Shame

John Scalzi offers a chilling juxtaposition of two photographs which cut to the heart of the gay marriage debate. Will you regret your current position on this issue in 20 years?

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Ummmm...hey, Serpent, I'd

Ummmm...hey, Serpent, I'd just like to point out that you took one of Micha's posts and attributed the whole thing to me. While I do agree with him on lots of things, the fact remains that the words were his, not mine.

And FWIW: I'm not Jewish. I'm also not an atheist. I'm an agnostic; the fact is that I haven't seen sufficient evidence to convince me of much of anything in terms of divine presence.

The thing that really gets

The thing that really gets me about the second picture is the "Trust Jesus" t-shirts that so many of those goons are wearing. If they really trusted Jesus themselves, wouldn't they leave it up to him to sort the saved from the damned, instead of trying to judge in his place?

Jason: If they really

Jason: If they really trusted Jesus themselves, wouldn't they leave it up to him to sort the saved from the damned, instead of trying to judge in his place?

I?m not sure ? if someone raped your wife/girlfriend/mother/sister would you be content to sit idly by and leave judgment to ?God??

Are you suggesting that Christians leave everything to Fate (to ?God?)?

I think that is a rather na?ve view of Christianity specifically, and Religion in general.

As to the original question:

Will you regret your position in 20 years?

I would say, I am not sure ? you would have to ask me in 20 years.

But my hunch is that in 20 years I will still believe that it is better (more ethical) to let the majority make its own laws, morals, and definitions instead of having them decreed by a sovereign lord with a ?superior? intellect and ?superior? powers of judgment.

By the way, I heard that the mayor of San Francisco has decreed that the term ?Communism? now means what the term ?Anarchy? use to mean.

Personally I don?t see why the mayor of San Francisco gets to tell you boys what you should be called, or how Anarchy should be defined, but what is a law-abiding, tolerant, and open-minded individual to do???

I?m not sure ? if someone

I?m not sure ? if someone raped your wife/girlfriend/mother/sister would you be content to sit idly by and leave judgment to ?God??

I'm not a Christian, so I'd have to say no. Those goons in the t-shirts probably wouldn't either. Of course, I'm not the one wearing the shirt proclaiming that one should "Trust Jesus." My view of Christianity isn't the one at issue here.

You're right, this is a naive view of Christianity - just as almost all t-shirt/bumper sticker slogans are naive views of whatever they claim to represent. Perhaps all those people wearing the shirts have deep and complicated views on Christian spirituality; I'd guess they don't, but that's just me. Assuming they do, though, the naive view of their religion doesn't truly represent them, so why on earth would these people choose to wear shirts emblazoned with such naivete? (Or even worse, to associate with the guy with the shirt that has "HOMOS" crossed out in a circle? The others might be naive, but that guy's just plain retarded.)

But my hunch is that in 20 years I will still believe that it is better (more ethical) to let the majority make its own laws, morals, and definitions instead of having them decreed by a sovereign lord with a ?superior? intellect and ?superior? powers of judgment.

Well, if you can convince everyone to let the "majority" make its own laws without giving a judge the authority to strike down those same laws through his superior intellect and judgment, you might just get your way.

Jason: I'm not a Christian,

Jason: I'm not a Christian, so I'd have to say no. Those goons in the t-shirts probably wouldn't either. Of course, I'm not the one wearing the shirt proclaiming that one should "Trust Jesus." My view of Christianity isn't the one at issue here.

Christianity teaches that homosexuality is a sin. Maybe it is not equivalent of murder in their eyes, but I?d guess homosexuality is at least as much a sin as telling a malicious lie (in the mind of a Christian).

But to their credit the Christians at least have the good sense to realize that Morality is Objective -- unlike a lot of their detractors.

Jason: You're right, this is a naive view of Christianity - just as almost all t-shirt/bumper sticker slogans are naive views of whatever they claim to represent. Perhaps all those people wearing the shirts have deep and complicated views on Christian spirituality; I'd guess they don't, but that's just me. Assuming they do, though, the naive view of their religion doesn't truly represent them, so why on earth would these people choose to wear shirts emblazoned with such naivete? (Or even worse, to associate with the guy with the shirt that has "HOMOS" crossed out in a circle? The others might be naive, but that guy's just plain retarded.)

Should I also base my judgment of secularists, liberals, atheists, and homosexuals on the messages their bumper stickers and t-shirts convey?

I guess if it is fair to sum up the entirety of Christian philosophy based only bumper sticker and t-shirt slogans then it is equally fair to sum up the entirety of any philosophical viewpoint using the same criteria?

Jason: Well, if you can convince everyone to let the "majority" make its own laws without giving a judge the authority to strike down those same laws through his superior intellect and judgment, you might just get your way.

That?s one of the main reasons I call myself a ?libertarian?.

But my hunch is that in 20

But my hunch is that in 20 years I will still believe that it is better (more ethical) to let the majority make its own laws, morals, and definitions instead of having them decreed by a sovereign lord with a ?superior? intellect and ?superior? powers of judgment.

Really? So you still believe, even after all these years, that MLK and the rest of the civil rights movement were wrong for fighting against the laws made by the majority? After all, the majority decreed that separate=equal.

Do you believe that there was anything wrong with what Nazi Germany did, even though Hitler and his party were democratically elected? After all, the majority decreed that non-Aryans=animals.

Micha Ghertner: Really? So

Micha Ghertner: Really? So you still believe, even after all these years, that MLK and the rest of the civil rights movement were wrong for fighting against the laws made by the majority? After all, the majority decreed that separate=equal.

That is true, but segregation only became illegal (Objectively Immoral) once the majority agreed that it was immoral and enacted laws against it. You are erroneously attempting to apply your 21st century morals to a society from the past, but that makes about as much sense as your mother and father punishing you today because you pooped in your pants as an infant.

WTF was wrong with you?!?! Why in the hell did you poop in your pants all of those years ago? Are you retarded or just immoral? Don?t you realize that you should do your business in the potty?

But when you were an infant it made a lot of sense for you to poop in your pants, and in an analogous manner at one time Slavery, Racism, and Segregation also made a lot of sense.

Micha Ghertner: Do you believe that there was anything wrong with what Nazi Germany did, even though Hitler and his party were democratically elected? After all, the majority decreed that non-Aryans=animals.

Only two kinds of Individuals exist in reality ? those who learn from their past, and those who deny it. Obviously for his time and place Hitler must have made a lot of sense to a lot of people. Of course I suppose you would try to tell me had you been around in Hitler?s day you wouldn?t have been fooled for a second. But I wonder how well you perceive without the benefit of 20-20 hindsight, my friend?

Should I also base my

Should I also base my judgment of secularists, liberals, atheists, and homosexuals on the messages their bumper stickers and t-shirts convey?

If you so choose.

I think it'd be a lot smarter of those protesters to put the chapter and verse of the Bible quote that best fits what they're trying to say (assuming they're trying to say anything bigger than just their slogans); at least then there would be some source people could look to for why the people with t-shirts feel the way they do. At least they'd be citing something. Right now it just looks like knee-jerk hate. Regardless of whether it is just hate, or whether it's based on a moral code handed down through the generations, these guys aren't going to win any converts to their side of the issue by appearing hateful. Right or wrong, appearances matter.

I guess if it is fair to sum up the entirety of Christian philosophy based only bumper sticker and t-shirt slogans then it is equally fair to sum up the entirety of any philosophical viewpoint using the same criteria?

Sorry, maybe I missed it...could you point out to me where I said it was fair to judge all of Christian philosophy (or, truly, any philosophy) based on slogans? I think you're misunderstanding me here, Serpent. My point is that t-shirts and bumper stickers do nothing whatsoever to promote understanding of a philosophy. Screaming slogans and holding signs at a rally does nothing to promote understanding of a philosophy that one holds dear. It just shows that you're another body in the herd.

People don't want to take the time to try and explain their positions anymore, so they resort to catchphrases instead ('Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!' etc). If one truly believes in the importance of a system of thought, the only way one can win converts is through discussion. One-liners, slogans, and the like don't allow for discussion, only for one-upsmanship - see the Jesus Fish/Darwin Lizard/Jesus Fish-eating-Darwin Lizard car magnets for one example of this.

Jason: Well, if you can convince everyone to let the "majority" make its own laws without giving a judge the authority to strike down those same laws through his superior intellect and judgment, you might just get your way.

That?s one of the main reasons I call myself a ?libertarian?.

If you're libertarian, I'm right there with you. I'm just saying you shouldn't count on it happening before this entire system falls apart under its own weight.

Jason: I think it'd be a lot

Jason: I think it'd be a lot smarter of those protesters to put the chapter and verse of the Bible quote that best fits what they're trying to say (assuming they're trying to say anything bigger than just their slogans); at least then there would be some source people could look to for why the people with t-shirts feel the way they do. At least they'd be citing something. Right now it just looks like knee-jerk hate. Regardless of whether it is just hate, or whether it's based on a moral code handed down through the generations, these guys aren't going to win any converts to their side of the issue by appearing hateful. Right or wrong, appearances matter.

That is a valid point. I am inclined to agree.

Jason: Sorry, maybe I missed it...could you point out to me where I said it was fair to judge all of Christian philosophy (or, truly, any philosophy) based on slogans? I think you're misunderstanding me here, Serpent.

My apologies if I mischaracterized your statements or position.

Jason: My point is that t-shirts and bumper stickers do nothing whatsoever to promote understanding of a philosophy. Screaming slogans and holding signs at a rally does nothing to promote understanding of a philosophy that one holds dear. It just shows that you're another body in the herd.

Isn?t that kind of indicative of protest rally?s though? Isn?t screaming slogans and holding up signs kind of the ?bread and butter? of protest rally?s? My point is that I don?t hold Christian protesters up to any higher standard than I hold any other protesters.

Jason: People don't want to take the time to try and explain their positions anymore, so they resort to catchphrases instead ('Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!' etc). If one truly believes in the importance of a system of thought, the only way one can win converts is through discussion. One-liners, slogans, and the like don't allow for discussion, only for one-upsmanship - see the Jesus Fish/Darwin Lizard/Jesus Fish-eating-Darwin Lizard car magnets for one example of this.

On this point I am in firm agreement with you. However, it strikes me as odd that you would say this regarding the subject we are discussing because I would think that you would be against judges declaring laws against the will of the majority by fiat.

If gays and their supporters believe that Logic is on their side, then it should be a simple matter for them to convince a majority of the population that their view is more correct (more beneficial), and then they could simply be voted into law. That is how we normally do things.

My problem isn?t with Gay marriage (I have nothing against homosexuals). My problem is with Judges who think they can decree laws in defiance of the will of the majority.

Apparently you don?t see much of a problem with that, but I would consider it an extremely anti-libertarian view.

Jason: If you're libertarian, I'm right there with you. I'm just saying you shouldn't count on it happening before this entire system falls apart under its own weight.

I?m more of a minarchist than an Anarchist. I have no desire to see the entire system fall apart, and to be honest I don?t even believe that is physically possible.

By any chance are you the same Jason I chatted with over at Radley Balko?s site?

That is true, but

That is true, but segregation only became illegal (Objectively Immoral) once the majority agreed that it was immoral and enacted laws against it.

Wrong. The majority in the south didn't oppose segregation; integration was imposed upon them by the federal government.

You are erroneously attempting to apply your 21st century morals to a society from the past, but that makes about as much sense as your mother and father punishing you today because you pooped in your pants as an infant.

So now, all of a sudden, The Serpent, who prides himself on his objectivity, has become a cultural relativist?!? So it is your contention that there was nothing morally wrong with slavery at the time that it was practiced?

But when you were an infant it made a lot of sense for you to poop in your pants, and in an analogous manner at one time Slavery, Racism, and Segregation also made a lot of sense.

This is a horrible analogy. Children do not have the mental capabilities to make rational, responsible choices. This is why we do not hold children to the same moral standard to which we hold adults. Are you therefore claiming that those previous generations which practiced slavery did not have the ability to make rational, responsible choices?

Only two kinds of Individuals exist in reality ? those who learn from their past, and those who deny it. Obviously for his time and place Hitler must have made a lot of sense to a lot of people. Of course I suppose you would try to tell me had you been around in Hitler?s day you wouldn?t have been fooled for a second. But I wonder how well you perceive without the benefit of 20-20 hindsight, my friend?

Well, since I'm Jewish, I probably wouldn't have been fooled by Hitler's rhetoric. But maybe that's just an unfounded hunch.

However, there is some evidence for it. Even though, in our current society, the vast majority thinks its okay to discriminate against homosexuals and treat them differently according to the law, I am willing to go against the conventional view and recognize the injustice underlying it. So, I feel, in some small way, that I would have been among the few who recognized the evils of slavery, segregation, and all other forms of state-sponsored discrimination, even when it was unpopular to hold such views.

And I would have been vindicated by history. I ask again: Will you regret your current position on this issue in 20 years?

Micha Ghertner: As I'm sure

Micha Ghertner: As I'm sure you know, the U.S. is not a democracy, but a constitutional republic. The role of the judge is to interpret the law, not to respect the will of the majority. If the will of the majority conflicts with the proper interpretation of the Constitution, so much worse for the will of the majority.

A republic is a form of democracy.

We could walk through the logic if you want to, but I think I could demonstrate that for all intent and purposes the two things are functionally analogous.

And while I agree that it is the function of the Judicial branch (the Judiciary) to interpret the law it is clearly not their function to create the law that is the specific function of the legislature which (unlike the Judiciary) is held accountable for their actions by the voting majority.

Micha Ghertner: The belief that the will of the majority is in any way useful for determining what is just is an extremely anti-libertarian view.

Really ??

Okay Mr. Ghertner, you tell me then ? if the will of the majority is not the just basis for law and morality, then what are you suggesting is the just basis of law and morality?

My problem isn?t with Gay

My problem isn?t with Gay marriage (I have nothing against homosexuals). My problem is with Judges who think they can decree laws in defiance of the will of the majority. Apparently you don?t see much of a problem with that, but I would consider it an extremely anti-libertarian view.

As I'm sure you know, the U.S. is not a democracy, but a constitutional republic. The role of the judge is to interpret the law, not to respect the will of the majority. If the will of the majority conflicts with the proper interpretation of the Constitution, so much worse for the will of the majority.

The belief that the will of the majority is in any way useful for determining what is just is an extremely anti-libertarian view.

Serpent - Isn?t that kind of

Serpent -

Isn?t that kind of indicative of protest rally?s though? Isn?t screaming slogans and holding up signs kind of the "bread and butter" of protest rally?s? My point is that I don?t hold Christian protesters up to any higher standard than I hold any other protesters.

Point well taken.

However, it strikes me as odd that you would say this regarding the subject we are discussing because I would think that you would be against judges declaring laws against the will of the majority by fiat.
[...]
My problem isn?t with Gay marriage (I have nothing against homosexuals). My problem is with Judges who think they can decree laws in defiance of the will of the majority.

I am with you on this one as well. I don't like that judges declare law as if they were allowed to do so under the Constitution. This problem goes back to Marbury v. Madison, and really even further back to the Founders hardly mentioning a judicial system at all in the Constitution. It's fine for judges to rule something unconstitutional, but they should keep sending the issue at hand back to the legislatures again and again until those legislatures get it right.

When I voice my support for gay couples being allowed the same rights as straight couples, I'm by no means endorsing the means by which the issue is being tackled right now. I'd certainly prefer to see legislatures wise up and vote in equal rights for everyone. I'd also prefer to do away with all the other rule-by-fiat realities of life in America, but I haven't yet found a way of doing that. So my support for equal rights under the law is just that and only that: support for equal rights.

If gays and their supporters believe that Logic is on their side, then it should be a simple matter for them to convince a majority of the population that their view is more correct (more beneficial), and then they could simply be voted into law. That is how we normally do things.

I don't know that I'd go so far as to say that it's a simple matter - this country is so large, and the voting-age population so apathetic by this point in our history, that the true majority is rarely if ever represented anymore. Basically, on this issue, the heart of the matter is this: churchgoers who are afraid of homosexuals outnumber the homosexuals themselves, and churchgoers vote in droves. (At least they do here in the Bible Belt.) Even if every homosexual in America got out to vote for their issue, they'd probably still lose because lots of straights who generally support homosexual marriage wouldn't really care enough to get out and vote. Again, let me be clear: I'm not saying it makes rule by fiat okay, just that the matter is not as simple as logic might suggest.

I?m more of a minarchist than an Anarchist. I have no desire to see the entire system fall apart, and to be honest I don?t even believe that is physically possible.

I don't necessarily have the desire to see everything fall apart, either; I'm perfectly okay with mutual defense and plenty of other things accounted for in the Constitution. What I'd like to see is something more like a return to a deregulated state of the sort that the early Republic was, where we are all have the right to do (and contract with others) as we please so long as we are not violating the rights of others.

I see two possibilities on the horizon: one, the economy collapses due to the expansion of the welfare state and everything does, indeed, fall apart; two, the welfare state manages to finagle some sort of economic trickery that allows it to stay afloat and overtakes every facet of American life. The latter is what I'm playing with in the book I'm writing right now; the former is what I actually believe to be the most likely (for a number of reasons). I think people will pick up the pieces on their own very quickly, because we're resourceful as a species, but that doesn't eliminate the possibility of it all collapsing.

By any chance are you the same Jason I chatted with over at Radley Balko?s site?

I do post comments there frequently, and I do believe we have chatted there before. There's another Jason who posts comments over there as well, though, so you may be thinking of him instead. The easiest ways to tell the difference between us are: 1) I try my damnedest to use the rules of grammar, standardized spelling, capitalization and punctuation (no judgment on him at all, just a point of difference), and 2) my name always links to my blog, while his links to his email address.

One more thing: That is

One more thing:

That is true, but segregation only became illegal (Objectively Immoral) once the majority agreed that it was immoral and enacted laws against it.

Equating "objective morality" with either the law or what the majority believes is the very essence of subjectivism. The law can change. Majority opinion can change. Objective morality cannot.

Further, to equal the law with morality is to claim that there was nothing wrong with Nazi Germany, Slavery, or any other state-sponsored act. As long as there is a law that permits an act, so the argument goes, that act must necessarily be moral.

This is about as far away from libertarianism as one can possibly get - even further than hardcore Marxism, I would argue. At least the Marxists were able to differentiate between law and justice.

A republic is a form of

A republic is a form of democracy.

Only insofar as representatives are elected by the people. But both the people and their representatives are restricted from enacting laws that violate the Constitution.

And while I agree that it is the function of the Judicial branch (the Judiciary) to interpret the law it is clearly not their function to create the law that is the specific function of the legislature which (unlike the Judiciary) is held accountable for their actions by the voting majority.

No one here claimed otherwise. A strong case can be made for gay marriage under the 14th Amendment.

Okay Mr. Ghertner, you tell me then ? if the will of the majority is not the just basis for law and morality, then what are you suggesting is the just basis of law and morality?

Reason.

Jason: So now, all of a

Jason: So now, all of a sudden, The Serpent, who prides himself on his objectivity, has become a cultural relativist?!? So it is your contention that there was nothing morally wrong with slavery at the time that it was practiced?

That is kind of like asking me if 2 + 2 still equals 4 to a squirrel.

The fact is that the squirrel has no concept of what ?2? or ?4? or ?+?, or ?=? even mean.

A long time ago did people believed that the world was flat? Did that belief actually make the world flat?

Did that belief make Individuals behave as though the world was flat?

Morality is like knowledge of Science or Physics ? it evolves over time (meaning we comprehend it/understand it better over time).

If you want to call that Moral Relativism, so be it, but I?d still say that Morality is just as Objective is Science.

Do you consider Science Objective or Relative?

Jason: [on my comment regarding slavery being analogous to children not being toilet trained ?]This is a horrible analogy. Children do not have the mental capabilities to make rational, responsible choices.

Which was exactly my point, because in the same way that children lack the information they would require to make rational, responsible choices, ancient people lacked the information they would require to make the same moral assessments that we are able to make today.

Jason: This is why we do not hold children to the same moral standard to which we hold adults.

Which is also why we do not hold ancient cultures to the same standards that we hold modern cultures to.

Look the Romans regularly held public gladiatorial matches, and the majority of the population loved it. Even today people are fascinated by this aspect of Roman History.

I mean, by your logic is every ancient doctor or healer an idiot for not understanding the germ theory of diseases? Are you saying that ancient doctors should have known and comprehended modern medicine?

If not, then why would you hold ancient man accountable for not comprehending modern morality?

Jason: Are you therefore claiming that those previous generations which practiced slavery did not have the ability to make rational, responsible choices?

No they did not, at least they did not have the same capacity to make rational, responsible choices that you and I have. And I believe that this is as obvious as stating that ancient man did not have the capacity to fly across the Atlantic Ocean at 400 mph like you and I can.

Jason: Well, since I'm Jewish, I probably wouldn't have been fooled by Hitler's rhetoric. But maybe that's just an unfounded hunch.

hehee ? well I suppose that does change things just a bit.

So do you still consider yourself Jewish? For a moment I had the sense you were an Atheist (I mean no offense either way, just stating my honest impression).

Jason: Even though, in our current society, the vast majority thinks its okay to discriminate against homosexuals and treat them differently according to the law, I am willing to go against the conventional view and recognize the injustice underlying it.

Do you really believe that the ?vast majority? of Americans believe it is okay to treat homosexuals as inferiors? In my experience it is more likely a tiny minority who genuinely believes and acts as if they can treat homosexuals as inferiors.

Jason: So, I feel, in some small way, that I would have been among the few who recognized the evils of slavery, segregation, and all other forms of state-sponsored discrimination, even when it was unpopular to hold such views.

But don?t you think that almost everybody likes to believe they would have been that person? The fact is it?s impossible to tell. For any given moment you only have access to the information you possess. Later, when you have new information, or more information, or better information you may come to regret your past choices, but at the time you made those choices, you made the best possible choices you could have made given the information at hand.

Jason: I ask again: Will you regret your current position on this issue in 20 years?

Like I said, there is no way for me to answer that question definitively right now. You would have to ask me again in 20 years to know for sure. All I can tell you right now, is that as far as I am concerned my conscience is clean regarding the homosexuals and their quest for marriage rights.

If they want my opinion on the matter they will do me the courtesy of asking for it, but they can?t dictate my opinion to me.

What?s next you gonna let some PETA sympathetic judge decree that you are a Vegan?

Come on, anyone with a brain knows that eating meat is really bad for you. Just wait another 20 years and then you will see! Don?t you think that in 20 years you will agree with me that meat is bad? In our current society, the vast majority thinks its okay to discriminate against animals and treat them differently according to the law, I am willing to go against the conventional view and recognize the injustice underlying it ?

Micha Ghertner: Reason. I

Micha Ghertner: Reason.

I saw that coming Mr. Ghertner.

Okay, who?s version of ?Reason? then? Yours, mine, someone else?s?

Who?s ?Reason? specifically? Give me a name, and explain how you arrived at that conclusion.

The fact is that the

The fact is that the squirrel has no concept of what ?2? or ?4? or ?+?, or ?=? even mean.

But humans are not squirrels. And adults are not children. Your analogies continue to lack the necessary prerequisite for moral decision making: rationality.

A long time ago did people believed that the world was flat? Did that belief actually make the world flat? Did that belief make Individuals behave as though the world was flat? Morality is like knowledge of Science or Physics ? it evolves over time (meaning we comprehend it/understand it better over time).

You're making my argument for me. If morality is objective in the same way the laws of physics are objective, it doesn't matter whether people understood those laws - the laws still apply. Just because many people saw nothing wrong with enslaving or killing other people did not make their act moral or just. Just because many people thought that the sun revolved around the earth did not make their belief true.

Which was exactly my point, because in the same way that children lack the information they would require to make rational, responsible choices, ancient people lacked the information they would require to make the same moral assessments that we are able to make today.

Exactly what information was required to see that slavery and murder was wrong?

Which is also why we do not hold ancient cultures to the same standards that we hold modern cultures to.

You don't hold previous cultures to objective moral standards. Those who are not cultural relativists do.

I mean, by your logic is every ancient doctor or healer an idiot for not understanding the germ theory of diseases? Are you saying that ancient doctors should have known and comprehended modern medicine? If not, then why would you hold ancient man accountable for not comprehending modern morality?

Because morality does not require specific scientific knowledge. People knew that murder and slavery were wrong. They just didn't feel the need to extend their compassion to people that were different than them, just as many people today refuse to treat homosexuals equally.

We have all the knowledge necessary to understand why discriminating against homosexuals is unjust. Yet people continue to deny them equal rights, because they are different than us.

No they did not, at least they did not have the same capacity to make rational, responsible choices that you and I have.

I see. So at what point in history (presumably after segregation) did humans acquire the capacity to make rational, responsible choices?

So do you still consider yourself Jewish? For a moment I had the sense you were an Atheist (I mean no offense either way, just stating my honest impression).

I am ethnically Jewish (enough so that I would have been sent to a concentration camp and exterminated had I lived in Germany 70 years ago) and I do not believe in God.

Do you really believe that the ?vast majority? of Americans believe it is okay to treat homosexuals as inferiors?

Yes. Even the supposedly "liberal" democratic candidates refuse to come out in favor of equal rights for gays. They are pandering to voters, the majority of whom oppose gay marriage.

But don?t you think that almost everybody likes to believe they would have been that person? The fact is it?s impossible to tell.

Which is why I gave my willingness to go against the conventional view on the issue of gay rights as evidence for why I believe I would have opposed slavery and segregation.

Come on, anyone with a brain knows that eating meat is really bad for you. Just wait another 20 years and then you will see! Don?t you think that in 20 years you will agree with me that meat is bad?

I am a smoker so I have no problem ingesting things that I know are bad for me.

In our current society, the vast majority thinks its okay to discriminate against animals and treat them differently according to the law, I am willing to go against the conventional view and recognize the injustice underlying it ?

But I do not base my view of morality on what the majority believes. If you can make a good argument for the existance of animal rights, I'm all ears.

Okay, who?s version of ?Reason? then? Yours, mine, someone else?s?

I use my reason to determine what I believe to be moral and just. You do the same. We may arrive at different conclusions. There is no simple solution to this problem, but one way to deal with it, which is why libertarianism is especially attractive to me, is for individuals with similar moral views to form their own communities, without using the government to impose their view of what is just upon everyone else.

Micha Ghertner: But humans

Micha Ghertner: But humans are not squirrels. And adults are not children. Your analogies continue to lack the necessary prerequisite for moral decision making: rationality.

Apparently you missed my point.

Does 2 + 2 still equal 4 to a squirrel Micha?

Or explain why it is okay if an infant goes to the bathroom in their pants, but it is not okay for you to do the same?

Micha Ghertner: If morality is objective in the same way the laws of physics are objective, it doesn't matter whether people understood those laws - the laws still apply.

Yeah, except people never built rockets or airplanes when they believed the world was flat, and when things like chemistry, or aerodynamics, or Newtonian mechanics were beyond their comprehension.

Micha Ghertner: Just because many people saw nothing wrong with enslaving or killing other people did not make their act moral or just.

So I guess you are saying that your parents really should punish you in the present because you pooped in your pants as an infant in the past. Just because you saw nothing wrong with pooping and peeing in your pants as an infant did not make pooping and peeing in your pants moral or just.

Micha Ghertner: Just because many people thought that the sun revolved around the earth did not make their belief true.

It did for them.

But putting it in terms that you might understand, just because an Atheist believes there is no ?God?, does not make his belief True.

Micha Ghertner: Exactly what information was required to see that slavery and murder was wrong?

The Knowledge that Murder is wrong has been widely circulated since this universe was formed, as for slavery ? that?s a bit more complicated. For starters you would have to precisely define the term ?slavery?.

For example, are soldiers in our military ?Slaves? (technically speaking)?

Serpent: we do not hold ancient cultures to the same standards that we hold modern cultures to.

Micha Ghertner: You don't hold previous cultures to objective moral standards. Those who are not cultural relativists do.

I don?t think that Ancient people were idiots for believing the Earth was Flat, and for not understanding the germ theory of Disease, but apparently you do believe they were idiots for believing such things.

Now of course, if you (living contemporarily with me in the present) believed that the Earth was flat, or didn?t believe in the germ theory of disease, then I would think you were an idiot. Because unlike our ancestors, the necessary information is readily available to you.

The Serpent: I mean, by your logic is every ancient doctor or healer an idiot for not understanding the germ theory of diseases? Are you saying that ancient doctors should have known and comprehended modern medicine? If not, then why would you hold ancient man accountable for not comprehending modern morality?

Micha Ghertner: Because morality does not require specific scientific knowledge.

Objective morality requires Objective knowledge.

You aptly demonstrate the characteristic Atheistic bias.

Micha Ghertner: People knew that murder and slavery were wrong. They just didn't feel the need to extend their compassion to people that were different than them, just as many people today refuse to treat homosexuals equally.

I don?t deny it is a similar mechanism at work, but are you suggesting that we make it a law that everyone prefer vanilla Ice Cream to chocolate ice cream?

Society doesn?t generally treat murders, rapist, and thieves ?equally? (like other law-abiding citizens) either. Are you suggesting that society is immoral in its treatment of Murderers, Rapists, and thieves? Should we also extend our compassion to murders, rapists and thieves because they are different from us?

Micha Ghertner: We have all the knowledge necessary to understand why discriminating against homosexuals is unjust. Yet people continue to deny them equal rights, because they are different than us.

- Put it to a vote, and you have me on your side.

- Demand that I acknowledge your relationship is equal by decree, and you can go screw yourself. Or better still, why don?t you just imagine that I have acknowledged your relationship as equal? Obviously your aren?t concerned at all with my consent, so obviously you don?t need to involve me at all.

Serpent, I have met very few

Serpent,

I have met very few people online who are as annoying as you. You continue to ignore my answers to your questions and continue to make the same claims I have already shown to be incorrect. If you continue doing this, I am going to begin ignoring you.

Let me just repeat myself one more time in case you didn't understand the first time.

Moral decision making requires rationality. Animals and young children do not have rational capacity, therefore, they cannot be held morally culpable for their actions.

This is simple. Yet you continue to ignore this point. Stop it.

The objective facts of the world do not change simply because people do not recognize them. The law of gravity existed even before people knew what gravity was.

Whether morality is objective, and similar to other natural laws, like gravity, is debatable. We have been having this discussion at Catallarchy for the past few weeks. If you are interested, you can check the archives.

But the point is, if morality is anything other than a personal belief, than it applies in all instances where a moral actor has a moral choice to make. It does not depend on the culture or time.