Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Why is country of origin relevant to DACA?

This is a question, not a polemic. I really want to know. What is confusing about Trump's "s***hole countries" comment is the fact that this came up in the context of DACA. That is people who entered the country illegally as children, who as adults have either gone to college or joined the military, and who have no criminal record. While one could argue that country of origin might be relevant to overall immigration policy, so that on a merit-based system we might limit entry from countries on the basis of how well they might contribute to our society once they arrived (those from the poorest countries are least likely to be contributors to our society, one might reason), I don't see how in the world this applies to DACA-type cases where innocent illegal immigrants have shown there ability to contribute to America.
I am not here defending or criticizing the "merit-based" viewpoint on immigration. I just fail to see the relevance of these considerations to Dreamers. What these people have done since arriving in our country dwarfs the significance of country of origin in these cases, it seems to me. And if they have done all the since coming from a s***hole, it seems even more meritorious for them to have done what they have done, and extra cruel to send them back there.
Or did I misunderstand Trump?

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Pre-adolescent indicators of post-adolescent homosexuality? Evidence, anyone?

This is from Focus on the Family

As a parent, you should be aware that there are certain signs of pre-homosexuality that are fairly easy to recognize. They usually show up early in a child's life, and they generally fall under the heading of what might be called "cross-gender behavior." There are five markers to watch for in determining whether a boy or girl is a likely candidate for "gender identity disorder:"
  • A recurring desire to be, or an insistence that he or she is, the opposite sex.
  • Penchant for cross-dressing.
  • A strong and persistent preference for cross-sexual roles in make-believe play, or persistent fantasies of being the other sex.
  • An intense desire to participate in stereotypical games and pastimes of the other sex.
  • A strong preference for playmates of the opposite sex.

I've never seen any good evidence for this sort of thing. Has anyone? 

Monday, February 05, 2018

William H. (Bill) Patterson

Heinlein archivist and biographer. I knew him from our old science fiction club in the Phoenix area from the mid-1970s. He passed away in 2014.


Thursday, February 01, 2018

Was Mendel and anti-Darwinist?

According to this paper, he was, although modern evolutionary theory is a synthesis of Mendel and Darwin.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Why atheists change their minds


Of course, for some atheists, the fact that an atheist leaves the atheist fold is proof that they were never real atheists in the first place (the atheist equivalent of Perseverance of the Saints).

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Who's to say?

Actually this depends on your view of moral values. Some people think that moral values are objectively valid, that is, they hold regardless of what people say. Thus, if everyone in society says that people over 65 should be killed, it is still wrong objectively to kill them. Some people believe this because of a belief in God’s commandments. Others just think, like atheist philosopher Erik Wielenberg, that moral statements are just objectively true even without God. Others think that morals are determined by individuals or cultures. What that means is if a culture decides, for example, that it is obligatory for young girls to get female genital mutilation, then it is true for that culture, and no one has the right to say that is wrong. Though,, that’s not quite accurate, since if morals are relative to culture, and your culture says you should condemn and be intolerant of other cultures, then you should be intolerant of other cultures.

We could also ask, who is the state to tell a murderer that he has done the wrong thing?

Human rights and moral objectivity

It is part of the idea of a human right that it exists even when it is being violated. If someone is born a slave and dies a slave, defenders of human rights will say that the slave nonetheless has the right to liberty. What sense can be made of this idea? The best sense I can make of it is that there is an objectively binding moral obligation on the part of everyone to permit this person to be free, and that those who are enslaving him are violating that. The idea of human rights seems to entail moral objectivity, and on the view that there are no moral facts, it is hard to see what human rights could mean.