Friday, October 20, 2017

Modest is Hottest

Encouraging women to dress modestly doesn’t excuse sex crime any more than urging people to stay away from a dangerous street excuses mugging.

Academic research (not to mention common sense) points to the role that modest dressing plays in reducing - though not eliminating - the likelihood of falling victim to sexual crime. In Vali and Rizzo’s apparently well-cited 1991 study, a large majority of psychiatrists expressed the belief that revealing attire puts young women at risk of sex crimes. Numerous studies have shown that people infer (correctly or otherwise) sexual information about a woman from her dressing style (e.g., see Lennon et al. 2017). I do know of one study - a 2010 survey of Israeli college students - that seems to contradict what I’m arguing. Moor finds no significant relationship between dressing style and sexual victimization. However, setting aside the question of whether these findings hold relevance for Americans, it’s noteworthy that victims were evidently not asked about their attire at the time of their victimization.

Sex crime is one of many issues that highlights the frequent tension between freedom and safety, forcing each of us to decide which of these two should weigh more heavily. I personally choose a woman’s safety over her freedom to dress immodestly. In many regards (pornography being another example), "sexual freedom" endangers women, plain and simple.  

To put it boldly, I, a social conservative, just might be a stronger proponent of women's safety than today's feminists.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Another Foolish Atheist Meme

Here's another absurd meme.

There are times at which I think that the so-called "new atheists" should first be introduced to logic before the Logos.

Memes like this betray ignorance not only of religion, but also of the kind of logic on which sound science depends. To test a theory correctly, the scientist must ensure that there's test validity; that is, he must ensure that his test accurately measures what it’s intended to measure. By the same exact logic, if one wishes to "measure" a religion's validity, he must first "operationalize" it correctly. That is, he must understand what a religion actually teaches before he sets out to evaluate the teaching. The "new atheists" fail to do this at nearly every turn.

What religion teaches the false dichotomy that a disease is cured by either God or man? At the most, you’d need Wikipedia - certainly not a theology degree - to learn that Christians believe that God normally works through his creation, even the worst of it (after all, their own scriptures record that God's will to suffer on our behalf was partially accomplished through the treachery of one of his very own disciples). When you hear someone say, “Thank God,” do you assume that he’s claiming to have witnessed God appear and directly benefit him in some way? Of course not. Christians (and I imagine adherents of most faiths) believe that all good things come from God, either directly or (in most cases) indirectly.

Monday, October 9, 2017

On the Apparent Contradiction Between the Human and Divine Wills

God does not predestine people to be either good or evil. What he does predestine, it seems to me, is the spatio-temporal placement of good and evil people so as to ensure the fulfillment of his divine plan.

Herein, moreover, lies the key to solving the apparent paradox between free will and there being a divine plan. Suppose I decide to throw a party. I would choose to invite those who are likely to contribute to its fun, and exclude those who are not. In doing so, I would deprive no one of his freedom to either spread joy or kill it; I would simply be using my limited power to situate joyful and joyless people in such a way as to render my intended outcome - i.e., a joyous party - more likely.

Few people will think it extraordinary if my plan succeeds. Why, then, do many atheists see a contradiction between free will and there being a divine plan? If we posit a God who is omniscient and omnipotent, then we should have no difficulty in understanding how he could have an even clearer foreknowledge of those who will use their freedom to contribute to his intended outcome, as well as an even greater power to ensure that they are situated at the right place and time to cooperate with him in fulfilling his divine plan.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Loving One's Enemies

"A certain monk went to Abba Silouan and said to him: 'Father, I have an enemy who has done me many injuries; he seized my land before I left the world, and he often sought to harm me, and now he has hired sorcerers to poison me. Therefore, I am thinking of turning him into the magistrate.' The Elder responded: 'Do as you please, my son.' The brother continued: 'In fact, Abba, his soul will benefit greatly if he is punished.' 'Do as you think best, my son,' repeated the Elder. At that the brother said: 'Arise, Father, let us offer a prayer and then I shall go to the magistrate.' They got up and as they prayed...the Elder said: 'And forgive us not our trespasses, as we forgive not those who trespass against us.' 'Father, that is not how it goes,' interrupted the brother. 'Yes it is, my son. In fact, if you want to go to the magistrate and seek justice for yourself, Silouan has no other prayer to say for you.' Upon hearing this, the brother made a prostration and forgave his enemy." 

- Evergetinos, Hypothesis 37 (quoted in Hieromonk Gregorios, Love Your Enemies)

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Perhaps We Should Give Cam Newton a Break

This picture is objectively funny.  Why?  Because one doesn't normally see a poodle posing next to a skateboard.  Very often (if not always), there's an element of the unexpected in that which we find funny.  Evidently Cam Newton isn't accustomed to a female reporter inquiring on route-running abilities.  Without implying that such an inquiry is as rare as a skateboarding poodle, it appears that he didn't expect such a question from her, and it therefore struck him as funny.  Not a big deal (although I should admit that Newton should have known enough to restrain himself, not least because he majored in sociology). He's not necessarily a sexist merely for having laughed.  

Having said that, I can easily understand why his reaction would embarrass or offend the reporter. If I were him, I'd gently explain to the public that my reaction doesn't betray contempt for women; further, I'd like to think that I'd have the humility to sincerely apologize to the reporter for having upset her.  Should Newton take such steps, I think we should cut him some slack and move on.