Ironman wrote:As for abortion, I'm a left libertarian and a bit of a feminist as well. So from the libertarian side, my position is that it is not something government has any say in. Then I also hold the left wing position that it's a right that must be protected.
Can I drill into this a bit, as I smell a contradiction. The contradiction is in how Americans think about government. My question is, how can a right be protected if the government has no say in it? Wouldn't a true libertarian hands-off government have no opinion either way?
Ironman wrote:I'm also a secularist and an atheist, so religious arguments do nothing but make me roll my eyes.
This generally understood to be a statement of contempt. Is your contempt based on things like the Catholic Priest sex scandal, or is it more an intellectual issue with believing in an invisible man in the sky, or is it a rejection of the ethics of the worlds' religions?
Since very human society ever know has been religious, we have the curious reality that almost every atrocity committed by a king or government in history has been done in the name of a religion (except for Stalin and others in that vein), but at the same time all of the worlds thinking on ethics, morality, mysticism, society and so forth has been kept by the world's religions (Yes even secular humanism, we can debate that). That seems like a lot of history to throw away with a rolling of the eyes.
The distinction is subtle. The government has no say in it, meaning not even the laws where they seek to create red tape. However when someone makes a choice the government has to protect that as a right, since people get to make choices except in certain specific areas laid out by law. So the federal government would need to protect against a state making laws against it, or a cult that seeks to take over a town and control what the citizens do. So they are not having a say in abortion itself, but the liberty of the people to do so. It's kind of a philosophical thing.
I do have contempt for people who use religion as a justification for the things they do like terrorist, and pedophile priests. However I do not have contempt for religious people based solely on their belief. It is mainly an intellectual issue though. They put forth no cogent arguments, rather it's some form of presupposition, and usually has other fallacies as well. With no logical reasoning or empirical evidence, they have no epistemic basis for it. There is no way to even know the god concept without it being made up, due to the lack of epistemic basis. Therefore any gods that happened to exist would have to be in coincidence to any concepts we know of, as well as be actively hiding their existence. So I claim no absolute knowledge, but I find the proposition highly unlikely, bordering on a virtual impossibility. I regard the concept the same way people regard unicorns or dragons. They can't be disproved absolutely, but there's no reason to think they exist.
I do also object to the objective morality written in stone by religions. I will try to keep this lengthy explanation brief, and not dig too deeply into meta-etheics or normative values. Basically, there is no objective source anyone can point to for morality. However as a social species we evolved instincts which give us feelings, kind of like a conscience. The allows us to come up with a good consensus, and make normative moral statements, bridging the is/aught gap. So it's subjective but we can use shared feelings and logic to come up with a pretty good set of ethics.
Yes religion is a cause of so much violence, and I hate religion for this reason. However, I do not hate religious people. You can't say that they are all the same, or follow their religion the same, or behave any certain way. It's a fallacy to generalize any group of people in this way. What a religious person thinks their deity wants, will be exactly what I find to be moral, except for the parts where indoctrination has corrupted such feelings. So a moderate religious person may have a perfectly good set of ethics, despite certain things they are taught, which might be considered bad.
Keep in mind Stalin was a Communist, so he followed a belief system with no more basis in reason or reality than a religion. He had plenty of beliefs from that way of thinking that allowed him to justify all sorts of terrible things.
Humans did evolve to have those sorts of beliefs. It's because of the evolved ability to see patterns, to be able to understand another persons mind and intentions, as well as imagine what they might think about something. It also involves a false negative being much more costly than a false positive. So if you hear the grass rustling and assume it's a lion, no big deal if it's the wind. However if you assume it's the wind, but turns out to be a lion, you become lunch, and do not survive to pass on your genes. So humans evolved to think in that manner.
These are very complicated subjects, so I am being extremely brief here.