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  1. #41
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    I think you meant rarely help . . . not really help . . . to sway . . .

    I don't think you can hold back the tide on gay marriage regardless of who you vote for. Delay it perhaps. It's basic civil rights. At one time interracial marriage was viewed the same way, as well as interfaith. No church can be required to sanction a gay marriage though. That's also a part of our constitution, as are the basic principals of civil rights. And no one is going to force you to marry a man.

    On abortion I wonder what gives you the right to choose for the woman? It's her body, and her life. If we have all these babies, which party is more likely to help look after them? And if it's the sanctity of life that concerns you, why is the death penalty such a good thing?

    Again, on the governmental level these are civil issues - women's rights and the right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. There's reasonable debate about when life begins, but there's little or no debate about the fact that the death penalty ends life.

    You can slow down the march of freedom and other basic human rights, even turn back the clock, but you'll never in the end stem the tide.

    At the same time you are more than welcome to your views and beliefs in our great country. That will never change because of the outcome of this election. That's why I think the choice is clear between a Republican party that wants to reinstate the policies that drove us near to economic depression, and a Democratic party that wants to continue the recovery.
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    John, you cannot change the beliefs of a believer. You cannot take away his/her beliefs because without it he/she doesn't know how to manage ideas on questions of life. Believers need the security that they don't have by themselves. For Christians, it's the Bible, for muslims, it's the Koran etc., regardless of what is written in those 'sacred books'. Biblical values? God asking Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, on Mount Moriah? Do we want that? That's much more insane than a man marrying another man. By the way, I'm 1000 percent hetero.
    ---
    Arie, christian by education, agnostic by nature.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bernie1227 View Post
    Q) why did the subjunctive get in a fight? A) because it was moody
    Quote Originally Posted by bernie1227 View Post
    The past the present and the future walked into a bar. It was tense.
    Bernie, I like them, although they aren't true. In a language like French, the subjunctive is alive and kicking. The rules change, but the subjunctive itself is in very good health, even in a bar. As for tense, you are mistaking it with time. In everybody's brain, their's a notion of past/present/future. In the linguistic morphological expression of time (=tense), their's often just present and / or past, like in certain African languages (only present) or in a language like Dutch, which often uses the present to refer to the future. In English, that happens less frequently, but this language (like Dutch) does not have a specific morphological form for the future (it uses 'will' or 'shall' etc. for it). By the way, this comment shows that linguistics isn't jazzy, and that it has no future. So be it. Astronomy isn't 'jokey' either. But both are infinitely interesting.
    Arie.

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    John, I have to say that's a very well written post. We seem to share the same perspective on much of that.

    I'm not particularly political; that is, I find problems with both parties and don't really see one as being a good answer; rather, I choose to vote to avoid certain things.

    On the topic of gay marriage, I completely agree with John. I think opposition to gay marriage is absurd because in 20-40 years we'll look back at this situation as exactly the same thing as the Civil Rights Movement, or women's right to vote. Racism is now considered inappropriate in the country, but 50 years ago it was the norm. In 20-40 years, I simply can't imagine anything but homosexuality being considered acceptable and protected in the same way that racism is considered incorrect now.

    James, I say this in absolutely the most respectful way, I don't really care what your views are-- they're your views. You're welcome to them. The next logical step would be to say "let's agree to disagree" (which sounds fine to me). But the problem with the republican stance on such things is that it's not "agree to disagree", but rather "we'll force our opinion on you", which I oppose in principle. Allowing gay marriage is something that doesn't affect me at all-- I see no reason to stop it. I'm not going to participate in it (I'm happily married to a woman), but I don't mind if others do. And I just don't see whatever my opinion is having any relevance to what they do-- that should be based on their opinions.

    In the case of abortion, the situation is a lot trickier. My position (if you haven't guessed already) is freedom of choice-- the individuals affected can choose what to do. But the counterargument is that it's murder. This is hard to refute. If you believe that abortion is murder, then it's hard to make the claim that "ok, but it's an acceptable kind". I can understand that argument. The trouble is that not everyone holds that position based on assumptions not shared by everyone.
    The real problem I have with it is the correlation of things like not using birth control and not having abortions. If someone supports birth control and disapproves of abortion, I can see the logic in that. But too often the two line up in a way that just makes no sense to me. If it's really an issue of murder itself, then birth control is the obvious solution. That doesn't mean that people are expected to have sex, just that if they choose to, birth control is clearly a better option than an abortion, under those assumptions.
    The polarity of "pro-life" and "pro-choice" has always seemed absurd to me. It's not "pro-life" and "pro-death" as opposites-- it's "pro-choice" in the middle.

    I don't have a strong opinion one way or the other on the death penalty. I don't really oppose it. I do find "pro-life"+"pro-death penalty" to be a contradiction and confusing, but that's perhaps beside the point. I think there are so many practical problems with the death penalty that it's probably not worth it-- the potential for killing of an innocent person, the fact that it costs more to execute someone than keep them in prison for life, and a number of other odd things (I once heard that a doctor must declare a prisoner to be healthy before an execution is carried out; if that's true, that's bizarre). I suppose my lack of a strong opinion comes from the fact that I see life in prison and execution as nearly equivalent; I'd only accept the death penalty for someone who would otherwise never rejoin society anyway, so it's unclear that life in prison is really better-- in fact, some people might prefer the death penalty (eg, those who would commit suicide in prison).
    But in short, there's no literal advantage to the death penalty, so considering the complications, I don't see that much reason to keep it around; but I disagree with anyone who is strictly against the death penalty simply because it's "bad".

    Economically, the democrats are going to have to do more than they are to turn the situation around; and the republications simply have no chance; but it also comes down to a lot of external factors such as financial institutions, businesses, the political image of the country and a few other things. Things are certainly going to change one way or another, and already are in some ways.



    (I hesitated to post this because the goal here should not be to start a big debate, I agree.)



    Arie, although you potentially have a point, it is phrased more critically than John's post, which is why I like his better-- less likely to bring about an heavily emotional/philosophical argument.
    I certainly see a paradox, though. I can see a rational argument that anyone who has "faith" must then be 100% unwaveringly committed to it without questioning it and to believe that everyone else is wrong. That position seems bizarre to me, but it's equally bizarre to think of someone who "kind of believes" something.
    I've never liked the terms "atheist" or "agnostic" because they don't seem to properly describe me. "Not religious" seems to classify me in a strange way (in the same sense as I heard a comedian describing problems with the term "non-smoker"). I don't hold a position of God not existing; rather, I simply don't believe in the concept that "God exists", which to me is underdefined and uncertain. To believe that God doesn't exist implies a lot more information about God than seems coherent to me for anyone who would hold that position. "Agnostic" also sounds odd to me because it's also a negation-- not-knowing. I don't think I'm not knowing. In some sense, I do. But I don't think my position is founded on "I dunno", but rather on what I do know. *shrug*
    Last edited by djr33; 09-28-2012 at 04:04 AM. Reason: spelling
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    Quote Originally Posted by molendijk
    Bernie, I like them, although they aren't true. In a language like French, the subjunctive is alive and kicking. The rules change, but the subjunctive itself is in very good health, even in a bar. As for tense, you are mistaking it with time. In everybody's brain, their's a notion of past/present/future. In the linguistic morphological expression of time (=tense), their's often just present and / or past, like in certain African languages (only present) or in a language like Dutch, which often uses the present to refer to the future. In English, that happens less frequently, but this language (like Dutch) does not have a specific morphological form for the future (it uses 'will' or 'shall' etc. for it). By the way, this comment shows that linguistics isn't jazzy, and that it has no future. So be it. Astronomy isn't 'jokey' either. But both are infinitely interesting.
    I think you missed the jokes here.

    1) The subjunctive is defined as a grammatical mood. It's a simple play on words, and somewhat amusing too.
    (A mood, within the concept of modality as a whole, talks about how verbs apply to information, such as the conditional being considered a mood in some languages. This is in contrast to the indicative that is used in non-subjunctive contexts, at least that's generally how it's described for most European languages.)
    The use of the term comes out of the traditions in Latin grammar-- back when the subjunctive was certainly alive and well, and of utmost important to the writers of that time. It's still around in many languages (although it fades from others too). But it's a mood, regardless of the rest

    2) The names for these tenses are "present", "past" and "future". That's all. Open any language textbook if you disagree. Perhaps the joke is on them because that analysis is wrong (I wrote a long essay on this topic last year-- looking at it, not necessarily that they're wrong), but that's it. They're just labels.


    I found both jokes quite amusing.
    However, there's this other thing about linguistics-- we don't really tend to have jokes. Instead, we do have lots of puns. But perhaps only a linguist would care about that distinction.
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    I'd just like to add to the death penalty thing that Daniel's right, innocent people are killed by it. That should be reason enough to abandon it. The fact that it's also true that innocent or not, the wealthy are much less likely to be put to death under it, and you can begin to see more of how draconian it is. It might be great if only the guilty were put to death and that there were no favoritism based on wealth, class or race, but that simply isn't the case, and isn't likely to be in the foreseeable future. In the justice system we do our best, but there are plenty of errors and injustices and will continue to be. If someone is in prison for any period of time, even for life, they can always get out early if it's later proven that they're innocent. Once you kill them it's too late.

    Back to the jokes - puns are jokes, it's just that while a well crafted joke is a gem of wit, even the best pun is still only a germ of wit.
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    Yes, and linguists are very good at very bad puns.
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    Quote Originally Posted by djr33 View Post
    Arie, although you potentially have a point, it is phrased more critically than John's post, which is why I like his better-- less likely to bring about an heavily emotional/philosophical argument.
    I certainly see a paradox, though. I can see a rational argument that anyone who has "faith" must then be 100% unwaveringly committed to it without questioning it and to believe that everyone else is wrong. That position seems bizarre to me, but it's equally bizarre to think of someone who "kind of believes" something.
    I've never liked the terms "atheist" or "agnostic" because they don't seem to properly describe me. "Not religious" seems to classify me in a strange way (in the same sense as I heard a comedian describing problems with the term "non-smoker"). I don't hold a position of God not existing; rather, I simply don't believe in the concept that "God exists", which to me is underdefined and uncertain. To believe that God doesn't exist implies a lot more information about God than seems coherent to me for anyone who would hold that position. "Agnostic" also sounds odd to me because it's also a negation-- not-knowing. I don't think I'm not knowing. In some sense, I do. But I don't think my position is founded on "I dunno", but rather on what I do know. *shrug*
    This is an interesting point that my chaplain was talking about a few weeks ago. He used the analogy of being someone who doesn't smoke and being a non-smoker, there is a greater significance in being a non-smoker, in that it infers that the person had smoked at one point and doesn't anymore. Back on topic, the meaning of the term agnostic, is basically meaning undecided, as to whether god is real or not, atheism is being definite there is no god. In that case you can class yourself as agnostic the sense that you don't know, or you could simply say that you are non-religious, in the sense that that you are indifferent, however, non-religious Also tends to imply atheism. Anyway, I'm no expert, just repeating what I've heard.

    As to Arie, Daniel gets the jokes, I was reffering to past/present/future as you see them just about everywhere, and as average Joe sees them. As to the subjunctive, I don't think you're getting the crux of the joke. I mean the subjunctive as the subjunctive mood. Basically, I agree with Daniel, and as you may have guessed, most of my grammar knowledge comes from studies of Latin.
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    He used the analogy of being someone who doesn't smoke and being a non-smoker, there is a greater significance in being a non-smoker, in that it infers that the person had smoked at one point and doesn't anymore.
    That's a weird explanation. I've never smoked, wouldn't consider smoking, and I think I'm a non-smoker. Right? Perhaps the term means something different to you.

    Back on topic, the meaning of the term agnostic, is basically meaning undecided,...
    It means a-gnost-ic, "not-know-ing" (more or less in English like that). But people do use it to mean undecided. But that's also problematic-- I'm not undecided. I have decided. (Perhaps some information in the future could make me make a new decision, but that's not relevant to the moment.) I'm not in the middle of a decision. Either way, weird term.

    Yes, I prefer "non-religious", or better yet, just "not religious". As I said, saying something like "I believe that god does not exist" makes no sense to me.
    (On a more logical level on the whole thing, my argument would be that if god were to exist, it would be in such a state that we could not perceive of it; essentially for me in my small position in the universe and reality, god would not exist. But who knows if that's relevant.)

    ...most of my grammar knowledge comes from studies of Latin.
    Didn't know you studied Latin. SALVE? QVID NOVI?
    (That's all I can say, after having studied it for 2 years in college a couple years ago. I can read it if I have a dictionary and a lot of time.)
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    What I said was actually quite brief, but you can see the responses it has generated. It was as if I were trolling the forums to get a lot of responses. I have heard all of these arguments before and know that it won't do any good to debate it. I will say that jscheuer1 was correct when he said I meant "rarely" as opposed to "really" and it was not a typo on my part. jscheuer1 was merely articulating correctly what I actually meant. I believe that God can and does redeem hearts and minds.

    I have read many debates by people on these issues and hypothetically if I have an air tight case that proves divorce (as a random example) is always wrong, dangerous, impractical, grossly hurts society as a whole both in the short term and in the long term and I used reasoning that was very clear I still won't convince anyone to believe that any part of what I said was true no matter what evidence I use. Unless a person believes they are a sinner and evil through and through and that they need Jesus as their savior to atone for their sins and bear the punishment that those sins deserve and to repent of his sins and to rely on the saving power of Christ for salvation from the wrath of God on man for those sins then all of the effort I put forth to convince someone that abortion is wrong or that marriage should not be redefined to mean two people as opposed to two people that love each other or that the death penalty is good is all really a waste of effort at best.

    Whew that was a long sentence. Anyway, I am merely stating very simply what I believe and where I stand on those issues and was using as few words as I can to do that. Debating the logic of my positions is something that I can discuss if it were in its own thread and not this one .

    I hope you can see now how extremely easy it is to get into a very lengthy discussion about what I believe and why I am very reluctant to do so in this thread. I admit that I am a Christian and that my positions are not always very well liked. I don't want to be "in your face" about what I believe either.

    I'm willing to talk about what I believe if anyone wants to know more. As far as practicality goes I would suggest that it be given its own separate thread so that it doesn't hijack this one or others.
    Last edited by james438; 09-28-2012 at 06:39 AM. Reason: minor clarification in 3rd paragraph
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