Abortion on Demand

Life is precious.

This is an important phrase. Anti-abortion campaigners use this phrase to try and force us to see a foetus not only as an example of “life” but also as something “precious”. I’m not going to rebut these implications, many others have done so and probably in much better fashion than I could. I find, however, that this phrase is one of the most compelling arguments in favour of abortion. Life is indeed precious. Precious things require a lot of dedication, a lot of resources, a lot of time and often a lot of love to protect them and nurture them. Love, time, dedication and resources are not simply things that can be plucked from the air on a whim, however. These things come from other people, and at a higher level of abstraction, they come from society. Life is precious, yes, but life is also a burden, one most often borne by other people.

So why, then, do we insist upon forcing more and more burdens upon not only other people, whose lives we should have very little say over, but society as a whole? This oh so wonderful country we live in likes to utter the phrase “Abortion on Demand” with such bile and vitriol that one would be forgiven for assuming this act they were speaking of was akin to raping a child while forcing it to watch it’s parents bleed and die. I’m not being reactionary or sensationalistic, one need only listen to the many debates that have been had over the years in the Irish media to hear the implied horror and disgust infused into the phrase.

It’s interesting to deconstruct the thinking behind these utterances. The common criticism of widespread provision of abortion as a family planning option is that if there were Abortion on Demand, Irish women would be having abortions every other week and it would promote promiscuous and unhealthy behaviour. The reality, however, is that Irish education standards where sex and sexuality is concerned are shockingly lacking and it all boils down to the pervasive attitude in Irish society that sex is dirty and wrong and anything to do with sex that is not a beautiful bouncing baby (or a half dozen) is immoral. The reality is that an estimated 10 Irish women (and their partners, in some circumstances) every day travel to England for the express purpose of having an abortion. I was on a plane to Manchester with some of these women in 2011. They were quiet, they looked anxious and they seemed deeply saddened by their situation. The reality is some of those potential babies were deeply wanted.

The reality is pregnancy and delivery and nursing and diaper changing and teething and potty training and childcare and medical bills and all the hundreds of other complications that bringing a child into the world thrusts upon a parent, these are not things that everyone can survive and more importantly these are not things that everyone wants to go through. The reality is many women end up unwillingly sacrificing their dreams, their careers, their education, their financial stability and their happiness in order to go through a pregnancy they do not want or cannot handle. Because other people give them no other choice. Because any other choice would make them cast out and ostracized. Because they can’t afford to travel outside the country. Because society tells them what they want is not the important. Because society tells women “once you get pregnant, there is no way out.”

The reality is Abortion on Demand does not end lives, it saves lives. It saves the lives of women from situations they do not want or cannot cope with. The reality is if Abortion on Demand is what the women of Ireland deserve after so many decades of religious and patriarchal domination at the hands of men who think they can tell women what to do with their own bodies. The reality is, Abortion on Demand is the future of Ireland.

Peace,
dj357

For What It’s Worth…

…here’s my 2c on the current PZ vs. Rationalia mud-flinging debacle that has even dragged in Michael Nugent, who really only just wants us all to get along while we further the true causes of the atheist/skeptic movement.

Rape is not a joke. I personally don’t find jokes with rape as the subject matter funny, nor do a lot of other people. Intellectually I understand the irony of the Nirvana song “Rape Me” but the subject matter leaves a terrible taste in my mouth. This is ok. Some people find those kind of jokes funny, and that’s ok too.

For anyone who’s out of touch with these slightly-on-the-fringe events, a guy called Pappa on Rationalia.com forums created a thread asking “Would it be immoral to rape a Skepchick?” Then PZ Myers picked up on the thread, and posted a crude condemnation of not just Pappa but the forum as a whole on the back of this thread.
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The Trouble With Porn…

…is that even smart people like to misrepresent and attack it. Taslima Nasreen says “Pornography is exclusively for men’s pleasure” and that she is against pornography in that she is against abuse and degradation. She is, however, for erotica and provides the contrasting definitions of pornography and erotica, attributed to Diana Russell.

Pornography: Material that combines sex and/or the exposure of genitals with abuse or degradation in a manner that appears to endorse, condone, or encourage such behavior.

Erotica: Sexually suggestive or arousing material that is free of sexism, racism, and homophobia, and respectful of all human beings and animals portrayed.

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Imagine…

…if we treated sports like we do sex. Only HBO would regularly show scenes of people playing sport in their shows, ESPN subscriptions would be listed anonymously on credit card transactions, late night tv would have adverts for sports chat lines where women naughtily talked of goals and tackles, men would frequent footie bars where fully dressed women kick balls around, it would be illegal in some countries for a fan of one sport to play with a fan of another sport, and in most countries they definitely couldn’t get married. It would even be illegal to wear a team jersey in public in most civilised countries. Not that hard to imagine though is it?

C.O.D. Modern Warfare 3 Review

Having read reviews of MW3 and finding a few of them (and a lot of internet people) saying that it was shit because it’s no different than the others I decided I would check it out for myself and try to be objective about it (in so far as that’s possible for an opinionated gamer such as myself).

The first thing I have to say is, yes, it is no different from MW and MW2 and in a lot of ways no different from any other “AAA” FPS in the last 5 years. The story isn’t terribly immersive and the characters, while pithy, tend to spew over-used cliches. It works for the whole ‘action movie’ aspect of the Call of Duty series but it can be a bit grating at times. The other major thing I have to say is shame on Activision and Infinity Ward. The Gaming Liberty‘s review of MW3 says:

“The story is hardly inspiring, the characters are as transparent as ever and it’s just as throwaway as you think it is, but who cares?”

They then go on to give the game a score of 9/10. I’m sorry but the story and characters in a game are worth FAR more than a measly 10%. If the story and characters of a Legend of Zelda game or an Uncharted game or any other game worth spending hours and money on were worth that much then they would not be the great games they are. Story and characters are there to immerse you in the world, without that you are simply working some buttons and levers to achieve some random objective which may or may not be fun. Even cutesy, small-scale games like Patapon and Mad Blocker Alpha have the story and characters being far more than a measly 10% of the entire game as that pretty much IS the game.
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World Atheist Convention 2011: Day 1

Aloha and greetings from sunny Dublin! Unusually warm and sunny for Ireland despite the time of the year but rather nice to start off the weekend of the WAC 2011!

I’d like to just stick my oar in on a topic that came up and piqued my interest. It’s the issue of why do we have a gathering in the first place? Surely all we could talk about is our shared lack of belief. It conjures up a rather dolorous image of a group of people twiddling their thumbs and constantly asking each other if they believe in God yet. The simple answer is because we are the minority. The wonderful point was made that in a society where most everyone collected stamps and thought it was a moral requirement, there would be groups of aphilatelists popping up discussing how to live their lives well while not collecting stamps. The same is true of atheists. The long answer is that in a world that is primarily religious, a world where the common consensus is that religion of some form is a necessary foundation for a moral life, a world where people are assumed to be religious, a world where social and legal policies greatly reflect the religious beliefs of the people and their elected members of government it is vital the people who don’t collect stamps stand up and say “Hey, hang on a second. How dare you accuse us of being amoral when you impose a pre-existing, socially conceived moral framework onto your religion and then try to pass it off to us as having its origins in your delusion of choice.”

That is why we have conventions.

Communication in the 21st Century

This is yet another post that his been lingering in my drafts during my absence from the blogosphere but still quite relevant, just not recent as mentioned in the post

[15/05/2011]
Having recently read an article in Red magazine about the sea change of modes of communication over the last 20 years since the advent of email, SMS and tweets i feel the need to make my voice heard.

The article, written by Liz Fraser in Red magazine May 2011 edition, tells us:

Of course, ‘Yours sincerely’ would sound far too stuffy and heavy-handed these days, but ‘xxx ;-)’? When did that become okay when asking your boss to approve budgets?

Well, first of all, unless you work in a very informal setting with few total employees, it still isn’t okay. Her initial premise is flawed, however, as ‘Yours sincerely’ or my preferred ‘Kind regards’ is far from “too stuffy” in a business setting. Even if you are bosom buddies with your boss, you really should be keeping informal speech to informal settings.

Worse than this, which it could be argued is a minor point and highly subject to context and interpretation, she then goes on to point out that communication is 20% the words you say and 80% how you say them, making face to face communication the most effective method of communication. This important 80% is missing from most electronic interactions, she rightly points out, however she claims that to make up for this it is totally acceptable and reasonable that we use emoticons or smileys to add the tone and emotion that is missing from these interactions.

While this may be correct in the informal world where text messages become minefields of potential misunderstandings without smileys to help differentiate between serious and sarcastic, playful and pissed off, this is most certainly not the case in business. If hundreds of years of multilingual literature can evoke crystal clear imagery and unambiguous descriptions and definitions solely through the use of well constructed syntax why then should we say that we have magically come to a point now, in the 21st century, where words are not powerful enough to be unequivocal in their meaning?

Peace,
dj357