15 January 2006

What is so offensive about these questions?

There is no evidence that any religion has anything to do with a god, let alone evidence a god exists, so why let religious rules dictate your behaviour?

We are guilty until proven innocent when it comes to driving offences, so why is extending this to anti-social offences such a big deal?

How are ID cards illiberal when some of the most liberal countries in the world have them?

I really cannot understand the abuse I have received over these issues. I just don't understand why they have caused such controversy.

47 comments:

  1. In your your words:
    "There is no evidence that any religion has anything to do with a god, let alone evidence a god exists, so why let religious rules dictate your behaviour?"

    All religions are based on God and being held accountable to said Gods commandments. There is so much evidence that there is a God only ignorant people don't beleive in God. (Ignorence is simply not knowing so don't take that as a personal slam)

    The reason people let religious rules dictate their behaviour is because it sets them free. Free from the philosophies of man that keep them in emotional shackles.

    So your first paragraph is writen by a person who has a problem with religion and is intolerent of religion.

    The following two paragraphs are writen by a ineloquint half wit. I don't even get what you are arguing.

    On the last paragraph you state that you are abused for your viewpoint. Just how ar eyou being abused? You might want to look that word up. Finally it is easy to see why you are confused.

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  2. I'm sorry, Neil, I fail to grasp your reasoning. Apart from Buddhism, religions rely on the belief in a deity. What has this to do with the rule of law, which is secular in concept (unless you count sharia - which, I'm not)?

    I've tried, I really have, to put this point across - innocent until proven guilty is the lynch pin of justice. You cannot have justice without it.

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  3. Yawn.

    "We are guilty until proven innocent when it comes to driving offences, so why is extending this to anti-social offences such a big deal?"

    Treat people like criminals, and they'll act as criminals. Treat people (even teenagers) like responsible adults and they might act decently. Not difficult, but continues to go ungrasped.

    "How are ID cards illiberal when some of the most liberal countries in the world have them?"

    Because no other country tracks when and where ID cards are used. The cards themselves are not the issue (nor necessary, once linked to biometrics). A Database state is different to a Police state.

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  4. Neil, sweetie, really. As usual for you the devil is in the detail. I know you're a shameless traffic whore and want to keep the discussion rambling along, but please don't insult your pawns too much.

    Your first statement is plainly meaningless and content free, would you care to offer a non-religions definition of what "a god" is?

    Your second statement is simply false. One is not guilty until proven innocent when it comes to driving offences. If you are refering to speed cameras, I beleive, the method of enforcement has been a mater for some national anger and debate. We are talking not merely about "innocent until proven guilty" but also summary, and therefore subjective, judgment in the case of anti social behaviour. In Hardingworld if your blog-posters were your neighbours, you would have been fined your "trifiling amount" your house borded up and you would have been carted off for re-education.

    As has been patiently explained to you countless times no country in the world
    has a system of ID cards that even approaches the scheme that british goverment is pushing. Your comparison is meeaningless. Those liberal countries you mention have specific laws which prevent the goverement doing many of the things which are intrinsic in the british scheme.

    Please buck up! How about something about tapping Mo-Mowlem, Jerry Adam's or George Galloway's phones. That's sure to get the old labour lot out and you'll get a good 50 posts or so from that.

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  5. carry bag man15/1/06 5:36 pm

    keep up the good work Neil

    arguing with you is the only thing some of these verbose saddoes have to look forward to !!!

    I see your blog as a vital community service keeping these idiots occupied
    almost on a par with care in the community.!!!

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  6. We are guilty until proven innocent when it comes to driving offences, so why is extending this to anti-social offences such a big deal?

    Neil, have you ever actually had a parking fine or a camera driven speeding ticket?

    If you had, and read the documentation, you would know that the above is palpably untrue.

    When issued with a fine, you choose to plead guilty and pay the fine (and you're given plenty of time to do so), or you plead not guilty and it's then up to the prosecution to prove the case.

    Please, actually read the answers your commenters and detractors elsewhere post. You may actually learn something.

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  7. The fact that you don't understand this stuff is probably a handy pointer that while you may be smart enough to write HTML which makes everything in your sidebar display at 1 pixel high, you are not quite as smart as you think you are. Watching you talk politics with some of these people is like watching a scallop trying to explain its inner motivations to the person eating it.

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  8. I really cannot understand the abuse I have received over these issues. I just don't understand why they have caused such controversy.

    Although your views are obviously offensive to any right-thinking person, what I find most upsetting is your lack of humility. Every one of your correspondents with whom I am personally acquainted is much brighter than you; we might say that they are Cherie to your Tony.

    This is not your fault. What is your fault is the way in which you persistently write off their often subtle, considered views as the product of privilege or selfishness. Like a small war far away, it's sad and yet somehow compelling.

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  9. "HTML which makes everything in your sidebar display at 1 pixel high"

    Looks terrible (unreadable) in Firefox. Okay in IE. I only use IE to test sites - I don't use it for normal browsing. If you want to appeal to any surfer, you need to ensure that it is compliant with all browsers.

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  10. The Remittance Man16/1/06 8:41 am

    "There is no evidence that any religion has anything to do with a god, let alone evidence a god exists, so why let religious rules dictate your behaviour?"

    I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you meant to say that organised religions are actually more about social control than spiritual faith.

    So what's so bad about that? If you look at the Ten Commandments (Judaism and Christianity) and the words of Mohammed obeyed by Muslims, most of them are rules for how to behave in a civilised society. The non-religious ones tend to be along the lines of: Don't kill, don't steal, don't run off with your neighbour's wife etc. These are all pretty good guidelines for a functioning, civilised society with the added advantage that they include a strong moral sense as well. Certainly a stronger sense of morality than any politically motivated philosophy.

    You do seem to be displaying a sad lack of knowledge of the history of your own party as well. Many of the early founders of the Labour movement were also devout members of the non-conformist churches. There is still quite a strong Christian Socialist tendency within the movement. I would say that this was the religious morality aspect finding expression in politics.

    Now, to many, the Prime Minister's frequent avowal of a strong Christian faith may appear phoney, but I suspect this is largely due to the level of religious scepticism in society as a whole. That and the fact Mr Blair has lost an awful lot of credibility over the years.

    Although I count myself alongside Harry Flashman when it comes to describing my faith (pagan attached CofE) I feel the religious foundation of our society is nothing to deride or depreciate. When one looks at the two greatest evils of the 20th Century (communism and fascism) both were atheistic. Yes, some people do try and use religion to further evil ends, but I'd suggest in the last couple of hundred years more people have died for non-religious casues than religious ones.

    RM

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  11. *sigh*

    Bored now...

    *wanders off to find a lame puppy to poke with a stick in a desperate attempt to find more of a challenge*

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  12. As the door opened, the wave of air that it created brought in a powerful smell of cold sweat. Parsons walked into the cell. He was wearing khaki shorts and a sports-shirt.
    This time Winston was startled into self-forgetfulness.
    You here!’ he said.
    Parsons gave Winston a glance in which there was neither interest nor surprise, but only misery. He began walking jerkily up and down, evidently unable to keep still. Each time he straightened his pudgy knees it was apparent that they were trembling. His eyes had a wide-open, staring look, as though he could not prevent himself from gazing at something in the middle distance.
    ‘What are you in for?’ said Winston.
    ‘Thoughtcrime!’ said Parsons, almost blubbering. The tone of his voice implied at once a complete admission of his guilt and a sort of incredulous horror that such a word could be applied to himself. He paused opposite Winston and began eagerly appealing to him: ‘You don't think they'll shoot me, do you, old chap? They don't shoot you if you haven't actually done anything — only thoughts, which you can't help? I know they give you a fair hearing. Oh, I trust them for that! They'll know my record, won't they? You know what kind of chap I was. Not a bad chap in my way. Not brainy, of course, but keen. I tried to do my best for the Party, didn't I? I'll get off with five years, don't you think? Or even ten years? A chap like me could make himself pretty useful in a labour-camp. They wouldn't shoot me for going off the rails just once?’
    ‘Are you guilty?’ said Winston.
    ‘Of course I'm guilty!’ cried Parsons with a servile glance at the telescreen. ‘You don't think the Party would arrest an innocent man, do you?’ His frog-like face grew calmer, and even took on a slightly sanctimonious expression. ‘Thoughtcrime is a dreadful thing, old man,’ he said sententiously. ‘It's insidious. It can get hold of you without your even knowing it. Do you know how it got hold of me? In my sleep! Yes, that's a fact. There I was, working away, trying to do my bit — never knew I had any bad stuff in my mind at all. And then I started talking in my sleep. Do you know what they heard me saying?’
    He sank his voice, like someone who is obliged for medical reasons to utter an obscenity.
    ‘“Down with Big Brother!” Yes, I said that! Said it over and over again, it seems. Between you and me, old man, I'm glad they got me before it went any further. Do you know what I'm going to say to them when I go up before the tribunal? “Thank you,” I'm going to say, “thank you for saving me before it was too late.”’

    Welcome to the gulag, Neil.

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  13. The Remittance Man16/1/06 10:44 am

    NM,

    I take your point. I'm off to whip the garden boy just for fun.

    See you here same time tommorrow? Maybe Neil will have woken up by then.

    RM

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  14. The questions aren't offensive, Neil. Your attitude when people take the time to discuss them with you is extremely offensive at times.

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  15. Dave. M. Tell me some of this 'evidence' you have for a God. All I have found is evidence there isn't a God, and the more I read the sexist, racist, vindictive views spouted in the religious texts of the Old and New Testaments and the Koran, the more I get to dislike religion.

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  16. Scribe: Thats my point, there is nothing illiberal about ID cards, it is how they are implemented where problems might occur, but this is true of anything.

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  17. Carry bag man: cheers for the sole support. You should be careful mate, you don't want to get associated with 'dangerous' types like me.

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  18. Andrew: I don't mean to offend just for offending sake. I sometimes am too blunt in the heat of debate. I accept this causes me problems. I don't think I am the only one guilty of this though. It takes two to tango.

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  19. Backwards Dave: I never thought 1984 was Orwell's best. Animal Farm or Keep the aspidistra flying is far nore relevant to this debate.

    You do realise that Orwell was writing about how he saw the media in 1948? Double speak is about things like renaming the Ministry of War, the Ministry of Defence. The constant enemy thing is about how we switched attention from Nazism to Communism (and now Islamism). Thoughtcrime is probably about his guilt at shopping some of his communist mates. This conformity to the party stuff is all about the propaganda of Hollywood, TV and the press and our blind acceptance of consumerism. It is a theme that runs through a lot of his books and writing.

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  20. For a precis that gets "C+ - needs work, see me". A larger part of the genius and subtlety of 1984 seems to have passed you by. You might find one of the many readers instructive. More importantly you fail to see the careful anology that is being drawn. What alarms people now is that the book, which is the yard stick against which all distopia are to be measured, is bearing an uncanny resemblence to the situation and justification and plans that our current goveremnt has.

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  21. It takes two to tango.

    But only one to say 'Fuck off'.

    Your problem isn't your bluntness. It is your inability to take the opposing argument into account, and to treat your opponent with respect.

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  22. The Remittance Man17/1/06 2:58 pm

    I think it was Ben Stein, on the subject of his own faith, who wrote: "If I'm wrong, and there is really nothing after death, I've lost nothing. But what if I'm right?" (OK that was paraphrased, but it sums up his argument).

    Maybe even we cynics should look at the church/temple/shrine of our choice a little more closely.

    Just a thought.

    RM

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  23. "I think it was Ben Stein, on the subject of his own faith, who wrote: "If I'm wrong, and there is really nothing after death, I've lost nothing. But what if I'm right?" (OK that was paraphrased, but it sums up his argument)."

    Ah, good old Pascale's wager. Falls down though - if there is a God, surely he would know that we were simply hedging our bets. Downstairs you go...

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  24. RM, the main flaw of pascal's wager is pointed out by longrider, but there is another downside, you might live the only life you get as a bigoted idiot just because you followed some stupid religion.

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  25. Anon: Orwell wrote 1984 because that is how he viewed 1948.

    I think it is ridiculous to compare CCTV (which I think is what you are alluding to) that we have now to Orwell's vision.

    CCTV has improved our lives, by making it possible to catch criminals who would otherwise probably get away with it. Tell me one thing that CCTV has harmed about your life?

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  26. "....and the more I read the sexist, racist, vindictive views spouted in the religious texts...."

    What do you consider sexist, racist and vindictive about religion? More to the point I am asking about Christian faiths. Be spacific and talk slow. I am one of those stupid Americans.

    To your question:
    I would first site the bible. It is beleived even by secular people to be an accounting of ancient people. God is mentioned many times. From the time He orginized the world till long after he sent his son to die for your foolish life.

    At some point in your life you must come to an understanding that there are eternal truths. Just as if you throw a rock up in the air it will come down. If you kill a person that is wrong cause God said so. When you die you will be held accountable for the life that you lead.

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  27. Tell me one thing that CCTV has harmed about your life?

    I was assaulted by "Police Community Support Officers" who were directed to my location by CCTV operators. Next?

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  28. The Remittance Man18/1/06 12:49 pm

    Longrider - So down I go. At least I'd be with my mates and just think of the suntan I'd get.

    Ah well, I just stuck the idea in as one of those little thoughts to see if it would provoke some comment. Thanks for giving it a name, though. If I become the Trivial Pursuit Champion of Limpopo Province I'm sure I'll have you to thank.

    Neil - You may have some post-modern guilt complex about the civilisation in which we live. Quite frankly, having been afforded the chance of seeing a couple of the alternatives, I'll take the western version anytime. In fact I'll go so far as to nail my colours to the mast and say I beleive our civilisation, warts and all, is one of the better ones. If you don't believe me go and ask the teeming multitudes who seem prepared to risk everything to restart their lives in western europe and ask yourself: "why aren't they flocking to Iran or North Korea?" And if the Christian church has had some hand in the development of our civilisation, then at least let's give it some credit for its efforts.

    To refer to my original comment, if you look at the basic rules of most major religions and ignore the ones that specifically say "go to church on Sunday" or whatever; you'll find that they are pretty good guidelines for organising society. Guidelines, the post-modern west happily kicked over 40 years ago and only now is beginning to realise held some merit. As a timely example I refer you to the fairly standard stricture on monogamous marriage and the fact that only yesterday a report was published showing that children who live with both biological parents are significantly less likely to be abused. Children who live in a home with one biological parent and one step-parent are almost as unlikely to be abused. Children where there is one parent some of the time and a procession of "uncles" or "aunties" traipsing through the parental bedroom, well, the poor little mites have a lot less chance. Ergo it's better forthe children for people to live monogamous lives. Funny, the major religions were saying something similar a couple of thousand years ago.

    Of course if you want to harp on about the church/mosque/synagogue attitude to homosexuality I certainly can't argue nature v nurture as I have no personal experience of homosexuality. All I can say is that when most religious doctrines were laid down homosexuality was considered an unnatural state. Perhaps the religions do need to update their thinking. Indeed, the more forward thinking ones are trying to do that, but you are dealing with some very strong beliefs that give a great many people guidance and comfort. It won't happen overnight.

    To be honest, even as a non-religious person who only puts "CofE" on forms to fill in the space, I find something a little distasteful in the constant church bashing that some of those on the left seem to enjoy. Particularly as they are usually the first to leap up and start hurling the "racist" epithet should someone criticise any other (and often less progressive) faith, such as Islam.

    Whether you're an atheist, an agnostic or even a nature worshipper, it makes no difference to me, but by the same token why do you lefties get so het up about the major religions and Christianity in particular. Is it because deep down you fear it might actually be a viable alternative to your socialist dogma? It was their Catholic faith that sustained the Poles who fought and eventually overthrew communism after all.

    RM

    PS
    Dave -"racist/sexist/vindictive" means anything that does not conform to what Neil has been taught from the Holy Book of Socialism.

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  29. Neil,

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/merseyside/4609746.stm

    Council employees trained a CCTV camera to point into the flat of an attractive woman.


    The images from the camera, including the woman without her clothes on, were shown on a large plasma screen in the council's CCTV control room in November 2004, Liverpool Crown Court heard.

    Over several hours, she was filmed cuddling her boyfriend before undressing, using the toilet, having a bath and watching television dressed only in a towel.


    ...


    Her life has almost been ruined, her self-confidence entirely destroyed by the thought that prying male eyes have entered


    Evidence of harm by CCTV camera?

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  30. Dave M. "What do you consider sexist, racist and vindictive about religion?"

    I forgot to add that God is anti-homosexual as well. I'm sure you know the text for that.

    This is God's advice for what you should do to a friend or family member if they suggest believing in another deity.

    Deuteronomy 13:7-11: "If your brother, the son of your father or of your mother, or your son or daughter, or the spouse whom you embrace, or your most intimate friend, tries to secretly seduce you, saying. "Let us go and serve other gods," ... you must show him no pity, you must not spare
    him or conceal his guilt. No, you must kill him, your hand must strike the first blow in putting him to death and the hands of the rest of the people following. You must stone him to death, since he has tried to divert you from Yahweh your God."

    In the book of Numbers 31:18, Moses when ordering the massacre of all male prisoners and older women.

    "But all the women and children, that have not known a man by lying with him. Keep alive for yourselves."

    In the book of Judges 19:24; A priest has some people come to his door demanding to rape his male guest, this is his response;

    "Behold here is my daughter a maiden and his concubine, them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you, but unto this man do not so vile a thing"

    So go ahead rape my daughter, but don't rape my guest, he is male after all.

    Here are some more links on bible sexism; and also here.

    The Bible talks about God's favourite people, a race that will get to heaven.

    Is that enough for you? There are tons and tons of this stuff in the bible.

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  31. pete: I asked for evidence that CCTV has actually harmed your life.

    Giving the odd example is not enough. No system is perfect, you could justify getting rid of ALL police or ALL council workers or ALL teachers or just about anything else by relying on the odd occasion where there have been transgressions.

    Chris: If you don't mind , can I ask you to explain the circumstances of your assault and what the outcome was? Did you get the PCSOs prosecuted? You could have asked for the footage from the CCTV to support your case, it would have helped you prosecute them.

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  32. In response to earlier comment by Andrew, he suggested that my article read like a Daily Mail headline story.

    Just out of interest the Daily Mail is on your side over the respect issue. They have suggested it is an infringement of our civil liberties. I don't believe the DM cares a hoot about civil liberties of anyone but the wealthy.

    So to suggest the DM would support me in supporting NuLabour's respect agenda is incorrect.

    I understand all of your concerns about giving the police on the spot fines etc, believe me I really do.

    When I was in my early twenties, I 'oinked' at a passing policeman who came into the pub where I was drinking. He proceeded to give me a telling off for being so immature. Of course, under what I am proposing I probably would have got myself a 100 pound fine.

    Would I have deserved it? It could be argued that the policeman should have taken it as a good hearted joke. But equally it could be argued that I needed to be taught a lesson.

    How would I have reacted to such a fine? Well honestly, I couldn't have hated the police more than I did anyway, so I'd imagine it wouldn't have made any difference. But would I have done the same joke again, definitely not. As it happened I never did it again anyway but that is besides the point.

    I have little faith in the police, but I believe that overall they are necessary. Once you accept that, you have to accept that they need the powers to do their job. This is all the fines idea is about.

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  33. The Remittance Man19/1/06 12:04 pm

    It's interesting that you use examples from the Old Testament (Books of Numbers, Deuteronomy and Judges) as these are at least 2000 years old. I haven't heard of even the most fundamental christian or jewish sects following these instructions recently. However there have been documented cases in the pst few years of some Muslims using similar Koranic injunctions to stone people to death and subject a man's sister to gang rape because the man had "defiled" another woman.

    Now I am grown up enough to realise that the perpetrators of these attrocities were quite probably a misguided minority. However since you seem to be happy to apply blanket condemnations to Christianity and Judaism when are you going to do the same to Islam?

    Given your crusading zeal to identify and attack religious bigotry I'd have thought more recent aboninations justified by faith would attract your ire far more readily.

    Either be honest and say you only hate christianity or be shown up for a hypocrite. Or are you just too scared of what the "nasty" Muslims will do to you if you dare to criticise their faith?

    RM

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  34. The Blue Foxxx19/1/06 11:19 pm

    RM - Neil is completely ignorant of his party's origins:

    "I think the Tories are probably better at curtailing union powers, but apart from that there isn't much I like about them." neil on another thread.

    He is also not a socialist - please do not sully its good name by association.

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  35. The Blue Foxxx19/1/06 11:20 pm

    RM - Neil is completely ignorant of his party's origins:

    "I think the Tories are probably better at curtailing union powers, but apart from that there isn't much I like about them." neil on another thread.

    He is also not a socialist - please do not sully its good name by association.pjwdyyw

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  36. The Blue Foxxx19/1/06 11:24 pm

    Also can we lay the atheists as biggest world historical criminals canard to rest. Soviet Communism and Fascism required faith in the ideology, thus in common with fundamentalist conceptions of religion they were intolerant of free thinking. This would suggest we condemn authoritarianism and an inability to tolerate argument - Hello Neil!

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  37. The Remittance Man20/1/06 6:42 am

    Point taken, Blue. My issue with Neil on this one is that he seems to be unfairly bashing Christianity on the grounds of their intolerance.

    I simply wished to point out that he was being a little unfair in singling that particular faith out for criticism when there were others that could be equally criticised and that his own professed non-faith (atheism) could also do with a bit of introspective analysis.

    RM

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  38. The Blue Foxxx20/1/06 12:57 pm

    We are in agreement - I would argue that a pschological inability to deal with uncertainty and ambivalence underlies a lot of fundamentalism. This seems to be the case with Dawkins too and explains why, entertaining as his diatribes on the programmes are, there is nno debate. It is typical of someone who dislikes complexity to only present almost caricatured poles in an argument - hence his selection of the most fundamentalist religious believers he could find.

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  39. RM, Blue Fox,

    The Koran has indeed some disgracful sayings that are equivalent to what's in the Old Testament.

    The reason I haven't attacked Islam directly in this post, (though if you look through my blog, you will find plenty of criticism of Islam), is that it is too fashionable to do so at the moment. There is enough Islamaphobia about, I don't need to add to it. What gets my goat is those Christians who criticise Islam for stonings etc and quote the Koran, but ignore the same teachings in their own religion. Lets have some impartiality here.

    I hate Islam, I think most Muslims are probably more bigoted than nost Christians. The recent comment by Iqbal Sacranie is worse than comments by Nick Griffin of the BNP.

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  40. "He is also not a socialist - please do not sully its good name by association."

    I believe that we need a more egalitarian society in terms of wealth, I certainly believe in society and altruism is obvious essential to this.

    Does the fact I think Unions are self interested organisations little better than business leaders mean I can't be a socialist?

    I know of the enormous debt the Labour party has to unions and hwo the unions advanced workers rights. Unions were essential pre-war, but the inefficiencies in practise they encouraged in the 70s and 80s helped no-one. Their powers had to be curtailed for eveyone's benefit, including their own workers.

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  41. We are not guilty until proven innocent in driving offences. The only area in which we might be said to be guilty until proven innocent is that of parking fines. In all criminal offences, including driving offences, we are presumed innocent until proven guilty. I like it that way, and am happy for my taxes to be spent upholding the rule of law.

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  42. The Blue Foxxx22/1/06 3:16 pm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism

    The inherent difference between unions and business leaders is outlined here. You should be able to draw your own inferences from this as to what your talk of 'efficiency' and curtailment of unions being in the workers own interests means and its incompatability with professed socialism.

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  43. Katy, do you think those innocent prisoners being held on remand would think they were presumed innocent?

    In terms of driving offences unless you insist on taking it to court you are presumed guilty and have to incur the fine and penalty points. This would be the case with Blair's respect proposals as well. I really don't see how this fundamentally changes anything to do with our civil liberties like the Daily Mail are claiming. It just seems like another excuse to exagerate anything remotely criticisable they can find with this government.

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  44. The Remittance Man23/1/06 11:14 am

    Neil

    You and Mr Blair seem to be making the same mistake and assuming that the police/CPS and the courts are one monolithic organisation. They are not. But in that mistaken belief you also think that the entire structure presumes a person's guilt. Once again you are wrong.

    The police and CPS do assume the accused is guilty. This is a simple matter of logic - they are hardly likely to arrest and charge a person unless they do belive them guilty (or at least that they can construct a case saying he's guilty). But the police and CPS are not the arbiters of the accused's fate. That is the purpose of the courts.

    The courts are independent of the police and CPS. They are required to listen both to the case put by the state and the defence put by the accused and weigh their relative merits without prejudice. That is why the statue of Justice on the Old Bailey wears a blindfold.

    Mr Blair is proposing to put the power to punish in the hands of the poeple who build the accusation case. This quite frankly is frightening.

    It does not matter whether the case is a minor one (speeding) or a major one (mass murder) the same process is followed. The police/CPS make a case and then have to convince a magistrate or jury that what they are saying is true and the accused is indeed the perpetrator of a crime. The accused is allowed to refute this. Now in all cases the accused can put up his hands and admit his guilt. In the case of a speeding fine he does this by paying the fine on the ticket. In a more serious case he can do this at the preliminary hearing. Here the cops/CPs present the accused and the outlines of their case. The judge asks the accused to plead. If the accused pleads guity the judge schedules a sentancing hearing. If he pleads not guilty, the judge schedules a full court hearing.

    At all stages up to the final verdict the court assumes the defendant is innocent unless he actually says "Guilty, m'lud". Whether the cops and CPS believe he is the most guilty man on earth or not is immaterial.

    The only instance where this does not happen is with the new parking charges where local authorities now have the power to punish bad parking, and even this is coming under attack because it breaches the provisions of the Bill of Rights.

    That a civilian without legal training cannot understand this is believable (though this civilian has grasped the concept). That a trained barrister like Mr Blair cannot grasp the basic concepts of English law should be grounds for disbarment.

    RM

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  45. The Remittance Man23/1/06 11:18 am

    Oh, and on the religious issue. Thanks for saying you also dislike the Islamic interpretation of morality, but I still think you are simply indulging in leftie church bashing for the sake of it.

    Whether a lot of people are criticising Islam already or not is immaterial. Some people are using the teachings of that faith to perpetrate some real, hidious crimes now. To my knowledge Christians are not. Using the cover of "Islamophobia" is nothing but intellectual dishonesty.

    RM

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  46. I'll answer the religious point first if you don't mind.

    The evil of Islam is more obvious at the moment, that is why I didn't bother criticising it in this post.

    Generally I try to criticise religion as a whole, the examples I use out of the Old Testamant are just as bad as you can find in the Koran.

    Islam has not been liberalised to the extent that Christianity has basically because it predominates more in developing countries. Although this liberalisation of christianity is still fairly recent.

    Saying that, in the US, the majority of people believe that the world is less than 10,000 years old, there will never be a high level politician admit to being atheist over there and admitting being atheist can seriously limit your career prospects. Doctors that perform abortions live in fear of their lives and abortion clinics are being attacked on a daily basis with some doctors being murdered.

    In the developing world christian charities are openly discouraging the use of contraception which has condemned untold millions to extra STDs and misery from overpopulation.

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  47. The Blair respect agenda does not remove the recourse to court for those that appeal summary fines etc.

    How is someone rotting on remand presumed innocent? They have not had any crime proved against them to the usual standards.

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