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A thought experiment for those who cling blindly to the Constitution.

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posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 12:41 AM
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Sit back. Take a deep breath. Uncle Ezra is about to truth you.

I have a thought experiment for all those who seem to believe The Constitution has some sacred meaning in and of itself. You see I maintain that the constitution is nothing but parchment and ink, and that its significance is only found in the way any given generation of Americans interprets it. You may not like this, but it won't hurt.

So to establish that the Constitution is a sacred document, its acolytes normally appeal to a combination of the authority of our national demigods (the illustrious Founding Fathers) and to the ghosts of our honored dead. At root, it is a twofold fallacy, combining an empty appeal to authority with a heart-tugging appeal to our emotions. But no need to deconstruct the argument now, let's grant them their premise.

Right. So let's suppose we can hold a seance and speak with our founding fathers. Jefferson, Franklin, Hamilton, Washington, Adams, everybody right down to Button Gwinnett. Everybody who signed the Declaration. Every delegate to the Conventions. Every participant in every debate. Every speaker at every state convention who spoke in favor of ratification. Now I realize that the Declaration and the Constitution were separate documents, but I'm making the scope of what constitutes a Founding Father as broad as possible to give the argument more force. So we have a seance and all these illustrious thinkers and politicians (they were politicians) are speaking to us. We show them the Constitution as it now exists. The slaves are freed. African Americans are voting. Women are voting. They freak out. The majority insist their names be taken off of any documents they signed immediately because this was not what they wanted, not what they wanted at all.

So then we move on to the salt of the earth. We find a way to poll our brave soldiers from beyond the grave. Brave, God fearing, flag loving men from South Carolina. Virginia. Georgia. Again, their is a riotous, clamorous spazzing out. "We didn't die for this. We didn't die to have our descendants stripped of their right to own slaves. We didn't die so that ex slaves could vote and get elected to office and prosper while our descendants go broke. And women voting??? We want nothing to do with this. Good day."

Where are we left? The appeal to the authority of the founding fathers falls short. This is not what they wanted. The appeal to the ghosts of our brave warriors fails. They're appalled.

Now can you admit that the Constitution means nothing in and of itself, that its only meaning is the meaning a nation of living, breathing Americans chooses to give it? And if so, can you see how your appeals to "tradition" and the sacred "Constitutional legacy" wither away next to the force and vitality of questions about what the living generation, the only generation that really matters at all, wants and thinks?




posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 01:05 AM
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Originally posted by EzraBuckley
Sit back. Take a deep breath. Uncle Ezra is about to truth you.

I have a thought experiment for all those who seem to believe The Constitution has some sacred meaning in and of itself. You see I maintain that the constitution is nothing but parchment and ink, and that its significance is only found in the way any given generation of Americans interprets it.


Take it one step further.

The American Revolution was not fought for all the reasons we have been told,such as taxation, and freedoms but for the benefit of the
TPTB in America.

It was to preserve their powers, their control of America and to preserve
the right to have slaves.

[edit on 13-4-2010 by RRokkyy]



posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 01:13 AM
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reply to post by EzraBuckley
 





I have a thought experiment for all those who seem to believe The Constitution has some sacred meaning in and of itself.


For all those who seem to believe The Constitution has some sacred meaning in and of itself, a thought experiment would be a waste of time. There is nothing sacred about the parchment and ink you've reduced that Constitution to, what that parchment and ink embodies is what is sacred, and that is law.

Law is self evident and whatever interpretation of it remains simple and easy to understand and requires no fantastical paranormal hypothetical where instead of confirming that all they've been quoted for saying and cited as authority is true, they act as you've described them because, after all, it's your hypothetical. The Constitutions significance is in that it is law. The Supreme Law of the Land. It's significance does not lie in what it grants, because let us be clear all that it grants is a limited amount of power for a limited amount of time, to a a limited amount of elected and appointed officials, its significance lies in the restraints it places upon the government created by it.

It is a sacred document because it has been "Ordained" by the We the People, and because it is law. There is no need, however, to cite any authority what-so-ever, as law is self evident. There is no need to wonder what the Founders meant by, "Congress shall make no laws..." or "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." These things are self evident and require no explanation or scholarly and historical contextual debate. People have the right to speech, to worship how they choose, to publish, and peaceably gather and petition the government they created for a redress of grievances, and they surely have the right to life, liberty and property, and the right to defend that. This is law, and law is self evident.

Of course, all we have to do is imagine that we could have a paranormal experience and show the Founding Fathers where we are today, and all we have to do is accept that upon seeing this, in front of us all, they reject the abolition which was wholly harmonious with the Constitution they wrote, they will with great disgust be horrified to see we elected a black President, and surely this was because those now referred to as "African-Americans" are voting right along side women! These men who came and defined the The Age of Reason, would reject their own reason and act as you've described them. This is all we have to believe in order to think as you've defined it.

You or anyone else can interpret my rights all you want, they are my rights, just as they are yours, if you choose to interpret your rights as being less than mine, that is your choice, but that right is still more than you think it is, and by attempting to diminish it, you do not diminish my right. I offer no authority for this, as it is self evident. What rights I have, you have, and what you can't do to others, neither can I, this is the law, and it remains self evident.



posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 01:25 AM
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reply to post by EzraBuckley
 


Really? You think slavery and woman's suffrage would be the things they would fine appalling? Because I think it would be the central banking system, erosion of State's rights and general consolidation of power by the Federal Government as well as our broken party system. They would be appalled that what they predicted, the fall of America and our freedoms from within not without, is coming to pass.

James Madison:

"I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations."

Now maybe a handful would find the freeing of the slaves surprising at first, once the situation was explained to them they would fully understand it. They would be able to reconcile those issues but NOT be able to reconcile how massive and corrupt we've allowed our government to become.

I will agree that the Founding Fathers are oft romanticized and were far from perfect but they were still enlightened men for their time. The Constitution is by no means sacred or perfect but it has served us well and we'd do well to follow many of the lessons we are taught by the Declaration, Constitution and Founding Fathers. Why should the imperfections cloud out the parts that remain brilliant and relevant?



posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 01:27 AM
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reply to post by Jean Paul Zodeaux
 



Law is self evident and whatever interpretation of it remains simple and easy to understand and requires no fantastical paranormal hypothetical where instead of confirming that all they've been quoted for saying and cited as authority is true, they act as you've described them because, after all, it's your hypothetical.


This sentence doesn't make any sense. I'm not being rude, but I think you tried to cram too many ideas into a single sentence and kind of lost yourself. You may want to try it again.


The Supreme Law of the Land.


That isn't a sentence at all. You're referring to what? The Constitution? Fair enough.


It's significance does not lie in what it grants, because let us be clear all that it grants is a limited amount of power for a limited amount of time, to a a limited amount of elected and appointed officials


What? It grants power for a limited amount of time? For how long? I'd love to buy balloons and champagne for when the time runs out.


its significance lies in the restraints it places upon the government created by it.


Again this statement is self-negating. First you say the Constitution doesn't create anything, it only limits power. Then you say it does create something, the government. But then it really doesn't create the government, only limits it? I'm afraid this is nonsense.


It is a sacred document because it has been "Ordained" by the We the People, and because it is law. There is no need, however, to cite any authority what-so-ever, as law is self evident.


But you just cited authority, again. You cited the authority of law. Then a sentence later, you say again that there is no need to appeal to authority. Because of the law. Which you again assert is the only authority that matters. And self-evident. Sorry to break it to you, but this is exactly what an appeal to authority looks like.

In this same argument, you appeal to "We the People." So you're right back where I said people who believe the Constitution is sacred were at the beginning of my thought experiment. Appealing to authority and ghosts.

It isn't your fault that your argument descended into incoherence. As my thought experiment shows, the position is incoherent from the beginning and you've lost it from the start.



posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 01:30 AM
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You have put forth a false argument and superimposed your beliefs onto the founders and soldiers as to what you think they fought for or died for a signed onto. For instance Slavery is not mentioned in the constitution it was considered a state issue not a federal issue. Which speaks to the main reason the constitution was written. And that was to form a union for common defense and dealing with foreign powers and how to govern that union within those confines and not all the indvidual states as whole.

In other words it was supposed to be a narrow construct of delegation of powers to the union for mutual defense. The Constitution first and foremost was a restriction on the administration of this new union so as not to allow it to become a central government and take power unto itself not delegated to it. Of course it failed in that respect still it set a goal or a standard to shoot for and is still a worthy goal. So it is not the ink and paper in and of itself that is important, it is the illustration of the those worthy standards that makes it something to be revered. Although I do believe there is room for improvement myself.

So from that perspective your whole construct dissolves, all the things you assign to it or to those who wish a return to it do not exist. The ideals of limited government is the general premise and the standards it aspires too.



posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 01:31 AM
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Really? You think slavery and woman's suffrage would be the things they would fine appalling? Because I think it would be the central banking system, erosion of State's rights and general consolidation of power by the Federal Government as well as our broken party system. They would be appalled that what they predicted, the fall of America and our freedoms from within not without, is coming to pass.



I don't disagree, but I think the dissatisfaction with social reform would be more nearly universal. Some of the founding fathers (Hamilton, naturally, springs to mind) would obviously have no problem with a central banking system. In fact, when Hamilton was helping set up the banking system, Jefferson, though he didn't approve, did remain silent because that wasn't a fight he was willing to have at that point in his political career. Federalist politicians would be less likely to have problems with this than would the Republican politicians, among the politicians who helped found and structure the country.



[edit on 13-4-2010 by EzraBuckley]

[edit on 13-4-2010 by EzraBuckley]

[edit on 13-4-2010 by EzraBuckley]



posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 01:37 AM
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reply to post by hawkiye
 



You have put forth a false argument and superimposed your beliefs onto the founders and soldiers as to what you think they fought for or died for a signed onto


Nope. Sorry. The argument is intended to undermine the foundations of inherent reverence to the Constitution. It doesn't matter if, in fact, the founders and soldiers would reject the document as it now stands. The issue is that they COULD. And the question is, suppose they DID reject the document. Then, if the bases for considering the Constitution "sacred" (the founders and the soldiers) were to say "Actually this is a terrible idea" what basis is left other than the interpretations and sentiments of the present generation?

This generation is the only one that matters. The Constitution is parchment and ink with no inherent value that we are free to interpret as we wish.



posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 01:37 AM
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The ideals as expressed in the Declaration and the instance of government created by the Constitution are expressions of an idea. The idea has "life" only for those who attempt to experience it - actuality is that only the living can experience it, thus your assertion is true. I'm not sure about the whole sacred thing.

gj

add: If I catch yor last post right, the yes, it's real value is as a concept which you are free to reject or modify as you choose. It's that pesky little detail of establishing or continuing a society that gives shared concepts any practical value.

[edit on 13-4-2010 by ganjoa]



posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 01:43 AM
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"parchment and ink"?

No: words, concepts; a pragmatic framework to be followed and adjusted as necessary.

It really doesn't matter who wrote it or where they got their ideas from: it's the set of rules we more-or-less agree to live under. It is the last backstop, the final, ultimate defense of the common citizen. It imperfectly copies the Native American political structures it was inspired by, but it still offers hope if it is followed properly.

The House needs to grow again; it was unConstitutionally limited to 435 members when women and minorities got the vote. The lack of proportional representation is one of the problems afflicting the country. At a minimum the House should be tripled in size. The current House should be the Business branch and deal with commercial issues. The two new chambers should deal with Science & Technology in one, and Health, Environment, & Education in the other. Bills passed in one chamber must pass the entire House to be forwarded to the Senate.

Most of the OP is irrelevant: the ideas/ideals it embodies supercede the biases of the individuals who wrote it and the opinions of the masses who embrace it without understanding it. But you're right about it being only as good as what those who live under it make it.



posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 01:47 AM
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reply to post by apacheman
 


It's irrelevant if you already believe it. It's a flat out brilliant demolition of those who try to claim that the document is "sacred." If you've never encountered these people then I envy you. I just wanted to present the only refutation that I feel will ever be needed to the people who espouse a belief in the Divine Right of the Constitution.

The rest of your post, I think, is spot on. I mean the part where you don't criticize me. Ha ha.



posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 01:59 AM
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reply to post by EzraBuckley
 


It is perfectly understandable that someone who thinks offering fanciful hypothetical situations as a "thought experiment" would have a hard time understand assertions that law is rooted in reality, and is not made of magic fairy dust, where wizards and elves get to change reality. There is also no surprise to your confusion when discussing the limited amount of power granted elected and appointed officials. While you seem to think you can somehow undermine the reverence people show this Constitution, it also seems you've never read it. Why else would you ask this:




What? It grants power for a limited amount of time? For how long? I'd love to buy balloons and champagne for when the time runs out.


Every elected, and with the exception of lifetime positions for certain Justices, even appointed officials serve in office for a limited amount of time, and are granted a limited amount of power. It doesn't take hypothetical situations disguised as thought experiments to understand that, just reading the document for yourself.

Your attempts to play semantics are out of desperation, for in the end, no amount of semantics can confuse what is self evident. No amount of razzle and dazzle, (not that any is on display here), will distract those who know the law, from buying into your moral relativism. Those who create the government, get to limit it, but in your world this is nonsense? Work for the government, do you?

Silly games of semantics are more fun when both parties are equipped to play along. There is no point in shooting an unarmed man, so I will avoid shooting you, and just do my best to explain in simple terms, that yes, the law is authority, I do not cite the law, I point to it, and if necessary, I will cite other authorities to support what needs no support, because it is self evident. Just as gravity is law, so to are the rights of individual, and disobeying either of these laws, come with dire consequences. It is observably so, and what you have attempted to do with your so called "thought experiment" is to deflect people away from the law, and point to irrelevant behavior made by certain individuals.

Your hypothetical was pointless and proved nothing other than you are prone to flights of fancy. Grammar teachers should stick to that, and leave the politics to the professors, but you are free to have an opinion, and if you think that selling your opinion is more sacred to people than law, good luck with that.



posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 02:04 AM
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Originally posted by EzraBuckley
reply to post by hawkiye
 



You have put forth a false argument and superimposed your beliefs onto the founders and soldiers as to what you think they fought for or died for a signed onto


Nope. Sorry. The argument is intended to undermine the foundations of inherent reverence to the Constitution. It doesn't matter if, in fact, the founders and soldiers would reject the document as it now stands. The issue is that they COULD. And the question is, suppose they DID reject the document. Then, if the bases for considering the Constitution "sacred" (the founders and the soldiers) were to say "Actually this is a terrible idea" what basis is left other than the interpretations and sentiments of the present generation?

This generation is the only one that matters. The Constitution is parchment and ink with no inherent value that we are free to interpret as we wish.


No not wrong. Your argument is false. You have no idea how they'd react today your just imposing your own beliefs. Of course any generation is free to do as they please with it or any other document as is proven by this generation ignoring it pretty much.

To boil it down the document was the thoughts and agreements of a bunch of farmers and merchants on how to deal with thier enemies. Mostly based on natural law, most people will agree you have a natural right to defend yourself and if you have a mutual enemy maybe it would be best to band together to deal with the mutual threat by your strength in numbers. Just cause they wrote that on paper does not make it worthless as you suggest that is a timeless principle whether used today or not.

The fact that the founders sat down and hashed out something like this generations ago obviously has value for today if we choose to use it and learn from thier mistake and we have to some degree and to others not.

I would agree with you somewhat in regards to folks who cite the constitution as to why they do something but really don't know much if anything about it. I would rather prefer the A of C myself as that did not have any provisions for taxing etc. and much more limiting.

Still to say there is no value in the document or rather the ideas it illustrates is a fallacy IMO.



posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 02:12 AM
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Originally posted by Jean Paul Zodeaux
reply to post by EzraBuckley
 


It is perfectly understandable that someone who thinks offering fanciful hypothetical situations as a "thought experiment"

That's what a thought experiment is. Are you familiar with the concept? If not, I can understand why you find this so perplexing and confusing. But I suggest you look up the concept before you try to offer a critique. It would make for a more vibrant and less one-sided discussion.


would have a hard time understand assertions that law is rooted in reality, and is not made of magic fairy dust, where wizards and elves get to change reality.

Snarky. But again, before you get too snarky, I'd like you to explain this blindingly obvious basis for human law. You argue, again and again, by assertion. But saying repeatedly "The basis of the law is obvious and indisputable" doesn't make it so. Arguments, please. Premises leading to a conclusion. That's how we roll.

There is also no surprise to your confusion when discussing the limited amount of power granted elected and appointed officials. While you seem to think you can somehow undermine the reverence people show this Constitution, it also seems you've never read it. Why else would you ask this:




What? It grants power for a limited amount of time? For how long? I'd love to buy balloons and champagne for when the time runs out.


Every elected, and with the exception of lifetime positions for certain Justices, even appointed officials serve in office for a limited amount of time, and are granted a limited amount of power. It doesn't take hypothetical situations disguised as thought experiments to understand that, just reading the document for yourself.


Two things. One, in your initial assertion (the one I was replying to, which you don't quote here) you said, within the same sentence "the Constitution establishes nothing but only limits power" and "the Constitution establishes government and defines its power." This is self-negating. It's slightly worse than saying nothing at all.

Two, in your initial post, you wrote as if the Constitution fixed a time limit for the life and death of the Republic itself. If all you were trying to say was that there are term limits for elected officials of the federal government, I'll be happy to grant that. Trivial, but true.


our attempts to play semantics are out of desperation, for in the end, no amount of semantics can confuse what is self evident. No amount of razzle and dazzle, (not that any is on display here), will distract those who know the law, from buying into your moral relativism. Those who create the government, get to limit it, but in your world this is nonsense? Work for the government, do you?


At this point it becomes unclear what the "it' you're referring to even is. Whatever "It" is, if it's so self-evident, please at least draw a picture of what it looks like. If you're referring to Natural Law, then tell me what Natural Law means to you. If you don't want to justify it, at least describe it plainly. Again, argument by assertion is a nonstarter around here. Yes, I'm a moral relativist. I'm a moral relativist exactly because I've never seen a satisfactory account of absolute right and wrong.



posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 02:20 AM
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reply to post by hawkiye
 



No not wrong. Your argument is false. You have no idea how they'd react today your just imposing your own beliefs. Of course any generation is free to do as they please with it or any other document as is proven by this generation ignoring it pretty much.


You: You're mistaken, because you don't know for a fact that they would reject the Constitution as it now stands.

Me (slow, patient): No no, my friend, it doesn't matter if they WOULD reject the Constitution, what matters is that they COULD reject it. And if they COULD reject it then what some people pretend is an absolute basis for the Constitution as sacrosanct is undermined. All I need to establish to make my case is that the basis is relative, not absolute.

You: No you fool! You're mistaken because you don't know for a fact they would reject the Constitution as it now stands.

Me: We may be at an impasse.

The problem, since you're clearly a bright guy and you make your case forcefully, may be that you take my premise for granted to start with. If you think that "of course" this generation can do as they please with regard to the Constitution, then we are already in agreement. A lot of smart people I think literally cannot wrap their heads around the notion that some people think the Constitution itself is more important than the wishes of the present residents of the nation. I don't think you're one of these people--I think your understanding of the theory of government is too lucid and insightful. Now I could be dead wrong, but this is how I read things.

As to the rest of your point, I think the Constitution is terrific. I'm in awe of the brilliance of the founding fathers. I'm just irked by a very specific argument I see thrown around here sometime, the one that goes "The Constitution is sacred, it's more important than the will of the current generation." I think that point of view is dangerous. Jefferson would agree with me.



posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 02:30 AM
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So I reread my OP and you know what? I came off like kind of a tool. That's going to happen sometimes. Roll with the wind, you know?

So let me start over. All I'm saying is this:

There are people who espouse the point of view that the Constitution is somehow "sacred." That it has some inherent value above and beyond an instrumental value. This strikes me as ruinous, dangerous, dogmatism.

So I run a little thought experiment. These people appeal to one of two sources for the Constitution's status as absolute and inerrant--the genius of the founding fathers or the blood of dead soldiers. Now let's grant that soldiers are brave and that the founding fathers were some seriously smart dudes. But now let's suppose we could somehow bring 'em all back and they said "Oh man the Constitution you have now is terrible. No way I can roll with that, dude." What do we do? If we believe that the authority is vested in the founding fathers and/or the dead soldiers, we say "Oh we are sorry, oh great ancestors" and throw out the parchment. But if we believe that the Constitution is a tool (like your buddy Ezra can be sometimes) and that the present day belongs to the living we say "Oh really? Sorry dude. Catch you later, but we like woman's suffrage, freeing the slaves, and allowing African Americans to vote and hold office. Hey have you met our new Prez btw?"

It's very simple and not even all that controversial, unless you're one of the people who holds the view, that strikes me as weird and incoherent, that the Constitution is some kind of sacred text that means more than the present generation. I side with Jefferson--the present belongs to the living, the dead have had their turn.

So if you are one of those people who believes in the sacred and sacrosanct nature of the Constitution, then I need some kind of basis for this belief other than appeals to the founders and our dead warriors, because I've demolished that basis.

If you are not one of those people, we are already in agreement. Pleased to meet ya.

PS I appreciate all of my interlocutors so far for helping me refine and clarify my view. I really do enjoy "mixing it up."

[edit on 13-4-2010 by EzraBuckley]



posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 02:38 AM
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Jean Paul Zodeaux just completely tore you apart. I don't believe any amount of rewording will do you much good because your argument is flawed at it's foundation.

Giving yourself a solid foundation will allow you to retain a strong argument that will withstand attack.

...Kind of like the Constitution.



posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 02:43 AM
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reply to post by metro
 


No offense, sport, but did you have anything to contribute other than meta-commentary and empty assertion? At least Zodeaux was trying, and if he reworks his criticism a little more I suspect he'll manage to articulate his point coherently. I'm especially looking forward to a plausible, and clear cut account of "Natural Law."

Anyway I'd like to get to know you, but if you don't have anything to contribute to the discourse maybe now isn't the best time.



posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 02:58 AM
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reply to post by EzraBuckley
 


When Richard Dawkins created his thought experiment known as The Weasel Programs, he did not create a paranormal experience where the ghosts of our forefathers magically appeared and then inexplicably followed a preordained script written by an amateur philosopher, instead what he did was rely upon simple data, 0's and 1's to create a simple hypothetical, one of which he borrowed and simplified further. The experiment was inspired by the thought that if a room full of monkeys sitting around banging on typewriters, were given enough time, one of them, or collectively, would write the complete works of William Shakespeare. The key in this hypothetical is given enough time, and Dawkins seizing on that, created a hypothetical that given enough time a monkey could type "Methinks it is a weasel".

Through a serious of experiments, Dawkins was able to show that operating on a single system of data, it was seemingly impossible for a monkey to type this simple phrase even if given billions upon billions upon billions of years. However, when introducing a form of variance into the program and changing a few key data inputs, that computer simulated monkey was able to type the phrase within a half hour the first time, and under more rigorous studies under nine seconds. Dawkins used this to show that the universe couldn't have possibly come together randomly, and to advocate his own theories of how the universe did come about. That is, a hypothetical yes, but that is a thought experiment. What you offered was not a thought experiment. It was just a hypothetical.

I offer reverence for the law because it is a part of the reality of which we all exist, and of this law that governs man, I have told you it is in the rights of man that law exists, and so it does not matter to me that you hold no reverence for this law in regards to yourself, it only matters you respect my rights as I respect yours. Abrogate and/or derogate my rights, and you will know by what authority I cite the law. Harm me or my loved ones, and we will not exchange snarky remarks with each other, but we will come to know the law much more intimately. That's how we roll!




Two things. One, in your initial assertion (the one I was replying to, which you don't quote here) you said, within the same sentence "the Constitution establishes nothing but only limits power" and "the Constitution establishes government and defines its power." This is self-negating. It's slightly worse than saying nothing at all.


At no point did I ever state: "the Constitution establishes nothing but only limits power", this is another one of your fanciful fabrications where people say something they never said. I said what I said, and I did not say what I did not say. If you can only attack someones grammar by rewriting it to be deserving of attack, how do you expect to come to any reasonable conclusions about law? Your obvious belief that law can be invented grossly misunderstands law.

I did not write as if the Constitution fixed a time limit to the republic it established, you "interpreted" it that way. That was clear in your reply and needed no clarification from you. I said what I said, and I did not say what I did not say. Here is the problem with your arguments, you seem to be having a hard time grasping what is being said to you. For example; when I say: "Those who create the government, get to limit it...", you respond by claiming it has somehow become unclear what is meant by it. It is odd that a respected grammar teacher such as yourself would get so confused by a little pronoun agreement.

Let me be perfectly clear; people preexist government, they create government to protect their rights, this is the way it works, this is why we have governments. So, when the people create the government they get to limit that government, it is their prerogative. Any person who understands the law, when reading your claim that you have never seen a satisfactory account of right and wrong, will take that with a grain of salt, and would be wise to suspect you have many moments of righteous indignation when you have been trespassed upon.

The self evidence of law supporting the rights of individuals is in the daily accounts of those who risk their very lives to protect these rights. It is observably so that when people are suppressed they are being harmed, and when they are free to choose as they see fit, and do so rationally, they have prospered. This is observable, and repeatable. If you hope to convince people that law is magic fairy dust belonging to priest class lawyers who will utter their mystical incantations of legalesee, you will only be preaching to the converted, as those who hold law as sacred, will have nothing to do with your sacrilege.



posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 03:10 AM
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reply to post by Jean Paul Zodeaux
 



When Richard Dawkins created his thought experiment known as The Weasel Programs, he did not create a paranormal experience where the ghosts of our forefathers magically appeared and then inexplicably followed a preordained script written by an amateur philosopher, instead what he did was rely upon simple data, 0's and 1's to create a simple hypothetical, one of which he borrowed and simplified further. The experiment was inspired by the thought that if a room full of monkeys sitting around banging on typewriters, were given enough time, one of them, or collectively, would write the complete works of William Shakespeare. The key in this hypothetical is given enough time, and Dawkins seizing on that, created a hypothetical that given enough time a monkey could type "Methinks it is a weasel".


Yes. That is an example of a thought experiment. Thank you for taking the time to look that up and provide an example. Now we have something to talk about.

But you said "A thought experiment is not some far fetched thing you think up that could never come to pass." Your example, then, Dawkins' thought experiment in which he gave a vagrant twist to the old puzzle about an infinite number of monkeys with an infinite number of typewriters and whether or not they would eventually type the works of Shakespeare. So you've provided, as an example of a thought experiment, a far fetched thing someone thought up that could never come to pass.

You liked the Dawkins experiment and you didn't care for mine. Fair enough. Dawkins is a smart guy. But you've just taken up a great deal of space to point out that I was right about what constitutes a thought experiment. No real harm done, and the Weasel experiment is interesting enough to merit mention on its own merits. In fact I'll star you just for that.


I offer reverence for the law because it is a part of the reality of which we all exist, and of this law that governs man, I have told you it is in the rights of man that law exists, and so it does not matter to me that you hold no reverence for this law in regards to yourself, it only matters you respect my rights as I respect yours. Abrogate and/or derogate my rights, and you will know by what authority I cite the law. Harm me or my loved ones, and we will not exchange snarky remarks with each other, but we will come to know the law much more intimately. That's how we roll!['quote]

Oh but, see, here you fall prey to muddled thought again. You spend five or six lines not saying much, once again not describing the basis of the law you claim is self-evident. Sorry to be a pill, but I'm going to have to keep insisting you explain this point if you want to try to use it. Then yous ay something like "respect my rights as I respect yours" which is fair enough, but I'm still waiting for you to explain how those "rights" have any basis other than the rights people agree to give each other (moral relativism). I still don't see any natural basis for the Law, much less for the Constitution.

Then you make some kind of weird, vaguely threatening remark about vigilante justice. This actually destroys your entire case, because "vigilante justice" presupposes that there are times when our law is not a perfect representation of "natural law", when people need to go outside "the law" to get "justice." So if the law were a simple and perfect reflection of some ideal Natural Law, it would be one and the same with Justice and there would never be a need for the weird vigilantism you threaten for no good reason.



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