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Userpage: lazarony
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This may be confusing to anyone just happening upon this page, but I just wanted to tell you that I'm sorry for taking a while to respond to your post; that huge chunk of text that I'm going to have to respond to seems a bit daunting today and I need some time to gather my thoughts.
Forum: Taboos
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That's an interesting story; I hope everything works out for your friends.

I understand the biological urge bit, but I'm not sure how much that affects us in modern times. It is difficult to tell how much of our decision making process overwrites/overrules biological mandates; if incest was not taboo socially, how much more common would it be?
Forum: Taboos
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I was talking about mainstream media/public consciousness acceptance, not pornographic acceptance (and I can't comment on that since I can't independently verify that man-on-woman violence is acceptable in porn).

I meant cannibalism as in actual cannibalism, and not consumption of waste product, which would only contain a miniscule amount of human material inadvertently dropped off while the waste was processed. I don't much see the point to that actually. On the fiction story, that example seems to be more, "People won't know about it", than "People won't care about it".

Err, I don't quite see how your sexual fetishes are linked to your ability to function in the workplace/economy of any area (ignoring sex-related careers).

Non-surgical contraceptive methods have varying failure rates, so it is still possible to have unwanted offspring (ignoring the option of abortion). I don't find rejection of a child based on his/her family to be all that surprising. Due to the stigma polygamous relations carry, children could very well be ostracized, and have their classmates warned away by parents disapproving of his family or feeling he is a corrupting influence. After all, children are already ostracized for homosexuality in some areas. Jealousy is an interesting point; however, is that jealousy right? Or is it no different or better than the jealousy a sibling feels for another that he feels is given more attention?
Forum: Taboos
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Huh. Doing a small amount of searching around showed me that incest is actually perfectly legal in a surprisingly large amount of countries (Russia, China, The Netherlands, Spain, France, Turkey, Israel and the Ivory Coast).

My guess is that incest as a taboo condemned by some religious texts and by society as a whole likely started from the malformed offspring that were more common to incestuous couples. Perhaps ancient people believed it a god's punishment for the act of incest? And yes, many royal lines did practice incest (which is why they started having peculiar health problems/being pretty sickly/a bit malformed the farther you went down the line).

On male on female violence; it's interesting how there is a distinction between "a girl comically beating her boyfriend", and a girl, "not comically beating her boyfriend". If the situation was reversed, would any male-on-female beating be considered comical? (I'm not counting pimp-slaps, since they're pretty frowned upon).

I've also noticed that in a lot of media, any female villain must either be beaten by a female heroine, or beaten by a male one without the use of violence. (Which brings up the whole, "true men can't hit women", which depending on your opponent, can be construed to be condescending to their worth as a fighter/equal).

That seems logical for introversion. The meek are less likely to form connections, or be heard. I don't quite see the problem with strange fetishes though, since I can't imagine people shout out/display their fetishes all the time in public, much like how "regular" people don't talk about sex all the time. I was talking about the taboo against merely having a strange fetish, and not the taboo against public sexual displays/displays of affection.

That sounds interesting. What do you mean by "eat-able human excrement"? That sounds a lot like edible poop. I'm intrigued on why we attach such significance to our bodies even after we no longer inhabit them however. After all, even when buried, you'll eventually rot and be eaten by the worms, so I don't see how being eaten by another person is any better or worse.

I don't quite see the problem with being a whore besides health problems. While society has certainly tightly linked sex and relationships, the two are not one and the same. There exist platonic relationships, and "open relationships", in which a spouse is given permission by his partner to have sex with whomever he/she pleases. Having multiple spouses can certainly be beneficial to a child (though he likely will risk social rejection/ostracism for his unpopular family set-up). Multiple parents means multiple-sources of income, a more stable family, and a child that is given significantly more time and attention.

And yes, I do realize the need for stereotypes/taboos. After all, they can often be accurate/helpful for decision making. Without ways to quickly make fairly accurate judgements about others, we would not have progressed as much as a species. It's when the judgements are taken as unquestionable and completely accurate that they become dangerous.
Forum: Taboos
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Recently, I've been thinking about our culture, and why we think what we think (if that makes any sense). In today's society, we see a lot of people criticizing celebrities/candidates/cultures/literature based on certain ideas they believe in, certain activities they practice, or certain topics they discuss, without providing any explanation for why these behaviors are wrong/immoral. Now, as a disclaimer, being an American, many of the topics listed here may not apply for other countries, but I find them interesting to think about nonetheless.

In no particular order, some of the taboos I've encountered. (I wasn't quite sure what category to put this under, so I chose philosophy)

Polygamy- This doesn't apply in certain non-westernized countries, but in the western society, the nuclear family is considered natural, and the best and "only" way to properly raise a child. Arguments against having multiple spouses include statements that having multiple partners unfairly devalues their worth. Is this still the case when all partners involved are fully consenting and marry in order to raise their children and share their wealth, energy, and knowledge with one another equally?

Homosexuality- I'd conflicted on whether or not I should address this since it is bound to trigger some sort of religious argument that I don't want to be the focus of the thread. That being said, again, homosexuality is certainly a still-existent taboo (though acceptance/tolerance is increasing), mainly due to religious teachings and perhaps inaccurate/unfortunate interpretations.

Incest- Now I can just tell that anyone reading this has just recoiled/winced with disgust. That being said, what is wrong with incest? While disgust of incest evolved from the often malformed/afflicted offspring that often resulted of copulation, provided both partners are consenting adults, and are either homosexual, unable to produce children, or use protection and abortion when needed, there doesn't seem to be any non-societal detriments to incest (that I know of).

Male on female violence: I do not condone violence of any kind. That being said, I have noticed that female on male violence is often put to comical use, but the opposite is popularly decried as sexist and disgusting, and avoided by authors of any kind. This, along with the "strong man" stereotype has led to an untold amount of unreported domestic abuse cases in which men are too fearful of reporting that they are abused by their wives. Justifications include that men cannot be hurt by women as they are physically stronger on average (which is largely invalid as modern weapons tend to be great equalizers, on average does not mean in every case, and poison/psychological abuse are still possible for either sex).

Introversion- In our society, timidity and silence are often perceived as problems to be corrected. Some background knowledge: Introverts are generally defined as people who become tired when they interact with others. That does not mean they do not seek out or enjoy social interactions; it only means that it is draining for them and they require a recovery period between bouts of conversation/interaction with large groups of people.

TIME recently did an interesting cover story on the topic. Though the full version is not available online, it did bring up some interesting points. The author argues that repression of introversion could have damaging effects on our societal progress. He/she cited a study that showed that while extroverts/sociopaths tended to be most easily promoted/hold the highest business positions, the slow, less impetuous decision-making introverts tended to be more open to new ideas, and thus had employees that were more productive and happier. Another study showed that many of the best musicians spent substantially more time than those that did not perform, not in master classes or studying with others, but in quiet individual study, which is thought to allow for greater concentration and more creative individual thought than collaborative study. By repressing introversion, the author argues, society may be making more rash decisions and losing out on innovative technological and social contributions from deep thinkers who stray from the norm.

Strange fetishes- This one is pretty self-explanatory. Things like bdsm, s&m, vore, etc. Besides the whole, "lol your interests are weird" factor, I don't really see any good reason to laugh at/mock someone who finds different activities entertaining than most, assuming all parties are consenting.

Cannibalism- Opposed by virtually everyone and practiced by a few tribes. Arguments against: Sanctity of human life, immorality of eating sentient creatures, slippery slope to killing/farming innocents and eating them for their taste, etc. I can't think of all that good of an argument for it, but I'll try. What if it were used only on prisoners on death row guilty of terrible crimes or corpses who have donated their bodies? Would that still be wrong?

These are just a few taboos off the top of my head. I'm interested in what you guys think. Do you agree or disagree with these taboos, and do you have any others to share? I'll try to add a few to this post if I think of any/any or brought up before I lose editing privileges.
Forum: Why do you believe what you believe?
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I don't quite have the time to respond to everything just yet (and I'm fairly tired after walking home in the rain), so this post may be edited a lot soon. In response to some of the points in your first post, lazarony.

1. The complete destruction of the temple of Jerusalem was fairly "predictable", in that being such an important area for a religious group, it was bound to be destroyed by conquerors/tyrants/etc. who disagreed with Jewish beliefs/disliked the Jewish. Before the Romans destroyed it, the pharoah of egypt, king of Assyria, and Crassus in 54 BCE all sacked/destroyed/desecrated the temple.

2. That seems to be more of a self-fulfilling prophecy than anything. Since the exile, many Jewish have always desired to return to Israel. Groups of them have settled there at times before it became recognized as a nation. Years of effort have resulted in success.

TO BE EDITED- Also, apologies in advance for odd sentence structure/grammatical/phrasing errors.

1. That does not seem all that odd. Unlike Hinduism, which was taught by word of mouth from one generation to another and was warped and modified between regions (like a game of telephone), the bible, which is relatively younger had the fortune of having scribes to both write and copy texts fairly accurately.

2. Referencing actual cities/leaders doesn't seem all that odd. Those who wrote the bible were not deranged and completely out of touch with reality. That being said, having accurate historical data in a text does not mean the entire text is accurate. Much like any personal account from a long-ago time, the accuracy of the bible's events is subject to personal bias and extrapolation. Though are knowledge of earlier times is more limited due to a scarcity of historians, we do try when possible to cross-reference historical works to ensure the greatest accuracy, as some writers can completely make things up or be completely misinformed. Some of the more fantastical events in the bible can be explained by widespread climate change. Many non-christian religious texts mention floods. Early stories such as The Epic of Gilgamesh mention god sending a flood because the "people were too noisy"; accounts like these can probably be explained by a large relatively global shift in weather patterns causing torrential rains, the accounts of which were recorded and passed down, turning into slightly different stories in different cultures.

3. This argument just seems to say that a lot of people believe in Jesus and wrote about him. I don't quite see what point that proves, especially since many of them likely built upon previous beliefs of Christianity since that was their religion.

4. There are many reasons to follow a monotheistic religion. They range from desires for power and organization to comfort/moral support. As I'm sure you've noticed, many "Christians" today are "holiday Christians", in that they rarely attend church and pick and choose what beliefs to have. In the earlier days, monotheism was linked with the throne, and rulers were considered extensions of God and thus, their rule could be considered divinely justified (mandate from heaven). A belief system like Christianity, which introduces rules and morals is a great way to keep a population under control, as well as change their behavior.

The concept of eternal reward and punishment is very useful, even today, in modifying behavior. Many are fearful of the uncertainty and finality of death, and do not want to think of it as oblivion. Many also want their good deeds to be recognized, and others' bad deeds, punished; in essence, some sort of karmic system. They concept of eternal damnation is wonderfully effective at keeping a population from practicing behaviors that a government does not want them to practice, and the prospect of reward motivates them to follow rules that help one another and transitively, the government/ruling body, allowing for relative peace.

Some Christian writers may have recognized this, and used religion for the benefit of their culture. Others may have simply fallen in love with the concept of a "fair" system of punishment and reward, and loved the comfort of having a loving "father" and the promise of forgiveness. Others still may have seen Christianity as a way to explain the origin of life. Some writers may have been convinced from witnessing "miracles" that were sleight of hand, shams, or simply false (think magician tricks and the anecdotes floating around of "magical curative properties of *insert book/product name* that usually cure diseases that have a good chance to heal on their own in time").

I am of the opinion that the most of the events and people of the BIble did exist in reality. However, that being said, like any human recounting, biblical stories were probably often embellished before being recorded.

EDIT: Addressing your personal anecdotes. The key to your employment was less, "God", I believe, and more, the connections you formed at church. No different from any connection, a connection formed in church is a connection formed to a person who may be able to help you find a job and give some recommendations. The religious aspect of where you found your connections is less important than the act of making connections itself.

Addressing your second point; I'm going into this personally knowing a person who has recovered from cancer without treatment (my grand-uncle) who is not religious and someone who put Hepatitis B into remission and baffled his doctors (my dad; he attributes this to herbal medicine). The problem with these stories is unfortunately that they are few and far between, and the methods used by one person to treat an ailment is often unreliable to the next person. If we postulate that prayer cures disease, we imply that those who were not cured of their disease did not pray to God, or were not deemed worthy by him (unless we're to use the, "God works in mysterious ways", excuse).

All this being said, while so far, these "miracles" are generally regarded as "flukes". There have been a few hypotheses to those "God curing afflictions stories" though. One of them is that people of faith tend to be more optimistic of their futures, and thus, have less stress, which leads to better health. The support offered by family members, friends, and even strangers praying for you, and thus showing their support boosts this feeling and your will to "hold on" to life. In general though, many of these astonishing recoveries can be attributed to the human body's astounding resilience and fortitude.
Userpage: php213
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Huh; I actually did think it was you; you or P Lash, to be honest. Sorry about that. It'd be nice to see you again on another topic; it's been interesting talking to you. I don't really comment much unless a specific forum thread or such catches my eye though, and most of my online chatting is done in the Kongregate chat rooms.
Forum: Moderator Discrimination
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Hate to interrupt, but didn't we already have a huge discussion on most of the bible passages that may or may not condemn homosexuality way back in the Richard Dawkins thread and agreed that they could be construed either way, lazarony?

I think that "spread God's seed" idea was probably referencing one passage which some believe implicitly condemns homosexuality. Iirc, it is the passage about Onan spilling his seed on the ground and wasting it instead of impregnating his brother's wife, or something like that (lazarony can correct me). It's a bit of a stretch though, and has been used by some (radicals) to condemn masturbation as well.

Personally, I cannot comment on any study without knowing its parameters; some links to sources would be helpful.

Edit: I couldn't find many credible sources on a quick google search, since I'm pressed for time, but
∞ LINK ∞ lists a few interesting conclusions/observations/analyses on homosexuality in nature.
Forum: Beating Your Kids
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Ah, thanks for clearing that up. Your English is great for someone who speaks it as a second language (no offense intended). I wish my chinese/cantonese was as good.
Forum: Moderator Discrimination
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Yeah, so the same as any other insult/verbal offense, really.