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To defame religion is a human right - Comments

Communist's Avatar Comment 1 by Communist

I think it is a human right to defame Marxism. Am I not generous? I expect the same generosity from religious people.

Wed, 15 Apr 2009 08:58:00 UTC | #348203

Ascaphus's Avatar Comment 2 by Ascaphus

...the concept of "defamation of religion" as not valid in a human rights context, because human rights belong[ed] to individuals, not to institutions or religions...

...the fact that some forms of speech cause offense is not sufficient reason to censor them...


Those two thoughts should be pretty persuasive. All that is required is to show any person, who might be a member of any organization, that when the human rights under attack are theirs and the organization being offended is not, they will immediately agree with both the German declaration and Singer's statement.

Matt

Wed, 15 Apr 2009 09:03:00 UTC | #348207

stevenLagnew's Avatar Comment 3 by stevenLagnew

The 56-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference needed that resolution to be passed. Because everyone knows that; as soon as you start critizing religion, people tend to see the gaping holes in their faith.

Wed, 15 Apr 2009 09:05:00 UTC | #348209

itopal63's Avatar Comment 4 by itopal63

IMO, feel free to defame any idea: atheism, existentialism, whatever... I see nothing wrong with it; as a form of criticism. Give it your best shot! See if you can make some damn sense though.

I don't see any reason why these death-cults should be treated with kid-gloves. They're all cults that center around "death" and the "after-world" that follows. The fellowship numbers don't make them any more meaningful, true or less worthy of criticism.

PS: 'Defame' in this case though often amounts to mere criticism from members not involved in the cult.

Wed, 15 Apr 2009 09:10:00 UTC | #348214

Dr. Strangegod's Avatar Comment 5 by Dr. Strangegod

Again, say what you will, just be ready to deal with the consequences of what you say. No law or government bestows upon us the right of free speech. That right is innate. If you don't like what I have to say, feel free to try to stop me. I welcome the challenge.

Wed, 15 Apr 2009 09:21:00 UTC | #348231

brainsys's Avatar Comment 6 by brainsys

The pedantic question is what do we mean by 'defamation'.

In some but not all jurisdictions a complete defence against defamation, slander or libel is that the offending statement is substantially true. So using this defence anything you say about Islam or Dave Cameron is OK unless its untrue. Tell phibs and you are in trouble. What's new or wrong there?

The worrying consideration is where truth is not a complete defence. That's the real issue and not limited to stuff about religion. Arguing in a secular court about the real truth of religious ideas might not be a bad idea ;-)

Wed, 15 Apr 2009 09:35:00 UTC | #348245

vescam's Avatar Comment 7 by vescam

The point he makes about the Peta ad is very interesting to me.
I have been vegetarian for years and I am always surprised when people ask me why.
I think a more reasonable question would be "Why are you not a vegetarian?"
I don't own a pet or like animals. But I feel it's not my right to have animals slaughtered for my eating pleasure. (note I am not talking about medicine research or any life-threatening kind of scenario).

Even across the atheist community, I think there is still a feeling that humans are the superior race somehow, may be remanent from the biblical vision that the world and its animals were somehow created for us. And as such we have a right to kill them (humanely preferably, so not to hurt our sensibility too much). That strikes me as odd.

Wed, 15 Apr 2009 09:53:00 UTC | #348263

aflacgirl84's Avatar Comment 8 by aflacgirl84

I thoroughly agree with the author on what he says about the resolution put forth by the OIC. And, as Lucas said, say what you will just be prepared for the consequences.
On another note, can anyone point me in the right direction for finding out about Germany's laws on free speech?

Wed, 15 Apr 2009 10:16:00 UTC | #348284

EvidenceOnly's Avatar Comment 9 by EvidenceOnly

To defame all forms of superstition is a human right and a necessity.

Faith is the name people give to their own superstition while superstition is what they call the (different) faith of others. It's all superstition not based on any verifiable and testable evidence.

We have to defame all forms of religion, all forms of creationism, international bastions of pedophilia run by cross-dressing men, the nonsense that vaccines cause autism, even it less violent forms of alchemy, astrology, mercury retrograde, ...

We have to educate people from a young age in what we know about the universe, how life evolved in the universe and how to look at cause and effects through the meaning of statistics.

All superstitions claim truths like this: a farmer ponders why the sun comes up every morning and one day he realizes that the sun rises every morning after his rooster wakes up the farm => this his rooster makes the sun come up.

Anything can be explained by limiting the gathering of data to a small set. My child got vaccinated and then became autistic. That's all the proof I need. My friend lost her suitcase when traveling on a mercury retrograde day. That's all the proof I need. I prayed for someone who is sick and he got better. That's all the proof I need that my god exists. ...

Isn't it funny that we want the FDA to require double blind studies before approving drugs, that we want the government to require car crash tests before allowing car companies selling this car?

We need to fight all forms of superstition and no laws should stifle our freedom to ridicule superstition at infinitum.

Wed, 15 Apr 2009 10:28:00 UTC | #348289

digibud's Avatar Comment 10 by digibud

I'd like to see an insulting depiction of mohamed on every web page created throughout the free world. That would prevent fundy islamists from accessing the net entirely! (said tongue in cheek because I realize they can lie, cheat and act like non-believers as long as they do it in the name of mohamed).
Have any democratic nations endorsed this stupid-ass U.N. resolution?

Wed, 15 Apr 2009 10:28:00 UTC | #348290

icanus's Avatar Comment 11 by icanus

So I assume all the countries signing up to this will be promptly banning such defamatory books as the Bible and the Koran? they say some pretty nasty stuff about polytheistic religions, which is obviously an affront to the human dignity of all the polytheists.

Wed, 15 Apr 2009 10:35:00 UTC | #348299

fan_of_dawkins's Avatar Comment 12 by fan_of_dawkins

vescam,

I agree with you. The idea of humans somehow being superior baffles me, especially among people who are educated in science.

Wed, 15 Apr 2009 10:41:00 UTC | #348302

fan_of_dawkins's Avatar Comment 13 by fan_of_dawkins

I wonder why there aren't many comments about Germany's highest court ruling against PETA's freedom of expression...

Wed, 15 Apr 2009 10:45:00 UTC | #348305

God fearing Atheist's Avatar Comment 14 by God fearing Atheist

#364725 by EvidenceOnly
Isn't it funny that we want the FDA to require double blind studies before approving drugs,


May I add:

"with sufficient participants to give statistically valid results."

Wed, 15 Apr 2009 10:47:00 UTC | #348307

Dune010's Avatar Comment 15 by Dune010

Vescam,

I have been vegetarian for years and I am always surprised when people ask me why.
I think a more reasonable question would be "Why are you not a vegetarian?"
I don't own a pet or like animals. But I feel it's not my right to have animals slaughtered for my eating pleasure. (note I am not talking about medicine research or any life-threatening kind of scenario).


I believe the burden is upon you to tell meat-eaters why it is wrong to kill animals.

Even across the atheist community, I think there is still a feeling that humans are the superior race somehow, may be remanent from the biblical vision that the world and its animals were somehow created for us. And as such we have a right to kill them (humanely preferably, so not to hurt our sensibility too much).


Interestingly, I suspect that in fact you are displaying a remnant from religious morality when you imply that killing is inherently wrong. I do not see this as a question of superiority. While there is a social need for humans to respect the lives of other humans (for the most part), this society need not extend to animals which do not pose a threat to the individual or to society and with which we cannot bargain.

Wed, 15 Apr 2009 10:55:00 UTC | #348313

jamiso's Avatar Comment 16 by jamiso

@icanus

Dont worry, I have a team of lawyers on stand by, representing Baal......we are going to sue the pants off Abraham desert god!

Wed, 15 Apr 2009 10:56:00 UTC | #348314

Ascaphus's Avatar Comment 17 by Ascaphus

7. Comment #364699 by vescam

...I am always surprised when people ask me why.
I think a more reasonable question would be "Why are you not a vegetarian?"...

And why would one question be more reasonable than the other? This suggests that you think there is only one 'reasonable' answer, which is of course wrong.

...humans are the superior race somehow, may be remanent from the biblical vision that the world and its animals were somehow created for us. And as such we have a right to kill them (humanely preferably, so not to hurt our sensibility too much). That strikes me as odd...


Maybe it seems odd because it's not true. I don't want to pirate the discussion into a comparison of bumper-sticker reasoning for vegetarianism vs omnivorism, but I will say that considering it a open and shut case with only your own opinion left standing is interesting in the context of a free-thought forum. Perhaps you can start a topic on one of the fora and we'll see where it goes.

Matt

Wed, 15 Apr 2009 11:05:00 UTC | #348321

Ascaphus's Avatar Comment 18 by Ascaphus

13. Comment #364741 by fan_of_dawkins I wonder why there aren't many comments about Germany's highest court ruling against PETA's freedom of expression...


I agree. It seems like the German prohibition is just a parochial version of the UN resolution, and is equally repressive of freedom of expression. So, Pete deserves the right to publish this message, even though it's not a good one. I'm not arguing that he has no grounds to argue for animal rights, it's just that proving Godwin's law by invoking the "anybody who opposes me is a Nazi" syndrome is not only not going to win any converts, it immediately stops all constructive discussion. It's a bumper-sticker sensationalist inflammatory approach. Whether it defames anybody is almost beside the point - why would anybody use that argument in the first place?

Matt

Wed, 15 Apr 2009 11:16:00 UTC | #348332

Stewart's Avatar Comment 19 by Stewart

It does seem an affront to logic to be able to compare Nazi treatment of Jews to the way non-Nazis treat cattle but to be forbidden to point the comparison in the other direction. While there may be much that is not really comparable about the two cases, it is precisely the assembly-line slaughter that both have in common.

Just in case anyone thinks that needs a disclaimer, I'm a Holocaust-victim descendant who has been a vegetarian for nearly 40 years.

Wed, 15 Apr 2009 11:21:00 UTC | #348334

bamafreethinker's Avatar Comment 20 by bamafreethinker

As for the article... This resolution is in total opposition to the progress that humankind has made against tyranny over the past five centuries. This would be a gigantic step backwards in the direction of the dark ages.

Side-topic... There does seem to be some innate sense of “value of life” as the intelligence (and/or cuteness) of the animal increases. Even fundies are more likely to wince at the sight of cruelty to a chimp, a dolphin, a baby seal, or a dog. On the other hand, would an animal right’s activists think twice before swatting a fly or smushing a wasp? Is there some IQ or nervous system complexity threshold? Someone help me out here.

I personally love the taste of poultry. I’m not keen on killing a chicken to get it, but it doesn’t bother me that bad. I am opposed to cruel treatment of said chicken – but how do we define cruel? I DO NOT get my acceptance of meat-eating from any religious programming (I don’t think). I do think that I get my fondness of meat from my evolutionary ancestors. If I’m morally less-than for these opinions – what can I say... sorry?

Wed, 15 Apr 2009 11:26:00 UTC | #348337

Madmaili's Avatar Comment 21 by Madmaili

This resoultion is a bad idea no doubt. At the face of it the case of PETA peter singer does appear to be right , not he doesn't defend the caompasion itself , merely says that they have a right to make . Grudgingly I think he's correct again ,
I just wonder if I were sued in a german court comparing the modren day status of vegtables in society to the holocaust, if singer would use my case as an example?

Wed, 15 Apr 2009 11:36:00 UTC | #348342

fsm1965's Avatar Comment 22 by fsm1965

Just to throw in my 2 cents:

I am a veggie for over 20-years, I could not reconcile why some animals are "food", and some are "friend" based upon some abitrary choices made before I was born.

Wed, 15 Apr 2009 11:38:00 UTC | #348343

Madmaili's Avatar Comment 23 by Madmaili

A lot of our domestic pets (Or animal companions as some idiotically call them) served functions , cats were caught mice and hence by defualt reduced the rates of human illness than in households that didn't have cats (Case in point the black death) dogs were shepherds , guards , used even to relay messages. Falcons , hawks and eagles for hunting, Horses were for riding , exct ......
I think a long time ago people knew why they kept pets and why there was difference and since then we've lost the need for pets but kept the pets I can see how you find this confusing.

Wed, 15 Apr 2009 12:01:00 UTC | #348352

fsm1965's Avatar Comment 24 by fsm1965

think a long time ago people knew why they kept pets and why there was difference and since then we've lost the need for pets but kept the pets I can see how you find this confusing.



Reply, I am NOT confused. I was just pointing out that some species are treated royally, and some cruelly.

Within the same species, some cultures revere them, whilst others eat them (e.g horses not eaten in the UK, but are in France; Dogs not eaten in the west, but in the east; Hindus revere cows, whilst in the west they are eaten).

Even within the UK, some people keep "food" animals as pets!

Wed, 15 Apr 2009 12:12:00 UTC | #348360

ColdFusionLazarus's Avatar Comment 25 by ColdFusionLazarus

I've only recently heard of Peter Singer. He's posing quite a few challenging questions, including the ethical neccessity for people like me to give generously to charity. I'm still not sure I agree fully with him (for example I could cast away all my reserves today and then find myself and my family heading towards poverty in a few years of this recession - a bit of selfishness may be wise?)

He poses a similar challenge with vegetarianism. I'm not a vegetarian. It is perverse for humans to think themselves particularly special out of all species, but as a species we've competed for a hell of a long time and done well out of eating the meat of other animals. I am emotionally tied more to my kith and kin and for the sake of community I owe more to my closer fellow humans than to other animals. However, industrial farming is making less sense in the way it wastes available resources. If we could easily digest, it would make more sense to eat some crude oil for our calories than to get our calories from the crops we grow. Because we don't get more calories (compared to the calories invested) from the crops we grow. The waste of resources is even more stark in meat production. As an example, see:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/ethicalman/2009/03/ethical_dilemmas_is_walking_more_polluting_than_dr.html

Therefore, there are good reasons to consider vegetarianism, other than a compulsion to show that all other animals are just as important as any of the people we spoke to today.

Wed, 15 Apr 2009 12:22:00 UTC | #348362

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 26 by rod-the-farmer

vescam says, and is supported by fan_of_dawkins


Even across the atheist community, I think there is still a feeling that humans are the superior race somehow, may be remanent from the biblical vision that the world and its animals were somehow created for us. And as such we have a right to kill them (humanely preferably, so not to hurt our sensibility too much). That strikes me as odd.

I don't agree with this at all. Use of the term "race" begs the question - which races are you thinking of ? As for other apes, like gorillas, the only superiority I might feel is my intelligence. They are, every one of them, my cousins, and I detest the people who kill them.

Wed, 15 Apr 2009 12:28:00 UTC | #348366

NewEnglandBob's Avatar Comment 27 by NewEnglandBob

Definition of Defame: to attack or injure the reputation or honor of by false and malicious statements; malign, slander, or libel

Legal definition of Defame: Any intentional false communication, either written or spoken, that harms a person's reputation; decreases the respect, regard, or confidence in which a person is held; or induces disparaging, hostile, or disagreeable opinions or feelings against a person.

One can only defame a person, not an idea. Religion, like all cultural constructs, is an idea.

All ideas are candidates for discussion.

Wed, 15 Apr 2009 12:33:00 UTC | #348370

cyris8400's Avatar Comment 28 by cyris8400

To add to the veg discussion, I'm currently trying to become a vegetarian myself, primarily because I read Singer's arguments about it in his book "Practical Ethics". I have been reading into vegetarian nutrition and some animal rights.

I had a discussion with a friend of mine, who's also an atheist (but unlike me, he does not believe in objective morality). He proposed the reciprocity argument for omnivorism, which boils down to "we do not have moral obligations to animals because they cannot reason and/or keep a social contract with us."

I found this argument very weak. Reciprocity is a probable explanation of the evolution of morality, but that does not justify reasoning on reciprocity alone. The social contract seems like it has the same problem as religion we you use it as a basis of normative ethics: it becomes either ridiculous or superfluous.

When we pass strangers on the street we not expect them to attack us, even though there is no written agreement between us. And we help strangers even if we know we will never see them again and won't be repaid.

Additionally, insofar as it matters, animals can reciprocate. Even though some would attack out of nervousness or hunger, others ignore us as much as strangers on the street, and our pets love us and generally avoid doing things they know we do not like or cause us pain.

The concept that unnecessary suffering is bad is a simple argument for vegetarianism, because it is not necessary (except for rare cases, perhaps) to kill animals to get adequate nutrition or calories.

The all-or-nothing argument for omnivorism also does not stand up to scrutiny. It essentially asks where the line can be drawn, suggesting that either it is immoral to kill any animal or it is okay to kill any animal. The latter option is favored because it is easiest. That argument uses the same logical fallacies as pro-lifers who say that killing an embryo is morally equivalent to killing a baby. As a simple starting point: if you think it would be immoral for someone to shoot your dog or smash your hamster or put your cat in a microwave (and not simply because you own them and they amuse you but because you care for their well-being as individuals) then it follows that creatures at least as sentient and sensitive as dogs and hamsters should not be killed unless it is shown to be necessary for human survival (like killing a wild animal which poses an immediate threat or animal experimentation to develop vaccines against epidemics).

Wed, 15 Apr 2009 13:26:00 UTC | #348387

Dune010's Avatar Comment 29 by Dune010

cyris8400

I had a discussion with a friend of mine, who's also an atheist (but unlike me, he does not believe in objective morality). He proposed the reciprocity argument for omnivorism, which boils down to "we do not have moral obligations to animals because they cannot reason and/or keep a social contract with us."

I found this argument very weak. Reciprocity is a probable explanation of the evolution of morality, but that does not justify reasoning on reciprocity alone. The social contract seems like it has the same problem as religion we you use it as a basis of normative ethics: it becomes either ridiculous or superfluous.

When we pass strangers on the street we not expect them to attack us, even though there is no written agreement between us. And we help strangers even if we know we will never see them again and won't be repaid.


I have to agree with your friend. The complexity of society moves the issue beyond simple reciprocation. On the whole, there is no need to bring animals within the protection of society. Limiting animal suffering is a good thing largely because it is offensive to many people.

Why do you believe in objective morality? What is the source of objective morality?

Wed, 15 Apr 2009 13:45:00 UTC | #348396

cyris8400's Avatar Comment 30 by cyris8400

Dune010:

There is no need to bring all animals into the protection of society, but we should protect those we have adopted as pets, or use as food.

We should we limit animal suffering only if it offends people? If you throw a puppy off a cliff and no else knows about it, is it of no moral significance? Does a person love her dog because the dog costs a lot of money and amuses her or because a dog deserves to be happy and free of cruelty?

Enlightened self-interest is a source of objective morality.

Wed, 15 Apr 2009 14:20:00 UTC | #348425