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Member since: Sat Jan 5, 2013, 02:17 PM
Number of posts: 733

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How Scalia's religion informs his judgments.

There has been some disbelief and dismay at Scalia’s astounding statement that the state can favor religion over secularism. However, in an article about his views on capital punishment “God’s Justice and Ours”, http://www.firstthings.com/..., Scalia explains his basis for this belief.

Divine right never died.
Scalia explains that in past times the majority of people were told that rulers gained their authority directly from god. And this was backed by a pageant of ceremonies that connected the god and the ruler. However, with democracy, it is not so self-evident to people that the state recieves its authority from god (because politicians, elections and such.)

But the state’s authority in a democracy is derived from god just as it is in a monarchy.

Divine right means that the Constitution was divinely ordained at its inception to further the aims of god through civil authority.

He believes the Constitution is not a living document, just as the bible is not a living document, and therefore society’s views of judgments and punishments should not change, but must adhere to the god’s word as given in the bible.

God has given the government the authority to judge and punish in accordance with god’s laws.

Thus because God punished with death, the state can also punish with death.

Civil rights not mentioned in the bible are not legitimate.

Since there is no mention of a right of abortion in the bible it can not be a legitimate civil right.

This is a very general summary of Scalia's arguments.

Please read the article. I'd like to know if I am understanding his arguments.

Football causes brain damage causes violent behavior.

How long as a pro football player been playing football even before he was in the NFL? How many concussions has he sustained? How much brain damage does he have? Does the NFL test for brain damage when a player is Hired? Do they tests during his career?

People with brain damage can be more volatile and prone to violent outbursts. They can be taught to manage their anger and the consequences of brain damage.

Here are some explanations of the causes and consequences of brain damage.

"For their study, the researchers analyzed postmortem brain tissue from four military service members who were known to have been injured by a blast or had a concussive injury. The scientists compared that tissue with brain tissue samples from three young amateur American football players and a professional wrestler, all of whom had a history of repetitive concussive injury, and with four samples from comparably aged control subjects with no history of blast exposure, concussive injury or neurological disease. The signs of CTE (which can only be diagnosed postmortem) in the brains of blast-exposed military veterans were indistinguishable from those found in the deceased athletes, according to the researchers, led by Lee Goldstein, an associate professor at Boston University School of Medicine (B.U.S.M.) and Boston University College of Engineering, and Ann McKee, a B.U.S.M. professor and director of the Neuropathology Service for the VA New England Healthcare System."


"Violence as both a cause and a consequence of TBI is a serious problem. TBI professionals can play an important role in educating domestic violence workers, health care providers, and other professionals, including those in law enforcement, about ways to better identify and assist persons who experience violence. Additional research is needed to better quantify the extent of the problem and to ensure that screening methods for identifying a history of TBI are valid and reliable."


"Reasons for Violent Behaviour
We all tend to let our hair down with family, as opposed to strangers or acquaintances. Of course, after a brain injury a person's interpretation of letting hair down may be well beyond what most would consider acceptable, particularly if their self-awareness has been affected. They may justify their violence by saying that others provoked them, not realising that the brain injury has increased their sensitivity to stress and decreased their ability to handle it.
The frontal lobe is often damaged in brain injury. This area of the brain is involved in reasoning, problem solving and controlling our more basic instincts such as anger. An individual who has sustained a brain injury has often lost these skills and therefore may have trouble controlling anger and violent outbursts. In many cases brain injured individuals often lose some of their social judgement capabilities and are not effectively able to reason out the appropriateness of either their own behaviour or the behaviour they expect from others."


I think a post of mine was deleted.

First, I'm not very adept at finding my way around websites, so I offer this as my version of what I think happened, though I could be wrong.

I got a reply to my post on 7/17 about Israel/Palestinian relations from Daveed (sp) telling me that he would delete (or lock) my post unless I removed it. He advised that I read the guidelines for the forum. I did, but am still not sure why the post was deleted. I asked him twice for information but got no reply.

I did find a icon of a person with a red x on him.This lead to a screen that said "You can't ignore yourself."

Please let me know what happened and how to avoid it in the future.


For how long did the Jews say "next year in Jerusalem" before they actually got to Jerusalem?

Regarding Juan Cole's article

All discussions of the Israeli/Palestinian relations should start with this mantra.

A. Ideas don't die. Accept the fact that the Palestinians/Israelis are not going away. Israel and Palestine are implementing a solution based on violent removal of individuals, not the causes for the extremism. They are building a forever occupation.

B. You can't negotiate with a non-existent country or an adversary that has no power. A group with no power resorts to violence. It is in Israeli's best interest to provide a basis for a Palestinian society.

C. "If you want peace, work for justice" (Pope Paul VI).

Ask not what you can do for your religion, but what can the government do for your religion.

In the Hobby Lobby case, we see a group of people claiming that the government should allow it to reject, on the basis of their religious beliefs, a provision of law. Hence, constraining others from availing themselves of the law’s protection. A law to which this group of people are subject only because they voluntarily decided to engage in behavior that is regulated by this law.

So why does Hobby Lobby claim that ACA constrains their religious freedom? ACA doesn't tell them what to believe. ACA doesn't ask them to do anything against their religion.

In our complex society today it may be hard for a religion to reconcile its beliefs with the behavior needed to fully partake in a democracy. It may be hard to find a pharmacy that doesn’t sell contraceptives or a drug company that doesn’t make them. Or health insurance that doesn't cover birth control.

However, the government should not mitigate a religion’s difficulty of pursuing its beliefs either by constraining its own pursuit of the public good or by constraining the behavior of others. In fact, the separation of church and state requires that the government not only not espouse a particular religious belief, but that the government not constrain anyone’s behavior on the basis of such a belief.

In a democracy it is necessary that government not only not establish a religion, but that it doesn't allow some people's religious beliefs to affect the behavior of others.

The Supreme Court’s decision in essence is the Alice in Wonderland version of religious freedom. They ask “How can the government help this group of people not cross their religious views?” They don’t ask, “Why should their religious views constrain the behavior of others?”

Barra/Lauer Interview: reframing the question

I wanted to address two subjects that hit me as I watched the interview and I want to get your feedback on my reactions. Let me say here that I mean no dispargement of Ms. Barra in discussing the interview; it is just one example of a universal situation.

First what is the purpose of asking "can you do both"?

This is the macho version of have you stopped beating your wife.
This nonquestion is designed to remind all viewers that women are handicapped in the business world; that they lose some intangible "mommy" ability when they are successful. In fact, Lauer says that it's okay for him to ask the questions because she brought it up: by mentioning her family. As if mention of a family suddenly generates a doubt that she can do the job: OMG, she has a family.

Lauer is not interested in if Ms. Barra "thinks" she can do the job; he is interested in framing the interview.
Though Ms. Barra's answer seemed reasonable, it only legitimatized the question and put her on the defensive. The question made Lauer a "hard hitter" and Barra's answer, "I think I can", sounded defensive and weak.

Second, why do business women still fall into the trap of answering nonquestions? I am sure that as a successful business woman, Ms. Barra has been taught the fundamentals of answering hard questions as well as the importance of public relations. But on national tv, given an opportunity to provide a strong answer that highlights the subtext fo the question, she stumbles.

This is not the first time that question has been asked, and yet she had not a prepared answer. Where was her training in dealing with gender stereotypes?

My feeling is that she needed to reframe the interview by emphasizing that this is not the first job she's had since having a family. She's already done it: raised a family and was a business success.

Hey McCain, explain "mission accomplished" to me again.

Many delusional experts can explain how to go to war. Experts confer and tell the President to send in American troops. Simple. As Karl Rove said you go to war with the army you have, so no problem there.

The experts seem to have forgotten that we didn’t win a war in Iraq or Afganistan or, in the distant past, Viet Nam .

They didn’t notice that this isn’t your grandfather’s war against a united country with armed forces distinct from civilians.

So where can we turn for advice on this important question?

I seem to have forgotten the country whose internal religious war have been concluded peacefully by the intervention of another country? And in less than a generation or two.

What I do remember is how many terrorist groups have we wiped out during theAmerican war on terror. None.

Well, John McCain, Karl Rove, et al. I’ll be waiting for your answer.

Jury duty question.

I was just asked to be on a jury, and I agreed. But when I looked at the posts I couldn't make heads or tails of them. The posts seemed to be responding to different posts than I saw.

I opted out of the jury, but I would like to know what they were discussing. Can you let me know?

Also, if this is not the place for this question, let me know.

thank you.

Why did the Christie report not investigate any motive for closures?

This is what the report is trying to whitewash:

"I don't know if we'll ever know what the motive is," Christie told reporters. "As I said when I was here on Jan. 9, it mystifies me on every level why this was done. And I hope someday to have an answer to why it was done. But I certainly don't have a crystal ball and I can't tell you if or when I'll ever know. But do I hope to after all this? You bet I hope to."

If Christie can't even imagine what reason they might have had, he has a pretty poor imagination. He should at least try to guess.
But there is no likely explanation given so far except revenge.

The closures weren't down lightly. He is basically saying willing to jeopardize their careers for a show-off gesture. He might at least have thrown out the idea that they were in the pay of his enemies!

I feel that's highly unlikely that the closure could have been payback to Ft. Lee's mayor. Here is another take on the motive:


Now, these developers really had a lot to lose if those lanes were not available right next to their development.

Why science has nothing to say about religion and vice versa

There seems to be some idea floating around that religion and science are talking the same language . . .but they're not. They are self-contained belief systems based on totally different modes of thought.

Take the word "belief"

science: an idea based on repeatable physical or theoretical experiments using the scientific method

religion: an idea based on the revelations of or inspired by a supernatural being known as "god"

or the word "how"

science: an explanation of the process by which something happen

religion: an explanation of why something happens

Both religion and science may stray from such strict definitions of these words.

A scientist may say that because he doesn't need the concept of god to explain the universe, there is no such thing.

Or a religionist may say that because science doesn't include a god, it cannot be true.

Science has never proven a religion wrong . . . to any believer . . .

So what do we do about religions that deny science?

Not much. Fundamentalism arises in times of change. People who have lost their livelihoods, their homeland, their hope for the future will turn to the nearest theory that provides them with a defense to change: the ideal past. And the more change there is the more defensive the religions become.

But the past never returns. An idea never dies but the support for it will dwindle until the next paradigm shift.

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