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201
Air France: Missing plane probably crashed into Atlantic

PARIS, France (CNN) -- The jet carrying 228 people from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, that disappeared overnight as it entered an area of strong turbulence probably crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, the CEO of Air France said Monday.

The first three hours of what was to have been an 11-hour flight appear to have been uneventful, CEO Pierre-Henri Gourgeon said.

But about 4:15 a.m. Paris time, Flight 447's automatic system began a four-minute exchange of messages to the company's maintenance computers, indicating that "several pieces of aircraft equipment were at fault or had broken down," he said.

"This succession of messages signals a totally unforeseeable, great difficulty," he said. "Something quite new within the plane."

During that time, there was no contact with the crew, Gourgeon said.

"It was probable that it was a little bit after those messages that the impact of the plane took place in the Atlantic," he added.

He said the Airbus A330 was probably closer to Brazil than to Africa when it crashed.

He noted that turbulence made flying "difficult" in the area but that it is "too early to say" exactly what happened.

The chances of finding any survivors from were "very low," French President Nicolas Sarkozy admitted Monday.

"This is a catastrophe the likes of which Air France has never seen before," he said at Charles de Gaulle International Airport, where he met with relatives of the missing.

"I said the truth to them: The prospects of finding survivors are very low," he said.

Asked the nationalities of those aboard, he said most of them were Brazilians but added, "that changes nothing, of course. They're victims. It doesn't matter about their nationality."

The airline company identified the nationalities of the victims as two Americans, an Argentinean, an Austrian, a Belgian, 58 Brazilians, five British, a Canadian, nine Chinese, a Croatian, a Dane, a Dutch, an Estonian, a Filipino, 61 French, a Gambian, 26 Germans, four Hungarians, three Irish, one Icelandic, nine Italians, five Lebanese, two Moroccans, three Norwegians, two Polish, one Romanian, one Russian, three Slovakian, two Spanish, one Swedish, six Swiss and one Turk.

Sarkozy said French authorities had sent ships and planes to the area about 400 kilometers from Brazil. "Our Spanish friends are helping us; Brazilians are helping us a lot as well."

He added that authorities were seeking the help of satellites that might be able to pick up signs of what happened to the 4-year-old Airbus 330.

No possibility was being excluded: Turbulence in the area was strong, but other planes were able to pass through it without incident, he said.

The plane had reported a problem with the electrical system, "but the specialists refuse for the moment to express themselves about any possibility," Sarkozy said.

The jet had also sent out a warning that it had lost pressure, the Brazilian air force said. Video Watch aviation expert describe possible scenarios.

It lost contact with air traffic control between Galeao International Airport in Rio de Janeiro and Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Paris, the airline said Monday.

The Airbus A330 sent out an automatic signal warning of the electrical problems just after 2 a.m. GMT Monday as it flew "far from the coast," said an Air France spokeswoman who declined to be identified. It had just entered a stormy area with strong turbulence, she said.

The jet was flying at an altitude of 35,000 feet and a speed of 521 mph, the air force said.

Among the passengers were 126 men, 82 women, seven children and a baby, in addition to the 12 crew members, Air France officials in Brazil said.

Much of the route is out of radar contact, Brazilian air force Col. Henry Munhoz told TV Globo.

Brazil's air force launched a search near the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha in the Atlantic Ocean, 365 km (226 miles) from Brazil's coast, a spokesman for the air force said.

Two Brazilian squadrons are searching for the plane, although it disappeared after it left the country's radar space, said the officer, who declined to be identified.

The flight, AF 447, took off from Galeao International Airport at 11:30 p.m. Sunday GMT. It was scheduled to land in Paris at 9:10 a.m. GMT.

Its last known contact occurred at 2:33 a.m. GMT, the Brazilian air force spokesman said.

It was expected to check in with air traffic controllers at 3:20 a.m. GMT but did not do so, the Brazilian air force said in a statement.

Brazilian authorities asked the air force to launch a search mission just over three hours later, at 6:30 a.m. GMT, the statement said.

The plane reported no problems before takeoff, Joao Assuncao, Air France's manager in Brazil, told the country's Record TV.

The French ambassador to Senegal told BFMTV that French military aircraft had been dispatched to search around Cape Vert, or Green Cape, off the coast of the west African country.

The airline set up a crisis center at the Paris airport. It listed numbers for families to call: 0 800 800 812 for people in France and 00 33 1 57 02 10 55 for families outside France.

At a crisis center at the airport in Rio, relatives of the missing complained of a dearth of information from Air France, the Brazilian state news agency reported.

One man, who identified himself as Bernardo, said his brother, Romeo Amorim Souza, and his wife were on the missing flight.

"I came to the airport because I wasn't finding information, and my parents are very nervous," he told Agencia Brasil.

The missing A330 last underwent a maintenance check on April 16, the airline said.

CNN air travel expert Richard Quest said the twin-engine plane, a stalwart of transatlantic routes, had an impeccable safety record, with only one fatal incident involving a training flight in 1994.

"It has very good range and is extremely popular with airlines because of its versatility," he said.

Its crew was composed of three pilots and nine cabin crew members, including a captain who has logged 11,000 hours in flight. About 1,700 of those hours were on the A330 and A340. Of the two co-pilots, one has 3,000 hours of flying experience and the other 6,600 hours. The aircraft has flown 18,870 hours.

The model is "capable of communicating in several different ways over quite long distances even if they are out of radar coverage," said Kieran Daly of the online aviation news service Air Transport Intelligence.

The French Accident Investigation Bureau for civil aviation is investigating, the company said in a statement.

202
Defending Champion Nadal Ousted by Soderling at French Open

By Danielle Rossingh

May 31 (Bloomberg) -- Rafael Nadal’s bid for a record fifth straight French Open tennis title ended in the fourth round against Robin Soderling of Sweden.

Soderling beat the top-ranked Spaniard 6-2, 6-7 (2-7), 6-4, 7-6 (7-2). The four-time French Open champion had never lost at Roland Garros before today’s match. It was Nadal’s earliest defeat in a major since he lost in the round of 16 at the 2007 U.S. Open.

Nadal’s loss ends his chance of becoming the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win the four Grand Slam events in one calendar year. The Spaniard started the year with his first Grand Slam victory on a hard court, at the Australian Open, where he beat second-ranked Roger Federer in the final.

It wasn’t the first time Nadal had struggled against Soderling, the No. 23 seed. Soderling took the Majorcan to five sets two years ago at Wimbledon, in a match that took five days because of rain delays.

In the first set today, Nadal struggled to come to grips with Soderling’s flat ground strokes and failed to find his rhythm. The Spaniard lost the set 6-2 as he dumped a backhand in the net. It was Nadal’s first set loss since he played Federer in the 2007 final, as Soderling produced 19 winners.

In the second set, Nadal forced an early service break to go 2-1 up with a backhand cross-court pass from the back of the court. Serving for the set at 5-3, Nadal made two unforced errors in the game, as Soderling got the break back. In the tie- break, Nadal won six straight points as Soderling failed to find the lines. The Spaniard clinched the second set 7-6 (7-2).

Tumble

In the third set, Soderling broke in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead. In the next game, Nadal took a tumble on the clay as he slipped on the baseline while running down a shot. The Spaniard continued to be outplayed by the Swede, and failed to find an answer to his powerful forehand. Soderling took the set 6-4 as Nadal dumped a forehand into the net.

In the fourth set, Nadal got an early break to go 2-0 up. Soderling broke back immediately as Nadal’s forehand frequently failed to stay within the lines. With play back on serve, the Swede continued to put pressure on his opponent by coming to the net to shorten the points.

In the tie-break, Soderling raced to a 4-1 lead as Nadal twice mishit a forehand, made another error at the net and then on his backhand. The Swede had five match points at 6-1 as Nadal dumped another ball in the net. He converted his second match point when Nadal hit a volley wide. Soderling threw his racket into the crowd at Court Philippe Chatrier after he won.

Last year, Nadal won the title without dropping a set, only the third man to do so after Ilie Nastase in 1973 and Bjorn Borg in 1978 and 1980.

Soderling was playing in his first ever round of 16 match in a Grand Slam. The last Swedish man to reach a French Open quarterfinal was Magnus Norman, who went on to the final in 2000.

203
LGU Philippines / Hoy, Mga Persona Non Grata!
« on: June 01, 2009, 02:45:08 AM »
Hoy, Mga Persona Non Grata!(Fred Amora)

In last Tuesday’s Sangguniang Panlalawigan session, I clapped my hands silently after board member Atty. Aster Piollo introduced a resolution condemning and declaring persona non grata Dr. Hayden Kho, the partner of Katrina Halili in the sex exercises caught on video, now a blockbuster in the pirated CD market.

Saludo jod ko ni board member Piollo; - nibotar raba ko niya kay taga 3rd district baya ko!

But when I came out from the SP session hall, I noticed everybody in Capitol giggling as they shared the much-sought sex video using the Blue Tooth or Infra-Red functions in their cellphones.

I pointed to them and said: “Hoy mga persona non grata.” Pero nangatawa lang!

I asked nga mokopya sad ko but wa mosugot akong amigo kay ako daw cellphone refurbished 3310; video ni Pokwang ray makopya. (he ..he. insultador tong akong amigo).

That made me entertain second thoughts. Wa kaha masayop si board member Piollo in hastily declaring Dr. Hayden Kho persona non grata (unwanted) here in Bohol? The sex video is in every cellphone of people everywhere. Therefore, Hayden Kho is not “unwanted” but instead “most wanted” among Boholanos!

* * * * *

I am not sure if Atty. Piollo saw that particular video. Akong Lola, dihang gipakita sa eyang apo ang video; nanampong sa eyang baba, pero galurat eyang mata!

Ako, nakakita ko and I like how Katrina danced the “otso-otso version” of the song “Careless Whispers.”

I don’t see any abuse on Katrina nor was she forced to do the scenes captured on videocam. Bigay todo siya! It was actually a moment of pleasure among two adults, done consensually, wantonly but privately.

What was wrong was the posting of the video on YouTube and duplicating them in pirated CDs for gainful purposes. Remember, the video was recorded two years ago and was privately kept by Kho as a high-tech diary. It was leaked by somebody for money. So, perhaps Kho is a victim in this case? It is his privacy that is being violated!

So why declare Kho persona non grata in Bohol? Dinhi ba sila ga-video sa ilang sex acts? Unsa man eyang sala sa mga Bol-anon?

I texted my Guardian Angel and asked for a second opinion. The answer sent to me in Blue Tooth was appalling; - a scene wherein Our Lord Jesus Christ saved an adulteress being chased by a mob in the streets of Judea.

“He who has no sin cast the first stone,” Jesus Christ challenged the angry mob.

I became so ashamed of myself when the next text admonished me: “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” – (Matthew 7:1) These words of wisdom were indeed meant to enlighten me; - imagine my refurbished 3310 was able to receive video messages bisan ug way Blue Tooth!

* * * * *

Anyway, I still admire Atty. Piollo. In fact, I have another suggestion.

Declare also persona non grata si Rustum Padilla, also known as Bebe Gandang Hari kay mipaso nga Reyna Elena sa Santacruzan. Daygon jod siya sa mga Obispo kay suko kaayo sila ni Rustum. Blaspehemous. Scandalous kuno! Espoko mo nang iyang gihimo si Queen Helena nga “Reyna Ikogan”. Sige raba anhi na si Rustum sa Bohol.

So, I wish my favorite board member would stand up again this Tuesday!

Thoughts to Ponder: “If we had no faults of our own, we would not take so much pleasure in noticing those of others”.
François La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680), French moralist.

204
Showbiz & Celebrity / Why Susan Boyle Lost 'Britain's Got Talent'
« on: June 01, 2009, 01:36:26 AM »
First Adam Lambert, now Susan Boyle. Both have become victims of the megahype machine. It seems the British population is no more tolerant of having a talent show contestant rammed down its collective throat than the American viewership is.

Before you read on, here is the final Britain's Got Talent performance that earned Susan second place:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXGSiN8Ro-k

Yes, you read that correctly: SECOND PLACE. This weekend, Susan Boyle--the dowdy, "never been kissed" 48-year-old Scottish singer who'd been Britain's Got Talent's frontrunner and biggest media darling since she first startled Simon Cowell with her performance of Les Miserables' "I Dreamed A Dream"--shockingly lost on BGT. Even more surprisingly, she didn't even lose to the show's other two frontrunning vocalists, 10-year-old singing ballerina Hollie Steel and 12-year-old soul sensation Shaheen Jafargholi, but to a dance troupe called Diversity that had received far less attention (at least on this side of the pond).

Perhaps so much insta-hype is never a good thing for any talent competition voted on by the public, in any country. In America, ubiquitous Lambertmania--the fawning judges' praise, the premature pre-finale Entertainment Weekly cover story, that Katy Perry "Adam Lambert" cape--may have turned off AmIdol voters who felt their free will was being snatched away and they were being told whom to like and whom to vote for. Or at the very least, Idol viewers just might have suffered Lambert fatigue before the American Idol season was even over. And in the case of Susan Boyle and Britain's Got Talent, the situation was even worse, especially given the sensationalistic nature of the U.K.'s notorious tabloids.

Pretty much all of Britain's eyes--and soon after, thanks to the Interweb, the world's eyes--were focused on Susan from the moment she opened her mouth and shocked everyone by proving that (gasp!) a somewhat unattractive person could actually have vocal talent. Apparently such a novel concept--in this age of impeccably air-brushed but only marginally talented pop stars--blew the minds of Brits and Yanks alike. But Susan also touched an international nerve with her Cinderella story, because at the heart of all these talent shows--from American Idol to X Factor, from America's Got Talent to Britain's Got Talent--is the inspirational idea that anyone can be a star. The ugly-duckling fairytale of overcoming lowered expectations, and then proving all naysayers wrong, is indeed universal.

But it was all too much, too soon. The BGT semi-finals hadn't even started, and yet even people without satellite dishes who had no access to the actual show (other than via grainy YouTube clips) already had nothing but Boyle on the brain. The tabloids and blogs lurched into overdrive: Had she really never been kissed? Was she going to undergo a makeover? What did she look like as a young girl? What did her newly hired bodyguard look like? Heck, what did her cat Pebbles look like? Almost immediately, Boylemania reached its Boyling point, and within a couple weeks the fickle public was sick of hearing about her and had moved on to other watercooler topics--like Shaheen Jafargholi, or the Octo-Mom, or the swine flu, or Jon & Kate, or even Adam Lambert. And yet, Britain's Got Talent was still far from over.

The backlash was inevitable, especially considering that--unlike thick-skinned seasoned showbiz pro Lambert, who seemed to handle his media blitz with ease--a small-town shut-in like Susan was hardly well-equipped to deal with such scrutiny. As the countdown to the BGT finale neared, the seemingly sweet-natured Scot, unaccustomed to living her life in the public eye, began to undergo an unfortunate public meltdown that seemed likely to hurt her chances of pulling off her once-expected landslide victory. She nervously hit some pitchy notes during the BGT semi-finals, and then reportedly freaked out at London's Wembley Plaza Hotel in front of 150 shocked viewing-party guests after watching BGT judge Piers Morgan rave about Shaheen Jafargholi. Rumors soon swirled that Susan might succumb to the pressure and quit the show altogether.

Piers then angrily defended Susan on his blog, ordering Susan's detractors to leave her alone. "She has been in tears many times during the last few days...she's had to read stories and columns, and listen to radio and TV phone-ins, calling her arrogant, insincere, spoiled, fake, mad, and so on," he wrote. "Susan Boyle has never experienced anything like this and is like a frightened rabbit in headlights...Anybody who has gone through that transformation is going to be feeling the most unbelievable pressure. You could see the nerves almost crippling her on the semi-final show and I just think it's time that everyone slightly backed off."

But of course, in this media age of instant celebrity, no one EVER backs off. So even more and more pressure landed on Susan's rounded shoulders, and British bookmaker William Hill subsequently lowered its odds for Susan to win after the reports of her expletive-riddled behavior came to light. The Susan Boyle rags-to-riches-to-rags saga seemed especially accelerated in this case. This was certainly a different kind of stardom than she might have dreamed of when she was a young girl, performing in little local talent shows that were not broadcast to the entire planet.

However, to her credit, on the BGT finale night Susan surprisingly rose to the occasion like a Lambert-esque pro. By all accounts her reprise performance of "I Dreamed A Dream" was a stunner (again, see video above), as she sang with unexpected confidence in a shimmering evening gown and appeared, according to the AP, "more polished and animated than in previous performances." And even when she lost out to Diversity, she handled herself well, sweetly curtsying to the audience and giving her trademark hip shake rather than suffering the amateurish breakdown some cynics and bookmakers may have expected.

So perhaps, despite dreaming a dream and losing, Susan has already grown a thicker skin. Perhaps this will serve her well and she will indeed have a legitimate career ahead of her, and not just become another 15-minute YouTube footnote. But while she and Adam Lambert may seemingly have little in common musically, there is one lesson that both Brits and Americans can take from these contestants' respective defeats: When it comes to televised talent competitions, viewers don't always believe the hype. (Yahoo)

205
Health and Food / What Is The Difference?
« on: May 24, 2009, 11:17:31 AM »
3509504985_4ea3cd1d34_o - Show Posts - glacier_71

206
Showbiz & Celebrity / A Film Review On Angels & Demons
« on: May 18, 2009, 06:18:25 AM »
Thursday, May 14, 2009
By Katrina Onstad, CBC News

Peppy and preposterous, Angels & Demons is in a sweaty sprint to distance itself from the lackadaisical adaptation of that book The Da Vinci Code – heard of it? Psst, allow me to also recommend a furniture store: Ikea. For clothes, try Gap. That's G-A-P.

Which is to say, in this era of niche marketing, there aren't that many mass cultural experiences outside of shopping. Those blockbuster days when everyone saw the same movie (Jaws) and bought the same album (Fleetwood Mac's Rumours) don't happen as often as they used to. If Dan Brown's religio-thrillers get people reading and engaged in some kind of shared experience, does the silliness of the subject matter matter?

It did on screen. The Da Vinci adaptation was critically slaughtered as Holy/Wholly Tedium, slapped together with all the laziness of a sure thing. The goofy DNA of Brown's particular Catholic conspiracy theories emerged fully formed in the multiplex light somehow, and all the fun of the franchise evaporated. Of course, it didn't matter: the lethargic film earned millions, even if it's hard to find anyone, critic or no, who really loved it.

Angels & Demons, based on an earlier Brown book but set up in the film as a sequel, tries harder, and it pays off. Tom Hanks – trimmer of torso and hair – is back as Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, summoned from a Cambridge swimming pool by Vatican police. That he flies to Rome on a private jet is one of many details coalescing into an image of the Vatican as a superhero headquarters, or Q's gadget-filled lair. In the parlance of such cartoons, Langdon is the former enemy of desperate Catholic superfriends who reluctantly call him in to help out with a villain even they can't vanquish!

The College of Cardinals is in the Vatican to select a new pope, but the four front-runners have been kidnapped. According to communiqués, each will be killed on the hour, every hour, starting tonight. Then the evening will be capped by a cataclysmic explosion, courtesy of a vial of "anti-matter" stolen from a lab in Geneva. The party planners are the Illuminati, an ancient pro-science sect long ago banished by the church, who remain at the forefront of Langdon's research.

"Oh great, the symbologist is here," sneers the head of the Swiss Guard, played by Stellan Skarsgård. This devout protector of the Vatican claims his anti-Langdon huffing stems from the professor's refusal to align with any religion, but it sounds more like a taunt to a mega-nerd who never shuts up.

The professor is a historical know-it-all, lecturing at every turn on Bernini, bas-relief, the use of oxygen in archives. (But never pizza. Why, in Rome, can't he give us just one little arcane tidbit about pizza?) Hanks is his usual jocular self, though he's not so much acting as reciting from a dense script by David Koepp and Akiva Goldsman, who take many liberties with the book. Langdon's logorrhea is absorbed by a fetching Italian physicist, played by Israeli actor Ayelet Zurer, who's often at his side. She's there to assuage her guilt over having invented the anti-matter, with its "God-like power" to create and destroy. There will be no lingering on her moral crisis however; this smart, alert performer is just the vacuum into which Hanks spews religious ephemera.

And yet, if one can exercise selective hearing, there's an energetic movie underneath the unceasing exposition. Director Ron Howard gets to play on the world's best set, Rome, and though he wasn't allowed in the Vatican, the recreation (or creation) is lush and velveteen, elegantly creepy with shadowy corridors and heavy curtains perfect for hidden whispers.
From left, Langdon (Tom Hanks), Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer), Chartrand (Thure Lindhart) and Camerlengo Patrick McKenna (Ewan McGregor) discover a time bomb intended to destroy the Vatican. From left, Langdon (Tom Hanks), Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer), Chartrand (Thure Lindhart) and Camerlengo Patrick McKenna (Ewan McGregor) discover a time bomb intended to destroy the Vatican. (Zade Rosenthal/Sony Pictures)

Howard must have been reading up on tent-pole movies, and he trucks through the requisite chases and hero-in-peril sequences. There's more vigour in 10 minutes of Angels & Demons than in all of The Da Vinci Code, but that's a little like saying, Tom Hanks is really tall compared to Michael J. Fox. Langdon races around Rome with the clock ticking, trying to put together the mystery of the Illuminati. It's like Blue's Clues meets 24 — with popes!

Offering moral support from the Vatican is Carmelengo Patrick McKenna (Ewan McGregor), a young priest raised by the deceased pope who has a mind to bring the church into the present. But first, there's this issue of cardinals being killed with all the esthetic fanciness of Se7en and The Cell. It's odd to watch Hanks and Howard in proximity to the distasteful torture porn that now defines the serial killer genre, in the kind of movie where the director seems to be rubbing his hands together as he asks: How creatively can we kill these people? How beautiful can we make it look?

This is not Howard's forte. Whatever one thinks of Howard as a director – too slick or charmingly optimistic – it's probably not "dark," and the gore in Angels & Demons feels awkward, ineffectual. Maybe our expectations are just too fixed, or the material is too ridiculous, but while Angels & Demons is often exuberant, it's never really terrifying. It's remarkable that the stakes – the end of 1) the world and 2) faith – feel very low.

The Catholic Church has de-knotted its panties over this second effort, with a recent review from the Vatican paper praising the movie. For those fearing offence, Angels & Demons is not an indictment of the Catholic Church, but a plea for reformation, a push towards openness and a reunion with science. It's a worthy message trapped in a risible, diverting film that's entirely free of revelations.

Katrina Onstad is the film columnist for CBCNews.ca.

207
iphoto_1242500928170-1-0jpg - Show Posts - glacier_71

CANNES, France (AFP) - Crowds hoping to glimpse the stars on the Cannes festival's red carpet got an eye-popping surprise Saturday as a team of nude Belgian cyclists paraded down the Riviera seafront.

Director Felix van Groeningen and four of his actors straddled bicycles and careened down the croisette and back under warm spring sunshine, in a remake of a scene from "La Merditude des Choses".

The comedy, which tells the story of a family of drunkard brothers, seen through a teenagers' eyes, premiered Saturday at the Directors' Fortnight, one of two high-profile sidebars to the main Cannes film festival.

208
Sports and Fitness / Federer Beats Nadal in Madrid Open
« on: May 18, 2009, 03:40:42 AM »
Federer Beats Nadal

Roger Federer beat top-ranked Rafael Nadal in a final for the first time in two years on Sunday to claim the Madrid Open title 6-4, 6-4.

209


A Polish Catholic priest has published a book which provides married couples with a theological and practical guide to spicing up their sex lives.

In his book, Sex as you don't know it: for married couples who love God, Father Ksawery Knotz aims to sweep away the strait-laced attitudes many hold.

Sex in marriage, the Franciscan friar explains, should not be boring but "saucy, surprising and fantasy packed".

The book, which has the backing of the Polish Catholic Church, has been a hit.

The Sw. Pawel publishing house has ordered a reprint after Poles snapped up the first 5,000 copies within weeks of them going on sale.

'Sought-after caresses'

In the book that has been dubbed the "Catholic Kama Sutra", Father Knotz goes into graphic detail about a subject many in the Church consider taboo.

   
Some people [think married sex] has to be sad like a traditional church hymn
Father Ksawery Knotz

"Some people, when they hear about the holiness of married sex, immediately imagine that such sex has to be deprived of joy, frivolous play, fantasy and attractive positions," he writes.

"[They think] it has to be sad like a traditional church hymn.

"Every act - a type of caress, a sexual position - with the goal of arousal is permitted and pleases God. During sexual intercourse, married couples can show their love in every way, can offer one another the most sought-after caresses."

Father Knotz believes sex is an important way for a husband and wife to express their love and grow closer to God.

"Married couples celebrate their sacrament, their life with Christ also during sex," he writes.

"Calling sex a celebration of the marriage sacrament raises its dignity in an exceptional way. Such a statement shocks people who learned to look at sexuality in a bad way. It is difficult for them to understand that God is also interested in their happy sex life and in this way gives them his gift."

But Father Knotz stresses the book does not differ from the Church's view on sex. He discourages the use of contraceptives, saying they "lead a married couple outside of Catholic culture and into a completely different lifestyle".

He also dismisses those that have questioned the competency of a celibate monk to write about sex, saying his experience comes from counselling married couples and from running a website giving sexual advice for almost a year.  (BBC News)


210
Bible Study / I Thank You, Lord....
« on: May 10, 2009, 07:59:09 AM »
For having reached this far in my life

For having a family

For having such wonderful friends, known and unknown

For being so magnanimous in forgiving me

For being You To Me...


(anyone is welcome to share your own...everyday!)

211
Cayabyab: I Warned Martin About Anthem Style

(Cebu Daily News)
First Posted 12:10:00 05/07/2009

VIGAN CITY — If only Martin Nievera listened to the advice of maestro Ryan Cayabyab, he would not be embroiled in national controversy.

The renowned musician said here that he warned Nievera not to change the melody of the National Anthem at the opening of Sunday's Pacquiao-Hatton bout in Las Vegas.

"Martin, papatayin ka ng tao. Huwag mong papalitan yung huling part kasi delikado ka. (Martin, you will be crucified for that. Don't change the last part or you'll be in trouble)," Cayabyab recalled telling Nievera.

Cayabyab was in Vigan City on Tuesday as judge in the Ilocandia Singing Idol upon invitation of Ilocos Sur Board Member Zuriel Zaragoza who put up the provincewide singing contest.

He said Nievera sent him a copy of his nontraditional rendition of the Lupang Hinirang five days before the fight.

Cayabyab, who's fondly called by his friends and singers as Mr C, said that the country's concert king first confided to him about his plan to jazz up the national anthem during ASAP, ABS-CBN's Sunday noontime variety show.

He urged Nievera to sing Lupang Hinirang the regular way because other Filipinos would join him in singing.

Nievera, however, told Cayabyab that he would push through with his plan because he's "doing it for the country."

Still, Cayabyab insisted that he should not change the last part.

He said Nievera delivered "a very good performance" but lamented that the rendition violated the Flag and Heraldic Code (Republic Act. No. 8491).

He said he reminded Nievera that he would be fined P5,000 if he changed the melody.

Cayabyab said he would be open to join the debate on how the National Anthem be sung.

"As a musician, I will stick to the original because that is how the composer meant it to be," he said. /Inquirer

212
Showbiz & Celebrity / CHICAGO in Manila!
« on: May 08, 2009, 09:11:35 AM »
For three memorable evenings starting on Thursday, May 7, four former members of the rock band Chicago will gather together and rock the concert scene with the authentic and enduring sound of the legendary band in a reunion concert tour music enthusiasts have been dreaming about for a long time

Marty Grebb, Chris Pinnick, Kenny Cetera and Tim Scott – ex-Chicago members who are now established musicians in their own rights flew in last night, billeted at the Hyatt Hotel & Casino-Manila. They will reunite in a group dubbed Chicago’s Finest for the musical extravaganza billed as Chicago’s Greatest Hits Live In Manila! 

To be presented by Steve O’Neal Productions in cooperation with GMA Records, the concert series will open with a dinner-show on May 7 at the Hyatt Ballroom, Hyatt Hotel & Casino-Manila, to be followed by a concert on May 8 at the Aliw Theater, CCP Complex, Pasay City; and end with another show on May 10 at the Central Bank Convention Hall, Davao City.

To be featured as opening act is Anna Grebb, a young singing sensation from California and Chicago, who arrived with the four guys. La Diva, an up-and-coming artist of GMA Records, will be the special guest.

Chicago’s Greatest Hits Live In Manila! is also supported by Hawaiian Airlines (official carrier), Hyatt Hotel & Casino-Manila (official residence), Manila Bulletin, Chrysler (official transport), Business World, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, Tsikot.com, GetzMo.com, Rayban, Perez Optical, Baranggay LS, GMA 7, IFM and RJ100FM as official concert station. (Note: Tickets are available at all Ticketnet outlets at all SM Department Stores. For inquiries and reservations, call Ticketnet at 911-5555.) (FUNFARE By Ricardo F. Lo--Philstar News Service, www.philstar.com)

213
European Parliament approves ban on seal products
Last Updated: Tuesday, May 5, 2009
CBC News

The European Parliament has passed a bill that will ban the import of seal products, a move that could have severe implications for Canada's annual seal hunt.

The bill passed the European Union assembly in a 550-49 vote on Tuesday.

The legislation, which states that commercial seal hunting is "inherently inhumane," is expected to be endorsed by EU governments in the coming weeks to ensure the ban is in place before next year's hunt.

The ban will offer some exemptions to Inuit communities in Canada and Greenland so they can continue their traditional hunts of harp and hooded seals, but bars large-scale trading of pelts, oils or meats in the 27-state Europe Union.

Canada and Norway have previously stated they will challenge the ban at the World Trade Organization.

An earlier draft of the legislation would have left the door open for exemptions to countries that could certify their hunting methods are humane, leading Canada to institute new rules to ensure every seal is killed quickly and painlessly.

That exemption was struck from the proposed legislation.

Rebecca Aldworth, a Canadian campaigner with the Humane Society of the United States, called that a victory.

"It suggests that European Parliamentarians are as well aware as we are that there's absolutely no way to effectively monitor seal hunting and therefore enforce regulations," Aldworth said.

Canada won a concession in the amended legislation, as EU ports would remain open to the shipment of seal products headed to other markets, including Norway, Russia and China, which together form the bulk of demand for seal products.

However, Rob Cahill of the Fur Institute of Canada said those countries take their fashion cues from the runways of Europe, where seal might no longer be featured.

"If the designers in Paris and Milan can't use seal, then it certainly has the potential to reduce the cachet of seal products," he told CBC News.

The vote to ban trade in seal products comes at an awkward time for Canada. Prime Minister Stephen Harper is heading to Prague this week to discuss strengthening trade with the EU.

The Fur Institute of Canada said it has been told that the seal ban is not on the agenda for that meeting.


Samples of Seal Products:

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214
Special Dates and Events / Congrats To Kiams, TB New Admin!
« on: May 05, 2009, 11:20:50 AM »
nakakita lang ko nga naay nausab sa imong titol...hehehe

Admin ka naman diay, ayaw ko i-ban ha.

 ;D ;D ;D ;D

215
World Daily News / Oops, Pirates Rush French Military Ship
« on: May 05, 2009, 07:11:14 AM »
Oops, Pirates Rush French Military Ship
CNN

(May 4) - The French Navy said they seized 11 pirates Sunday after they apparently mistook a French military vessel for a commercial ship and made a run at it off the coast of Kenya.
Two pirate assault boats approached the Nivose "at great speed," Capt. Christophe Prazuck said, but a French helicopter intervened before the attackers had time to fire at the French navy ship.

The Nivose: Pirates off the coast of Kenya messed with the wrong ship Sunday. Apparently, two pirate assault boats mistook the Nivose, a French military vessel, for a commercial ship and approached it "at great speed." A French helicopter intervened and the pirates, above, were seized.

The helicopter fired warning shots, he said.
The pirates, who had a mother ship as well as the two assault boats, are being held for questioning on the Nivose, Prazuck said. The vessels were carrying AK-47 rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, but the pirates did not fire, he said.

The incident took place about 1,000 km (620 miles) east of Mombasa, Kenya, at 8:30 a.m. local time (0430 GMT) he added.

In the past three weeks, the Nivose has intercepted 24 suspected pirates as part of a European Union anti-piracy operation off the coast of Somalia, which has become a piracy hotspot.
Over the past year, more than 100 suspected pirates have been picked up, Prazuck said. Of that total, 27 have been released, and more than 70 taken to jail in France, handed to authorities in Somalia or taken to Kenya under an EU agreement with the government in Nairobi.
The Nivose seized three other suspected pirates Thursday morning, the French military spokesman said, but released them the next day for lack of evidence.

Forces from France's ship Nivose intercept Somali pirates on Sunday May 3, 2009, in this video grab image from a video released by the French Ministry of Defence May 4, 2009. French frigate Nivose captured 11 suspected pirates on Sunday off the coast of Somalia after they mistook a French naval ship for a commercial vessel and started heading toward it in preparation for an attack.

But a day later, the Seychelles coast guard picked up the same three men. They claimed they were fishermen, but had no license to fish in the Seychelles exclusive economic zone, Prazuck said.

Pirates seized a ship that was carrying wheat and used vehicles to Mogadishu, Somalia, on Saturday, according to NATO, which also patrols the area.

The ship, the Almezaan, now appears to be heading for a Somali village called Harradera, known as a pirate base, Cmdr. Chris Davies told CNN.

The ship did not send a distress signal until 4 a.m. Sunday, 18 hours after it was hijacked in the Indian Ocean, he said. No NATO ships were in the area at the time, he added.
The Panamanian-flagged ship had a crew of 18 Indians as of April 2008, the last listing for it on the Web site of the International Transport Workers' Federation.

Pirates also hijacked a British-owned bulk carrier in the Indian Ocean. The MV Ariana was carrying 35,000 tons of soya about 250 nautical miles (287 miles) northwest of the Seychelles when it was seized around dawn.

The crew members are Ukrainians and they are not believed to be harmed, NATO said. It is unclear how many crew members were aboard the vessel and how it came to be attacked. NATO said it was unaware of ransom demands or any threats against those aboard.

NATO said a European Union Protection Aircraft has been deployed to monitor and track the MV Ariana, which is making its way toward Somalia -- the epicenter of the pirate industry.
Piracy has been soaring off the coast of eastern Africa -- particularly Somalia, which has not had an effective government since 1991.

Somali pirates have defied foreign navies patrolling the waters and have collected large ransoms from shipping companies. Ransoms started out in the tens of thousands of dollars and have since climbed into the millions.

216
Imelda Marcos among Newsweek's greediest people
(abs-cbnNEWS)


Former first lady Imelda Marcos has landed in a list of “greediest people of all time” by Newsweek magazine.

Marcos is said to be among the 11 greediest individuals worldwide.

According to Newsweek, Marcos “saw it as her duty to provide ‘some kind of light, a star’ for the impoverished Filipino people over whom her husband presided.“

“So she took $5 million shopping sprees to New York and Rome, reportedly owned the world’s largest collections of gems and 3,000 pairs of shoes,” noted the magazine.

Marcos was also known for holding extravagant parties for foreign visitors during the reign of her husband, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

The term “Imeldific” eventually stemmed from her lavish lifestyle as the word means “ostentatiously extravagant.”

Aside from Marcos, another woman made it to Newsweek’s “greediest of all time” list.

China’s Empress Dowager Cixi was also named “one of the greediest” after being the de facto leader of China for almost 50 years.

Newsweek noted that the Chinese empress had 3,000 jewelry boxes. She even used the navy’s money to “build herself a marble banquet boat, aboard which she ate 150-dish dinners with golden chopsticks.”

Meanwhile, rounding up the “greediest list” were Roman general Marcus Licinius Crassus, Genghis Khan, Pope Sixtus IV, industrialist William H. Vanderbilt, American politician William M. “Boss” Tweed, swindler Charles Ponzi, Wall Street arbitrageur Ivan Boesky, former Tyco International CEO Dennis Kozlowski, and Bernard Madoff.—with a report from dzMM

(Note: She places 8th. Not bad.;D ;D ;D

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217
Manny Pacquiao
By Lennox Lewis

Pound for pound, Manny Pacquiao is the best boxer in the world. But even more important than holding that distinction, Manny has connected with the people of his home country, the Philippines, to the point where he's almost like a god. The people have rallied behind him and feel like they're a part of him, because they can see his talent, his dedication, his grace and his class. The grip he holds over the Philippines is similar to Nelson Mandela's influence in South Africa. I can surely see Manny becoming the Philippine President one day.

In fact, he already ran for Congress in the Philippines but lost, in part because voters thought he could do more for the country as an inspirational champion boxer. I agree with the Filipino people. Manny, 30, already has a true global reach, and his influence will only expand as he gets better. Manny is from the Muhammad Ali school. He's a boxer, a puncher and a mover — a champion in four weight divisions. He doesn't stand there and take shots. He throws that wicked jab and is so quick to dodge trouble.

Boxing needs a guy like Manny. Too often, when something positive develops, the sport takes two steps backward; you never know where the black eye is going to come from. With Manny, you don't have to worry about that. He just loves the sport and knows he's carrying the hopes of his country in the ring.

Lewis, the former world heavyweight champion, is a boxing commentator for HBO Sports

Fast Fact: Pacquiao is the first athlete the Philippine Postal Corp. has honored with his own stamp.


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218
LGU Philippines / On Objective Morality
« on: May 04, 2009, 02:10:13 AM »
The Case for Objective Morality
by Francois Tremblay


Short version:

The unit of ethics is values. Values are things that one must work to gain or keep (a simple example of that is nutrition). These values are short-handed ways of expressing moral principles (ex. “we need to eat because otherwise we die”), and moral principles are short-handed way of expressing scientific or social facts (such as the facts about metabolism).

The basis of ethics is causality: everything has consequences, and so do actions. Actions have consequences, and our role is to find those consequences and act accordingly.

By evaluating what values are being effected by a given action in its context, we can express a sound moral judgment on that action (this was a good thing to do, this was a bad thing to do). This is true regardless of your actual moral system – we all have values, implicitly or explicitly. The real argument is about those scientific and social facts and what values they entail. There cannot be any argument on whether there are objective moral principles: it’s a discussion about as ridiculous as asking whether the Earth exists. We all need to act to survive.

Long version:

Objective morality, that is to say a morality based on reality (instead of subjective beliefs, desires, whims, etc), is usually claimed to be the province of religion. Atheism, on the other hand, is supposed to have nothing to offer but evolutionary or emotionalist explanations. In this article, I will defend secular objective morality against both religious absolutism and skeptic subjectivism/relativism.

First, it is important to understand that the skeptic answer can be seen as simply absurd and hypocrite. Most atheists would not accept subjectivist answers in any other area (except perhaps some nihilists), especially things like science. We rightly blame many Christians for holding Creationist positions on faith and subjective appreciation, because their position is not based on reality. But we must put the same blame on the shoulders of the subjectivist position in morality. To argue that morality is not knowledge and that therefore any belief or whim is acceptable, is not any more acceptable than saying that biology is not knowledge and that Creationist is true by default.

One may claim that in the absence of a possible objective morality, we must fall back on subjectivism. But that is unacceptable: in the absence of objective evidence for a proposition, we must remain silent. We must go to the extent that a rational evaluation of the evidence will take us, and no further. To do otherwise is to indulge in fantasy, which can be very good in art but a detriment in philosophy as well as in our daily experience.

I already mentioned that the standard skeptic, and humanist, answer to morality is evolutionary adaptation. But evolution does not give us objective morality, but rather explains why people hold the moral positions they do. It explains why the whim exists, but not what reality actually indicates. Evolutionary adaptations are based on a non-directed process, and are based on the human species and environment as it existed millions of years ago. Even if the evolutionary process was flawless from our perspective, it would hardly make the moral instincts of a tribal, status-based species living in an ancestral environment, devoid of almost all technology, applicable to today’s world.

We can say that the morality-as-evolutionary position is flawed precisely because it is subjective: it uses objective facts (evolution and evolutionary psychology) but uses them to falsely deduce moral facts. If there is to be knowledge about morality, then it must be objective, that is to say, based on Reason: beyond that, we must remain silent.

To claim that morality is subjective is a denial of causality – actions have consequences, which arise because of natural, psychological and social laws. If you stop eating, you will die. If you stop drinking water, you will die even faster. If you break the social mores of decency or peaceful behaviour in your relationships with others, your life will be affected and even endangered. If you do not pursue social values in general, you will live isolated from the benefits of civilization. If you do not pursue mental values, you will not have the mental capacity to reason our way through life. Without such values, you would easily fall prey to any received idea, any scam, you would have no capacity to manage your life. Causality is universal: actions have consequences, causes have effects, if we fail to follow the requirements of life we will fail to live.

Whatever the moral system upheld by the individual, we can express the general value-judgment process simply in the following manner:

1. There is a moral choice, with two or more possible actions.
2. Those actions exist in a context.
3. The combination of that context and our hierarchy of values (whatever its form) determines the values effected by each action.

We already have a hierarchical system of values in humanistic psychology, which is called Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and is generally accepted in the field. David Kelley gives a similar account of human needs in “Logical Structure of Objectivism”, albeit one that also includes vital philosophical concerns (bold his):

” Material needs such as needs for health and food: these values contribute directly to survival.

Spiritual needs such as needs for conceptual knowledge, self-esteem, education and art: these values are spiritual in the sense that they primarily pertain to consciousness, and contribute to survival by helping Reason to function properly.

Social needs such as needs for trade, communication, friendship and love: these values are social in that they occur only through interaction with others. Logically, their status as values is due to the fact that they contribute to the fulfillment of spiritual and material needs.

Political needs such as needs for freedom and objective law, which are needs concerning the organization of society. These provide the context for fulfilling our material, spiritual and social needs”
(p81)

I think it is pretty clear that all of its parts are objective. They are based on existing physical and psychological causal facts that we observe in ourselves and other people. It is also a hierarchy, given that the needs at one level need to be fulfilled to a suitable extent before we can be concerned about the others.

A value is a goal that our actions seek to accomplish. Objective values have a one-to-one correspondence with objective needs, because needs indicate the goals that need to be fulfilled. As David Kelley judiciously writes in “Logical Structure of Objectivism” (italics his):

“The place of biological needs in the logical structure of Objectivism is this: since one’s life is one’s ultimate value, one has to know what one needs for the maintenance of life in order to know what to seek as a value.

The needs of a living organism determine its goals. In other words, its needs determine its values.”
(p69-70)

We have a hierarchy of values for the same reason than we have a hierarchy of needs – because some values need to be reasonably fulfilled (such as nutrition or sleep) before some others can come under the purview of our actions (such as love or excellence). There is a gradient of importances that necessarily enters into account here. That is why one may say, objectively, that eating is much more important than, say, gaining status. But these values are universal: they apply to all human beings, except in some cases where higher values cannot be effected due to physical defect.

It is important here to understand that while values themselves are objective in all ways, their specific implementation differs from person to person and from culture to culture. For instance, we all need to eat, but we do not eat the same things. Someone in Latvia might eat a dinner of bizugis with pea balls and a glass of maizes kvass, and I might have a piece of tourtière with maple syrup and a glass of milk. But it remains an inescapable biological fact that we both need to eat to survive.

Contextuality expresses the fact that an action does not exist in a vacuum. When we examine an action, we cannot ignore that the action takes place in a given context. This context is necessary to evaluate the consequences of an action, because it informs the values that are effected by the action.

To take a simple example, the action of “killing” effects very different values whether it involves:

    * killing someone who has a gun trained on you
    * killing an innocent person walking down the street
    * killing an animal for food on a hunting trip
    * killing a spider that entered the house

And so on and so forth. In each case, the being that is killed, the state of ourselves and the being, the actions necessary to perform, are all very different and lead to different results. In one case, our life is saved. In the other, we are a criminal.

If we take contextuality out of the picture, we are no longer being objective. At least in that portion of the moral judgment, we are talking about doctrine. We have let subjectivity enter the picture, in our belief in the ultimate authority of our rules to replace context.

In fact, I would contend that we are no longer talking about morality, either. We have taken away a part of reality which directly pertains to moral judgment. Thus we are no longer talking about morality, but rather about a mental abstraction which has no more relation to action in the real world.

We now have the other part of the answer as regards to the lack of religious morality. In the example I gave before, an absolutist rule would be of the type “thou shalt not kill”, which is a Christian statement. By saying this, we assume that this statement magically takes into account the context of any action that involves killing, because no such account is present in the statement itself. Since monotheistic religions do not adopt contextualism in any way, they do not pertain to objectivity or morality at all.

In this discussion, I have refuted skeptic morality, by showing that subjectivity is insufficient, that evolution is not a sufficient epistemic basis for morality, and that the case for objective secular morality is coherent and commonsense. I have also refuted the position that religion can give moral answers, both for its absolutism and its dogmatic subjectivism.

Morality is important to the topic of strong-atheism because of the moral obligation to be rational. If we accept this moral obligation, then we cannot accept any other position. Theologians reject such an obligation as incomplete, and skeptics, having no grounds to uphold it objectively, usually argue from pragmatism. Since it works, they say, we must think rationally, but we have no obligation to do so.

From the objective perspective, rationality is a virtue because it permits me to ground my thinking on reality, which is more conductive to the pursuit of my goals than fantasy. But the skeptic has no necessary grounds to posit this. If he argues from pragmatism, we have to ask him, on what grounds can you declare that rationality “works”, without being able to use reason as measure? When the pragmatist says that reason “works”, he is implicitly evaluating it from either a rational or theological perspective.

In this article, I have not discussed specific moral systems. That is because there are many different objective moral systems, such as Objectivist morality, many variants of utilitarian morality, humanism (when not used with the evolutionary justification), and to a certain extent, rational pragmatism. While I am an Objectivist, and I think that David Kelley makes an airtight case for Objectivist morality in “Logical Structure of Objectivism”, I will leave everyone free to draw his own conclusions.

This is an abridged version of my case for objective morality contra Kevin Currie. For the complete case, see http://www.objectivethought.com/debates/currie1a.html.

219
LGU Philippines / On Subjective Morality
« on: May 04, 2009, 02:07:25 AM »
Why There Is No Objective Morality
(by Fredrik Bendz)

"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so"
-- William Shakespeare (Hamlet)

Introduction

Some people claim that there are objective values. It could not have been wrong by Hitler to systematically murder 6 million Jews if there are no objective values, they say. Therefore, they argue, we should believe in the existence of an objective morality. What they fail to realize is that if there was an objective morality, it could as well have been morally correct by Hitler to do what he did. Those of us who oppose the killing may be wrong, and Hitler may have been right. At least this would be logically possible, while if there are no objective values, it could not have been right for Hitler to do what he did.

Apart from these arguments not being arguments for or against values being part of the fabric of the world, this is not to the point. If Hitler was right or wrong in killing 6 million Jews has nothing to do with it. These people would have been killed regardless of whether it was wrong or not. What would have mattered is if Hitler had thought it wrong to kill them, not whether it actually was so.

Different people who advocate the idea that there is some kind of objective morality do not seem to have the same meaning of the term. This makes these things difficult to discuss and perhaps the disagreement between me and them is not a disagreement in belief, but on the words we use to communicate our beliefs to others. Therefore I will start this essay by explaining what I mean by objective morality.

Definition of terms

By morality I mean opinions on what is good and bad. For example, I may say that to exterminate Jews without their concent is bad, and by that I mean that my opinion is that we should not kill Jews. A nazi, on the other hand, would say that killing Jews is very good, thereby giving his opinion that Jews should be killed. It is obvious that I and the nazi disagree on what is good, so we disagree on a moral subject.

Objective denotes something which exists regardless of whether there are beings who perceive it or not. For example, when a tree falls in the forest, it is an objective fact that the tree falls. Those who do not believe that the tree did fall may go there for themselves and look, and they will find out that the tree actually did fall. The word objective only makes sense when it is used for those things which affect reality. For example, if you don't believe that a tree is falling against you, the objective fact that it actually is will very soon make itself very clear to you. Thus an objective morality would be a morality which exists regardless of the existence of beings able to perceive it, and it would also leave its marks in reality. An objective morality, thus, would be empirically detectable.

Often objective morality is confused with absolute morality. I think the reason for confusing the terms is that the advocates of objective and/or absolute morality have not thought things over hard enough. They don't really know what they argue for, or it could be that they use the words differently from the way I use them. The way I use the word absolute, it refers to something that is objective and unchangeable. For example, the absolute truth is that in the decimal system 2+2 always equal 4. The equation 2+2=4 could be objectively true, but changeable so that tomorrow it is false and instead the equation 2+2=5 is true. But if it absolutely true, the answer will be 4 for all time. Thus an absolute morality would be a morality which is part of the fabric of the world and which is unchangeable.

The truthfulness of moral statements

Logical statements concerning the truth are correctly expressed as "it is true that p". For example, if I claim that the president of the USA anno 1998 was William "Bill" Jefferson Clinton, what I'm actually stating is that "it is true that in 1998, the president of the USA was Bill Clinton". If somebody says "I think every man has the right to wear arms" all he says is that it is true that he thinks so. He does not say anything about whether it actually is right, only that his opinion is such. Even if he is wrong, it is still true that he has this opinion.

Since it is quite impossible to know whether it is right or wrong to kill six million Jews, there is no foundation for the statement that it is true that it is right to kill Jews. We could not verify it empirically. If we could, it would be a task for science to find out what is right and wrong, but since we can't it is not a matter of fact, but of opinion.

But perhaps it isn't a matter of opinion after all? When it comes to scientific truth, it may not be possible to know the absolute objective truth either. Often science is describes as getting closer and closer to the truth, but not being able to find it perfectly. Perhaps it is the same with morality? This seems like an absurd idea to me. The reason is that when we talk about objective facts, we are referring to things which affect reality. If someone is throwing a hand grenade at me, it does matter, regardless whether I believe it or not, because when it explodes I will be severely injured. But would it make any difference whether it was right or wrong to kill six million Jews? Would the world look any different if the nazis were wrong than if they were right?

The way I use the words objective and morality, I cannot see how anything could be called objective morality. It is just an abstract construction without any relevance. It is meaningless. What affects the world is not if actions are right or wrong, but what results they have on reality.

So the term "objective morality" is a logical contradiction. Objective facts about reality are objective simply because they affect us whether we believe it or not, but this could never apply to moral values. Thus objective morality could not exist any more than square circles. The term is a logical contradiction and thus logically impossible.

Morality as subjective truth

But even if there is no objective morality, what can be said about moral statements? Wouldn't any discussion about morality be completely irrational without objective morality? Could a logical argument about morality be made? If we again look at how logical expressions are correctly expressed, we see that a statement on the nature of morality is of the kind "it is true that p". Thus when someone claims that "it is right to kill 6 million Jews" what he is claiming is a statement about the fabric of the world, by claiming that "it is true that it is right to kill 6 million Jews". Since there is no objective morality this is false (just as much as "it is true that it is wrong to kill 6 million Jews" is false).

Now, this seems to imply that there are no moral values at all, but that is not completely correct, because though moral values are not part of the fabric of the world, they exist in our minds. Even if there is no objective morality, it may be true that somebody believes that this-and-that is true. The belief may be false, but it is still true that the person holds this belief. Thus when somebody says "I believe that it was wrong by Hitler to kill 6 million Jews", he is expressing an objective truth (unless he is lying), because this is the same as saying "It is true that I believe it was wrong by Hitler to kill 6 million Jews". It is a statement about the person in question, not the fabric of the world.

Morality as subjective opinion

With this in mind, it seems that the moral nihilism I'm proposing has dangerous results. After all, it is our beliefs about morality and not the (hypothetical) objective morality in itself, which affects how we behave. Thus if more people were to know this, they wouldn't have any moral beliefs. Someone who previously believed that the killing of six million Jews was bad could be convinced that after all, it wasn't bad at all. (I wonder how long it will take before some theist quotes this paragraph out of context.)

But, ignoring for the time being that the previous paragraph is no argument against the truthfullnes of nihilism, it should also be noted that it is just as applicable for someone who believes that the killing of six million Jews was a good thing (which actually was what the German nazis believed). Thus it would lead to more humble people and less fanatism if more people were aware that there is no objective morality. This, however, isn't any argument in favor of the truthfulness of my stance. It only says that if it is true, then it would be a good thing if it was wider spread.

This last sentence may seem like a logical contradiction. If there are no values, how could it be good or bad to spread the kowledge about this when good and bad are in themselves values? The answer lies in the subjectivity of values. Even though values are not part of the world, and even if someone does not believe that they are, he may have an opinion on what is desirable of undesirable. For example, a nazi who was convinced that the killing of six million Jews was not right, may still desire it. Either for personal reasons, in which case his opinion would not have much to do with morality, or because he would find a higher value to it. This higher value would be his moral opinion, but it is important to realize that this has nothing to do with faith or belief, but with his personal opinion.

Thus, even though I don't believe that killing off 6 million Jews is a bad thing, I feal awful at the thought of it. I am detested by it, and find it undesirable. These are the underlying emotions which makes me think that it was bad to systematically murder 6 million Jews. I don't believe that it is true that this kind of killing is wrong, I have an opinion against it.

And... back again

I've just picked morality apart, now let's build it up again. Language is a tricky thing, and even though objective values are ontologically impossible, we can still make objective definitions of words. Even if we are aware that "nazis were wrong to kill 6 million Jews" is just our opinion and not a fact, it is possible to formulate the sentence as if it were a factual statement. If we by the expression mean, not that it is actually true that this-and-that is wrong, but that it is true that our opinion is that way, we may still use that kind of language. And I think that is what most people mean when they make statements about reality. Moral statements do not say much about the fabric of the world, but much about the person who utters them.

There is also the question of what we mean by the term moral. I can hardly believe that a normal human being would find the killing of 6 million Jews a good thing, unless he had been brainwashed by the nazi ideology. We all find certain things desirable and other undesirable. Thus it is likely that people will agree on fundamental opinions about what is right and wrong. As long as we are aware that these opinions are just our opinions, I think that we are justified in expressing them as if they were factual statements. To be honest, when you say that "this-and-that is wrong", don't you really mean that it is your opinion that it is?

However, it would decrease the risk of confusion if we admitted that it was our opinion, rather than stating it as if it was the objective truth. Thus we should avoid general statements about the fabric of the world, and instead express them as our opinions. That's my opinion.

Moral Objectivity is a kind of subjectivity

Another argument against the objectivity of values is that it is intrinsically contradictive. The reason is that moral objectivists treat moral judgements the same way they treat scientific facts. They stick to the most plausible explanation, they say, and change their minds when new facts arrive. The reason why this is contradicitive is that they give moral statements the same weight when deciding the truth as they do factual statements. The most obvious example is when they criticise moral subjectivism for leading to unpleasant results. For a moral subjectivist this would not be a problem, because how evil the truth is, it is still the truth, but to the moral objectivist, an evil truth can not be true, because it is morally wrong. If it is morally wrong it is false according to moral objecticvist, and hense scientific or philosophical explanations should be discarded if they are judged to be undesireable -- thus moral objectivism is in the end one of the most extreme subjectivisms.

This is the exact kind of thinking pseudoscientists such as the lysenkoists in the soviet union, racists and creationists. They all have a pre-conceived idea of what is good, and this idea leads them to reject solid scientific facts and to invent their own "facts" to suit their political agenda. One of the most common arguments against evolution from creationists is that if evolutionary theory was true, then it would have bad consequences for morality -- the exact same argument many moral objectivists have against the subjectivity of values. They commit the same fallacy and this they do for exactly the same reason. How evil they think evolution of moral subjectivism is is not to the point, because that has nothing to do with the truthfulness of the theory.

In the Soviet Union they had a problem with the laws of heredity proposed by Mendel, because they thought it was against marxist theory. While Mendel explained that evolution proceeded by a selective process in which the least productive species are replaced by more successful ones, the bolsheviks thought that the main cause of evolution was that the weak were strengthened by harsh conditions and that acquired qualities could be inherited to the offspring. Thus evolutionary scientists were sent to Siberia and a man by the name of Lysenko was put in charge of the Academy of Agricultural Science with disastrous results for Soviet agriculture. That is the result of disguising subjectivism as objectivism.

Of course, that moral objectivism leads to bad consequences is not a problem for a moral subjectivist, because as I stated above, that a position is bad does not make it false. However, since moral objectivism claims that moral values are objective the conclusion of a moral objectivist would be either that these consequences are desirable, or that moral objectivism is in itself bad, and therefore contradicts itself. According to the laws of logic, a contradiction is always false, so this would make moral objectivism false according to its own premises.

Conclusion

The obvious conclusion of this essay is that we must take personal responsibility for what we allow to be the motives of our actions. We can't blame it on "objective morality", or that we were only doing our duty. If a nazi says that killing 6 million Jews is right, it says nothing about the fabric of the world, and everything about himself.

Additionally, moral objectivism is a kind of subjectivism where opinion is confused with, and given the same weight as, scientific facts. The result is all kinds of pseudoscience, which in some cases have had disastrous consequences for entire nations. This is a problem for the moral objectivist, because the only possible conclusions from those consequences is that either they are desirable, or moral objectivism is false.

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