstances. Taking away the right with plenum anti-abortion powers seems to be wrong and reactionary. 

Edit: the demonising/ polarisation you refer to would seem to a logical consequence of removing a hard fought for right from women with little pretext except that ‘a collection of cells has equal rights to a fully formed sentient human being’, which is a fundamentalist view. I find it hard to believe that a newly fertilised egg has awareness.

Post edited at 20:55
1
Coel Hellier 15 May 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

> You think it's usually a good thing to legislate on what people do with their bodies? Any examples apart from abortion? I think matters of personal choice are better left up to the persons involved.

OK, so let's go with the doctrine that a women should have total autonomy over what she does with her body.

So now let's consider a 10-day-old baby, which of course is totally dependent on others.  So, according to your doctrine, a mother should be able to walk away from the baby and neglect it, with no obligation to provide for it, since that would involve demands on what she does with her body.  So we should not have laws about child neglect, agreed? 

If, however, she does have obligations to the 10-day-old baby, why wouldn't she also have obligations to it 20 days earlier?

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Tom Loughlin 15 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

The limit for most terminations is 24 weeks I believe, so not a 40 week full term baby as you seem to be referring to. Do you think a newly fertilised egg has awareness?

1
Coel Hellier 15 May 2019
In reply to Tom Loughlin:

> The limit for most terminations is 24 weeks I believe, so not a 40 week full term baby as you seem to be referring to.

I was referring to Stichplate's fairly absolutest:

"You think it's usually a good thing to legislate on what people do with their bodies?"

... which implies no limit.

Post edited at 21:06
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Eric9Points 15 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

I suspect, like many pro lifers, the people that voted for this bill are also in favour of capital punishment and own a gun in the expectation that they'd kill anyone who tried to break into their house.

So much for the sanctity of life.

Personally I think that at six weeks the foetus doesn't even have a brain and that the limit should be set at the point where it becomes significantly sentient.

3
Tom Loughlin 15 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Must admit i don’t understand that comment as the state retains the right to tell us what we do with our bodies in some circumstances: drug and drink laws, seatbelt laws etc. Maybe i’m opening another can of worms there though..! 

1
Stichtplate 15 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> OK, so let's go with the doctrine that a women should have total autonomy over what she does with her body.

> So now let's consider a 10-day-old baby, which of course is totally dependent on others.  So, according to your doctrine, a mother should be able to walk away from the baby and neglect it, with no obligation to provide for it, since that would involve demands on what she does with her body.  So we should not have laws about child neglect, agreed? 

That isn't my doctrine at all.

> If, however, she does have obligations to the 10-day-old baby, why wouldn't she also have obligations to it 20 days earlier?

It's a ridiculous argument. A foetus has increasing legal rights after the age of 24 weeks. This is evidenced by the increasing restrictions placed on abortion after this time. Further to this, if a clinician is presented with a full term woman with life threatening injuries, all efforts must be made to save the mother, regardless of impact on the foetus. The minute the foetus is delivered, focus of care reverts to most pressing clinical need.

A 10 day old, 10 year old or 100 year old, doesn't matter all have legal protection from neglect.

1
Stichtplate 15 May 2019
In reply to Tom Loughlin:

> Must admit i don’t understand that comment as the state retains the right to tell us what we do with our bodies in some circumstances: drug and drink laws, seatbelt laws etc. Maybe i’m opening another can of worms there though..! 

Drug and drink laws have a significant impact on wider society. Seatbelt and helmet laws less so, and though I can see clear arguments for making them mandatory, I think their use should be a matter of choice. You want to see use of climbing helmets and ropes made mandatory?

1
Sam W 15 May 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

Abortion is a very emotive issue, and a classic case where the majority of people on both sides of the debate are just trying to make a decision that they believe is correct from a moral, ethical and practical point of view.  FWIW I'm very much pro-choice, but know decent, intelligent people who have an opposing view

What's sad in the US is that the subject has been deliberately and cynically politicised to the point where it seems impossible to have balanced debate about how the law should protect both the medical and personal needs of its citizens.

1
dave657 15 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> So now let's consider a 10-day-old baby, which of course is totally dependent on others.  So, according to your doctrine, a mother should be able to walk away from the baby and neglect it, with no obligation to provide for it, since that would involve demands on what she does with her body.  

They can, can't they? It's called adoption. 

2
Tom Loughlin 15 May 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

Slightly off topic but it’s very difficult to have an objective view on this. Arguably, drug laws have a big impact on society precisely because they are illegal, so the argument for autonomy over body is stronger. In contrast, the impact of seatbelts is on the individual but the evidence is so clear that they save lives I think it is justifiable for the state to mandate their use. Helmets when climbing: seems sensible but very hard to enforce (where/when are you considered to be actively engaged in climbing and thus needing a helmet?) and is the evidence clear that it would make a vast difference to accidents?

1
summo 15 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

The problem with this proposed law, is it's not pushed by scientists, doctors, medical research etc.. it's driven by pro life religious happy clappers, who also just by chance are core trump voters. Just another backward step in the good ole us of a.

4
pasbury 15 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

This ‘law’ isn’t anything yet. No-one will be denied an abortion yet.

This is a republican tactic to bring an action to the Supreme Court in order to overturn Roe vs Wade. A ruling that allows women to decide what to do with their own pregnancies. The Supreme Court might just weaken the Roe vs Wade decision since the pisshead wide boy possible rapist Kavanaugh made up the numbers for the conservative right.

This is just a tactic in the battle the right are fighting against humanity.

3
john arran 15 May 2019
In reply to summo:

While I agree with you - that there is a problem with this law - I would question any line of reasoning that is critical of an idea simply on the basis of who is proposing it, rather than on the basis of reasoned merit.

1
Stichtplate 15 May 2019
In reply to Tom Loughlin:

> Slightly off topic but it’s very difficult to have an objective view on this. Arguably, drug laws have a big impact on society precisely because they are illegal, so the argument for autonomy over body is stronger. In contrast, the impact of seatbelts is on the individual but the evidence is so clear that they save lives I think it is justifiable for the state to mandate their use. Helmets when climbing: seems sensible but very hard to enforce (where/when are you considered to be actively engaged in climbing and thus needing a helmet?) and is the evidence clear that it would make a vast difference to accidents?

The evidence is also clear that a ban on mountaineering would save lives, Yet few would see such a ban as justifiable. Where the argument lies between personal freedom to accept personal risk versus a society's right to arbitrarily restrict, I'd almost always go with personal freedom, including drug legalisation. But everybody draws lines somewhere, mine would include ownership of assault rifles, storing open containers of petrol in the front room of your semi and attaching 2 foot blades to the front of your Tesco shopping trolley.

1
captain paranoia 15 May 2019
In reply to Whitters:

> is something that most people would agree is usually a good thing. 

It's a wonderful thing where a baby is wanted.

It can be a disaster where a baby isn't wanted.

That's the thing, isn't it? It's all about whether the child is wanted.

1
Pefa 15 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

You know how a lot of fundamentalists in USA think there will be some biblical end times and a second coming of Jesus? Well perhaps they are thinking what if he gets aborted?! 

1
Timmd 16 May 2019
In reply to Pefa: That's weird and funny. 

1
neilh 16 May 2019
In reply to pasbury:

Agreed and its the fundmentalist Christians driving this.

The big issue is that all it does is drive abortions underground or women going to Mexico /Canada etc ( and there will be organsiations arranging this, thank goodness).

The most frightening thing was that one of the proposals affected women who went to another State to get the abortion done.They were basically still threatened with imprisonment etc when they returned.

Handmaiden's Tale in all its glory.Attwood was ahead of her time.

1
summo 16 May 2019
In reply to john arran:

> While I agree with you - that there is a problem with this law - I would question any line of reasoning that is critical of an idea simply on the basis of who is proposing it, rather than on the basis of reasoned merit.

It probably wouldn't have been proposed if the last retiree on the supreme court wasn't replaced(by trump) with a strong Trump supporter, giving the republicans a majority. 

So now even if this bill is challenged at the highest court it will almost certainly still pass. The politics of the bill's proposers and supporters is more powerful than any science or the individual person's freedom to decide for themselves. 

1
Pan Ron 16 May 2019
In reply to Tom Loughlin:

> So, just to be clear, you’re all for a woman who has been raped (even by a family member) having to carry, give birth and then presumably care for that child for the next eighteen years minimum? Or it be put into the care of the state? What about the right of the woman to make choices about her life and body? Didn’t women already have to fight for this right in the 1950s, 60s and 70s? 

Pretty extreme example.  Obviously that occurs, but it would be interesting to know what most grounds for abortion are.  

At what point is an unborn child "not a life"?  At what point is it ok to kill that life?  Its very easy to take a liberal, "mother's choice" argument on this as a default position.  But to use an example about as extreme as your own, if you don't believe it acceptable to kill a baby 1 minute after birth, why would it be ok 1 minute before birth?  And how far back towards conception do you go before it becomes acceptable?

Regardless of what loudmouths on the Left and Right would like us to think on this issue, the answer doesn't appear to be so clear cut.  You can't turn this into a reproductive rights issue without considering that an unborn child must also have rights too.  Anyone arguing one side of that argument without mentioning the other is being utterly dishonest.

11
neilh 16 May 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

Great, its a huge step back in women's rights usually imposed by males or religions when we do not have to nurture the unborn child. Where do womens rights fit into your argument?

2
Sir Chasm 16 May 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

I think you’ve got it rather back to front, if you think a foetus has rights then make the case for it. What rights are you contending that a foetus has? Does it have those rights from the point of conception? Or does the foetus acquire these rights at some specific point.

We’re left with two options, if abortion is legal women who do not agree with abortion are not forced to have one or perform one. Whereas if abortion is illegal women are forced to go ahead with unwanted pregnancies. So one situation removes women's autonomy over their own bodies and choices whereas the other doesn't.

2
galpinos 16 May 2019
In reply to Pedro50:

Yep, which was deemed a breach of human rights laws by the UK Supreme Court but it's within the power of the devolved assembly that is currently suspended so the status quo remains. Sad state of a affairs.

1
cb294 16 May 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

The incredibly annoying and offensive point is that religion offers no rational basis at all from which one could make a judgement about when life begins, which does not stop the god botherers from interfering in other people's lives based solely on their superstitions.

They should shut the f*ck up, and leave this discussion to developmental biologists (who will also disagree about when an embryo should be considered an independent human being, but on a rational basis). 

The "heartbeat" criterium put forward in the US is probably the most useless option (except as a political tool to push the deadline forward as much as possible while retaining a pseudoscientific veneer).

CB

3
Thrudge 16 May 2019
In reply to Whitters:

> It seems to me that the focus of the argument has been on the gender of the legislators rather than the issues they have legislated on.

And also their whiteness, according to the OP.  Identity politics - foolish, sad, and wrong.

2
neilh 16 May 2019
In reply to Sir Chasm:

There is a simple denial by the Pro-Life advocates. Where abortion is banned, women either go for backstreet abortions or go abroad.It is now what happens in Northern Ireland. Women go to England or now Ireland. In Ireland they use to come here.

We moved away from backstreet abortions years ago, thank goodness.

All the pro life advocates  are doing is potentially forcing the issue underground. Its crazy.

Post edited at 12:23
3
Whitters 16 May 2019
In reply to Thrudge:

> And also their whiteness, according to the OP.  Identity politics - foolish, sad, and wrong.


Ah yeah sorry I forgot that...

1
In reply to Stichtplate:

> Isn't it a bit weird and deeply intrusive to want to legislate on what strangers do with their bodies? As far as possible, any decisions that are both very personal and extremely subjective, I'd much rather leave up to the people directly involved.

Almost everybody thinks that abortion the day before birth shouldn’t be legal. How is that any less ‘legislating about what strangers do with their bodies’ than Alabama’s law is? It’s a question of degree.

People say such silly absolutist things about this. It’s obviously a messy issue which calls for a sensible compromise such as the UK has, followed by everyone moving on and getting over it.

jcm

1
Pan Ron 16 May 2019
In reply to neilh:

> Great, its a huge step back in women's rights usually imposed by males or religions when we do not have to nurture the unborn child. Where do womens rights fit into your argument?

This is the problem with the debate; you turn it into a case of correcting some historic injustice and that this dictates the direction of travel that must be taken.

I view it as an issue about where do we stand on the rights of human life - in this case two human beings, each with potentially the same rights as the other.  That is both a difficult question but also much simpler than the one you seem to be proposing (where some account of history has a bearing).

On a personal level, I suspect an amount of emotion gets injected into the debate where women, either feeling the burden of others' perceptions, or on account of their own emotional reaction to having had an abortion, may be seeking to legally and socially legitimise abortion for their own ends.  "I did it.  I was made to feel dreadful.  I don't want anyone to feel the same.  Therefore I want as much social stigma to be removed as possible".  I don't necessarily have a view on that, but I do believe this pressure exists and may distort the debate in a way that is not helpful.

9
Pan Ron 16 May 2019
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> I think you’ve got it rather back to front, if you think a foetus has rights then make the case for it. What rights are you contending that a foetus has? Does it have those rights from the point of conception? Or does the foetus acquire these rights at some specific point.

I feel it does have rights.  I have no idea at what point it acquires those rights.  In my own mind though I am certain it doesn't acquire them the moment it exits the womb and therefore they are earned at some point prior to that.  In the absence an agreement on what that sliding scale looks like I can understand, from a legalistic standpoint, why that argument might claim conception is the point. 

The automatic assumption many make that those arguing "conception marks life" come from a dogmatic, religious standpoint, is an additional unhelpful aspect of the debate.  

> We’re left with two options, if abortion is legal women who do not agree with abortion are not forced to have one or perform one. Whereas if abortion is illegal women are forced to go ahead with unwanted pregnancies. So one situation removes women's autonomy over their own bodies and choices whereas the other doesn't.

That skips the point about whether the question is even one of a person's own body the moment another body, a unique set of cells, enters into the equation.  If the point of debate is whether it is ok to kill a living human or not, I can perfectly see why a woman's claim that it is "my body" becomes subordinate.

I have no strong view on the whole debate.  I don't really fall on one side or the other.  On balance I've generally considered myself "pro-abortion".  I have however become increasingly at odds with the way it is discussed, and the way (as with many issues that concern left V right), one side of the debate gets dismissed out-of-hand.  It should come as no surprise that the issue has suddenly polarised.

3
In reply to Pan Ron:

It seems to me that any sort of philosophical approach about when cells acquire rights is stupid. The dominant points to my mind are (i) banning abortions doesn’t lead to no abortions but to backstreet abortions (ii) there are far too many people already and (iii) unwanted children don’t tend to have a great time.

jcm

4
Pan Ron 16 May 2019
In reply to cb294:

> The incredibly annoying and offensive point is that religion offers no rational basis at all from which one could make a judgement about when life begins,

And this was the point I just made; arguing that it is purely religious dogma that dictates the life-begins-at-conception argument is utterly incorrect.  There may be a religious starting point or bias in that direction, but that isn't the rationale for where it ends up. 

But if you listen to the arguments that self confessed Christians or Catholics make, they are far more sophisticated than that.  Simply viewing their arguments as the rantings of some bible-bashing, sky-fairy, believers....without ever listening to exactly what their argument is, is precisely why the issue is re-igniting.  

> They should shut the f*ck up,

No, they shouldn't.  They perceive that people are being wrongly killed, in the same way be believe the execution of murderers in the US is wrongly killing people.  The debate is actually one of who do we deny the right of life to

Post edited at 13:12
5
Pan Ron 16 May 2019
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

> It seems to me that any sort of philosophical approach about when cells acquire rights is stupid. The dominant points to my mind are (i) banning abortions doesn’t lead to no abortions but to backstreet abortions (ii) there are far too many people already and (iii) unwanted children don’t tend to have a great time.

On point (i) I absolutely agree (although the same argument then gets recycled to justify not banning guns).

On point (ii) I agree.  But if "too many people" is the justification for being allowed to kill people, then Alzheimers-ridden mothers, vegetative patients and prisoners can be added to the list of ones to go.  There is an ethical issue at stake.

On point (iii) the equal case can be made that being unwanted might still be better than not being born at all.  And many mothers and children for whom abortion was being seriously considered, go on to have full and fruitful lives.

That seems to imply that a debate about when cells acquire rights is a necessary debate.

6
TobyA 16 May 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

> I don't necessarily have a view on that, 

Oh, but you do. You might not be ready to fully embrace it in public but from the rest of what you wrote, you surely do 

6
Sir Chasm 16 May 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

> I feel it does have rights.  I have no idea at what point it acquires those rights.  In my own mind though I am certain it doesn't acquire them the moment it exits the womb and therefore they are earned at some point prior to that.  In the absence an agreement on what that sliding scale looks like I can understand, from a legalistic standpoint, why that argument might claim conception is the point. 

I can accept you “feel” that a foetus has rights (although you don’t say what those rights are or when they are acquired), but your claim I replied to was “You can't turn this into a reproductive rights issue without considering that an unborn child must also have rights too.” and if you want to claim a foetus must have rights then you need to say what the rights are and when they apply from.

> That skips the point about whether the question is even one of a person's own body the moment another body, a unique set of cells, enters into the equation.  If the point of debate is whether it is ok to kill a living human or not, I can perfectly see why a woman's claim that it is "my body" becomes subordinate.

There isn’t another body, afaiui legally there is no person other than the mother. You can argue that the law should be changed, but then you’ll have to make your case for when you want a foetus to be legally defined as a person.

> I have no strong view on the whole debate.  I don't really fall on one side or the other.  On balance I've generally considered myself "pro-abortion".  I have however become increasingly at odds with the way it is discussed, and the way (as with many issues that concern left V right), one side of the debate gets dismissed out-of-hand.  It should come as no surprise that the issue has suddenly polarised.

It hasn’t suddenly become polarised, I’m surprised you would think that.

2
neilh 16 May 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

You have still not addressed the simple issue that women will have back street abortions or go abroad /somewhere else to have them.

The argument about human rights is completly irrelevant to those women.They will go underground and get them done in some dodgy medical environment.

Practically the pro life argument on human rights is a complete waste of time.

Post edited at 13:21
5
Pan Ron 16 May 2019
In reply to TobyA:

I've stated it - I'm not one out there saying no-abortion.  On balance I wouldn't support anything that changes that.  But if the view is an unborn baby has no rights, and that means we end up with what appears to me to be a slightly ridiculous view that the second a baby is born it acquires rights that are denied while it is in a womb, then there are questions to be asked.  The absolutist argument seems difficult to justify, especially given the ability to care for premature babies these days.

Are you really trying to say that considering there may be more to this than simply "its my body and anything inside my body is mine and I have a right to end that life at any point up to the moment of birth is mine alone" makes me anti-abortion?

It's surely not a binary debate.

A parallel here might be the immigration debate, where expressing any kind of view that immigration may not be all good and that there is room for debate makes you "anti-immigration".  If that's going to be the case then I'll flip it the other way - "pro-immigration" means you are for open borders and no control.  Its a stupid argument, but you can't have it one way and not the other.  

2
cb294 16 May 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

No. Organized religion has for much too long been given a free pass in too many fields. Just listen to the pope declare that all cases of child abuse should be reported WITHIN THE CHURCH, without even mentioning the relevant state authorities (my argument is more general, I know that the Alabama case has little to do with Catholics).

Why should society respect some obscurantist delusions, which would clearly be classified as mental illness if they were held by an individual rather than a large group, as valid reasons for underpinning any argument about policy in the 21st century? *

Not all arguments are equally valid, and faith based arguments should have been laughed out of informed discussion since at least 500 years. In this case, there is no rational basis at all for deriving a conclusion about the beginning of life from a faith position.

Of course people should be free to believe whatever they want, but that must not entail the right to be taken seriously, and especially not the right to impose ANYTHING derived from these faith positions on anyone else.

CB

*And yes, I do get the irony of using a dating system based on the same belief in the previous sentence. I am absolutely aware and respectful about the role of Christian faith and in particular the church in shaping our cultural background, but would nevertheless deny it a special role now and for the future. 

2
cb294 16 May 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

>   It should come as no surprise that the issue has suddenly polarised.

I agree with much of your post, but not this last issue. The debate is not suddenly polarized. Instead, what we see is the backlash of religious extremists who suddenly spotted a chance to roll back the last decades of liberation and emancipation of society from religious dogma, especially but not exclusively with respect to women's rights. 

CB

2
galpinos 16 May 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

I know you believe you are making a down the middle unbiased point but it's not coming across as that.

> But if the view is an unborn baby has no rights, and that means we end up with what appears to me to be a slightly ridiculous view that the second a baby is born it acquires rights that are denied while it is in a womb, then there are questions to be asked. 

Is anyone actually saying this? I've read the thread and a far bit of commentary on the issue (not just the recent flair up) and have never heard this point of view? As a very basic example, the foetus gains different rights at 24 weeks in the UK as the criteria for abortion change. The debate has always been about at what age the rights of  a foetus change and in most countries (that allow abortion) is seems to be around the low to mid twenties (weeks), a length of time that has been decided on by various medical criteria. 

You seem to be creating an argument you have a response to, instead of engaging in the debate that is actually going on?

1
Whitters 16 May 2019
In reply to cb294:

Ok well I'm not religious nor do I subscribe to any faith, yet I still believe that life begins at conception and thus have the benefit of human rights (particularly the right to life). I believe that because I can't get away from the fact that the cells are human cells and I have yet to hear a cogent argument advanced as to why one of the arbitrary points of development should be considered the start of life. If you can make one go ahead, I'm open to persuasion.

I accept that there is probably an inconsistency in what my view, but quite frankly there are in all views, even though that is not always conceded.

The sooner that debates like this can be undertaken without resorting to name calling and misrepresenting the other side the better.

2
Whitters 16 May 2019
In reply to galpinos:

In fairness there are campaigns in the US advocating third trimester terminations and there was an article in a medical journal a couple of years ago arguing for post-partum terminations.

5
Pan Ron 16 May 2019
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> and if you want to claim a foetus must have rights then you need to say what the rights are and when they apply from.

I don't know the answer to that.  Abortion isn't an issue I feel strongly about.  It is like vegetarianism v meat eating.  What I do feel strongly about is the terms of the debate, the assumption of a lack of good-faith on the other side.  

> It hasn’t suddenly become polarised, I’m surprised you would think that.

I think it has.  The emergence of Trump is a sign of that.

5
Pan Ron 16 May 2019
In reply to galpinos:

> I know you believe you are making a down the middle unbiased point but it's not coming across as that.

> As a very basic example, the foetus gains different rights at 24 weeks in the UK 

> You seem to be creating an argument you have a response to, instead of engaging in the debate that is actually going on?

What the rules are in the UK is of little relevance when considering the motivations and rights and wrongs of campaigners in the USA.

3
Pan Ron 16 May 2019
In reply to cb294:

> what we see is the backlash of religious extremists who suddenly spotted a chance to roll back the last decades of liberation and emancipation of society from religious dogma, especially but not exclusively with respect to women's rights. 

That's a big assumption.  Perhaps they simply see abortion as murder, in the same way we look at capital punishment as murder.  And they are not seizing on an opportunity to do anything other than correcting what they view to be a gross and terrible injustice.

The argument put forward by those supportive of abortion, claiming anti-abortionists have nefarious motives other than the ones they state, is not helpful.  And polarizing.

4
galpinos 16 May 2019
In reply to Whitters:

> In fairness there are campaigns in the US advocating third trimester terminations and there was an article in a medical journal a couple of years ago arguing for post-partum terminations.

Third trimester terminations for what reason? You can have third trimester terminations in the UK, it's just the allowable reasons for the termination change. As a poster above said, the rights for the foetus increase with age. It's not a black and white issue but a degree of compromise has already been reached in most countries. Those holding more extreme opinions won't be satisfied but that is the nature of compromise.

1
SAF 16 May 2019
In reply to captain paranoia

> That's the thing, isn't it? It's all about whether the child is wanted.

Abortion isn't just about unwanted pregnancies it can be about women with much wanted pregnancies suffering horrendous pregnancy related complications, eg  hyperemesis gravida, crippling pregnancy related anxiety and depression. As well as termination for medical reason.

1
cb294 16 May 2019
In reply to Whitters:

The critique of faith based arguments is aimed at the Alabama legislators, who either do believe in a very fundamentalist version of Christianity, or at least claim to do so for political gains. Attacking their basis is therefore fair game. 

As to your other question, I argued above that even developmental biologists (like myself) would struggle to pick a date from which on we would consider an embryo or fetus to be "alive" and thus in possession of rights, including the right to life.

You mention cells, but would you think I commit mass murder every time I have chucked a cell culture dish into the autoclave bin?

Probably not, because a single cell in a dish is not easily transformed into an individual human. It used to be completely impossible, but due to recent technical advances in stem cell biology, it seems at least feasible now. Same goes for any cell in hair follicle or sputum I cough up. Are all these little humans alive (given that now they could in principle turned into a new microCB?). They are certainly alive, in that they have a metabolism, communicate with their environment, etc...

This standpoint would be patently ridiculous, similar to the "every sperm is sacred" skit.

So if sperm or eggs or somatic cells don't make the cut, but what about conception? Again, arguing that a fertilized zygote is an individual with all rights that entails makes no sense, as it is technically easy to split an embryo at early stage and make identical clones (called twins if this happens naturally). So, let's wait a bit longer. 

Birth is clearly too late, so what about week 23ish, when the earliest premature babies could be kept alive? Too late for my tastes as well.

However, a bunch of cells around conception or preimplantation has, outside the mother, as much chance of turning into a baby as the cells in my dish, so "day after" contraception, which prevents the ball of a few dozen cells implanting into the uterus, seem fair enough. Why should these cells have a "right" to be hosted by the mother, but the cells in my culture dish do not have the "right" to converted into gametes and used for producing embryos? What about my sperm, or the 400k oocytes every woman is born with? Clearly, this is a reductio ad absurdum.

I would suggest instead that the whole question of the "beginning of life" is completely irrelevant for determining when an abortion should be legal.

Clearly, it is impossible to uncouple the increasing rights of the embryo from the rights of the mother. 

So if there is a conflict of interest, preventing a few cells from implanting seems a context where the rights of the mother should win any time, regardless of whether you consider life starting at conception.

However, once the baby would be able to survive independently (at the very latest), the rights of the baby should win almost every time (I say almost, as a friend had her pregnancy terminated close to that point because of a suddenly diagnosed leukemia that required immediate chemotherapy).

The question is then how to deal with this tradeoff fairly. My preferred option would be to allow day after pills to be sold OTC, to legalize "no questions asked" abortions until some later date, ideally linked to some stage of brain development because it is our brains that make us human, and become more and more restrictive as development progresses (e.g. in cases of rape a bit longer, in cases of lethal danger to the mother even longer, etc..).

The point of setting first heartbeat as a cutoff has no scientific basis but is patently designed to be unfair: It is the one thing which can be construed as a "sign of life" that can be detected extremely early, and thus gives the mother at best a few days to have a legal abortion after her period is late. Contraction of heart cells is also something easily triggered in cells in a dish, almost trivial, really.

Hope that makes sense,

CB

2
cb294 16 May 2019
In reply to Whitters:

> ..... arguing for post-partum terminations.

This is what they say about the region just South of my home: So catholic that the only available form of birth control is post partum abortion with the help of an Audi A4 and a few litres of beer...

CB

2
galpinos 16 May 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

> What the rules are in the UK is of little relevance when considering the motivations and rights and wrongs of campaigners in the USA.

Not really, Roe vs Wade defined viability at 24 weeks which is normally the tipping point at which the rights of the foetus increases. Within the US, the federal/state law complications make it all a little fuzzier but the principle is the same.

neilh 16 May 2019
In reply to Whitters:

You still avoid the issue of underground or backstreet abortions or women just travelling elsewhere.

You  are unwilling to recognise the reality of what actually happens. 

So what’s the answer ?

1
Phil79 16 May 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

> Isn't it a bit weird and deeply intrusive to want to legislate on what strangers do with their bodies? 

Seems to be a some very weird contradictions in the American way of thinking.

So, happy to restrict abortion as "every life is sacred", but no need to restrict gun ownership even following multiple massacres of school children, and we'll ignore all the Americans dying for lack of basic health care.....

Hmmmm...? 

1
Roadrunner6 16 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

It may be a good thing. This may be the final push needed to motivate voters for 2020. US elections are all about who turns out.

The problem is it may lead to Roe V Wade getting too court and with the current 9 we have no idea what will happen.

1
Roadrunner6 16 May 2019
In reply to Phil79:

> Seems to be a some very weird contradictions in the American way of thinking.

> So, happy to restrict abortion as "every life is sacred", but no need to restrict gun ownership even following multiple massacres of school children, and we'll ignore all the Americans dying for lack of basic health care.....

> Hmmmm...? 

Or family leave. I find it hard to believe that women don't have to opt for abortions for financial concerns regarding leave and child care. It's brutal. Even when states have it its pretty basic. My wife gets the opportunity for family leave 30 days after her new job starts as long as she has not seen a Dr before then. Then its a pre-existing condition. And that's only 6 weeks with a reduced pay.

Post edited at 16:14
1
Pursued by a bear 16 May 2019
In reply to Whitters:

> Call it whatever you want, it is still a human life.

That's an arguable point.  At what point does a ball of cells stop being a potential human and become an actual human?  I'd be interested in your point of view (but not so interested that I'm going to read every post to see whether you've stated this already.  I may be retired and time-rich, but life's still too short for some things).

T.

1
Whitters 16 May 2019
In reply to neilh:

> You still avoid the issue of underground or backstreet abortions or women just travelling elsewhere.

Or maybe I have been dipping in and out of the debate because it has been a busy day and I haven't got round to replying.

> You  are unwilling to recognise the reality of what actually happens. 

> So what’s the answer ?

Just because people will continue to do something "underground" if you make it illegal doesn't mean that you should just make it legal. If that was the case pretty much every law would have to be repealed.

In terms of situations involving rape, incest or risk of life to the mother I struggle to see the best way forward because I can see both sides of the argument (unlike some on here).

Where the baby has some horrendous condition, again I am conflicted, I don't want them to suffer but at the same time I feel uncomfortable about not giving them a chance.

Where it is on the basis of convenience then I am significantly less concerned about the mother's right to choose than I am about the foetus/child whatever you want to call it.

Do you think that a woman should be allowed to choose regardless of the grounds for the decision? So for example if she was carrying a female and only wanted a male child so chose to abort would that be ok? 

4
Whitters 16 May 2019
In reply to Pursued by a bear:

> That's an arguable point.  At what point does a ball of cells stop being a potential human and become an actual human?  I'd be interested in your point of view (but not so interested that I'm going to read every post to see whether you've stated this already.  I may be retired and time-rich, but life's still too short for some things).

> T.


I don't think I have stated my position above so don't worry about wasting your time!

I think there is a distinction between being human and being a human. I think my view is that the cells are human (don't think you can really argue otherwise though I'm sure if that is not true I will be corrected) but they are not a human. 

As stated above by someone else, there doesn't appear to be an agreed position as to when a life becomes a human (or indeed when it becomes a life) in the scientific community and so it seems to me that any position on when a life becomes a human is arbitrary. For that reason I would say my view is that life starts at the point of conception. Don't get me wrong I understand there are issues with taking this stance, but there are going to be with whatever position you take on the issue.

I think that is a roundabout way of saying I'm not sure as to the answer of your question...

1
Whitters 16 May 2019

In reply to gravy:

> Either you are thick, uniformed or a rabid and unrepentant  pro-lifer intent on reducing the sum total of human happiness.

> So, (respectively) speed up, read up or f*ck right off, because, like those spiteful miserable arseholes I have to cycle past on my way to work, peddling the same shit as you, you are causing considerable harm and distress and helping (literally) no one.

> You and your pro-life bullshit are not welcome.

Well that escalated quickly.

But sorry, I'm not going to bite. Good effort though.

2
neilh 16 May 2019
In reply to Whitters:

It is frankly irrelevant.

What simply happens is abortions go underground and are done back street in some dodgy environment( usually those who cannot afford anything else) Or women go elsewhere where abortions are legal.( those who can afford it).

What you are advocating is a return to that cruel system.

The prolife argument is simply a sham .Bite the bullet and accept it unless you want backstreet abortions which go wrong in poor medical environments. They were done by people even posing as doctors to get the money.Talk to people who lived in that envrironemnt. open your eyes.

5
Whitters 16 May 2019
In reply to neilh:

> It is frankly irrelevant.

No it's not. I am enquiring as to whether you would put any limits on a woman's right to choose. I think that is quite an important issue.

> What simply happens is abortions go underground and are done back street in some dodgy environment( usually those who cannot afford anything else) Or women go elsewhere where abortions are legal.( those who can afford it).

> What you are advocating is a return to that cruel system.

> The prolife argument is simply a sham .Bite the bullet and accept it unless you want backstreet abortions which go wrong in poor medical environments. They were done by people even posing as doctors to get the money.Talk to people who lived in that envrironemnt. open your eyes.

My eyes are open, I appreciate that by taking away a legal route some people will turn to "Back alley" clinics or will travel abroad. As I stated, this is no different to any other law, if people are restricted from doing what they want by law there are always going to be some that do it anyway, that is not a basis on which to make laws.

4
Roadrunner6 16 May 2019
In reply to Whitters:

> that do it anyway, that is not a basis on which to make laws.

It is one of the reasons. Whether you like it or not it is a reason and the 'abortion tourism' aspect of this is certainly an issue.

1
Pan Ron 16 May 2019
In reply to neilh:

> What simply happens is abortions go underground and are done back street in some dodgy environment( usually those who cannot afford anything else) Or women go elsewhere where abortions are legal.( those who can afford it).

The pro-legalisation approach that normally works in favour of drug legalisation doesn't work so well here as the issue at hand is equally the life of the child.  You could easily argue that any limit on late-term abortions drives would-be mothers to back street abortions, so do away with those limits as well.

> What you are advocating is a return to that cruel system.

And the counter-argument is that any abortion is taking a life of its own.  The hard-nosed arithmetic, of every abortion that takes place V risks of a smaller number of back street abortions + fewer abortions overall, is always going to work out in favour of the anti-abortionists. 

4
neilh 16 May 2019
In reply to Whitters:

Try speaking to women who lived through that era. Go over to Ireland. A paragon of the   So called pro life virtues where it was banned. Reflect on what actually happened. 

They came here .

And  there were some horrendous cases where the state in all its glory refused abortions and women died which thankfully turned the tide. 

You are fighting yesterday’s religious battles dressed up.

4
In reply to those getting abusive:

Argue and debate but please don't resort to cheap insults, it is such a crap way of getting your point across.

Alan

1
Pursued by a bear 16 May 2019
In reply to Whitters:

> I think that is a roundabout way of saying I'm not sure as to the answer of your question...

Good of you to respond, and to be so honest in your reply.

I think the question goes beyond being a matter for philosophical discourse and gets to the nub of the issue; at what point does a potential person enter the ball of rapidly dividing cells so that was once the potential for new life now becomes a potential new person, with all that that implies?

And the point at which such an argument hinges is, I think, at what point does that potential new life develop the biological apparatus required to support consciousness, for all that it may be limited whilst developing inside the womb, for without the apparatus to support consciousness, there isn't yet the possibility that a new person can enter the embryo.  And from what I recall of what I've heard about this - and I'm no expert, but someone who is may chip in with more precise information - the brain structures required to support a new personality develop at around 20 weeks or so.

So, abortion before that time kills potential, not a person; abortion thereafter will deny the world a new individual.

But to each their own view.  I have a very real issue with the fundamentalist positions on this being developed in some US states, as I always have had with the same position in many devoutly catholic countries; but that's an issue of personal liberty, and I've always been in favour of individual choice rather than fundamentalist dictat in this and many other issue.

Thanks again for the reply.  

T.

2
Pan Ron 16 May 2019
In reply to Pursued by a bear:

I don't think that captures all the argument and I don't think the question is about consciousness. Animals are conscious and many hospital patients are unconscious yet we kill the former and save the later.

I'm sure all of us here favour individualism over fundamentalism. The problem is, that is equally an anti-abortion argument as to take the life of someone without their consent is to defy that individuals right to life. So the question is more one of when does something become someone.

The anti abortionists argue that it is potential that mark's that point and that potential begins at conception. That doesn't seem to be an unreasonable argument, or at least no less so (unless you want an abortion) than the other arbitrary time points.

5
Pursued by a bear 16 May 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

> I don't think that captures all the argument and I don't think the question is about consciousness. Animals are conscious and many hospital patients are unconscious yet we kill the former and save the later.

My point was about the biological framework to support consciousness.

But given the tenor of many comments - not yours here, I should add - I am disinclined to engage further with the debate. Too much heat, not enough light.

T.

1
Sir Chasm 16 May 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

> I don't think that captures all the argument and I don't think the question is about consciousness. Animals are conscious and many hospital patients are unconscious yet we kill the former and save the later.

He might of course meant a conscious being, as opposed to a collection of cells with no consciousness - but you knew that really.

> I'm sure all of us here favour individualism over fundamentalism. The problem is, that is equally an anti-abortion argument as to take the life of someone without their consent is to defy that individuals right to life. So the question is more one of when does something become someone.

Legally there is only one individual until birth. When are you saying there should be 2 individuals?

> The anti abortionists argue that it is potential that mark's that point and that potential begins at conception. That doesn't seem to be an unreasonable argument, or at least no less so (unless you want an abortion) than the other arbitrary time points.

Why stop at conception, surely every sperm has potential? 

2
pasbury 16 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

Have any women contributed to this thread?

I think we’re all spaffing up against a wall and should just shut the f*ck up.

7
SAF 16 May 2019
In reply to pasbury:

> Have any women contributed to this thread?

As a women, may I contribute this link.  It is a eye opening thread from last month on mumsnet  " ask me anything - I'm a midwife who works in abortion care", might change a few views on abortion and what it means to women. 

https://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/AMA/3567506-Im-a-midwife-who-works-in-abortion-care-AMA?pg=1

1
Neil Williams 17 May 2019
In reply to Pursued by a bear:

> I think the question goes beyond being a matter for philosophical discourse and gets to the nub of the issue; at what point does a potential person enter the ball of rapidly dividing cells so that was once the potential for new life now becomes a potential new person, with all that that implies?

And this to me is incredibly difficult.  I genuinely do recognise the arguments on both sides as a result.

I think the only practical way is probably to let the woman decide.  However I do think it is incumbent on people (it takes two to tango, as it were) to ensure that they are careful only to deliberately[1] consent to and have unprotected sex when they actively want a child, and doing otherwise is an incredibly irresponsible act which should be heavily looked down upon by society.  It certainly should be *seriously* looked down upon to say "oh, it's OK, I can have the morning after pill" or somesuch.  I don't think that is a common view, but it does occasionally come up, probably with the same kind of people who drive non-defensively and say "it doesn't matter if someone crashes into me as their insurance will pay" - and yes I have heard that on a number of occasions, and it completely disregards, on a similar level, the possibility of that crash causing death.

[1] Obviously rape and the likes are different, and the perpetrator holds all the moral responsibility for that in my book.  Where contraception was correctly used but went wrong somehow is just one of those things and is not really anybody's fault.

Post edited at 08:36
3
Offwidth 17 May 2019
cb294 17 May 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

https://www.thecomicnews.com/images/edtoons/2007/0103/birthcontrol/02.gif

Could not find the best Marlette cartoon on the topic, the one with the first panel showing  a smarmy televangelist declaring that "we only want to do it the old fashioned way"*

* The old fashioned way being a wire coat hanger, as revelaed in panel two....

2
Neil Williams 17 May 2019
In reply to Neil Williams:

Interesting that I got a thumbs down from one person on that.

Would that person like to explain why it's a good idea and should be happily accepted rather than morally deprecated for people to wilfully have unprotected sex and just have abortions or the morning after pill as they wish with no moral concern about that?  As that's the opposite of my view, basically...

If you have consensual unprotected sex you have made a choice to create a life - and that needs to be respected.  Don't wilfully create a life unless you intend to dedicate both your lives to the future of that life.  Use contraception.  Take your responsibility seriously, because it is the most serious, important (and wonderful) responsibility a pair of adults can ever take on in their entire lives.

Obviously abortions need to be available so they can be used where that sex was not consensual, or where a serious health issue would be caused to the mother, or where contraception failed etc.  These issues are way too complex to over-regulate it as the right-wingers want.  But it really *is not* something one should deliberately choose.  It is a way out of a potentially very bad situation as a last resort.

And if you can't control where your appendage goes when you're drunk (or can't say no to a bloke who wishes to), don't get drunk.  Your responsibility.  If a specific thing isn't OK when you're sober, it's equally not OK when you're drunk either.

Post edited at 12:16
6
Roadrunner6 17 May 2019
In reply to SAF:

I don’t get this that men shouldn’t comment.

its like saying it’s ok for white guys to stand by and watch racism happening.

As a father in the US and having a 3 year old daughter this is a key reason why I will get my citizenship so I can vote and get these bastards out.

luckily we live in NH and soon MA so somewhat buffered unless Roe V Wade gets overturned. 

1
Neil Williams 17 May 2019
In reply to Roadrunner6:

> I don’t get this that men shouldn’t comment.

Yes, I find this strange as well.  It takes two to tango.

1
L Serenoa 17 May 2019
In reply to SAF:

Thanks for that link. That was actually enlightening and I think has changed my view. I was always of the opinion abortions are acceptable up to 23-4 weeks and after that only for serious medical reasons. That thread has opened my eyes to some of the other reasons women may want a late abortion, but are currently not allowed to.

As a woman (I've changed username to post this), to add something to the thread:

I have never had an abortion, but have used the morning after pill. I'd rather deal with a potential unwanted pregnancy one day after conception than waiting to see if I were pregnant and then needing to have a more invasive procedure. I think there are valid practical/medical arguments against using the MAP regularly (for example it being less effective than other forms of contraception), but aside from that I don't really understand the ethical objections people (including ones on this thread) have against it or why it should be stigmatised? By preventing rather than ending unwanted pregnancies, it seems to me the MAP is more similar to other forms of contraception than it is to abortion.

I am seriously uncomfortable with the argument abortions (either at any time or after a certain time) should only be allowed or are only justifiable under certain circumstances (rape, incest etc). First, I don't think anyone has the right to, or should be placed in a position where they, make that kind of ethical decision regarding a woman's life. Women who go through such events are often in a tremendously difficult position already, especially if the perpetrator is known to them, and asking women to justify/make the case for their abortion is incredibly difficult, if not impossible considering 1. the emotional impact of having to do so, and 2. the possible power relations at play that might prevent a woman from doing so. Secondly, there could be a small but potential risk of women falsely accusing someone of rape, if that is the only circumstance under which they are allowed an abortion.

On the topic of men speaking up about abortion: yes, I think they should. But they should also recognise how their circumstances will always be different. I imagine it must be horrible for men who would welcome a child but whose partner decides they want an abortion. On the other hand, men will always have the option to leave their partner and unborn child, women don't have that choice. Also, I think the link SAF posted provides some really useful insights into the complex reasons why some women may choose to have multiple abortions, especially when they are in abusive or controlling relationships. Such women should not be looked down upon, but given all the support they need. I think the view presented in these discussions can often be rather black/white as to what is (ir)responsible sex and therefore what is a justifiable reason for an abortion or not, but it's a complex world out there.

1
Neil Williams 17 May 2019
In reply to Serenoa:

> I have never had an abortion, but have used the morning after pill. I'd rather deal with a potential unwanted pregnancy one day after conception than waiting to see if I were pregnant and then needing to have a more invasive procedure. I think there are valid practical/medical arguments against using the MAP regularly (for example it being less effective than other forms of contraception), but aside from that I don't really understand the ethical objections people (including ones on this thread) have against it or why it should be stigmatised? By preventing rather than ending unwanted pregnancies, it seems to me the MAP is more similar to other forms of contraception than it is to abortion.

What needs stigmatising is having unprotected sex without the intention to produce and raise a child.  I wouldn't specifically stigmatise the MAP (indeed, as you say it's better than having a more invasive procedure later) of course.

Maybe we also need to stigmatise drunken sex?  It's the time when most bad decisions are made about it, whether that be ones that produce unwanted children, or rape, or incorrectly-used contraception failing, or whatever?  "You wouldn't drive your car drunk, so don't accidentally create a life drunk?"

> I am seriously uncomfortable with the argument abortions (either at any time or after a certain time) should only be allowed or are only justifiable under certain circumstances (rape, incest etc). First, I don't think anyone has the right to, or should be placed in a position where they, make that kind of ethical decision regarding a woman's life. Women who go through such events are often in a tremendously difficult position already, especially if the perpetrator is known to them, and asking women to justify/make the case for their abortion is incredibly difficult, if not impossible considering 1. the emotional impact of having to do so, and 2. the possible power relations at play that might prevent a woman from doing so. Secondly, there could be a small but potential risk of women falsely accusing someone of rape, if that is the only circumstance under which they are allowed an abortion.

This is why I don't think it's viable to have such controls and so the woman's decision being final is probably the only practicable approach.

> I think the view presented in these discussions can often be rather black/white as to what is (ir)responsible sex and therefore what is a justifiable reason for an abortion or not, but it's a complex world out there.

This is also very true - again hence why I would not apply controls because it's just too complex to do them fairly.

But as I said above - I still think wilfully having unprotected sex without the intention to create a child should be seriously stigmatised - and in many circles it still isn't.  Nor is it to me right to have an abortion because you did want a baby at that point and have had "buyer's remorse" about how it might affect your life.  You make the decision before the act, and if you are not *absolutely sure*, use a condom.

The purpose of abortions is to deal with when things have gone badly wrong in my book.  They don't exist to allow people to choose to put less weight on the decision of whether to have unprotected sex or not, and that needs a serious moral shift in some areas of society.

Post edited at 13:07
12
In reply to Serenoa:

Yes, I don’t think people who want to carve out rape exceptions have thought about how that’s supposed to work in practice.

jcm

1
Neil Williams 17 May 2019
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

> Yes, I don’t think people who want to carve out rape exceptions have thought about how that’s supposed to work in practice.

Indeed, hence my pragmatic line of letting the woman decide.  However, with great power (power of life or death, indeed) comes massive, massive responsibility.  That responsibility starts (and is indeed at its greatest) when a pair of adults decide to have consensual sex.  That is the point, medical issues aside, when you decide you actually do want to have a baby.

To me life exists as soon as the sperm penetrates the egg, and I find any other definition to simply be one of convenience.  It might make sense to take that life if it's a choice between that and serious medical complications, or in the case of rape or similar, but it is incumbent on us all to do anything we can not to get into that position - be that by being careful about use of contraception, or continuing to push the point that consent isn't "OK, then, if you must" - consent needs to be genuine enthusiasm for both the act itself, *and*, if the act is to be unprotected, for the creation and upbringing of a child.

Only where all those precautions have failed should abortion be the "fallback".  NOT because you forgot the condoms and can just use the MAP afterwards so you have sex anyway.  If you forget the condoms, tonight isn't the night, sorry.

Post edited at 14:14
9
88Dan 17 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

I guess it's better than the Irish abortion laws. All abortion clinics have a nine month waiting list.

3
Pan Ron 17 May 2019
In reply to Serenoa:

> On the topic of men speaking up about abortion: yes, I think they should. But they should also recognise how their circumstances will always be different. I imagine it must be horrible for men who would welcome a child but whose partner decides they want an abortion. On the other hand, men will always have the option to leave their partner and unborn child, women don't have that choice.

I tend to agree with you.  But the laws seem to be all over the place when it comes to parental responsibility; who gets access to children, who is expected to pay for children, so on and so forth.  Why should a mother have sole right to choose over the life of a baby when in so many other areas a male is expected to share responsibility.  When it comes to parenting, the push seems to be entirely one-way, with mother's rights put first in every possible area.

Beyond that, the anti-abortion arguement is that what comes first is the rights of the individual whose life is at risk.  That is the baby first and foremost.  All other rights are secondary to that. 

My default position is that abortion rights should be allowed.  No different from my default position being that I should be able to eat animals.  However, if actually analysing the issue beyond what my wants and needs are, and as an ethical issue, I can't help but feel my eating meat (in all but the most extreme of circumstances) is indefensible, and abortion likewise.  We make the decision to allow it because it is the most convenient option and because the other side is incapable of defending itself.  The argument is inherently unfair.  

> I think the view presented in these discussions can often be rather black/white as to what is (ir)responsible sex

Equally though, those justifying abortion tend to paint a very monochrome picture; where every abortion is the result of extreme conditions and hard to argue against.  What about all those abortions that occur from a change in heart where a mother simply decides the circumstances they are in are inconvenient, despite being the same or better circumstances than millions of people who chose to continue with a pregnancy? 

Both sides in the debate seem to choose the examples that best represent their cases and talk across each other.

Post edited at 14:13
3
dh73 17 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

"...fuelled by right-wing Christians emboldened under the Trump presidency.."

tells you all you need to know. when will know it all, arrogant, smug ar*eholes just f*ck off and stop trying to impose whatever drivel they think is "the truth" on everyone else. maybe they should team up with some Sharia dudes and publically stone anyone who has an abortion

2
Neil Williams 17 May 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

> What about all those abortions that occur from a change in heart where a mother simply decides the circumstances they are in are inconvenient, despite being the same or better circumstances than millions of people who chose to continue with a pregnancy? 

And that is the type of abortion I can't help but have a problem with.

You decide whether you want a baby BEFORE you have consensual unprotected sex.  If either of you are in any way unsure or think you might be, slip on a condom and just enjoy yourselves, leaving the decision until after you've had more chance to talk about it.

You can always try again next week, after all.

Post edited at 14:20
6
Sir Chasm 17 May 2019
In reply to Neil Williams:

> And that is the type of abortion I can't help but have a problem with.

> You decide whether you want a baby BEFORE you have consensual unprotected sex.  If either of you are in any way unsure or think you might be, slip on a condom and just enjoy yourselves, leaving the decision until after you've had more chance to talk about it.

That might be how you want things to be, but you surely accept that it isn't reality. And if you ban abortion for a woman who wilfully had unprotected sex without wanting a child surely all she would have to say is "the condom broke".

> You can always try again next week, after all.

Yes, that's how all sex happens.

1
Neil Williams 17 May 2019
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> That might be how you want things to be, but you surely accept that it isn't reality. And if you ban abortion for a woman who wilfully had unprotected sex without wanting a child surely all she would have to say is "the condom broke".

Which is why I wouldn't ban it and would leave it as the woman's choice - it is too impractical to legislate.  However, I do think there is a strong moral point there.

> Yes, that's how all sex happens.

That's how unprotected sex should happen.  Don't have it unless you want a child.  It is that simple.  If you don't absolutely, 100%, certainly, want a child, use a condom.

Post edited at 14:26
7
Pan Ron 17 May 2019
In reply to dh73:

> when will know it all, arrogant, smug ar*eholes just f*ck off and stop trying to impose whatever drivel they think is "the truth" on everyone else.

You might be missing their argument somewhat.

They view an unborn child as having the same rights as any other human.  They believe it is fundamentally wrong for that right to be rescinded because a mother changes her mind.

At the extreme end, they have a truly biblical view of no abortions under any circumstances and nothing other than a religious belief as justification.  But people I know, or have heard speak, who are anti-abortion are far more sophisticated than that. 

In their view the arrogant, smug, arseholes who need to f*ck off and stop imposing drivel on people are the ones who say its ok to kill a baby.

You don't have to agree with the anti-abortion argument.  But your attitude towards it is as bad as theirs.

1
Pan Ron 17 May 2019
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> That might be how you want things to be, but you surely accept that it isn't reality. And if you ban abortion for a woman who wilfully had unprotected sex without wanting a child surely all she would have to say is "the condom broke".

You seem to imply no one ever has to take responsibility.  Or is there some point where they must?

There is surely plenty of opportunity between "the condom broke" and being 5 months in, to have taken a morning-after pill?

6
Neil Williams 17 May 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

> There is surely plenty of opportunity between "the condom broke" and being 5 months in, to have taken a morning-after pill?

Like, the morning after?   Yes, if you *know* your contraception has failed (or have a strong suspicion it might have done) and you don't want a child, *immediately* is the time to deal with it.  Similarly in the case of rape, though I accept the huge mental health issues involved in that decision.

Other than medical grounds (i.e. significant threat to the mother's life or ongoing health) I struggle with the moral justification for abortions a number of weeks down the line.

Post edited at 14:30
2
dh73 17 May 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

you are right, my post was extreme and somewhat indefensible. I just see red when I see the term "fundamental Christians." add "trump" into the mix, and I blow...

3
Sir Chasm 17 May 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

> You seem to imply no one ever has to take responsibility.  Or is there some point where they must?

No, you've inferred that. But perhaps you're saying that arranging an abortion or taking the morning after pill isn't taking responsibility. Either way, people (who don't want kids) are going to have unprotected sex, you might want it to be different but that is the reality.

> There is surely plenty of opportunity between "the condom broke" and being 5 months in, to have taken a morning-after pill?

About 72 hours?

1
Neil Williams 17 May 2019
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> No, you've inferred that. But perhaps you're saying that arranging an abortion or taking the morning after pill isn't taking responsibility. Either way, people (who don't want kids) are going to have unprotected sex, you might want it to be different but that is the reality.

You're not going to stop it completely, but there certainly needs to be a big moral shift in society about the acceptability of that, which would significantly reduce the issue.  Particularly where alcohol is involved.

Indeed, should we actually move to a law (albeit one that would have limited enforcement possibility, but might at least help to drive that moral shift) that it is not legally possible for a woman to consent to sex if she is under the influence of alcohol, i.e. that that would be statutory rape?

Post edited at 14:40
8
Sir Chasm 17 May 2019
In reply to Neil Williams:

> You're not going to stop it completely, but there certainly needs to be a big moral shift in society about the acceptability of that, which would significantly reduce the issue.  Particularly where alcohol is involved.

> Indeed, should we actually move to a law (albeit one that would have limited enforcement possibility, but might at least help to drive that moral shift) that it is not legally possible for a woman to consent to sex if she is under the influence of alcohol?

What! You're mad.

1
Neil Williams 17 May 2019
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> What! You're mad.

Am I?  Many of these poor decisions (of having unprotected sex with no desire to conceive a child) involve alcohol.  I do strongly believe that alcohol should not be considered a "get-out" for any legal or moral situation.

Responsibilities first, rights second.  The life you are about to create is more important than your desire to have a good time.

Post edited at 14:43
7
Sir Chasm 17 May 2019
In reply to Neil Williams:

> Am I?  Many of these poor decisions (of having unprotected sex with no desire to conceive a child) involve alcohol.  I do strongly believe that alcohol should not be considered a "get-out" for any legal or moral situation.

> Responsibilities first, rights second.  The life you are about to create is more important than your desire to have a good time.

Yes, you're crackers. How are you going enforce your law that only sober women can consent to sex? And why only women? And why am I even taking your lunacy seriously?

2
Naechi 17 May 2019
In reply to Neil Williams:

> What needs stigmatising is having unprotected sex without the intention to produce and raise a child.  I wouldn't specifically stigmatise the MAP (indeed, as you say it's better than having a more invasive procedure later) of course.

> Maybe we also need to stigmatise drunken sex?  It's the time when most bad decisions are made about it, whether that be ones that produce unwanted children, or rape, or incorrectly-used contraception failing, or whatever?  "You wouldn't drive your car drunk, so don't accidentally create a life drunk?"

> This is why I don't think it's viable to have such controls and so the woman's decision being final is probably the only practicable approach.

> This is also very true - again hence why I would not apply controls because it's just too complex to do them fairly.

> But as I said above - I still think wilfully having unprotected sex without the intention to create a child should be seriously stigmatised - and in many circles it still isn't.  Nor is it to me right to have an abortion because you did want a baby at that point and have had "buyer's remorse" about how it might affect your life.  You make the decision before the act, and if you are not *absolutely sure*, use a condom.

> The purpose of abortions is to deal with when things have gone badly wrong in my book.  They don't exist to allow people to choose to put less weight on the decision of whether to have unprotected sex or not, and that needs a serious moral shift in some areas of society.

Or maybe in an alternate universe where overpopulation, climate change and diminishing resources are real planet/species/life threatening issues - restricting access to abortion services, removing woman's power to choose what happens with their bodies and of course people having multiple children should be stigmatized instead?

Post edited at 14:52
2
Pan Ron 17 May 2019
In reply to Sir Chasm:

It has already happened.  As I understand it has become the norm on some US campuses that consent under the influence of alcohol can be read as not having given consent.  I think there have been cases in the UK making similar points.  Its the logical end point and consistent with how we don't allow alcohol use as a get-out clause in other circumstances.

1
Neil Williams 17 May 2019
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> Yes, you're crackers. How are you going enforce your law that only sober women can consent to sex? And why only women? And why am I even taking your lunacy seriously?

It was an idle comment to some extent - but it would be the man who would be in the wrong by taking an obviously drunken "consent" as actual consent.  It takes two to tango, but the physiological differences make it rather difficult if not impossible for a woman to force herself on a man, so the man will always have to take that bit more responsibility for the situation being right.

Post edited at 14:55
8
Neil Williams 17 May 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

> It has already happened.  As I understand it has become the norm on some US campuses that consent under the influence of alcohol can be read as not having given consent.  I think there have been cases in the UK making similar points.  Its the logical end point and consistent with how we don't allow alcohol use as a get-out clause in other circumstances.

Precisely.  If you wouldn't be considered fit to make the decisions involved in driving a car, why would you be considered fit to make the decisions involved in starting a family, which is most probably the most important and responsible thing any adult could ever do?

2
Sir Chasm 17 May 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

> It has already happened.  As I understand it has become the norm on some US campuses that consent under the influence of alcohol can be read as not having given consent.  I think there have been cases in the UK making similar points.  Its the logical end point and consistent with how we don't allow alcohol use as a get-out clause in other circumstances.

Point me to some law.

1
Sir Chasm 17 May 2019
In reply to Neil Williams:

> It was an idle comment to some extent - but it would be the man who would be in the wrong by taking an obviously drunken "consent" as actual consent.  It takes two to tango, but the physiological differences make it rather difficult if not impossible for a woman to force herself on a man, so the man will always have to take that bit more responsibility for the situation being right.

It was a stupid comment. Would it be ok if they were married, if the woman has had a glass of wine with dinner will you still graciously allow her to consent to a shag at the end of the night?

2
Neil Williams 17 May 2019
In reply to Naechi:

> Or maybe in an alternate universe where overpopulation, climate change and diminishing resources are real planet/species/life threatening issues - restricting access to abortion services, removing woman's power to choose what happens with their bodies and of course people having multiple children should be stigmatized instead?


Or maybe people should take a bit of responsibility before they create children in the first place, and having unprotected sex without the intention to have and raise a child should be stigmatised?

If people acted responsibly, far fewer abortions would be necessary - and that without any change in the law at all.

I would not restrict access to the services, but I certainly think people need to take control of their actions and not get into the position through consensual unprotected sex in the first place.  (As I've said all along, rape, failed contraception and medical issues are VERY different).

6
Neil Williams 17 May 2019
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> It was a stupid comment. Would it be ok if they were married, if the woman has had a glass of wine with dinner will you still graciously allow her to consent to a shag at the end of the night?

You know exactly what I meant.  In effect, there would be no way of enforcing that kind of thing.  Where it would come in is a bloke taking advantage of a drunk woman where if she was sober she wouldn't have consented - and if you don't think that goes on you've got your head in a bucket of sand.

And if he was too drunk to put on a condom properly and as a result a child is created, that's worse still.

Post edited at 15:00
3
Neil Williams 17 May 2019
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> Point me to some law.

Pretty sure the point is about on-campus sex education, not law.  But it makes a lot of sense - if someone is ratted off their head, how can they possibly make a sensible moral decision?

4
Sir Chasm 17 May 2019
In reply to Neil Williams:

> You know exactly what I meant.  In effect, there would be no way of enforcing that kind of thing.  Where it would come in is a bloke taking advantage of a drunk woman where if she was sober she wouldn't have consented - and if you don't think that goes on you've got your head in a bucket of sand.

No I don't. We already consider consent

"Lack of consent may be demonstrated by:

The complainant's assertion of force or threats;

Evidence that by reason of drink, drugs, sleep, age or mental disability the complainant was unaware of what was occurring and/ or incapable of giving valid consent;"

It doesn't say that if a woman has had a drink she can't consent.

> And if he was too drunk to put on a condom properly and as a result a child is created, that's worse still.

So what? Make the woman keep the child?

1
Dave Garnett 17 May 2019
In reply to Neil Williams:

> Pretty sure the point is about on-campus sex education, not law.  But it makes a lot of sense - if someone is ratted off their head, how can they possibly make a sensible moral decision?

Well, if they have had the foresight to be on the pill, I think we can allow them a little latitude to enjoy themselves without you being quite so censorious.

Unplanned pregnancies are pretty much at an all-time low, in this country at least.  In fact, there's starting to be a bit of a moral panic that young people may be going off it altogether.

1
Neil Williams 17 May 2019
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> Evidence that by reason of drink, drugs, sleep, age or mental disability the complainant was unaware of what was occurring and/ or incapable of giving valid consent;"

That's what I meant by "under the influence".  Though I think I'd go a bit further than the law presently does in terms of determining where consent may have been invalid due to alcohol - it doesn't, for example, take more than a few pints for staying out later to seem a good idea, so it probably affects other decisions too.

> So what? Make the woman keep the child?

Clearly not (I wouldn't change the legal constraints on abortion - what I'm about is making people take more responsibility for their actions), but the bloke would effectively be not only a rapist but have created a life that nobody had any intention of allowing to continue.

Post edited at 15:21
4
Neil Williams 17 May 2019
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> Well, if they have had the foresight to be on the pill, I think we can allow them a little latitude to enjoy themselves without you being quite so censorious.

Well, er, yes, that's contraception.  That's not "unprotected sex" in terms of what I meant, though it obviously doesn't protect against STDs.

> Unplanned pregnancies are pretty much at an all-time low, in this country at least.  In fact, there's starting to be a bit of a moral panic that young people may be going off it altogether.

Why's it a moral panic?  "Generation sensible" do seem to be outdoing their parents in having a very good moral compass.

1
Sir Chasm 17 May 2019
In reply to Neil Williams:

> That's what I meant by "under the influence".

So you want the situation we already have - where people who are incapable through alcohol can't give consent. But under the influence clearly doesn't mean incapable of giving consent. If my wife has a couple of pints she's under the influence, but she wouldn't be incapable of giving consent.

> Clearly not, but the bloke would effectively be not only a rapist but have created a life that nobody had any intention of allowing to continue.

They are rapists already if the woman is incapable of giving consent. 

1
girlymonkey 17 May 2019
In reply to Pursued by a bear:

Jumping back at bit to defining where a ball of cells becomes a baby. In my mind it's when it can live independently of the mother. Before that, it's part of the mother's body and if you remove it then it is just a lump of cells again. I believe that's where the current UK limit is for abortion?

Of course, you could say it's a parasite and will remain to be so for at least 20 years unless you get rid of it! 😉

1
88Dan 17 May 2019
In reply to Naechi:

> Or maybe in an alternate universe where overpopulation, climate change and diminishing resources are real planet/species/life threatening issues - restricting access to abortion services, removing woman's power to choose what happens with their bodies and of course people having multiple children should be stigmatized instead?


A woman's power to choose what happens to her body? Once you are pregnant it's a bit late to choose.

19
88Dan 17 May 2019
In reply to Neil Williams:

> Precisely.  If you wouldn't be considered fit to make the decisions involved in driving a car, why would you be considered fit to make the decisions involved in starting a family, which is most probably the most important and responsible thing any adult could ever do?


How is starting a family the most responsible thing any adult can do? You could come home from the pub pissed and make a baby, most people couldn't come home from the pub pissed and make a brew.

1
Timmd 17 May 2019
In reply to Neil Williams:

> Precisely.  If you wouldn't be considered fit to make the decisions involved in driving a car, why would you be considered fit to make the decisions involved in starting a family, which is most probably the most important and responsible thing any adult could ever do?

You're comparing apples and oranges.

1
Stichtplate 17 May 2019
In reply to 88Dan:

> A woman's power to choose what happens to her body? Once you are pregnant it's a bit late to choose.

Is it? Two thirds of the world's countries allow abortion. Take a look at the map of where the most restrictive countries are. Perhaps you'd like to move? Perhaps we could have a whip round to help you relocate?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_law#/media/File:Abortion_Laws.svg

2
88Dan 17 May 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

So many idiots disliking my comments again, get a grip will you. I actually typed my last message then deleted it, it was along the lines of no one wins with this argument. If you say women don't have the right to abort a child some people will disagree and others will agree. If you say a woman has every right to abort a child some people will disagree and others will agree. no matter what you say some people will agree and others will disagree which is the same as this forum really.

13
Stichtplate 17 May 2019
In reply to 88Dan:

Wow. You're like a perfect blend of Einstein and Confucias. I'm thinking of collecting your missives into a single Tome Of Wisdom.

2
Neil Williams 17 May 2019
In reply to 88Dan:

> So many idiots disliking my comments again, get a grip will you.

I must admit the "dislike" button might be a good laugh elsewhere but on a thread like this is really not helpful.  If you (generic you) dislike a comment, why not reply and elaborate as to why?

Post edited at 22:54
3
Neil Williams 17 May 2019
In reply to 88Dan:

> How is starting a family the most responsible thing any adult can do? You could come home from the pub pissed and make a baby, most people couldn't come home from the pub pissed and make a brew.


It requires the use of responsibility to do it right, it shouldn't be taken lightly.

In reply to Sir Chasm:

> I think you’ve got it rather back to front, if you think a foetus has rights then make the case for it.

What did this even mean? Rights are legal constructs. They are not some intrinsic property of a foetus that can be reasoned into existence. The rights of a foetus are simply what the law says in any particular jurisdiction at any particular point in time. 

In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

> It seems to me that any sort of philosophical approach about when cells acquire rights is stupid.

Why? Can't you imagine having to revise the time limit for abortion in the light of hypothetical new research showing that foetuses are sentient sooner than we'd previously thought?

 > The points salient points to my mind are (i) banning abortions doesn’t lead to no abortions but to backstreet abortions (ii) there are far too many people already and (iii) unwanted children don’t tend to have a great time.

Pragmatic and important - well at least (i) and (iii). Any idea how many fewer births there have been as a direct result of Roe Vs Wade? I seem to remember Freakonomics suggesting that the big drop in US crime was due to a generation of unwanted children not being born.

neilh 18 May 2019
In reply to crossdressingrodney:

And in all your semantics over this in Alabama it is 25 white males who passed this law. 

There are 37 seats in the senate house in Alabama. 

Do you get the message?

its not women who pushed this through. It’s white stale males. 

Appalling. And I am a white stale male. 

2
Blanche DuBois 18 May 2019
In reply to 88Dan:

>  I actually typed my last message then deleted it

If you concentrate really hard, then you might be able to figure out the purpose of the delete button, thus avoiding accidentally doing this again.

> it was along the lines of no one wins with this argument. If you say women don't have the right to abort a child some people will disagree and others will agree. If you say a woman has every right to abort a child some people will disagree and others will agree. no matter what you say some people will agree and others will disagree which is the same as this forum really.

Thank you for this insightful contribution to epistemology A.J.P. Taylor.

1
Dave Garnett 18 May 2019
In reply to 88Dan:

> A woman's power to choose what happens to her body? Once you are pregnant it's a bit late to choose.

Pregnancy isn’t an event, it’s a process.

1
Pan Ron 18 May 2019
In reply to neilh:

> its not women who pushed this through. It’s white stale males. 

The appalling thing is you believe someone's race, age and gender disqualify them from making judgements about rights of an unborn child.

How do you expect anti-abortionists to give you even an inch of consideration when you come out with that crap?

7
neilh 18 May 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

Look at the voting patterns. Look at Ireland where it was the Catholic Church ( no women priests ) who held sway until the referendum. 

Its you who do not want to face reality.

So please come up with a better argument.

If it was women who voted it through I would  concede the point. Even 50/50 would strengthen your argument .

Your blind to the issue trotting out it does not matter. 

Post edited at 10:09
3
Pan Ron 18 May 2019
In reply to neilh:

It looks a lot like you are letting your views on a certain demographics influence your views on a highly contentious topic.

This issue is a technical, philosophical one, and the ability to decide on that isn't unique to owning a uterus.  Likewise, the Catholic church's undoing on the issue was its dogmatic, absolutist stance - a stance the pro-abortion lobby, certainly in the US, seems keen to push in the other direction.

5
Neil Williams 18 May 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

> This issue is a technical, philosophical one, and the ability to decide on that isn't unique to owning a uterus

It isn't, however it is certainly one that requires a significant amount of female input, as there are some things that a bloke just won't "get", just as a woman won't "get" some things about being male.

1
Coel Hellier 18 May 2019
In reply to neilh:

> If it was women who voted it through I would  concede the point. Even 50/50 would strengthen your argument .

It's worth noting, however, that polls in the US show very little difference between men and women over whether they oppose abortion.  It is not a case of men being largely against and women being largely for it. 

E.g. "In 2014, the Pew Research Center found that 58 percent of Alabamians believed that abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. Of them, 51 percent were women." 

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/16/us/abortion-law-women.html

Being pro/anti abortion does depend hugely, of course, on being Republican versus Democrat, or religious versus non-religious, but it doesn't depend on sex.

Thus, the fact that the Alabama senators who voted for it were all men does not mean Republican-leaning Alabaman women are against it, it means that Republican-leaning Alabaman women tend to vote for male politicians. 

1
SAF 18 May 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

> This issue is a technical, philosophical one, and the ability to decide on that isn't unique to owning a uterus. 

However, ultimately the decision to have an abortion (legally or otherwise) will be made by the owner of a uterus. 

This is a Women's issue, a massive one, and one that is taking away the rights of millions of women to have bodily autonomy.  

Even here in the relative safety of UK this current trend towards the erosion of hard fought for Women's rights is utterly terrifying.

2
Pan Ron 18 May 2019
In reply to SAF:

> However, ultimately the decision to have an abortion (legally or otherwise) will be made by the owner of a uterus. 

So it comes down to a question of whether the baby in the uterus is a unique individual or not. 

I expect those pro-abortion would say it is attached to, and therefore simply an extension of, the mother so it is, in essence, the mother' body alone that a decision is being made about - hence the argument goes as far as mother's rights and no further.  

An anti-abortionist would likely argue that the baby is a unique genetic creation and, while not physically rejected by the mother and hosted by it, it is still a unique individual and accorded rights of its own.  It is a life and the decision to take its life cannot be made by anyone else and certainly not if the grounds for doing so are not medical.  Just because only a landlord can make the decision to boot out their tenants, the landlord isn't absolved of responsibilities to them.

> This is a Women's issue, a massive one, and one that is taking away the rights of millions of women to have bodily autonomy.  

It's a women's issue, no one denies that.  What the pro-abortion lobby seems to ignore is that it is also much much more than just a women's issue.  That denial, and outright hostility to those who view it in this wider sense, is a concern.  It seems like an intentional narrowing of the debate to avoid an awkward elephant in the room. 

I can perfectly understand vegetarians who think I'm a cvnt for eating meat (for which I have no real answer) - even if they get in my face about it.  Shouting at them, or pretending abattoirs don't exist, doesn't lessen their arguments.

11
SAF 18 May 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

> Just because only a landlord can make the decision to boot out their tenants, the landlord isn't absolved of responsibilities to them.

You just referred to a women's body as a "landlord", how dare you? Might as well just call us walking talking uteruses, as that's what we are to far too many men!

A women's body risks so much and uses so many resources to produce a baby, even in the UK around 90 women a year die directly from pregnancy and child birth complications, let alone all the life long birthing injuries sustained by women... one of my cousins ended up on ITU due to post partum hemorrhage, another cousin had 37 stitches to repair her vagina and rectum, followed by further surgery later, a colleague ended up on ITU for dialysis following a placental abruption and death of her baby. I got off lightly, only 8 months of constant unrelenting nausea and now a mild bladder prolapse.

Post edited at 18:30
5
neilh 18 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Its a fringe idea ( a large ,stable majority of Americans want abortion to be legal) that plays out in political competition between republican candidates during primaries for state houses.

if Alabama’s law actually comes into force, the price will be paid by women too poor or browbeaten to travel to other states. Some of them will attempt to perform abortions themselves with drink,drugs or worse .

2
88Dan 18 May 2019
In reply to Blanche DuBois:

> >  I actually typed my last message then deleted it

> If you concentrate really hard, then you might be able to figure out the purpose of the delete button, thus avoiding accidentally doing this again.

> Thank you for this insightful contribution to epistemology A.J.P. Taylor.


I mean I typed the message out and then deleted it and typed something else.

If you want me to get serious for a moment and contribute to the debate, I think (I'm not a mother so it shouldn't really concern me) there are only two cases where a woman has the right to abort a child, and even then it should be done at the appropriate time before the baby reaches full term which is what this new law is now allowing. The first case is if a woman is raped and doesn't want to spend her life raising a child that looks like and came from the man who raped her. the second is if they can tell in advance that the baby is going to be born with any kind of disability or diseases that will lead to that child having a poor quality of life.

9
Coel Hellier 18 May 2019
In reply to neilh:

> Its a fringe idea ( a large ,stable majority of Americans want abortion to be legal) ...

Yes, in America as a whole the overall the majority support rights to abortion, by about 60:40 (though 40%  is hardly a "fringe"), but in some Southern states such as Alabama that's reversed and a narrow majority want abortion to be illegal. 

1
Offwidth 18 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

The bit in your maths you miss is that for a 58% average 65% of men are voting that way: a 14% different gender difference is pretty big given how polarised USA politics is. Maybe those women would like to vote for more Republican women if only the party were less gender distorted in the state. 

By all means you keep acting as an apologist for those US christians with thir pretty illiberal views, while you tell us on the other hand that mainstream Islam is evil. I'll stick to calling out ideas that are dangerous to modern liberal democracy where I see it, in whatever religion or lack of one it shows up.

6
neilh 18 May 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

What you have by widening the demographics is consent from all areas of society

instead what you have is 27 males voting it through watched the by women protestors shouting their opposition.

I do not need to say any more than that .

Yes the demographic and male/ female consensus matters.

1
john arran 18 May 2019
In reply to 88Dan:

If only the world was so easily categorised into neat parcels. What about consensual sex but where the contraception failed? What about consensual sex where the condom may have been deliberately slit? What about consensual sex where a woman is drunk and doesn't realise there's no condom being used?

There are endless possibilities and trying to predict and legislate for each individually is impossible, which is why we usually end up with a degree of responsibility on the part of the woman, not just to prevent unwanted pregnancy but also to terminate unwanted pregnancy before it becomes anywhere near independently viable, i.e. a separate entity.

Removing that choice and replacing it with rules formulated by men as to what a woman can do and in what circumstance, is what most pro-choice (note: not pro-abortion) advocates are against.

1
neilh 18 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

And why is that? Religion or race?

1
Coel Hellier 18 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> The bit in your maths you miss is that for a 58% average 65% of men are voting that way: a 14% different gender difference is pretty big given how polarised USA politics is. 

What's your cite for a 14% gender difference?  Some sources put it narrower than that, though the figures depend on what question is asked.  E.g.:

"The net result of these attitudes is that men are divided in their self-identification -- 47% pro-life and 46% pro-choice, while women tilt toward describing themselves as pro-choice, 50% to 44%."

That's more of a 4% gender difference.

https://news.gallup.com/poll/235646/men-women-generally-hold-similar-abortion-attitudes.aspx

> By all means you keep acting as an apologist for those US christians ...

Which I have not done, by any stretch of the imagination. Though it is sadly typical of you these days to make things up as a way of attacking people. 

> ... while you tell us on the other hand that mainstream Islam is evil.

I'm not sure that I've ever used the word "evil" about mainstream Islam.  But, yes, I do see mainstream Islam as a harmful influence on the world.  Got a problem with that? 

(And you've previously accused me of being fixated with Islam, at the same time as being the one who -- as now -- changes the topic to Islam.)

> I'll stick to calling out ideas that are dangerous to modern liberal democracy where I see it, in whatever religion or lack of one it shows up.

Excellent, so you've no problem with people who see mainstream Islam as "dangerous to modern liberal democracy" saying so?     That makes a change, since you've previously called for such views to be censored. 

2
Coel Hellier 18 May 2019
In reply to neilh:

> And why is that? Religion or race?

Sorry, can you clarify the question?  Why is what?  In my above comment the relevant factor was religion, not race.

1
pasbury 18 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

My god you’re tiresome.

like some kind of low rent Jordan Peterson

7
captain paranoia 19 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> The bit in your maths you miss is that for a 58% average 65% of men are voting that way: a 14% different gender difference

You misread that quote:

"58 percent of Alabamians believed that abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. Of them, 51 percent were women"

51% of the 58% were women.

1
88Dan 19 May 2019
In reply to john arran:

More dislikes from the idiots. I told you that you can't please everyone so there is no point even trying. What would the smart arsed idiots who disliked my comments suggest? Instead of hiding behind the anonymous dislike button, why don't you share your opinion so we can all tear you to shreds regardless of what you say.

11
In reply to neilh:

> And in all your semantics over this in Alabama it is 25 white males who passed this law. 

I'm trying to understand an argument made about "rights" which seems literally meaningless to me, so semantics are important.

> There are 37 seats in the senate house in Alabama. 

> Do you get the message?

To be honest, Neil, I don't. I can't really tell what you think you're replying to.

> its not women who pushed this through. It’s white stale males.

 From Coel's statistics it looks like gender is a less important factor than you or I would think, wouldn't you agree? Surely more linked to religion, political affiliation and geography than gender?

> Appalling. And I am a white stale male.

Go and flagellate yourself in a dark room if you think that will help.

1
Offwidth 19 May 2019
In reply to captain paranoia:

My apologies to Coel this once, I did indeed.  It still doesn't take away from the other issue that women in conservative religious situations often take their duties seriously and obey their husband and they are living in power structures highly dominated by men. Freedom of speech differences come hard in such communities as you will be shunned and hated.  

Coel would be using this as one of his regular links to prove the evils of Islam if it were the conservatives in that religion involved. At least conservative muslims only usually apply sharia law to their faithful (abhorrent as that still is) and not those of other religions; the law in Alabama will apply to all women.

Post edited at 09:22
3
88Dan 19 May 2019
In reply to 88Dan:

I see the cowards are still out in force. Why don't you tell us what you think instead of hiding.

10
captain paranoia 19 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> Coel would be using this as one of his regular links to prove the evils of Islam if it were the conservatives in that religion involved

Are you suggesting Coel is Christian...?

neilh 19 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

And do you not consider that Race is still a big issue in Alabama’s voting patterns and opinion polls  etc?

you are a very bright person, I do not expect to have to point  this out to you. 

neilh 19 May 2019
In reply to crossdressingrodney:

Cannot be bothered replying as you have resorted to abuse. 

Offwidth 19 May 2019
In reply to captain paranoia:

No, he just doesn't appply the same standards to all religions and so comes across as an apologist for the conservative religious right in the US. He seemingly puts ideals above humanity...the same as conservative religious people do across the world.

Post edited at 10:06
1
Coel Hellier 19 May 2019
In reply to neilh:

> And do you not consider that Race is still a big issue in Alabama’s voting patterns and opinion polls  etc?

On the topic of abortion (the topic of this thread), I'm not aware of any big differences in opinion along racial grounds among Alabamans.  If you know of polling data pointing to that it would be an interesting addition to the thread. 

(I am aware of big differences in opinion over abortion along political and religious lines.)

> you are a very bright person, I do not expect to have to point  this out to you. 

Point what out to me?  You're being rather cryptic, as though you're alluding to something that you think people should be aware of. 

Coel Hellier 19 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> Coel would be using this as one of his regular links to prove the evils of Islam if it were the conservatives in that religion involved.

Again, Offwidth tries to make Islam the topic of conversation, when he has previously accused *me* of being obsessed with the topic. 

And note that the entire point of my above post was to argue that the Alabama law was not a male versus female thing, but instead a religious-right versus others split.  It was me who suggested that religion was the more relevant factor.

As for beating up on the US religious right, well I could, but it's a bit like shooting fish in a barrel or arguing that bears pooh in the woods.  Since everyone would agree and no-one would defend them it's a bit pointless!

But I can guarantee that, if I did, no-one here would call it "hate speech"  and suggest that I be censored.  No-one would start agitating for a "definition" of "Christianophobia" declaring that such criticism is "a type of racism".

> At least conservative muslims only usually apply sharia law to their faithful (abhorrent as that still is) and not those of other religions; the law in Alabama will apply to all women.

Not even close to being right.  Plenty of Islam-based laws in Islamist countries apply to all.  The fact that Asia Bibi was a Christian didn't prevent the mob wanting to lynch her, did it?

Coel Hellier 19 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> No, he just doesn't appply the same standards to all religions and so comes across as an apologist for the conservative religious right in the US.

You're inventing things in order to be disparaging.

> He seemingly puts ideals above humanity...the same as conservative religious people do across the world.

OK,  I'm interested, which ideals do I put above humanity?  Care to put some substance behind your critique? 

Offwidth 19 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Maybe one of the things you are ignoring is what used to be a big benefit of representative democracy. It allows science and the practical experiences of laws to better inform our representatives than the average voter. The republican US states seem to be losing this sort of proper informed decision making pretty fast. If we based UK law on democratic views the death penalty would still be here in the face of all the appalling evidence that there were way too many miscarriages of justice,  it never worked as a deterrent and that it rather bizarrely removed the christian possibility of redemption based on conservative  christian political attitides. The situation with abortion is the same; it doesnt stop,  underground practice leads to horrendous suffering and the conservative attitudes clearly go against basic christian forgiveness. These women need protecting from the sort of increasingly bad society that Alabama will become, especially the poorer women (it's already pretty bad there). 

https://www.amnesty.org/en/what-we-do/sexual-and-reproductive-rights/abortion-facts/

What's puzzling is why you wouldnt be standing up for such women. This isnt a debating society it's a world where people suffer because of stupid law. You rightly call out Sharia law .. why not this?

Post edited at 11:03
1
Offwidth 19 May 2019
Naechi 19 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

It could be argued that the religious right versues everyone could be a male-female/equality/feminism thing but that has and should be for other thread(s)

Post edited at 12:54
Roadrunner6 19 May 2019
In reply to neilh:

> Its a fringe idea ( a large ,stable majority of Americans want abortion to be legal) that plays out in political competition between republican candidates during primaries for state houses.

That is changing. Supposedly, and this was in The Hill, which is pretty reliable. 

https://thehill.com/hilltv/what-americas-thinking/443879-poll-majority-of-voters-think-6-week-abortion-bans-arent-too

"More than half of registered voters believe that laws banning abortion after the sixth week of pregnancy are not too restrictive, according to a new Hill-HarrisX survey.

The May 10-11 poll found that 21 percent of registered voters said that such abortion bans are "too lenient" while 34 percent said they believe they are "just right."

Forty-five percent of respondents said they believe the laws are "too restrictive."

Amazingly Conservatives are using the science card, saying as the science changes Roe V Wade should change. BTW on climate change and vaccincations science is still bollox presumably...

Worrying times.

Regarding exemptions, Alabama specifically voted against any to make sure it gets challenged in court. That is what they want.

Post edited at 16:50
Offwidth 19 May 2019
In reply to Roadrunner6:

Worrying indeed... it's how totalitarian states begin.

2
Coel Hellier 19 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> What's puzzling is why you wouldnt be standing up for such women.

Because I'm taking it as read that everyone here is opposed to this law -- surely?    Not much point in arguing for a position that 99% of readers would agree with!**

**I guess one could argue that the point is virtue signalling,  and that we should all flaunt our virtue to echo chambers (but that's not my style, sorry).

Coel Hellier 19 May 2019
In reply to Roadrunner6:

> That is changing. Supposedly, and this was in The Hill, which is pretty reliable. 

So is this another argument where "the left" seems to be losing ground?

Let me guess, they lose ground because, instead of trying to understand the opposition, and thence construct appropriate arguments that rebut the opposition and persuade them, they are more interested in demonising the opposition, then thence constructing counter-arguments to strawman positions that persuade no-one except the zealots on their own side?

Tom Loughlin 19 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Of course. The reason all these women are losing the right to make choices about their own body is because they were too zealous in having a nice conversation on compromise with those reasonable people who only want a total ban on abortion based on their fundamentalist principles. 

Does it hurt your brain to contort the situation like this? If you are religious - don’t get an abortion. If you are not religious - follow what seems to be a reasoned medical view that there is a point at which the foetus becomes conscious/ aware and at this point there should not be termination without incredibly pressing reasons. 

I simply fail to see how this is to do with a lack of reason on the part of ‘the left’. Watch Carlson Tucker on Fox News and tell me that is reasonable debate: abortion is bad because life is sacred and corporations want you to have an abortion so you don’t get to be a mother because they hate women and also if you don’t want gun control then you have to oppose abortion. Not my words - that’s the level of ‘debate’ from the right wing. Presumably that only appeals to their zealots too. 

I’m sure you’re a nice bloke and I like the stimulating counter points you offer but do you actually believe this is a progressive move and due failures in the centre ground? 

1
captain paranoia 19 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> thence constructing counter-arguments to strawman positions that persuade no-one except the zealots on their own side?

Is your post an example of someone doing just that...?

MG 19 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Let me guess, they lose ground because, instead of trying to understand the opposition, and thence construct appropriate arguments that rebut the opposition and persuade them, they are more interested in demonising the opposition, 

Ever consider you do this wrt to Islam?

Anyway, I'd suggest it is much more to do with the neo/alt right being far more adept at using social media to make their case, and also much less concerned about trivialities such as the law, and taking money from malign or unknown sources.  What you call the left, in reality a broad range of voices respecting science, human rights and rule of law, are divided and weak, but it's not because of weak arguments.  

1
MG 19 May 2019
In reply to Tom Loughlin:

Regarding Carlson Tucker, this chap presented him with a reasoned logical argument and didn't get very far.  Coel is staggeringly naive in this area.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XzbxxF95vM

2
Pan Ron 19 May 2019
In reply to Tom Loughlin:

Don't even know where to start responding to that and the other follow ups to Coel. He hit the nail on the head, and the reaction is eyes closed, fingers in ears.

If Trump gets reelected, or even close to it, will you be willing to acknowledge the left might be a major contributing factor? Or is that thought process simply out of bounds?

2
Tom Loughlin 19 May 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

So your response is that I'm deluded because the left are to blame for the vitriol on Fox News...? Still would love you to elucidate how on earth this reactionary law can be seen as anything other than the result of the agency of those with a commitment to revise Roe vs. Wade, rather than a reaction to Obamacare or whatever you're suggesting. If Trump is re-elected I would say the reasons would be complex but I would probably look to see why his rhetoric resonates rather than pointing fingers at the people campaigning against him or for alternative perspectives. I don't really know why these appeals to national decline/salvation, freedom to own weapons, aggressive isolationist nationalism, anti-science, male chauvinism and a rejection of liberal ideas is popular, do you?

Coel Hellier 19 May 2019
In reply to Tom Loughlin:

> The reason all these women are losing the right to make choices about their own body is because they were too zealous in having a nice conversation on compromise with those reasonable people who only want a total ban on abortion based on their fundamentalist principles. 

If you look at polls, fewer argue for a "total ban".  But feel free to ignore those who might be persuaded.

>  Does it hurt your brain to contort the situation like this? If you are religious - don’t get an abortion. If you are not religious

Why, it doesn't hurt my brain to even the teeniest extent!  Because I'm totally in favour of laws allowing abortion.  Are you too clueless to have worked that out?

> I simply fail to see how this is to do with a lack of reason on the part of ‘the left’.

The fact that you fail to see that is exactly the problem! 

> ... do you actually believe this is a progressive move ...

No, it's obviously a highly regressive move. I mean duh!

> ... and due failures in the centre ground?

Yep, it is indeed (to quite an extent) due to failures of the centre ground and their lack of even attempts to persuade the opposition. 

Coel Hellier 19 May 2019
In reply to MG:

> Regarding Carlson Tucker, this chap presented him with a reasoned logical argument and didn't get very far.  Coel is staggeringly naive in this area.

"One anti-abortion person cannot be persuaded, therefore no-one who is anti-abortion can be persuaded".  No, I don't think it's me who is naive.

Coel Hellier 19 May 2019
In reply to Tom Loughlin:

> If Trump is re-elected I would say the reasons would be complex but I would probably look to see why his rhetoric resonates rather than pointing fingers at the people campaigning against him or for alternative perspectives.

The attitudes of the "people campaigning against him" are often his biggest asset.   Just for example, Hillary Clinton suggesting that half the nation were "deplorables" just encourages them to vote for someone who thinks well of them, rather than someone who openly denigrates them. 

> I don't really know why these appeals to national decline/salvation, freedom to own weapons, aggressive isolationist nationalism, anti-science, male chauvinism and a rejection of liberal ideas is popular, do you? 

Yes; so why don't you try listening?   If you admit you don't understand the attitudes of those you oppose, you're not going to be effective in persuading them. 

1
Coel Hellier 19 May 2019
In reply to MG:

> Ever consider you do this wrt to Islam?

Of course!

Tom Loughlin 19 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

But where is the debate to be had? Regardless of your personal view the law introduced in Alabama is for no abortion. Other states = 6 weeks. Are you telling me that these 'pro-lifers' are interested in any way in having a meaningful debate or just pushing their agenda? Why their message resonates with people, again, I fail to see how that is the fault of 'the left'. Maybe because it's more emotive and easier to convey the message 'abortion is murder and life is sacred' than looking at embryonic cognitive development? You tell me.

In response to your further post: it's very difficult to debate with people who are mutually opposed and share very little ground. "We need to be ambitious with climate change targets" v "There is no such thing as global warming." (Apparently, this is my fault for not persuading them science is real). "We need gun control laws, kids are getting murdered everyday" v. "Nope, I need my gun, I'm a good guy." (My fault for not convincing them that people are getting murdered with easily accessible firearms). "Hey, abortion is a really important thing to loads of women, it's not the ideal outcome but it is necessary up to a certain point". v. "Nope, life is sacred from second zero and you're wrong." (My fault for not convincing them that zygotes are not conscious.) "It's so important to be respectful towards others" v "You just grab them by the pussy." (My fault for not convincing them that this is really disgusting language and behaviour for anyone, let alone a President.) "Civil rights was such a contentious and momentous moment in US history, it's really important to protect the rights of African-Americans by opposing Neo-Nazis" v "There's right and wrong on both sides." (My fault for not convincing them that racist, Nazi arseholes are racist, Nazi arseholes)

Post edited at 22:06
MG 19 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

It's called an example.

Coel Hellier 19 May 2019
In reply to Tom Loughlin:

> Are you telling me that these 'pro-lifers' are interested in any way in having a meaningful debate or just pushing their agenda?

Some of them, no, of course not; but plenty of them, why yes indeed!   This is that the left increasingly forget. There is a middle ground! Try to win it!  It's where many people are.

> Why their message resonates with people, again, I fail to see how that is the fault of 'the left'. [...] You tell me.

I've already told you. It's because to a large extent "the left" just demonises anyone who disagrees with them, insulting them and demeaning them, rather than attempting to understand them and then persuade them.  As a result, many in the middle ground find "the left" repulsive and so drift towards anyone else.

2
MG 19 May 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

You regard anyone who isn't anti abortion as left wing? 

Coel Hellier 19 May 2019
In reply to Tom Loughlin:

To illustrate the point, among many on the left in the US today, the prevailing opinion as to why the right oppose abortion is because: they are a male patriarchy, they hate and fear women, and want to control them.

This is wrong.  That's not why people oppose abortion.  They oppose abortion because they regard the unborn foetus/child as a person who deserves consideration and rights.     (Is that not obvious?) 

This means that any ritual recitation of the above tropes ("the right oppose abortion is because they are a male patriarchy, they hate and fear women, and want to control them") just alienates the middle ground, indeed alienates everyone who is not already fully converted. 

Tom Loughlin 19 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I do agree with you that labelling it a male patriarchal problem is not convincing. However, undermining your argument is that these voices have been raised in reaction to the actions of others - so how on earth are they supposed to be the motive force for these revisions of 1970s progressive legislation? The issue here is fundamentalism. How do you have a debate with someone who is so convinced that the zygote is a sacred, God-given human being that even a 12 year old who has been impregnated by rape has to keep and give birth to the baby? I really struggle to see how this is possible, nor how it is the fault of people who want to keep the right to abortion up to a reasonable time.

Coel Hellier 19 May 2019
In reply to Tom Loughlin:

> How do you have a debate with someone who is so convinced that the zygote is a sacred, God-given human being that even a 12 year old who has been impregnated by rape has to keep and give birth to the baby?

It's wrong to regard even evangelical fundamentalists as a uniform block who are not thoughtful people and are  unpersuadable.  Some of them are persuadable. 

An example of how this is possible is how attitudes to gay marriage have changed over the years -- even among some fraction of the  evangelical fundamentalists. E.g.: 

https://www.pewforum.org/fact-sheet/changing-attitudes-on-gay-marriage/

Of course if you treat people as beyond the pale and as unpersuadable then that makes it a lot less likely that you will persuade them! 

Jon Stewart 19 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> To illustrate the point, among many on the left in the US today, the prevailing opinion as to why the right oppose abortion is because: they are a male patriarchy, they hate and fear women, and want to control them.

> This is wrong. 

But no one said it. You just made it up.

Jon Stewart 19 May 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

> If Trump gets reelected, or even close to it, will you be willing to acknowledge the left might be a major contributing factor? Or is that thought process simply out of bounds?

By definition, if the Democrats lose, then that's the failure of the left.

It would mean they didn't have the right candidate and didn't use the right strategies. It wouldn't mean that people with left-wing values were inherently less reasonable than those with right-wing values. That is a load of nonsense that you cling to like some kind of religious tenet and shoe-horn into any discussion of anything. It wasn't interesting or true 5 years ago, and it still isn't now.

Jon Stewart 20 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> But I can guarantee that, if I did, no-one here would call it "hate speech"  and suggest that I be censored. 

They would have no reason to, because it wouldn't have consequences of sowing hatred and division in our society along ethnic and religious lines. 

> No-one would start agitating for a "definition" of "Christianophobia"

Because it wouldn't be prejudice against all Christians, it would be specific criticism of the religious right in the US. 

> declaring that such criticism is "a type of racism".

As that would make no sense. 

There are perfectly good reasons for these things you see as inconsistencies - you're just unwilling to listen to the arguments, because they expose your position on Islam as lacking the nuance required to guard against negative consequences. 

Post edited at 00:21
Neil Williams 20 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

And you do have to bear in mind that some of us have "in between" views - like with politics generally not everyone is at an extreme.

My view is, as I mentioned above, basically summed up as:-

 - A unique entity (that is just hosted by the mother) exists from the point the sperm enters the egg.  It isn't just part of the mother, because it couldn't exist without the father's input in some form.

 - However, there are cases where on balance it is better to end that entity's life, particularly early on when it is not recognised as being sentient, or where there is serious risk to the mother's health including mental health.  The best time to do this is as early as possible.

 - Those cases are so complex and sensitive that making the rule anything other than it being the mother's decision is just not going to work, so I don't support stronger regulation despite the first point.

 - However I do seriously question the morality of aborting a deliberately conceived baby for reasons of "buyer's remorse" (i.e. changing of mind where there has been no significant change of circumstances) - really, you need to decide before deliberately having sex without contraception whether you are going to have a baby or not, and you should not deliberately have sex without contraception if you do not intend to have a child.

Post edited at 00:32
Jon Stewart 20 May 2019
In reply to Neil Williams:

>  - A unique entity (that is just hosted by the mother) exists from the point the sperm enters the egg.  It isn't just part of the mother, because it couldn't exist without the father's input in some form.

But you're not saying that being a "unique entity" should bring with it any legal rights and as such it doesn't matter with respect to abortion. 

>  - However I do seriously question the morality of aborting a deliberately conceived baby for reasons of "buyer's remorse" (i.e. changing of mind) - really, you need to decide before deliberately having sex without contraception whether you are going to have a baby or not, and you should not deliberately have sex without contraception if you do not intend to have a child.

Well I question the morality of a lot of stuff other people do, and indeed a lot of what I do. It's inconsequential if you don't think it should affect policy.

Moralising over others in this way achieves nothing (except getting people's backs up).

Post edited at 00:42
Coel Hellier 20 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> But no one said it. You just made it up.

The attitudes I just summarised are currently all over certain factions of Twitter in response to the Alabama law, and they've been prevalent for years on the blogs of the "SJW faction" of the atheistic blogosphere that I still maintain some contact with. 

On such blogs you see plenty of strident criticism of the anti-abortion position -- but you never see any attempt to critique their *actual* attitudes, as opposed to strawman versions of their supposed attitudes.

Coel Hellier 20 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

>> No-one would start agitating for a "definition" of "Christianophobia"

> Because it wouldn't be prejudice against all Christians, it would be specific criticism of the religious right in the US. 

So just suppose someone argued for a ban on the niqab and burka in public. (Not something I fully support by the way.) Would that count as "Islamophobia", or would it not be that because it is not against "all Muslims" (plenty don't wear those garments), and is a "specific criticism" of (some versions of) the religion?

Offwidth 20 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I'd add to that there is no established left in the US. The vast majority of Democrats are centrist social liberals or even social conservatives / christian democrats in EU terms , hardly any are socialists. Pan and Coel just make shit up to suit their warped world view and end up as apologists for this awful growing tide of religious conservative right and alt right influence in the US, with genuine extreme views (for a western democracy) backed by news channels like Fox that lie with impunity. I see it as a threat to the world... Orwell's imagination being put into place... constant war (trade for for the moment but ramping up on Iran)... propaganda with a desired state control of truth.... With Russia and China, the bigger enemies, themselves already further down the 1984 line.

3
Coel Hellier 20 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> Pan and Coel just make shit up to suit their warped world view and end up as apologists for this awful growing tide of religious conservative right and alt right influence in the US ...

Absolutely sure it's not you that's making stuff up?

1
Coel Hellier 20 May 2019
Neil Williams 20 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Well I question the morality of a lot of stuff other people do, and indeed a lot of what I do. It's inconsequential if you don't think it should affect policy.

> Moralising over others in this way achieves nothing (except getting people's backs up).

There are ways I would influence policy, such as in terms of how such matters are taught about in PSHE lessons in schools, and relevant public health campaigns.  There are plenty of things one has a right to do that one should still not do.

There are ways to handle things via counselling - for instance, if a woman is considering aborting a healthy child who was conceived through consensual sex without contraception because they are getting "cold feet" and panicking about the upbringing of the child, providing support for them to understand that they will be OK and can bring the child up.

It won't stop every case, but providing positive means to avoid as many abortions as possible is in my view absolutely the right thing to do (e.g. if a woman is considering an abortion because they just lost their job and are panicking about how to pay for the child's upbringing I'd rather chuck a load of money at the situation than see the baby aborted), while the right to have one remains if no such intervention can be feasible in that case.

I think you could probably sum up my view that abortion is a "necessary wrong", i.e. something that in an ideal world would never be necessary, but in some cases the situation caused by allowing the pregnancy to continue could be worse (mentally or physically) than the effect of terminating it, and so a difficult decision must be taken, and it's simply too complex for the person making that decision to be anyone other than the mother, with appropriate assistance and counselling to ensure the decision is right in their mind and is made rationally rather than emotionally so far as feasible.

It could perhaps be compared in a roundabout way with someone physically attacking me with a weapon - the choice may, in the fight, be between them killing me or me killing or seriously injuring them, and while I'd have difficulty with the latter it would probably be seen as reasonable force in self defence.

Post edited at 09:58
Jon Stewart 20 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> So just suppose someone argued for a ban on the niqab and burka in public. (Not something I fully support by the way.) Would that count as "Islamophobia", or would it not be that because it is not against "all Muslims" (plenty don't wear those garments), and is a "specific criticism" of (some versions of) the religion?

In my view, there would be nothing prejudiced or bigoted about making a reasoned argument for banning the niqab and burka in public; I think it would be wrong to described such arguments as "Islamophobic".

Where we differ in our views on Islam, is that when I see someone making blanket statements about Islam as a single "harmful ideology", I think it has the consequences of alienating all the normal, devout Muslims whose views aren't harmful (so clearly they don't follow a "harmful ideology"). I don't want to live in a divided society in which Muslims are seen as "other" and are feared by white Brits who think that Muslims follow a "harmful ideology" that endorses terrorism. So while I don't have any respect for really anything in any religion, I think it's best to consider the consequences of what you say in public. And if the consequences are to entrench division and to stir up distrust of one's neighbours, then it is time to think more carefully about what you're saying, because it's unhelpful, and it's probably not even true.

Jon Stewart 20 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> By the way Jon, I'd be interested, what are your thoughts on this?

Not alot! Never heard of "queerbaiting" before. I think the ad looks like a really weak attempt to use fake lesbians as a way be edgy, but then, it's not really aimed at me, is it?

Jon Stewart 20 May 2019
In reply to Neil Williams:

> There are ways I would influence policy, such as in terms of how such matters are taught about in PSHE lessons in schools...

Thanks for such an interesting reply. You take a very different moral approach to the issue from me, because all I care about is the consequences in terms of suffering. 

So, until I think that the fetus has any potential for suffering, I don't see any reason to consider its interests. Of course we don't know when a fetus begins to have the potential to suffer, but we can make intelligent judgements (and that certainly isn't anything to do with a heartbeat). I don't see losing the potential happiness of its life as a loss (its life might be miserable, anyway).

I would try to consider the consequences as widely as possible. So if a baby is to be brought up in crappy circumstances, or will lose out on the love and stability of dedicated parents because they were unplanned, I consider those consequences to be worth avoiding. I will never know what suffering is caused to a woman having an abortion, but I think it's morally misguided (or worse) to privilege the rights of something with no capacity to suffer over those of a person who has the full breadth and depth of human consciousness with which to experience suffering.

krikoman 20 May 2019
In reply to Whitters:

> To me there is a clear distinction between a pregnancy as a result of rape and one that is simply unwanted. The issue of choice is an interesting one and throws up all kinds of problems.

Whether abortion is legal or illegal doesn't really effect the number of abortions that take place, only where they take place, i.e. either in a safe hospital environment or on some non-sterile kitchen table.

krikoman 20 May 2019
In reply to Neil Williams:

>   (As I've said all along, rape, failed contraception and medical issues are VERY different).

How about getting pregnant when you're pissed?

Coel Hellier 20 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Where we differ in our views on Islam, is that when I see someone making blanket statements about Islam as a single "harmful ideology", I think it has the consequences of alienating all the normal, devout Muslims whose views aren't harmful ...

But it is fairly normal to think that capitalism and/or socialism (delete one to taste) are "harmful ideologies". It is entirely normal for people to think that and to criticise those ideologies. It's just accepted. 

Why would it be different if the ideology is a religion? 

As for "whose views aren't harmful", well, a person who considers capitalism and/or socialism (delete one to taste) to be "harmful" would consider that all the normal, man-in-the-street people who supports one of those to have views that are "harmful", would they not?   For example, I consider that communism had a harmful effect on the Soviet Union (and has harmful effects on China, Cuba, North Korea, etc).   So I'd consider the rank-and-file supporter of communism to have views that are harmful.

Why would it be different if the ideology is a religion? 

Jon Stewart 20 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> But it is fairly normal to think that capitalism and/or socialism (delete one to taste) are "harmful ideologies". It is entirely normal for people to think that and to criticise those ideologies. It's just accepted. 

But anyone who thinks that capitalism or socialism is a "harmful ideology" is obviously an idiot. The world is just so much more complicated than capitalism = bad, socialism = good or vice versa, and there's no reason to listen to anyone whose views are that simplistic and stupid.

> Why would it be different if the ideology is a religion? 

It isn't. It's almost as stupid to describe an entire religion as a "harmful ideology" - I say almost, because while you can run a perfectly good society without religion, I don't think you can run a perfectly good society without trade and taxation/public services.

> As for "whose views aren't harmful", well, a person who considers capitalism and/or socialism (delete one to taste) to be "harmful" would consider that all the normal, man-in-the-street people who supports one of those to have views that are "harmful", would they not?   For example, I consider that communism had a harmful effect on the Soviet Union (and has harmful effects on China, Cuba, North Korea, etc).   So I'd consider the rank-and-file supporter of communism to have views that are harmful.

If you consider that the communist system implemented in those places was harmful, then you'd be best to see how the harm was caused and what relationship that has to the ideology of communism. What is the causal chain that leads to the harmful events? How else might history have panned out had other factors been changed?

If a communist somewhere else doesn't believe in implementing the same system as the USSR, and they believe in a different form of communism and see different ways to implement it that are different those of the communist regimes you list then you have no grounds to describe their ideology as harmful. You'd have to understand it first, and then decide on the basis of the specific policies whether you think they would cause harm. Find out what it is they believe. See if they've understood the pitfalls seen in history and included ways to mitigate them in the system they believe in. If you judge a complex set of ideas and policies on the basis of a one-word label like "communism", you're just an idiot, because you've made no attempt to understand what it is you're making a judgement about.

The same applies equally to capitalism or free market ideology. We need some detail and context to make any kind of judgement about whether implementation of a system (a set of policies) based on that broad ideology would be harmful or helpful. There are very good reasons, for example, why free market ideology would (and does) cause harm in the NHS. That doesn't make the ideology "harmful" it makes it inappropriate in that context. On the other hand, free market or capitalist principles have been extremely helpful in developing computing technology which has made the world a better place. 

> Why would it be different if the ideology is a religion? 

It's not different. You're making a strange argument along the lines of "if it's not idiotic to say communism or capitalism is harmful, then it's also not idiotic to say that Islam is harmful". I think you can see the problem with this.

1
Coel Hellier 20 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> If you consider that the communist system implemented in those places was harmful, then you'd be best to see how the harm was caused and what relationship that has to the ideology of communism.

And is the answer: "communist ideology is intrinsically harmful (at least when implemented on a national level)" an acceptable answer?   Or must ideologies overall always be excused?

> If a communist somewhere else doesn't believe in implementing the same system as the USSR, and they believe in a different form of communism and see different ways to implement it that are different those of the communist regimes you list then you have no grounds to describe their ideology as harmful.

Suppose the harmful nature is intrinsic to communist ideology itself, and not just to particular ways it is implemented.  Is that a possibility?

> If you judge a complex set of ideas and policies on the basis of a one-word label like "communism", you're just an idiot, because you've made no attempt to understand what it is you're making a judgement about.

Suppose you do understand it very well, and fully appreciate the complex set of set of ideas and policies and how they are implemented -- and on the basis of that thorough understanding judge that the complex set of ideas collected under the one-word label "communism" are, overall, harmful.  Is that a possibility?

> The same applies equally to capitalism or free market ideology. We need some detail and context to make any kind of judgement about whether implementation of a system (a set of policies) based on that broad ideology would be harmful or helpful.

Why sure, you do need detail and context and a proper knowledge and understanding. I agree.  But suppose you have that and, on that basis, deem the ideology harmful.   Is that possible?

> You're making a strange argument along the lines of "if it's not idiotic to say communism or capitalism is harmful, then it's also not idiotic to say that Islam is harmful". I think you can see the problem with this.

The argument is about whether such a conclusion would be, in either case, legitimate and possible. 

2
john arran 20 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> It isn't. It's almost as stupid to describe an entire religion as a "harmful ideology" - I say almost, because while you can run a perfectly good society without religion, I don't think you can run a perfectly good society without trade and taxation/public services.

I'd suggest it could be hard to maintain a unified society without some kind of credible explanation for the origin of the universe, of the human race and of morality, whether that be based on religion or science.

1
Coel Hellier 20 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

On communism:   I consider it fundamentally incompatible with human nature, which is too individualistic.  Therefore it will never work. 

As E.O. Wilson said about communism: "nice idea; wrong species".  It might work fine in other species such as eusocial insects.

This is not a point about implementation, as though one need only implement it right and it would work fine.  It wouldn't.  There is no version of communism or way of implementing it that can possible work in humans. 

At least, not on the large scale.  It can likely work well enough on the small scale, where everyone knows each other and where social bonds can overcome the defects of the ideology.  So, for example, a monastary of monks living as a commune can likely work.  But above that scale it simply does not work.

So, if your argument is along the lines that one may only criticise specific policies within communism or specific implementations, but not the ideology itself, then, no, I disagree. I see nothing wrong with regarding the ideology itself as intrinsically flawed and harmful. 

Jon Stewart 20 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> And is the answer: "communist ideology is intrinsically harmful (at least when implemented on a national level)" an acceptable answer?   Or must ideologies overall always be excused?

I don't know what you mean by "acceptable". I think it's a stupid answer, because "communist ideology" is too complex to judge in such a simplistic fashion. I might agree with a statement like "it's hard to see how a system based on communist principles alone would be more successful than one that embraced trade in delivering good outcomes for a national population". But I don't see any advantages in drawing tribal boundaries and declaring those of the other tribe to be "following a harmful ideology".

Perhaps the most "harmful ideology" I see in the world is tribalism (and it's not an ideology, it's a natural pattern of human behaviour).

> Suppose the harmful nature is intrinsic to communist ideology itself, and not just to particular ways it is implemented.  Is that a possibility?

It might be. If the tenets of an ideology were designed with an intention to cause harm, that would provide a basis for intrinsic harmfulness. You could say that white supremicism is intrinsically harmful because you can't have supremicism without the subjugation of someone else, so causing harm is written into the ideology at the foundational level. I don't know an awful lot about Marx and communism, but I don't believe that this type of intention to cause harm is intrinsic to communism. So I suppose it's possible, but I'd need to see a convincing argument, and I never have.

> Suppose you do understand it very well, and fully appreciate the complex set of set of ideas and policies and how they are implemented -- and on the basis of that thorough understanding judge that the complex set of ideas collected under the one-word label "communism" are, overall, harmful.  Is that a possibility?

That doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I'm saying that to make a valid judgement, you need sufficient detail and context. Once you've got that, in the case of "communism" you can't collect it under the one-word label, that's the point: there's now too much information, too many interlocking concepts to be described. You could understand a specific communist's proposals about a specific thing, but then you'd no longer be talking about "communism". And then you've got to explain what you mean by "harmful" - you might say "would likely deliver worse outcomes than the alternative, x". But there's no standard by which one set of policies is "harmful" and another one not (you could use the "better or worse than the status quo", I guess, but you'd need to specify). So no, that's not a possibility.

> The argument is about whether such a conclusion would be, in either case, legitimate and possible. 

I'm saying that they're all stupid things to say (communism, capitalism or Islam is harmful), because to make binary judgements about huge complex systems of belief demonstrates a total lack of engagement with the subject matter of concern.

Post edited at 22:29
Jon Stewart 20 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> On communism:   I consider it fundamentally incompatible with human nature, which is too individualistic.  Therefore it will never work. 

> As E.O. Wilson said about communism: "nice idea; wrong species".  It might work fine in other species such as eusocial insects.

I tend to agree.

> This is not a point about implementation, as though one need only implement it right and it would work fine.  It wouldn't.  There is no version of communism or way of implementing it that can possible work in humans. 

That goes too far. There may well be many contexts in which the principles of communism could be helpful. You can say the same with capitalism - society built only on free market ideas without socialist elements can't possibly work, because we need ways to organise public goods like infrastructure and the market can't do that.

> So, if your argument is along the lines that one may only criticise specific policies within communism or specific implementations, but not the ideology itself, then, no, I disagree. I see nothing wrong with regarding the ideology itself as intrinsically flawed and harmful. 

Giving good reasons why a system for national government is not going to work the way its proponents claim it will is not an argument that an ideology is harmful.

Post edited at 22:53
Jon Stewart 20 May 2019
In reply to john arran:

> I'd suggest it could be hard to maintain a unified society without some kind of credible explanation for the origin of the universe, of the human race and of morality, whether that be based on religion or science.

That's a very interesting point.

I said "you can run a perfectly good society without religion" - but I don't really have any idea if that's correct. I should have said, "I can envisage a perfectly good society without religion", but in that society, I would replace a lot of the functions of religion with secular equivalents, specifically the stuff you point out about knowing what we are, where we came from and how best we should live.

I believe that it's perfectly possible to fill the religion-shaped hole with a consistent rationalist/materialist worldview that deals with all that stuff elegantly while not "explaining away" any of the awe and wonder of the universe. I don't know whether it really ticks the box of providing the meaning humans naturally crave - but I think leaving this to the individual to work out on their own is a selling point for this philosophy rather than a failure.

Post edited at 23:00
Pefa 21 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> This means that any ritual recitation of the above tropes ("the right oppose abortion is because they are a male patriarchy, they hate and fear women, and want to control them") just alienates the middle ground, indeed alienates everyone who is not already fully converted. 

When you have 9 white guys in Alabama voting to tell women this is the way it will be on abortion then how can you not think it is "male patriarchy"? 

1
Neil Williams 21 May 2019
In reply to krikoman:

> >   (As I've said all along, rape, failed contraception and medical issues are VERY different).

> How about getting pregnant when you're pissed?


Difficult one.  Depending how pissed it could be irrelevant, through to being statutory rape if the woman was so pissed that she couldn't possibly have properly consented.

Neil Williams 21 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Thanks for such an interesting reply. You take a very different moral approach to the issue from me, because all I care about is the consequences in terms of suffering. 

That's certainly an interesting and logical way to look at it as well.  I wouldn't really say one was more valid than the other, we just have rather different outlooks.

I guess euthanasia sits on a similar scale of opinion.  That's also one I find very difficult, though probably a lot *less* difficult than abortion because, in principle, the person whose life is being taken has consented to it.

Post edited at 00:27
Pefa 21 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> On communism:   I consider it fundamentally incompatible with human nature, which is too individualistic.  Therefore it will never work. 

Cuba, Vietnam,Laos, Nepal, DPRK, USSR etc etc

> As E.O. Wilson said about communism: "nice idea; wrong species".  It might work fine in other species such as eusocial insects.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primitive_communism

Humans lived in primative communist societies until only recently in some places and practically everywhere in all cases before the slavery epoch. 

What is this strange disconnect which states something that clearly worked for 70 years in a massive scale supporting 1/4 of the worlds population can't work or doesn't when it clearly does very successfully. 

1
Coel Hellier 21 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> If the tenets of an ideology were designed with an intention to cause harm, that would provide a basis for intrinsic harmfulness.  [...] I don't know an awful lot about Marx and communism, but I don't believe that this type of intention to cause harm is intrinsic to communism

But surely it is possible for an ideology to be intrinsically harmful, even when the intention is benign?    As you say, Marxism is not *intended* to be harmful, but I consider that it is harmful.

> I'm saying that to make a valid judgement, you need sufficient detail and context. Once you've got that, in the case of "communism" you can't collect it under the one-word label, that's the point: there's now too much information, too many interlocking concepts to be described.

One-word labels such as "communism" or "capitalism" or "Islam" do of course refer to complex sets of interlocking concepts, as you say, but I don't see that that makes it automatically wrong to refer to that set of concepts with the one-word label. 

> I'm saying that they're all stupid things to say (communism, capitalism or Islam is harmful), because to make binary judgements about huge complex systems of belief demonstrates a total lack of engagement with the subject matter of concern.

Hmm, well I would disagree.  I would consider it possible to have a proper engagement with communist ideology, and then conclude that any system of communism implemented at the national level will be harmful. 

Are you resisting that idea purely so that you can avoid any similar conclusion about Islam? 

1
Coel Hellier 21 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> There may well be many contexts in which the principles of communism could be helpful. You can say the same with capitalism - society built only on free market ideas without socialist elements can't possibly work, because we need ways to organise public goods like infrastructure and the market can't do that.

But some "socialist" wealth redistribution within a market economy in which there is private ownership is not the same as communism.    One either has "the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange" or one doesn't.  Communism is, by its nature, totalitarian. That is why it is harmful. There is no way of implementing communism in a non-harmful way.   Essential to its ideology are ideas that are too incompatible with the individualistic nature of humans. 

1
Coel Hellier 21 May 2019
In reply to Pefa:

> When you have 9 white guys in Alabama voting to tell women this is the way it will be on abortion then how can you not think it is "male patriarchy"? 

When the polls show no significant difference in support for the policy among Alabaman women compared to Alabaman men. 

1
Coel Hellier 21 May 2019
In reply to Pefa:

> Humans lived in primative communist societies until only recently in some places and practically everywhere in all cases before the slavery epoch. 

This is just factually incorrect.  Social structures in hunter-gatherer societies were radically different from communism. And don't try claiming they were all peaceful and eco-sensitive either.  These are all claims made up by ideologues.

2
Rob Exile Ward 21 May 2019
In reply to Pefa:

You might choose to read The Better Angels of our Nature by Pinker before looking at pre industrial societies through rose (red) tinted specs.

There never were 'noble savages'. There were young men murdering and raping at every opportunity, and as populations became settled slavery became the norm. (Dublin and Bristol were slave ports in the 10th century, and probably long before.) You need to read more.

1
Offwidth 21 May 2019
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

There is no such evidence that pre-civilisation humans were 'murdering and raping at any opportunity' and most human evolutionary scientists think our cooperation was the key fact that led to our success as a species. There is evidence of conflict and killing as happens to this day in civilised society.

Offwidth 21 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Islam is bad.  Communism is bad. Religious patriarchy could never influence how subservient women vote. You really are an embarrassment to social and political thought with such a rigid and simplistic world view.

1
Rob Exile Ward 21 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

Actually, there is. Read the source I quoted - and read HIS sources if you want - and refute those if you can. (I'm at work otherwise I would cite more of the evidence here.)

Coel Hellier 21 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> There is evidence of conflict and killing as happens to this day in civilised society.

While "murdering and raping at any opportunity" is an exaggeration, the evidence is that today's world is *vastly* more peaceful than humans have typically been through history (with orders of magnitude lower probabilities of being killed by another human). 

1
Coel Hellier 21 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> Islam is bad.  Communism is bad.

Both true. 

> Religious patriarchy could never influence how subservient women vote.

That's not what I said, is it?   Indeed the whole point of my above post was that religious attitudes **did** influence how women vote.  I mean duh! 

> You really are an embarrassment to social and political thought with such a rigid and simplistic world view.

There was a time when Offwidth posted thoughtful and interesting stuff; nowadays he just denigrates anyone who doesn't toe the line of his rather narrow world view.  

3
Coel Hellier 21 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth and Jon:

Is there any ideology at all that you would not accept could be fairly labelled "bad" or "harmful"? 

"Naziism is bad and harmful"

"Fascism is bad and harmful"

"Slavery is bad and harmful"

Are these ok summaries, or would you argue that they are horribly simplistic, and that one should make a much more nuanced assessment and only criticise particular parts of those ideologies or particular implementations of them? 

Ok course everyone knows that the world is complicated, so statements such as "slavery is bad" are indeed summaries of a complicated picture.  But that doesn't stop such summaries being both useful and true.  

Offwidth 21 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

My view is that many women in such conservative religious environments may have lost the independance to vote meaningfully. If you say 'duh' to that, why are you bringing up the claim there is no gender bias in the voting?.... as that's a meaningless claim if the voting is not uninfluenced.

I fail to see much equivalence in intent between the ideologies of facism and communism. I do see clear equivalence with past leaders of nations (supposed to have been run under those ideologies) being genocidal but then again we are back to the behaviour of those leaders.  Facism seems to me to almost have hate and control of various peoples at its centre, whereas communism is much more well meaning. We have pointed out to you before that some states and towns are run pretty well by democratically elected communists and I can imagine a utopian communist nation at some time in the future . I've never seen any examples of benign facist leadership and simply can't imagine any. So yes some ideologies are intrinsically bad and some are broadly good but too often manipulated for bad intent. Western societies can tell the difference and they proscribe the really bad ones. The Abrahamic faiths and most other major world religions have love at their centre, yet men have committed terrible hateful crimes in their name. Those people are the problem, not their religion.

Post edited at 11:18
Coel Hellier 21 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> I've never seen any examples of benign facist leadership and simply can't imagine any. So yes some ideologies are intrinsically bad and some are broadly good but too often manipulated for bad intent.

Excellent!  So you accept that some ideologies can be "intrinsically bad".  Good. So from here we are merely disagreeing about whether a particular ideology is or is not in that category.  

Isn't that something on which people can legitimately disagree? 

Offwidth 21 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Yes people can disagree but it has to be based on a fair analysis of that ideology. Islam is really based on love and you ignore that and chose just to see the evil done in its name. Communism is based on a desire for fair economic treatment of the proletariat and again you just look at the evils done under a communist banner (that often is really a disguise for something more akin to facism). This is precisly why I find your views so frustrating, you do the exact opposite of what you claim to philosophically represent.

2
Coel Hellier 21 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> The Abrahamic faiths and most other major world religions have love at their centre, yet men have committed terrible hateful crimes in their name. Those people are the problem, not their religion.

That's your opinion. You are, of course, entitled to it.   

Many ex-Muslims who have lived in Muslim-majority nations regard Islam as an intrinsically harmful and indeed fascist system.  They regard the *religion* as being the problem, not the people.  (Weinberg: "for good people to do bad, that takes religion".)   Are they allowed to think that and say that?  

Coel Hellier 21 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> Yes people can disagree but it has to be based on a fair analysis of that ideology.

Agreed.  And, as I see it, many ex-Muslims *have* made a fair analysis of the system they have lived under. 

> Islam is really based on love ...

That's a highly dubious assertion; flat-out false I'd say.   

> ... and you ignore that ...

I don't ignore it, I think it is not an accurate summary of the religion.  A better one-phrase summary is that it is based not on "love" but on "submission" (which is what "Islam" means).  That is, "submission" to the will of God.  But since there is no god, de facto that means "submission" to the set of texts and ideas bequeathed by the founders of Islam, and submission to the Imams who interpret them today. 

> ... and chose just to see the evil done in its name.

The "evil done in its name" is just a symptom, a symptom of the harmful ideas at the core of Islam. 

> Communism is based on a desire for fair economic treatment of the proletariat and again you just look at the evils done under a communist banner ...

And I also make a deeper critique based on the intrinsic nature of communism and its incompatibility with individualistic human nature. 

> This is precisly why I find your views so frustrating, you do the exact opposite of what you claim to philosophically represent.

No I don't.  You just interpret it that way because you don't want to actually have the discussion, you want to disallow it. 

Offwidth 21 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Weinburg is wearing blinkers. For good people to do bad involves putting ideology over humanity. In terms of religion it often involves ignoring very clear messages like thou shalt not kill. Hence I sympathise with those ex muslims but they have the wrong target. There are religious leaders who are very culpable in such evil action and so their particular sects could be defined as bad. Islam as a whole is not bad and you insult many millions of faithful good people when you say that, including several million in the UK

Coel Hellier 21 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> Weinburg is wearing blinkers. For good people to do bad involves putting ideology over humanity.

Agreed. So Weinberg is right (putting religious ideology over humanity is exactly what religion does), but is not general enough (since non-religious ideologies such as communism can be just as harmful).

> In terms of religion it often involves ignoring very clear messages like thou shalt not kill.

I note how you always exculpate religion. For you, it is always distortions of religion, not the religion itself, at fault.  

You are, of course, entitled to your assessment.  But you don't seem to allow that others might come to the opposite assessment. 

> Hence I sympathise with those ex muslims but they have the wrong target.

In *your* *opinion* they have the wrong target.  The problem is that you seem to want to disallow the contrary opinion. 

> Islam as a whole is not bad ...

That's your opinion.  I (and plenty others, including large numbers of ex-Muslims) disagree.  

> ... and you insult many millions of faithful good people when you say that, including several million in the UK

There you are, that's classic you -- you attempt to disallow the contrary opinion by saying it is an insult and offensive.  Well maybe it is, maybe it isn't; I don't care. We should still be able to hold and state that opinion, and argue the case, regardless.   

1
Offwidth 21 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Again, people ignore those maxims, not the broad religion.

I have a record of critical posts on UKC on bad things done by pretty much every major religion. I only defend religion against unfair broad brush attack like yours.

I'm not defending Islam against offence (feel free to offend them as much as you like if you enjoy being a nasty shit who winds up good people). Where my position on offence differs to yours is that I feel broadcasters have a right to choose not to do that. I'm actually defending my view that Islam is not bad based on huge numbers of demonstrably good people who believe in it. If you actually tried talking to some faithful muslims you might even discover that yourself.

I'm also concerned about why you find any excuse to pick on Islam and always find ways to attack it, where in this Alabama case, clearly influenced by christian conservatism you end up appearing to be an apologist and attack liberals instead.

In terms of selfless efforts to good causes the most impressive people I've met have been religious muslims and communists. I don't need to believe what they do to recognise that. I remain a humanist social liberal. I think you risk becoming the zealot you purport to despise when you unfairly generalise your theories on their ideology.

Post edited at 12:15
Coel Hellier 21 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

>  I'm not defending Islam against offence (feel free to offend them as much as you like if you enjoy being a nasty shit who winds up good people).

Ah right, so all those ex-Muslims who regard Islam as harmful and argue against it are being "nasty shits".  

> I'm actually defending my view that Islam is not bad based on huge numbers of demonstrably good people who believe in it. 

If we take any of the major disastrous events cause by ideologies -- Stalin's purges, Mao's cultural revolution, Third Reich Germany, etc -- the majority of the populations caught up in such events were good people.   

Those events did not occur because it so happened that 2/3rds of those populations were bad people (likely the mix was not much different from anywhere else).  They occurred because the nations got caught up in harmful ideologies.   

> I'm also concerned about why you find any excuse to pick on Islam and always find ways to attack it, where in this Alabama case, clearly influenced by christian conservatism

Hypocrite!  Who turned the thread to the topic of Islam??   It was you. 

1
Offwidth 21 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

You are the one who attacks newspapers censoring  public display of your cartoons. I don't know any ex muslims of that ilk (and I know quite a few in academia). They prefer not to offend people to make a point.

Good people don't act in brutal genocidal ways unless under huge psychological trauma;  the main crime of the good people in those countries is not calling out that behaviour for what it was... something that needs immense bravery to do, and those who were brave suffered horrendous consequencies.

You are like a spin doctor:  in pointing out your hypocricy in the topic of the thread why again do I become the hypocrit?

Post edited at 12:25
1
Coel Hellier 21 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> You are the one who attacks newspapers censoring  public display of your cartoons.

I do indeed think that broadcasters with a public-service remit should see their role as including critiquing religions just as they critique political parties. 

> I don't know any ex muslims of that ilk ...

Plenty of ex-Muslims and critics of Islam deplore the obsequiousness towards Islam shown by much of the Western media.  

>  They prefer not to offend people to make a point.

If you refrain from criticising a religion just because people claim offence, that gives them the means to shut down any criticism they don't like merely by claiming to be offended.

> Good people don't act in brutal genocidal ways unless under huge psychological trauma; ...

Simpy not true.  People, who would otherwise by good people, can, when in the grip of an ideology, readily play a minor-part role in a genocidal system. 

That's what all the evidence shows. Mao's cultural revolution, Stalin's oppression, Nazi Germany, Pol Pot, etc.   It was not the case that the majority of the people in those countries happened to be monsters.  

Take the widespread support for the draconian and oppressive blasphemy laws in Pakistan.  Does that mean that the majority of the population of Pakistan are bad people? Or does it mean that they are under the influence of a harmful ideology?  

cb294 21 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

Death by violence was apparently higher in hunter gatherer societies, but most of that was within group.

Organized warfare required the social changes and resources of farming communities, leading to increased casualties from inter group violence. Apparently, the same changes reduced intra group violence.

CB

Pefa 21 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> This is just factually incorrect.  Social structures in hunter-gatherer societies were radically different from communism.

Coel I not only stated clearly but linked to something called primitive communism which was and is the way hunter gatherer societies functioned. You can see it to this day in many tribes from S. America to Africa. 

> And don't try claiming they were all peaceful and eco-sensitive either. 

Coel step away from the straw. 

> These are all claims made up by ideologues.

No, they are made by scientists called anthropologists whos job it is to study past societies. And then Marxists who also study historical materialism show their findings. 

1
Pefa 21 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Your posts are so one sided against everything that is not capitalism when it is responsible for more repression, barbarism, genocide, wars and exploitation than everything else by miles, its weird. 

You say above somewhere that Islam demands "submission to God", what you don't seem to realized is that every single religion I can think of also requires you- if you want to have a spiritual experience that is- to surrender yourself. Meaning before you can experience any transcendental experience logically you must let go of the material, worldly, gross body/ matters, ego call it what you want but every single religion worth its salt if it is truly based on pure spiritual experience will require this. 

Ps. I used to slag off people who believed in God, thinking they think its a wee man in the sky but now I think it is just a name they have for the oneness that genuine spiritual experience is. 

Post edited at 16:02
1
Pefa 21 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> When the polls show no significant difference in support for the policy among Alabaman women compared to Alabaman men. 

I'll give you that one. 

Although you must admit there's something fundamentally undemocratic and wrong about only 9 old white guys and no women getting a vote on an issue that affects women more than men. There should be more women than men if there was any fairness.

Edit:of course you got that in the politburo as well and was equally unfair. 

Post edited at 16:14
Pan Ron 21 May 2019
Offwidth 21 May 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

Shame about the fact checking and weird analogy (the biology involved in the age of consent is trivial compared to that in determining say when a foetus is viable and most European countries have an age of consent below 16 or don't they count as western?). Otherwise the case agaimst the pro life group is OK but the case against pro choice is a strawman... claimed sanctification of the woman's rights to her body ....when in fact most laws are set by the nation on completely different reasoning. Good to see some US states being exposed for the awful treatment of so called sex offenders for having sex with a minor who is over 16 where in the state next door it would be legal (iits amazing what else counts as a sex offence in some US states, for example oral sex, or worse still, public urination). He could also have complained about conservative christian influence in these states with such extreme changes to abortion law; I guess that would have pissed off too many of his fellow travelers.

Post edited at 19:37
Coel Hellier 21 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> ... the case against pro choice is a strawman... claimed sanctification of the woman's rights to her body ....when in fact most laws are set by the nation on completely different reasoning. 

In the context of the US debate over abortion that is not a strawman, since in the US the doctrine of a women's rights to her body really is sanctified by the pro-abortion lobby (and was of course the reasoning behind Roe v Wade).

1
Jon Stewart 21 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Is there any ideology at all that you would not accept could be fairly labelled "bad" or "harmful"? 

> "Naziism is bad and harmful"...

I've already given the example of how white supremacy is intrinsically harmful and explained why I think that. You can run through the same arguments for these if you like. And I've given a lot of reasons why I think that in the cases of both Islam and communism, a more nuanced assessment is necessary. 

> Ok course everyone knows that the world is complicated, so statements such as "slavery is bad" are indeed summaries of a complicated picture.  But that doesn't stop such summaries being both useful and true.  

And I've explained that saying that all Muslims follow a harmful ideology is absolutely not helpful, because it's divisive. It's also patently untrue, because we can see so many Muslims following the religion but not doing anything harmful. And while "communism is a harmful ideology" simply demonises people with a different political view (something you're continually accusing others of, while flagrantly doing it yourself) a statement like "it's hard to see how a system based on communist principles alone would be more successful than one that embraced trade in delivering good outcomes for a national population" gives room for discussion. I could learn more and be convinced. I don't know a great deal about modern communist theory (or indeed political theory full stop) and I'm not going to tell someone who's an authority on it that they "follow a harmful ideology". It would be arrogant and stupid.

Post edited at 22:14
1
In reply to neilh:

> Cannot be bothered replying as you have resorted to abuse. 

On the contrary, I just pointed out that you had resorted to self-abuse! 

You don't have to reply of course (nor do you have to beat yourself up over your age or skin colour) but please don't suggest that I'm being abusive to avoid engaging with the conversation.

Coel Hellier 22 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> It's also patently untrue, because we can see so many Muslims following the religion but not doing anything harmful.

That doesn't follow. People can hold to beliefs that cause harm generally, even if they personally are not acting on them and not personally doing harm.

For example take the blasphemy laws (and the attitudes behind them) in Pakistan, which have a hugely harmful and poisonous effect on the nation overall.    Likely, the vast swathes of the population support these laws, and yet they personally have never done anything as a result. 

It's a bit like claiming that if some people who smoke are not ill then that shows that it is "patently untrue" that smoking causes ill-health. 

> I've already given the example of how white supremacy is intrinsically harmful and explained why I think that.

So if I find one little old lady who holds white supremacist views, and yet has never herself acted on them and not herself done any harm, does that refute your claim? 

1
Offwidth 22 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Pakistan is barely democratic in a western sense and its still suffering from a time when it suited the leadership, the army and the US to keep a religiously conservative and poorly educated poor to act as a bulwark against communism. As such, there is no real equivalence between law in Pakistan and law in Alabama. There is however US government responsibility in both. The whole situation in Middle Eastern Muslim nations is a result of power games between western powers with the US usually propping up despotic Muslim governments. Arguably the most pernicious form of Islam, Wahhabism (a highly extreme, oil funded doctrine, that should be proscibed in the west)  flourishes in Saudi (who export it, like oil, across the world) as they are a US (and UK) ally, something recently strengthened by Trump.

I prefer to call out real evil, not disguise it by blaming millions of ordinary people who have no hate. I look forward to a time when our western governments at last tackle genuine religious extremism in our allied nations like Saudi, instead of being hypocrites,  whipping up fear of the resulting terror while they protect its biggest ideological and funding source.

Offwidth 22 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

On the little old white lady. If she belongs to a proscribed organisation she is commiting a crime. If she just hates in private she is still morally repugnant, like muslims or christians  who do nothing but would wish to see apostates and blasphemers killed.

Coel Hellier 22 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> The whole situation in Middle Eastern Muslim nations is a result of power games between western powers with the US usually propping up despotic Muslim governments.

And of course, as usual, the ideology is Islam bears no blame at all for anything. 

> I prefer to call out real evil, not disguise it by blaming millions of ordinary people who have no hate. 

And I don't so much blame the "millions of ordinary people", I blame the **ideologies**, as I have explained repeatedly. 

But you always misrepresent that because you are not honest, are you?  You prefer to act like the good little Islamist puppet and claim that Islam itself is benign, and that anything bad is always distortions of Islam. 

And for a population to do bad does *not* require "hate"!  Really, it doesn't.  It requires an ideology that leads people to do bad when they *think* they are doing good!   

So no-one is saying that the millions of ordinary people in those nations are all bad people who "hate".  Seriously, they are not! No-one is saying that. But you keep misrepresenting that because you're not honest.   The blame is on the harmful ideologies that lead populations astray (Islam is one; Christianity was as bad in the Middle Ages; various forms of totalitarian communism are more recent examples; et cetera).

3
Coel Hellier 22 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> On the little old white lady. If she belongs to a proscribed organisation she is commiting a crime. If she just hates in private she is still morally repugnant, like muslims or christians  who do nothing but would wish to see apostates and blasphemers killed.

OK, so vast swathes of the population of Pakistan are morally repugnant in your eyes.  Now, why are such a large fraction of Pakistanis morally repugnant?  Is it just that they are bad people (something in the water, or something in the genes?)?  Or are they led astray by a harmful ideology?   (Just as other populations have been led astray by other harmful ideologies such as communism or Nazism.)

You keep having a go at me, but I'm not sure that my answer to that is less compassionate than your answer.

3
Offwidth 22 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I have no idea of the proportion but history and politics seems to me to show a small minority of any country will be hateful in that way (content Edit: and many don't seem to need any ideology, unless we count things like racism as such)  On Pakistan you only see the news and the mobs raised up by extremists. I was accidently caught up in a conservative religious riot in Kuala Lumpur once, that hit the international news and it was virtually staged for the media (religion is very much part of election politics there). The UK has millions of people of Pakistani descent many of whom are highly intelligent and knowledgeable about their old home and their faith, so why not talking to them for once instead of reliance on your internet echo chambers.

I'm happy with my compassion. Treating good people with respect rather than applying grossly unfair blanket labels. Knowing the difference bewteen love and hate, applying the law where neccesary when the latter case leads to hateful action. Recongnising the biggest source of hate within Islam is from Saudi, an ally that our governments do nothing about so the oil and weapons money continue to flow .

Post edited at 10:41
7
Coel Hellier 22 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> I have no idea of the proportion but history and politics seems to me to show a small minority of any country will be hateful in that way

Well, Imran Khan is a pretty secular-minded, British-educated, Westernised politician.   But, in order to get elected, he decided that he had to give the populace what they wanted by expressing support for the Pakistan blasphemy laws (which you have described as "morally repugnant").   

Now, he would not have done that unless a pretty wide swath of the people supported those laws, and sufficiently strongly that they would not vote for a politician who didn't.  And indeed, according to a 2013 Pew poll: "62% of Muslims in Pakistan favor the death penalty for people who leave the Muslim religion". 

So, is it your view that a pretty wide swath of the population of Pakistan (perhaps 62%) are just morally repugnant, hateful people? 

Personally I prefer to regard them as being misled by a harmful ideology. 

Offwidth 22 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

It may also be neither for many if not most of them... ie they are not controlled by ideology just subject to the reality of it for them, and not answering based on any real hate. I said before I have a deal of sympathy for people who may be acting out of fear or social constraint. Its all too easy for people in the west to imagine conscious intellectual decisions that are a huge distance from the reality these people face. The same might apply to many women supporting the abortion laws in Alabama. The ideology of death to apostates and blasphemers is evil in my view, as is Imran in pandering to them for political gain. Still what comes from Wahhabism is that and worse and we and the US do nothing about the Saudi system that protects it.

Most people in the UK support the death penalty. That support isn't usually formed from hate, just ignorance and possibly fear.

Post edited at 12:43
In reply to Offwidth:

"It may also be neither for many if not most of them... ie they are not controlled by ideology just subject to the reality of it for them, and not answering based on any real hate."

Surely then you can concede that the ideology is harmful? You are admitting that the "reality" of the ideology makes decent people answer against their real decent thoughts out of fear!! or are you just digging your heals in because you refuse to budge an inch when debating with Coel?

Offwidth 22 May 2019
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

I've never doubted that particular ideology is harmful. My complaint has always been labelling pretty much all of Islam (or Christianity in the subject of this thread) with that. We in the west too often want to have our cake and eat it... feel superior and yet cosy up to despotic states who support appalling medieval versions of the religion. Brunei and Saudi are our strong allies. We also too often ignore repressive conservative religious behaviour affecting law in our own countries be it Northern Ireland or Alabama.

Calling out specific wrongs gives a problem to the perpetrators. Blanket attacks make us guilty of unfair practice and provides succor and easy propaganda material to the villains attacked

Post edited at 13:25
Jon Stewart 22 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> That doesn't follow. People can hold to beliefs that cause harm generally, even if they personally are not acting on them and not personally doing harm.

Yes it does. If Muslims don't generally go around causing harm, more than any other group andcontrolling for other factors, then it's evident that Islam is not a "harmful ideology". Following an ideology is not like a risk factor for disease, where it may or may not have have an impact on outcomes, by chance. If you follow an ideology, that motivates your actions, and the consequences follow directly. 

So since you appreciate that the "ideology" of Islam only causes harmful actions in some people, what do you think differentiates that subgroup of Muslims? Or is it chance, like your risk factor analogy? 

> So if I find one little old lady who holds white supremacist views, and yet has never herself acted on them and not herself done any harm, does that refute your claim? 

No. We can see that white supremacy is harmful by looking at its content, which isn't very diverse (unlike Islam, it is more like a single ideology). And I think you'd be hard pushed to find a white supremacist who hadn't caused any harm, e.g. By spreading their ideas just by opening their mouth over dinner with the grandkids. 

2
Coel Hellier 22 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> If Muslims don't generally go around causing harm, more than any other group andcontrolling for other factors, then it's evident that Islam is not a "harmful ideology".

But they do.  The Islamic world is, on most indicators, a less-desirable place to live than most Western countries.  Much of the reason for that is the harm caused to those countries by Islam.

In the same way, most countries run along communist lines were/are much worse places to live than those with free-market economies along with some social redistribution of wealth. 

> So since you appreciate that the "ideology" of Islam only causes harmful actions in some people, what do you think differentiates that subgroup of Muslims?

All sort of other factors such as personality, local environment, family history, etc.

> We can see that white supremacy is harmful by looking at its content, which isn't very diverse (unlike Islam, it is more like a single ideology).

Ditto Islam (which isn't a "single" ideology, but mainstream variants do have enough in common that they can be considered as a whole for many purposes).  We can see that Islam is harmful by looking at its content and ideas.

> And I think you'd be hard pushed to find a white supremacist who hadn't caused any harm, e.g. By spreading their ideas just by opening their mouth over dinner with the grandkids. 

Just as generally supporting Islam spreads ideas that are harmful.

1
Coel Hellier 22 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Any comment on this? 

https://twitter.com/GSpellchecker/status/1131201223623888896

It's a video of a policeman confiscating a sign at a political rally because the sign says "Allah is Gay" -- a slogan commonly used to protest against the anti-gay attitudes of Islam. 

Should a policeman enforce blasphemy edicts like this?

Pefa 22 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> In the same way, most countries run along communist lines were/are much worse places to live than those with free-market economies along with some social redistribution of wealth. 

That is patently wrong. 

The vast majority in Russia wish it was still socialist, the people in former socialist European countries deeply regret giving up on socialism and all the incredible benefits for the masses. Are people in Cuba voting to get rid of socialism after 60 years, no, they love it and confirmed this recently.

You blindly state things with no basis in reality, I think you merge some decent thought with wilful trolling sometimes. 

6
Pefa 22 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Any comment on this? 

> It's a video of a policeman confiscating a sign at a political rally because the sign says "Allah is Gay" -- a slogan commonly used to protest against the anti-gay attitudes of Islam. 

No it isn't. Gay people would not protest anti-gay attitudes in Islam by doing that but the far right would and do frequently. I am a member of one such virulent right wing fb group who regularly showed pictures of Allah with make up on or wearing a dress and saying he was gay.It had nothing to do with gays it's just they hate Muslims. 

> Should a policeman enforce blasphemy edicts like this?

He isn't enforcing blasphemy laws he is enforcing the law. If you were a policeman do you think it would be OK if someone unfurled a massive banner from a bridge that said Allah is gay? Of course not as it is designed to incite trouble. 

Post edited at 19:42
3
Coel Hellier 22 May 2019
In reply to Pefa:

> The vast majority in Russia wish it was still socialist, the people in former socialist European countries deeply regret giving up on socialism and all the incredible benefits for the masses.

So why don't they vote for it then?

> Are people in Cuba voting to get rid of socialism after 60 years, no, they love it and confirmed this recently.

Elections in Cuba are not exactly free elections in which anyone can stand for election.

Post edited at 19:53
1
Coel Hellier 22 May 2019
In reply to Pefa:

> Gay people would not protest anti-gay attitudes in Islam by doing that ....

Oh but they do!   (e.g. https://www.ex-muslim.org.uk/tag/allah-is-gay/  Feel free to accuse Maryam Namazie of being "far right").

> If you were a policeman do you think it would be OK if someone unfurled a massive banner from a bridge that said Allah is gay?

Why would an "Allah is gay" placard at a political rally be any worse than "Tories, Tories, Tories, out, out, out" or "capitalism sucks" or similar?

Post edited at 20:01
Jon Stewart 22 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> But they do. 

Just to clarify, you're saying that Muslims cause more harm than other groups, so when you meet a Muslim you're confident that they're more likely to cause harm to others than a person picked at random, as a result of the their religious observance. Does this make you suspicious of Muslims? Less likely to engage with them positively?

I'm afraid I think that's an unhealthy attitude towards people of another culture.

> The Islamic world is, on most indicators, a less-desirable place to live than most Western countries.  Much of the reason for that is the harm caused to those countries by Islam.

> In the same way, most countries run along communist lines were/are much worse places to live than those with free-market economies along with some social redistribution of wealth. 

I agree on both accounts. But I don't see it as evidence that Muslims or communists cause harm by following their ideology. I see it as evidence that there are better ways to organise national governance.

> We can see that Islam is harmful by looking at its content and ideas.

When I try to look at the content and ideas of Islam, I find the same old contradictory bollocks I see any religion. The first problem is (despite being told that the Koran is literal and prescriptive) that I don't know what it's on about, because the language is anachronistic and the intentions in the content are utterly opaque. Then we know that the interpretations vary wildly: for some it's all peace and love, and for others it's all beheading apostates.

You're settled on your position that the "ideas and content" are concrete enough to identify as the cause of bad outcomes in the Islamic world, but when I look, I just see a load of bollocks that I can't make head nor tail of. This is totally different to looking at the ideas of white supremacists, whose ideas can be quickly and accurately understood and dismissed as harmful. 

The fact that you think it's valid to compare white supremacy as an ideology to Islam just shows an impoverished understanding of the subject matter and total lack of humility or openness. It's depressing. All I'm suggesting is that the world is complicated and that it's unhelpful and inaccurate to try to reduce enormous complex issues to banal and divisive statements like "Islam is bad". There's no need to come down on either side, to make a binary judgement of "Islam is good" or "Islam is bad". There are far better ways to engage in a discussion about culture and religion, that don't involve being arrogant or stupid. It's unnecessary.

> Just as generally supporting Islam spreads ideas that are harmful.

I think that Muslim parents could very well bring up their kids to be lovely, charitable, caring people who contribute hugely to our society. Or they could bring up nutty jihadists. Whereas knowing that someone is a white supremacist, we know that spreading their views will be harmful. It's just wrong to say that about Muslims, and it's the kind of unpleasant, prejudiced, divisive crap that impedes our progress as a society. 

What kind of society do you want to live in? One with no Muslims? Well tough shit, there's loads of them. So maybe we'd be better working towards a society in which people don't feel suspicion or hatred towards those who don't share all of the same culture. Isn't that a better, more useful goal, than showing (by simplistic and fallacious arguments) that "Islam is bad"?

3
Pefa 22 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> So why don't they vote for it then?

They know what would happen, they would be attacked by the USA. 

> Elections in Cuba are not exactly free elections in which anyone can stand for election.

Yes they are and anyone can stand for election. 

5
Jon Stewart 22 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> It's a video of a policeman confiscating a sign at a political rally because the sign says "Allah is Gay" -- a slogan commonly used to protest against the anti-gay attitudes of Islam. 

I have to admit that "Allah is Gay" raises a smirk, but it's obviously intended to publicly ridicule people's scared beliefs, and as such isn't at all constructive so isn't the kind of thing I would support.

> Should a policeman enforce blasphemy edicts like this?

That's a really silly way to frame the issue, and shows you're blindly following the twitter guy and not really interested in thinking about it. The policeman isn't enforcing blasphemy edicts: I'm quite confident whatever policy he's working under (if any) has got nothing to say about Allah. I don't think it's generally right to censor that message in that way. But I also appreciate that if someone holds up a placard with something on that's clearly intended to antagonise another group in order to start a fight between mobs, then intervention is necessary. I can't make the decision about what text in what context is going to justify that intervention - but I don't support "anything goes - just deal with the fall-out" since keeping people out of hospital is the higher priority than political expression in this context. It's a difficult case of competing priorities.

Coel Hellier 22 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Just to clarify, you're saying that Muslims cause more harm than other groups, so when you meet a Muslim you're confident that they're more likely to cause harm to others than a person picked at random, as a result of the their religious observance. Does this make you suspicious of Muslims? Less likely to engage with them positively?

Not really, no.  The "harm" done by such idea systems occurs when they dominate a society, rather than being the result of individuals.  It's like communism.  A few communists in the UK do no harm.  If anything they are quaint and endearing for their naivety (sorry Pefa!).  It's when such ideas dominate a society that they are harmful.

> When I try to look at the content and ideas of Islam, I find the same old contradictory bollocks I see any religion.

I can readily give you a quck summary of thy Islamic ideas are harmful (and more so than those of other religions, though of course they suffer from similar themselves).

> You're settled on your position that the "ideas and content" are concrete enough to identify as the cause of bad outcomes in the Islamic world, but when I look, I just see a load of bollocks that I can't make head nor tail of.

Well maybe that's you don't regard them as dangerous!   You could try reading some of the critiques of Islam, such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali's "Heretic" or Ali Rivzi's "The atheist Muslim".

> The fact that you think it's valid to compare white supremacy as an ideology to Islam just shows an impoverished understanding of the subject matter and total lack of humility or openness.

But you've just stated that you don't know much about Islam.  So on what basis are you judging?

Islam (in its mainstream incarnations) is *also* a supremecist doctrine!  That's one of the problems with it, that Islam says that Islam is God's revealing truth, his instruction kit for how humans should live, a doctrine that will (over time) end up dominating the word, and that it is morally laudable to promote that end.

Indeed, if one regards Islam and the Koran as God's perfect and complete revelation to the world, his Will for how things should be, how can that not be a "supremecist" doctrine?   The fact that Islam generally doesn't accept church/state seperation, and doesn't really accept democracy (how can God's instructions be up for voting on?) are symptoms of this.

> All I'm suggesting is that the world is complicated ...

Agreed.

> ... and that it's unhelpful and inaccurate to try to reduce enormous complex issues to banal and divisive statements like "Islam is bad".

Ok, we'll we can disagree on that.  I consider it accurate and useful to summarise Islam like that.   I don't see how you can claim that that "shows an impoverished understanding of the subject matter" when you're the one who says he can't  "make head nor tail of" Islam.

> What kind of society do you want to live in? One with no Muslims?

A pluralistic one with individual liberties and free speech and the right to criticise religions, since that can prevent harmful ideologies becoming powerful enough to be a problem.

4
Jon Stewart 22 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Not really, no.  The "harm" done by such idea systems occurs when they dominate a society, rather than being the result of individuals. 

So, it's simplistic and inaccurate to say that they're "harmful ideologies", but sensible to say that there are better ways to govern and organise society.

> I can readily give you a quck summary of thy Islamic ideas are harmful...You could try reading some of the critiques of Islam, such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali's "Heretic" or Ali Rivzi's "The atheist Muslim".

I'm sure their criticism is compelling - what I have heard from ex-Muslims generally is. But that's only one side of the argument, it's not the truth! You have a view about Islam, and then you seek out those who provide the reasons for you. A devout Muslim scholar who believes that Islam promotes peace and love is going to give a completely different account.

> But you've just stated that you don't know much about Islam.  So on what basis are you judging?

I'm not judging. I thought I'd made that clear.

> Islam (in its mainstream incarnations) is *also* a supremecist doctrine!  That's one of the problems with it, that Islam says that Islam is God's revealing truth, his instruction kit for how humans should live...

You say that, but my Muslim friends disagree. You take an interpretation of Islam that isn't universal and you falsely present it as such. You don't know more about Islam than them, so I believe them and I don't think you know what you're talking about. What you do know all comes from sources that have an agenda against Islam, and doesn't consider any counter-arguments. It's a half-baked position.

If I want to form an intelligent opinion on drugs policy, I wouldn't only listen to the arguments of parents whose children had died from taking ecstasy. This is what you seem to have done in forming your views on Islam.

> Ok, we'll we can disagree on that.  I consider it accurate and useful to summarise Islam like that.   I don't see how you can claim that that "shows an impoverished understanding of the subject matter" when you're the one who says he can't  "make head nor tail of" Islam.

I'm not pretending to have a good understanding of Islam, or be able to summarise the entire religion in a binary judgement of good or bad. You are, and yet I don't see any evidence that you've considered any variety of viewpoints, only that you've sought out reasons to support a anti-Islam position. It's unconvincing.

> A pluralistic one with individual liberties and free speech and the right to criticise religions, since that can prevent harmful ideologies becoming powerful enough to be a problem.

You're totally misguided if you think that posting on the internet how "Islam is bad" helps prevent the destructive elements of Islam become powerful. If anything it does the opposite: as a tactic, it's foolish.

Post edited at 21:41
3
Pefa 22 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Oh but they do!   (e.g. https://www.ex-muslim.org.uk/tag/allah-is-gay/  Feel free to accuse Maryam Namazie of being "far right").

OK I'll give you that one. 

Niave? Nah I have many friends from former socialist countries who wish they had free health care again, full employment, worker control of workplaces, free education and child care, Higher quality food and security etc just like they had before. It's British who don't know anything about it just like they don't want to face the effects of the most harmful ideology the world has known. Perhaps its because capitalism came from here that we cannot face what it has done to our humanity and the planet. I don't know. 

1
Stichtplate 22 May 2019
In reply to Pefa:

>  Perhaps its because capitalism came from here that we cannot face what it has done to our humanity and the planet. I don't know. 

We didn't invent money.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_money

We didn't invent capitalism.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitalism

While we're on your favourite topic of the evils of The West and Britain in particular: we didn't invent slavery.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery

and we didn't invent warfare either.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War

Instead of wasting all your time on here spouting utter bollocks, why don't you read a couple of books then come back here for a proper grown up discussion without constantly embarrassing yourself.

Post edited at 22:47
Pefa 22 May 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

Modern capitalism came from Britain and Holland. 

And you can put all that straw away now. 

1
FactorXXX 22 May 2019
In reply to Pefa:

Simple question:

Where would you rather have lived in the 1950's/60's/70's/80's/90's: USSR or UK?

Pefa 22 May 2019
In reply to FactorXXX:

USSR. I don't want to derail this thread onto something else I'll bail out. 

2
Neil Williams 23 May 2019
In reply to Pefa:

Wow.  I can understand people who like the Communist ideal, but really?  The Soviet Union was not a great place to live at all - people were really quite poor.  You can see how much so many wanted out - particularly the likes of East Germany.

Post edited at 00:31
captain paranoia 23 May 2019
In reply to Pefa:

> USSR.

Did you ever visit during that period...?

deepsoup 23 May 2019
In reply to Neil Williams:

> people were really quite poor. 

I think it's fair to say that Pefa tends to take a more rosy view of the USSR, and especially of Stalin than most.

But people are often really quite poor under capitalism too, and for those people it isn't much help that people on average are better off or that some people are absolutely filthy rich. 

Think of food rationing during WW2 here - a desperate measure for desperate times.  But for many of the poorest people in the country at the time rationing actually improved their quality of life.

People are oppressed under capitalism too, and it isn't much consolation to them that they're being singled out for oppression on the basis of their race, religion or whatever as opposed to living under a system that's leaning on everybody.  If you happened to be poor and black, would life have really been worse in East Germany in the '50s than under the apartheid regime in (say) Alabama at the time?  Nah, probably not.

Pefa is also looking at this from a female perspective.  It isn't hard to imagine why some women in Afghanistan might feel nostalgic about the USSR, for example.  For them the liberation of the country from Soviet occupation turned out to be anything but liberating.

In the context of East Germany:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/12/opinion/why-women-had-better-sex-under-socialism.html

Coel Hellier 23 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> You have a view about Islam, and then you seek out those who provide the reasons for you. A devout Muslim scholar who believes that Islam promotes peace and love is going to give a completely different account.

So then see who is right be seeing how Islam does play out in nations where Islam is dominant, and compare that to other nations. 

For example, does the experience of the Ahmaddi minority in Pakistan suggest that the dominant form of Islam "promotes peace and love"?

And, when doing the above test, take a straightforward "Islam is as Islam does" attitude.     If you're continually resorting to "well that's not *real* Islam ..." then you're acting as a apologist, not dealing with the facts as they are. 

> You're totally misguided if you think that posting on the internet how "Islam is bad" helps prevent the destructive elements of Islam become powerful.

I disagree; one of the hopeful signs is a current orgy of secularist and atheistic thought in the Islamic world, enabled and promoted by the internet

Offwidth 23 May 2019
Jon Stewart 23 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> So then see who is right be seeing how Islam does play out in nations where Islam is dominant, and compare that to other nations. 

Why is it so difficult for you to grasp that there's no meaning in "seeing who is right"? There is no answer, because each view refers to a different manifestation of Islam. Both views are reasonable on their own terms and neither considers all possible views on a vast, complex picture. There's no need for a binary judgment. 

> For example, does the experience of the Ahmaddi minority in Pakistan suggest that the dominant form of Islam "promotes peace and love"?

Does the oppression of the Palestinians in the west bank provide proof that Judaism is a harmful ideology? Or would that strike you as a stupid, simplistic, inflammatory way to view that situation? 

> If you're continually resorting to "well that's not *real* Islam ..." then you're acting as a apologist, not dealing with the facts as they are. 

I'm not. 

> I disagree; one of the hopeful signs is a current orgy of secularist and atheistic thought in the Islamic world, enabled and promoted by the internet

While I'm glad of the growth of secularism in the Islamic world, I do not believe that a single mind has ever been changed by online content as banal and divisive as yours. 

2
Stichtplate 23 May 2019
In reply to deepsoup:

> I think it's fair to say that Pefa tends to take a more rosy view of the USSR, and especially of Stalin than most.

> But people are often really quite poor under capitalism too, and for those people it isn't much help that people on average are better off or that some people are absolutely filthy rich. 

> People are oppressed under capitalism too, and it isn't much consolation to them that they're being singled out for oppression on the basis of their race, religion or whatever as opposed to living under a system that's leaning on everybody.  If you happened to be poor and black, would life have really been worse in East Germany in the '50s than under the apartheid regime in (say) Alabama at the time?  Nah, probably not.

The difference is Pefa is continually telling everyone who'll listen that communism is the perfect system, hardcore Stalinist communism at that, not the wishy-washy, post 1956 variant. Nobody is on here saying that capitalism is perfect, nobody is even saying that aspects of it aren't deeply unfair, and absolutely nobody is defending apartheid or race segregation.

Coel Hellier 23 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Why is it so difficult for you to grasp that there's no meaning in "seeing who is right"? There is no answer, because each view refers to a different manifestation of Islam.

This is just a tactic to disallow criticism of Islam.   Claim that the different strands of Islam are so diverse and different that they can't even be talked about in the same breath. 

Well, there is commonality among the major strands of Islam (not universality, obviously), and it is entirely fair to consider whether Islam, considered as a whole, is a beneficial or harmful set of ideas. 

> Does the oppression of the Palestinians in the west bank provide proof that Judaism is a harmful ideology?

Israel/Palestine is one place and one situation.  It would be wrong to damn a religion based on *one* item of evidence, since there are all sorts of other factors. 

But now suppose there were 20 states where a particular religion was dominant, scattered across the world, and suppose that in many or most of those  cases the result was a situation akin to that of Israel/Palestine.  Then that would indeed be strong evidence that that religion was harmful.  

> I do not believe that a single mind has ever been changed by online content as banal and divisive as yours. 

That's one of the many attempts to try to disallow criticism of Islam. This time by saying it is ineffective.   Well, I think that being able to say openly and directly that Islam is harmful is a necessary part of a free society.  And it's amazing how many spend a lot of energy trying to disallow that opinion.  

2
TobyA 23 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Israel/Palestine is one place and one situation.  It would be wrong to damn a religion based on *one* item of evidence, since there are all sorts of other factors. 

> But now suppose there were 20 states where a particular religion was dominant, scattered across the world, and suppose that in many or most of those  cases the result was a situation akin to that of Israel/Palestine.  Then that would indeed be strong evidence that that religion was harmful.  

That's a childish level of the use of "evidence". Equally we could say: there is one "Jewish state" in the world, which is also the only state where Jews are the majority of the population. So 100% of Jewish states are using their military to occupy territory surround them and maintain control over a religious and ethnically different population. No where near 100% of "Muslim countries" are doing similar. So QED Judaism is "worse" than Islam.

That's no more ridiculous than what you're trying to argue.

3
Coel Hellier 23 May 2019
In reply to TobyA:

> That's no more ridiculous than what you're trying to argue.

Come on Toby, you can surely see the difference between a single data point (from which you can't conclude anything much) and a pattern seen in 20 data points. 

TheDrunkenBakers 23 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

Hmm, wasnt this thread about abortion laws in Alabama?

Jon Stewart 23 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> This is just a tactic to disallow criticism of Islam.   Claim that the different strands of Islam are so diverse and different that they can't even be talked about in the same breath. 

I'm not disallowing anything, I'm criticising your position. While one person will argue that "Islam is bad", referring to social outcomes in Islamic nations, another will look instead at all the good done by individual Muslims the world over and claim that Islam is responsible. The complexity of the issue lies not only in the diversity of contradictory ideas all apparently originating in the Koran, but also in how they are manifest. It's not useful or sensible to make a simplistic binary judgment. 

> Israel/Palestine is one place and one situation.  It would be wrong to damn a religion based on *one* item of evidence, since there are all sorts of other factors. 

> But now suppose there were 20 states where a particular religion was dominant, scattered across the world, and suppose that in many or most of those  cases the result was a situation akin to that of Israel/Palestine.  Then that would indeed be strong evidence that that religion was harmful.  

There is no natural experiment here that compares religions and reveals which are "bad". Just lots of very complex interrelated facts about the world that don't divide neatly into categories of "good" and "bad". 

> That's one of the many attempts to try to disallow criticism of Islam. This time by saying it is ineffective.   Well, I think that being able to say openly and directly that Islam is harmful is a necessary part of a free society.  And it's amazing how many spend a lot of energy trying to disallow that opinion.  

I'm not disallowing anything, I'm criticising your position. Because it's ineffective, divisive, unhelpful and simplistic. 

2
Coel Hellier 23 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> While one person will argue that "Islam is bad", referring to social outcomes in Islamic nations, ...

Well it's not an assessment *just* of the social outcomes, it's a rounded assessment including such outcomes, and the doctrines of the religion, and much other stuff.

> ... another will look instead at all the good done by individual Muslims the world over and claim that Islam is responsible.

OK, so to assess the claim, compare "good done by individual Muslims" with "good done by individual non-Muslims".  Is the former, in general, clearly and notably greater than the latter?  If so then, yes, that person would be making a strong argument. 

> It's not useful or sensible to make a simplistic binary judgment. 

Maybe not, but it is appropriate and sensible to make a reasoned and considered assessment after considering a wide range of factors, and then reporting that in an overall summary.

> There is no natural experiment here that compares religions and reveals which are "bad". Just lots of very complex interrelated facts about the world that don't divide neatly into categories of "good" and "bad". 

Sure, it's complex and there are a range of factors involved.  But nothing about that means it is invalid to ask the question of whether the package of ideas we call "Islam" is overall a beneficial or a harmful influence on the world. 

> I'm not disallowing anything, I'm criticising your position. Because it's ineffective, divisive, unhelpful and simplistic. 

You can say that sort of thing as often as you like -- but to me it's merely an attempt to disallow criticism of Islam.  There are a range of tactics that people have developed to do that. One is the "Islamophobia" ploy.  Your tactic is to try to deny that Islam even exists as a set of ideas with enough similarity that one can fairly examine them, and thus to poo-poo any such criticism as "ineffective, divisive, unhelpful and simplistic".

2
Jon Stewart 23 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> An interesting article

Yes. Personally I'd rather distance myself from these people than trot out the same rubbish as them. 

TobyA 23 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

In IR your data set for state-based analysis can't be more 195, and introduce a couple of variables and you'll be dealing with 1 or 2. 

You're picking one variable, not at random, but because that's the point you want to make. Take your "20" data points and see how many of them are also post colonial societies. From a quick mental scan I suspect almost all your supposedly Muslim states are also ex European colonies. So why is the religion the only factor you want to suggest is the determinant in their international relations?

Coel Hellier 23 May 2019
In reply to TobyA:

> From a quick mental scan I suspect almost all your supposedly Muslim states are also ex European colonies.

So one can then compare Islamic ex-colonies with non-Islamic ex-colonies.   This stuff is not impossible.

> So why is the religion the only factor you want to suggest is the determinant in their international relations?

It's not. Have I ever said that?  Why is Islam the only factor that you want to deny can ever have any relevance? 

2
TobyA 23 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> So one can then compare Islamic ex-colonies with non-Islamic ex-colonies.   This stuff is not impossible.

I'm sure it is not impossible but you never do that because it wouldn't make the point you want to make.

2
Coel Hellier 23 May 2019
In reply to TobyA:

> I'm sure it is not impossible but you never do that ...

We never get as far as actually discussing the merits and demerits of Islam, since we always get stuck on the right to have such a debate at all  (as opposed to starting from the axiom: "It's believed mainly by brown people, therefore it can't be bad").

Anyhow, as I've repeatedly said, the ex-Muslims and reformist Muslims are better placed than I am to argue the merits and demerits of Islam.  So I'm mostly sticking to what such reformers ask for, which is support for the right to freely debate and criticise Islam, without being confined to discussing it only within the terms allowed by Islamists and their fellow travelers. 

1
TobyA 23 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> It's not. Have I ever said that? 

It's your constant argument. You have picked your conclusion and spend the vast majority of your posts on here trying to prove it. This is thread about abortion law in Alabama and you've spent the last 50 posts or something going on about Islam and communism!

5
Coel Hellier 23 May 2019
In reply to TobyA:

> It's your constant argument. You have picked your conclusion and spend the vast majority of your posts on here trying to prove it.

That's just not so.  I don't really discuss the evidence for my conclusion and I don't really try to prove it here -- I'm way too busy defending the right to merely express the conclusion, and even the right to ask such questions.

No-one here is interested in actually discussing the merits and demerits of Islam, they're just interested in trying to invalidate any such discussion.

> This is thread about abortion law in Alabama and you've spent the last 50 posts or something going on about Islam and communism!

Blame Offwidth for that.   He was the one who diverted the thread by having a go at me about those topics; I'm just defending myself and defending the legitimacy of expressing such views.  It's the very fact that such as Offwidth try to shut down such opinions that leads me to keep expressing them. 

Post edited at 16:07
2
Offwidth 23 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

My segue was because I think threats to liberalism in the west have more import to the west than threats to lliberalism in developing countries and you not only failed to criticise this serious outcome of conservatism in religion in the so called 'leader of the free world' you effectively acted as an apologist making bogus excuses seemingly related to being due to the debating intransigence  of the political left (which doesn't even really exist in any significant number in the US), as if religious bigots gave a shit about what liberals (or anyone else disagreeing for that matter) think.

I'm not shutting down any debate... how on earth can I do that? Alabama is though, for those who believe in the very clear evidence based case for abortion rights. The religious demography of their democracy won't allow changes through that route any time soon. I expect representatives to behave responsibly in the face of evidence and not just be a figurehead for the religious mobbe. If they disagree there should be detailed reasons why, not just god said so.

Post edited at 17:32
Coel Hellier 23 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> and you not only failed to criticise this serious outcome of conservatism in religion ...

There's a vast number of things I fail to criticise. Ditto yourself.  I'm sure I could check all your posts this week and find lots of bad things you'd failed to criticise.   But I would not then adopt your tactic of claiming that therefore you were an "apologist" for those things.

> ... you effectively acted as an apologist making bogus excuses ...

Wrong, you're imagining things.

> ...  being due to the debating intransigence  of the political left (which doesn't even really exist in any significant number in the US),

Oh yes it does (cf AOC, cf Sanders).

>  ... as if religious bigots gave a shit about what liberals (or anyone else disagreeing for that matter) think.

Oh but they do.  Really, they do, indeed they're often quite touchy.  And, as so often for those on the left nowadays, you fail to take into account the middle ground where a great many people are, people who are persuadable.  

As you see it, there are only clear-cut left-wingers and the alt-right.  So you just insult anyone not a clear-cut left-winger as though they were alt-right, and thus alienate swathes of moderates. 

2
Thrudge 23 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> The complexity of the issue lies not only in the diversity of contradictory ideas all apparently originating in the Koran, but also in how they are manifest. It's not useful or sensible to make a simplistic binary judgment. 

Nazism promoted physical health and well being, strength, athleticism, stoicism, personal responsibility and hard work. It seems like a bad ideology overall, but it's not useful or sensible to make a simplistic binary judgment.

See how that works? Overviews can be valid. 

1
Pefa 23 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

What is your view on the moderately socialist pan-Arabism that was around in the late 60s in which many sections of muslim countries around the middle east were relatively secular compared to today but were actively turned on by the western countries for being non-aligned or for having some ties to the Soviet Union ? At that time with the spead of socialism and national liberation movements throughout the world after the Soviets defeated fascism the muslim world was taken over from Algeria,Libya,Egypt to Indonesia by a very secular form of moderately socialist Islam, the extremist forms of Islam in these countries however was still present and probably in the majority in some but not all however the West courted them resulting in the tide of secular islam being defeated.
Now you can show that the West attacks any form of moderate Socialism, even democracy or people control over their own lands and resources anywhere it pops up so they would continue in that vein for this particular wave in this particular part of the world, but in doing so there must be a huge responsibility placed on the western countries and their trans national corporations for pushing the muslim world in a direction that has led to the extremist, practically fascist forms of islam that are causing all the problems.

You cant support the islamist extremists and their form of islamic idealogy 100% in the war against secular muslims and then moan that we now have a world where the dominant islam is extremist can you? I mean it is what we have created.
I mean look at one out of a dozen glaring examples like Syria where a secular moderate form of Islam where Christains ,Sunnis,Shia,Yazidis, Kurds all lived happily together until we decided to crush that using the same international army of islamo-fascist terrorists that we used in Afghanistan in 1980s.
I am as much if not much more opposed to this extremist form of islamic ideology that the West and that is all British governments support to the hilt, in fact use to spread more imperialism.

This is a major contradiction i see in your and others views on the current situation with regards the islamic world.

Post edited at 18:55
1
Offwidth 23 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I think the evidence shows the swathes of US moderates are already concerned about Alabama. Trump is concerned. The only ones who don't care are the conservative religious right. Even some on the alt right are complaining (whilst taking a sideswipe at the liberals) as per Pan Ron's link.

Those left groups are tiny minorities compared to the average Democrat numbers if you look at any US voting demographics. The fact the left is growing in numbers is really a reaction to the rightwards lurch of the Republicans. Its a shock to many that the Democrats now have a few elected socialists.

Post edited at 19:36
Coel Hellier 23 May 2019
In reply to Pefa:

> You cant support the islamist extremists and their form of islamic idealogy 100% in the war against secular muslims and then moan that we now have a world where the dominant islam is extremist can you? I mean it is what we have created.

I would agree to quite an extent that Western foreign policy has made big mistakes.  For example the US created the Afghanistan Taliban, by funding and supplying weapons to Islamist groups who were then fighting the Soviet invasion.

The rationale was that the Soviets were the prime enemy, and highly-religious American considered that religion was a good thing (certainly compared to the Soviets), so didn't see promoting Islamist groups as a problem.  Until 9/11 that is.

>  I mean look at one out of a dozen glaring examples like Syria where a secular moderate form of Islam where Christains ,Sunnis,Shia,Yazidis, Kurds all lived happily together until we decided to crush that using the same international army of islamo-fascist terrorists ...

I'm not sure that this "all lived happily together" until the West intervened is an accurate summary of the recent history of Syria. 

> This is a major contradiction i see in your and others views on the current situation with regards the islamic world.

I agree that Western policy has been flawed. As I said, Western nations have been way too ready to regard religion as automatically a good thing.**  Bush, Blair, Obama and others would all chorus together: "It's nothing to do with Islam" and "Islam is a religion of peace".  

**Just for example, most of the West still thinks of "promotion of religion" as being worthy of tax-exempt charitable status.

1
Jon Stewart 23 May 2019
In reply to Thrudge:

> Nazism promoted physical health and well being, strength, athleticism, stoicism, personal responsibility and hard work. It seems like a bad ideology overall, but it's not useful or sensible to make a simplistic binary judgment.

> See how that works? Overviews can be valid. 

This has already been covered - I gave the example of white supremacy as an ideology I regard as harmful and gave reasons I made that judgement, while I wouldn't with Islam and communism (where I think the binary "good or  bad" judgement is simplistic and silly). Coel then made the same point about Nazism and I referred him to the reasons I'd already given for white supremacy as the arguments are the same.

Jon Stewart 23 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> OK, so to assess the claim, compare "good done by individual Muslims" with "good done by individual non-Muslims".  Is the former, in general, clearly and notably greater than the latter?  If so then, yes, that person would be making a strong argument. 

By the same token, your view about Islamic nations would have some merit if you were comparing similar nations with and without the influence of Islam, but you're not. In fact, I don't even know what comparison you're trying to make, you seem to be just looking at Islamic nations and saying that you don't like the look of them. (Nor do I, but I don't see that as "evidence" that my friends follow a "harmful ideology").

> Maybe not, but it is appropriate and sensible to make a reasoned and considered assessment after considering a wide range of factors, and then reporting that in an overall summary.

Not when that describes ordinary people's sacred beliefs as a "harmful ideology". That makes it divisive and unhelpful because it contributes to distrust of Muslims in this country stirred up by the far right. Personally, I would be ashamed to be contributing to an anti-Islamic political movement spearheaded by racists, by parroting their talking points. It turns my stomach.

> Sure, it's complex and there are a range of factors involved.  But nothing about that means it is invalid to ask the question of whether the package of ideas we call "Islam" is overall a beneficial or a harmful influence on the world. 

I would ask, what's the point in asking the question? We can't decide whether to have Islam in our society, or not to have it. It's a very large religion, and you've got to live together in society with lots of Muslims. Either you can see them as equals, and think openly about their beliefs, listening to what they tell you, or you can spend your time stirring up distrust and division. You choose to align yourself with the far right and do the latter. I think you've made a bad call there.

I would be horrified if someone in my family was to convert to Islam and bring up their kids that way, even the most moderate versions my Muslim friends follow. But that doesn't mean I feel the need to spend my time online promoting anti-Islamic politics, because I'd be equally horrified if they converted to any religion.

> You can say that sort of thing as often as you like -- but to me it's merely an attempt to disallow criticism of Islam. 

You're wrong. If you make a criticism that is sufficiently sophisticated to target the harmful elements of Islam and don't insult my Muslim friends, I'll agree with you. But you make silly, simplistic statements that wouldn't sound out of place at a post-Farage UKIP rally, and I criticise you for it. Nothing's being disallowed, you're making that up so it fits with your "freedom of speech" line, which is entirely irrelevant to our disagreement.

Pefa 23 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> I would agree to quite an extent that Western foreign policy has made big mistakes.  For example the US created the Afghanistan Taliban, by funding and supplying weapons to Islamist groups who were then fighting the Soviet invasion.

It could be considered a mistake if you made it once but to do it every time shows it as a policy of the Western countries to crush secular Islam. I'm sure I don't have to state all the places this happened but you can see it everywhere from Egypt under Nasser to Indonesia under Sukarno. 

> The rationale was that the Soviets were the prime enemy, and highly-religious American considered that religion was a good thing (certainly compared to the Soviets), so didn't see promoting Islamist groups as a problem.  Until 9/11 that is.

Yes that is indeed true as Brzezinski stated later but if this Western policy of attacking secular Islam ended on 9/11 how come we repeated practically the same policy toward Syria from 2011 and in Libya that year? 

> I'm not sure that this "all lived happily together" until the West intervened is an accurate summary of the recent history of Syria. 

The only group that were used by the west  in Syria to attack the secular moderately Islamic government was the remnants of the fanatical Muslim brotherhood and Jumblatt recommended them to Cheney when he enquired in 2003 which is only 2 years after 9/11.So we have an extremist islamist movement being courted and then used once again. 

No one will deny that the only people who wanted to attack the Libyan government in Libya were also Islamic fascists and it is those which we helped in 2011 to destroy the Libyan government and with it the moderate Islam and secularism there. 

> I agree that Western policy has been flawed. As I said, Western nations have been way too ready to regard religion as automatically a good thing.**  Bush, Blair, Obama and others would all chorus together: "It's nothing to do with Islam" and "Islam is a religion of peace".  

A flaw if you want to call it that which has nonetheless ensured that we have helped all Islamo -fascist movements defeat all moderate and secular Islamic movements. 

> **Just for example, most of the West still thinks of "promotion of religion" as being worthy of tax-exempt charitable status.

Yes however the moderate Islamic governments and movements though secular were still religious and you can also find that, other than Afghanistan there has been no Muslim country governed by extreme sharia laws as such that we have attacked. They are all our Allies. 

Post edited at 22:26
Pan Ron 23 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> You're wrong. If you make a criticism that is sufficiently sophisticated to target the harmful elements of Islam and don't insult my Muslim friends, I'll agree with you. But you make silly, simplistic statements that wouldn't sound out of place at a post-Farage UKIP rally, and I criticise you for it. Nothing's being disallowed, you're making that up so it fits with your "freedom of speech" line, which is entirely irrelevant to our disagreement.

So what you're saying is...

If you frame your argument in a way I don't agree with, what you say is little different from Farage. Essentially, insufficient nuance, watering down, and caveats in an arguement and you are pond scum.

Yet you are surprised that dictating the terms of debate like this is seen as preventing discourse?  You basically go straight to DEFCON1 when viewing a moderate or right-of-centre (or what would have been until recently potentially a left leaning) arguement.

1
Jon Stewart 23 May 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

Read the article on far right anti-islam trolls posted above and see how many of the same talking points you can spot. Just think of it like a game of bingo.

Have fun!

Coel Hellier 23 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> your view about Islamic nations would have some merit if you were comparing similar nations with and without the influence of Islam, but you're not.

Sometimes you can (e.g. Pakistan & Bangladesh vs India).

> In fact, I don't even know what comparison you're trying to make, ...

I'm including a wide range of factors in my assessment, not only about outcomes but also about the ideologies themselves.

> .... you seem to be just looking at Islamic nations and saying that you don't like the look of them. (Nor do I, but I don't see that as "evidence" that my friends follow a "harmful ideology").

So what don't you like about Islamic nations and what causes it?

> Not when that describes ordinary people's sacred beliefs as a "harmful ideology". 

I don't agree that people considering their beliefs "sacred" places them outside normal modes of criticism.

> Personally, I would be ashamed to be contributing to an anti-Islamic political movement spearheaded by racists, by parroting their talking points.

Whereas I am contributing to the anti-Islamic movement spearheaded by ex-Muslims who come from those communities and are very critical of Islam, seeing it as an authoritarian, harmful and indeed fascist system.  I am proud to stand alongside such people. 

> I would ask, what's the point in asking the question? We can't decide whether to have Islam in our society, or not to have it.

The point of asking about merits and demerits of Islam is to promote secular and reformist attitudes in Islamic communities and through the Islamic world.  The point is to try to persuade people.   It's the same point of any other aspect of politics! 

> Either you can see them as equals, and think openly about their beliefs, listening to what they tell you,

I do think openly about their beliefs.  I do listen to what they say.

> or you can spend your time stirring up distrust and division.

It is entirely normal to critique ideas.  What I'm doing is no more "stirring up distrust and division" than normal politics does.

> You choose to align yourself with the far right ...

And I also choose to align myself with far-left people such as Maryam Namazie (born in Iran, communist, open-borders advocate, ex-Muslim who sees Islam as hugely harmful).

And how about you Jon, by saying that you can't say "Islam is harmful" you choose to align yourself with fascists who throw gay people off buildings, you choose to align yourself with those who commit terrorist atrocities, you choose to align yourself with people who burn a captured pilot alive to shock the world.  

See how silly that "you choose to align" game is?

> I would be horrified if someone in my family was to convert to Islam and bring up their kids that way, even the most moderate versions my Muslim friends follow.

Err, why?  Do you think there is something wrong with being a Muslim?  Or a member of any other religion?

> If you make a criticism that is sufficiently sophisticated to target the harmful elements of Islam ...

But what if I think that many of the core ideas of Islam are "harmful elements" of it? Is that allowed, or can you not bring yourself to conceive that at a center of a religion might be a set of bad ideas?

1
Coel Hellier 23 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Read the article on far right anti-islam trolls posted above and see how many of the same talking points you can spot.

The response to this is well put by Ali Rizvi:

"The left is wrong on Islam. The right is wrong on Muslims."

The left are wrong to see Islam (the idea system) as benign, it isn't. So yes, the right have got it right about Islam.   (Yes, sorry, they have.)   The right, however, are wrong to see Muslims (the people) as bad people.  So the left have got it right about the *people*. 

https://twitter.com/aliamjadrizvi/status/876817219589722112?lang=en

https://www.vox.com/conversations/2017/7/7/15886862/islam-trump-isis-terrorism-ali-rizvi-religion-sam-harris

https://www.independent.co.uk/topic/ali-rizvi?CMP=ILC-refresh

The left go wrong because of identity politics: Islam is believed by brown people; therefore it can't be bad; only white people can have bad ideas; that's why there's no problem saying that white supremacy and Nazism are bad; but brown-people's ideas such as Islam can't be bad; so anything bad related to Islam must be "nothing to do with Islam", and if we chorus that enough people might actually believe it! 

2
Jon Stewart 23 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I can reply in more detail later, but it would be less frustrating if in every post you didn't misrepresent my position as being "you can't say...". You can say what you like, and I'll disagree with you if I think it's garbage.

I'm saying you're aligned with the far right because you repeat their specific talking points, e.g. "it's ideas not people", "mohammed was an evil rapist", "Islam is violent and imperialistic". That's what I mean when I say "aligned", that's the justification.

Your reasons to say I'm aligned with ISIS are ridiculous, because I'm not saying any of the same things.

Pefa 23 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> The left go wrong because of identity politics: Islam is believed by brown people; therefore it can't be bad; only white people can have bad ideas; that's why there's no problem saying that white supremacy and Nazism are bad; but brown-people's ideas such as Islam can't be bad; so anything bad related to Islam must be "nothing to do with Islam", and if we chorus that enough people might actually believe it! 

I've stated before i agree with some of your points about the extreme forms of Islam but are you saying that these identity political people on the left are so blind as not to see what IS or the Hootus did? Or that Arabs had slaves and attacked us and other "brown people"? 

Jon Stewart 23 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> The left go wrong because of identity politics: Islam is believed by brown people; therefore it can't be bad; only white people can have bad ideas; that's why there's no problem saying that white supremacy and Nazism are bad; but brown-people's ideas such as Islam can't be bad; so anything bad related to Islam must be "nothing to do with Islam", and if we chorus that enough people might actually believe it! 

I'm not going to defend the position you attribute to "the left" when it's nothing like the arguments I've made for thousands of words above. Genuinely, all I ask is that if you're going to respond to me, respond to my arguments. If you want to refute what someone else has said, respond to them.

My position, which can be summarised as "it is unhelpful and divisive to make simplistic statements about Islam" is not "Islam is good", nor is it "criticism of Islam should not be allowed". Please stop arguing against these straw man positions, because they're different to everything I've said.

TobyA 23 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

The Taliban began in the refugee camps in Pakistan, so if we want to completely deny them agency then they are a product of the ISI and Pak policy, not western/US policy. The Taliban swept to power after the differing mujahideen groups - some of which were western backed like Hekmatyer's group in the west and Massoud's in the north - fought amongst themselves post Soviet pullout. Of course they were all Muslim groups, and had gained support from Muslims around the world, but they still all fought each other when ethnic and regional differences seemed more important.

Coel Hellier 24 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> it would be less frustrating if in every post you didn't misrepresent my position as being "you can't say...". You can say what you like, and I'll disagree with you if I think it's garbage.

Well ok, you're not exactly saying "you can't say ...", you've not called for it to be legally banned.   (Offwidth has called for me to be censored on UKC.)

But, instead of treating it as a normal thing to say, part of a normal discussion, you are trying to produce an environment where such things are not said out of social opprobrium. 

That is part of a wider pattern, that's why many are pushing notions of "Islamophobia", to try to control the language, to tone-police the debate and to produce a result where the debate can only be had on terms dictated by Islamists.

> I'm saying you're aligned with the far right because you repeat their specific talking points, e.g. "it's ideas not people", "mohammed was an evil rapist", "Islam is violent and imperialistic".

Well Islam **is** violent and imperialistic!  So was Soviet-style communism.  So was Christianity in the Middle Ages. So was  Nazi ideology.  So was British imperialistic ideology in Victorian times (Amritsar massacre anyone?). 

Why are you against openly discussing these things? 

Just because you can find a "far right" person who says something does not mean that it is wrong!    Especially if you can find far-left and moderate-left people who also think the same thing.

2
Coel Hellier 24 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I'm saying you're aligned with the far right because you repeat their specific talking points,

It's worth noting that your attitude to the "far right" is rather hypocritical, in that generally you're against demonising people.  You're heavily against demonising Muslims (agreed!).  But when it comes to the far right you demonise them to the extent that you think people should even avoid saying anything that they say!

Well, you might reply, that's fair, because by being far right they are openly supporting fascism.

Well, maybe, but then Islam worldwide is pretty much a fascist system (yes it is, according to ex-Muslims who have lived under it), so anyone being openly Muslim is openly supporting a fascist ideology.  

As just one example, isn't this the sort of thing that fascist governments do?  

"The High Court court of Pakistani capital Islamabad ordered Pakistan’s Citizen Authority (NADRA) to provide detailed information on an estimated 10,000 Pakistani citizens who are believed to have changed their religion from Islam to Qadiani [Ahmadiyya]. The court also directed the citizen authority to include their age, names of their parents and their international travel history in the list."

"During the hearing, the court was assisted by Hafiz Hassan Madni, a Professor at the University of Punjab, Lahore. Professor Madni told the court that a person who left Islam for another faith was an ‘apostate’ and deserved a penalty for the act."

https://www.rabwah.net/pakistani-court-orders-list-people-left-islam/amp/

Is that not fascist? People would have no problem regarding it as fascist and unacceptable if it were white people. 

1
Jon Stewart 24 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Haha. I'm not apologising for demonising the fat right! I hate them and they can all go f*ck themselves*. 

I'm against demonising people who've done nothing wrong, but I thought that would be obvious.

*and I do have a problem with the people who support far right ideology, it's not that they're good people but the ideas are bad. It's people with bad ideas that guide their bad actions, making them bad people (which may be explained by external causes). 

Post edited at 13:31
Coel Hellier 24 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Haha. I'm not apologising for demonising the fat right! I hate them and they can all go f*ck themselves*.  I'm against demonising people who've done nothing wrong, but I thought that would be obvious.

So you're happy to demonise people who support fascist and far-right ideas, even if they have personally don't do other things that cause harm.

Isn't that similar to demonising Muslims who support Islam (a fascist ideology, as is pretty obvious if you look around the world), even if they have personally don't do other things that cause harm? 

Jon Stewart 24 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Well, maybe, but then Islam worldwide is pretty much a fascist system (yes it is, according to ex-Muslims who have lived under it), so anyone being openly Muslim is openly supporting a fascist ideology.  

What utter shite. You honestly believe that people like sadiq Khan and sajid javid openly support fascist ideology. That's a ludicrous claim, impossible to take seriously. 

You're just making a false generalisation, and in doing so you align with the far right in their attack on ordinary British Muslims who have done nothing wrong. 

> Is that not fascist? People would have no problem regarding it as fascist and unacceptable if it were white people. 

Who said it was acceptable and not fascist? Did I miss sajid javids endorsement of his Muslim brothers with whom he shares the same fascist ideology? Do they all stand united in defeating the infidel west, and won't rest until the whole world is under sharia law? 

Jon Stewart 24 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> So you're happy to demonise people who support fascist and far-right ideas, even if they have personally don't do other things that cause harm.

> Isn't that similar to demonising Muslims who support Islam (a fascist ideology, as is pretty obvious if you look around the world), even if they have personally don't do other things that cause harm? 

No. Because far right ideology is intrinsically harmful, one cannot be be far right but not a fascist. Whereas it is obviously possible to be a Muslim but not fascist, as evidenced by all the non-fascist Muslims I meet every single day, all the non-fascist Muslims on the telly, all the non-fascist Muslims everywhere.

Your position is looking more like parody than anything - have I been suckered by someone hacking your account? 

Jon Stewart 24 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Can you see any negative consequences that may follow from calling all Muslims fascists? Or do think it's useful and sensible? 

Offwidth 24 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I did indeed call for the site to look at your broad brush anti islamic posts (I have no issue with you outing specific wrongs or with portraying general atheistic philosophy, and often agree with you on those areas). I think what you say and how often you (and others) say it, and those who 'like' it, makes the site very unfriendly for a massively under-represented minority (I can't think of a muslim UKC poster, which is plain weird, given I alone know a fair few muslims who climb). It also potentially opens the site, or its employees, or you, up to potential attack from crazy fringe elements. This is not a soapbox in a street where you have a clear right to exercise your freedom of speech at your own risk: t's a privately owned  forum with rules and Alan could chose to ask you to tone it down. The site censors all sorts of other stuff.

I'd add that in many (particularly post 92) academic institutions what you have said here could have led to you being suspended from work, subject to a disciplinary hearing as their management often take a very dim view of such attitudes, that may link back to them or make their students nervous about fairness of treatment. I think that's wrong in freedom of speech terms,  but I have ended up defending some of those caught up in disciplinary action about more 'tame' online content; it is happening. I've seen rules that say academics are not allowed to make any public online comment in any way linked to the University when talking outside their areas of expertise.

2
Coel Hellier 24 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> You honestly believe that people like sadiq Khan and sajid javid openly support fascist ideology. That's a ludicrous claim, impossible to take seriously. 

Yes, Islam is a fascist ideology, and people like Sadiq Khan and Sajid Javid openly voice support for Islam. 

That's not the same as saying that they personally are fascists, since they might not agree with much of the ideology, despite openly identifying with it.  (In the same way plenty of British people call themselves "Christian" while not believing much of the theology.)

1
Jon Stewart 24 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

You've tied yourself in a knot here. They support a fascist ideology, but they're not personally fascists. Just a bit more detail on how that works would be useful.

Ask them, do you agree with Islam, or do you just identify with it? I think they'll be baffled! 

Post edited at 14:21
Coel Hellier 24 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Because far right ideology is intrinsically harmful, ...

Islamic ideology is also intrinsically harmful.

> Whereas it is obviously possible to be a Muslim but not fascist, as evidenced by all the non-fascist Muslims ...

Yes, one can identify with Islam culturally but not agree with the theology and the ideology.  Such a person would not be a fascist.

In a similar way, Catholic theology is sexist (for example a woman cannot be a priest), but that does not mean that all Catholics are sexist (they might not agree with those particular ideas).

Coel Hellier 24 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> They support a fascist ideology, but they're not personally fascists. Just a bit more detail on how that works would be useful.

I've given you a couple of comparisons to try to illustrate the point.  A label such as "Muslim" or "Christian" can be about cultural identity and tradition and does not necessary imply that such people believe all the theology and ideology of those religions.  For example plenty who call themselves "Christian" don't actually believe in God.

> Ask them, do you agree with Islam, or do you just identify with it? I think they'll be baffled! 

No, it's a sensible question.  If they identify as Muslim you can then ask them about particular ideas within Islam and whether they agree with them.  They may not.    Maajid Nawaz, for example, identifies as a Muslim but openly rejects many ideas core to Islam and calls for reform and wholesale rejection of those ideas.

Coel Hellier 24 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Can you see any negative consequences that may follow from calling all Muslims fascists? Or do think it's useful and sensible? 

I didn't call "all Muslims" fascist, I called Islamic ideology fascist.  See other comments for the distinction.

And yes, I do think that calling Islamic ideology fascist is useful, sensible and indeed necessary.

Aren't you in favour of calling out fascism?

Jon Stewart 24 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> > Because far right ideology is intrinsically harmful, ...

> Islamic ideology is also intrinsically harmful.

> Yes, one can identify with Islam culturally but not agree with the theology and the ideology.  Such a person would not be a fascist.

But all the non-fascist Muslims I'm referring to say that they do believe in the "theology and ideology" - they're devout followers of the faith. You must know more about Islam than they do...which sounds arrogant and stupid to me. 

Some Muslims believe in a fascist version of Islam, while others believe in a non-fascist version. Neither is the "true Islam" but both are manifest extensively all over the world. 

Jon Stewart 24 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> For example plenty who call themselves "Christian" don't actually believe in God.

I'm talking about devout, practicing Muslims. According to you, they're fascists (or they somehow follow fascist ideology without personally being fascists). 

Thrudge 24 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> As you see it, there are only clear-cut left-wingers and the alt-right.  So you just insult anyone not a clear-cut left-winger as though they were alt-right, and thus alienate swathes of moderates. 

Here's a very short documentary on this very subject  ;-)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkL4lVMJqDk

Coel Hellier 24 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> But all the non-fascist Muslims I'm referring to say that they do believe in the "theology and ideology" - they're devout followers of the faith.

But without them being here to tell as about their beliefs, it is unclear to me what they believe. 

I'm quite ready to accept that many people are "cultural Muslims" who identify with Islam for cultural reasons but have rejected much of the ideology.

Then there are many Muslims who do hold to the tenets of Islam that I regard as fascist. 

Without a particular person being present to answer questions I wouldn't want to make presumptions about what they do or do not hold to.

To me, the relevant test would be a set of questions, including questions such as:

Suppose you were to envisage a society in which the majority of people were Muslim, structured how you, as a Muslim would ideally want it.

Would it be ok, in that society, for a person to be brought up in a Muslim family as a Muslim, and then, when he gets to age 25, declare that he now rejects Islam, and doesn't believe in Allah, and considers that Mohammed was a fraud, in that he didn't receive any messages from any angels such as Gabriel, and would it be ok for him to publish his views as a book, and to publicise the book, seeking to persuade others to also renounce Islam?

If they say: "why sure, all of that would be fine, I fully support his right to make his own decision on such matters and to promote his opinion and of course he should suffer no legal penalty at all", then, yes, I salute that person and, sure, they are not a fascist. 

I suspect, however, that a disturbing number of Muslims would not find that conduct acceptable in their ideal society (and that is partly based on what is de facto not allowed in many societies where the majority is indeed Muslim).

Coel Hellier 24 May 2019
In reply to Thrudge:

> Here's a very short documentary on this very subject  ;-)

I think that takes rhetorical exaggeration to a new level!

Jon Stewart 24 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> But without them being here to tell as about their beliefs, it is unclear to me what they believe. 

Well, there's observing/doing the 5 pillars (which I imagine if it's anything like judaism, is most of  what being a Muslim actually involves, following the traditions in practice); then there's the 6 articles of faith, which is a load of mystic gods/prophets/angels malarky, and aren't remotely fascistic. So there's no fascism at this basic level of what it means to be a Muslim.

Then there's the detail of believing that everything in the Koran is true, which is where the fascistic attitudes and behaviours come from. But, what you fail to notice because of your stunted, politically motivated reasoning, is that this is also where "Islamic ideology" splits and diverges into fascist and non-fascist versions. And whether an individual Muslim goes for a fascist or non-fascist interpretation of what the Koran says depends entirely on cultural context. 

So, if you're a judge or whatever in Pakistan, then it's cool to be a fascist, so you are one. That's kind of what people are like, they just do whatever's cool according to the people around them. But if you're the home secretary, or the mayor of London, or a university student, or a consultant paedatrician in the NHS, etc, then being a fascist is really uncool. So you're not one.

This divergence of ideology dependent on cultural context is a huge, irrefutable, empirical fact of the world that anyone, even a child, could see. But you're blind to it. "There is One True Islam, and it is the Islam that I hate because it is fascist!" you say. Why not just look? Is it plausible that Savid Javid is both the Home Secretary and a fascist? Does that not strike you as unlikely, that maybe if your reasoning brings you to that conclusion, then perhaps something has gone awry? All those senior doctors in the NHS, all those nurses, school teachers, care workers, humanitarian aid workers, all putting their life's work into providing for "infidels" - all following a fascist ideology? 

> I'm quite ready to accept that many people are "cultural Muslims" who identify with Islam for cultural reasons but have rejected much of the ideology.

The people I'm talking about have not rejected Islam. They are devout Muslims, and they are definitely not fascists!

> Then there are many Muslims who do hold to the tenets of Islam that I regard as fascist. 

And what are these tenets? Where do they feature, in the 5 pillars and 6 mystic whatnots, or are these so-called "tenets" actually interpretations of the Koran and Hadith which is where we see the huge divergence according to cultural context?

It's screamingly obvious to me that you're denying basic facts about the world: Muslims in different contexts all believe the same mystic gods/prophets/angels stuff, and they observe the same practices (the pillars), but their "ideology" ranges from hardcore fascism (behead pretty much anyone who's not exactly like me) to wishy-washy nothingness that might as well be the "ideology" of reiki spiritual healing rituals. 

Your claim that Islam (or "Islamic ideology" which you seem to now be saying, for some reason I don't get) is a harmful ideology just doesn't bare the scrutiny of comparison with the facts in front of us.

Could ISIS and Sadiq Khan really share the same "fascist ideology"? How would that work or make sense? Can you not see that you must have made a mistake to come to that absurd conclusion?

> To me, the relevant test would be a set of questions, including questions such as:

> Suppose you were to envisage a society in which the majority of people were Muslim, structured how you, as a Muslim would ideally want it...I suspect, however, that a disturbing number of Muslims would not find that conduct acceptable in their ideal society

But that doesn't make them all fascists (or followers of a fascist ideology, if you prefer). It means that a "disturbing number" have regressive, conservative views. Which I don't deny. What you see as "evidence" doesn't support your conclusion.

Post edited at 22:27
1
Jon Stewart 25 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Rather than continue the back-and-forth of the specific statements we each make, here's an attempt to get at the issue at a more fundamental level:

All people, whether they're Muslims or far right internet trolls, or university professors, or whatever else defines them, are just monkeys in shoes. They're social animals who act out a variety of behaviours that are complex but also quite predictable. They do a load of stuff that is just behaviour, and they have an internal voice that provides a commentary but which from the inside feels like it's directing the behaviour; but on close scrutiny seems to be more post-hoc justification than anything. The scientific rationale for this view of what humans are like is set out brilliantly by authors including Bruce Hood, Robert Sapolsky, V.S. Ramachandran and others.

Ideologies can play a role in moderating or influencing people's behaviour - but they can't do this just by existing in books and sermons. The people - because they're monkeys in shoes - only act on the specific bits of any ideology that result in reward: there's hard-wired biological motivation underlying all human behaviour, and any ideology is subserviant to that fundamental motivation.

This is why Islam isn't an ideology, it's a load of words, which don't make a lot of sense. Put those words into different social contexts, and they're interpreted in different ways to serve the real motivation for human behaviour: seeking reward. In one context, say the Pakistani judiciary, being a violent fascist increases your status and brings reward, so that's what we see. In another social context, in middle class professional society in the UK, completely different attitudes and behaviours are rewarded, so people do, say and believe completely different things. This is the explanation of why some ISIS recruit and Sadiq Khan are both devout Muslims, yet there's no shared ideology. Their behaviour is governed by what brings them reward, not what is written in the Koran.

If you're looking for what motivates people to behave the way they do, you won't find it in their holy books and the belief systems they subscribe to. People will do whatever they need to to be rewarded (in the neurological sense), and then they will justify their behaviour with a story that they call their personal identity. Scratch the surface of their story, and you'll find it's full of holes: it's all post-hoc justification of the behaviour they just performed by virtue of deep underlying biological motivation.

So if you take these insights seriously - and as atheist, I recommend you do - you can see that if we got rid of the Koran, nothing would substantially change, because it's underlying social, biological motives that drive human behaviour according to social context. When you're banging on about how dreadful Islam is, you're just playing out that motive of tribalism, and it's not a positive one. For all the pretence about it, human beings don't fight and win "battles of ideas" - they just behave from moment to moment, following the rewards and then make up a post-hoc justification that fits with the personal identity they've ended up with thanks to the process of living.

Try and take a step back and see people as monkeys in shoes. Tribalism is just biologically motivated human behaviour, and it's readily understandable. Is it the kind of behaviour you want to get stuck into and then justify, or would it be better - that is, would it have better consequences - to keep a check of it?

Post edited at 00:30
deepsoup 25 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

>  But if you're the home secretary, or the mayor of London, or a university student, or a consultant paedatrician in the NHS, etc, then being a fascist is really uncool. So you're not one.

You're quite sure about that first one are you?

Jon Stewart 25 May 2019
In reply to deepsoup:

> You're quite sure about that first one are you?

Michael Howard.

john arran 25 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

This is a great example of why I keep reading non-climbing threads on this forum.

Jon Stewart 25 May 2019
In reply to john arran:

Thanks! If you like this way of looking at things, I really recommend The Self Illusion by Bruce Hood. Which of course has nothing to do with Islam (and definitely nothing to do with Alabama's abortion laws...), thank god.

Coel Hellier 25 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> The people - because they're monkeys in shoes - only act on the specific bits of any ideology that result in reward: there's hard-wired biological motivation underlying all human behaviour, ...

OK, but the range of "hard-wired biological motivation ..." is not simply or readily summarised.

> This is why Islam isn't an ideology, ...

That does not follow.

> Put those words into different social contexts, and they're interpreted in different ways to serve the real motivation for human behaviour: seeking reward. 

Yes, social context matters.  But religions hit "hot buttons" in many ways, that's why they are prevalent.  I think it's wrong to conclude that religions don't mesh with "hard-wired biological motivation" or don't produce psychological rewards.

>  In one context, say the Pakistani judiciary, being a violent fascist increases your status and brings reward, so that's what we see. In another social context, in middle class professional society in the UK, completely different attitudes and behaviours are rewarded,

Yes, to a certain extent, but that doesn't exonerate the religion of causing harm if it does so in particular contexts.

To make a comparison, smoking cigarettes causes cancer in some people with certain genes, but may cause no harm in another person with different genes (cancer is usually a combination of genes plus environmental triggers).  But we wouldn't then say: "it's not the smoking that does the harm, it's the genes", the truth is that it's the combination of both.

> If you're looking for what motivates people to behave the way they do, you won't find it in their holy books and the belief systems they subscribe to.

That's just utterly wrong, sorry, people's "belief systems" are exactly what motivate people's behaviour.

> ... People will do whatever they need to to be rewarded (in the neurological sense), ...

Yes, but what they find rewarding will depend on their belief systems.  If someone thinks that God wants them to do X, they will find doing X rewarding.  If they think that God wants them to avoid X, they'll feel guilty about doing X and find it less rewarding. (There may, of course, be other factos involved as well.)

> But you're blind to it. "There is One True Islam, and it is the Islam that I hate because it is fascist!" you say.

Nope, I've never said anything remotely along the lines of a "One True Islam".  

> All those senior doctors in the NHS, all those nurses, school teachers, care workers, humanitarian aid workers, all putting their life's work into providing for "infidels" - all following a fascist ideology? 

People identifying with a religion for cultural reasons but then disregarding large parts of the religion does not strike me as peculiar, it is completely normal.   80% of self-labelled Christians in the UK are like that! 

Coel Hellier 25 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Well, there's observing/doing the 5 pillars (which I imagine if it's anything like judaism, is most of  what being a Muslim actually involves, following the traditions in practice); then there's the 6 articles of faith, which is a load of mystic gods/prophets/angels malarky, ...

Your analysis reminds me of school RE lessons (sorry!) which seemed to think that the important things about a religion were what their religious dress was, which days they took as holy days, and what name they used for their holy building.   Those things are superficial.

So,

OK, here goes, here's an account of the ideas within Islam that result in it being harmful.  

Note: I am not claiming that all versions of Islam hold to all of these (only that many versions hold to many of them, such that one can fairly assess Islam overall as "harmful").  In saying "Islam says ..." I mean that it is commonly held among mainstream variants.

Note 2: I am not claiming that any of these are unique to Islam (they are not, many are found in the other Abrahamic religions and elsewhere; in many ways Islam is just the most virulent strain of Abrahamism).

Note 3: I am certainly not making any claims about to what extent any particular person who identifies as "Muslim" holds to these ideas.   What I am claiming is that enough Muslims hold to enough of them such that the overall effect of Islam on the world is "harmful" rather than "beneficial".

Note 4: Most of the below derives from the writings of ex-Muslims and reformist-minded moderate Muslims.

1) Islam teaches that the Koran is the literal words of God (dictated by the angel Gabriel to Mohammed. [Contrasting with Christianity, which holds that the Bible might have been divinely "inspired" but was written by fallible humans.]

Being literally the words of God, they are not open to doubt or question or revision; since God is perfect the text of the Koran is literally perfect.  At most there is some leeway over interpretation. 

This is hugely regressive, since it means that Islam is stuck with and anchored in the attitudes and morals of the 7th century warlords who created the Koran.

[Christianity has way more latitude to throw out bad bits; you don't like the stuff in Leviticus? Then just ignore it.]

2) Islam teaches that the Koran is complete.  It is God's final revelation [Islam regards the Biblical prophets as also prophets from God, but Mohammed was the final one].  Being God's final revelation it contains everything God wanted to say to mankind.  It can't be added to or improved upon.  

This is a hugely regressive doctrine, again anchoring Islam in the attitudes and morals of the 7th century. The doctrine severely hampers moral improvement, of which there has been a huge amount over the centuries.  

[Christianity, by contrast, has no problem with ongoing revelation, so, for example, they can decide that God is fine with people being gay, and the previous Christians who thought otherwise were fallible and wrong.]

[Note that the Amadhiyya Muslims are a fringe sect who are regarded as heretical and are persecuted simply because they believe that a later prophet also came with some messages from God.]

3) Since the Koran is God's final and complete revelation, it is a manual for all aspects of life.  Hence, in Islam, there is no division into "religious" and "secular" aspects of life, Islam is a way of life, a way of all aspects of life.

For this reason Islam has never accepted the doctrine of a seperation between church/mosque and the state. Sharia law (God's law) takes precendence over secular law (man-made law).  That is a totalitarian and hugely harmful attitude.  Christianity was as bad until the doctrine of different religious and secular aspects
 of life and church/state seperation took hold.  

4) Since the Koran is God's final, complete and perfect revelation, it is not up for debate, not up for voting on.  Humans are obligated to submit to it, not question or doubt it.   The term "Islam" means "submission" to this will of God.   Obviously, since that means submission to the writings and attitudes of the 7th century, that is a hugely regressive doctrine.  

5) Since the Koran is God's revelation to mankind, it will, over time, come to dominate.  There will come a time when the whole world "submits" to the will of God, meaning that the whole world will be Islamic.  There is no timescale specified for this, but Muslims have a moral duty to promote this end if they can.  

That is the doctrine of the "jihad", an obligation on all Muslims.  Now, Muslims can indeed interpret "jihad" in ways that don't involve use of force, but the *original* "jihad" was indeed an aggressive military expansion.  Islam grew rapidly owing to military expansion, and the subjegation and forced conversion of peoples they conquered.  

6) In Islam, Mohammed (who is not divine) is considered the ideal human, a role model to emulate in all aspects of life.   This means they have a role model of a 7th-century military leader.  

[In contrast, the role model of Jesus was not as a military leader; Jesus did not lead armies, conquer people and force them to convert; Mohammed did.]    

This "Mohammed is the ideal human to be emulated" is taught to all Muslims.  So can we be surprised if some take the emulation of a warlord seriously?  We're expected of course, to parrot that such is "nothing to do with Islam", but the truth is that it is everything to do with Islam.  

1
Coel Hellier 25 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Continuation:

7) An afterlife: (shared of course with Christianity), Islam teaches that this world is merely a preparation to the vastly more-important next world. This is seriously bad idea leading to warped ideas and warped behaviour in this life.

8) Martyrdom:  Coupling the last two, jihad and the afterlife, produces the idea that martyrdom is hugely honourable and to be embraced, and that anyone dying as a result of promoting Islam will be hugely rewarded.    We can all think of the harmful effects of this idea.

9) The combination of the "afterlife" idea with that of the Koran being God's complete and perfect revelation is that the Islamic world can be un-interested in science and advancing knowledge.  They already have everything they need, and the important thing is study of the Koran and of Islam, because that is what is important as preparation for the next world. 

Nowadays, there is very little science in the Islamic world and very little scholarship -- it's orders of magnitude behind the West.   [Yes, I know it was different back in the day when totalitarian Christianity stiffled the West.]

10) The attitude that the communal good trumps individual rights.  The idea of individual rights is ubiquitous in the West today, but not nearly so much elsewhere.  In Islam the communal good takes precendence. People are expected to support the communal good, and that means supporting Islam. 

Hence why apostasy is not seen as a right, it's seen as a betrayal, an act of a traitor towards the community, and so is generally abhored.  

11) A combination of above factors means there is no general acceptance of free speech, not on important matters.  Since they have the perfect and complete Koran, and since the duty is to submit to it, one should not think for oneself, one should submit, guided by the Koranic scholars who can best interpret the text.

There is simply no need for free speech, and certainly not for questioning the religious authorities, that would be leading *away* from Islam, which is of course rebellion against God.   Free speech is thus dangerous and speech needs to be carefully controlled by the religious authorities.

12) So one of the biggest engines for progress in the West, people thinking forthemselves, thinking of new ideas,  and challenging the status quo, is deprecated in much of the Islamic world.  There is almost no science in the Islamic world (certainly by Western standards), almost no technological development or innovation, and little social innovation.

13) Call-out culture.   Partly as a result of the idea that communal good trumps individual rights, there is a strong tendancy in Islam that everyone has a moral duty to police everyone else's adherence to Islam. 

Thus, to give an example, wearing a hijad gets spread partly by edicts demaniding it, but more by peer pressure, people beng called bad Muslims if they don't comply. The most strict, and most extreme in their adherence, go around chiding others as "un-Islamic" and producing a ratchet towards increasing strictness.  Other Muslims then feel that they have to comply, since being not-a-good-Muslim is close to being (the horror) an apostate.

[In contrast, nowadays in the West, there's very much an attitude that it's no-one elses business how one individually behaves in most matters.]

The attitude that the individual needs to comply for the communal good thus leads to things like hijad wearing and Mosque attendance and compliance with Ramadam fasts being compulsory. There is no acceptance of an individual's right to opt-out or dissent.

OK, I need to eat, this will do for starters.   But it seems to me that the harmful effects of this set of ideas are pretty obvious across the world, and that we'd be better off if all the above ideas vanished.

2
Jon Stewart 25 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Thanks for all the detail on why you think Islam is bad, but you're still not responding to my arguments. I'm not saying that those views about how things work in the Islamic nations are wrong, and I'm not saying that problems such as jihadi violence or oppression are "nothing to do with Islam".

The argument I'm making is about the consequences of posting simplistic rubbish like "Islam is a fascist ideology" online. There are two strands:

1. It's not true - normal British Muslims aren't fascists, they don't follow a fascist version of Islam, so you're misrepresenting them. 

Saying "they're just identifying as Muslims for cultural reasons" won't do. British Muslims are devout followers of Islam, and they are not fascists. They pick and choose a different set of stuff from the Koran to ISIS or Pakistani theocrats and come up with a different ideology.

2. It's unhelpful and divisive. So even if it was true, which it isn't, it would be better if you moderated your language to avoid the negative consequences of stirring up division along tribal lines. 

I tried to cut through all the irrelevant stuff with a much more general argument that religion is window dressing that shifts and changes to fit deeper motivations which are determined by social context. This explains the facts: why we see radically different ideologies followed by middle class British Muslims and Saudis, why there isn't a single fascist Islamic ideology. Again, your comments on this don't address the arguments I'm making and you either miss the point totally ("but that doesn't exonerate the religion of causing harm if it does so in particular contexts") or you just contradict me without any supporting argument ("That's just utterly wrong, sorry, people's "belief systems" are exactly what motivate people's behaviour.").

It looks like you just haven't understood what I'm saying - so sorry if I was unclear.

Post edited at 21:48
2
Coel Hellier 25 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> 1. It's not true - normal British Muslims aren't fascists, ...

The claim is that Islam is a fascist ideology, not that normal British Muslims are fascists.

> ... they don't follow a fascist version of Islam, ...

Well that's unclear.  Just because they don't implement the fascist aspects of Islam does not mean they don't agree with those aspects.  (Similarly, members of the British communist party do not implement what I see as the harmful aspects of communism, since they don't have the power to, but they still identify with and support them.)

Further, from testimony of ex-Muslim apostates in the UK, and the amount of opprobrium and social shunning they receive from their families and communities, many  British Muslims *do* side with fascist aspects of Islam. 

> British Muslims are devout followers of Islam, and they are not fascists.

That's just an assertion. Poll evidence is that many of them do side with fascist aspects of Islam.   Further, UK Muslims are a small fraction of Muslims worldwide; it is fair to assess the nature of Islam based on countries where it dominates. 

> I tried to cut through all the irrelevant stuff with a much more general argument that religion is window dressing that shifts and changes to fit deeper motivations which are determined by social context.

Yes, but I don't agree with your argument.  I don't agree that religion is just superficial window dressing with no capacity to affect how people act -- it is one of the bigger motivating factors in how people act.

> ... or you just contradict me without any supporting argument ("That's just utterly wrong, sorry, people's "belief systems" are exactly what motivate people's behaviour.").

Yes, that's true, but then you've not really presented evidence for your claim that religion is causally inert.

Post edited at 22:14
1
Jon Stewart 25 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> The claim is that Islam is a fascist ideology, not that normal British Muslims are fascists.

You're using weasel words to avoid the conclusion of your own argument. As a devout British Muslim, how could I follow a fascist ideology but not be a fascist? You just don't make any sense.

I'm giving you an easy way to square this circle: the NHS consultants, and politicians, and teachers follow a non-fascist, wishy-washy version of Islam, one that totally disregards the fascistic theology favoured by ISIS and the Saudis.

> Well that's unclear.  Just because they don't implement the fascist aspects of Islam does not mean they don't agree with those aspects. 

I don't think you ever talk to British Muslims, and that's a problem. You don't know what they believe - you start with the conclusion that Islam is fascist, and then you seek out confirmation. You're painting a picture of British Muslims all harbouring fascist attitudes under a pleasant, moderate veneer. That's a horrible way to view the doctor who'll be operating on you to save your life when you're older, don't you think? Judge people by their actions: if they supported a fascist ideology of "Muslims first" why would they be so keen on working in the public services, particularly healthcare where they're vastly over-represented and where they're caring for white brits more than anyone? Doesn't make sense, does it?

> Further, from testimony of ex-Muslim apostates in the UK, and the amount of opprobrium and social shunning they receive from their families and communities, many  British Muslims *do* side with fascist aspects of Islam. 

Now you're stretching the definition of fascism to include "social shunning" - you're taking what you've read about about British Muslim society and trying to bend it to fit the conclusion that Islam is fascist.

> That's just an assertion. Poll evidence is that many of them do side with fascist aspects of Islam.   Further, UK Muslims are a small fraction of Muslims worldwide; it is fair to assess the nature of Islam based on countries where it dominates. 

It depends what you're interested in. If you want to justify a pre-conceived belief that Islam is fascist, then yes, taking the global view and focusing on the ills of Islamic theocracies is helpful.

On the other hand, if what you care about is British society and how attitudes towards Islam can affect it for good or ill, then going on about how awful it is to live in an Islamic theocracy isn't helpful. It's the opposite. 

I don't think you share the same motivation as the ex-Muslims whose work you follow. They're people who've seen the worst sides of the religion and have an axe to grind, understandably. I really struggle to believe that you're not especially interested in the role of Islam in the UK (where we see the moderate form and have Muslim politicians in high office), what you really care about is the fate of the ordinary people living in Islamic theocracies - it's just extraordinarily fishy.

You have an anti-Islamic political position (like the far right) and you look for evidence to justify it. The ex-Muslim writers provide you with what you need; and they sell their books and get their message out.

> Yes, but I don't agree with your argument.  I don't agree that religion is just superficial window dressing with no capacity to affect how people act -- it is one of the bigger motivating factors in how people act.

> Yes, that's true, but then you've not really presented evidence for your claim that religion is causally inert.

1. Address the argument as it is made (that religion is shaped by deeper motivations and so isn't the primary cause) not the argument in an exaggerated form (religion is causally inert).

2. The evidence is the enormous empirical fact I bring to your attention in every post, which you then ignore in every response. We see radically different ideologies followed by middle class British Muslims (which is mirrored in similar societies like the US) to that followed in Saudi Arabia and other Islamic theocracies.

Post edited at 23:39
2
Coel Hellier 26 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> As a devout British Muslim, how could I follow a fascist ideology but not be a fascist? You just don't make any sense.

They could reject all the fascist bits and thus not be a fascist.  Maajid Nawaz is an example of someone doing that who identifies as a Muslim (he also says that he's not a particularly devout or observant Muslim, but I'm not going to pronounce on which doctrines one needs to hold to to be "devout").

> I'm giving you an easy way to square this circle: the NHS consultants, and politicians, and teachers follow a non-fascist, wishy-washy version of Islam, ...

Maybe they do, yes. I expect there is actually a large range in how much of it individuals believe, just as there is for those identifying as Christian. 

> ... one that totally disregards the fascistic theology favoured by ISIS and the Saudis.

Yes, but it isn't just ISIS and the Saudis who believe the harmful bits.  I've given above a detailed account of harmful doctrines, and those are mainstream, widespread beliefs within Islam.  They are dominant beliefs in many Islam-majority countries, and as a consequence do a lot of harm.

> I don't think you ever talk to British Muslims, and that's a problem. You don't know what they believe ...

Well I, for one, would not presume that all British Muslims are clones of each other in terms of what they believe.  I think there is a vast range.  You're the one here who seems to think that British Muslims all think alike about Islam, which is pretty implausible.

> Now you're stretching the definition of fascism to include "social shunning" -

That matters quite a lot to teenagers and young-adults brought up in Muslim communities but coming to the conclusion that they don't believe in Islam.  Do you ever read their stories?  

And yes, the *attitude* towards apostates that underpins such social shunning is the same attitude that, in many majority-Muslim countries, leads to apostasy being illegal. 

And yes, the idea that a young adult is not allowed to decide for themselves on such matters is a fascist one (however they try to enforce that). Jon, you're surely aware of the problems -- hopefully now mostly in previous decades -- of teenagers coming out as gay, and being rejected by their families?  Can you not have empathy with a young adult declaring that they don't believe in Islam, and being rejected by their families and the surrounding community? 

Are you aware that ex-Muslim organisations and support groups in the UK routinely hold meetings in secret, with last-minute venue changes, because they fear physical attack?  

As someone who, as a teenager, decided that I didn't believe the religion my parents believe, I'm going to support those ex-Muslims.  

> I really struggle to believe that you're not especially interested in the role of Islam in the UK ...

Underpinning a lot of my attitudes is a defence of free speech (I've also defended free speech on UKC about many issues unrelated to religion).  I'm purely defending the right to openly discuss the merits and demerits of Islam just as we do with everything else.  

The reason I keep going on about it is simply that I get so much resistance to that idea (you and Offwidth being typical), and in wider society there is the idea that Islam is a special case that one cannot criticise as one would do anything else.

Many are arguing for "Islamophobia" to be socially unacceptable or even illegal, where that term is defined (by the Oxford English Dictionary) as including: "Dislike of Islam ... as a political force"). Well I certainly dislike Islam as a political force (see above posts for why). 

[I also, by the way, dislike Christianity as a political force, or any other religion as a political force, but then no-one would object to me doing that, would they?]

As for the actual criticism of Islam, the ex-Muslims and moderate reformers are better at it than I am, but one thing they ask for is support for their right to speak up -- so that's what I do. 

Post edited at 07:51
1
In reply to FactorXXX:

> Where would you rather have lived in the 1950's/60's/70's/80's/90's: USSR or UK?

That argument is warped because the 'free' world had vast inequalities and the UK was one of the most privileged places you could live - we were benefitting from 300 odd years of colonialism!

What about: 'Where would you rather have lived, an Indian slum town or a Tajik housing estate?' If you're going to compare the benefits of capitalism and communism, you have to consider both ends of the spectrum.

1
Coel Hellier 26 May 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> and the UK was one of the most privileged places you could live - we were benefitting from 300 odd years of colonialism!

No, we were benefiting from the industrial revolution and a modern, market-based economy.

It was the relative prosperity of the UK (based on the above) that enabled us to hold an empire, not the possession of an empire that led to prosperity. 

1
Pefa 26 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Nonsense! Absolute nonsense Coel. We were theiving from everywhere by taking crops and resources, paying terrible wages, providing nothing for the workers or unemployed, using threats, war, starvation as tools of subjugation and those markets were run by us. We controlled everything. The UK was nothing without the 300 years of slavery and the imperialism was on a scale the world had never seen before. 

Post edited at 10:06
1
Jon Stewart 26 May 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> They could reject all the fascist bits and thus not be a fascist.  

Unlike Majid, the norm is to *ignore* the fascist bits and thus not be a fascist. These are the people you're pointing at and saying "you follow a fascist ideology!" - and they would be absolutely right if they replied "no I bloody don't!".

Do you think you're entering a persuasive political dialogue? I don't. I think you're making a false generalisation that leads to the most unpersuasive, most antagonistic, most unhelpful position. In other words, you're being a prat.

> Maybe they do, yes. I expect there is actually a large range in how much of it individuals believe, just as there is for those identifying as Christian. 

Right, OK. But despite there being a large range, they still all follow a fascist ideology? You said that Sadiq Khan and Sajid Javid do, so even though they're at the moderate end of the big range and don't believe in the fascist bits, they still follow a fascist ideology? Again, you're not making sense.

> They are dominant beliefs in many Islam-majority countries, and as a consequence do a lot of harm.

No one's denying it. It's just not helpful to generalise that to all Muslims when it doesn't apply to the Muslims that you share your immediate society with. Calling them fascists is idiotic.

> Well I, for one, would not presume that all British Muslims are clones of each other in terms of what they believe.  I think there is a vast range.  You're the one here who seems to think that British Muslims all think alike about Islam, which is pretty implausible.

No I'm not - I am focusing on a subset of British Muslims I see as most relevant, because they're the ones that you alienate with your ill-judged blanket insults. That is, the 2nd/3rd generation middle-class Muslims, and I refer a lot to those in the NHS/healthcare sector because they're the ones I work with. Some British Muslims are fascists and they join ISIS!

> And yes, the idea that a young adult is not allowed to decide for themselves on such matters is a fascist one (however they try to enforce that). Jon, you're surely aware of the problems -- hopefully now mostly in previous decades -- of teenagers coming out as gay, and being rejected by their families?  Can you not have empathy with a young adult declaring that they don't believe in Islam, and being rejected by their families and the surrounding community? 

It's not to do with empathy, it's whether it's fascist or not. 

> As someone who, as a teenager, decided that I didn't believe the religion my parents believe, I'm going to support those ex-Muslims.  

Good for you. But if you had better intentions, and better reasoning, you'd do it without calling ordinary Muslims fascists.

> I'm purely defending the right to openly discuss the merits and demerits of Islam just as we do with everything else.  

You're doing it very badly. You don't need to call ordinary Muslims fascists - it's wrong, it's divisive, it's unhelpful.

> The reason I keep going on about it is simply that I get so much resistance to that idea (you and Offwidth being typical), and in wider society there is the idea that Islam is a special case that one cannot criticise as one would do anything else.

Calling ordinary Muslims fascists isn't a criticism of that taboo.

> Many are arguing for "Islamophobia" to be socially unacceptable

Calling ordinary Muslims fascists isn't a criticism of that taboo.

> As for the actual criticism of Islam, the ex-Muslims and moderate reformers are better at it than I am, but one thing they ask for is support for their right to speak up -- so that's what I do. 

Calling ordinary Muslims fascists isn't support for their right to speak up. It's using their work to justify anti-Islamic politics.

In reply to Coel Hellier:

> No, we were benefiting from the industrial revolution and a modern, market-based economy.

> It was the relative prosperity of the UK (based on the above) that enabled us to hold an empire, not the possession of an empire that led to prosperity.

The empire started long before the industrial revolution and a modern, market-based economy! 

Thrudge 26 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

You: "I hate", "you don't understand", and "you're a prat". 

Coel: "I think". 

Guess who's more impressive and persuasive? I'll give you a clue - it's not the one who throws teddy out of the pram. 

Post edited at 12:02
1
Jon Stewart 26 May 2019
In reply to Thrudge:

> You: "I hate", "you don't understand", and "you're a prat". 

> Coel: "I think". 

> Guess who's more impressive and persuasive?

I think you've really got to grips with the substance there, well done.

In reply to Thrudge:

Nice use of selective quotes. You turned one of the most opiniated people on UKC into a conciliator, and one of the more open-minded into a tyrant!

Jon Stewart 26 May 2019
In reply to Thrudge:

Oh, and I never called him a prat. I just think he's got prattish ideas. It's completely different, you know - it's all about ideas, not people. Can't you see that? It's totally different! I'd never call him a prat, that would be a terrible thing to do and I wouldn't dream of it.

It's a good argument that one, isn't it?

Thrudge 26 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Hmm. Except that what you actually said was, "you're being a prat". 

The distinction between you and Coel is quite marked. He thinks, you feel. 

1
Jon Stewart 26 May 2019
In reply to Thrudge:

I think the distinction is that you share precisely the same view as him, but not me.

If you actually analyse the discussion, Coel is a bit more polite than me, granted, but his responses never relate properly to my criticisms. He uses weak, weasel-worded arguments like "I never called them fascists, I said they follow fascist ideology" and he retreats again and again into his comfort zone "this is what I've read about why the Islamic world is bad". 

It's fine that you think that's impressive and persuasive, but since you share his precise views but don't articulate them as well, that's not really much of an endorsement.

The dynamic isn't one of emotion versus rationality, it's one of me attacking a position which I think is wrong - and giving pages and pages of reasons, from the underlying philosophy to the pragmatic consequences; and Coel responding to different positions that I don't hold (e.g. "you can't say that" "Islam is on balance good"). Coel's view is rational, and he gives a justification (Islam, viewed at the global level, causes more harm than good) - it's just that calling your Muslim colleagues and neighbours "fascists" is divisive and unhelpful. It's a bad judgement call. It's being a prat.

Post edited at 13:03
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Pan Ron 26 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> it's just that calling your [...] neighbours "fascists" is divisive and unhelpful. It's a bad judgement call. It's being a prat.

Who'd have guessed?  There's a lot those accusations being thrown around on UKC, and wider, at anyone with political beliefs right of your own.  A general "meh" at jobs being lost or Twitter-mobbings for saying something slightly off-colour.  But critiquing a religion (one in desperate need of criticism and which, above all others, disallows criticism) and its adherents in a way that has been entirely fine when aimed at Catholics seems to make people most uncomfortable. 

1
Offwidth 26 May 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

The criticisms of aspects of the Catholic church behaviour (particularly in covering up -  and at times effectively facilitating further - child abuse by priests) made on UKC are simply not applicable to every Catholic and appall most Catholics. In terms of abortion and homosexuality increasing numbers of european Catholics disagree with their church views.

If Catholics were regarded in a blanket sense 'we' (the liberal minded) on UKC would be defending them in the same way we defend against blanket attacks on all muslims. Your implied non-equivalence in treatment of these two faiths on UKC is bs. Some far left groups do get accused of  having different positions on different  faiths but they deny that (and really need to defend that position themselves) and in any case very few people of the far left post on UKC.

Coel Hellier 26 May 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> You're doing it very badly. You don't need to call ordinary Muslims fascists ...

But then I haven't!

As you say:

> He uses weak, weasel-worded arguments like "I never called them fascists, I said they follow fascist ideology" ...

To summarise:

I consider mainstream Islam to be a harmful and fascist ideology. I've expounded at length above on why I consider it harmful, and it seems to me that the evidence worldwide is that, overall, it causes considerable harm, especially where the beliefs dominate.

As for ordinary Muslims, well, if they agree with those ideas (see the 13 points outlined above) then yes, they believe a fascist ideology and can fairly be called fascists (even if they are not acting on those beliefs and not personally doing harm).

If they *don't* agree with those ideas, and instead accept pluralism and individual rights and free speech and the right to apostasy, etc -- and I readily grant that many who identify as Muslims may well be in that category, especially Westernised Muslims, who may identify as Muslims mainly for cultural reasons -- then they are not personally fascists but are still identifying with an ideology that is harmful and fascist. 

They are free to do that, of course, but I still think it fair to point out the fascist nature of the ideology that they are identifying with, and suggest that they may want to consider whether they are happy with that.  

1
Coel Hellier 26 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> The criticisms of aspects of the Catholic church behaviour (particularly in covering up -  and at times effectively facilitating further - child abuse by priests) made on UKC are simply not applicable to every Catholic ...

You're right, they are not applicable to "every Catholic".  But one can indeed fairly condemn Catholic *theology* over it. 

For example, Catholic theology says that only men can have leading roles in the Catholic church.  Their cover-ups would have been vastly less likely if half the senior decision-makers had been women.

Further, the insistence that Catholic priests (and thus the senior decision makers) must be unmarried and celibate also contributes massively to the likelihood of a culture of child abuse and covering-up of child abuse, since such terms are a big disincentive to joining the priesthood for many men with a normal sexuality whereas they are quite possibly an attraction to many men with abnormal sexualities. 

So, one can quite fairly and appropriately criticise *Catholicism*, Catholicism as an idea system (not just particular people in the Catholic leadership) as being at fault for the rampant child abuse. 

Whether individual Catholics agree with the above doctrines (celibate, unmarried, men-only priestood and hierarchy) and whether they wish to identify as Catholic is then up to them. 


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