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Should theistic fact claims be subjected to the same standards of scrutiny as other fact claims?
Posted: 09 September 2013 09:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 376 ]
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LilySmith - 09 September 2013 04:31 PM
Lois - 09 September 2013 03:30 PM

Does the majority of the US have any say on slavery? Other people’s rights to free speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, freedom of religion? The bill of rights was made part of the Constitution so it could not be overturned by majority vote. If it could be overturned by majority vote you would probably find yourself having lost many of your rights. Watch out what you wish for.

Anything in the Constitution can be amended by a super majority vote in Congress AND an approval by a super majority of the state legislatures.  The exception, I believe, is the number of members in the Senate.  The American people have the power to live by any law they determine if they can clear that hurdle.  The Equal Rights Amendment never did become law.  “The ERA was originally written by Alice Paul and, in 1923, it was introduced in the Congress for the first time. In 1972, it passed both houses of Congress and went to the state legislatures for ratification. The ERA failed to receive the requisite number of ratifications (38) before the final deadline mandated by Congress of June 30, 1982, and so it was not adopted.”

Which shows how difficult it is to amend the Constitution. It can’t be amended by a majority vote among the electorate. They designed it to be very hard to change anything.

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Posted: 10 September 2013 07:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 377 ]
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There are no perfect legal systems. Legal systems are of human invention. They necessarily carve out rules to cover a broad range of activities. Legislators can never account for every contingency. The U.S. Constitution is as broad a document as you’ll see in the law but even it does not account for every contingency. Because it is so broad and general, it leaves ample room for people to argue about what it means. That is one reason we have courts, although courts also rule on the meaning of seemingly mundane statutes and regulations.

Quite often, the law is a farce. As an attorney, I hate to say that but it’s true. We pretend that we can always understand legislative or Framers’ intent, for example, even though the circumstances imaginable to the Framers of our Constitution look nothing like the world in which we live today. Were the Framers alive today, they would consider a broad range of questions that never occurred to them when they drafted the Constitution and then its Amendments.

Then there is the line between the majority and protected minorities. The rights of the majority are not absolute or without boundaries. We’ve tried to define those boundaries in the Constitution but yet again, we have a general set of rules operating on ever-shifting sand. I have to grin when people refer to a legal principle as though it had come down from on high.

There’s a lot more to say but discussions on these subjects tend to get lost very quickly for the above reasons, among others.

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Posted: 10 September 2013 07:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 378 ]
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Lois - 09 September 2013 09:46 PM

Which shows how difficult it is to amend the Constitution. It can’t be amended by a majority vote among the electorate. They designed it to be very hard to change anything.

I agree.  That’s why people shouldn’t get impatient and expect a judge to legislate from the bench something that is not currently law.

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Posted: 10 September 2013 07:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 379 ]
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StephenLawrence - 09 September 2013 09:30 PM

To make a different choice man’s spirit will would have to be different. It’s impossible for man to be responsible for whether it’s one way or another.

Since God gave it to him God is responsible.

If God, as a spirit, is responsible for his actions because he has a will of his own and he creates man with the same abilty, then man, in the spirit, is also responsible for his own actions.

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Posted: 10 September 2013 07:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 380 ]
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LilySmith - 10 September 2013 07:28 AM
StephenLawrence - 09 September 2013 09:30 PM

To make a different choice man’s spirit will would have to be different. It’s impossible for man to be responsible for whether it’s one way or another.

Since God gave it to him God is responsible.

If God, as a spirit, is responsible for his actions because he has a will of his own and he creates man with the same abilty, then man, in the spirit, is also responsible for his own actions.

You are doing a very good job, Lily, of ignoring the Garden of Eden myth in the bible, according to which God created man without the knowledge to discern between good and evil. When Adam and Eve, not knowing right from wrong, made the wrong choice, God declared all mankind sinners and in need of salvation. That is not justice, and it is certainly not love.

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Posted: 10 September 2013 07:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 381 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 09 September 2013 07:02 PM

Thevillageatheist - 09 September 2013 02:53 PM
Although they do at times bend to public pressure, the task of a judge is to uphold the laws based on the Constitution as it protects the rights of individuals i.e. to protect the people from the tyranny of popular opinion just as it will when the religious become the minority. Their right to practice whatever religion they choose is inviolate here as it has been since the Constitution was written. We both, xtian and atheist receive the same protection as guaranteed under the first amendment and I have no problem living under those protections so long as a balance is maintained. That’s why we appoint judges in the first place. Their expertise in the field of law and their position gives them the leeway to steer legislation benefitting the society at large and to protect individual freedoms. So, in rebuttal to your statement concerning the judges becoming more powerful than the popular vote, they already are by virtue of the positions they hold. If you want to see that power exercised go visit a courtroom in session and see the power for yourself.

The role of the judge is to interpret law, it is not to “steer legislation benefiting the society.”  The law, including the Constitution, protects individual freedoms, not the judges.  Judges are not to make law, that’s the purview of legislators who are voted for by the people.  We live in a Representative Democracy, not a tyranny by judges.


Read my post again Lilly before you make a snap judgement and interject your own interpretation of my meaning. As you say, the role of the judge is to interpret the law, which is exactly what I posted i.e. “the task of a judge is to uphold the laws based on the Constitution”. Laws may be added by a duly elected Congress or by a convention of states; the power derived from Article V. So, it is the people who ultimately decide what should be added, not the judges whose power you seem to fear. This is the typical strawman argument used by the conservatives in an attempt to derail the third branch. The SC with rare exception is only a court of appeals and has no power to “steer” legislation in any direction, e.g. The infamous case of the Cherokee Nation v. Georgia where Chief Justice John Marshall ruled in favor of the Cherokees but then President Andrew Jackson refused to enforce the ruling. This was a violation of the power of the SC but Jackson, moved by the sentiment of the people thumbed his nose at the SC. So, you’re right about one thing, we do live in a representative democracy and even the SC isn’t all that powerful, hence checks and balances. But the ongoing argument concerning a state’s power to enforce an already unpopular law like prop 8 or the whole of DOMA will be decided by the SC and not a local district judge so don’t worry about the judicial branch stripping you of your right to protest that same sex marriage is an abomination to your god. 

First, I apologize.  I did read your first line as saying the judge “protects the rights of individuals i.e. to protect the people from the tyranny of popular opinion” rather than law based on the Constitution. 

I agree the role of the judge is to interpret law.  I disagree that makes him more powerful than the popular vote unless he oversteps his position and legislates from the bench.  I have no problem with the role of the judges as it was intended.  I have a problem with people overlooking judicial activism.  What if a judge, in his personal opinion, thinks that pedophiles are misunderstood and mistreated by law?  Should he, as a judge, be able to use his position to “steer legislation” concerning pedophilia and “protect the individual” pedophile because of his personal opinion on the subject?  What if a Christian judge saw unfairness towards other Christians in the law and sought to use his position as a judge to “steer legislation” and give breaks to Christians who had broken the law?  He would be abusing his position.  Every judge should interpret law and only interpret law.  If he has a problem with the law then as a citizen he should contact his legislator and influence his community to change the law.  He should not do it from the bench. 

Perhaps I’m asking too much and a person’s personal view is going to influence his decisions no matter what. I think it should be discouraged as much as possible, however.

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Posted: 10 September 2013 08:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 382 ]
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DarronS - 10 September 2013 07:46 AM
LilySmith - 10 September 2013 07:28 AM
StephenLawrence - 09 September 2013 09:30 PM

To make a different choice man’s spirit will would have to be different. It’s impossible for man to be responsible for whether it’s one way or another.

Since God gave it to him God is responsible.

If God, as a spirit, is responsible for his actions because he has a will of his own and he creates man with the same abilty, then man, in the spirit, is also responsible for his own actions.

You are doing a very good job, Lily, of ignoring the Garden of Eden myth in the bible, according to which God created man without the knowledge to discern between good and evil. When Adam and Eve, not knowing right from wrong, made the wrong choice, God declared all mankind sinners and in need of salvation. That is not justice, and it is certainly not love.

The story doesn’t end there.  God then provides what man needs to be reconciled to Him.  Not reconciled as a created being, however, but reconciled as a son.  If man had not gone through the first challenge, he never would have become a son of God in the position to inherit God’s kingdom. 

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.’”  Matthew 25:34

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Posted: 10 September 2013 08:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 383 ]
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LilySmith - 10 September 2013 08:03 AM

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.’”  Matthew 25:34

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
Matthew 25:41

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Posted: 10 September 2013 08:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 384 ]
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LilySmith - 10 September 2013 07:55 AM

What if a judge, in his personal opinion, thinks that pedophiles are misunderstood and mistreated by law?  Should he, as a judge, be able to use his position to “steer legislation” concerning pedophilia and “protect the individual” pedophile because of his personal opinion on the subject?  What if a Christian judge saw unfairness towards other Christians in the law and sought to use his position as a judge to “steer legislation” and give breaks to Christians who had broken the law?  He would be abusing his position.  Every judge should interpret law and only interpret law.  If he has a problem with the law then as a citizen he should contact his legislator and influence his community to change the law.  He should not do it from the bench. 

Perhaps I’m asking too much and a person’s personal view is going to influence his decisions no matter what. I think it should be discouraged as much as possible, however.

That is a straw man argument. If a judge did such a thing a higher court would overrule the decision. But, seeing as how no such decision has ever been rendered, your argument is moot.

Lausten - 10 September 2013 08:21 AM
LilySmith - 10 September 2013 08:03 AM

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.’”  Matthew 25:34

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
Matthew 25:41

Yet another example of LilySmith’s dishonesty. She selectively ignores things which do not agree with her ideology.

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Posted: 10 September 2013 08:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 385 ]
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Every moral/ethical agent is responsible for his or her actions. But then there’s another critical question: what does/did that agent have the power to do?

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Posted: 10 September 2013 11:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 386 ]
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I agree the role of the judge is to interpret law.  I disagree that makes him more powerful than the popular vote unless he oversteps his position and legislates from the bench.  I have no problem with the role of the judges as it was intended.  I have a problem with people overlooking judicial activism.  What if a judge, in his personal opinion, thinks that pedophiles are misunderstood and mistreated by law?  Should he, as a judge, be able to use his position to “steer legislation” concerning pedophilia and “protect the individual” pedophile because of his personal opinion on the subject?  What if a Christian judge saw unfairness towards other Christians in the law and sought to use his position as a judge to “steer legislation” and give breaks to Christians who had broken the law?  He would be abusing his position.  Every judge should interpret law and only interpret law.  If he has a problem with the law then as a citizen he should contact his legislator and influence his community to change the law.  He should not do it from the bench. 

We’ll have to agree to disagree on the power of a judge to interpret the law, but as a parting shot the power of the SC justices, created via Marbury V. Madison gives them the right to determine IF a piece of legislation is Constitutional or not and they can declare the law null and void. If you believe this to be legislation from the bench then so be it. I might also mention that the majority of justices are conservative, duly appointed by conservative past presidents. As to the what if pedophile scenerio, you and I both know that no justice would make such an antisocial ruling from the bench nor would a xtian (there are now more catholic justices than at any time in judicial history BTW) justice pardon a fellow adherent for breaking a law they’ve pledged to uphold in the first place. that would be an oxymoron. And no, judges don’t need to “check in” with the legislative branch. That would be a violation of checks and balances, and the reason for presidential appointments plus Senitorial approval, to weed out those with clear personal agendas and the unqualified.

Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 10 September 2013 11:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 387 ]
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LilySmith - 10 September 2013 07:28 AM
StephenLawrence - 09 September 2013 09:30 PM

To make a different choice man’s spirit will would have to be different. It’s impossible for man to be responsible for whether it’s one way or another.

Since God gave it to him God is responsible.

If God, as a spirit, is responsible for his actions because he has a will of his own and he creates man with the same abilty, then man, in the spirit, is also responsible for his own actions.

It probably is impossible for God to have free will as well. But I’m assuming he has it for simplicity. Just because God can have free will it does not follow that he can give man free will. The thing with God is he made himself, man didn’t, God made man.

Let’s say man has a choice between X and Y and man has the will to do X. If it was God’s will for man to have the will to do X and that’s the reason why, then clearly God is responsible for man having that will.

If you introduce another reason why man has the will to do X, man will not be responsible for his will.

And finally if you plump for there is no reason why man has the will to do X, man is still not responsible for the will to do X.

That’s just the logical problem. The other problem is you know you are not free to believe my father was an alien. And you know you’re not free to disbelieve that Jesus was the son of God. So you are holding two contradictory beliefs in any case.

Stephen

[ Edited: 10 September 2013 11:59 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 10 September 2013 11:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 388 ]
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PLaClair - 10 September 2013 08:54 AM

But then there’s another critical question: what does/did that agent have the power to do?

Nobody could have done otherwise without circumstances beyond their control being different.

So when we are talking about what else someone had the power to do we need to be clear they were merely unlucky not to exercise that power since they were merely unlucky that circumstances beyond their control were not different.

Stephen

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Posted: 12 September 2013 04:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 389 ]
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I’d like to say that was interesting.

I would like to say that.

They come and they go.

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