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View Diary: Reason to Hope: A New Deal for Religion and Science (49 comments)

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  •  dignity (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dirkster42, Wee Mama, TomP, jgilhousen, G2geek

    One of religion's greatest "finds": dignity for all. Much will be said about this in subsequent posts in this series.

    •  i'd like to unpack that just a bit. (0+ / 0-)

      We need to operationalize "dignity."  

      Per Wikipedia, an unalienable right to basic respect and to be treated ethically.  

      But that brings up the question, respect for what exactly?   And how do we operationalize "respect" in a manner that's truly meaningful, or should we be looking for a word that's not so subjective?

      The gold standard here would be something that is self-evidently and convergently true to any person of measurably normal intelligence, in such a manner that there was no more room in it for "opinion" than there is in discussing gravity.  

      "Oh, my opinion is that heavier objects should fall to earth faster than lighter ones!"   Easily disproven by dropping two identical sized balls, one made of aluminum and one made of lead, from the top of a tower, and observing when they hit the ground.  "Oh, my opinion is that black people aren't human but rather an inferior species only fit for servitude!"  Easily disproven but yet we're still fighting over that one, in the 21st century.  

      If humans were universally empathic this would not be a problem.  But empathy varies along a normal curve and the findings are that liberals are higher than average and conservatives are lower than average.  The outcome of this should not depend upon a characteristic that varies so widely.  

      What I'm looking for here is not the subjective attitude of respect, but the objective behaviors that one ordinarily associates with it, such as not killing someone, not "letting" (making) them suffer, not stifling their freedom or denying their equality under the law.  

      In general, not subjecting others to conditions that either by commission or omission result in denying them the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (each of those three can be operationalized scientifically and also found in other species).  

      The place where we run into trouble is where rights conflict.  For example does Alice have the right to tax Bob to pay for her heart medicine?  There's a "life" interest (the right to the things that are necessary for life) conflicting with a "liberty" interest (the right to not have one's labor conscripted to serve others).

      One fairly conventional answer from progressive religion is that all humans have a right to have their basic needs met before anyone has a right to excessive luxuries.  But the flip side of that is, as long as population continues to increase beyond resources, there will never be a way to satisfy all of the basic needs of all of humanity: so the obligation to live within our means extends to our reproductive behaviors as well as to our consumption behaviors.

      OK, I'll stop there for now, I'm interested in what you think about all this.

      "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

      by G2geek on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 12:01:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  dignity (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek

        Later parts of the series, zero in on a practical, operational definition of dignity. But first, we need a framework capacious enough to hold the findings of both religion and science so we can judge them all on their merits by the same standards. Lots of what you write above is on point and will be addressed, so if you can, please hang in there as the argument unfolds. Appreciate your thoughtful comments, Bob F

        •  yep, i'll be sticking around. (0+ / 0-)

          What you're doing is important.  It's important philosophically on its intrinsic merits.  It's important politically for creating a larger scope of solidarity.  So I'm really looking forward to watching this unfold.  

          "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

          by G2geek on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 10:24:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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