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Archive for November 23rd, 2008

Part of our ongoing discussion on reproductive health.

One of our friends, Pinoy Law Student (p.l.s.), reported on an initiative by the Catholic Church to write its own reproductive health bill. p.l.s. offered three sentiments surrounding this issue which we partially quote:

First point. With all due respect to our prelates, there is this little provision in the Constitution also known as  separation of church and the state.

Second point. Again, with all due respect, the Catholic church – singing praises for natural family planning – has not even lifted a finger in disseminating the information that about the method that they sacrosanctly uphold.

Third point: I don’t know, but refusal of communion and other sacraments to politicians who support the bill is such a childish tactic in my opinion.

Read the rest of p.l.s. excellent critique here.

Just recently we blogged about the Vatican’s reaction to the removal of life support from a coma patient and this ongoing debate on population issue is within the same spheres of thought. The first being the definition of “life”, and the ethical approach to that definition, which covers actions such as contraception, abortion, and euthanasia. The second being the consideration of moral and social implications of those definitions and actions.

We can argue about the justice to a father by insisting that his vegetative daugther continue to live and bleed precious resources from her already cash-strapped family as much as we can argue why it is objectionable to allow sex education to be taught and guided in schools instead of children picking up their knowledge from unknown sources.

At the risk of sounding like a moral relativist, I really have to ask: in the end, what are we really arguing against if not simply tradition?

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The bestselling work by Rhonda Byrne has become such a worldwide phenomenon it merits a second look. Here’s a short video about the principles behind “The Secret”:

We already reviewed The Secret sometime in the past, and still the important question is: can “The Law Of Attraction” be tested? Does the “Law” allow conditions for it to be proven false? This is an important part of distinguishing between something scientific and something that just sounds scientific. A true scientific law can be falsified, while pseudo-science is somehow always correct. For the Law of Attraction, this apparent “immunity” from falsification is best stated by the Skeptic’s Dictionary:

The so-called law of attraction is the kind of law that many people will find attractive. It provides them with the illusion of having control over their lives. All I need to do is change my attitude and intentions and I’ll attract money like a magnet (or lose weight or whatever else it is I want to achieve). If it doesn’t work, it’s my fault because I didn’t genuinely change my attitude and intentions. Sound familiar? What is it that the faith healers say about those who don’t get healed? You didn’t have enough faith!

Meanwhile we again voice concerns over the political and moral implications of the idea, which incidentally is echoed by Ingrid Smythe:

Besides scientific gibberish, The Secret DVD props up faltering dogma by relying on charismatic representatives and a lot of smooth talk, which is so expert and cleverly edited it is easy to miss the false premises, tautologies, red herrings, straw men, non sequiturs, and other varieties of fuzzy thinking. However, even if The Law of Attraction was logically consistent and scientifically sound, the moral implications of a Law such as this are alarming. Interestingly, some of the difficulties with The Law of Attraction are similar to those encountered by believers in The Law of Karma, and comparing and contrasting the two yields some curious insights.

Under the moral premise of The Law Of Attraction–misfortune is attracted by the victims, which is a concept that is hard to reconcile. With probably the notable exception of those suffering of some mental psychosis, doesn’t everyone wish happiness or prosperity to themselves? Do the millions dying of AIDS and famine in Africa attract it to themselves?

What can throw off a lot of people in seeing the Law of Attraction for what it really is, is that it seems to be the antithesis of what organized religion purports as the “will of God”–there isn’t a predestiny or an omnipotent being judging you and your actions, there is only your own thoughts which create the reality for you. In this paradigm, intentions can be just as unfair as fate, and in this case it isn’t God that chooses to damn you for your sins, it’s your own incredulity.

But then again, in many cases intention really does drive results, but proponents of The Secret simply downplay the most important part between them: action.

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