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August 02, 2009

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And now some good news...

A Wisconsin court jury says:

Father is guilty in prayer death case.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090802/ap_on_re_us/us_prayer_death_10


I know I might sound very cynical here; (I am the child, adult now, of an Irish Catholic 1950's upbringing, luckily with independent minded parents)

Generally I ask for evidence from those who claim that God says so because it's in the Bible. One, when did he/she last speak to you? Two, do you have a telephone number, website, Facebook, twitter, contact for God? I have not so far received any one of the above requested methods of communication.

Oh and am always gobsmacked by those who believe that "god" wrote the Bible.

This is a tragedy beyond belief. Surely the parent/parents can be held responsible for child abuse?

i think it's just wrong, to give a light sentence to both parents, if they were tried where i live, regardless that it's in the bible belt, they'd still be charged with murder one and manslaughter, and we'd take the church and it's "pastor" into investigation then possible trial. it's like those idiotic parents who let their kids play in the car and then when some kids gets hurt then they sue the car company for their idiotic mistake of letting the kids play in the car.

Infuriating, but this isn't just about religious abuse. In Oregon there have been those who beat a child to death with no reason other than they could and also received much lighter sentences than if it had been an adult. We should treat the murder or abuse of children as seriously as adults-- regardless of the reason. The reason in this case just makes it more insane and maddening but the problem is our legal system and how it sees treatment of children. A lot of this well might be religious in its origins.

Take the bozo religious element out of this case. Say that the parents have a deeply held belief that antibiotics are harmful, that they hold to the naturopathic credo that the body can heal itself. If the state can force parents to follow medical proticols it (or Brian) deems prudent then the state could force parents to undergo medical treatment parents sincerely believe are harmful or unnecessary. Most parents have been in a situation where a child is very ill, high temp, sore throat, etc. Some immediately call a medical doc because they believe in that version of science. Others follow different courses of action based on their own experience. I know people who have treated their kids their entire childhood with radionics or Rife machines. They believe they work. Religious reasons may or may not be involved. Soon, many people will face a big decision regarding flu vaccinations. There is much discussion on the internet that the "state" will try to force these vaccinations on people. Many folks have deeply held beliefs backed by "science" that the vaccinations are more harmful than the disease. Science is not monolithic. There are many versions. In several states, one the reasons to refuse vaccinations is the religious defense. Freedom to practice religion is guaranteed by the Bill of Rights and will continue to be even if the Church of the Churchless deems religion useless and unnecessary. It's hard to defend this particular religious group because the evidence shows an abysmal history with their children. On the other hand their beliefs aren't much different than the Church of Christ's Science which is not consider a "bozo religion" though some here will no doubt disagree. (Christian Science believes, "Reliance on conventional medicine, though discouraged, is left up to the individual. Physicians are not viewed antagonistically; but their methods are seen as ineffective because they treat disease as originating in the body rather than mind.") There are many situations where, in order to protect our freedom to make decisions, to have free speech, etc. etc. we have to be very cautious not to manage by the exception. Let's focus on this particular church group and prosecute them where they are in violation of the law. Let's not take away my ability to defend myself against the state. I doubt that many would endorse the effective hyperbole of "child sacrifice." Many, however, should continue to support a parent's right to make decisions for their child without interference from higher authorities.

Randy, you make some reasonable points. But religion is highly relevant here for several reasons.

(1) Oregon law, like the law in many states, singles out religious belief as a special sort of belief. Someone might sincerely have a belief that Western medical science isn't as valid, say, as Chinese medicine. But that doesn't count, to my understanding, under Oregon law. A belief that Jesus is speaking in your head and is saying, "Better to let your child die than not have faith that I heal through prayer," does get you special legal treatment.

(2) Religious beliefs are especially intractable. Few people, including me, have any problem with a parent making an unconventional health care choice for his or her child if there is good reason to do so. But the Worthingtons were beyond reason. They are on record as saying that nothing -- nothing -- would ever make them go to a doctor, because they believe the Bible forbids it.

Children have to be protected against such irrationality. It's no different from being the child of a drug addict whose brain is fried and unable to work right. In this case, it is religion that has done the frying, not some chemical.

Lastly, there's a difference between a parent withholding life-saving medical treatment, and treatment for minor ailments. My mother got the crazy notion when I was a kid that brushing teeth caused more cavities than it prevented. So she had me eat a carrot every night for about a year.

At the end of a year I had twelve cavities. I'm still pissed at my mother for being an idiot about this (though otherwise she was highly intelligent). But I don't consider it child abuse. If she had stopped me from getting life-saving medical treatment, though, I would have wanted the authorities to step in.

Adults can mess around with their own health as much as they want. However, they don't have the right to prevent a child from living, when there is clear evidence that medical care will work to prevent death. This is what the Worthington case is about, not whether parents have the right to pursue their own philosophy about health care for non-critical problems.

Sometimes people need to be slapped upside the head. The child is dying and the fucking prayers aren't working. Get her to the hospital you idiots!!

I expect this testimony by a "scientist" had some impact on the jury:

http://www.oregonlive.com/clackamascounty/index.ssf/2009/07/defense_expert_testifies_ava_w.html

And, scientific studies on the efficacy of prayer show varying results:

http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en-us&q=prayer+health+studies&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

On balance, I get more enraged at doctors who cause death and injury in children through their malpractice. Don't see many calls for them to go to jail. I will point out once more the stats on in hospital deaths:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/11856.php

All done in the name of "science."

One could get the idea that reporting to the hospital is risky business.

Keep after the Worthingtons who are an easy and quite powerless target.

You totally miss the point Randy.

You seriously need to recognize that NOT getting someone to the hospital when that person is actually dying for lack of immediate medical treatment, is a FAR WORSE "risky business" than going to a hospital. That poor dead child is overwhelmingly proof of this.

Also, malpractice will always remain a possible, yet far lesser risk. However, deliberately refusing necessary and proper modern medical treatment in a life-threatening situation (as was the case with that poor child), is a VASTLY GREATER RISK.

So Randy, your comment above basically shows that you seriously need to take your pointed little head back out of your ignorant ass.

PS:

You can get "enraged" all you like Randy. However you are still alive... but that little girl is now DEAD (because of your kind of irrational thinking).

So why aren't you "enraged" about that child who didn't need to DIE?

Why aren't you enraged about a bunch of church people who stood idly by and literally watched her DIE, and they did NOTHING sensible to help her?

What kind of sick twisted mentality is that Randy? What is the matter with YOU that you aren't "enraged" about that?


Antibiotics are not a debatable, questionable treatment for what she had wrong. They are proven treatment and they work. Many more of us would not be alive today without them. This was not some state of the art question about treatment. The same thing is true about insulin for diabetics. AND as Brian pointed out earlier, if they didn't believe in interfering, leaving it all up to their god, why did they submit a defense in this case, why use expert witnesses? They not only ignored good medical science but they are hypocrites when their own lives are on the line. This whole thing was a farce and there is NOTHING in the Bible denying someone going to a doctor. This is some weird cult's interpretation of one scripture which says nothing about denying medical treatment to the sick-- and even if it did, that would not justify what these people did. They have to live with it but unfortunately they probably will justify themselves. Their poor child receives no such justification or hope for a future.

"The same thing is true about insulin for diabetics."

There are loving parents who don't believe that insulin is necessary to manage diabetes.

http://www.rawfamily.com/

But I have to say I find it encouraging that the stalwarts, may I say deacons, of the Church of the Churchless have such an abiding faith in conventional medicine. Nice to have faith in something.

Randy,

Btw and fyi, I have been seriously into naturopathic healing and natural hygiene and ayuvedic medicine for over 40 years. I have also rarely ever gone to a hospital or seen an MD... although I do happen to come from a family of five generations of medical doctors.

Furthermore, I have almost never taken any sort of allopathic or pharmaceutical medicine during the past four decades, except for some antibiotics once when I suffered a severe and infected dog bite, and occasionally I take some opiates - codeine or morphine - for severe pain. I never take any other kinds of pharmaceutical drugs, no recreational drugs, and not even stuff like aspirin.

I don't eat any processed food or drinks. I use herbs and raw foods and raw juice for nutritional supplements and my medicine. And I have not been sick or had a cold or flu for more than 20 years.

However, I would not ever hesitate to go to a hospital if I had any life-threatening ailment or infection or needed surgery.

So that just goes to show how very little you understand about where I am coming from on this issue. And so next time, don't be so presumptious and premature in your conclusions about other people.


Tao,

Could you share some of your juice mixture receipes? I think, I may need to get into juicing.

Thanks, if you desire.
Roger

Randy,

I also prefer natural foods and healing. I avoid MD's most of the time, but they do have skills and advantages in cases of trauma and some medical conditions. It is foolish not to take advantage of what they do well.

Randy, the faith in science that you speak of isn't blind faith. That's the difference. My wife and I read research reports about what has been proven to work in medical science, and what doesn't.

I agree with you that people have to be informed health care consumers. But some conditions, such as those easily treatable by antibiotics, are no-brainers. Go to the doctor and get it taken care of.

Other conditions, such as a back problem, require a lot more thought. Yes, you're absolutely right that doctors and hospitals cause a lot of side effects and even death by ineffective treatments, such as spinal surgery (though sometimes it is called for).

However, we shouldn't discard all of Western medicine just because some of it is worthless or dangerous. That's the problem with the Worthington's religious belief. It told them to never ever seek medical care. Dogmatism was what killed Ava.

Oh Boy!!
Brian and his wife have read a scientific paper (probably News of the World report) so not this is fact and Gospel in the Church of the Churchless
Make sure yall understand these new proven facts

walker, what is your problem? Are you as unhappy as you sound?

My wife, for your information, has a gastric reflux problem. We're going to the medical school in Portland tomorrow for some diagnostic tests.

I don't appreciate your sarcasm. I realize you don't know our personal situation, so that's why I'm telling you. When someone is hurting or in distress, like my wife is, it isn't cool to denigrate their efforts to learn about the problem.

For your information, Laurel is a highly knowledgeable health care consumer. She knows more about acid reflux, from studying medical research, than some of the doctors she's gone to. We subscribe to several reputable health letters, read recent books on various health subjects, and know how to separate Internet crap from solid information.

I didn't mention any "new proven facts." But if you'd like to know about acid reflux, including the state of the art in surgical interventions, my wife and I would be happy to enlighten you.

Brian
Do please enlighten us about acid reflux, it would be so interesting.

walker = troll

Walker, if you were sincere, I'd react to you sincerely.

Randy, that family was using medical knowledge. Their son had a glucose monitoring test to determine he was doing okay with change of diet. That is great but they were not just saying screw the insulin.

My husband's family has a lot of diabetes; so I know quite a bit more about it considering I had two children out of that genetic line. I also used commonsense for raising them by severely limiting sugar, watching their water intake, and trying to be smart in natural ways. So far so good on their blood sugar but that website didn't encourage ignoring symptoms and plunging on ahead no matter what. With diabetes that leads to not only early death but some pretty horrible symptoms leading up to it.

Personally I also rarely go to the doctor but not out of prejudice against them but simply seeing that going there all the time doesn't make people live longer or better. I hadn't been to see a doctor for anything in a couple of years when I cut my finger to a level that required stitches earlier this summer. Mostly, I try to use wisdom in figuring out something that is going wrong; but to rule out going to a doctor is foolishness and especially for children.

Obviously you have your own set of prejudices and it's fine for you to live with them but if you have a small child who gets strep throat, it's not fine for you to make the choice for them unless they get better right away with your natural approach. What happened in this family is they ignored the symptoms and kept praying. That wasn't the case with the Raw Family website.

Who is responsible for the welfare of their children? I presume the parents? What constitutes acceptable welfare? If the state legislates what is acceptable behavior, then the responsibility of the outcome must be shared by the state, parents then do not have full responsibility, except to follow the dictates of the state. It is not proven that God does not exist, what recourse do parents who sincerely believe in power of prayer have if accepted medical treatment fails?

Brian
I do not expect you to reply, for it is easier to assume my comments are not sincere.
But it is worth thinking about, history has demonstrated over and over that medicinal treatment changes, treatments of 18th century now appear almost barbaric, yet were accepted in their time. Human arrogance leads us to believe we are now correct. Parents have duty to take the best care they think possible for their children, medicine changes, best intentions dont!

Wrong. Terribly wrong.

For parents to refuse to take their helpless and dependent child to a doctor or a hospital to be given simple treatment or medicine (antibiotics), when in fact the child does have a life-threatening infection (that prayer doesn't cure), is definitely NOT "take[ing] the best care possible".

"If the state legislates what is acceptable behavior, then the responsibility of the outcome must be shared by the state, parents then do not have full responsibility, except to follow the dictates of the state."

-- The welfare and life of the child is paramount. It is the child's lawful RIGHT. It is above the parents rights. The child's legal right to receive any and all medical treatment that is necessary to prevent harm or death, suspersedes the parents right to freedom of religion. The parents rights are confined to themselves alone, and do not and should not infringe upon the childs right to live and to receive help if necessary. The child's human rights are independent of the parents rights. So if the parents do not or will not give the child adequate help, then the State must intervene in order to secure and protect the rights and the welfare of the child... including the right to receive any necessary medical help, the right to stay alive. If the parents do not, or are not willing to provide adequate care in the best interests the child, then the State must do so. The State must protect the child from the parents if the parents are not acting in the best interest of the child. Parents who refuse to take a dying child to get basic life-saving medical treatment, is clearly not acting in the best interests of the child.

The child's fundamental right to receive help and to live, far supersedes the parent's right to their religion. The child's best interest and welfare comes first, not the parents beliefs.

walker, thankfully your views aren't accepted by the legal system in modern societies. Parents no longer have the right to abuse or kill their children. I think you're still living in medieval, or even prehistoric, times.

You say that it isn't proven that God does not exist. So since it hasn't been proven that the Devil doesn't exist, I assume you'd feel that it would be OK if devil-worshippers placed their ill child on an altar and murmured incantations to the Devil rather than taking him or her to the doctor.

Or prayed to the Easter Bunny. Or Santa Claus. Because, gosh, it's possible that the Easter Bunny heals the sick, if you just believe in the Power of Rabbit enough. That's crazy. Just as crazy as believing that Jesus heals. Children have to be protected from their parents, when their parents are endangering them.

Brian
You live in a country whose politics and therefore laws and moral code are based upon supposed existence of God. You may have come across the statement "In God we Trsut"? You may have heard your past presidents openly suggest to pray for successful return of troops from war, etc. Your judicial system is based upon a moral code founded in Christian beliefs. Yet, your laws penalize a parent who believes too strongly in God. I merely pointed out that the moral underpinnings of your country and its people is not proven. I would like to know where your countries laws define the limit of reasonable belief in God? Another issue arises if one takes the atheist/evolutionist stand, for moral code of conduct is replaced with the laws of evolution, survival of the fittest, in which case, these parents clearly did the right thing, child was sick, let it die !! If life is nothing more then evolved matter, driven by laws of evolution, where is this great value to life, and so where is the crime, in killing off the sick and infirm, those who place burden on society and so hold back the greater good of strength od survival?

walker, obviously you don't know much about the United States. Our laws have little or nothing to do with Christianity. The Constitution forbids that. Our judicial system has nothing to do with Christian beliefs.

You also are uninformed about the roots of morality, which have little or nothing to do with a belief in God.

Cultures the world over have very similar moral and ethical stances. Buddhists don't believe in God. Are they immoral? Late at night, would you rather walk down the streets of ungodly Tokyo or Christian/Jewish New York City?

Brian, you and others so often criticize those who post comments for making unsupported statements, please do not do same thing !! So upon what principles are your US moral codes of conduct based? Scientific laws? What are the origins of what is morally acceptable and what is not? Are there some axioms of moral truth, please point me to the sources of this moral code of conduct which you and others base your judgements.

Walker said:

"You live in a country whose politics and therefore laws and moral code are based upon supposed existence of God."

-- No they are not based upon that. Our laws are based upon rights and justice, not God or religion. So you don't know what you are talking about.

"Your judicial system is based upon a moral code founded in Christian beliefs."

-- No it is not. You are totally wrong and you obviously know nothing about the USA. Our judicial system is based upon justice and rights, not upon religious beliefs. We have what s termed 'Separation of Church and State'. Religious beliefs have no part in our laws, in our rights, or in our justice system. So it's no wonder that your previous comments seem so out of touch with reality.

"Yet, your laws penalize a parent who believes too strongly in God."

-- No. Its not about the parents belief in God. Its about a child's welfare and her legal right to not be deprived of necessary medical care and support.

"I merely pointed out that the moral underpinnings of your country and its people is not proven."

-- Wrong again. The so-called "moral underpinnings" are based in common sense and equal justice for all. We have a US Constitution and a Bill of Rights. Our rights are inalienable... and they are not given by the Law, but they are supported by the Law. You are obviously terribly unfamiliar and ignorant about the system of government of the USA.

"I would like to know where your countries laws define the limit of reasonable belief in God?"

-- Our laws have nothing to do with religion or belief in God... other than protecting freedom of religion.

"these parents clearly did the right thing, child was sick, let it die"

-- You are obviously a very sick individual.

"life is nothing more then evolved matter, driven by laws of evolution, where is this great value to life, and so where is the crime, in killing off the sick and infirm, those who place burden on society and so hold back the greater good of strength od survival?"

-- More indication of how sick you are.

"upon what principles are your US moral codes of conduct based? Scientific laws?"

-- There are no "moral codes of conduct". There are laws, and individual rights, and justice, and a system of governance which is 'of the people, by the people, and for the people'.

"What are the origins of what is morally acceptable and what is not?"

-- That all depends upon what you mean by "morally acceptable". Who's morality are you talking about? Morality depends upon the individual. Laws and Rights do not depend upon the individual or an individual's morality. Laws and Rights protect the individual. Why do you find that so difficult to comprehend?

"Are there some axioms of moral truth, please point me to the sources of this moral code of conduct which you and others base your judgements."

-- What are you talking about? There is no such thing. You seem to have an awfully odd view about things. So what country and culture and religion do you come from or abide in?


walker, people, human beings, made the laws in the United States. What other answer are you looking for? People made the laws in China, India, France, Japan, Argentina, and every other country in the world.

Humans are complex. Humans also are animals, who have evolved. So it makes sense to look for the roots of morality in our evolutionary history, which has brought us to become the most complex animal on the planet. For a Wikipedian overview, see:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_morality
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_ethics

Since we have a dog, I've spent a lot of time watching dogs play. This is a good example of how animals, including humans, interact. "Don't bite me; I won't bite you." This often is called reciprocal altruism:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reciprocal_altruism

So the roots of human morality should be seen in animals. And this indeed is the case:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/4632069/Morality-may-have-roots-in-our-primate-ancestors.html

Thanks Brian, I found that info interesting and helpful. Its says pretty much what I tounched upon, only with much greater elaboration and background.

Brian, thanks for this most interesting reply, please help me understand a bit further. If animal behaviour is the basis of moral code of conduct, which animals are deemed to be the model, and which of their many behavioral patterns is considered right and which is considered wrong, by whom and according to what principles. While dogs may well not bite each other, they have plenty of other behavioral traits that our current moral code does not approve. So are these morals based upon some other animals? Do we set our own modal standards, by the people for the people, if so, is it a democratic process or dictatorial? Who is responsible for approving codes of moral conduct? Do they change over time? So child sacrificing is wrong because a lot of people say it is wrong, and there is no deeper reason, simply man made laws? Can this be really correct? What if man makes other laws that are accepted as morally correct but they interfere with practices that you believe in, what do you do? How do you re-act? Do you meekly accept and obey, or do you feel you have some right of freedom to act in the way you think is best? Is your disapproval of these parents actions solely because it is against the moral principles set by other people who know better?

tAo
I am assuming you can use logic and have great understanding of the content of your replies, so please explain to me, as you would to a child, where do human rights come from? Who determines or defines what is your right and what is not your right? For example, I understand that in the USA there is a right to carry arms, so was this right in existence before arms were invented? I presume not, so where did this right come from? I have seen from your previous responses, you do not like others to simply post without reference, so would you be kind enough to refer me to where your basic human rights originated, who determined them, and on what basis?
Thanks in advance

walker, either you are purposely trying to sound ignorant, or you aren't reading what I wrote very carefully. I didn't say that animals are the model for human ethics and morality. I said that we are animals, and the roots of how we behave toward other people can be found in our evolutionary heritage.

LIke I said, humans make laws. Humans decide what is right and wrong in a culture or society. Humans also write books, make art, discover scientific truths, and such. My point, which is a simple one, is that humans do these things, not God.

How did Mozart compose his symphonies? How did the laws of the United States come to be? How did Einstein come up with his relativity theory? We can't say with precision. Human behavior is very complex, as I said in an earlier comment.

All we can say is that human behavior is human, not divine, not godly. Do you disagree, walker? If you agree, then you and I agree about morality and ethics. If you disagree, then please share the evidence that human behavior has a metaphysical or godly source.

Walker said:

"please explain to me [...] where do human rights come from?"

-- From people, from human intelligence and reasoning, which is what designs and formulates our laws, makes them into law, and then judges and enforces them.

"Who determines or defines what is your right and what is not your right?"

The US Constitution and Bill of Rights recognizes and then defines and establishes and protects our fundamental rights.

"I understand that in the USA there is a right to carry arms, so was this right in existence before arms were invented?"

-- The right of human beings to defend themselves has always existed, but the US Constitution both recognizes and supports that right, and specifically in terms of the right to keep and bear arms.

"I presume not, so where did this right come from?"

-- Incorrect, and I have already answered that above.

"would you be kind enough to refer me to where your basic human rights originated, who determined them, and on what basis?

-- Again, I have already answered that above. Refer to the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights which is easily available and accessable on the net.

Walker,

I asked you: "what country and culture and religion do you come from or abide in?"

In other words:

What country do you live in? And do you originate from there? If not, where are you from originally, and how long have you lived in the country that you currently reside in?

What languge is your main language?

What religion are you, or if you have no religion, then what religion (and culture) is most predominant in your country?

You have avoided answering this, and instead you have asked me other elaborate questions... but nevertheless ones which I HAVE answered.

So if you would, please do answer my simple questions (which may perhaps help to clarify why you seem to have such difficulty (or pretend to) in understanding this issue as it pertains to our basic rights and laws in the USA.

tAo
Thannk you for your answers, I understand that in the USA, human rights, moral code of conduct, and therefore your laws arise out of human intelligence, and rational thinking, using reasoning and logic as the basis. In the case of this post, ie, child sacrifice, what was the intelligence quota of the parents? I presume it was low. If it was sufficiently high, then what process amongst humans accepts what is logical and rational to one intelligent human being but rejects what may be logical and rational to another human being? While I accept that you havw made some attempt to answer these questions, you have in truth only skirted around the core question and provided no meaningful answer. It is well known that a group of intelligent humans are unlikely to agree on almost any subject, so rational thought is not some constant reference. Groups of scientists provided with the same data are known to interpret in different ways and see different conclusions. So if the laws based upon moral code are the result of human intelligence, who sets the criteria for selection of those laws. This post subject is a case in point, parents believed one thing, which is result of human thought and another group believe another, the second group have power to overthrow the beliefs of the first, power given by democratic process. So I conclude that morals in your world are result of democratic selection of output of a range of human thought, now cast in stone in your constitution.
Consider the law that one should not steal from another, can you explain the logic of this law, why is it wrong. We all know and accept it is wrong, but why?

tAo, in response to your questions of personal nature, I have no intention of providing answers, except to say I am not from USA, although I have lived in some 15 different countries, including USA, South America, Europe, Scandinavia, India and China during the last 35 years. Surprisingly, most peoples I have met and lived close to, have been willing to explain their beliefs and codes of conduct in their country without resort to impatient, barely concealed defensive anger and personal insult such as is found on this list. Why this lack of patience so lightly concealed, tAo? Do you feel threatened by my simple questions. Brian is better at concealing his irritation, but not entirely successfully. Surely there is nothing wrong with questioning your own system, your beliefs, the laws of your country, or do you believe that current state of both you and your country is perfect and ideal and must be protected at all costs?
I am not prepared to supply personal information, any more than I would ask you for information about where you live. I have no religious beliefs at all, I reject all organized religions as being little more than subtle political entities with the power to control and brain wash others, more cowardly that government, for religion plays on peoples conscience. I do not believe in atheism either, I find no evidence one way or the other, so remain open. Science has not proven that God exists, nor has it proven that God does not exist, further science reflects mans intelligence, complete with all its errors, science has its skeletons in its closet, wrong interpretations that have been suppressed but continue to underpin all modern science, but I am now way way off topic.
tAo, to answer my questions does not require knowledge of me personally, sorry, this is not information for this list

walker, I agree with tAo. If you're not willing to answer questions, then you shouldn't expect other people to answer yours. You're fond of playing word games rather than engaging in serious discussion.

I asked you some questions of my own, which you also haven't answered. It's time for you to do some answering, before you get answers to your own questions.

One more time: I asked you if you believe that morality and ethics have an other-worldly or metaphysical source, such as God. This seems to be the point you're trying to make, but you don't have the courage or the honesty to come right out and say it.

So yes or no: is the root of human morality and ethics, our sense of right and wrong, to be found in a metaphysical source? Or do human beings decide what is right and wrong based on natural causes, no metaphysical influences needed?

What we're doing here, in this attempt to have a comment conversation, shows the truth of my naturalistic perspective.

I enjoy conversing with people who are enjoyable conversationalists. Meaning, they engage with me honestly, respectfully, and pleasantly -- though passion is fine, a part of pleasantness.

This is a form of reciprocal altruism. When I feel that someone, such as yourself, is just interested in playing word games or engaging in sophomoric philosophy ("who can tell what's right or wrong? maybe murder is right if someone thinks it is"), then I start losing interest in the conversation.

I don't sense any abstract principle making me feel this way. I don't sense God directing me to feel this way. It just is a natural feeling. I'll scratch your conversational back if you'll scratch mine. This is why I keep asking you if you believe that ethics and morality have an other-worldly origin.

I say "no." You say nothing. That's boring. I'm interested in a conversation, debate, discussion -- not having someone who goes by "walker" keep asking ridiculous questions.

Do you see what I mean? Do you agree that most people aren't willing to keep talking with someone who doesn't engage in a reciprocal conversation?

Walker, you said:

"In the case of this post, ie, child sacrifice, what was the intelligence quota of the parents?"

-- The intelligence of the parents is irrelevant. The issue is about protecting a child from what amounts to harmful religious beliefs.

"what process amongst humans accepts what is logical and rational to one intelligent human being but rejects what may be logical and rational to another human being?"

-- No, the issue is about the fundamental right of the child to not be denied, to have access to necessary medical care.

"you have in truth only skirted around the core question and provided no meaningful answer."

-- I have answered your questions wth the facts. Its your problem if you refuse to accept those facts.

"if the laws based upon moral code are the result of human intelligence, who sets the criteria for selection of those laws."

-- I did not say "moral code"... you did. Laws are created and established by a consensus of legislative lawmakers who represent the will of the people.

"parents believed one thing, which is result of human thought and another group believe another, the second group have power to overthrow the beliefs of the first, power given by democratic process."

-- No, the USA is a Constitutional Republic. And neither the people nor the government are overthrowing anyone's beliefs. The matter is about the rights of individuals, and the laws that have been instituted to protect and enforce those rights.

"I conclude that morals in your world are result of democratic selection of output of a range of human thought, now cast in stone in your constitution."

-- It's not about "democratic selection" of "morals", its about individual rights and the laws that protect those rights.

"Consider the law that one should not steal from another, can you explain the logic of this law, why is it wrong. We all know and accept it is wrong, but why?"

-- The is no law that says that one "should not steal". The law simply says that it is illegal and a crime to take what does not belong to you. The law does not say what you "should" or should not do. It simply says that if you transgress and violate the law, you will be punished accordingly. The law simply defines what the rights are, and what the limits are.

"I have no intention of providing answers, except to say I am not from USA, although I have lived in some 15 different countries, including USA, South America, Europe, Scandinavia, India and China during the last 35 years."

-- Thats nice, but it does not help answer the question. I too have lived in many different countries, and even more than you have, but that does not say anything about me.

"most peoples I have met and lived close to, have been willing to explain their beliefs and codes of conduct in their country without resort to impatient, barely concealed defensive anger and personal insult such as is found on this list."

-- My questions to you evidenced no such impatience or as you said "lack of patience", defensive anger, or personal insult. And "beliefs and codes of conduct" are entirely an individual matter, they do not pertain to a whole country. You keep talking about "beliefs and codes of conduct" and morality. But those are not the issue here.

"Do you feel threatened by my simple questions."

-- No, I answered your questions. But you are apparently quite reluctant to answer mine, which indicates that you are the one who feels threatened. You are attempting to twist this around. We are not that stupid here.

"Brian is better at concealing his irritation, but not entirely successfully."

-- Brian sees what your game is as well. It's obvious. And I am sure others here do too. Try as you may, you 'ain't foolin nobody', as they say.

"Surely there is nothing wrong with questioning your own system, your beliefs, the laws of your country"

-- You can find out all about the "system" and "the laws" of this country on your own. As for my beliefs, there is nothing there for me to offer you.

"or do you believe that current state of both you and your country is perfect and ideal and must be protected at all costs?"

-- I don't have any such views or beliefs.

"I am not prepared to supply personal information, any more than I would ask you for information about where you live."

-- I did not ask you where you specifically "live", I simply asked you what country and culture you are from originally and what country you currently reside in.

"I have no religious beliefs at all"

-- OK, that wasn't so painful was it?

"I do not believe in atheism either"

-- But Atheism is not a belief. Its an absence of belief in God.

"Science has not proven that God exists, nor has it proven that God does not exist, further science reflects mans intelligence, complete with all its errors, science has its skeletons in its closet, wrong interpretations that have been suppressed but continue to underpin all modern science"

-- I'll let Brian respond to this one, as he is much better equipped than I am in this area.

"to answer my questions does not require knowledge of me personally, sorry, this is not information for this list"

-- I did not ask you to divulge any 'personal' information. And I already answered YOUR questions. It is YOU who refuse to answer mine. As far as I am concerned, you appear to be nothing more than an internet troll who is here to distort, misrepresent, challenge and attack Brian and his blog, and anyone else who has a rational mind and sees things the same way that he does. Your underlying intent and game has now become fairly transparent.

My suggestion to you: Cut the BS troll game, and be real and honest.

Brian, I have answered your questions, you, unlike tAo, have been unable to understand my answers. You and others make statements that are clear and final, these parents have done wrong, the courts have been too lenient, parents behaviour is unacceptable, etc. etc.
But, when I ask a few questions about how you and others have come to these conclusions, I am asked where I live, what is my mother tongue and other unrelated and irrelevant qustions. When I refuse to answer, you refuse to answer my original questions and claim to be nored. Are you so afraid to look into your own beliefs and justify your statements that your only recourse is to answer my sincere questions with your own stupid ones?
To repeat myself again, I do not have metaphysical beliefs, i do not know if there is a God or not, and I cannot condemn these parents based upon newspaper reports alone, sorry, but I am not privy to the information that I am sure the courts were provided. Like so many things, it seems totally wrong at face value, but when making even a statement such as being wrong, one surely has to understand what is the meaning and origins of wrong, how to measure and assess wrong, and why something is wrong and other things are right. Is this not a core question or should readers to this list simply accept the word of Brian and not ask for explanation?
tAo, your answers merely demonstrate a complete lack of comprehension. You state that you have answered my questions with facts. What are facts in your mind? I suspect your idea of facts is little more than information you have personally accepted without question.
My 'game', as you put it, is to understand the statements that you and Brian and others post unthinkingly on this publicly readable media, and it is sad that you consider deeper questions into your statements as misrepresentation: misrepresentation of what? I am not representing anything in the first place.
BTW tAo, unless Church of the Churchless is discarding logic, then as you define atheism as the absence of belief in God, a meaningless statement unless one has an understanding of what the term God represents, therefore as it is not scientifically proven that God does not exist, atheism must be a belief system as well.
Either you know something as an ultimate unchanging truth, or it is a belief. You and Brian seem to confuse these two extremes.
You reference the 'fact' of human rights as if they are somehow engraved into the very fabric of the universe, directly observable in some timeless existence at the core of reality, humanly transcribed into US constitution. I hate to say this, but your vehemence is just the same as the protectionism found in religious zealots in some mid western states, unyeilding and unforgiving to any who may question and disturb the surface of your cosy little worlds.
But, neither of you can see through my words and seem incapable of answering the questions of a genuine enquirer, I simply do not know where these human rights come from, the ones you have declared as fact and overule even the verdicts of your judges who represent your legal system such that you are up in arms about their decisions.
This post clearly states the parents are wrong, I want to know why, and to claim its because of some human rights is not a valid answer, think a bit deeper!
U

"Brian, You and others make statements that [...] these parents have done wrong, the courts have been too lenient, parents behaviour is unacceptable, etc."

-- Yes, that is how I see it as well, and for good reason.

"when I ask a few questions about how you and others have come to these conclusions, I am asked where I live, what is my mother tongue and other unrelated and irrelevant qustions."

-- Those were relevant questions, in as much as you indicated considerable unfamiliarity and mistaken notions about the rights and laws of the US.

"When I refuse to answer, you refuse to answer my original questions"

-- Incorrect. Brian and I both answered your questions. But you have (admittedly) refused to answer ours.

"Are you so afraid to look into your own beliefs"

-- And exactly what beliefs are those?

"your only recourse is to answer my sincere questions with your own stupid ones"

-- Your saying that other people's questions are "stupid", is merely so you can evade answering other people's questions.

"I cannot condemn these parents based upon newspaper reports alone"

-- Its not just a matter of some newspaper reports. It is about the known facts. The chikd died because she was denied medicne that would have prevented her from dying. That is a known and indisputable fact in this case.

"what is the meaning and origins of wrong, how to measure and assess wrong, and why something is wrong and other things are right."

-- Most humans have some reasonable ability to know right from wrong. Do you not know right from wrong? You are simply playing word games... which is typical of trolls.

"Is this not a core question"

-- In philosophy perhaps, but not in this case. This case is about a child who was left to die (by her parents, and by the parent's church) for lack of simple medical care.

"should readers [...] not ask for explanation?"

-- A great deal of ample explanation has already been given.

"tAo, You state that you have answered my questions with facts. What are facts in your mind?"

-- Facts in this case, are the laws and the rights of the people in this country.

"I suspect your idea of facts is little more than information you have personally accepted without question."

-- No, it the simply laws and legal rights that are the "facts", about which there is no "question". I am amazed at how incredibly out of touch with reality you are.

"the statements that you and Brian and others post unthinkingly on this publicly readable media"

-- That our statements are "unthinking", is your own mistaken assumption.

"misrepresentation of what? I am not representing anything in the first place."

-- You were and you are. You have grossly misrepresented me in many different instances.

"tAo, as you define atheism as the absence of belief in God, a meaningless statement unless one has an understanding of what the term God represents [...] atheism must be a belief system as well."

-- No, unfortunately you are simply wrong about this. Atheism simply means NO belief in God, no matter how you (or anyone else) may choose to define God. Defining God is irrelevant to atheism. Atheism is simply not having any sort of belief in any form of God. Thus atheism is no belief, or an absence of belief in God.

"Either you know something as an ultimate unchanging truth, or it is a belief."

-- That is but your own belief. in reality, there is no such "ultimate unchanging truth".

"You reference the 'fact' of human rights as if they are somehow engraved into the very fabric of the universe directly observable in some timeless existence at the core of reality"

-- No, rights are clearly defined in, and supported by, our Constitution and our laws. There is nothing obscure about it.

"your vehemence is just the same as the protectionism found in religious zealots in some mid western states, unyeilding and unforgiving to any who may question and disturb the surface of your cosy little worlds."

-- Wrong again. Its not our "cosy little world" nor like "religious protectionism". It is a matter of the established laws and rights of the people, and the entire country.

"you [...] seem incapable of answering the questions of a genuine enquirer, I simply do not know where these human rights come from"

-- And again, they come from people, from human beings.

"the ones you have declared as fact and overule even the verdicts of your judges who represent your legal system such that you are up in arms about their decisions."

-- Incorrect. I am not "up in arms" about any such thing. And judges are people, which makes them fallible. Judges and their decisions do not always adhere to the laws and the rights either. And fyi, the laws can and do overrule judges.

"This post clearly states the parents are wrong, I want to know why"

-- You have been told why numerous times. It is because the parents got in the way and let their child die, when they could have easily prevented her from dying. Most all parents the world over have no problem understanding that. You apparently do have a problem.

"to claim its because of some human rights is not a valid answer"

-- I think you are way far out to lunch. Children do have rights, and that fact is "valid" and is of utmost significance and bearing in this.

But then, intentional blog trolls like yourself, are simply not interested in recognizing this kind of thing anyway.

Walker,

tAo has you by the balls. You'd best troll elsewhere before you end up in the chipper shredder.

tAo
Debate with you is like banging ones head against a wall, let me quote your answers to my questions:
When questioning the statement that these parents have done wrong?
tAo Answers: "I see it that they have done wrong, and for good reason". Nowhere do you explain this good reason. tAo, how can you enter into meaningful discourse with anyone when your best response is that it is well known and there is some good reason, but refuse to give that reason. On other occasions, when I have questioned deeper, you merely state that it is so because it is what humans believe and has been written in the Constitution.
Can you not see how you sound like some bible toting believer in 'for it is written', except your revered and sacred scripts are man made and known as the Constitution, etc, wheres those of religious bent refer to the bible.
Are you completely unable to think outside of your childhood conditioning and ask even to your self WHY something may be so?
tAo, the one redeeming quality you do appear to have is that you are capable of expressing your incapabilities, unlike tuscaN who merely echoes your words. Its like talking to the organ grinder AND his monkey!!

My suggestion to you both, if you consider my comments a troll, then please have the decency to treat them as a troll, ie ignore!

walker, what the hell are you talking about?

You're saying, in the spirit of your confused moral and philosophical relativism, that no one has the right to say that letting children die in the name of Jesus is wrong.

Well, the laws of Oregon and the United States say it is wrong. Just as murder is wrong. Stealing is wrong. Parking overtime in a half hour space is wrong (I just got hit with that law).

In the spirit of the post I'm going to publish tomorrow, I keep responding to you because I believe in defending reason against your brand of irrationality.

Sophomoric brand. Yes, walker, I've heard the arguments that, gosh, who can say that Hitler's killing of six million Jews is wrong, because everybody has to decide on their own what is right or wrong.

Check out the common fallacies of reason and rhetoric on this Baloney Detection web page. You should recognize yourself there.
http://www.xenu.net/archive/baloney_detection.html

Brian
You and others seem incapable of understanding, but highly capable of pushing out the same ole same ole rhetoric.
At no time have I AGREED with the actions of the parents, I am merely questioning WHY their actions are wrong. The best answers so far have been 'because it is written in our laws" and in response to my questions for further elaboration, I get, 'our laws are so written as result of human thinking and rational thought". Well, Brian, these are not the answers from thinking individuals. What is death, what is life, what is this human right and how is it determined, by whom or what, when and where, these are the fundamental questions that underlie all we do, and especially why taking of life is so wrong. Your posts provoke deep questioning, you then suppress any type of exploratory response that may go outside of your precious comfort zone, presumably because such questions enter your areas of ignorance?

Walker, since you're so good at questioning, why don't you answer some?

Why is letting a child die right? Why do you ask so many questions? Why are you so obsessed with me and this blog? Why don't you tell us what walker believes? Why are you so resistant to answering questions?

Questions are a refuge for those who only have confused answers. You should tell us how you feel about letting children die, walker, since you question the laws that prohibit this.

If you don't like those laws, you need to explain why they are wrong. Your approach reminds me of those who like to say, "There is no proof that God doesn't exist." You like to say, "There is no proof that letting children die is wrong."

Well, society has decided that it is. So if you have evidence or arguments in favor of it being right, bring them on.

Brian
Since you seem incapable of answering questions, even those directly related to your own statements, then let me address your questions:

"Why is letting a child die right?"
This question assumes that it is right to let a child die, an assumption that is not ascertained. This is like asking why is the moon purple? Well there may be radiation from the moon that falls into the frequency range that is observed as the color purple, but that does not mean that the moon IS purple. Further, the moon is solid matter, purple is a color. So to answer your question, why is it right to let a child die, the only meaningful response to such a leading question is in the form of more questions, which then perhaps answers your next question
"why do I ask so many questions?" see above, but basically because you make statements that you cannot support, based upon assumptions that the rest of the readers are happy to go along with, because they too do not question. Questions are the foundation drivers of science, if scientists and explorers did not ask questions, we would still be in the stone age, as we are on this blog.
So sorry to break the mold that you wish to use to structure this blog, Brian makes posts, everyone cheers him on and says what a great man he is. Sorry to burst your bubble Brian, but your bitterness for Sant Mat is no more hidden than you inability to hold a meaningful discussion.
Case in point, I ask, what are the foundation principles for the laws we live by, Brian answers, if you dont like those laws then I need to explain why. Dear readers, does this remind you of anything? When you were young, living in your parents home, question your parents rules of the house, they would respond, if you dont like them, move somewhere else, in other words, not open for discussion
What is particularly sad is this blog masquerades as a discussion blog! This blog conceals its purpose (make Brian feel good about himself) as much as any religion. Brian, you really are a case!

Walker wrote:

"I am merely questioning WHY their actions are wrong. The best answers so far have been 'because it is written in our laws"

--No, the best answer is that the parents let the child SUFFER and DIE when there was a viable treatment available. That's what's wrong about it you idiot. If you don't know that you need to be taken off the streets. Only you're not an idiot and you know that full well. You're just here to yank everyone's chain. I'm done with this troll.

Hi tuscoN
That is no answer to WHY their actions are wrong.
That is like saying it is wrong to let a child die BECAUSE it is wrong to let a child die, everyone knows that!
This blog talks about religion and what is wrong with it, Gurus and what is wrong with them, Sant Mat and what is wrong with it, and, in some of the above, some thought is given in the posts and in the comments (occasionally, not always, right tuscoN).
So, this case is an opportunity to explore death, the assumption is that death must be avoided at all costs, every attempt to avoid death must be taken, so I assume that it is thought that life is precious and must be protected. Why? What is death, what is life, surely these are the most fundamental question that are attempted to be addressed by religions that you so anxiously put down, so what is your understanding of these most fundamental questions? I repeat, you are so willing to condemn the actions of these parents, and I agree, it seems wrong, but WHY, WHY WHY?
What is it that you know about death that you are so unwilling to tell us that allows you to make these judgements and not explain to the ignorant like myself?

Walker stumbles backwards as he mumbles:

"the actions of the parents, I am merely questioning WHY their actions are wrong."

-- If you don't already know why, then you have yet to grow up and become a real man.

"The best answers so far have been 'because it is written in our laws"

-- No, that was not the answer.

"these are not the answers from thinking individuals."

-- How would you know that? You know nothing about anyone else.

"what is this human right and how is it determined, by whom or what, when and where"

-- The right to live is determined by those who have the will to live, and who have the will to protect the lives of those who come after them.

Brian: "Why is letting a child die right?"

Walker: "This [...] assumes that it is right to let a child die, an assumption that is not ascertained."

-- Well conversely, to assume that it is WRONG to let a child die, is also an assumption, but it is one that IS ascertained.

"to answer your question, why is it right to let a child die, the only meaningful response to such a leading question is in the form of more questions"

-- No, the answer is not "why", but rather it is NOT right to let a child die.

Brian: "why do you ask so many questions?"

Walker: "basically because you make statements that you cannot support, based upon assumptions that the rest of the readers are happy to go along with, because they too do not question."

-- Incorrect. Because... a) Brian's statements are supported. b) They are not mere assumptions. c) The "rest of the readers" do not just "go along with" any old thing.

"we would still be in the stone age, as we are on this blog."

-- Thats funny, because it sure looks like you are the one who is in the stone age.

"So sorry to break the mold that you wish to use to structure this blog"

-- Unfortunately for you and your illusion, you haven't broken any such "mold". There is no "mold".

"Brian makes posts, everyone cheers him on and says what a great man he is."

-- That is hardly the case most of the time. And Brian doesn't get enough praise imo.

"Sorry to burst your bubble"

-- You haven't "burst" any bubbles. Your comments are so absurd and irrational and unfounded, its pathetic. You'd best go back to troll school because you are making a real fool of yourself here.

"Brian, [...] your bitterness for Sant Mat is no more hidden than you inability to hold a meaningful discussion."

-- Wrong again. Brian is not at all bitter about Sant Mat. But thanks for revealing that you are affiliated with Sant Mat.

"I ask, what are the foundation principles for the laws we live by"

-- As was said before, the laws were created by people, not any "foundation principles".

"What is particularly sad is this blog masquerades as a discussion blog!"

-- Another unfortunate example of typical troll rhetoric.

"This blog conceals its purpose"

-- And just what is that purpose?

"the assumption is that death must be avoided at all costs, every attempt to avoid death must be taken, so I assume that it is thought that life is precious and must be protected. Why?"

-- If you don't know why, then could you tell me why YOU want to live, why you don't want to die?

"What is death, what is life"

-- You shold know the answer to that by this time. Aren't you a little too old to be asking those sort of elementary questions?

"these are the most fundamental question that are attempted to be addressed by religions"

-- Incorrrect. Religions have no answers to those questions. Religion avoids those questions, and posits mere beliefs instead.

"what is your understanding of these most fundamental questions?"

-- There is nothing to understand. Those questions are meaningless.

"you are so willing to condemn the actions of these parents, and I agree, it seems wrong, but WHY, WHY WHY?"

-- You must answer that for yourself.

What is it that you know about death that you are so unwilling to tell us that allows you to make these judgements and not explain to the ignorant like myself?"

-- There is nothing to know... only to BE.

Walker, the parents bothered to give birth then feed their child so that he might live. There was also clothing and shelter to protect against the elements, advice and schooling so that the child may best survive at the various stages of life. In short refusing proper medical care is no different to refusing food, clothing, shelter, and training. Why bother to care in the first instance? This is why there are laws in a country- to sustain sense.

Walker, thank you for further revealing your troll'ish nature. Though you claim to be non-religious, your mention of Sant Mat shows that you have an decided attachment to religious belief and this blog threatens those beliefs.

As others have said, you've grown tiresome. I've responded to your comments because you're an example of how someone can rationalize anything in the name of blind belief, including letting a child die needlessly.

You're a great argument for being churchless. Much appreciated.

Here's a bottom line for me: this is a churchless blog. My goal in asking you if you believed that ethics and morals came from a metaphysical source was to learn if we agreed that morality is human and springs from natural sources.

You said that you're not religious. You didn't say whether you believed in a metaphysical source of morals and ethics. So that's a question you still haven't answered.

Regardless, I'll take you at your word about religion. So we agree. Morals are natural human phenomena. That is the main point I've been trying to make. How humans arrive at moral decisions, including the laws that reflect those decisions, is another question.

I suggest that you head to web sites and blogs dealing with evolutionary psychology, history of law, anthropology, moral philosophy and such for a discussion of how morals and laws come to be what they are. I'm somewhat interested in this area, but again, that isn't the focus of this blog.

Which is churchlessness. If you can show that God or some other metaphysical power wants parents to let their children die, then that would be pretty interesting. If not, then we agree on the natural foundation of morals. Nice talking with you.

In my replies, I have occasionally quoted from other posts in order to clearly reference the focus of my response. I always use quotation marks. tAo, when I quote from others, it does not mean that it is my opinion, in fact, it is usually to the contrary. tAo, you seem unable to understand the purpose of quotation marks, I cannot communicate with you, so please do not bother to respond with more verbal diarrhea.

Catherine, at last, a good reply. Yes, these parents appear to have been caring, according to their beliefs. Is there reason to suggest that their fatal acts were not caring? If for what ever reason, someone believes in God, and genuinely believes this to be the best recourse, they would have acted in childs best interest according to their understanding. The real blame lies with whoeever it is who tricked their minds into believing God is the best medicine. Have these people been brought to justice? I suspect not.

Brian, you are barking again up the wrong tree about my religious beliefs, wrong conclusion, but for once, you have made one good comment, yes, my questions are not suited to this blog, there are others, more focussed on psycology history and moral philopsphy where I can probably obtain more meaninguful replies.

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