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August 10, 2012

Man beats dog, gets long prison term and very long pet ban

LhasaThis local sentencing story from the Chicago Tribune, headlined "Man gets 30 months in prison for beating dog," caught my eye for a number of reasons.  Here are the basics:

A Des Plaines man pleaded guilty today to animal cruelty charges for beating a dog outside his house in June.  James Robert Wesolaski, 51, was sentenced to 30 months prison and ordered not to own a pet or live in a residence with any animal for 20 years.

Wesolaski, of the 1100 block of South Wolf Road, entered a guilty plea on felony animal torture and cruelty charges for pinning his small brown dog to the ground in front of his home in early June and punching the dog four or five times as hard as he could, prosecutors said.  After the beating ended, witnesses reported, Wesolaski picked up the limp dog by the scruff of his neck and took it inside, prosecutors said.

Police, called to the home by witnesses, found the dog with swollen, bleeding eyes and broken capillaries, which authorities said indicated the animal had been choked. They said that Wesolaski told police that he was having a bad day and beat the dog because it got outside....  Wesolaski was bleeding from apparent dog bites on his hand and face when officers arrived, authorities said.

Authorities also said Wesolaski's June arrest violated his probation from an incident earlier this year in which he admitted to trying to wrest a Taser from a police officer.

Wesolaski did not speak during today’s hearing at the Skokie Courthouse other than to say understood the plea deal.  He has been jailed since his arrest.  Judge Lauren Edidin told Wesolaski that his 20-year ban on having a pet is “a very serious part of this agreement.”  The judge also advised Wesolaski to get anger-management counseling and treatment for alcohol abuse.

The beaten dog, a Lhasa Apso named Teddy, has made a full recovery.  Teddy and Wesolaski’s other two dogs have been adopted into new homes, Cook County prosecutors said.

I am a huge pet lover, and I even had a beloved Lhasa Apso in my childhood home (her name was Cleo, if anyone cares).  Nevertheless, I cannot help but wonder if this stiff prison sentence goes a bit further than necessary, and I also wonder whether a two decade ban on living in a residence with any animal is really enforceable or constitutionally problematic.

For a little context here, recall that Michael Vick only got 23 months for his dog-fighting related federal convictions, all of which included far mor horrific acts of animal abuse than what (surely cute) Teddy endured here.   Perhaps there was evidence in the record in this case that Teddy suffered greatly, though the reported fact that the little guy "has made a full recovery" leads me to wonder whether the beating was all that extreme. 

Absent any other evidence of the defendant being an unusual or extreme threat to people, taking up a scarce and expensive prison cell for this dog-beating loser until 2015 seems like a relatively poor use of Illinois taxpayer resources.  The idea of anger-management classes and treatment for alcohol abuse seem wise, but I think Illinois would get more band for its incapacitation buck if it made this kind of rehabilitative programming required and monitored, rather than placing the defendant in an (often criminogenic) incarceration setting.

And does this sentence now mean that Illinois probation officials need to be checking in on Wesolaski until 2035 to make sure he is not living in any residence with a pet turtle or hamster?  If Wesolaski needs to be placed in an assisted living facility in his early 70s, will probation officers need to make sure nobody else in the facility has a pet parrokete?

I suspect there may be more to this story than this press report indicates, though I cannot help but wonder if prosecutors were uniquely aggressive based on Wesolaski's prior trouble with police or if his defense attorney was uniquely unable or unwilling to develop any mitigating evidence for sentencing.  (Indeed, as a joking aside, I am inclined to suggest that if Wesolaski's dog was less cute and cuddlely that a Lhasa, he might have tried to assert that his doggie assault was in self defense after he tried to corral the wayward pooch inside.)

Lest I be misunderstood, I do not mean or want to suggest that Wesolaski merits sympathy or that extreme animal cruelty should not be a criminal justice matter.  But I do mean and want to suggest that the sentencing response here to relatively minor crime, involving a significant prison term and behavior restriction, could do more harm than good (and will cost taxpayers a lot) because it does not appear either evidence-based or reasonably crafted to help ensure this defendant does not go on to do more harm in the future.

August 10, 2012 at 07:59 AM | Permalink

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Comments

In much of this country, it is perfectly legal to go to the forest and, without any necessity whatsoever, painfully shoot and kill an animal for sport. Yet somehow that act has achieved exalted status, much guarded and loved by its proponents, while we look askance at this man. We live in a strange world.

Posted by: AnonymousOne | Aug 10, 2012 8:46:34 AM

FWIW, I volunteer as the Animal Control Office in my small municipality.

There is a difference between Wesolaski's act, which stemmed from rage and/or lack of self control and that of Vick, which was largely motivated by profit and bloodlust. There is the element of mens rea with Vick, absent from Wesolaski as far as we know. Since Vick knew better but did it anyway, Vick should endure a stiff jail term. Jail time won't benefit Wesolaski or society as much as for Vick, But Wesolaski is plainly dangerous, shouldn't own animals and probably should be monitored until 2035 for the sake of society.

Posted by: Jardinero1 | Aug 10, 2012 9:43:11 AM

And other than his already being on probation I wouldn't call this a crime at all, I hold pets as being in the chattels category and it is perfectly fine to damage or even destroy chattels.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Aug 10, 2012 10:43:35 AM

Soronel,

In all fifty states, pets are legally defined as chattel and you can alter them and even destroy them, but only in a manner prescribed by law.

Posted by: Jardinero1 | Aug 10, 2012 12:27:18 PM

Pets are Chattel. True. But so were slaves at one point. Animals obviously feel pain and possess consciousness. Yes, they are not human, but that does not detract from the prior sentence. Sometimes, law lags morality.

Posted by: Barkely | Aug 10, 2012 1:12:54 PM

Many parents/caregivers do more violence to their children daily with little or no punishment.

An average of nearly four children die every day as a result of child abuse or neglect (1,760 in 2007).

Posted by: George | Aug 10, 2012 2:45:23 PM

Amen, George.

It just goes to show what a culture of death we have become and how completely upside down our morality has is. Beat a dog-30 months. Drive over your goddaughter while high on marijuana and kill her, 2 years.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Aug 10, 2012 2:51:20 PM

Barkley stated: "Yes, they are not human, but that does not detract from the prior sentence."

Of course it does.

And comparing a dog to a human is downright offensive.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Aug 10, 2012 2:53:17 PM

He should lose the dog, pay a fine, take court ordered anger management/alcohol abuse treatment, and do community service that Involves animals. It would seem that his lack of empathy for the pet would be better corrected from supervised interaction with animals rather than a complete ban FROM animals. I would think it would be beneficial for him to compose written reports to probation about what he is learning from dealing with animals. The fine and loss of the dog and the probation would be the punishment, the community service and the reports would be rehabilitation, and would make him a better citizen and hopefully no longer a threat to animals. Do believe is a waste of tax payer money to imprison him, but he should certainly have some input from the law.

Posted by: folly | Aug 10, 2012 4:08:17 PM

Sorry the only people with any moral standing to complain about animal cruelty are vegetarians.

Posted by: anon | Aug 10, 2012 4:11:40 PM

i have to agree 30 months for this is accessive. prison is expensive. time the public and the govt realzied our pocket's are EMPTY.

better to go for probation/thearpy that HE can pay for.

Posted by: rodsmith | Aug 10, 2012 5:03:18 PM

Tarls,

I am not "comparing" a dog to a human, so I have little idea what you are even talking about or what you have taken offense at. I was saying--and this is scientifically undisputed--that a dog, like many other animals, is conscious and feels pain. I made the further point that these things make a moral difference. On this latter point, you respond rather dogmatically that "of course" it matters that dogs are not humans. I'm curious what about a dog's consciousness and ability to feel pain makes it ok to shoot it for sport, while this is categorically unacceptable for a human, even one that is extraordinarily developmentally disabled or even comatose. "But they aren't human" is a common refrain. Its talismanic invocation does not lend it moral weight, though. Instead, you should explain why membership in a different species--capable of fear, pain, and consciousness--changes everything for you.

Barkley

Posted by: Barkely | Aug 10, 2012 6:36:06 PM

If a neighbor had photographed this abuse occurring, and disseminated that picture on the internet, would the dog's owner be entitled to restitution to all of those that had re-abused the dog by seeing a picture of someone else abusing it?

Posted by: AnonymousOne | Aug 10, 2012 6:38:20 PM

I don't think we are spending enough on this miscreant. After his prison sentence, he should be placed on a registry, prohibited from going anywhere where dogs frequent or within 1000 feet of any shelter or pound, and prohibited from owning any materials that depict dogs, whether being abused or otherwise (so as not to whet his appetite). Nobody should ever employ him, flyers should be distributed with his picture, and every attempt made to ensure that his life is forever a living hell.

Posted by: AnonymousOne | Aug 10, 2012 6:42:18 PM

TarlsQtr, my point was that dogs are like kids. Don't abuse them and they will bestow unconditional love and loyalty on you for life. Mess with my dog and I'll go all rodsmith on you.

As to your Reefer Madness comment, 2 years may have been more than enough in that case since it sounds like an accident. This animal abuse case may be too long. I'm not omniscient unless I watch enough FoxNews and I can't recall FoxNews telling me what to think about these two cases.

Posted by: George | Aug 10, 2012 7:53:31 PM

Barkely stated: "I am not "comparing" a dog to a human, so I have little idea what you are even talking about or what you have taken offense at."

If the following comment is a not comparison between animals and people, nothing is: "Pets are Chattel. True. But so were slaves at one point." If it isn't, then your statement makes no sense.

You stated: "I was saying--and this is scientifically undisputed--that a dog, like many other animals, is conscious and feels pain. I made the further point that these things make a moral difference."

Makes a difference with what?

You stated: "Instead, you should explain why membership in a different species--capable of fear, pain, and consciousness--changes everything for you."

Actually, you need to explain why fear, pain, and consciousness alone are the criteria for making a life sacred, valuable, etc. You see, you are going down the same road as your progressive forefathers, a road that leads to nowhere but evil. When you devalue a human life to equate with a dog, it is just as easy to make the argument that a human life is worth less than a dog. Your comment about a person who is "extraordinarily developmentally disabled or even comatose" displays this sick mindset. Before you know it, a healthy dog is worth more than a developmentally disabled person and they are killed. Guffaw if you must, but your Progressive ilk used this very theory to sterilize minorities (Margaret Sanger called them "human weeds") and exterminate millions of "undesirables" just last century. The spirits of dirtbags like Sanger and GB Shaw are with us in the form of people like you.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Aug 10, 2012 9:53:04 PM

George stated: "As to your Reefer Madness comment, 2 years may have been more than enough in that case since it sounds like an accident."

Yep. It was an "accident". She slipped and the lit joint fell into her mouth, causing her to drive over her goddaughter while high.

You stated: "I'm not omniscient unless I watch enough FoxNews and I can't recall FoxNews telling me what to think about these two cases."

Yeah, but Rachel Maddow was kind enough to tell you.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Aug 10, 2012 9:56:23 PM

"If the following comment is a not comparison between animals and people, nothing is: "Pets are Chattel. True. But so were slaves at one point." If it isn't, then your statement makes no sense."

The point is that simply viewing something as chattel does not somehow make it morally acceptable to do terrible things to them. The point is that we have been wrong before by devaluing, and we are doing it here too. I am not stating that dogs are morally equivalent to humans. You are fighting a position I've never taken.

"Actually, you need to explain why fear, pain, and consciousness alone are the criteria for making a life sacred, valuable, etc."

I never, ever said that these were the sole criteria that make life valuable. Higher-order intelligence, such as that found in humans, makes life very valuable. But surely the ability to feel pain and fear, and the possession of consciousness, have something to do with what makes life valuable.

"You see, you are going down the same road as your progressive forefathers, a road that leads to nowhere but evil. When you devalue a human life to equate with a dog, it is just as easy to make the argument that a human life is worth less than a dog. Your comment about a person who is "extraordinarily developmentally disabled or even comatose" displays this sick mindset. Before you know it, a healthy dog is worth more than a developmentally disabled person and they are killed. Guffaw if you must, but your Progressive ilk used this very theory to sterilize minorities (Margaret Sanger called them "human weeds") and exterminate millions of "undesirables" just last century. The spirits of dirtbags like Sanger and GB Shaw are with us in the form of people like you."

This is so offensive and off-base, that I am beginning to see what Bill Otis means about ad hominem here. I am not arguing that human life is worth less than a dog, nor did I ever make that argument. I am arguing that does are worth more than nothing. I don't think we should kill dogs, or humans, or anyone or anything else, unless it is necessary to do so. I find it almost laughable that you accuse me--a person that abhors killing, pain, and suffering in all of its forms--of being evil. You can only get their by twisting my statements and claiming I've made arguments I have not. And, of course, calling me names.

I'm curious what principled basis you have for claiming that a severely mentally disabled or comatose person has a right to live. Lacking intelligence characteristic of humans, and possessing fear, capacity for pain, and consciousness, I wonder what is left. I know what is left for me--all life is valuable, and suffering and death should never happen unless necessary.

Posted by: AnonymousOne | Aug 10, 2012 10:27:49 PM

This is the next frontier in lawyer rent seeking. Personhood for animals and all attendant rights, including the right to sue in torts. Marriage to animals is next after gay marriage is affirmed by the conservative but rent seeking Supreme Court. Animals are the perfect lawyer client, silent, and unknowing of anything.

I will argue that granting such rights to cute mammals is speciesism and phyllism. I see no legal difference between bacteria and baby seals. All want to live and have children. I will support legislation requiring a fair hearing and a court order before any housewife can wipe her kitchen counter with a bleach soaked towel, thus devastating and disrupting the lives of trillions of bacteria.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Aug 10, 2012 11:56:59 PM

AnonymousOne/Barkley/Whoever stated: "The point is that simply viewing something as chattel does not somehow make it morally acceptable to do terrible things to them. I am not stating that dogs are morally equivalent to humans. You are fighting a position I've never taken."

Yes, you did. In order to argue that harming animals is wrong, you brought up slavery, comparing chattel animals with chattel people (slavery). It is clear as day.

You stated (my stressors in parentheses): "The point is that we have been wrong before by devaluing (PEOPLE), and we are doing it here too (ANIMALS)."

Nope, not comparing the two at all...

You stated: "I never, ever said that these [fear, pain, and consciousness] were the sole criteria that make life valuable."

They sure are the ones you mentioned (my emphasis): "Instead, you should explain why membership in a different species--capable of FEAR, PAIN, and CONSCIOUSNESS--changes everything for you."

You stated: "I am not arguing that human life is worth less than a dog, nor did I ever make that argument. I am arguing that does are worth more than nothing."

Nor did I ever claim you made that argument. It is a straw man. What I DID say was that your manner of thinking LEADS DOWN THAT PATH. As I said, it "leads to nowhere but evil" and I am correct.

You stated: "I find it almost laughable that you accuse me--a person that abhors killing, pain, and suffering in all of its forms--of being evil."

First, I accused you of no such thing. Again, I correctly claimed that your manner of thinking leads to evil. It led to a holocaust, forced sterilizations, etc.

Secondly, what is your position on euthanasia, abortion, etc? Do you "abhor" these things?

PS I value human life, despite any flaws in intelligence, consciousness, etc. because we are made in God's image and contain immortal souls. Without this belief, there is absolutely zero rationale for not killing animals or humans indiscriminately. We are animals no better than a dog and we do not judge a dog immoral because he kills a squirrel. Why? Because that is what animals do. Without this belief, there is no morality.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Aug 11, 2012 12:57:56 AM

SC,

You are correct. I would point out that there are already countries that have or are attempting to give animals AND EVEN PLANTS the right to "sue" in court. In other words, they have personhood status. Again, this is right from the Progressive/eugenic seed from the last century.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Aug 11, 2012 1:02:18 AM

1) You are obsessed with a point I did not make even though I have told you it was not my point. You feel that your interpretation of my words supplants my own intent. I said we were wrong before in devaluing. Yes, we were wrong in devaluing humans. Now we are wrong in devaluing. This time, we are wrong in devaluaing animals. That does not mean that humans=animals. Is there not any way I could indicate that our devaluation judgments are suspect without you accusing me of equating the things that I feel we are devaluing? If that is really what is upsetting you so very much, then you can just consider this sentence: we are wrong in devaluing the lives of animals.

You acknowledge that I never stated that fear, pain, and consciousness were the sole criteria for valuing life. Instead, you complain that I focused on those. Of course I did. I was talking about animals. Animals don't have extremely high IQs, so I was not going to invoke that as a reason to value their lives. What did you expect me to do?

As for your statement that my line of thinking leads to forced sterilizations and Holocausts, that is utterly baseless and truly offensive. I challenge you to show me--step-by-step--how my abhorrence of all pain and suffering for any creature leads to any of those things. You must have missed the part where I said that I abhor all suffering, whether of animal or human. I'm curious how that leads us to the Holocaust. Perplexed, actually.

"Secondly, what is your position on euthanasia, abortion, etc? Do you "abhor" these things?"

I don't "abhor" euthanasia because I don't see any similarity between a terminally ill man choosing that he wished not to live his own life and man being gunned down on the street on the whim of some psychopath. Euthanasia is not an example of someone being harmed against their will. As for abortion--yes, it does trouble me. I've agonized over that.

You said that the spirit of dirtbags is in the form of people like me. That was simply unfair, unnecessary, hostile, and immature. I'd like to think the world would be a better place if more people detested pain and suffering as much as I do.

As for your religious reasons for valuing human life, that is an entirely different story and an entirely separate debate. That is a metaphysical claim, where I was discussing scientific ones. Obviously, I cannot determine whether a dog, or human, or anyone or anything is created in god's image. I don't know how I could ever determine that. I'll leave the perilous exercise to others. I don't need to see god's image in a man to know not to kill him.

Posted by: AnonymousOne | Aug 11, 2012 1:58:07 AM

TarlsQtr ◘ 10 Aug 2012 Fri 14:51:20
Drive over your goddaughter while high on marijuana and kill her, 2 years.

Perhaps .
Mothers in southern Ohio have cooked their own children to death in closed vehicles and NO charges filed .

[email protected]
Nemo Me Impune Lascessit

Posted by: Anon. 2.71828 | Aug 11, 2012 10:37:40 AM

I think that there is more to this story.

Illinois has, basically, three classes of animal cruelty: (1) Cruel Treatment (which includes beating an animal), a Class A misdemeanor; (2) Aggravated Animal Cruelty (includes beating causing death or SBI),a Class 4 felony (1-3 years); and (3) Animal Torture, a Class 3 felony (2-5 years).

I don't particularly have a problem with genuine Animal Torture having a 2-5 year sentence ...but what Wesolaski did sounds a lot more like Cruel Treatment or Aggravated Cruelty than it does Animal Torture.

I don't think you can really compare sentences without looking at credit time; Illinois offers 1 for 1 good time for this offense, meaning that the actual time served in this case would be 15 months, and may be more like 10 months depending on what educational programs are available. AFAIK, Vick will be required to serve 85% of his sentence, or 19.5 months.

Given that the minimum sentence for the offense to which Wesolaski pled guilty was 24 months, a 30 month sentence seems a reasonable enhancement for someone who was on probation at the time he committed this offense.

Again, though, I do find it strange that he pled guilty to this particular offense.

Posted by: PeterW. | Aug 11, 2012 2:12:53 PM

Posted by: TarlsQtr : Guffaw if you must, but your Progressive ilk used this very theory to sterilize minorities (Margaret Sanger called them "human weeds") and exterminate millions of "undesirables" just last century. The spirits of dirtbags like Sanger and GB Shaw are with us in the form of people like you.

Let's take a closer look at that. Most conservatives think states' right should trump SCOTUS and SCOTUS should mind its own business. So let's look at Skinner v. Oklahoma ex rel. Williamson - 316 U.S. 535 (1942) for an example of "states' rights."

Oklahoma's line between larceny by fraud and embezzlement is determined, as we have noted, "with reference to the time when the fraudulent intent to convert the property to the taker's own use" arises. Riley v. State, supra, 64 Okla.Cr. at p. 189, 78 P.2d p. 715. We have not the slightest basis for inferring that that line has any significance in eugenics, nor that the inheritability of criminal traits follows the neat legal distinctions which the law has marked between those two offenses. In terms of fines and imprisonment, the crimes of larceny and embezzlement rate the same under the Oklahoma code. Only when it comes to sterilization are the pains and penalties of the law different. The equal protection clause would indeed be a formula of empty words if such conspicuously artificial lines could be drawn. See Smith v. Wayne Probate Judge, 231 Mich. 409, 420-421, 204 N.W. 40. In Buck v. Bell, supra, the Virginia statute was upheld though it applied only to feeble-minded persons in institutions of the State. But it was pointed out that,

"so far as the operations enable those who otherwise must be kept confined to be returned to the world, and thus open the asylum to others, the equality aimed at will be more nearly reached."

274 U.S. p. 274 U. S. 208. Here there is no such saving feature. Embezzlers are forever free. Those who steal or take in other ways are not. If such a classification were permitted, the technical common law concept of a "trespass" (Bishop, Criminal Law, 9th ed., vol. 1, §§ 566, 567) based on distinctions which are "very largely dependent upon history for explanation" (Holmes, The Common Law, p. 73) could readily become a rule of human genetics.

Posted by: George | Aug 11, 2012 3:10:14 PM

Barkely/AnonymousOne stated: "You are obsessed with a point I did not make even though I have told you it was not my point. You feel that your interpretation of my words supplants my own intent."

It has nothing to do with my "interpretation" of your words. It is what they clearly said. If they did not properly reflect your "intent", that is on you, not me. Now that you have backtracked your statements, we can move on from that point.

You stated: "As for your statement that my line of thinking leads to forced sterilizations and Holocausts, that is utterly baseless and truly offensive. I challenge you to show me--step-by-step--how my abhorrence of all pain and suffering for any creature leads to any of those things."

Again, my argument is a slave to your words. If you TRULY believe what you stated above, the line is fairly simple. The "abhorrence of ALL pain and suffering for any creature" can only lead in one direction, that killing an animal is immoral for any reason. The cow in the slaughterhouse feels pain, as does the chicken, pig, lamb, etc. Like it or not, this does put them on the same pedestal as a human life. From there, it is a very small step to unbelievably despicable comments like, "I'm curious what about a dog's consciousness and ability to feel pain makes it ok to shoot it for sport, while this is categorically unacceptable for a human, even one that is extraordinarily developmentally disabled or even comatose." Once the "extraordinarily developomentally disabled or even comatose" are at this point in your thinking, watch out. This is what Hitler thought about them too.

You stated: "I don't "abhor" euthanasia because I don't see any similarity between a terminally ill man choosing that he wished not to live his own life and man being gunned down on the street on the whim of some psychopath. Euthanasia is not an example of someone being harmed against their will."

Why does it have to be "similar" to a gunman to be wrong? Second, no, many (most?)cases of euthanasia occur without the consent of the victim (Hospice alone kills millions per year by overdosing with narcotics.) And again, your words (my emphasis), "I find it almost laughable that you accuse me--a person that abhors KILLING, pain, and suffering IN ALL OF ITS FORMS--..."

Euthanasia is a form of killing, correct? We found at least ONE type of killing you do not abhor. Why? Because they are less than human, demented, comatose sub-persons that you and your sick culture of death take it upon yourselves to "help" (and save healthcare costs).

You stated: "As for abortion--yes, it does trouble me. I've agonized over that."

Sure, it "troubles" you but let me guess. You are pro-"choice" (death), correct? Could we have found another case where you are not against "all" killing? And again, why are people pro-death? Because a Down's baby's life is not worth living, fetuses do not have "consciousness", or do not "feel pain" until 20 weeks, etc. You find an excuse to define them as less than human, which is what I said in my earlier posts.

You stated: "I'll leave the perilous exercise to others. I don't need to see god's image in a man to know not to kill him."

Yet, the incoherence of your argument and the progressive history of the last 100 years explains clearly why you should be seeking to see His image. There is no coherent case for valuing a human life without it.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Aug 11, 2012 9:15:34 PM

Tarls,

You still utterly fail to explain how someone who thinks all suffering and pain is bad and should only be inflicted when absolutely necessary--me--can somehow lead society down the line to the parade of horrs you list. Your primary argument is that if animals and humans are both entitled not to be harmed (which you derogatorily deem to be equating them in all respects), somehow that means that humans can be harmed. Obviously, this is nonsense and plainly violates the rule I adhere to. If I believe both should not be harmed, that is what I believe, not that humans can be harmed. Let me be very clear, because you don't seem to get it. I am against pain and suffering against sentient entities PERIOD. For dogs, for pigs, for Einstein, for fetuses, for criminals, for the average person, religious, atheists, republicans, democrats, dolphins. Again, I challenge you to contort this very clear, very categorical statement into one that will lead to genocide or infanticide or eugenics or anything else you've accused my thinking of leading to.

As for your metaphysical position, it is quite problematic. Putting aside the entire debate about the veracity of Judeo-Christian religion, which is obviously beyond the scope of this conversation, I think you are going to find your theory has one big problem, for starters. On your theory, it seems that creation in the image of god is all that matters. If there were an alien species that landed on Earth and were just as intelligent and empathetic as humans, but an utterly different form of life, I suppose they could be killed, because all that seems to matter is membership in homo sapien, which has been endowed (so you say) with the image of god. That is a very, very problematic view, and a dangerous one. In fact, that is precisely the way many have been able to subject others to harm. Dehumanize them. The Nazis did it, and we did it here with blacks. It wasn't because the Nazis thought that animals should have rights, or because slaveholders thought that dolphins should be saved. It was because they dehumanized people. That's what happens when membership in the class of humans takes on this talismanic significance.

As for euthanasia, it is very different than any of the other examples you gave. Even conservative and religious thinkers agree with that. Obviously, if there is euthanasia without consent, that is abhorrent. That is murder. But if a terminally ill man in incredible pain decides after great deliberation that he does not wish to persist in that state, that is radically different than any of the unconsenting killings you've described and does not raise the same moral concerns.

Posted by: AnonymousOne | Aug 11, 2012 9:57:19 PM

AnonymousOne stated: "You still utterly fail to explain how someone who thinks all suffering and pain is bad and should only be inflicted when absolutely necessary--me--can somehow lead society down the line to the parade of horrs you list."

I did not fail to, I did so quite clearly. And your "absolutely necessary" is a fairly new evolution of your argument, which you stated earlier was (emphasis mine), "I find it almost laughable that you accuse me--a person that abhors KILLING, pain, and suffering IN ALL OF ITS FORMS--..." You obviously went from an absolutist position to one slightly easier to defend. Why you did so is not too difficult to figure out.

You stated: "I am against pain and suffering against sentient entities PERIOD. For dogs, for pigs, for Einstein, for fetuses, for criminals, for the average person, religious, atheists, republicans, democrats, dolphins. Again, I challenge you to contort this very clear, very categorical statement into one that will lead to genocide or infanticide or eugenics or anything else you've accused my thinking of leading to."

Sigh. The only distorions are coming from you...

It saddened me that you cannot see how elevating animals to the same level as humans results in the degredation of humans. And, yes, you are putting them on an equal plain when you make a "very categorical statement" that killing/causing pain to all animals and humans is wrong. If all killing is wrong, then killing a lamb to feed a child is also wrong. When killing is wrong, killing an animal to make diabetes medicine is wrong. The rights of those animals eventually TRUMP the needs of humans. My view is that I would personally cut the throat of every dog in the world if it just saved one HIV positive crack whore prostitute.

Your ET argument is one of the silliest I have ever seen. When he comes here trying to make a phone from a "Speak and Spell", we can talk. Until then, just ponder the theory that you may be taking "God's image" a little too literally. I do not expect that he is an old guy with a flowing white robe and a bushy gray beard. You apparently do.

You stated: "Dehumanize them."

Yep. Make equal with animals. It is irrelevant if you do this by lowering humans or raising animals.

You stated: "As for euthanasia, it is very different than any of the other examples you gave. Even conservative and religious thinkers agree with that."

Really? Name them. Now sure it is a truism in the sense that surely SOME "religious thinkers" may have that position, but what mainstream orthodox religious do? I know the largest Christian organization in the world does not.

And your earlier statement was that ALL killing is wrong. Euthanasia, voluntary or not, is "killing." Your arguments are necessarily like water because it has to be fluid enough to fit into the shape of whatever point you need to make at the time.

And why no answer regarding your position on abortion?

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Aug 12, 2012 2:18:52 PM

TarlsQtr" "My view is that I would personally cut the throat of every dog in the world if it just saved one HIV positive crack whore prostitute."

Yeah, because you want to see her spend years and years in prison. It's like treating an attempted suicide on death row so we can kill him/her. This is what the FoxNewsies think compassion is.

There is nothing more fun and rewarding than pulling them out of their loony-bin closet like this.

Posted by: Winston "Troll" Smith | Aug 12, 2012 3:23:39 PM

"I did not fail to, I did so quite clearly."

No. You took people that seem to believe that animals have a greater right to live than certain humans and felt that some humans had no right to live, and confused them with me. Just tell me. Which part of my abhoring killing in all its forms means that I tolerate killing in many or any of its forms? Tell me who I am going to kill given that I hate killing.

"You obviously went from an absolutist position to one slightly easier to defend."

Wrong. I abhor killing. If I kill out of necessity, that doesn't mean I love it. The two are consistent. If I had to kill, in war or self-defense, I would abhor having to do so, though I would recognize its necessity. Who likes killing?

"Your ET argument is one of the silliest I have ever seen."

Actually, I was trying to get you beyond dogmatic pronouncements to articulate what it is, to you, that makes life valuable, and what fails to make it valuable. I am not arguing that an alien life form is going to come down. I am instead showing you the lack of justification/principle/articulation in your statement about being in the image of god.

With respect to your arguments about medical experimentation or feeding a child, necessity may permit those as legitimate concerns. What you fail to address, however, is the vast degree of entirely unnecessary killing that occurs. Every day, thousands of animals die because humans decide it is an enjoyable sport to end their lives. Tell me what principle to which you ascribe tolerates such an incredible amount of death and suffering.

As for euthanasia, I did not claim that mainstream religious thinkers believe it accaptable, but that many agree it is a different case than unconsenting killing. There are arguments against euthanasia, but many recognize, and have to contend with, the important difference of consent. For specific sources, I must consult some older texts I've read, and get back to you. But I am not saying that these religious figures have accepted euthanasia.

On abortion, I made my position clear, listing fetuses among those entities that I believe should be spared from unnecessary harm. My position is that abortion is bad and should only occur out of necessity (or in case of rape, but for a very different reason).

As I said, it seems the dividing line for you--the entireity of your argument, your principle--is what the Bible says. That I cannot argue with, as it forecloses all rational argument. It is not a matter of logic or rationality. You don't want to discuss the characteristics that make life meaningful, because it seems you don't have any principled conception of them. Instead, you are just saying that humans are to be valued more highly, and animals not valued much at all, because a book says dogmatically that such is the case. Obviously, we are speaking past one another. The book could just as easily say anything, and I can't debate it.

I can only be thankful that this book which is the beginning and end of your argument drew the line at animal suffering. While it permits extraordinary suffering for animals out of no necessity whatsoever, at least your interpretation of it--though not others' interpretation of it--at least puts all humans out of harm's way. Of course, others might read the countless wars and endless killings of many of its books, including by righteous persons acting in extraordinary vengance and killing entire towns for the sins of some, as a sign that much of human life is not valuable.

AO

Posted by: AnonymousOne | Aug 12, 2012 3:28:38 PM

Troll,

There is nothing more rewarding than being called an extremist by someone whose position is in a very small minority.

Saving humans over animals is not much of a "Sophie's Choice" for those with even a dollup of common sense.

And good or bad, Fox News has higher ratings than all of the lefty networks combined, including MSNBC, "Democracy Now!", NPR, or whatever nutjob channel you watch.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Aug 12, 2012 5:22:22 PM

Anonymous One stated: "Which part of my abhoring killing in all its forms means that I tolerate killing in many or any of its forms? Tell me who I am going to kill given that I hate killing."

Bull. You cannot make up your mind one way or another, vacillating between "all killing" and "unless necessary".

You stated: "I am instead showing you the lack of justification/principle/articulation in your statement about being in the image of god."

Well, you sure did a miserable job of it.

You stated: "Every day, thousands of animals die because humans decide it is an enjoyable sport to end their lives. Tell me what principle to which you ascribe tolerates such an incredible amount of death and suffering."

And every person I know who does so does it because it is a nuisance or eats the animal. Just curious, do you kill vermin that get into your home or are you dumbing down the meaning of necessity again? Herein lies your problem. You consistently dumb down the meaning of "necessity" to suit your current need. You kill for the same or even less noble reasons than I do. The difference is that I do not project faux nobility about my position.

You stated: "As for euthanasia, I did not claim that mainstream religious thinkers believe it accaptable, but that many agree it is a different case than unconsenting killing."

Many agree? How many? Again, the largest Christian organization in the world disagrees.

You stated: "On abortion, I made my position clear, listing fetuses among those entities that I believe should be spared from unnecessary harm. My position is that abortion is bad and should only occur out of necessity (or in case of rape, but for a very different reason)."

Again, you dumb down "necessity" again to be perfectly meaningless. Ron Paul has delivered 4000 babies and says he has never seen an abortion that was "necessary." And your last clause blows my mind. What the he!! is "necessary" about aborting the baby of a rape victim? Heck, I obviously treasure human life more than you do.

The rest is just a bigoted tirade against religion, based on little in the way of fact, logic, or reason that you claim is so important to you.

You obviously do not believe in a deity. Fine, but I must ask you then, on what basis is your morality based? Without a God, we are just another species of animals. You claim to "abhor" killing. What makes your opinion any more "correct" than the guy who wants to kill you to get your car? Every other species of animal kills for selfishness, why shouldn't homosapiens? You claim to have a morality based upon reason and logic, yet it is REALLY only based upon your own opinion, which is no more relevant than that of Charles Manson if we are all just "animals."

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Aug 12, 2012 5:52:34 PM

"Bull. You cannot make up your mind one way or another, vacillating between "all killing" and "unless necessary"."

You still don't offer a response. Tell me clearly how my abhorrence of all killing is consistent with killing. Just give me an example of how I will be killing someone given my abhorrence of killing. I keep asking you, and you keep failing to do so. Importantly, you do not even respond to my claim that abhorring killing and believing killing to be justified when necessary are inconsistent. As I wrote, even when killing is necessary--such as in war--it is still something to hate to have to do. With no response, your focus on my alleged "vacillating" between two consistent beliefs is a smokescreen. Take these two premises: "I don't want to kill animals" and "I don't want to kill humans" and explain how you can combine them to get to "I can kill humans."

"Well, you sure did a miserable job of it."

Perhaps to your mind. I wonder if others are curious how your "image of god" argument is actually principled if it relies not on any feature of humanity (that any other entity might share), but on an undetectable feature which you are aware of because of a book.

"And every person I know who does so does it because it is a nuisance or eats the animal."

Surely you wouldn't disagree that many people, here and throughout the world, kill animals not because of nuisance, and not for food, but simply for target practice or sport. I can't speak to the hunters you know, but I doubt you can disagree with this statement. In fact, I no of a number of such people. How do you justify that obviously unnecessary pain and suffering?

As for vermin, there is a principled basis to distinguish them. Many do not share a developed mammals (actual or potential) capacity for consciousness. Moreover, I actually do try to avoid killing vermin. Finally, the impracticality of a position does not mean that it loses moral force. That it might be hard for me to go through life without ever stealing does not mean stealing is acceptable.

I get that for you things are simple. Animals are not in the image of god, so they can be killed for any reason, or no reason. So could aliens that were exact mental equivalents to humans. You have a bright-line rule provided by a book.

On abortion, I said it should be permitted in cases of necessity. I did not say how many such cases there were. I have no idea. I am not a doctor. I don't see why Ron Paul's claim that it has never been necessary in his experience detracts from my statement. If it isn't necessary then, under my position, it should not be done. As for rape, I said that was different. I don't believe that there may be an exception for rape because of necessity. I agree, it is not "necessary." You just put those words into my mouth, even though I never said them. In fact, you completely ignored when I specified that it was "for a different reason." So if your mind is blown, it is because you are ignoring what I'm writing. That separate reason has been written about extensively (see the work of Judith Thompson), but it goes like this. If a man kidnaps you and tells you that you have a rare blood type and his son needs it, and thus he is hooking you up to his son for the next nine months, while the man's son is innocent, there is an argument that you need not remain hooked to him. While he has a right to life, he may not have one that trumps your own freedom/integreity. In a similar vein, if a child is placed into an unconsenting woman by force of rape, that child is innocent, but it still is not clear that the mother's body may be used, against her will, to support him. Now, you may feel that in the kidnap case, you do have an obligation to stay connected to the child, in which case this argument fails. If you don't believe you must, though, the argument has force. But that is really beyond the scope of our discussion.

"The rest is just a bigoted tirade against religion, based on little in the way of fact, logic, or reason that you claim is so important to you."

Strange. What exactly is bigoted about it? I spent years in seminary studying religious texts. There is no doubt of much vengeful bloodshed (indeed wholesale killing of enemies' children and animals) cast in an acceptable light. There are also portions containing extremely progressive and advanced moral views. It is a complex book. For how many years have you studied it? What do you make of these passages? How do you explain the countless theologians that have agonized over these things? How can you account for the varied ways in which the same exact text has been interpreted differently at different places and different times, even within the same religion? I think it very foolish to believe that the "image of god" proscription on killing is anywhere near as clear as you think.

You--as many others--are quite troubled by the possibility that without god, there is no "objective" morality. I think you assume, though without any evidence or justification, that there must be an objective morality. That we want it really badly doesn't make it exist. I really want an afterlife. I'd love it, because I don't want to be dead for eternity. If only I had the power to translate my deep emotional needs into metaphysical realities. I don't think it works that way. I don't like suffering. My own personal taste. I don't like when it is inflicted on me, and I assume others don't like when it is inflicted on them. And I've love to live in a society in which--in order to advance--we all agree not to harm each other, because none of us wants to be harmed. It's quite simple.

Is that arbitrary? Perhaps. Anything is. I base it on collective desire and social contract. You base it on god stating it. How is that less arbitrary? God is all-powerfull. Thus, he could easily have created a system with different morals. He created this one. He could have created any (unless you think he is bound by some rules, in which case I wonder where you suppose they came from, if not god). It is arbitrary all around.

Finally, on a personal note, from the beginning of this conversation, you have been quite nasty to me. Initially, you said that a spirit of evail was embodied in people like me, or something of that nature. You seem very angry. While you are entitled to feel however you want, I implore you to consider the reason for you immediate nastiness to me, which has persisted.

AO


Posted by: AnonymousOne | Aug 12, 2012 7:04:01 PM

AO, the problem is not me. It is that you claim an abhorrence of killing "when necessary" and then backtrack when questioned with specific situations. If you "abhor" abortion, there is no reason to support it, ever. If you "abhor" killing, there is no reason to euthanize a person, ever. If my assessment of you is wrong, it is because your definition of "necessary" is far different than your average person's. What you abhor is not killing, but killing for reasons that you disagree with. See below for an example:

"I don't believe that there may be an exception for rape because of necessity. I agree, it is not "necessary."

Yet, you still support it. In other words, you spent most of 30+ posts saying that all killing is immoral "unless necessary" and then go on to support a type of killing you later admit is not "necessary." Good grief. You want the moral gravitas of saying, "I am pro-life" without ever having to endure the convictions of actually BEING pro-life.

You stated: "I think it very foolish to believe that the "image of god" proscription on killing is anywhere near as clear as you think."

This has been a concept in Christianity since the Early Church Fathers. It may have changed with some of the Protestant Deformation followers but is still a popular concept much longer in the tooth and supported by much more brilliant men and women than your theory. I would be happy to dig into a theology discussion with you on this (or other) topic but this is not the place for it. Let me know.

You stated: "Finally, on a personal note, from the beginning of this conversation, you have been quite nasty to me. Initially, you said that a spirit of evail was embodied in people like me, or something of that nature. You seem very angry. While you are entitled to feel however you want, I implore you to consider the reason for you immediate nastiness to me, which has persisted."

Hogwash. This is faux indignation and offense that you CHOSE. I never called you evil, but your progressive ideology did come from evil people and leads to evil. I think communism is evil and leads to evil too, but I do not believe every communist is evil. This is why you use the rhetorical device called a weaseler and say I stated "something of that nature." Calling me "angry" and accusing me of "nastiness" is nothing but a defense mechanism against someone speaking truth. You are obviously no wallflower, so get out of the fetal position.

By far, the statement displaying the most "anger" and "nastiness" on this thread was implying that someone of faith uses no "logic" or "reason" (as if they are mutually exclusive of faith). Instead of still dwelling on it a day later, I pulled up my big boy pants and moved on.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Aug 12, 2012 8:28:09 PM

You have a fair point about one aspect of my necessity argument. It does admit of one exception. I don't think one must be enslaved sooner than kill. If a man puts a gun to my head and says, "you will serve as my slave unless you kill me," I do believe myself permitted to kill him, even though I am not at risk of death. In a similar vein, deadly force may be necessary to protect the integrity of one's property. That same principal extends to abortion and rape. So yes, I concede that my necessity principle admits of this exception. In this sense, necessity cannot, as I may have implied, be limited solely to the necessity of avoiding a death. But this is hardly surprising, nor inconsistent with religious theology. Nowhere does the Bible require me to remain enslaved rather than kill.

As for your accusation that I do not stand by pro-life conviction, I don't know how else to say it. Apparently, my abhorrence of abortion in most cases in which it is employed means nothing to you. I don't know what to tell you.

"This has been a concept in Christianity since the Early Church Fathers. It may have changed with some of the Protestant Deformation followers but is still a popular concept much longer in the tooth and supported by much more brilliant men and women than your theory."

It really doesn't matter how long the theory has existed, or what minds hundreds of years ago supported it. If that were justification enough, I might have to subscribe to Aristotle's patently false scientific theories. In any event, you admit it has changed within Christianity. Moreover, it is quite inconsistent with much of the Old Testament. I don't know how you begin to explain that. Either we are created in god's image, or we aren't. It shouldn't change from place to place or time to time or book to book. And it can't possibly justify killing the chilren, relatives, and animals of enemies, which portions of the Old Testament clearly relate as having been committed by the forefathers of our religion. It doesn't add up. Even if the Old Testament accepted your principle, it wouldn't stand for the proposition for which you invoke it. There are many instances of vurtually unjustifiable homicide in the Old Testament despite, as you allege, this age-old universal truth of godly imagehood. Plainly, to the extent it even is accepted, it didn't mean much in the times of the Old Testament. It may be more consistent with the New Testament, but unfortunately in this instance Christians decided to adopt the ancient Jewish scripture, which clearly evinces a very different moral worldview.

Here is one of the things you said: "The spirits of dirtbags like Sanger and GB Shaw are with us in the form of people like you." That is pretty offensive, plain and simple. It has not stopped me from discussion, so I don't have to "pull up my big boy pants," but that machismo is really no excuse for being uncivil. It doesn't take much, and I'd expect it of a man created in god's image.

Finaly, I didn't accuse religious persons of not using reason writ large. I accused your invocation of the "image of god" concept as "areasonable." It is a metaphysical statement impossible to verify or falsify, and it is a conversation ender. The conversation starts and ends there, because what else can be said? It may be true, but it's not a matter of logic or reason.

Posted by: AnonymousOne | Aug 12, 2012 9:59:22 PM

AO stated: "As for your accusation that I do not stand by pro-life conviction, I don't know how else to say it."

When you support the abortion of a baby because you equate such a condition as being slavery, well, you said it all in a manner that cannot even BEGIN to be described as "pro-life." The logic behind it is dumbfounding. Essentially, you are saying that a heinous crime was committed, so in order to mitigate the original crime, we are going to commit a crime that is exponentially more heinous. Murder is worse than rape, correct? In addition, it is not even clear that an abortion would not do even MORE damage to the mother than the original crime did, with all of the guilt associated with choosing to take the life of your own child.

Furthermore, your "slavery" metaphor is absurd. Even if you want to take the culture of death position that pregnancy is a "medical condition" akin to "slavery", it is one that "cures" itself after approximately 9 months, when the baby can be given up. It is a warped worldview that sees murder as a better option than 9 months of inconvenience.

You stated: "That is pretty offensive, plain and simple."

How so? Personally, I also believe the "spirits of dirtbags like Mao, Stalin, and Che" are with us in the form of Hillary and our Boy King as well. That does not mean I believe they killed 100 million people. Get a grip.

You stated: "It has not stopped me from discussion, so I don't have to "pull up my big boy pants," but that machismo is really no excuse for being uncivil. It doesn't take much, and I'd expect it of a man created in god's image."

And I would expect a moral giant to quote me properly. I referred to MYSELF pulling up my big boy pants, not you.

You stated: "Finaly, I didn't accuse religious persons of not using reason writ large."

Really? THIS is what you said above, just yesterday (my emphasis): "As I said, it seems the dividing line for you--the entireity of your argument, your principle--is what the Bible says. That I cannot argue with, as [The Bible] FORECLOSES ALL RATIONAL ARGUMENT. It is NOT A MATTER OF LOGIC OR RATIONALITY."

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Aug 13, 2012 5:58:42 PM

"It is a warped worldview that sees murder as a better option than 9 months of inconvenience."

So do you agree, then, that if a man kidnaps you and hooks you to his child, who requires your bloodtype for nine months, you are not morally permitted to escape? And that people can do that to you in perpetuity, because death is always worse than enslaving an innocent party. And that a woman who is repeatedly raped must perpetually carry children she never consented to have? If you agree with these things, I credit your consistency, but I don't share your view, nor do I think many religions require slavery to save life.

When someone accuses me of possessing or embodying some spirit of evil, I do find it offensive. I take some comfort in sharing company with the Secretary of State, but still find it personally offensive and wholly uncessary to having a discussion. As for the big boy pants, I was not attempting to say you told me to pull up my pants. I was saying that like you, I pulled up my pants, but I shouldn't have had to, because you should not have insulted me.

On religion and reason, I said that your argument--that a book says it, so I must accept it--foreclosed rational argument. If you wanted to talk about why the book said it, or whether it was justified, or whether the book were true--all things that some religious people do--that would be a religiously inspired yet rational argument. But you just put it there, even though it raises a number of questions and is of very dubious provenance. In fact, you have not really responded to any of the questions I posed on the inconsistency of your image of god claim when compared to the old testament, or why this "truth" should have changed within any religion.

Posted by: AnonymousOne | Aug 13, 2012 8:49:33 PM

AO stated: "So do you agree, then, that if a man kidnaps you and hooks you to his child, who requires your bloodtype for nine months, you are not morally permitted to escape?"

And you think that this ridiculous example is comparable to abortion? Really? And you consider yourself a person that "abhors killing unless necessary" (and other sundry reasons to be added at a later date)? First it was space aliens and now this? I'll try REALLY HARD to take the rest of this discussion seriously...

You stated: "And that a woman who is repeatedly raped must perpetually carry children she never consented to have?"

I'll tell you what. Give me an example where a man was kidnapped, hooked to a child by transfusion for 9 months by the one person in the world who has not heard of a blood bank, and not permitted to escape and I will answer this absurd scenario. Until then, my eyes will be frozen on the evening sky looking for your space aliens.

Then, tell me about this woman who was raped repeatedly, forced to have child after child as a result of the rapes, whose only recourse for escape was to have an abortion.

You state: "If you agree with these things, I credit your consistency, but I don't share your view, nor do I think many religions require slavery to save life."

Hint: Pregnancy is not slavery. Pregnancy is not slavery. Pregnancy is not slavery. Pregnancy is not slavery. Pregnancy is not slavery. Is that enough?

In addition, the newest position you took last night/today creates anew logical contradiction for you. If pregnancy is slavery, it is an excuse to abort a baby at any point in the pregnancy. A woman may change her mind about having a baby 1,2,4, 8.5 months into the pregnancy. Are you advocating keeping her a "slave" for even 1 minute? How does your current statement jive with your previous? (emphasis added): On abortion, I made my position CLEAR, listing fetuses among those entities that I believe should be SPARED FROM UNNECESSARY HARM."

You stated: "When someone accuses me of possessing or embodying some spirit of evil, I do find it offensive."

As long as you understand that you are not given offense, you take offense. It is a choice all your own and I refuse to take responsibility for your action.

You stated: "I take some comfort in sharing company with the Secretary of State, but still find it personally offensive and wholly uncessary to having a discussion."

And you make my point EXACTLY. Here is how. Here are just some of Hillary Clinton's statements about Margaret Sanger:

"Now, I have to tell you that it was a great privilege when I was told that I would receive this award. I admire Margaret Sanger enormously, her courage, her tenacity, her vision ... I am really in awe of her."

Now let's look at the person that SoS Clinton is in awe of:

"“We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social service backgrounds and with engaging personalities … We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.”

Regarding minorities: "...human weeds,' 'reckless breeders,' 'spawning... human beings who never should have been born."

So, you "take comfort" in the fact that your beliefs are in line with a woman who is "in awe" of Margaret Sanger and expect me to apologize for saying there is a line from Sanger to you that is as bright as a spotlight?

You stated: "On religion and reason, I said that your argument--that a book says it, so I must accept it--"

When did I say that you "must accept it?" Please quote me directly and in context...

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Aug 13, 2012 10:16:13 PM

Oh, and something else for you. A picture of Sanger speaking to the KKK getting the "White Power" salute. Enjoy. I am sure Hillary is in "awe" of it.

http://margaretsanger.blogspot.com/2007/03/margaret-sanger-eliminate-human-weeds.html

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Aug 13, 2012 10:21:10 PM

TarlsQtr,

I am quite curious how a radically deformed and severely retarded child with almost no brain function from birth is created in the image of god. What exactly is that image, and what kind of twisted person conceived it as such?

Augustus Martini

Posted by: DrMartini | Aug 14, 2012 12:40:01 AM

Without getting into the theology (this is not the place for it), the problem is that you can be in the presence of such a person and only see "radically deformed" and "severely retarded."

It makes me cringe to think that someone like you is out there practicing medicine (assuming you are a medical doctor).

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Aug 14, 2012 8:18:03 AM

I can see you completely evaded the question.

The problem is not that I can only see that, or any other of the horrible things that afflict newborns which give them no chance of ever even maintaining consciousness (most die within a few hours), the problem is that god countenances such horrible deformities, or that people can look at such horror (which renders life and consciousness all but impossible) and somehow see the image of god, let alone one worth worshiping.

Again, if a radically deformed newborn with almost no brain function whatsoever which necessarily dies within hours of birth is created in the "image of god," I think that the phrase is really meaningless. But I'm open to hear your explanation.

Augustus Martini

Posted by: DrMartini | Aug 14, 2012 9:02:57 AM

Noting that this a sentencing and law blog is not the place to get into a theology discussion is not evading the question. Nor is noting that such a discussion with you would not bear fruit.

This has been a main premise of Western culture for thousands of years and, quite frankly, is what sets us apart from most of the rest of the world. That you and far less intelligent people now believe differently than those from the near and distant past (even Einstein believed in God)is not convincing.

But I do thank you for posting. Why? Because you make my point to Anonymous One brilliantly. Without God, human beings are reduced to appelations such as "radically deformed" and "severely retarded". First, we have to kill these children in order to "help" them. Then, it is the Downs babies that do not pass muster (92% of pre-natal Downs diagnoses result in an abortion). Then it is parents who do not want triplets, so they selectively abort 1-2 of the babies. Then, it is parents who want a towhead instead of brown hair. Then...

Again, if you want to speak theology, I am perfectly willing to do so in another forum. You only need to let me know and we can exchange email.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Aug 14, 2012 10:24:16 AM

Alright, Tarls, since this is a sentencing law and policy blog, perhaps you now can bring yourself to reply to the Skinner v. Oklahoma ex rel. Williamson - 316 U.S. 535 (1942) post above.

Syllabus

1. A statute of Oklahoma provides for the sterilization, by vasectomy or salpingectomy, of "habitual criminals" -- an habitual criminal being defined therein as any person who, having been convicted two or more times, in Oklahoma or in any other State, of "felonies involving moral turpitude," is thereafter convicted and sentenced to imprisonment in Oklahoma for such a crime. Expressly excepted from the terms of the statute are certain offenses, including embezzlement. As applied to one who was convicted once of stealing chickens and twice of robbery, held that the statute violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. P. 316 U. S. 537.

Posted by: George | Aug 14, 2012 11:52:09 PM

What am I supposed to reply to? Do you suspect I would support such a law?

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Aug 14, 2012 11:58:14 PM

TarlsQtr,

I have a few questions as I consider your "image of god" argument.

1. How do you know that man is created in the image of god? What is the evidence for that position?
2. I thought God was not a physical entity, and thus had no image. What then could it possibly mean that man is created in his image?
3. What does being created in god's image have to do with right to life? Why does it grant humans the right to life? Why are those not in god's image without a right to life? Why is that the deciding characteristic? And how do you know this?
4. God is worlds greater than us. In fact, He is beyond comparison. How can you have the arrogance to claim that mere mortals are created in His image? How could anyone have that arrogance?
5. So that I know on which entities I can wantonly inflict death, can you please tell me how one determines whether a particular creature is endowed with the image of god. Also, please tell me how you know this.

Thanks,

VI

Posted by: VillageIdiot | Aug 18, 2012 3:45:57 PM

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