jeudi 2 décembre 2010

Les vérités éternelles de Dieu





Il y a 2 ans et demi mourrait Mildred Delores Loving. Je n'en avais jamais entendu parler mais il apparaît que c'est une figure de l'émancipation féminine et raciale comme l'avait été Rosa Parks 3 ans auparavant aux US.



Nous étions alors en 1958 et la législation de nombre d'États américains (38 semble t-il) interdisait les mariages inter raciaux...

Lors du procès (car procès il y eut! Et condamnation à la clef) le juge Leon Bazile (of French descent) déclara au nom des vérités éternelles de Dieu révélées par les écritures: 

"Dieu Tout-puissant créa les races blanches, noires, jaunes, malaises et rouges, et les plaça sur des continents séparés. Et, sauf l'interférence avec ses dispositions il n'y aurait aucune cause pour de tels mariages. Le fait qu'il sépara les races montre qu'il n'avait pas pour intention qu'elles se mélangent."

Il fallut 9 ans pour que la Cour Suprême des US invalidât le jugement de 1958, le 12 juin 1967!!! Il n'y a pas d'erreurs de frappe. Il s'agit bien de 1967 et non 1867! So much for truths that are always valid...

De même que les Noirs, les Indiens de l'Amérique du sud comme les Indiens du nord ont connu les traitements que leur ont infligés les Espagnols et les Anglo au nom des vérités éternelles de Dieu à nous révélées par les Saintes Écritures. 

(that one always cracks me up)

50 commentaires:

Flocon a dit…

Un croyant dira qu'il n'est pas toujours facile d'appliquer les règles prescrites par sa religion mais qu'il y a néanmoins des vérités éternelles qui servent de guides.

S'il y avait des vérités éternelles elles ne sauraient être dépendantes de telle ou telle interprétation.

La somme des angles d'un triangle fait toujours 180°, ce n'est ps susceptible d'interprétation: c'est une "vérité" si l'on peut dire.

Une vérité est au-delà de toute interprétation ou alors ce n'est pas une vérité mais seulement une pétition de principe qui, effectivement est susceptible d'interprétations à l'infini.

Mais des vérités toujours valides ça n'existe pas, hormis les lois de la nature.

Ned Ludd a dit…

This topic is easy. Xians and other believers are always cherry-pickers, choosing the parts they can accept.

There are many youtubes of Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens tearing them apart. It's so easy.

The latest is Hitchens taking apart Catholic nut Tony Blair.

http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2010/11/christopher-hitchens-tony-blair

Flocon a dit…

Le récent échange sur Why I didn't shed a tear est un parfait exemple où l'un des deux participants (the believer one) passe d'un thème à l'autre en cours de route (ethics become truths) puis finalement prend la tangente quand il voit bien qu'il est confronté à un discours et une logique contre lesquelles il ne peut rien.

En plus c'est lui qui décide unilatéralement d'en terminer avec cette discussion.

Moi qui ai ma part de Vieille France (being a bit of a conservative re certain points) je ne trouve pas cette façon de faire particulièrement honnête d'un point de vue intellectuel et courtoise d'un point de vue relationnel.

Enfin terminer en récitant son catéchisme comme un gamin de 11 ans...

Comme tu dis, c'est trop facile.

I knew Anijo would be cross at me because of this post... :-(

Anonyme a dit…

( mélomane)
Qu'on ne me parle plus de religions ! Je sature ! J'en ai même une allergie ! Oui, le XXIe siècle est bien celui des obscurantisme !

Anonyme a dit…

j'ajoute un S à "obscurantismes" je suis désolé ! Mais au fond le problème est aussi là, ce n'est pas d'obscurantismeS dont il s'agit, mais bien de l'Obscurantisme au singulier. Celui qui fait mal, celui qui renie mon existence et ma pensée ; et voudrait prétendre illuminer ce que nous avons trop de mal à forger.

Flocon a dit…

anonyme mélomane,

Nous sommes bien sur la même longueur d'onde concernant la religion vs. la raison.

Ce qui m'intéresse ce n'est pas de "confondre" le croyant mais d'observer comment il se contorsionne pour protéger et maintenir à flot ses absurdités. C'est toujours un régal (pathétique cependant) pour l'esprit.

Obscurantisme dont l'ultime finalité n'est autre que de lui assurer des réponses toutes faites à nos questionnements multi millénaires.

On ne doute plus, la raison est tenue à distance grâce à son comprimé de laudanum quotidien du berceau à la tombe.

Oui, on peut parler de l'obscurantisme au singulier comme on parlerait de l'Empire du mal.

"ce que nous avons trop de mal à forger."

J'ai une idée de billet sur ce thème.

2 commentaires sur un seul et même billet. Mazette! Il faut que je remplace le trio de Schubert ♪ ♫ ♪

ZapPow a dit…

Je me demande quelle aurait été la réaction de ce juge si un "Native" était venu lui dire : puisque Dieu a placé les différentes races sur différents continents dans le but qu'elles ne se mélangent pas, pourquoi vos ancêtres ne sont-ils pas restés sur le continent qui leur avait été attribué ?

Anijo a dit…

knew Anijo would be cross at me because of this post... :-(


Non, Flocon, non

I restrained from commenting for two reasons:

1. I have been commenting too much lately and I wanted to leave room for others to comment.


2. I like SemperFi. I wanted to wait for him to comment.

You know that I am an atheist of sorts and that i would agree with your overall analysis.

I agree that those of African descent and Native Americans have a poor history in the United States.

I also know that women having voting rights hsd a poor history in both France and the United States. It is also true that the history of France reveals that voting rights for women occured substantially later than did voting rights for women in the U.S. The most shameful in this regard is Switzerland

These are facts.

No need to be cross because someone states facts.

Anijo a dit…

I will also add that it takes some courage to come to a forum such as this for Semperfi. He is the only conservative American and Christian exchanging ideas here. He comes from a very different mind set. He comes here and is polite. He states his values and ideas clearly as we all do. I respect and appreciate him. I also realize that this post came from the latest exchange on the "why i didn't shed a tear" thread.

I respectfully await what SemperFidelis has to say. S

Anonyme a dit…

Flocon: On Temporary Duty in Washington DC. Was unaware of blog rule that falure to respond w/in 24 hrs = terminating discussion. Appologize for inability to formulate defense of theism between Metro stops. Will try to do better in future.

Yours,
SemperFidelis

Flocon a dit…

ZapPow,

Dans le même genre j'imagine la réaction (perplexité?) du juge à qui l'on aurait demandé pourquoi il y avait des noirs en Amérique où Dieu ne les avait pas placés.

Les attendus du jugement que l'on trouve sur Wiki anglais et français sont atterrants à tous points de vue anyway.

D'autant que nombre de juges sont encore imbibés de pareilles insanités aussi bien aux U.S qu'en France, dans tous les pays chrétiens et dans les pays musulmans.

D'une façon plus générale -et même en mettant la religion à part-, toute société est imprégnée de préjugés de toutes sortes, de codes et de valeurs irrationnelles.

C'est valable aussi bien pour les sociétés qu'a étudiées Levi-Strauss que pour nos sociétés "modernes".

Nous ne serons jamais à l'abri d'un retour massif aux fondements archaïques desquels l'humanité tente de s'extraire.

Je suis bien sûr qu'il y a des milliers de Léon Bazile dans tous les systèmes judiciaires du monde entier. C'est terrifiant!

Flocon a dit…

Anijo,

"I wanted to leave room for others to comment."

There's room for everyone to comment and you're not taking anybody's place. Everyone's comment is always a plus and permits this blog to live.

as pertains to women's voting rights in France (not exactly in the forefront on this issue) do you know that when De Gaulle definitively granted this right to women (1945 or so) the socialists of the time opposed the measure?

And that's because they feared that the Catholic Church which, like everywhere was very reactionnary and held a strong sway upon women, would influence them into voting for rightist politicians.

The analysis wasn't entrely wrong but in the end their opposition was highly of the conservative kind.

Contrary to what one could think I'm not in the least interested with religions as a topic for exchanges or even as an issue worth my time and attention.

You remember how SF opened a blog dedicated to fight theism or religions in general. I used to have a look every now and then on it but never participated 'cos this point has been moot for me since I was 14.

I don't think I ever wrote a post about religion on Shall We Talk since I'm not interested in the topic.

Indeed this post is kind of a sequel to Why I didn't shed a tear which had nothing to do whatsoever with religion.

Now, Semperfidelis wanted to open a debate on this post and I'm grateful to him for his willingness to exchange.

But what started as a discussion about morality and moral philosophy in the end ended up with a straight religious statement which effectively put an end to the exchange.

Let's read it again:

"As Christian, I believe that God has established truths that are always valid. Through His special revelation in Scripture, and reason, we can determine right conduct."

Change "Christian" with "Muslim" (or Jew) and the very same statement could be said by any Jihadist.

SemperFidelis was right in writting "This is where we certainly part company."

I'm not angry at all with SemperFidelis but comes a moment when there's no point keeping alive a discussion between a modern biologist who synthetized corticoïds and a Chinese alchemist living 5.000 years ago who used to throw tortles' shells in the fire in order to predict what will happen next year.

That's the origin of the Chinese ideograms: observing the cracks on the tortles' shells after it had been submitted to the heat of fire for some time. (Not sure of that one, I have to check).

Also SemperFidelis mentioned Skinner who I've never heard of before so he's brought some valuable piece of information to me and I thank him for that.

Flocon a dit…

Anijo, also Ned has left another comment for you here.

When merbel returns, she'll have to answer for her inconsiderate remark about "la petite mort" ☺

ZapPow a dit…

@ Flocon

C'est Brecht, je crois, qui disait "L'homme est bon mais le veau est meilleur".

Je suis sûr que le veau est meilleur, mais j'ai des doutes sur l'homme.

Au fait, voici une intéressante discussion entre Christopher Hitchens et Tony Blair, qui intéressera aussi bien les athées comme toi que les théistes comme SemperFi (que je salue au passage) :
"Be it resolved, religion is a force for good in the world"

Hi SemperFi ! I don't remember if you understand any french. The link above leads to the full transcript of a debate between Hitchens and Blair. You may find it interesting.
ZapPox, aka Zombie12 toes

ZapPow a dit…

ZapPox !!!

Ned Ludd a dit…

Flocon, I don't know which Skinner Semper Fi was referring to, but the one I know is B.F. Skinner. His rationalism has also influenced me and you can find a few youtubes, not enough really, on him.

For short reading there is "About Behaviorism" and "Beyond Freedom and Dignity"(which might be compared to Nietzsche's "Beyond good and evil".

His novel "Walden II" is also interesting.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B._F._Skinner

Flocon a dit…

ZapPow,

Je ne connaissais pas la citation de Brecht.

Schopenhauer qui n'était pas végétarien (encore que le premier philosophe défenseur des animaux) partagerait certainement ta relecture de Brecht ☺

Et ton clavier est azertyuiop sans doute possible!

Flocon a dit…

Ned,

Yes it's the Skinner you link to. I looked at Wiki as soon as SemperFidelis mentioned this name.

As you know I look at all the links that are given on the blog which means I have little time left to read anything else.

Ce qui est parfait puisque je m'instruis davantage avec les liens qu'en ne lisant qu'un livre à la fois.

And to think we're enjoying a 26F° these days when Anijo and ZapPow breeze gently with a 68F°.

Je ne sais pas si tu es à l'aise avec les Celsius?

Flocon a dit…

SemperFidelis,

"Was unaware of blog rule that falure to respond w/in 24 hrs = terminating discussion."

There isn't any such "rule". It's just that you wrote "This is where we certainly part company which I mistakenly understood as a desire you expressed to terminate the discussion.

My apologies for this impair then.

There are other posts where your intake would be much welcome (like was the case on the Ayn Rand one) such as the Democraty, the great illusion, Laozi and the witch or Fiction juridique (with Hobbes as guest star).

Now, I perfectly understand your time schedule is much, much, more overloaded than mine. So take your time, this blog is timeless... ☺

Anijo a dit…

Flocon,
It is indeed a beautiful warm sunny day here in New Mexico. ☺
You should see me in Paris in the winter. I am wearing big black ugg boots and a big down jacket. The Parisians have seen it all though, I guess, and they are polite enough not to laugh at me !

Hi ZapPow!
SemperFi does read and understand French quite well.

Anijo a dit…

Je ne sais pas si tu es à l'aise avec les Celsius?

Pas tout à fait, non, mais il faut apprendre quand même..

Flocon a dit…

Anijo,

En fait je me suis trompé en disant que je n'avais jamais écrit d'article sur la religion.

Il y a celui-ci il a presque 3 ans où j'écrivais la même chose qu'aujourd'hui "Contrary to what one could think I'm not in the least interested with religions as a topic for exchanges or even as an issue worth my time and attention."

3 years ago:

"En fait la dernière fois que je me suis posé des question d'ordre religieux c'était en 1966...

Ca ne m'intéresse pas du tout et je laisse ceux qui croient (à quoi que ce soit) croire ce qu'ils veulent croire.

Par contre, d'un point de vue logique, je m'intéresse à la rhétorique et aux constructions intellectuelles approximatives des croyants. Pour les démonter...

Other than that, Juifs, Chrétiens ou Musulmans, as long as they don't interfere with my life, I don't care a fig... ;-)"

ZapPow a dit…

@ Flocon

Que penses-tu du débat Hitchens/Blair ?

Flocon a dit…

ZapPow,

Je n'ai pas encore lu toute la retranscription du débat (c'est tout de même assez long) et il était minuit passé quand j'ai achevé la moitié de la première partie...

La question posée n'est pas originale, elle a le mérite de ne pas opposer frontalement les croyants et les athées en mettant de côté la question de l'existence ou pas du Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Passons sur la définition de ce qui est bon et de ce qui est mal, nous n'en sortirions pas, et convenons de la valeur contemporaine affectée à ces concepts.

J'ai cru comprendre que dans le débat il n'est pas fait de distinction entre les religions théistes et toutes les autres, c'est ennuyeux.

Il me semble que ce qui est "bon" est ce qui améliore la condition humaine face à la nature et plus généralement tout ce qui participe à l'épanouissement des virtualités humaines (collectives et individuelles).

La maîtrise du feu, l'invention de l'écriture, le développement de la raison en sont quelques exemples.

Du peu que j'ai encore lu du débat, il est question de la bienfaisance et de la compassion pour autrui.

J'ai écrit un billet au printemps dernier sur l'origine de la moralité, il n'est nul besoin de recourir à la religion pour faire naître ce sentiment d'empathie chez les hommes me semble-t-il.

Comme les religions sont un fait culturel universel (pour le coup) il faut les prendre pour ce qu'elles sont puisque qu'on le veuille ou pas elles font partie de notre patrimoine commun, au même titre d'ailleurs que le passif d'un héritage qu'il faut bien gérer quoi qu'on en pense.

Je vois cependant les religions, quelles qu'elles soient, comme un frein extraordinairement puissant opposé à l'épanouissement des virtualités humaines.

Ce n'est pas pour rien que Mao avait désigné le confucianisme comme explication du retard de la Chine par rapport aux civilisations européennes.

Mais bon, je dois lire cette retranscription.

Flocon a dit…

ZapPow,

J'ai copié/collé le transcript du débat qui fait tout de même 16 pages A4, je l'imprimerai c'est plus confortable à lire sur papier.

Tout de même, pareil débat sur le bien supposé que la religion apporte à l'humanité avec un gars qui a sciemment menti à ses concitoyens pour engager son pays en guerre, qui a engagé les moyens militaires de son pays pour f. sur la g. de milliers d'Irakiens, un gars qui a directement sur la conscience des milliers de morts et qui ne regrette rien, "si c'était à refaire je le referai" etc. c'est véritablement obscène!

Un criminel de guerre qui vient justifier ses élucubrations théistes parce qu'elles sont susceptibles in fine d'emporter plus de conséquences bénéfiques que maléfiques c'est carrément surréaliste là.

Par ailleurs, ce genre d'illuminés qui passent d'une crèmerie (anglicane) à la crèmerie d'en face... J'étais à l'agence BNP de l'avenue de la République et je passe à l'agence SocGen de la place de la gare... ô-Ô

Bon, je lirai le texte dans la semaine j'espère.

ZapPow a dit…

Suis assez d'accord sur l'obscénité de Tony Blair, que nous semblons être assez peu nombreux à percevoir, car il y a eu très peu de gens pour vraiment mettre en lumière la contradiction flagrante entre ses actes et son prétendu christianisme. Je trouve moi-même le personnage assez répugnant, et qu'on tente aujourd'hui de la faire passer pour une sorte de héros, qu'on lui redonne une virginité en lui confiant des responsabilités contradictoires avec son passé me chiffonne. Mais nous vivons dans un monde obscène, et toute notre histoire n'est qu'une longue théorie d'obscénités.

Pour mieux juger du débat, j'ai fait abstraction des protagonistes, pour ne considérer que les arguments. Malgré les limites de l'exercice (du débat en question), on arrive à se faire une idée.

Flocon a dit…

Tiens, j'ai trouvé ça.

La fille doit être une espèce de Muriel Robin ou Valérie Lemercier anglaise, je ne comprends à peu près rien de ce qu'elle dit mais les accents pourront peut-être amuser Anijo.

Diffusé en Irak c'est sûr que ça divertira les dizaines de milliers de parents des victimes.

Obscénité oui mais chrétienne mon fils.

Anonyme a dit…

Flocon: //Contrary to what one could think I'm not in the least interested with religions as a topic for exchanges or even as an issue worth my time and attention.// It is true that discussion between individuals with a mature position on the validity of religious claims to truth rarely results is any movement by either party.

On the other hand, you do raise the different issue of the affect of religion on how people act.

//Ce n'est pas pour rien que Mao avait désigné le confucianisme comme explication du retard de la Chine par rapport aux civilisations européennes.//

I think that the chief reason for many differences in how Americans act as a community and how Western Europeans act is the essentially religious foundations of the American polity. The Declaration of Independence, for example, states straightforwardly that:

//We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights...//

This statement must be read in the context of the English Common Law, which provided that every competent adult had a minimum set of obligations that he owed to others. These obligations established corresponding rights in others. If I had a certain obligation to you, you had a corresponding right to enforce my obligation. There is a religious base to these natural law assumptions, which could be discussed, or not discussed.

There is a connection here with your post on Hobbes. Hobbes desired to free himself from the common law assumption of obligations. He assumed that in the original state of nature, man had no obligations, only rights. So Hobbes had to find a new source of the citizen's obligation to obey the state. He found it in another common law source of obligation, the contract. But, as you correctly point out, this is a painfully obvious fiction.

This is a roundabout way of seeking a discussion on the nature of human rights. For example, the Declaration des droits de l'Homme et du citoyen de 1793 seems to assume the enumerated rights as givens. In the view of anyone reading the post, what is the nature of my obligation, if any, to concede certain "human rights" to anyone?
Sincerely,
SemperFidelis

Flocon a dit…

"On the other hand, you do raise the different issue of the affect of religion on how people act."

La réponse est donnée un peu plus haut dans une réponse à ZapPow:

"les religions sont un fait culturel universel, il faut les prendre pour ce qu'elles sont puisque -qu'on le veuille ou pas- elles font partie de notre patrimoine commun"

Read drugs instead of religions and you have the same answer.

I'm not in the least interested in discussing drugs but since they exist and have an impact on our societies I have to take their influence into account in order to better understand the world where I live.

Comme votre commentaire aborde d'autres questions et qu'il est bientôt 01 am in Paris, allow me to defer my answer à un peu plus tard.

J'ai encore des devoirs du soir (homeworks) donnés par Anijo, Ned et ZapPow...

Bien à vous,

Flocon a dit…

Your quote from the American declaration of independance

"//We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights...//"

is spot on here when one considers how the Loving vs. Virginia case was handed in the first place by judge Leon Bazile.

For what I understand, he obviously disregarded these self-evident truths the founding fathers meant to be the corner stones of the American constitution.

La théorie de Hobbes certainement a connu une grande fortune en Grande Bretagne et plus encore aux E.U. Mais le reste du monde s'en est fort bien passé jusqu'à présent, avant et après lui.

Il me semble que la théorie de la séparation des pouvoirs telle que définie par Montesquieu a eu beaucoup plus d'importance dans le développement des sociétés modernes et dans la constitution des nations en tant qu'Etats que n'en n'a jamais pu en avoir la théorisation fictive et a posteriori de Hobbes.

Je me trompe probablement mais je ne vois dans l'œuvre de Hobbes qu'une construction intellectuelle sans portée pratique alors que la théorie de Montesquieu a véritablement introduit dans le monde un modèle dont se sont inspirés toutes les nations après lui.

A part certains États musulmans qui sont des formes +/- différentes de théocraties, tous les pays du monde se réfèrent à la théorie de Montesquieu et mettent en place des institutions qui réalisent cette théories de la séparation des pouvoirs.

Quelle portée pratique et réelle la théorie du Léviathan a-t-elle jamais eue?

Hobbes is dead, long live Montesquieu!

Ned Ludd a dit…

Anijo, it has been colder than a pocketful of penguin shit here in Paris for the last couple of weeks.

Here is another Gary Larsen god cartoon.

http://www.motifake.com/america-jerks-demotivational-poster-84694.html

Flocon a dit…

The coldest winter I can remember of in Paris was in 1985 when the water of the canal Saint Martin turned into about 4 cm (1,6 inches) thick ice stabs.

The temperature must have been about -10C° (14F).

Believe it or not, I fell into the water en faisant le c.

Since I was 25 years younger, God decided my time hasn't yet arrived and he gave me a second chance...

I'm a (multi récidiviste) survivor :D


Gary Larson is great.

Thanks for the fun I've had looking at some of his cartoons on Google
images.

Flocon a dit…

SemperFi,

"In the view of anyone reading the post, what is the nature of my obligation, if any, to concede certain "human rights" to anyone?"

De l'avis de tous ceux qui lisent le billet, quelle est la nature de mon obligation, le cas échéant, de céder certains "droits de l'homme" à quelqu'un? (courtesy Google translation).

Heuuu... Désolé SemperFi mais je ne comprends pas la question. Trop difficile pour moi là.

C'est la nature de mon obligation que je ne comprends pas (stuff happen).

Par rapport au droit naturel vs. droit positif?

C'est comme les sudoku. Parfois j'en termine un en 6' et parfois je ne sais pas placer plus de 2 chiffres.

Sorry about that but I'm at a loss here to understand the question.

Peut-être comprendrai-je cette nuit ou demain, go figure...

Anijo a dit…

Ned,

I had no idea that a pocketfull of pigeon shit would be so cold.

Live and learn. ;)

Anonyme a dit…

Flocon: //I'm at a loss here to understand the question.//

I reviewed my post. Wow, what a poorly written piece it was. No wonder you didn't understand what I was about. Too confusing.

At the risk of revealing too much about myself, I will tell you that my dream of a second career is to study at a good university for a doctorate in the philosophy of law. I find these questions deeply interesting.

So, my concern is with the nature of human rights. The phrase appears often on the internet. It figured in some of your recent posts, either expressly or by implication.

In the English legal system, a right is only effective, or real, if others have an obligation to concede it. An example of a human "right" that Anglo lawyers would deny as real is the recent claim that employment is a "human right." This is obviously not a real right, because others have no obligation to provide employment. At least, no obligation that anyone will universally enforce. A counter-example is the right of an employee in the United States to be paid wages for labor performed according to his contract. If he has performed the work, he has a right to wages and the employer is obligated to pay. A court will enforce the employee's right and the employer's obligation.

For centuries, the common law was grounded in the belief in natural law. The ultimate foundation of law was held to be laws of universal application, established by God. Later, God faded into the background, and law was held to be grounded in universal principles derived by reason from observation of nature (God, once removed). Hobbes first used the term "positive law" in Leviathan, arguing that law was really only man-made rules that a sovereign had the power and will to enforce.

To cite a specific example, I often see arguments that it was wrong for the US to use waterboarding to obtain information from prisoners. These arguments are usually framed in terms of violations of the "human right" to be free from torture.

What I am inviting comments about, is the nature of this human right, and the nature of the US obligation, for example, to honor it. What is the source of the human right not to be waterboarded?

My high level of interest, of course, does not mean that anyone else has to be interested.
SemperFidelis

Flocon a dit…

Thanks for the clarification, SemperFidelis, I'm often slow at understanding things when they are too sophisticated intellectuallywise.

"What is the source of the human right not to be waterboarded?"

1°) What about God given truths that are always valid? I've been informed they exist, unfortunaly I wasn't told which they are.

2°) "Don't do to others what you wouldn't want to be done upon you."

Contrary to what many think, it isn't a specifically Christian statement since you can read the same in the Veda (2.000 years prior to J.C) or in the Analects by Confucius (600 years prior to J.C).

It may be worth noting that the very idea of Human rights derives from the Christian teaching about morality.

Cela dit, je l'ai écrit ailleurs, les droits de l'homme (French Revolution) sont très récents et n'avaient aucune signification pour les Chrétiens ni qui que ce soit il y a 3 ou 4 siècles.

Comme quoi les valeurs morales évoluent mais la torture a toujours été vécue comme un enfer par ceux qui en ont été les victimes. Et cela est universel, ça ne dépend pas des valeurs morales ou des théories philosophiques.

Moral values = human values
Torture = Laws of Nature.

As regards Human nature, il est vrai que cette expression n'est en rien précise et ne correspond plus à grand chose de nos jours où notre pensée est beaucoup plus rigoureuse -du moins dans ses exigences- qu'elle ne l'était du temps où Hume écrivait son Treatise on Human Nature.

Le concept doit être exactement défini sinon chacun l'interprète selon ses besoins which leads to nowhere.

Flocon a dit…

"I often see arguments that it was wrong for the US to use waterboarding to obtain information from prisoners. These arguments are usually framed in terms of violations of the "human right" to be free from torture."

For what I know John McCain was a prisonner of the Vietcong and submitted to some sort of torture (to which extent I don't know).

My question is:

"What is the nature of this human right, and the nature of the Vietcong obligation, for example, to honor it."

Anonyme a dit…

Flocon: Thanks for asking that question. It permits me to make my point, which I have hitherto approached so awkwardly.

Accepting your premise that there are no universal values or truths, it follows that the foundation for natural law, and rights based on natural law is non-existent.

In that case Hobbes and many others have correctly pointed out that the only remaining law is positive law - law posited or made entirely by man.

Such law is of necessity contingent on politics and circumstances. Nothing is beyond revision or repudiation. No criminal act is malum in se. All criminal acts are only mala prohibita.

In this case, a man has no reason to follow the law, other than the desire of other men that he follow it. To use the terms employed in the English common law (others will do, but the meaning is the same) If you posit your right to be free from torture, I have no obligation to concede that right, other than your desire, and perhaps the desire of other men, that I concede it. And, if you cannot enforce that right yourself, or other men cannot enforce it on your behalf (through the collective effort of the state, perhaps)it is nonsense to say that I am obligated. In that case, I am free to torture as I like, and you have no right to be free of my torture, in any meaningful sense.

//What is the nature of this human right, and the nature of the Vietcong obligation, for example, to honor it."// So the answer is clear. Accepting, arguendo, your premise above, Senator McCain had no right whatsoever to be free from Vietnamese government torture. The Vietnamese government law permitted his torture at the time. And, at the time, no power, neither the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, nor the United States had the power to enforce any obligation on the Vietnamese to concede Senator McCain any right to be free from torture.

Now, many will happily concur with your premise at the beginning of this post. But few are happy with the consequences when a value they like very much is at stake. Then, they want to use "universal" language. They do not want their favorite values to be contingent.

That is my point

Anonyme a dit…

Flocon: But I do not put you in the group who insist that there are no universal values or truths, and who at the same time claim universal application of the values they prefer.

I understand now that you question the reality of our free will. It is certainly true that if we have no free will in any practical sense, all the language of law regarding "right", "wrong", "justice" and so forth is nonsense.

In that case, the Israeli pilot who drops a bomb in Gaza and kills non-combatants is only acting in accord with his nature. He could not have acted otherwise. It is nonsense to condemn a man who's actions were fixed by forces utterly beyond his control. And the same would apply to the Hamas soldier who fires a mortar shell into an Israeli town and kills non-combatants.

It is wise to observe and learn. But foolish to engage the passions about something that is, after all, only the unfolding of nature.

Yours truly in this post and the one above,
SemperFidelis

Flocon a dit…

The time for my daily examination has arrived... And I don't feel like going through another examination...


"Accepting your premise that there are no universal values or truths"

What about your premises that there exist truths that are always valid and that were given to us by God throught the Holy Sciptures? Which are they?

That was the theme of the post. Natural law, Hobbes or torture weren't supposed to be discussed here since they imply so many other issues.


"No criminal act is malum in se. All criminal acts are only mala prohibita."

Spinoza was critized on the ground of morality for his ideas would lead to the very statements you make. He answered in letters to Schüller or another of his correspondents. Je ne fais pas la recherche, you don't need me to search on Google.


Pour le libre arbitre, pourquoi choisir le conflit israélien/palestinien?

N'importe quelle situation peut donner lieu à la même démonstration.

Paul Tibbets had no free will, not even to refuse the mission that was assigned to him. Some other pilots may have refused to carry the mission but again, it wouldn't have been out of their purported free will but because of their intrisic nature.


Anyway, I don't object to your last paragraph regarding free will and the consequences that should be derived from the lack of said free will.

Ned a bien résumé the core of the problem: responsibility is the least bad concept societies can resort to in order to maintain order within the city.

It's a fiction but a necessary one.

We're not responsible for what we do but for what we are even if it's difficult to admit and practically impossible to accept as a reason for impunity.

Les sociétés elles-mêmes n'établissent pas des lois out of thin air. There exist historical, cultural, environmental circumstances which force communities to adapt to new developments that are brought on by the march of time.

When someone commits an act you perceive as particularly atrocious, do you think that person has done something horrendous or that this woman/man who was able to commit any crime you can think of is just a f. bastard?

What comes first to your mind? The act or the very nature of the one who committed said act?

Toutes les sociétés modernes (Islamic ones included as far as I know) visent à punir un prévenu pour l'acte qu'il a commis plutôt que pour ce qu'il est.

C'est une erreur de mon point de vue mais c'est la moins mauvaise solution d'un point de vue pratique.

Did the genius chose to be one and did the criminal chose to be one? Did each of them resort to their "free will" to make their choice?

A vous lire...

Anijo a dit…

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights

This statement must be read in the context of the English Common Law, which provided that every competent adult had a minimum set of obligations that he owed to others. These obligations established corresponding rights in others. If I had a certain obligation to you, you had a corresponding right to enforce my obligation. There is a religious base to these natural law assumptions, which could be discussed, or not discussed.


It's clear that the religious base was not enough. African Americans, Native Americans and women did not have all of these so-called evident truths. What's written in the Bible can be interpreted in many different ways to suit the desires of different people. Even today, witness all of the different Christian religions with all of their different beliefs.

Flocon a dit…

It didn't occur to me that the God-given-always-valid-truths that SemperFidelis referred to were those of the preamble of the American declaration of independence.

If that were the case, these truths would be of a convenient nature and certainly not always valid.

Besides, when considered on the long term -say 2 centuries from now on- what will happen to these self evident truths?

Not to mention how unreliable "self evident truths" are logically wise.

[And also there is a creator. The Chinese and Indian people (about 3 billion people) have never heard about that creator, a fiction that was invented for the Jews (about some dozen thousand people) by Moses.]

Admettons, for the sake of the exchange, que ces vérités soient évidentes par elles-mêmes, elles n'ont pas épargné un siècle d'esclavage aux noirs importés d'Afrique ou aux indiens regroupés dans des réserves. Quant à leurs droits...

I read it again:

"all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights"

But maybe then Black people or Indian one were not equal and weren't endowed with certain unalienable rights?

For what I understand and know of history, the later lecture of the self evident truths seems to have taken the upper hand over the literal reading of the text.


"What's written in the Bible can be interpreted in many different ways to suit the desires of different people"

Anijo, You know much more about Spinoza's work than you are willing to admit ;-)

In the treatise, Spinoza put forth his most systematic critique of Judaism, and all organized religion in general. To Spinoza, all "revealed" religion had to be analyzed on the basis of reason, not simply blind faith.

Nevertheless, theology and philosophy, Spinoza argued, must be kept separate, particularly in the reading of scripture. Whereas the goal of theology is obedience, philosophy aims at understanding rational truth. Scripture does not teach philosophy and thus cannot be made to conform with it, otherwise the meaning of scripture will be distorted. Conversely, if scripture is to be accepted as based in reason, then, Spinoza argues, "the prejudices of a common people of long ago...will gain a hold on his understanding and darken it."

Anonyme a dit…

Flocon:
//The time for my daily examination has arrived... And I don't feel like going through another examination...//

And I was so careful to avoid asking any questions! But I perceive that we have exhausted both the topic and ourselves. Thank-you for the effort and courtesy you made to provide explanations of your views. As for me, the discipline of writing out my ideas helps me refine them. I sincerely hope that it was not all work for you.

Anijo: The Founders certainly did not live up to their ideals. Like all men, they were subject to cowardice and cupidity. But their failure does not make the ideals invalid. And it does not mean that they were not influenced by them. This could be the topic of another discussion. But I am uneasy about posting so much on the site. Time to get out of the way and let others do some talking.

Before I go, re the thread above on cosmology and the works of Brian Greene. The books are far better than the movies. I recommend you read The Elegant Universe and especially his latest book The Fabric of the Cosmos (Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality). Chapter 6 - Chance and the Arrow (Does Time have a Direction?) is the best explanation I have ever read of the current views of the nature of time. The consensus explanation for our observation that time runs in only one direction has metaphysical implications. But that can wait until you have read the chapter.
All the best,
SemperFidelis

Flocon a dit…

SemperFidelis,

"Thank-you for the effort and courtesy you made to provide explanations of your views."

And conversely... ☺

"As for me, the discipline of writing out my ideas helps me refine them"

And conversely too. This process works everytime. The invention of writing has permitted Humanity to expand its virtualities. It also works for each individual.

An interesting exchange that was with Spinoza, Hobbes, Confucius, Montesquieu, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer etc. being called in so they could provide us with their ideas and propositions.

Free will, responsibility, Skinner, Brian Green, preamble of the American Declaration of Independence, the arrow of time and its metaphysical implications among other topics, now, that's what I call a heavy loaded discussion.

As Anijo wrote:

"Could it be that this string of-consciousness thread leads to one thing, then another, then another, ad infinitum?"


SemperFidelis,

"I am uneasy about posting so much on the site. Time to get out of the way and let others do some talking."

Commenting is the very raison d'être of blogs. No one ever takes anybody's place.

Au plaisir de vos lire,

Anijo a dit…

SemperFi,
I have read a number of Stephen Hawking's books. He also discusses the arrow of time. The title of Greene's lastest book, "Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality", says it all right there.

I will be sure to check out his book from the local library. I am fascinated with this topic and never tire of learning more about it.

While I'm at the library I'm going to have get some books by Spinoza also. Thanks to you and Flocon and the others who post here I find some interesting things to read and learn about.

I learn a lot from these discussions. If someone asks me to clarify what I am saying, then I am forced to also clarify what I said to myself before I can formulate a response. This leads to intellectual growth, and I need a lot of that!

I feel fortunate being able to exchange ideas with a Frenchman from Paris, an Marine from Virginia/North Carolina, an American from Paris, a Frenchwoman from Normandy and a Frenchman from Martinique. So many different points of view from these interesting and intelligent people.

Flocon a dit…

Anijo,

"While I'm at the library I'm going to have get some books by Spinoza also."

If you have a modicum of trust in what I suggest I recommand you should not go into the Ethics by Spinoza although it is his master work.

It's long, rather "tedious" to read because of the geometrical order he chose to write it.

Curieusement les articles Wiki en anglais en français et même en allemand sont assez pauvres sur l'Ethique save (yes, save and not safe) the one in Deutsch. After all Spinoza was a Jewich Deutsh.

After you've read the articles about Spinoza and Spinoza's philosophy you can say you've got a ph. in European philosophy of the XVIIth century.

His concept of conatus foreshadowes the Nietzschean concept of Will to power and his views regarding our inner motivations lead directly to Freud.

(I'm less impressed by his metaphysical views though)


[Samuel Shirley, who translated Spinoza's complete works into English, summed up the significance of Spinoza's philosophy as follows]:

“To my mind, although Spinoza lived and thought long before Darwin, Freud, Einstein, and the startling implications of quantum theory, he had a vision of truth beyond what is normally granted to human beings.

If you insist in reading something by Spinoza I'd recommand the Theologico-Political treatise.

It's easy to read, a revolutionary work which definitively opened the way to modern thinking by freeing it of the religious tyranny.

Sciences as we know them owe much to Spinoza insisting that reason was the only way to grasp reality rather than blind faith to old superstitions.

The man didn't live long (45 years) but his existence definitively turned the ways of thinking in the Western world.

I have to admit that even if Schopenhauer was a genius, he didn't infuence the world the way Spinoza did.


I feel fortunate being able to exchange ideas with a little innocent Native Indian from Mesilla, a Marine from Virginia/North Carolina, an American from Paris, a Frenchwoman from Normandy and a Frenchman from Martinique. So many different points of view from these interesting and intelligent people.

Anijo a dit…

Merci Flocon,
That was quite helpful. I have more than a modicum of trust in what you are suggesting. It is because of you, afterall, that I decided to check out a book by Spinoza.

Ned Ludd a dit…

"Toutes les sociétés modernes (Islamic ones included as far as I know) visent à punir un prévenu pour l'acte qu'il a commis plutôt que pour ce qu'il est."

Ce n'est pas exacte, particulairement pour les sociètés islamiques qui punissent non pour leurs actes, mais pour le fait d'être femme.

Cela existe toujours aussi dans certaines cultes chrétiennes.

Flocon a dit…

Ned,

"Ce n'est pas exacte, particulairement pour les sociètés islamiques qui punissent non pour leurs actes, mais pour le fait d'être femme."

Je ne sais pas, je m'en remets à toi car je ne connais pas le sujet.

C'est bien possible en effet. Ce n'est pas l'adultère qui est puni mais la "coupable" d'adultère en tant que femme. Alors que l'adultère masculin n'est pas puni, c'est dans l'ordre des choses...

Il y a peut-être une différence entre l'Égypte, la Jordanie, le Maroc et le Soudan ou l'Afghanistan?

Anijo a dit…

Exactly. To be an adulterous female in Islam is so horrendous that the fanatic followers conclude that adulterous females should be killed. To be an adulterous male is another ball of wax.

Of course men being physically stronger than women, one would predict that the philosphy from the male point of view would be dominant in most societies..