Objectivity vs Subjectivity


It is very easy for those of us with some kind of STEM background to appreciate objectivity. In the sciences and mathematics, subjectivity, generally, has no place. Things need to be objective, if we are to get at the truth of the natural world. Thus, many times in discussions subjective details are left out and seen as unimportant. However, subjective experiences are part of being human. Thus, I would argue that people should not see subjective experiences as irrelevant or unimportant in all areas of life.

Now, this is not to say we need to add subjective thinking into the STEM fields. That would be an extreme mistake. However, what I am saying is that humans are not robots, and there is a time and place for understanding people’s subjective experience and not simply pushing those experiences aside.

To say that a conservative’s subjective views on abortion doesn’t matter, would be a grave mistake. The conservative might know people that regretted having an abortion. Certainly, there could be objective studies showing how most women tend to feel about their abortions, whether it be positive or negative. This is where people in the conversation tend to want to point out studies and use other scientific tools, as this conservative doesn’t have a large sample size of women who  had abortions. However, how the conservative feels certainly does matter and so does the women who regretted having the abortion. Their feelings and experiences do matter whether or not they speak with the strength of a study.

In this case, the conversation is about social standards, morality, and the effects abortions have on women. Even if most women don’t regret abortion, it is certainly worth noting that some women do. Additionally, what is a good social standard and what our morality should be should be up for debate, and while, objective science can help one cannot forget the subjective experiences of all the people effected by this debate. A philosophy that cannot be practiced in the real world is useless, even if some like the particular arguments of the philosophy.

Note: I’m not trying to answer the pro-life/pro-choice debate.

As always, let me know what you think!

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I Really Want to Know…


This is going to be a simple post. I want to know why minors, say 14 of age, can’t consent to sex with adults, but they can be charged as “adults” for crimes. It seems that we all know, when thinking about our past, that our decisions regarding sex were immature as younger teenagers. Most of us would claim that a 4o something having sex with a 14 year old is molestation, but yet, we can AND do charge 14 year olds as adults.

Yes, we want justice for things like murder and burglary. I’m not saying teenagers shouldn’t be punished for crimes, but they are NOT adults. We will prosecute adults for having sex with someone under, usually, around 16, even if  the child says “yes.” Why? Because, they are not adults. They do not have adult brains, and they are not finished maturing and developing. Thus, they cannot give consent to an ADULT sexual experience. I agree with this sentiment whole heartedly.  What sense does it, then, make to treat them as adults in ANY other circumstances?

The media certainly doesn’t help in certain criminal cases involving minors. They like to show the shocking cases of particularly brutal murders by young teenagers, and we are tempted to call them monsters. There is an immediate gut reaction to want to punish as much as possible. There is a reaction in us that wants to make an exception to the idea of the immaturity and underdevelopment of minors in these cases.

This is my questions to my readers: if we can’t trust young teenagers with such a simple thing as deciding on adult sexual encounters, how then, can we trust their decision making process, in the realm of ADULT crime?

 

Please, I want to know your thinking. Please feel free to comment.

The Importance of Feminism


I want to broach a subject that my followers have disagreed with me on before: feminism. I think feminism is important for both men and woman, but let me be clear what I mean by feminism. By feminism, I mean the equality of the genders, and the empowerment of the genders. When I talk about feminism, I do not mean hating men is acceptable, nor do I believe in the primacy of women. I believe feminism is important for cis women, cis men, and the trans community.

First, feminism is important for women. Women in western society truly do have some of the best statuses in the world, and yes, of course I care and am upset more about some of things going on in other parts of the world. Still, that doesn’t negate the fact that there are certain aspects in western society where women are not given equal status. For example, women are often seen as mere sex objects, and their attractiveness is often evaluated before their mental capabilities and accomplishments.

Secondly, feminism is important for men. I would truly like to live in a world where men, and particularly little boys, are not shamed for crying or being emotional. I want to live in a world where if a man likes something that is perceived as feminine he is not considered less of a man. I would like men to be able to just be comfortable being themselves instead of having to worry about how they will be evaluated on the “manly spectrum.”

Thirdly, feminism is important for the trans community. Transgendered people need to be uplifted to just be themselves. In this way, they should not feel the need to box themselves into mere gender stereotypes. A trans man can still be emotional, and a trans female can still be a tomboy.

Finally, I have a lot of thoughts on feminism and gender, and I have barely touched the subject. Perhaps, there will be more posts. In any case, some strands of feminism can be toxic, but I am asking my readers to think critically before throwing out the baby with the bath water. I am asking my readers to think critically and deeply about prejudice in society. I don’t think, personally, that there are no innate gender, but many of them aren’t. I think we do mistreat each other, and I want us to work to stop this silly behavior.

And as always, feel free to comment!

 

 

How Democrats and Republicans have Hurt the Poor


Have you ever cringed at internet memes comparing the poor to zoo animals? I’m talking about the ones where they say the reason you don’t feed the animals is so that the animals don’t become dependent. I certainly have. Poor people aren’t zoo animals. Still, is it possible that giving out too much welfare for too long for nothing in return can cause dependency? I believe the answer is yes. The welfare system should exist as a hand up system and not a hand out system, but it seems to be increasingly moving toward a hand out system as the Democrats want to promise voters more and more benefits. But hold on to your seat readers there’s more!

Let’s look at the Republicans. What are the Republicans doing to help the poor? They want to limit how long a person can be on welfare, or they want to introduce drug screenings. They want to tell food stamp recipients what kind of food they are allowed to buy. They refer to them as dependent or even worse “welfare queens.” Nevertheless, I guarantee if you asked a Republican if they cared about the poor they wouldn’t say, “yes.” But are they doing anything to actually help the poor? I would have to say, no.

Both Democrats and Republicans, in my opinion, have indeed failed the poor. The Democrats want votes, so they promise more and more without thinking about the social consequences. Meanwhile, the Republicans dehumanize the poor and want to diminish the welfare system without fixing it.

My solution is simple. Fix the system. Let’s make the welfare system a hand up. Let’s send long term welfare recipients to career counselors who help them make plans and goals to get training and certifications so that they actually qualify for jobs that pay enough to get them off of welfare.  Let’s have them meet with these counselors regularly. For example, if the recipient dropped out of high school. Let’s start by helping them get their GED.

 

 

Conservative Media and “Secular Progressives”


It seems that the media hates atheist, especially conservative media such as Fox News and The Blaze. Apparently, all of us atheists are progressives. Progressive of course is almost a curse word in it self. Atheists are seen as aligned with the “far left.” Being both an atheist and a liberal would seem to be one of the worst things a person could be.

When pundits demonize a view, they often describe the opposing group as  “secular progressives.” Of course, they forget that many people who are pro-choice,pro-same sex marriage, and so on are in fact liberal Christians or true Libertarians. Both Christianity and being a Libertarian are usually seen as highly good attributes. It is as though the media forgets that not all Christians are conservative or what a Libertarian actually is.

Then of course, they claim that Christianity and America at large is under attack from these “secular progressives.” They seem to forget that Christians are in the overwhelming majority. However, what really bothers me is when they say they are being persecuted. No, they are not being persecuted. Christians in the pre-Constantine days of Rome were persecuted NOT Christians in the United States today.

Yes, many atheists are very concerned about the separation of church and state, but this is a legitimate issue. I guarantee that if Christians lived in Muslim dominated society, which had separation of church and state, they would be fighting to impose it. As an atheists, if this were they case, I would help the Christians’ cause.

As far I am concerned as well as others, I don’t have a problem with Christians. I have a problem with Christianity and political dogmas being forced upon the population. People, for the most part, should be allowed to do and think as they please. That’s called freedom. If I recall correctly, that’s a value the founding father’s would have fought and died for.

Rape and Consent 3: Teenagers have Sex too


I’m very concerned about rape laws and teenage sexuality. Teenagers often do have sex, whether we like it or not, and often, teenagers have sex with people who are legally adults. In these types of cases, the parents of the teenagers in question have the legal recourse of having the adult arrested on some type of sexual assault charge, and the adult will be a registered sex offender for life. While I definitely think a 50 year old should not have sexual relations with any minor, I’m very concerned about the law interfering with two young people having consensual sex.

A typical argument for prosecuting a young adult for a sex act with a minor is to say that teenage minors are not old enough to consent. However, this country seems to have no problem trying and sentencing teenage criminals as adults, and this country has no problem with 17 year olds joining the military. No, they don’t vote. They can’t drink, and they can’t smoke. Still, it seems we are picking and choosing which adult acts we allow teenagers to consent to. Even if we want to prevent teenage sex, how is prosecuting and ruining someone’s life, who is barely an adult, the right thing to do?

To be honest, I think what we should be concerned with is whether or not the teenage minor has been taken advantage of. Is there some indication that the teenager’s consent was diminished? A relationship between a 20 year old and a 17 year old is hardly an in balance of power, at first glance. We might want to be concerned with a high schooler dating a 21 and up person, but this would mainly be a concern, if the 21 year old was supplying the high schooler with alcohol. Nevertheless with the 20 year old and 17 year old, they may have shared some of the same time in high school together. Why would we ever want to ruin someone’s life over having consensual sex with someone they went to high school with? (I’m really asking. I don’t know.)

We all know teenagers can be immature and irresponsible, but they are soon going to be adults. They make choices we don’t like. Legally, when it comes to prosecutions over serious things like rape, we need to be damn sure there really is reason to convict someone, and what should we concerned about the most? Rape. Rape always implies that there either was no consent given or that the victim had a diminished capacity and COULDN’T consent. We may not or should not give teenagers adult status with regards to consent, but 18,19, 20 year old are also barely adults. It’s not like when someone turns 18 someone waves a magic wand in the air and all of a sudden they become a fully formed adult. That’s just not how development works.