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Author Topic: On Personal Property (from: Florida pastor wants to burn Quran)  (Read 1984 times)

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Offline DarklingAliceTopic starter

On Personal Property (from: Florida pastor wants to burn Quran)
« on: September 10, 2010, 12:14:36 PM »
I didn't say if it was right or not as I think what is morally right and ethically right vary from person to person. Ethically (as in lawfully) both are right. Morally is another question that will vary from person to person and no person is right or wrong to say the community center or Quran burning is good or evil

Do try to learn the meaning of terms before using them <_<

The dispensation of a person's property by that person (regardless whether it be a piece of land, or book, or anything), is a morally (and therefore ethically) neutral act. It is wholly self-referential unless we choose to make it otherwise (thank you mass media >_<). Now, we can say that it is in bad taste all we want, but that is morally irrelevant. There can be neither good nor evil in the dispensation of what a person owns by that person, when no one else has a claim of ownership over it. This is core to the concept of ownership and the whining of great many people that certain things are sacred or magic (whether they by holy books or pieces of land or flags) does not a claim of ownership make.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2010, 01:51:40 PM by Valerian »

Offline Kaizen

Re: On Personal Property (from: Florida pastor wants to burn Quran)
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2010, 12:33:25 PM »
The dispensation of a person's property by that person (regardless whether it be a piece of land, or book, or anything), is a morally (and therefore ethically) neutral act. It is wholly self-referential unless we choose to make it otherwise (thank you mass media >_<). Now, we can say that it is in bad taste all we want, but that is morally irrelevant. There can be neither good nor evil in the dispensation of what a person owns by that person, when no one else has a claim of ownership over it. This is core to the concept of ownership and the whining of great many people that certain things are sacred or magic (whether they by holy books or pieces of land or flags) does not a claim of ownership make.

That makes no sense to me.

Offline Will

Re: On Personal Property (from: Florida pastor wants to burn Quran)
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2010, 12:38:12 PM »
Uh... read it again?

Basically, there's nothing morally right or wrong about burning a bunch of books (read: personal property).  It only carries the emotional weight that we assign to it.

I'm not going to put ALL the blame for that emotional weight on the media, though. :P  It's the people who patronize the media who give it that weight.

Offline Kaizen

Re: On Personal Property (from: Florida pastor wants to burn Quran)
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2010, 12:46:04 PM »
I understood her (and your) point, and I disagree. 

When you look at it as just any old book, then whatever.  But it's not just any book...

Don't get me wrong, I could care less if he burnt down the factory that printed the books.  It is the view that there isn't any moral attachment to that action that I disagree with.

Offline Will

Re: On Personal Property (from: Florida pastor wants to burn Quran)
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2010, 12:53:46 PM »
I understood her (and your) point, and I disagree. 

When you look at it as just any old book, then whatever.  But it's not just any book...

Don't get me wrong, I could care less if he burnt down the factory that printed the books.  It is the view that there isn't any moral attachment to that action that I disagree with.

Right, but the fact that you disagree with it doesn't matter.  It's personal property.  With that in mind, it would be a lot better if we all just restrained our outrage and ignored him.

Offline Kaizen

Re: On Personal Property (from: Florida pastor wants to burn Quran)
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2010, 01:03:02 PM »
Right, but the fact that you disagree with it doesn't matter.  It's personal property.  With that in mind, it would be a lot better if we all just restrained our outrage and ignored him.

It has never mattered what I agree or disagree with, that, I can agree with.
I recognize the fact that it was personal property, but I think the moral implications are still there.  I wasn't arguing the legality.  That wasn't my point at all.


Offline TheLegionary

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Re: On Personal Property (from: Florida pastor wants to burn Quran)
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2010, 01:07:26 PM »
Uh... read it again?

Basically, there's nothing morally right or wrong about burning a bunch of books (read: personal property).  It only carries the emotional weight that we assign to it.

I'm not going to put ALL the blame for that emotional weight on the media, though. :P  It's the people who patronize the media who give it that weight.

Interesting consideration!

It makes me wonder why most of cultures are not cannibal...after all, what is the point in treating decently some lifeless meat? It is just personal property that belongs to the heirs of the dead person - from a Chicago boys point of view, it would be far more intelligent to recycle the meat, using the skin, the bones etc. Why not using it in a grill?

The point is that books are more than a mere personal property. They are not only paper, but they carry ideas, or even simply bullshit. It does not matter. I do not want to be poetic, but within a book there is much more than paper, there is a living soul, freedom of thought, freedom of speech etc. Burning a book is not just like burning property.

Moreover, burning books is normally associated with the worst moments of the 20th century. What is wrong to be emotional in this case?

Sorry if I were rude, but I utterly disagree with the comment. It sounds like an attenuating circumstance for something which will open a Pandora's box and harm your country's interests (not mine's). Someone (I cant remember who) once said that in a democracy, one has to tolerant except when you find someone intolerant - this is exactly what the police should do in the US: there are so many stupid crimes in the US and I cannot believe the pastor cannot be arrested for risking the lives of US citizens (not only soldiers) abroad...What he plans to do has nothing to do with any kind of justifiable freedom.

« Last Edit: September 10, 2010, 01:10:29 PM by TheLegionary »

Offline Kaizen

Re: On Personal Property (from: Florida pastor wants to burn Quran)
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2010, 01:19:13 PM »
I understand your point.  The books are sacred, so the emotional weight is inherent.  I disagree, but I'm not going to argue that.

My point is this.  Knowing how ineffectual your outrage will be, why even give him the satisfaction of getting upset about it?  All it does is give the media a reason to publicize the story and fan the flames.

Upset? Not this guy, I'm as cool as a cucumber.
The only person who has the power to upset me is my wife.

I saw a point about morality that I disagreed with.  Normally, I wouldn't even comment, but given the extraordinarily slow day at work, I was looking for anything to occupy my time.  It's just that I believe there is a moral weight attached to everything we do, I draw my conclusion from numerous examples of my own personal and religious experiences. 


Offline Trieste

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Re: On Personal Property (from: Florida pastor wants to burn Quran)
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2010, 01:19:41 PM »
Interesting consideration!

It makes me wonder why most of cultures are not cannibal...after all, what is the point in treating decently some lifeless meat? It is just personal property that belongs to the heirs of the dead person - from a Chicago boys point of view, it would be far more intelligent to recycle the meat, using the skin, the bones etc. Why not using it in a grill?

If there is a law against eating someone who is already dead, I'm not aware of it. They might make it a law if you do it and publicize it as much as this jackass did.

The point is that books are more than a mere personal property. They are not only paper, but they carry ideas, or even simply bullshit. It does not matter. I do not want to be poetic, but within a book there is much more than paper, there is a living soul, freedom of thought, freedom of speech etc. Burning a book is not just like burning property.

No, it really is just like burning property. What you're talking about is the symbolism of the books, which is a completely different animal. If you're going to talk symbolism, you will have to concede that the same symbols do not mean the same things to different people. If you're not willing to concede that, then you're going to start sounding like a bigot, and an arrogant one.

Moreover, burning books is normally associated with the worst moments of the 20th century. What is wrong to be emotional in this case?

So was wearing bedsheets around, but you don't see people getting all in a tizzy about toga parties, now do you? Again, it's about symbolism.

Sorry if I were rude, but I utterly disagree with the comment. It sounds like an attenuating circumstance for something which will open a Pandora's box and harm your country's interests (not mine's). Someone (I cant remember who) once said that in a democracy, one has to tolerant except when you find someone intolerant - this is exactly what the police should do in the US: there are so many stupid crimes in the US and I cannot believe the pastor cannot be arrested for risking the lives of US citizens (not only soldiers) abroad...What he plans to do has nothing to do with any kind of justifiable freedom.

Yes, you were rude. Moreover, you've managed to introduce several logical fallacies into your post (appeal to emotion, strawman, etc) so I really think you should go back, read up on them, and come back with a more reasonable post. Disagreeing with something doesn't excuse poor posts; in fact, I would think you'd be more inclined to eloquence if you disagreed with something that strongly.

Offline Will

Re: On Personal Property (from: Florida pastor wants to burn Quran)
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2010, 01:23:45 PM »
I have a hard time grasping the idea that he should be arrested for this.  That would violate both his right to personal property, as well as his freedom of speech.  That is actually pretty frightening.

This just in:

http://www.godhatesfags.com/letters/20100909_Open-Letter-WBC-to-Burn-the-Koran-and-American-Flag.pdf
There's more along those lines, but I feel unclean enough already.  :P

Jones is making noises about going ahead with his burning anyway, because the New York imam didn't keep a promise he never actually made; so now we might have two on the same day.

I also noticed that Jones' daughter told Reuters that she thought her father had gone mad, and needed help.

Geez, they stay busy, don't they? O.o
« Last Edit: September 10, 2010, 01:25:45 PM by Will »

Offline Noelle

Re: On Personal Property (from: Florida pastor wants to burn Quran)
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2010, 01:34:47 PM »
Quote
The point is that books are more than a mere personal property. They are not only paper, but they carry ideas, or even simply bullshit. It does not matter. I do not want to be poetic, but within a book there is much more than paper, there is a living soul, freedom of thought, freedom of speech etc. Burning a book is not just like burning property.

This is hardly a fact inherent of books. Those are the meanings you, personally, have imbued into books. At their basis, they're pieces of paper bound together between two covers with some ink on it. A symbol is just a representation of something else. The American flag is not freedom, it's not justice, it's not 99 cent hamburgers or a country full of gun-loving cowboys...it's just a placeholder. Stop giving an average piece of cloth or a stack of papers any meaning when they hit the burn pile, and guess what? All they're burning is cloth and paper -- and the virtues you associate with each remain in tact. Because you can't actually burn the things those objects represent. If you think the Bible stands for the good in the world, for the noble sacrifice of Jesus Christ for all of mankind, putting a match to the book doesn't destroy that and no amount of matches will.

What this man is hinging on is the emotional response people will give to piling a bunch of books and dropping a match on them. And he got exactly that. It's not to say I don't understand why people would be upset to see someone destroying their holy books, but imagine if the media said "Eh, just another crazy looking for attention" -- I doubt anybody would've had any idea this happened at all. It was a big deal because they made it a big deal, when in truth it was just some backwards redneck with a train conductor mustache and his thirty-odd church-members (if even that) who wanted to mark 9/11 with a completely idiotic display of fear under the pretense of free speech.


Quote
Someone (I cant remember who) once said that in a democracy, one has to tolerant except when you find someone intolerant - this is exactly what the police should do in the US: there are so many stupid crimes in the US and I cannot believe the pastor cannot be arrested for risking the lives of US citizens (not only soldiers) abroad...What he plans to do has nothing to do with any kind of justifiable freedom.

This might be one of the least desirable things that could ever be implemented in a country I resided in ;P A tolerance police is the most horrifying thought ever. It even reminds me a little bit of 1984's newspeak. The thing about freedom of speech is that to be allowed to speak your mind, you have to allow others to speak theirs, even if it's absolutely horrible and disagreeable. It's generally unwise to burn a religion's holy book, but it's completely within his rights to express himself to do so, even if the rest of us don't like it.

Offline TheLegionary

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Re: On Personal Property (from: Florida pastor wants to burn Quran)
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2010, 02:04:00 PM »
Dear Trieste,

Thank you for your valuable comments. I really appreciated them! You made me ponder about some arguments  I used. Please find below my considerations!
As I am not good at quoting, what is in bold was written by you, while what is in italics was written by me.

It makes me wonder why most of cultures are not cannibal...after all, what is the point in treating decently some lifeless meat? It is just personal property that belongs to the heirs of the dead person - from a Chicago boys point of view, it would be far more intelligent to recycle the meat, using the skin, the bones etc. Why not using it in a grill?
If there is a law against eating someone who is already dead, I'm not aware of it. They might make it a law if you do it and publicize it as much as this jackass did.
Where I live there is not such a law. However, I think you may be arrested in some parts of the world if you eat someone's body.
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Is_cannibalism_against_the_law
http://www.funtrivia.com/askft/Question78621.html

The point is that books are more than a mere personal property. They are not only paper, but they carry ideas, or even simply bullshit. It does not matter. I do not want to be poetic, but within a book there is much more than paper, there is a living soul, freedom of thought, freedom of speech etc. Burning a book is not just like burning property.
No, it really is just like burning property. What you're talking about is the symbolism of the books, which is a completely different animal. If you're going to talk symbolism, you will have to concede that the same symbols do not mean the same things to different people. If you're not willing to concede that, then you're going to start sounding like a bigot, and an arrogant one.
I disagree with your statement! Can you separate one atom of oxygen from two of hydrogen and treat them as if they were not water? There is a difference between lots of paper and a book, no matter what is written in the book - no matter whether we are talking about a book full of stupidities, a book is more than a paper. Name it symbolism if you want, but I cannot agree a book is a mere property - otherwise there would not be copyright. Reducing the problem to symbolism is very comfortable for your side, since it allows you to jump to the next argument, the one full of cultural relativism. It is fine for someone to burn a meaningless book in one side of the planet, even if this book has a different meaning somewhere else.
I would agree with you that it would sound arrogant and bigot if you are living in a society which is isolated from the rest of the world. However, I do not believe this is the case of the US or Afghanistan, specially because there is a war going on among these two countries. Maybe Afghanistan would not be so aware of someone burning books in the other side of the globe before September 11th 2001, but today it is. So, I think your argument, not mine, is fallacious.
At certain point, materialists would have endorsed your statement with hesitating, just to say that freedom of speech was a petite bourgeois freedom... * laughs *

Sorry if I were rude, but I utterly disagree with the comment. It sounds like an attenuating circumstance for something which will open a Pandora's box and harm your country's interests (not mine's). Someone (I cant remember who) once said that in a democracy, one has to tolerant except when you find someone intolerant - this is exactly what the police should do in the US: there are so many stupid crimes in the US and I cannot believe the pastor cannot be arrested for risking the lives of US citizens (not only soldiers) abroad...What he plans to do has nothing to do with any kind of justifiable freedom.
Yes, you were rude. Moreover, you've managed to introduce several logical fallacies into your post (appeal to emotion, strawman, etc) so I really think you should go back, read up on them, and come back with a more reasonable post. Disagreeing with something doesn't excuse poor posts; in fact, I would think you'd be more inclined to eloquence if you disagreed with something that strongly.
When I apologised, I really did not believe someone could have thought what I wrote was rude in an open debate. Anyway, I apologise again.
I believe I may have hit something without knowing it. It would be better to know which logical fallacies you are talking about. As a non-American who really likes the US, I am always trying to understand the American psyche, although I confess to be find it really difficult sometimes.
One fun thing about the more serious threads is that eloquence always appear in the discussion and when one person feels ofended, it points out to poor posts, eloquence or whatever (Politicians are masters in the technique of not answering to the questions made). Come on, this is hypocrite in a thread like this, where people are just reading the last post and making specific comments - I have been following the discussion here for some time because of my interest in the Middle East and the discussion has changed its direction at least a couple of times. This is not a PhD thesis. Isn't this normal or do you really expect to read something scientific here?
The point is that people use eloquence as a rhetorical tool all the time - I will not go back to point out when you use in this thread, but as you suggested me to reread my post, I humbly suggest you to do the same with your posts.

* bows and offers a peace pipe for Trieste*
Can I call you friend? Although I really found your last line ruder than anything else I wrote in my post (I was allegedly "eloquent" and "fallacious" only in relation to the ideas and not in relation to the person who wrote them), I have no hard feelings towards you, Trieste!

Hugs,

TL
« Last Edit: September 10, 2010, 02:09:31 PM by Valerian »

Offline TheLegionary

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Re: On Personal Property (from: Florida pastor wants to burn Quran)
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2010, 02:15:45 PM »
Just an update:
The websites I indicated above do not endorse the fact that cannibalism is a crime in some places.
Sorry for that.
What is a crime is to abuse a dead person's body in some countries. This is a crime where I am and encompass cannibalism.
Hugs,
TL

Offline Trieste

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Re: On Personal Property (from: Florida pastor wants to burn Quran)
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2010, 02:29:20 PM »
There is an informative thread here that outlines many (though not all) logical fallacies. The ones I mentioned are there. To clarify the two specific fallacies I mentioned, your appeal to emotion was when you noted that book-burning has been equated to some of the worst moments in recent history (calling up emotional responses to Nazi Germany and McCarthyism, to name just a couple examples). It was not an explanation of why book-burning is inherently wrong in itself; instead, you said it was wrong and then tried to justify that with a guilt-by-association tactic. This is the essence of an appeal to emotion, and it is a fallacy. The second fallacy I mentioned was the strawman, where you refute a point that's very similar to but shakier than the point being discussed, and then consider the original point refuted because of that similarity. You did this with your "well, if books don't have meaning, neither do dead people" argument. These are, by the by, not strictly American concepts; the history of the logical fallacy dates back to Aristotle and comes forward from there.

I'm not a cultural relativist, by the by. I believe that killing a girl because she was raped is wrong, and I think that throwing babies of the wrong gender off of cliffs is wrong, no matter what the local culture says. Thank you for not making further assumptions about my overall beliefs from simple statements. My comment about symbolism meaning different things to different people is a statement of psychological fact. People put their own attitudes - cultural and individual - into objects which otherwise have no meaning. I assume you've heard of a Rorschach test, which is a perfect example of such a thing. It is not our eyes that actually see - it is our brains. Our eyes merely transmit color and light.

Also, copyright does not free a book from being property. In fact, it takes the concept of property even farther by assigning ownership to the ideas expressed by the book. So it further illustrates that the ideas in the book are not of the book, but posessed by the author. The only thing that you can claim ownership over is the paper and the glue and whatnot. How can you burn what you don't own? Noelle made this point nicely.

My posts have nothing to do with friendship, and have not contained any personal attacks. I don't know you, I don't know anything about you other than the views you've expressed. I criticized your post because, yes, a higher standard of posting is expected in this board. It is supposed to be for debating, though that usually devolves into arguing (and I'm not claiming innocence on that). But just because it does devolve doesn't mean we shouldn't strive against it. I meant what I have said as constructive criticism, nothing more. However, I apologize for saying you were rude; what I took for sarcasm in the previous post might simply be the consequence of not being a native English speaker. Sorry 'bout that.

Can you separate one atom of oxygen from two of hydrogen and treat them as if they were not water?

Yes, actually. Yes, I can. So, perhaps if splitting up the hydrogen and oxygen is not so impossible, certainly separating the idea from the piece of paper that happens to be its carrier isn't impossible either. It's somewhat like the body and the soul, if you believe in one. They are very close, but they are not interchangeable.

Offline DarklingAliceTopic starter

Re: On Personal Property (from: Florida pastor wants to burn Quran)
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2010, 03:00:36 PM »
It makes me wonder why most of cultures are not cannibal...after all, what is the point in treating decently some lifeless meat? It is just personal property that belongs to the heirs of the dead person - from a Chicago boys point of view, it would be far more intelligent to recycle the meat, using the skin, the bones etc. Why not using it in a grill?

An excellent point. You know the weather is just getting right for a nice autumn barbecue... Although it would probably be even more intelligent and efficient to use those corpses for science. Much less chance of  Creutzfeldt–Jakob that way.

The way we treat our dead is interesting, and culturally and emotionally significant. That does not give it a moral standing. I think that what you, and many others are doing, is having difficulty separating morality from sentimentality. So, do I have preferences, cultural traditions, and emotions driving me to treat the dead with respect (and do some cultures have the same factors driving them to cannibalize their dead, and in fact treat that as a form of respect)? Yes. But I don't kid myself that it is a moral act. Which (as Trieste illustrates) is why some cultural differences are acceptable and some are not. The underlying morality of the action has to be considered, not how squicky we find something.

Moreover, burning books is normally associated with the worst moments of the 20th century. What is wrong to be emotional in this case?

There is a great deal of difference between a government seizing and destroying books, and a bunch of people going out and purchasing them. The problem with say, Nazi book burning was that they were wronging and depriving people, not paper.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2010, 03:02:16 PM by DarklingAlice »

Offline TheLegionary

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Re: On Personal Property (from: Florida pastor wants to burn Quran)
« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2010, 03:47:57 PM »
Trieste,

It was a pleasure to argue with you!  Before finishing this interesting discussion, let me just add some more comments.

You again expect high level discussion here and I think it is funny. Really funny! We can make some effort to develop ideas, but the way you see the debate is too serious. I really reiterate my previous suggestion for you to reread what the others were discussing and how the arguments were developed. Irony and sarcasm are always there and they were in my initial post - this is why I apologised, even though I did not expect that someone would take the bait. Actually, quite often, they are full of irony and sarcasm. Mine was not an exception. Again, I do not know what you really saw in my post which was so offensive to offend me personally.

There is an informative thread here that outlines many (though not all) logical fallacies.
Again, I have seen this thread to be pointed out a lot of times for someone who posted something in the same threads - I read it and found it very interesting. You suggested my argument could be arrogant if I did not agree with you. It seems that the same pattern repeats.
When you argue with someone, focus on the argument, not on the person.
Now let me turn to the fallacies.

The ones I mentioned are there. To clarify the two specific fallacies I mentioned, your appeal to emotion was when you noted that book-burning has been equated to some of the worst moments in recent history (calling up emotional responses to Nazi Germany and McCarthyism, to name just a couple examples). It was not an explanation of why book-burning is inherently wrong in itself; instead, you said it was wrong and then tried to justify that with a guilt-by-association tactic. This is the essence of an appeal to emotion, and it is a fallacy. The second fallacy I mentioned was the strawman, where you refute a point that's very similar to but shakier than the point being discussed, and then consider the original point refuted because of that similarity. You did this with your "well, if books don't have meaning, neither do dead people" argument. These are, by the by, not strictly American concepts; the history of the logical fallacy dates back to Aristotle and comes forward from there.
I really liked your argument. You could have started your sentence here.
As regards the first fallacy, I have already said: you look for an academic discussion where you should not. Reread the preceding posts in the other thread. But you want an explanation, an interpretation of the post, and I think I owe you one.
Ok! I send you a question to think: Do you really think the episodes you mentioned and I referred to indirectly are different from what the pastor is doing? I was just taking a ride in the other arguments used to rebut those burnings. You can look for the arguments themselves, but most of them are voiced in the "logical fallacy" eloquence. The fact that conclusion is quoted does not mean I have to develop the whole reasoning, specially when they had already been proved. In other words, if we do what you suggest all the time, we would have to write posts with footnotes and references. Personally, I am not in the mood.
As regards the strawman argument, I humbly believe there is an error in how to apply the fallacy to my argument. Using an analogy to prove something is as old and universal as Aristotle, Romans did it much better than Aristotle. Let me get back to analogies. Analogies are used to find people guilty and not guilty among other things. Saying I used the strawman argument is only a valid criticism if there is something wrong with the comparison.
Now, we are entering the rhetoric and eloquence again. In the end, there is no right decision or conclusion. One analogy may be valid for some, not valid for others, may be valid for me now, no longer valid tomorrow - have a look at how courts decide and you will be shocked to see how chaotic the decision-making is. And they are putting a great effort in trying to make things logic (I am not talking about the US juries, but as the US Supreme Court and European courts work), applying syllogisms to facts and making decisions. There is no right answer, there is just a decision, random or not, economically influenced or not, but the appearance is always logical.
In other words, throwing the allegation at my argument assumes there is one right answer. If you think so, I think we should never have started the discussion - I am humble and democratic enough to admit there is not.
Before moving ahead, I really do not want to believe I understood what I understood when I read These are, by the by, not strictly American concepts. Were you somehow suggesting I did not understand just because these concepts are so "American"? I felt an irony, almost forgiving my error, because you know why.

I'm not a cultural relativist, by the by. I believe that killing a girl because she was raped is wrong, and I think that throwing babies of the wrong gender off of cliffs is wrong, no matter what the local culture says. Thank you for not making further assumptions about my overall beliefs from simple statements. My comment about symbolism meaning different things to different people is a statement of psychological fact. People put their own attitudes - cultural and individual - into objects which otherwise have no meaning. I assume you've heard of a Rorschach test, which is a perfect example of such a thing. It is not our eyes that actually see - it is our brains. Our eyes merely transmit color and light.
Agreed, although I do not agree with your argument about the Rorschach test. Maybe we could start another thread, but I confess I am not an expert on that topic.
One paradox which has just come to my head when it comes to cultural relativism and adds more strength to what you said: burning an American flag is a crime in some parts of the US and a national sport in the Arabian countries.

Also, copyright does not free a book from being property. In fact, it takes the concept of property even farther by assigning ownership to the ideas expressed by the book. So it further illustrates that the ideas in the book are not of the book, but possessed by the author. The only thing that you can claim ownership over is the paper and the glue and whatnot. How can you burn what you don't own? Noelle made this point nicely.
It does not free a book from being a property, but it creates a right over the property for someone else. It is like a mortgage in relation to the real state (another analogy, do not accuse me of being strawman again).
Just wondering...don't you think it is possible for the author to claim moral damages if someone burns a book on the grounds that his honour was tainted? Doesn't this blur your clear-cut distinction? I think so. I am not familiar with US precedents, but the European Court of Justice has already decided such a claim is possible when eurocommunists burnt bibles.

My posts have nothing to do with friendship, and have not contained any personal attacks. I don't know you, I don't know anything about you other than the views you've expressed. I criticized your post because, yes, a higher standard of posting is expected in this board. It is supposed to be for debating, though that usually devolves into arguing (and I'm not claiming innocence on that). But just because it does devolve doesn't mean we shouldn't strive against it. I meant what I have said as constructive criticism, nothing more. However, I apologize for saying you were rude; what I took for sarcasm in the previous post might simply be the consequence of not being a native English speaker. Sorry 'bout that.
OMG! You take everything so literally! LOL! Sorry if I am not so serious!
Of course, I am not your friend and I don't know you. However, what I did was trying to give you a diplomatic solution for the offenses you insist not to see.
You really insist on the high standards, but I believe you are just picking on me for some argument I used and you did not like. I do not know why, but I feel it between the lines. Formally, you present a good reasoning - I am really enjoying arguing with you - but in the end you always come out with a jewel, which only takes things more personally.
Just forget that, right?

Yes, actually. Yes, I can. So, perhaps if splitting up the hydrogen and oxygen is not so impossible, certainly separating the idea from the piece of paper that happens to be its carrier isn't impossible either. It's somewhat like the body and the soul, if you believe in one. They are very close, but they are not interchangeable.

Clearly separating oxygen from hydrogen is possible. However, when they are together, they are water - there is no way to deny that. Same happens to books - paper and ideas are there, you cannot split them. Just another analogy. Or would you throw the strawman fallacy against me again? If so, I would accuse of ignoring reality and falling into sophisms.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2010, 04:02:40 PM by TheLegionary »

Offline TheLegionary

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Re: On Personal Property (from: Florida pastor wants to burn Quran)
« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2010, 03:53:06 PM »
An excellent point. You know the weather is just getting right for a nice autumn barbecue... Although it would probably be even more intelligent and efficient to use those corpses for science. Much less chance of  Creutzfeldt–Jakob that way.
The way we treat our dead is interesting, and culturally and emotionally significant. That does not give it a moral standing. I think that what you, and many others are doing, is having difficulty separating morality from sentimentality. So, do I have preferences, cultural traditions, and emotions driving me to treat the dead with respect (and do some cultures have the same factors driving them to cannibalize their dead, and in fact treat that as a form of respect)? Yes. But I don't kid myself that it is a moral act. Which (as Trieste illustrates) is why some cultural differences are acceptable and some are not. The underlying morality of the action has to be considered, not how squicky we find something.
Good idea for a barbecue! But we all forgot that organs can be used in other people who need them! LOL
Your point about sentimentality and morality is interesting!

There is a great deal of difference between a government seizing and destroying books, and a bunch of people going out and purchasing them. The problem with say, Nazi book burning was that they were wronging and depriving people, not paper.
Just one hystorical information: burning books in Germany began before Nazis took over the federal government and was systematically practiced by "civil society". The act is intolerant by itself and teh nazis were depriving people from information.

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Re: On Personal Property (from: Florida pastor wants to burn Quran)
« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2010, 04:21:12 PM »
omg LOL lighten up and stop picking on meeeee

You're absolutely right. Consider me enlightened. :)

Offline Noelle

Re: On Personal Property (from: Florida pastor wants to burn Quran)
« Reply #18 on: September 10, 2010, 04:58:20 PM »
I really liked your argument. You could have started your sentence here.
As regards the first fallacy, I have already said: you look for an academic discussion where you should not. Reread the preceding posts in the other thread. But you want an explanation, an interpretation of the post, and I think I owe you one.

The question of fallacies has little to do with academic discussion. Logic is inherent in everything, especially when you choose to debate topics the way we are, so a fallacy is a fallacy. It means there is something inherently wrong with the argument you're making, regardless of setting. We could be discussing the age-old question of Coke or Pepsi in an informal setting and the fallacies you make are still detrimental to the point you're trying to make.

Quote
Using an analogy to prove something is as old and universal as Aristotle, Romans did it much better than Aristotle. Let me get back to analogies. Analogies are used to find people guilty and not guilty among other things. Saying I used the strawman argument is only a valid criticism if there is something wrong with the comparison.

You might find the Wikipedia definition of "Straw Man" easier to understand.

"A straw man argument is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position.[1]  To "attack a straw man" is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by substituting a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the "straw man"), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position"

Equating books to mere paper and equating humans to being mere meat is, at a superficial level, similar, but they are nowhere near being equivalent or reasonable in comparison.

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Reasoning

The straw man fallacy occurs in the following pattern of argument:

   1. Person A has position X.
   2. Person B disregards certain key points of X and instead presents the superficially-similar position Y. Thus, Y is a resulting distorted version of X and can be set up in several ways, including:
         1. Presenting a misrepresentation of the opponent's position and then refuting it, thus giving the appearance that the opponent's actual position has been refuted.[1]
         2. Quoting an opponent's words out of context – i.e. choosing quotations that misrepresent the opponent's actual intentions (see contextomy and quote mining).[2]
         3. Presenting someone who defends a position poorly as the defender, then refuting that person's arguments – thus giving the appearance that every upholder of that position (and thus the position itself) has been defeated.[1]
         4. Inventing a fictitious persona with actions or beliefs which are then criticized, implying that the person represents a group of whom the speaker is critical.
         5. Oversimplifying an opponent's argument, then attacking this oversimplified version.
   3. Person B attacks position Y, concluding that X is false/incorrect/flawed.

This sort of "reasoning" is fallacious, because attacking a distorted version of a position fails to constitute an attack on the actual position.

I hope that makes it a little clearer.

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Now, we are entering the rhetoric and eloquence again. In the end, there is no right decision or conclusion. One analogy may be valid for some, not valid for others, may be valid for me now, no longer valid tomorrow - have a look at how courts decide and you will be shocked to see how chaotic the decision-making is. And they are putting a great effort in trying to make things logic (I am not talking about the US juries, but as the US Supreme Court and European courts work), applying syllogisms to facts and making decisions. There is no right answer, there is just a decision, random or not, economically influenced or not, but the appearance is always logical.

This is another basic quality of logic. You can have a valid argument that is deductive, but the premises don't necessarily have to be true. An argument is sound only if it is valid, non-circular, and contains all true premises.

Example of valid argument that is not sound:
P1: Some brown things are bears.
P2: My t-shirt is brown.
C: My t-shirt is a bear.

A sound, valid argument:
P1: Some women have no hands.
P2: All women are homo sapiens.
C: Some homo sapiens have no hands.

Quote
One paradox which has just come to my head when it comes to cultural relativism and adds more strength to what you said: burning an American flag is a crime in some parts of the US and a national sport in the Arabian countries.

I actually don't think it's illegal anywhere in the US, though some have tried to ban it before. I get your point, though :P

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It does not free a book from being a property, but it creates a right over the property for someone else. It is like a mortgage in relation to the real state (another analogy, do not accuse me of being strawman again).
Just wondering...don't you think it is possible for the author to claim moral damages if someone burns a book on the grounds that his honour was tainted? Doesn't this blur your clear-cut distinction? I think so. I am not familiar with US precedents, but the European Court of Justice has already decided such a claim is possible when eurocommunists burnt bibles.

The physical book does not belong to the author. His ideas that have been printed on those pages are the only things being protected -- the physical item, like any other item, now belongs to the person who's purchased it. If we were going to idea-police people, you couldn't burn or throw away anything, because literally everything is someone's creation. Intellectual property is everywhere. It's pointless. Burning a book is not physically taking away your ideas or intellectual property -- by all means, you still have the rights to print your intellectual property on a thousand more books, if you'd like, the burner isn't claiming your idea as his own or trying to gain ownership of it, they are merely doing as they'd like with what they own. Again, it's all symbolism -- there's no difference between lighting up a Qur'an and tossing a pile of smut novels on the fire except the intent and symbolism you give it. What if I burn them because I'm bored? Because I have no room for them? Because I'm cold? Doesn't that change your perception?

Quote
Clearly separating oxygen from hydrogen is possible. However, when they are together, they are water - there is no way to deny that. Same happens to books - paper and ideas are there, you cannot split them. Just another analogy. Or would you throw the strawman fallacy against me again? If so, I would accuse of ignoring reality and falling into sophisms.

Except it is strawmanning because it's not even a correct comparison.
Ignoring reality is pretending that all books have the inherent property of the deeper meaning you're giving them. Your premises aren't sound. There is no magical, mystical property of books that makes them special. None. Zip. Zilch. Nada. There is no scientific proof that books are anything more than pieces of paper with words on them bound together in some fashion. The property of being special or sacred is not a tangible, measurable quality. It is imaginary. It is a property imbued by the individual, and thus is not constant throughout. You can imbue whatever meaning you want into it, it's entirely subjective, and you can bend it to have whatever meaning (or none at all) that you wish.

There is scientific proof that two atoms of hydrogen and one oxygen make water because both hydrogen and oxygen are tangible, measurable things with inherent, relatively unchanging propreties. Hydrogen is hydrogen even if you try to pretend it's boron or neon or bismuth. Oxygen is oxygen even if you try to pretend it's made of rainbows and kittens and sunshine. Water is H2O, two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen even if you think it's magic ambrosia that will give you immortality. Its qualities are unchanging and objective, pretty solid stuff.

Offline Jude

Re: On Personal Property (from: Florida pastor wants to burn Quran)
« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2010, 05:59:00 PM »
It makes me wonder why most of cultures are not cannibal...after all, what is the point in treating decently some lifeless meat? It is just personal property that belongs to the heirs of the dead person - from a Chicago boys point of view, it would be far more intelligent to recycle the meat, using the skin, the bones etc. Why not using it in a grill?
Respect for the dead does seem to be an emotional concept without worth when you consider the disposal of bodies, but emotional concepts without worth at one time had rationality to them.  Consuming the corpses of our fellow man would be a great way to spread disease at minimal gain to us (considering we're not exactly starving).  Interestingly, the danger of spreading disease increases as the problem of famine increases, so it isn't even justifiable in a third world sense.  The taboo has a very real backing and purpose; there's a reason that all creatures have evolved to be averse to the idea of cannibalism.
The point is that books are more than a mere personal property. They are not only paper, but they carry ideas, or even simply bullshit. It does not matter. I do not want to be poetic, but within a book there is much more than paper, there is a living soul, freedom of thought, freedom of speech etc. Burning a book is not just like burning property.
Fallacy of reification.
Moreover, burning books is normally associated with the worst moments of the 20th century. What is wrong to be emotional in this case?
Hitler breathed too; better start holding your breath!
Sorry if I were rude, but I utterly disagree with the comment. It sounds like an attenuating circumstance for something which will open a Pandora's box and harm your country's interests (not mine's). Someone (I cant remember who) once said that in a democracy, one has to tolerant except when you find someone intolerant - this is exactly what the police should do in the US: there are so many stupid crimes in the US and I cannot believe the pastor cannot be arrested for risking the lives of US citizens (not only soldiers) abroad...What he plans to do has nothing to do with any kind of justifiable freedom.
You know what else would risk the lives of US Citizens abroad?  Someone writing an insightful book debunking, criticizing, and tearing apart the Quran objectively for factual missteps and errors (i.e. a completely logically sound treatise).  If you're willing to accept that as a basis for restricting freedom of speech, you're opening a can of worms which can be used to stop even legitimate things.

The same can be said of burning books in general.  Sure, I agree it would be disrespectful towards the ideas contained therein if Christians held a book-burning session of Bertrand Russel's collected works, I may even think poorly of them for it, but to ban that means banning all book burnings, and I need only consider a single instance where that would be counterproductive.  What if a terrorist wrote a book that incites violence, unrest, and demeans the west in the most hateful, disgusting, misleading way possible -- would you be against burning that?  Imagine the most vicious, disgusting book you possibly can:  can you honestly say that burning it would be wrong?

Before you consider an entire class of actions wrong you have to consider the minutia and then realize that the difference between the example you agree with and the one you disagree with is personal judgment.  Personal judgment cannot be applied without bias, not without forcing an entire section of people to accept your pretenses, and thus tyranny of thought.

Offline TheLegionary

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Re: On Personal Property (from: Florida pastor wants to burn Quran)
« Reply #20 on: September 10, 2010, 07:02:41 PM »
You're absolutely right. Consider me enlightened. :)

What about editting what the other wrote just to make a joke? Is it correct from the point of view of the freedom of speech?  *LOL*

I will have a great pleasure to reply to Jude and Noelle later!
« Last Edit: September 10, 2010, 07:05:34 PM by TheLegionary »

Offline Oniya

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Re: On Personal Property (from: Florida pastor wants to burn Quran)
« Reply #21 on: September 10, 2010, 08:33:07 PM »
Respect for the dead does seem to be an emotional concept without worth when you consider the disposal of bodies, but emotional concepts without worth at one time had rationality to them.  Consuming the corpses of our fellow man would be a great way to spread disease at minimal gain to us (considering we're not exactly starving).  Interestingly, the danger of spreading disease increases as the problem of famine increases, so it isn't even justifiable in a third world sense.  The taboo has a very real backing and purpose; there's a reason that all creatures have evolved to be averse to the idea of cannibalism.

Actually, male lions will kill and eat cubs of another male in order to prompt the females to go into heat, thereby spreading their own genes.  Rodents in particular will eat their young in times of stress.  Some sharks will devour their siblings in utero.  It's really rather fascinating.  (source)

Offline Noelle

Re: On Personal Property (from: Florida pastor wants to burn Quran)
« Reply #22 on: September 10, 2010, 09:12:40 PM »
Your information is correct, but we're talking about humans in context to the situation. Cannibalizing each other is not necessary to the survival of our species.

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Re: On Personal Property (from: Florida pastor wants to burn Quran)
« Reply #23 on: September 10, 2010, 09:39:41 PM »
I saw the word 'creatures', which implies more than just humans.  Humans have, indeed, developed a common morality against cannibalism (although it took a prion-based disease to completely wipe it out as a funerary ritual), but to say that 'all creatures have evolved to be averse to the idea' is demonstrably false.

Offline Noelle

Re: On Personal Property (from: Florida pastor wants to burn Quran)
« Reply #24 on: September 10, 2010, 09:47:45 PM »
Ahh, yes, misread that bit. Got it.