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GM foods - what's the fuss? Better dead than GM-fed?(79 posts)

GM foods - what's the fuss? Better dead than GM-fed?PdxMark
Nov 26, 2002 10:02 AM
Zambia will ship 18,000 tons of corn to Malawi because the corn is a genetically modified variety. Nearly 3 million Zambians are facing starvation, but Zambia figures that food fit for Americans is unfit for the starving Zambian masses.

What IS the problem with genetically modified foods?

OK, the first versions were poorly considered, making crops resistant to certain herbicides to improve yields. There is a risk, tiny it seems, of the herbicide-resistant gene crossing over into an invasive plant. So these initial GM foods carried greater-than-necessary environmental risks. But is increased yield an inherently bad thing?

Do these poorly-considered initial versions mean that all genetic modification is inherently evil?

What about work to modify staple crops (sorghum) to include nutrients which are otherwise missing from people's diets - or a crop (millet) that is resistant to disease. Is that evil?

Help me understand why modifications that provide more food with greater nutrition are bad. Is starving really prefereable to GM foods? (Of course, Zambia will be able to make-up the lost food by receiving shipments from other (European) countries -- who really seem to be fighting a proxy trade war over GM foods in Zambia.)
Little proof, but remember the law of unintended consequencesSilverback
Nov 26, 2002 10:19 AM
I've followed GM foods from the beginning just because I thought the science was interesting. Personally, I wouldn't hesitate to eat most of the stuff (you can't help it anyway, if you buy prepared foods in the U.S.), but I do understand some of the worries.
One is environmental--if farmed GM salmon, for instance, escape from the pens (happens every day) and interbreed with wild stock, who knows what it will do? They grow fast, but can they compete in the wild? Or could they OUTcompete other fish, or possibly prey on other species that now are in balance and cause problems we can't even foresee? I'm not saying those things will happen, only that we don't know they WON'T happen. And salmon are just one example.
Reducing the argument to one of increased yield is simplistic, seems to me. It's ONE factor, and an important one, but not the ONLY factor to consider. Plants bred to resist diseases or insects may contain compounds that are harmful to humans as well. Granted they're in tiny amounts, but smoking one cigarette won't kill you, either. We don't know what happens after 30 years of exposure to them. And a simple statement that something is "harmless" is no guarantee that it really is, especially in the current American political climate. One example: I'm in my 50s, and when my mom was pregnant with me, she had several X-rays to be sure I was developing normally. They were "harmless," after all. A physician who ordered those today would be defrocked, or whatever happens to them.
As I said, these aren't necessarily worries for me--but they are for some people, and I don't think we can laugh them all off.
Two words.czardonic
Nov 26, 2002 10:28 AM
Unforseen Consequences.

GM products are new organisms, with new abilities, that combine previously un-amalgamated organic elements. Essentially, they are an unknown quantity that happens to look similar to foods humans have come to accept as edible. They might be perfectly safe. They might not be. Zimbabwe seems to be erring on the side of caution (hopefully they would accept the corn over starvation if EU alternatives weren't available).

Also, that a food is deemed fit for Americans is hardly a testament to its safety or purity. Americans happily gorge themselves on all kinds of ill-considered, ill-handled and downright poisonous products.
Except Americans don't die very often from all these . . .Sintesi
Nov 26, 2002 10:42 AM
"poisonous" products. Seems like a testament to me. Why don't they just ground the corn into meal and distribute it? This would remove any risk of contamination of existing strains of corn they already grow. Cripes if there is a famine with three million heads on the line it doesn't seem too prudent to me to refuse food- any food. If it comes to famine those people will come to eating rats and dirt. The zZmbians can refuse the corn next year if they like.
They don't?!czardonic
Nov 26, 2002 11:08 AM
440,000 a year die from diseases caused by tobacco alone. Many other deadly diseases are linked to foods or dietary habits that were once considered harmless or even healthy, and many of which are still sanctioned by the government through lax regulation or subsidies. Then there are the millions who become ill, but don't die.

It's not just the risk of contaminating other strains. There are potential risks to the consumer.

I already stipulated that the risks should be (and presumably would have been) ignored if the choice were between GM corn and "rats and dirt". They choose non-GM corn over GM corn and "rats and dirt" (though perhaps not in that order).
American diet problems relate to processing & cooking...PdxMark
Nov 26, 2002 12:08 PM
not the nature of the basic foods we eat. It's not American wheat, corn, milk, beef, or poultry that kill Americans and make them fat. It's soaking American wheat, corn, milk, beef, or poultry in grease and then coating them with sugar, and then sitting in a car and in front of a TV all the time that kills Americans.

And few of us eat tobacco.
Nov 26, 2002 12:27 PM
How is processing a food before it is harvested different to processing it afterwards? Fatty (bacteria infested) meats, grains and vegetables that have had their nutrients processed out of them etc. are stamped with the FDA and USDA stamps of approval. These products are dangerous to human health long before consumers have a chance to deep fry them. There are also the various hormones and additives that are perenially being purged of newly discovered toxins. (Chemicals that were once beleived to be safe).

Tobacco is consumed into the body, absorbed into the blood and carried to fat and muscle tissues. Eating it would be healthier (if only because you'd sooner figure out that tobacco is poisonous).
Baloney - thread drift nmPdxMark
Nov 26, 2002 12:33 PM
9000 deaths, millions ill. 'Nuff said on U.S. food quality.(nm)czardonic
Nov 26, 2002 12:42 PM
How does this relate to GM foods? nmPdxMark
Nov 26, 2002 1:18 PM
It is a response to "food fit for Americans". I was simply. . .czardonic
Nov 26, 2002 1:31 PM
. . pointing out that not everything deemed "fit for Americans" should be assumed to be safe or nutritious.
You're a real kook, you know that don't you? nmSintesi
Nov 26, 2002 12:51 PM
So long as <i>you</i> say so, I think the matter is settled. (nm)czardonic
Nov 26, 2002 1:04 PM
I am in awemoneyman
Nov 27, 2002 7:19 AM
Because you are not only an expert on geopolitical topics, but food safety, genetic engineering, law, and the origins of life. And what amazes me even more is the fact that in the event you don't know anything about a subject, you don't hesitate to post your opinion regarding such.

Tell me - What happens when tear gas fired at WTO protests gets crossed with tomato-salmon hybrids? If anyone would know, I am confident it is you.

Don't sell yourself short.czardonic
Nov 27, 2002 10:56 AM
I still look to you to determine the "facts".
what is really curious to me (further drift)trekkie1
Nov 26, 2002 2:27 PM
People rant on and on about processed food, tobacco, suv's, air quality, and even war, with all the death and illnesses resulting, as if each cause is a huge moral or ethical issue, and each person not conforming to the politically correct will is stupid, selfish, or un-American (or all).

Yet, about 1.5 million Americans are killed each year before they are even born, and everyone is supposed to look the other way and act as if there is no moral or ethical issue, and it is up to each mother, and only that mother, to make the life or death decision.

Where are the all-knowing politically correct saviors of the human race concerning the single largest cause of death in the United States? (yes, numero uno, at about 1.5 million deaths per year, with coronary disease a distance second at about 900k per year, and accidents way down the list at about 100k per year)

(Sorry, I don't have time to locate my sources, but I can assure you they are correct; just look them up.)
Without this getting really ugly,TJeanloz
Nov 26, 2002 2:48 PM
You have to acknowledge that your 'facts' are in dispute. The dispute centers on when is a "life" a "life", and there is a large camp that believes it to be at a point later than you believe it to occur- I'm not saying you have to agree with this, just acknowledge that the controversy exists.

Speaking of, you say that "Americans" are killed, but I believe citizenship is granted at birth, not a pre-natal point. Legal scholars?
Jus soli.czardonic
Nov 26, 2002 2:54 PM
Amendment XIV, Section 1: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside."
Indeed. And who weeps for those "murdered" by contraceptives?czardonic
Nov 26, 2002 2:49 PM
After all, millions more potential humans would be alive today if not for these genocidal devices.

Anyway, to answer your question, processed foods, tobacco, SUVs etc. are a tangible burden on all of society. Abortion is not.
huh? the debate continues...trekkie1
Nov 26, 2002 3:01 PM
Since when is death not a tangible burden? Are you saying that if people were zapped out of existence with no medical bills in the process, then that death is no burden? I don't get it.

Re: above, I didn't intend to limit the discussion to "citizens." Non-citizens are not fair game for killing. "Americans" was intended to include all human life forms in the country, or roughly so.

Yes, I realize there is a "debate" whether unborn are "human." The point is, some want to exclude the issue from being a moral or ethical issue, while at the same time dictating that what you drive (or eat, etc.) is a moral or ethical issue. So, conversely, at least acknowledge that there is a moral choice concerning killing the "unborn", and therefore there could be a "right" and "wrong" choice to be made.
When? Simple. Since. . .czardonic
Nov 26, 2002 3:25 PM
. .the cost of abortion was dwarfed by the cost of rasing a child. If only pro-lifers agreed to raise all these "Americans" that they are so desperate to save.

Moreover, the acknowledgement that there is a right or wrong choice to be made is inherent to the title "Pro-choice". Most pro-choice people abhor abortion (I certainly do). However, they also believe that there is a point where it is the right choice. This point varies widely by individual, of course.
Nov 26, 2002 3:03 PM
Don't know whether you intend to include devices that prevent fertilization or those that prevent further development following fertilization. The former certainly do not kill human beings by anyone's standard; the latter are arguable.
It's just another degree of "potentialitly".czardonic
Nov 26, 2002 3:16 PM
Pro-lifers think that a human fetus, which if not for intervention would almost certainly become a human life, should be counted as people. Fine. Without the intervention of contraception, millions of other "Americans" would be with us today. Many pro-choicers beleive that the line should be drawn at birth. Pro-lifers draw it at conception. I am sure there are some religious fundamentalists who draw the line at the first "twinkle" in the father's eye. I am just pointing out the subjectivity that is inherent to the whole argument.
Nov 26, 2002 3:43 PM
Never heard the twinkle argument.

This is not exactly a subjective, infinitely indiscreet continuum, rather, there are some certain and identifiable moments about which no one can disagree that "things are different now." Fertilization, division, implantation, heartbeat, brain waves, (viability is subjective, or at least variable), and birth (with some more I likely missed). At fertilization, the genetic code is fixed for the making of a distinct human being (or identical siblings...). Viability is certainly a useful concept in the legal setting, yet is somewhat subjective, as individuals vary and science progresses. Birth is fairly clear, too, except in the partial birth circumstance.
The "twinkle" argument.czardonic
Nov 26, 2002 4:05 PM
Seems roughly akin to the idea that sex should only be had for the purposes of procreation. To do otherwise (especially with contraception) is to violate gods will, i.e. the desire to have sex is indivisible from gods command to procreate.

Can't radiation alter genes, causing variations to the original "blueprint"?
If you really want to get curious...Matno
Nov 28, 2002 4:14 AM
try explaining why it is that usually the same people who argue in favor of abortion argue AGAINST the death penalty? Killing innocents is okay, but putting a murderer to death is not? Hmmm.

As for the "when does life start?" question, my OPINION is that it starts when, without further medical intervention, a child would be born (so yes, that's at conception). As for the contraception is abortion argument, I'll leave that one to the Catholics (I don't think so, but it's kind of hard to draw the line with my over-simplified definition). Personally I'm pro-choice. I think that abortion should be allowed in very limited circumstances where a woman becomes pregnant by having sex against her will. (i.e. rape or incest). Other than that, if you have sex, you are CHOOSING to take the risk of pregnancy, and you have a responsibility to live with (and raise) the consequences of your actions. I do not support a "choice" to abort a child conceived by a consenting couple. This is just another example of the myriad ways in which our society no longer takes responsibility for their own actions.

As for genetically engineered food, gimme a break! Danger? That's a risk I'm willing to take considering the fact that we've been eating them for thousands of years What do you think hybrids and cross-pollenated plants are?! I'd be willing to bet that a majority, if not all, of the basic foods we eat have been "genetically engineered" at some point or another. I've been eating ruby red grapefruits for years. In fact, I think they're good for me, even though they did not exist when I was a child. No third testicle yet...

Czardonic: Comparing specially bred grain to processed (i.e. greasy, sugary) foods is confirming my initial diagnosis of a major brain infarct.
I bet you don't have any friendsMJ
Nov 28, 2002 8:16 AM
and have never had a girlfriend - assuming you are a man which I am due to your neanderthal, fundamentalist approach to the world

you don't think people are entitled to health care, you are against abortion except in rather extreme cases and consider yourself 'pro-choice', abortion constitutes killing "innocents", you are pro death penalty because it "saves money", you consider cross pollination to be genetic engineering, you don't drink and do not understand people who do (or otherwise alter their conciousness), strangely you have studied czardonic in your medical classes, you don't see any link between GM foods and other unhealthy foods

what's next people with AIDS (especially gay people) chose to contract the disease and therefore should not receive medical care paid for from your tax dollars?

conservatives like you make the mistake of telling other people what to do with their lives while living in an apparently hermetically sealed world of their own construct - where regardless of what needs to be done your tax dollars, time, or attention always miss out from the equation of what other (almost without exception) less fortunate people should do - oh how nice to be a rich, white member of the American middle class

you must find the big wide world very confusing after leaving Ma and Pa back on the farm

out of curiosity - where do you live to have such a sheltered and seemingly unchallenged interpretation of the world? how old are you to have had so little useful life experience?
Personal reply to personal attacks.Matno
Nov 29, 2002 9:37 PM
When the argument fails, turn to personal attacks. It doesn't do anything for furthering your "logic" but it feels good. (That seems to be the liberal motto).

FYI, I currently live in the sheltered community of the Bronx, I'm married (to an attorney) with one child (2nd on the way), and my interpretation of the world has been challenged through a lifetime of getting to know people from all walks of life. I have lived in the Philippines (3 years), Austria (7 months), Germany (2 years), Israel (5 months in the West Bank), Texas (native born Texican), and several states. I've been to over 30 countries, many of them while on humanitarian aid missions, and I've spent considerable time among people whose poverty you most likely can't even imagine. I've seen the effects of alcohol and drug abuse first hand. When I was younger, my family took in a young friend whose immediate family's activities included prostitution, alcohol abuse, cocaine abuse, heroin abuse, child abuse, and murder. Thankfully, he's now married with children of his own and doing well, but we have not been able to track down his father for 15 years, and his mother dropped out of alcohol rehab several times and now lives in a trailer in the woods (with no plumbing). And that's just one friend. My own grandmother was stoned for 20 years, and the effects on her children and all of their children was devastating. (Fortunately for me, my father was the oldest and was already out of the house before she went off the deep end).

I don't tell other people how to live their lives, I tell the gov't how it should be run. I feel that my experience has given me ample background to voice a well-informed opinion. If you don't like it, that's fine. As for AIDS patients, I don't think ANYBODY should receive medical care paid for from my tax dollars, so they're not singled out in that regard. However, I do have little sympathy for anyone who contracts a disease as the direct result of a promiscuous lifestyle and then demands tax dollars for their treatment. On the other hand, there are plenty of people who have contracted AIDS through no act of their own - particularly children, and I think we should be doing all we can to help them. (Although not any more than we do with cancer patients or anyone else with life-threatening disease and certainly not through the gov't). AIDS research is the most highly politicized area of medical research, and as such, there is not much validity to what is said on both sides of the issue.

Of course, my opinions all boil down to a belief in God, which many member of this forum openly ridicule. I, for one, know there is a God, and everything else I believe is based on what I know of Him. If you don't believe that, it's kind of hard to imagine us seeing eye to eye on any other important issues.
Your God would concur with your "beliefs?"eyebob
Nov 30, 2002 4:14 AM
"Of course, my opinions all boil down to a belief in God, which many member of this forum openly ridicule. I, for one, know there is a God, and everything else I believe is based on what I know of Him. If you don't believe that, it's kind of hard to imagine us seeing eye to eye on any other important issues"

Which God exactly are you referring to? Are you prepared to defend your statements on this (and other topics) based (in part or in whole) on you "beliefs" in your God? Are you really willing to do that? I truly mean this is a positive way......but your statements on many subjects on this board suggest fear and anger (fear's outward manifestation) much more than compassion and love. I assume that your God isn't afraid of much so why are you?

Oh, and what gives you the idea that your father (and you) were somehow spared the effects of your grandmother's drug abuse? It's a habit that's often driven by a myriad (thanks for using that term by-the-way) of psycho-social issues not the least of which show up early in one's life. No offense, but don't assume that you and yours have been spared in any way. To do so would be sticking your head in the sand. (THat goes for your future generations too.)

PS I'm still waiting for you to reply to my thread asking whether you think that the Death Penalty should be used as a means to curb prison over-population.

That's where I got them from.Matno
Nov 30, 2002 8:45 AM
First, there is only one God. You can pray all you want to any others, but it won't do any good. Sure, if you want to talk theology, I'm happy to (and fully prepared). Not to imply that I know a ton about theology or anything else for that matter, but I do know more about theology than I know about anything else. If you think my posts imply fear and anger, you're misinterpreting them. The policies that I support are the ones that do the most good for everyone. The only anger I feel is towards those who advocate bad policies when they ought to know better. You may think my opinions are callous and uncaring (toward the poor, for example), but really the WORST thing you can do for a poor person is to give them continual handouts. I have no problem with occasionally helping out someone in need - I just don't think the gov't is the right source of that help, and I think the old adage about "teaching a man to fish" holds true nearly 100% of the time. As for being afraid, I am not afraid for myself. I am afraid of the world in which my children are growing up. Is there anything wrong with trying to make it a safe, wholesome environment where they can live without fear? That's not the world we live in now, but it could be.

As for my family being "spared," spared is a relative term. My grandmother's problems were the result of an incomplete historectomy for which there was no hormone therapy at the time. Combined with an impatient husband, it was not a happy home. When I say my family was spared, I mean that we have not had the same major problems that my dad's siblings have experienced. We have all stayed on the right side of the law, and our families are intact and happy, for example. Just to paint a quick picture, among my dad's family, there have been 7 divorces, 2 affairs, 4 high school pregnancies, 1 suicide, many years of drug abuse, and not a single college education. This from a family of 5 in which every parent and grandparent had a college education for 3 generations back (that includes all of my great grandparents, which I might point out was unusual for anyone at the time, but especially for women). Not that that is necessarily a bad thing, but unusual for a family in which education is a high priority. Incidentally, my grandmother "snapped out of it" about the time I was born and has been a wonderful person all my life. I have always been close with all of my cousins even though we have little in common, and I love them, but I certainly wouldn't trade places with any of them!

Finally, no, I do not think that the death penalty should be used as a means to curb prison over-population. I think it is the most fair to all parties involved (including the criminal) in certain types of crimes, but I do not think that it is a means to alleviate crowding. (I'm not THAT callous!) Honestly, I think prison should primarily be a place of rehabilitation (a goal which our current system has dismally failed to achieve). If we really want to alleviate over crowded prisons, we're going to have to start with the basic unit of society: the family. Without strengthening families, there is no way that we can expect crime to go down. When it comes to raising confident children with firm values, there is nothing that can compare to a solid home with a mother and father who are married and love each other. Period.
Just so I'm clear, which God do you believe in?eyebob
Dec 1, 2002 1:05 AM
If it's just one God, give me (us) some idea of the one that you believe in. I've got no agenda with this question, just want to be clear on your definitions so that I can better understand you.

A point of contention. In your reply you state that "If you think my posts imply fear and anger, you're misinterpreting them. " and then proceed to acknowledge your fear and anger. Which is it? Am I misinterpreting your posts or are you fundamentally pissed.

Sorry, I misspoke...Matno
Dec 1, 2002 10:41 AM
I clearly AM angered by those who would use the gov't as a means to eliminate freedom rather than protect it. (That includes freedom from financial bondage). If it didn't make me mad, I wouldn't speak out so strongly against it. However, I'll qualify that by saying that there are many people who do so because that's all they know, and they have never really had the chance to learn about the alternatives. Those who simply follow the crowd do not make me mad. I feel sorry for them. It is the people who should know better (i.e. anyone with a decent education) that make me angry. On the other hand, I am constantly impressed by people who stand up for what is right in the face of great adversity.

As for fear, I think I covered that in my previous post. The same influences that make me worry about my children are the ones that make me angry. As with a physical plague, I will do everything I can to eradicate spiritual ones.

I think most people who believe in God worship the same being. I am a Christian who believes that the Bible is the word of God. As such, I believe that we are His offspring, and He is our literal Father. However, I am not one who believes, as even many Christians do, that "all roads lead to Rome." He did not put us here to live a pointless existence only to be sent to some mindless "paradise" when we die. He expects us live according to his commandments, not just to believe in Him. Even bad people can believe that God exists - obedience to his principles is what determines who will be rewarded in the hereafter. There is a right and wrong to every moral question. Satan is real, and will do anything he can to make people miserable (both in this life and the next). Am I "fundamentally pissed"? No. I'm just committed to making the world a better place. Are you?
Dec 2, 2002 5:39 AM
are the kind of fundamentalist that is truly scary - if you were Islamic you'd be on the list... the commandments?!? - are you referring to Sharia law by any chance? - do you see any link between living by Sharia and the Ten Commandments?

bible the word of God? - what about the stoning to death of people guilty of various sin? do you eat pork? play with snakes? etc. - it's what you choose to believe in and interpret

freedom from financial bondage - does that mean you do think everyone should receive free health care?

before you continue to spout off about your beliefs you need to actually read some christian theology

get a grip
Can one be committed to making the world a better place...eyebob
Dec 2, 2002 6:43 AM
and not believe in your God? Is there room in your belief for non-believers that are good people trying to make a positive difference in the world? Who defines the right and wrong sides of "every moral question?" You? Your God?

With this question, I do have an agenda. I would like to know the degree of tolerance that you have for those who don't believe in the being that you believe in and by extension what I might expect in discussing "moral" issues with you.

I'm sure Jesus would support the death penalty too - nmMJ
Dec 2, 2002 5:33 AM
Personal reply to personal attacks.MJ
Dec 2, 2002 1:25 AM
I'm surprised you live in a big city

your experiences seems to have left you with a warped fundamentalist interpretation of the world

were the humanitarian aid missions the kind that fundamentalist christians go on - come to prayer service and get some food and some old Michael Jordan T-Shirts kind of thing? was the living abroad in the US military?

most people's experience with drugs and alcohol is positive - most people who drink and enjoy getting drunk are not alcoholics - most people who experiment with drugs do not go on to injecting heroin - experiences with drugs are almost always good (think about how many people try drgus and yet remain normal hman beings...)

how the government governs affects how people live their lives - end of discussion

imagine Jesus saying - "I'm not paying for anybody's medical care - not my tax dollars no way no how" - does your God help you out with that train of thought?

'religious' people like you make me physically sick - you are what's wrong with religion and the right white wing - you give everyone who is well intentioned on the right and in the church a bad name while trying to wrap yourself in the word of god - you are a million miles away from what the bible, christianity and Jesus are all about

imagine Jesus saying - because you led a promiscuous lifestyle you should not recieve medical care - again is that ideology from your God? where is that in the bible? I recall a very different Jesus and am happy to give references

though I may ridicule you - I don't ridicule people's belief in God - I do ridicule beliefs which are wrapped in as much negativity and hostility as is possible to imagine - beliefs that are opposite from what christianity is all about - you are a bad witness - you are your brother's stumbling block - you give Christians a bad name - you should be ashamed and embarrassed

try a message of love, inclusion and understanding - it will suit your stated purposes much better - if you can't do that it is kind of hard to think we'd see eye to eye on much of anything
Warped and twistedMatno
Dec 2, 2002 5:40 AM
You obviously don't get my main point, which is that I agree with everything you promote as good and loving, but the gov't should not be involved. I do all the things that you say about Christian living, but it is WRONG for the gov't to force people to support "charity" through their tax dollars. I would never deny anyone health care (as a doctor) based on their lifestyle. I would deny health care if it comes from the gov't based on the fact that it's not the gov't's role, regardless of who needs it. I am truly sorry that you can't seem to grasp that fundamental concept. Until Jesus actually runs the gov't, he would agree with the concept of gov't that I have outlined since I got it from him. (Your quote, to be an accurate description of me should read "I'm fulling willing to pay for somebody's medical care, but not through gov't channels"). Freedom of conscience is a fundamental part of this life, and Christian theology. Anyone who argues to the contrary (i.e. that we should help/force people to do good) is promoting the plan of Satan.

If you met me in person, I'm sure you would be surprised. I am probably one of the least hostile, most easy-going people you could ever meet. My goal is to help as many people as possible get to heaven. I'm all for inclusion, but keep in mind that getting there includes the concept of "love the sinner, hate the sin." Repentance is a wonderful thing that is available to all through Jesus Christ. Those whose lives are contrary to what Christ taught will not make it there unless we (you and I) can convince them to change.

Oh, and to answer a few of your questions: my humanitarian aid missions have been primarily medical in nature (i.e. with doctors). Nothing to do with religion (unless you count our Sunday visits to various local churches). The Philippines was military, the other places I lived were more education related.

Just out of curiousity, which references would you be happy to give?
scripture referencesMJ
Dec 2, 2002 7:09 AM
so you're a christian except when voting and discussing politics? what!? explain that please

what's mine is mine and what's yours is mine seems to be the only philosophy of yours I don't understand - not the governments role to provide health care? - yes it certainly makes sense that such basic a provision should be excluded from government attention - please explain why (in theological terms) why the government should not provide such a basic human need - and please explain who should... what exactly is the governments role in your theology?

as a Christian you should know that not everybody can look after themselves - helping people is a fundamental tenet of christianity - it is a fine way to witness - it is the direct opposite from "helping Satan" whatever that means - anyways if you give someone a choice between free will and AZT I know which they'll choose

I'm pleased that you feel confident Jesus would find your political platform spiritually edifying - but I think he'd only stick around long enough to find some tables to turn over and kick your ass out of the building

you support the death penalty - would Jesus?

to quote Bon Jovi (kind of) - you give christians a bad name
MJ, what do you mean...eyebob
Dec 2, 2002 9:04 AM

"anyways if you give someone a choice between free will and AZT I know which they'll choose"

I didn't get it.

MJ, what do you mean...MJ
Dec 2, 2002 9:29 AM
AZT is a medicine which is used by people with AIDS

the concept of free will in religion is an old and tired dividing line (it helps fundamentalists feel smug 'because everhone gets a choice') - it also defeats theological impossibilities - i.e. can God make a taco so big he can't eat it? (you can use your imaginantion on that one and see where it's going)

if the choise is not helping people with health care because it's apparently Satan's work (acording to Matno) to help people I point out that: given the choice (get it!) between free will and AZT (i.e. help) most people are gonna choose the AZT/help

does that help?
Where are the scripture references?Matno
Dec 2, 2002 9:31 AM
I've already explained that several times. You're just not listening.

Where in the heck do you get "What's yours is mine" from anything I've said? More like "what's yours is yours, and NOT mine." (I'm perfectly willing to turn it around and say that I have absolutely no right to expect anyone else to pay for my health care. Apparently you didn't really read the previous long thread about the "right" to health care).

The problem with what you're saying about Christianity is that it ignores the fact that the Old and New Testaments were not about two separate gods or two separate theologies. If you believe as many Christians (including myself) do, then you'll know that Christ was also the God of the Old Testament. Therefore, He not only supported the death penalty, but demanded it for certain crimes (including adultery). He did not condemn Judaism during His ministry on earth, only the outward twisted form it had taken on by the time of His birth. He did say that the time for the Law of Moses (which he gave to Moses) was past, and many aspects of the law were changed (hence the term "new" testament). But the basic tenets of Christianity were always there. (Remember that the Law of Moses was a "lesser law" in that it had a lot of symbolism to remind the Israelites of their duty, but the spiritual motivation was supposed to be the same). An example of this is one you brought up. Under the Law of Moses, stoning was originally done only after "conviction" by political leaders (who were also the spiritual leaders). At the time of Christ, it had become common practice for an angry mob to carry out sentence without a "trial." That is what Christ condemned. (You'll notice that in the case of the woman taken in adultery, He did not forgive her as he often did, but rather admonished her to sin no more).

The government's role is to protect fundamental rights, including the punishment of those who violate the rights of others. Health care is not a right, and as was discussed at length in a previous thread, it is not possible to provide the best care to everyone (nor is it even logical to think that it could ever be, unless you freeze the advance of technology where it is now). As far as that goes, one of the fundamental rights that the gov't should protect is a right to worship however you want. I have that right and so do you (technically, everyone does, although many people in this world do not enjoy the same protection of that right that we do). I was merely saying that in order for you to understand my point of view, you would have to have an understanding of Christian theology. So far you have not demonstrated that you do. (Which makes me wonder why you would care if I gave Christians a bad name. As far as I can tell, that wouldn't affect you).

Your analogies don't work. AZT vs. free will? Of course the person who wants AZT would choose AZT, but if I gave YOU the choice between providing ME with a lifetime supply of AZT or not, which would you choose? Do you really think that you would not be upset with me for making the poor decision to put myself at risk of HIV? If you were a Christian, I'm sure that in a Christ-like way you would still feel badly for me and do what you could to help, but there is no way you could afford it. The same principle applies to society as a whole.

Sharia court and the 10 Commandments? Do you know anything about Sharia law? It has a lot more in common with the altered Jewish law of Christ's time than it does with the original law given to Moses or Christianity. "Truly scary"? What have I said that could possibly be construed as violence towards you or anyone else? (I'm serious, I'd like to know). Perhaps in a previous post I have condemned your lifestyle, and you are upset about that because you prefer to be accepted as you are rather than told to repent? I have not condemned anyone, only their actions.
Where are the scripture references?MJ
Dec 2, 2002 10:15 AM
I read the previous post on right to health care and concluded you were a neo-nazi - damn the poor to their inability to pay

healthcare is a basic fact of life in Euroland - nothing's grinding to a halt here though there are problems it's considered the most basic of rights - it's funny that an overwhelmingly non-religious continent displays more christian values in its health care and welfare provisions than the bible belt where self employed people go bankrupt and/or die if they get cancer

old testament vs new testament - are you serious? - Jesus said love your enemy - the Old testament (always favoured by fundamentalists) is all about damnation and punishment - Jesus time on earth (if you go for that sort of thing) changed all that and his teachings are diametrically opposed to many of the more brutal burning and brimstone passages in the Old Testament - it's very simple - Jesus was about love and helping - please identify in scripture where Jesus agreed with the death penalty - you can't just pick and choose which one applies today - it's not a coherent position

do you eat pork? the bible says not to
do you treat your slaves well? the bible is pretty perscriptive re slaves (what know slaves? does that violate your freedom of religion?)
have you taken a second wife? it looks like you can from the old testament
do you play with poisonous serpents? - believers will be protected

what I don't understand is your 'christian theology' - it's not christian in any way shape or form - what I believe is irrelevant to the discussion - though if you do a search on the board you'll see my father is a Baptist minister and I don't participate in religion anymore except to ridicule small minded theologians - always good sport

what is truly scary is that you have deluded yourself into a view of the world which you can feel comfortable with - you can sit smugly in your wealth, privilege and religion while your actions are the exact opposite of what christianity is fundamentally about - you can justify taking shots at people but then not owning it by distinguishing in that subtle art of loving the sinner and not the sin

I think you're confusing the constitution as a book of the bible - or some other commandment

you say a government is to protect fundamental rights - yet you do not consider health care to be a fundamental right - what more basic right is there?

you've condemned everyone's lifestyle but yours - you're smug and arrogant and don't actually undertstand your own religion - it's a pretty limited choice from where I sit in respect to your way or the highway to hell - and if I don't believe the way you do and go to hell that's fine they've got all the good bands anyways
Like I said...Matno
Dec 2, 2002 11:21 AM
You would have to believe in God to see eye to eye with me. You don't "participate in religion" so it's not likely to happen. Good luck with your chosen path.

By the way, just out of curiousity (since your a preacher's son and all), what is the point of the Old Testament at all if you don't believe that it came from God? Was there no true religion at all until Christ came? (Granted, you probably don't think there was true religion before OR after he came, but what would your dad say?)

I do strongly believe that the Constitution and the founding of this country were divinely inspired. Nowhere in the history of the world has freedom EVER been as well protected as it is under our system. It may not be scripture, but it's certainly something that I think we should all be concerned about protecting.

Once again, I'll reiterate: health care is NOT a right. It is impossible for everyone to have the best health care at the same time, which should be your first clue. Everyone CAN simultaneously enjoy the right to worship, the right to own property, the right to have a family, and any other true right. If all of the doctors in the world suddenly died, what would happen to your right to health care? If all of the religious leaders died, I would still have my freedom of religion fully intact. Food, housing, and education are similar necessities that some people think of as fundamental rights, but they are not. Certainly, in an ideal world, everybody would have all of those things, but nobody has a RIGHT to them! I cannot force you to provide my education any more than you can force me to provide your housing. The gov't, as an extension of you and me (the People) has no more right to force such entitlements than you or I do. It is a system that is unkind to freeriders (the economic variety, not the mountain biking kind!), but it is the best system this world has seen in at least 2000 years, if ever.

*The part of the Law of Moses that says not to eat pork was clearly changed by Christ. (Remember the "What God hath cleansed, call not thou unclean" part?)
*Owning slaves was never part of any religion I know of. Recognized as an existing institution perhaps, but certainly not a religious practice.
*I don't have a second wife, but it (polygamy) was certainly sanctioned by God in its time. You would be hard pressed to find any Christian who thinks that the great patriarchs of the Old Testament were not righteous, and they had more than one wife. David and Salomon both had many wives, and while they both committed other sins, their plural wives were specifically sanctioned by a prophet of God. (Personally, I think polygamy was more of a test of the men than a "benefit" to them. Who really wants, or can handle, more than one wife?!)
*Nobody in their right mind would "play" with poisonous serpents, nor do I think God would sanction such stupidity. Getting bitten by one while doing God's work is another story, and I DO believe that God has power to heal.

I am not deluded and you know it. You are quick to accuse me of not being a Christian, but do YOU believe Christ was the Son of God? (Either He was literally the Son of God or He was a lunatic, because He clearly claimed to be more than just a man). I don't care if you think you live LIKE a Christian (which is a good thing, and I applaud you if it's true), I'm curious whether you actually ARE one. None of your accusations are founded on anything I've said on this forum, and they are nothing more than blind mudslinging. You can keep it up, but it won't help your credibility.
The Divine Inspiration of the Constitution.czardonic
Dec 2, 2002 11:59 AM
Has it occurred to you that the Deism that informed many of the the founding fathers is diametrically opposed to the punitive, dogmatic Chirstianity that you subscribe to?
Dec 2, 2002 12:03 PM
And I've studied the founding of our country for 15 years. Never found anything like you're suggesting. Obviously not ALL of the Founding Father's of our country had the same religious beliefs, but on the whole, they were good, God-fearing people.
15 years? Not surprising.czardonic
Dec 2, 2002 2:26 PM
I would imagine it would take at least that long to convince onself that Washington, Adams, Madison, Franklin, Paine etc. were fundamentalist Christians. Or did you exhaustive research reveal that these men were not our founding fathers after all?

Were the founding fathers so "God-fearing" that they were afraid to mention God in the Bill of Rights?
Add "Theologian" to your resume'moneyman
Dec 2, 2002 2:11 PM
You really are amazing.

$$ - Still in awe
You'd be amazed indeed. . .czardonic
Dec 2, 2002 2:28 PM
. . .at how many people are more knowledgable than you on any number of topics. There is a world of knowledge out there beyond "Matno good. Czardonic bad."
It's not that you are just more "knowledgable" (sic)moneyman
Dec 2, 2002 3:59 PM
But rather that you are an expert on everything. That is the amazing part. Your breadth of knowledge on any given subject is almost beyond belief.

Oh, yeah - I don't think you are bad. Misguided, certainly. Out of touch with reality, beyond a doubt. Laughable, unquestionably.

I see.czardonic
Dec 2, 2002 4:31 PM
Well, as you have so adeptly proven, you are the superior when it comes to spelling!

Nonetheless, I maintain that it is a simple matter to appear an "expert" next to someone who believes that Abraham Lincoln was convicted of murdering citizens of the Confederacy. Frankly, I wonder if anything is beyond your belief.
Your lack of logic comes to mind...Matno
Dec 2, 2002 4:38 PM
...when the subject of things that are hard to believe comes up.
Is that comment an example of the politeness that you prize?czardonic
Dec 2, 2002 4:47 PM
It's certainly indicative of your cleverness.
Is that comment an example of the politeness that you prize?Matno
Dec 2, 2002 4:50 PM
The courtesy I extend is to attack your arguments on their merits (or lack thereof). You have yet to counter without personal derision. It would be appreciated, but difficult considering your untenable position.
Must be a symptom of my alleged infarct.czardonic
Dec 2, 2002 4:55 PM
You're one to talk about personal derision!
Yes, but even that...Matno
Dec 2, 2002 6:01 PM
was merely a comment on the lack of coherence in your arguments. You lumped several ideas together with neither a direct connection to anything I said nor a logical connection between your own ideas. Hence my reference to an inability to understand context or form a big picture. The difference between our ideas is simply this: I am trying to offer practical solutions to issues that many people view as complex while you are throwing around outlandish exceptions to every rule and trying to promote principles which have already been proven to be ineffective by other followers of Marxist-Leninist ideology like yourself. You know as well as I do that Marxism does not work, yet every idea you have promoted follows those lines of thinking (except maybe your unfounded attacks on my Christianity). I see your ideas as a threat to freedom, therefore I criticize them. I have never condemned you as a person. Try it sometime. You might like it! :^)
Help me out with the logic here.czardonic
Dec 2, 2002 6:38 PM
Lord knows I need it.

Here is your "diagnosis": Matno "Bush twins turn 21 today" 11/25/02 9:24pm

Note that you are relpying to my reply to someone else. So, what neurological infirmity would cause you to read a conversation between two other parties, and flame one for not responding coherently to you? If that is logical, I'll get that second opinion after all.

While only you (or someone who believes exactly as you do) can decided whether or not my attacks on your beliefs are founded (as you have reminded us ad-nauseum), my attacks on the un-Christian nature of those beliefs (as in their relationship to the philosophy of Jesus Christ as understood by mainstream followers of same) are quite founded. I'm no expert on religion (don't tell moneyman!), but between what I do know and your conversations with MJ and eyebob, I am fairly confident that my criticisms of your "Christianity" are at the very least with basis, and very likely correct on top of that.

I am not a Marxist-Leninist, as you claim (without foundation). I know that Marxism does not work, just as you must know that Christianty does not work in the real, multi-cultural world. History has laid bare the inadequacies of both. I beleive that the method of organizing society that achieves the greatest good for all has yet to be found.
Like I said...MJ
Dec 3, 2002 5:37 AM
My Dad has lots to say about Old Testament theology being espoused by fundamentalist christians as a genuine basis for their beliefs - he would say you should be ashamed for casting doubt on his good work - you can't reconcile your stated beliefs and the New Testament - you are the eye for an eye type of christian rather than the turn the other cheek type of christian

clearly health care is not a right under the constitution leaving aside all pursuit of happiness arguments etc. - but it is a basic human right that a christian should support and should never stand against

people are freeriders if they think that people should make themselves detsitute to recieve medical care - to knowingly agree to restrict people's access to health care is not a christian approach - what would Jesus say about that?

there's a strange belief held by most arch conservatives that the US is the only model of capitalism in the world - and that it works - such ideas are usually put forward by people such as yourself - rich, white and privileged - people who do not see that the steel tariffs, agricultural and water policies of the US are the ultimate welfare benefit - you see wlefare and health care as something that poor single black mothers shouldn't be getting out of your pay cheque - again a very christian approach

BTW - you (and I) do pay for other people's education every day - do you know why? - because it is in society's interest that you do - just as it is in respect of health care

I didn't realise the hand of Jesus touched my bacon - slaves aren't a part of the religion but there are neverthless rules for the treatment of slaves in the bible - when did the time of polygamy end and the time of monogamy begin (scripture references please) - you need to review your bible harder to come up with the playing with snakes passages

you're picking and choosing to ignore the uncomfortable bits

here's a good one - if alcohol is so bad why did Jesus turn water into wine?

there's no doubt that you believe in Jesus - but it is clear that you don't understand the very basic elements of your own religion - and by casting yourself as a true believer (all other's of course are wrong) you're doing a great disservice to others with faith - you are a stumbling
block to others - your religion appears to be all about me, me, me - which is the standard self-entitlement view that most Americans approach the world with - how I live is not under discussion though my position should be abundantly clear

you keep telling yourself that the US protects your freedom better than any other system at any other time ever - then try telling that to anyone whose not as rich, white and privileged as you - try looking at it from someone else's shoes if that's possible for you

answer these questions with reference to scripture:
Would Jesus support the death penalty?
Would Jesus refuse the poor health care?
Would Jesus refuse people education?
Would Jesus refuse people food?
Would Jesus refuse to help people whose behaviour resulted in sickness or other problems?
Does Jesus forbid consumption of alcohol?
MJ, is there a term for someone who just lets a thread dieeyebob
Dec 4, 2002 8:24 AM
without answering? there has to be some cool internet-chat room verbage thats used. Whaddya think?

Dec 5, 2002 1:06 AM
you have any suggestions? in this case we could just call that person "wrong" or "mistaken"

I can't keep up with US hours in the UK...
Free will?eyebob
Dec 2, 2002 11:03 AM
so as i understand it better. Your omniscient god would grant me free will and then punish me for utilizing it? Or if I don't really have free will (because he has a PLAN) then he "makes" me a bad person and then punishes me, how does this make sense? Another scenario that's always puzzled me is assuming that your god knows all he therefore knows future events. Why would he even get angry at any act of a human? How's anger help him? Sounds like a human feeling applied to a diety. (which is my problem with a lot of that fire and brimstone stuff in the old testament.)If I know that you're going to cut me off in traffic because you've done it 100 times before and you then do it, why would I get angry? Who's benefited by that? Anger (like worry) doesn't do anything. If you can explain why my lifestyle would anger a diety that either controls it or chose to give me a choice I'd like to hear it.
Good question.Matno
Dec 2, 2002 11:41 AM
I'll try to answer it as best I can. (Keep in mind, this is my belief, and you are free to disagree). First of all, who is God? Are we really His children or are we just creations of his, kind of like pets? If you believe as I do (and as the scriptures teach), that we are literally his children who were created "in His image," then wouldn't it stand to reason that we can "progress" to become like Him someday (after this life, of course). Personally, I think it is degrading of His power to claim that His children which He created can't become like Him. Obviously, not all Christian sects agree with me on that one. Many Christians believe in God as some nebulous, shapeless being who has no form. I'm not sure how they reconcile that with us being created in His own image.

Yes, God created us with the freedom to choose. It's really a "fundamental right" - in other words an eternal principle that has always existed. The difference, as I see it, between God and Satan is that God requires us to live with the consequences of our actions (or enlist the aid of Christ's sacrifice to help us become "clean") while Satan would have us believe that our actions have no consequences and that we'll be saved no matter what we do. I'll let you decide who's policy will prevail in the long run. In the mean time, even if I didn't know what I do, I'd rather play it safe!

I also believe that God is all knowing, but that doesn't mean that we are subject to the whims of "fate" and cannot change the course of our lives. It also does not mean that He, as our Father, cannot feel godly sorrow for our actions. God is both a merciful and a just god. He provided a way for us to wipe away sins through Christ (mercy), but He has also condemned unrepentant sinners, and He cannot deny his word, thus he will punish those who disobey (justice). His condemnation may be manifested in ways that seem "angry" to us, but I imagine that the real emotion behind it is sorrow over losing some of His precious children (who we all are). And yes, I do think that God is fully capable of emotion. Jesus wept on more than one occasion. One example of that was at the tomb of Lazarus. Jesus, being deity, KNEW that Lazarus was not going to stay dead, but he wept for the unbelief of those around him. That's what I mean when I say "godly sorrow."

Finally, I'll reiterate that I have no intention of professing to understand all of God's workings. The human mind is not capable of such comprehension. This is just what I believe in regard to God, and I think it makes a lot of sense.
I think that you'd have to admit that the reason that many, manyeyebob
Dec 2, 2002 1:12 PM
people have trouble with Christianity is because of your last statement. I mean no disrespect, but to end an argument by pleaing ignorance somewhat weakens your position. It's weakened further by the fact that you seem to be taking both a literal and non-literal stance to your interpretation of the Bible. You can't have it both ways and expect a non-believer to be able to discuss your position because it then defies logic.

One last thing, you didn't address the question regarding your god's actions regarding anger too well. Why would an all-knowing god even bother with anger. this god wants us to act in a certain way (he gave us laws presumably because he didn't trust us) and then gets angry when we don't? He knows who's naughty and nice, right?

Did you answer the question about whether a non-believer can lead a moral life that I posted?

And, no, I'd rather not play it safe. Here's a link to a site that debunks Pascal's Wager, which is what your arguing.


PS I'm off, have a good night. Peace and happiness to you and yours.
You're right.Matno
Dec 2, 2002 2:01 PM
There's a reason it's called faith. But it doesn't have to be blind. Do you claim to understand the universe? Apparently, you don't believe in God, which is your right, so the idea of understanding Him is irrelevant. (Or maybe you do. Hard to tell from your post). Personally, I don't see how anyone could possibly look around the world and deny the existence of a creator. There is simply no way that our world could exist by chance. If you think that's close minded, you're entitled to that opinion. I've had many experiences that have convinced me of the existence and nature of God. You don't have to believe that, but I can't deny it.

In what way does my interpretation of the Bible contradict itself? I think that most, if not all, of what is contained in the Bible IS both literal and figurative. Obviously, there are some analogies contained therein that were intended to be literal examples of figurative things (or vice versa), but I look at the prophecies in the Bible as literal.

I thought I clarified the part about God's anger, but think of it this way. If you KNEW your child was going to do something that you specifically asked him not to do, would you not punish him? When a guilty party is caught and reprimanded, does it not always seem like the reprimander is angry, even if they love the person who has done wrong (like a parent, for example)? God cannot forgive an unrepentant sinner. That would contradict his commandments and make Him a liar. But He does not get angry in the sense that you are thinking of it. That is, He does not lose His temper. Ever. (And we would do well to follow that example!)

Yes, I think a non-believer can live a moral life. In my experience, it is very rare for someone who has no belief in God at all, but it does happen. Of course, I don't believe that does you nearly as much good in the next life as believing in God, but if you don't believe in God anyway, you probably don't care. (Yet).

Pascal's Wager is not really what I was arguing. I could go through every single "sin" listed in the Bible and give you ample reasons to avoid them - from a purely secular perspective. That's not MY motivation for avoiding them, but it is rather compelling. As for Pascal's logic, that website makes a good point about a lack of choices. I would not go out of my way to defend Catholicism or its tenets (and certainly not its history). I think that they got FAR from the church that Christ organized during his life. I WILL say that I know many Catholics who are very good people, even if they are not on the same track as I am. Sadly, I also know many who use the Catholic church's policy on forgiveness (i.e. from a priest in a confessional) to justify sin before the fact.

Finally, I make no claim that being a Christian is easy. It certainly seems like it is downright hard at times. But it is simple, and the rewards are great - both in this life and the next. (It would be very disheartening if ALL the rewards were after this life...)

Thanks for being polite. You are a good example of how one can disagree without being disagreeable! That is much more than can be said for other posters on this forum.
MJ, what do you mean...eyebob
Dec 2, 2002 9:56 AM

"anyways if you give someone a choice between free will and AZT I know which they'll choose"

I didn't get it.

Religion may be coercive, but government is not.czardonic
Dec 2, 2002 11:28 AM
The government does not "force" the people to support charity. The people saw that private charity was not (as you assume) up to the task of providing for the needy. Based on your hostility to the poor and towards people who do not share your Christian beliefs (such as they are), it is little wonder why. You talk about helping the needy, but based on your posts on healthcare, it is clear that you don't beleive that anyone is needy and that those who are destitute are simply lazy and inferior.

Thus, the people elected representatives who passed the laws that hold people like you to your word on helping the needy. Unlike the Bible, our laws were not handed down to us. We created them, and they persist by the grace of our continued support. If a significant portion of the voting public shared your views, your views would be reflected in our laws. Fortunately, you are on the fringe. If you feel forced into contributing to society, it is not because of the "government", it is because your neighbors know that people like you can not be trusted to do your part for the community.
Ah, the beauty of democracy.Matno
Dec 2, 2002 11:56 AM
All the popular opinion in the world doesn't change wrong to right. If the gov't doesn't force charity, what do you call our welfare system? A "voluntary taxation system"? Regardless of whether you think it's right or wrong, it is still coercion. (Unless you consider quitting your job and receiving welfare yourself an "alternative"). Not all poor people are lazy. Most poor people that I know of who are physically and mentally healthy are less motivated than most rich people that I know. Is that more clear? There are no national statistics on "laziness" but other indicators support my opinion. I think someone with an education who waits - on welfare - for a job opportunity in their chosen field is relatively more lazy than someone else in the same situation who works at minimum wage to make ends meet while they are looking for a new job. Both may be poor, but one is not creating a burden for society. It's a subtle form of pride, and doesn't do anyone any good. (Except maybe McDonald's, which is constantly trying to improve employee turnover rates...)
Can one coerce oneself?czardonic
Dec 2, 2002 12:16 PM
Our welfare system is indeed and "voluntary taxation system." If enough people beleived that it was inherently coercive and unfair, it would cease to exist. They don't. Deal with it.

I was already clear on your opinion. You think rich people are naturally brilliant go-getters and poor people are inevitably shifless louts. But I submit that wealth is only a measure of character when everyone starts with the same resources. The notion that every rich person's wealth is the direct product of their own hard work or genius is completely absurd. Question: What is the difference between someone who is born into money and acheives nothing beyond the generous means bequeathed to them and someone born with nothing who achieves nothing?
Dec 2, 2002 12:40 PM
There is no difference in the situation you describe. Except maybe that one is luckier than the other. But there are not a lot of people born into wealth. (And for many who are, it doesn't last long unless they are smart). I also submit that there's not a heck of a lot of difference between a hard working businessman or worker who makes 7 figures and one who makes $40,000. Both are respectable, hard-working men who are earning a living. One may have a lot more discretionary income, but that doesn't make him "better" than the other in any way. My "opinion" is not a comparison of classes of people. It is simply that ANYONE in this country who is mentally and physically sound can make enough money to cover basic living expenses (including food, housing, and health insurance). Of course, that (my opinion) is largely supported by the Bible, which you do not believe in. "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open to you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it" (Mal.3:10) That's a direct promise from God that if you pay a tithe (which I do) you will always have enough. It has worked for me and everyone else I know who lives according to it. I have never once seen it fail. You should try it sometime!
"Tithe" is an old-timey word for "tax".czardonic
Dec 2, 2002 2:09 PM
Give me an example of a theocratic society that has accomplished more or provided for as many as our secular system in all its un-godly, coercive glory. For that matter, show me a theocratic society that guaruntees aid to anyone, regardless of their beliefs or their persistance in those beliefs.

You are a regular three ring circus of self-contradiction. You beleive that the Constitution was divinely inspired, yet you believe that the Government that was created by the Constitution is an insturment of un-godly coercion. You quote passages from the Bible stating that it is good to contribute to a communities governing body when that body is religious, but claim that to do the same to a secular institution is wrong. Fail to do one and (I assume) you go to hell. Fail to do the other and you go to jail. Yet only the latter is coercive?

What you don't get is that we have tried it your way. It didn't work. Theocracy inevitably leads to persecution and real coercion. As a devotee to the lessons of History, I know that you are well aware of this. So, I can only assume that you yearn for those days because you beleive that forced labor, marginalization of women, witch-burning, crusades, inquisitions etc. are good things.

Incidentally, your assumption that anyone who works hard enough can afford food, housing and health insurance reamains an assumption.
Nobody ever went to jail for not paying tithing.Matno
Dec 2, 2002 4:48 PM
Our system became great before it became a secular system. That has been a development of the latter half of the last century. Good gov't is dependent on moral people. When the population at large chooses evil over good, they will get it.

You're right about my assumption being an assumption. However, it is backed by sound logic and all of history. (Hey, maybe it's not just an assumption!) I stand by it 100% and you can't prove me wrong.
Not jail, Hell.czardonic
Dec 2, 2002 4:59 PM
Isn't that the implication? Can one ignore the Bible passage you quoted without reprecussion?

That your logic is sound is also an assumption, based on what I have heard of it so far.
Not a problem...Matno
Dec 2, 2002 5:51 PM
...for anyone who doesn't believe in it. It's hardly coercion if it's something you believe in. If you don't believe in it, that's where freedom of religion comes in. Don't pay it. Personally, I couldn't afford to live without the extra blessings it brings, but if you can, more power to you.
For that matter, you could move to another country.czardonic
Dec 2, 2002 8:23 PM
Nobody is forcing you to live here and reap the benefits of secular liberalism. Anyone who doesn't believe in it can leave. Then again, anyone who doesn't believe in it can also work to change it. Not so with most religions, and almost certainly not so with religion as you have defined it.

What I don't understand is that you realize the benefits of charity, but only from the standpoint of your own divine quid pro quo. Do you donate primarily to help others, or to help yourself? If the former, why the antipathy towards the secular equivalent? No heavenly pay-off? If your attitude is that you would be helping people anyway, why should you care if the Government requires it? The only reason that I can think of is that you want to determine who is saved and who is cast off. By what qualification (religious or otherwise) do you claim that right?

I'm not religious, but I beleive that for the most part people are sorted out by their deeds (by Karma, the "Universe", God, or whatever). If a few loafers score a free ride, I beleive that they will ultimately pay the price, if only in their own psyches. By getting agitated about the mean-time, and especially by steeping yourself in the kind of negative stereotypes that your arguments have been rife with (examples given on request), I beleive that you are paying a similar price. Free country, have at it. I choose not to.
And if you wanted to,Matno
Dec 3, 2002 6:32 AM
you could move to China, which already has your ideal political system in place. There's a serious shortage of women, but hey, that's the breaks in a system that destroys freedom. America is still by far the best country (and political system) on earth. I'll stay.
Is that an example of you unassailable logic?czardonic
Dec 3, 2002 10:15 AM
I freely admit that the ideal political system is not Communist, and in fact has not even been discovered, and you come back with your usual non sequitur red-baiting?
Some modifications are certainly riskier than others...PdxMark
Nov 26, 2002 10:51 AM
In particular the earliest commercialized modifications, relating to herbicide resistance, were environmetally risky. But what about nutritional modifications? They seem not to pose the same envrionmental risks as herbicide resistance.

Can't the case be made that at least SOME genetic modifications of food could be OK?

As for unforeseen consequences, anything new poses risks... How well do we actually know that using cell phones for years won't cause neural damage? Caution is certainly reasonable with regard to GM foods, but does caution require a ban or decades of study?
aren't all foods essentially GM?trekkie1
Nov 26, 2002 11:01 AM
Isn't almost everything we eat genetically "enhanced" or altered by eons of cross breeding, hybridization, or intention selection? The corn (or cows, pigs, soybeans, etc.) grown in Iowa, for example, is not what naturally grew on the continent before the white man came.

Isn't the so-called GM food really just another method, maybe speedier, of doing the same thing? Why the worry?
To an certain extent.czardonic
Nov 26, 2002 11:22 AM
But crossing tomatos with fish is not quite the same as cross-breeding types of green beans.

I suppose the argument against the former is that the two species could not be reasonably expected to produce a viable hybrid. As such, modification to that extreme is not a speedier means to a natural end.
The concern about GM really relates to "transgenic" modificationPdxMark
Nov 26, 2002 12:03 PM
You are right. Most of what we eat now has been dramatically changed from the original "wild" forms found in nature. Traditional cross-breeding has usually (but maybe not always? I'm not sure) been within a species... trying to emphasize through breeding particular genetic characteristics.

What is now called GM seems to relate to "transgenic" modifications in which genes are moved from one species to another. Salmon to pears as a fictituous example... These changes can result in much greater changes in a plant or animal than can be achieved with traditional methods - and can be achieved MUCH faster.

Another interesting feature is that some GM seeds can be created to be sterile, as a protection against environmetal "melt-down" in which a GM plant runs wild. However, some folks (including some who oppose GM foods in general) are opposed to this practice because it's seen as a way for seed makers to force farmers to buy new seeds each year, rather than just retain seed stock from each year's crop.