A topic for philosophy

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User Info: Kodiologist

Kodiologist
2 weeks ago#11
I wasn't aware of the substantial Catholic presence in the philosophy of science. Interesting.

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Have you ever stopped to think and forgotten to start again?

User Info: HeyDude

HeyDude
2 weeks ago#12
Discussing: http://www.janetsmith.excerptsofinri.com/

Mark, I think we've agreed before that some Catholic explanations exist in order to be plausible, rather than compelling. A plausible argument provides comfort to the faithful but does not convince other people. As for myself, I am "the faithful" when it comes to God, but not when it comes to birth control doctrine. When I hear her complain of treating a body like a machine, I think of the frankly *weird* and "treating body like machine" practices that come with the metrics involved with NFP. OK I was being squeamish but I'm referring to the measuring of cervical mucus.

Aside from that -- I think a ban on condoms improperly elevates the procreative aspect of the marital act above the unitive aspect.

User Info: BUM

BUM
2 weeks ago#13
Right, some explanations only suit to give grounds of plausibility, even probability, but not absolute certainty. This suffices because there must not be any point of Catholic teaching which can be shown false. But it would be contrary to the working of faith to suppose that everything is within the grasp of human reason, so not all explanations nullify any potential opposite argument (although neither are they superable)

It's a fair point that some parts of NFP are a little weird and, hm, pretty earthy. I don't know if I'd call it machine-like. It's certainly a fleshy kind of thing. Gutting an animal is earthy and fleshy, but it's not machine-like. Looking at cervical mucus is pretty gross, too, but not machine-like (unless you're using machines to do it I suppose)

As far as contraceptives, it seems to me that they are innately opposed to the unitive aspect of the marital act. Condoms doubly so. The unitive and procreative are distinct but not really separable. What offends one offends the other.

And of course, there is simply the witness of the way society has progressed since the advent of these things, which changes I think are fair to trace to their advent, although I'd have to be a sociologist to prove that. Are a few misgivings weighty enough to repel the whole body of evidence?

The Didache at least seems to condemn the use of abortifacient drugs, although that's not the same as the condom. But what was Onan's sin all about? Some, wishing to ignore the obvious, say he was killed for failing to fulfill the Levirate duty (which didn't exist yet, since this is pre-Law, but we can suppose it existed implicitly). But the penalty for that was not death, but something else. Until the modern age, apparently no one questioned why Onan died.

On the grounds of Scripture, ecclesiastical history, natural philosophy, and common experience, I think we find pretty reasonable evidence against their use.
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User Info: BUM

BUM
2 weeks ago#14
Thank you, though, for taking the time to read that presentation of Dr. Janet Smith. I know that this is one of the critical issues for you, and you are looking hard for answers. Perhaps all this disputation is not really helpful at all.

I want to marshal arguments and defenses to support what I believe will lead, at least ultimately and probably temporally as well, to happiness. But as you point out, not all of the teachings on the life of man and how he is to be, are what can be decided in a strictly dialectical forum. There is room here for faith, and not blind faith, but reasonable faith... as I've said before, like a road that leads to a boat. The road ends, it is true, and we wonder whether the boat is safe... but after all, it was the road which led to it, and we were faithful to that road. If we considered the road to be reasonable to follow, and yet it has its end, is it not reasonable to have faith? Otherwise the road seems to have been absurd all along. An ordered, intentional road leading to a meaningless end point. Let us conclude that the end point, then, is not meaningless, but go on from there. Do you not think that faith, here, is reasonable, or something that you can do?

But I will see you shortly anyhow. Until soon!
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User Info: willis5225

willis5225
6 days ago#15
So it's possible that I'm not engaging with this conversation in a helpful way, so feel free to move on, but the Janet Smith lecture is a piece of rhetoric and not argument.

This:
As a matter of fact, cohabitation is one of the real clear signs that a marriage isn't going to work. I heard a statistic the other day, I'll have to check it out, but a priest told me that he did a workshop in his parish on cohabitation, and in his studies he discovered that 75% of those who live together before marriage-not having sex but living together before marriage-get divorced within the first three years.

is false. It (or some variation on it) is repeated in pastoral circles as a way to intimate that cohabitation is intrinsically unnatural. But it is not the case nor is it close to the case. (The closest claim I know of is that in 2000, a study found that prior cohabitation resulted in an increase to the divorce rate of 6%, to 26% compared to a baseline of 20%, after five years, not three.) The plausible deniability--"Oh I think I heard something like this from a colleague"--is the height of mendacity, taking advantage of the phenomenon of source amnesia to make a fact out of whole cloth. The point is to say a false thing to an audience that accepts it as truth and for them to repeat the falsehood as an accepted truth until it becomes axiomatic (as, indeed, it has).

(Why do I have statistical information to refuse this claim on hand? Because this abjectly false piece of data was used to ruin my life briefly in 2012.)

This is not an isolated piece of casuistry; the casuistry is woven through. In order to refuse Tomas Malthus of all people, Smith uses this chestnut:
And they say we haven't even begun to mine the ocean for food.

Overfishing and poor stewardship of the oceans is a critical concern of our age! Without getting into the ways that factory farming turns something sacramental into something "mechanical" (frankly, that's a theological concern I very much side with the Orthodox on), Smith can't refute Thomas Malthus without saying a thing no reputable oceanographer would cosign. (I get that she means kelp; she does not say that she means kelp.)

On "lowering of morality":
And now we are quite happily boiling to death with the TV that we have-not to mention, of course, crime in the streets; not to mention drive-by shootings; not to mention gangs and all the things we are all frightened about.

It is irrelevant that you're "going to tell us how this relates at all" because it is a falsehood that violent crime is more common than it used to be. Violent crime in the US peaked in 1990. This is a falsehood repeated for its rhetorical value.

On "unwanted pregnancies":
So has it made for fewer unwanted pregnancies? The statistics on this are wild. In 1960, some 6% of white babies were born out of wedlock-6%! In 1992, 22% of white babies were born out of wedlock, almost a four-fold increase, and it's rapidly rising.

Did you catch how "unwanted" got conflated with "in wedlock"? Those are not remotely the same measure, and numerous socioeconomic developments between 1960 and 1992 make wedlock an especially poor proxy for intent (the foremost being an increase in women's economic agency).

Mark, I know that you're taking a position in good faith, because I know you to be a person of principle and thoughtfulness. If you want to argue from first principles that contraception is a bad thing, go for it, but don't use false statistics to do it, is all I'm asking.
Willis, it seems like every other time you post, I need to look up a word that's in the OED or Urban Dictionary but not both.
-Mimir
(edited 6 days ago)

User Info: HeyDude

HeyDude
6 days ago#16
Will, 20 to 26 is a 30% increase, not a 6% increase.

Other than that I basically agree with you that the rhetoric is insufficiently compelling -- although you seem to further than me and seem to think she's not speaking in good faith.

User Info: Kodiologist

Kodiologist
6 days ago#17
The closest claim I know of is that in 2000, a study found that prior cohabitation resulted in an increase to the divorce rate of 6%, to 26% compared to a baseline of 20%, after five years, not three.

C'mon, bro, you gotta cite it. Don't bring yourself down to her level.

this abjectly false piece of data was used to ruin my life briefly in 2012.

That sounds like an interesting story.

---
Have you ever stopped to think and forgotten to start again?

User Info: BUM

BUM
5 days ago#18
Hey all,

Wil, that is a good contribution to the argument about this topic. I appreciate that you also took the time to read Smith's speech on the matter, and your keen eye on some of the numbers Smith used.

I will have to take some time in responding, to see how I want to proceed, with more precision-- to see what of Smith's original argument is valuable and still able to be marshaled, taking an eye to the insights gleaned from common experience and the consideration of what human nature is and what human sexuality and responsibility are.

Things are going well, here at the seminary, but time is always very tight... next week is finals' week, and ironically that should be a pretty relaxed week for me (I hope) so, let me do my best not to fail to produce a response by next week.

Pax et valete!
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User Info: willis5225

willis5225
3 days ago#19
Oh hey I posted in this topic.

Kodiologist posted...
C'mon, bro, you gotta cite it. Don't bring yourself down to her level.

Here is fairly bloodless coverage from the Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/03/us/03marry.html

That sounds like an interesting story.

It is the exact plot of the Scrubs episode "My Fault" except instead of calling off the move with the UHaul in the driveway because of an infatuation with Zach Braff, it was a week straight of e-mails and phone calls about how 75% of marriages that began with cohabitation fail and adjacent abject lies, and then I ended up helping her move into the apartment I would have also lived in, may she ever feel a prick of conscience for accepting that kindness. Also none of us were medical personnel. Anyway, it's fine now, but I *was* living on a mattress in my parents' living room for a while.

HeyDude posted...
Will, 20 to 26 is a 30% increase, not a 6% increase.


It's both a 30% increase and a 6% increase, neither of which is in the ballpark of a 75% rate.

And I absolutely read this as being in bad faith.
Willis, it seems like every other time you post, I need to look up a word that's in the OED or Urban Dictionary but not both.
-Mimir

User Info: HeyDude

HeyDude
3 days ago#20
It's six percentage points, but not six percent.
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