Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Debate on Contraception

I've been engaged in an interesting discussion on artificial contraception with Bonnie at Off the Top. In the few days since I last commented, she hasn't replied.

I hope that I didn't jab her too sharply with my elbows. She's fundamentally a good woman facing a difficult issue. It's been said that living in NYC for nine years rubbed off on me, and I hope that it hasn't lost me an e-friend.

11 comments:

Lawrence Gage said...

I think the real threat is whether any of you rub off on NYC.

Splashman said...

I'm amazed Bonnie has continued the conversation at all, given your thinly-veiled condescension and claims on moral superiority. It calls to mind the ever-present tone in the MSM regarding alternative media: the implicit assumption that the MSM is (a) capable of objective reporting, and (b) the only institution capable of same. This, of course, is loudly, explicitly, and frequently denied -- both by them and by you.

Your cultural background is a good excuse for a lack of manners, but a poor excuse for a lack of humility.

Lawrence Gage said...

Thanks for your comment.

You're rightly amazed. Bonnie is definitely a very tolerant person.

Lack of manners I will grant you, but I don't think I can quite grant you lack of objectivity. I can certainly use better presentation skills, but I doubt the content of my message off the mark.

Certainly the mainsteam media can't be any more objective than any other media outlet, but my claim is not that I'm the *only* objective voice, but that a person using artificial contraception can't be fully objective.

It's as difficult for an artificial contraceptor to admit artificial contraception wrong as it is for a fornicator to admit the wrong of fornication. It's similar to any habit we get into (smoking is one example), but the intimacy of sex to the core of our being makes it much more difficult to separate our sexual practices from our thinking.

I do appreciate the comment and will work on improving my manners.

MJ

Lawrence Gage said...

Two notes:

1. The first comment, allegedly from me, was directed at me from someone who gained access to my account: probably my roommate.

2. The example of smoking was not meant to imply it morally wrong. I actually chose a (more or less) morally neutral example to make a point that I didn't follow through clearly enough: that our ability to see any habit of our own objectively is to a large degree independent of its moral value. So the lack of objectivity of a given habit is independent of the moral value you may give that habit.

MJ

Splashman said...

As I said, "loudly, explicitly, and frequently."

I submit that your own life experiences (whatever they may be) have the capacity to color your perceptions and your judgment no less than Bonnie's (whatever they may be). It is only when one recognizes and acknowledges one's potential for bias that one can attempt to correct for it. Your preposterous claim to objectivity only increases the probability that those with a proper respect for human limitations will discount your arguments accordingly.

Lawrence Gage said...

"Proposterous"? Is it simply that you disbelieve **I** can be objective or that you disbelieve in objectivity?

MJ

Splashman said...

If you will stipulate this definition . . .

ob·jec·tive -- Uninfluenced by emotions or personal prejudice. (American Heritage Dictionary)

. . . then I submit this is not a matter of belief or disbelief. It is (or should be) self-evident that true objectivity is something to pursue, but can never be achieved by you or I or any other human. Anyone can claim to be objective (many do -- especially, it seems, among those who should know better), but no one can prove that claim. So why do you bother, if not merely to bolster what may or may not be a good argument with a vain appeal to authority?

I have learned through experience that those who proclaim their objectivity the loudest are generally those with the largest blind spots. My dialogue with you has not dissuaded me from that opinion.

------------

pre·pos·ter·ous -- Contrary to nature, reason, or common sense; absurd

(Precisely.)

Splashman said...

P.S. Your most recent comments to Bonnie have convinced me you are an ass. I will not further engage an ass.

Lawrence Gage said...

Interesting....

"It is (or should be) self-evident that true objectivity is something to pursue, but can never be achieved by you or I or any other human."

Do you assert this objectively?

And if so, how do you to escape your "emotions and personal prejudices"?

MJ

Splashman said...

Q.E.D.

Lawrence Gage said...

Splashman,

You make some valid points regarding the illusion of objectivity. However, let’s not confuse objectivity with moral clarity, i.e., there is a correct position on the issue of birth control (which is neither about birth nor control).

Perhaps I should have (re-) framed the initial discussion as an attempt to define as precisely as possible the positions held by both Bonnie and me and then to clarify the differences and distinctions.

Once again, thank you for your advice and please continue with your trenchant and insightful comments. For as Simonides noted, I grow old learning many things.

MJ