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Advice for the needy. in General
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #8
Linux is a great operating system, but Mac is also a great operating system. The latter has a slightly better software selection, and in the end you're quite likely to need some kind of emulation if you want those fancy new Windows games.

—Alorael, who concludes that in a few years the Google/Apple/Linux merger will produce the only OS, the only software, and the only information worth having. If you're not cached you won't count.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
What have you been reading lately? in General
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #630
Since I am the official bearer of bad tidings for this thread, and since it somehow hasn't come up here yet, I present to you... disaster.

—Alorael, who would like to know why it couldn't have been one of those other fantasy Terrys. Yes, that's a terrible thing to say, but does literature really need Terry Goodkind?
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
When bullying goes galactic.. in General
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #20
How to Destroy the Earth

—Alorael, who notes that galactic bullying is unlikely to make the cut. Sterilizing is explicitly not sufficient.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
When bullying goes galactic.. in General
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #11
We're constantly at risk of unexpected death from space. We'll live with it. We've been doing it for the last 65 million odd years.

—Alorael, who of course has no need to point out that around 65 million years ago life on Earth died with it in significant numbers. Don't worry, though. Not a single one of your ancestors was affected!
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Who celebrates Christmas? in General
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #21
There's quite a lot of Chinese food that's vegetarian. That's always kosher. And yes, Jews apparently do this. Actually, it's somewhere between a tradition and a joke, much like a great deal of Jewish culture.

—Alorael, who will in fact admit to spending more Christmas dinners at home eating non-Chinese than not. But it's still an important thing!
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Who celebrates Christmas? in General
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #15
I have enough (nominally) Christian family members that we do celebrate Christmas in a manner that closely resembles Thanksgiving: big gathering, big dinner, lots of talking, and presents. Yes, we also tend to give gifts on Thanksgiving. At least everyone is thankful for them!

On the other hand, this Christmas celebration is not on the 25th very often, because that's frequently a time for travel, gathering with other family, churchgoing, and so on. That means that Christmas day is usually free for the traditional Jewish celebration of Christmas.

—Alorael, who already knows which Chinese restaurant he'll be heading to, with whom, and which movie everyone will be going to see afterwards. It's the Sweeney season!
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
The War on Christmas in General
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #72
Given that Alec explained the biology of starvation and why it affects the poor and causes obesity in his post, requiring you to use absolutely no memory, I find myself inclined to agree with his assessment. You're too wrapped up in your own ideas to even read what others are writing, let alone respond to it.

—Alorael, who will repeat: starvation response is not a mental disorder. It's part of how humans (and other animals) are hard-wired to avoid starving to death. It just happens to interact poorly with modern life.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Omaha Mall Shooting in General
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #350
I agree that sex is a moral issue. I agree that marriage usually includes sex. But...

Sex occurs outside of marriage. It is not in any way regulated.Sex is not necessarily part of marriage, c.f. intramarital rape laws.Children occur outside of marriage. Their birth is not in any way regulated.Children are not necessarily part of marriage.Finally, I simply cannot understand how you do not see the sex discrimination in restricting marriage. Marriage does not have a sex, but its two participants do. An individual of one sex may marry some people but not others purely based on their sexes. That's pretty obviously limitation, and therefore discrimination, and it is explicitly based on sex.
—Alorael, who realizes he is not going to get through and that he is not going to get a response. He's just frustrated that he apparently cannot convey an incredibly basic and simple point.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Omaha Mall Shooting in General
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #336
Welfare is broken, but the solution isn't less government. It's better government. Help for the working poor is a decidedly left-friendly position. Or hadn't you noticed that the right believes in tax cuts that do their best to exclude the poor?

While I will whole-heartedly acknowledge that the Democrats are a far from ideal party (and far from leftist party), how does that translate into the Republican right being better?

—Alorael, who wishes America had something better than a two-party system. It strangles politics.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
The War on Christmas in General
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #65
The problem still boils down to calories being cheap and nutrition being expensive. That might explain poor nutrition, but it doesn't explain obesity. The problem is that high calorie for weight/volume food is also cheap and ubiquitous, but low calorie foods aren't. In other words, obesity isn't due to the fact that people eat burgers and pizza. It's due to the fact that they eat more burgers and pizza than they can without gaining a lot of weight.

In other words, we have an excess of empty calories, but the empty isn't the immediate problem here and the calories are. While it would be nice to have nutritional calories in meals, it's probably easier to have more food that's just plain empty. Snacking on cardboard would be great if it were even marginally appetizing.

—Alorael, who believes that it's probably more possible to live well on a tiny budget than Alec makes it look, but it also might require giving things up. Like, say, anything resembling a traditional meal, or possibly even the idea of meals instead of snacking throughout the day. And that isn't compatible with most jobs.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Provide or Hide Character Details in The Avernum Trilogy
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #3
This has been cross-posted to General. That version is more successful.

—Alorael, who will cause this one to cease. Bye!
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Another Old School Game in General
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #36
quote:
Originally written by Fernication:

Eschaton is the Realmz of 2007.
This is not a kind comparison.

—Alorael, who really hopes that's untrue. Few other games have managed to be expensive, buggy, unbalanced, and typo-ridden yet still (apparently) successful like Realmz.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Omaha Mall Shooting in General
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #303
At least it is statistics. What are you basing your beliefs on besides your own limited experiences? Maybe homeless people aren't out looking for sex (although people seem to have plenty of sex in adversity...), but they can still be gay. As for high schools, I wonder if poor high schools tend to have more hostile views towards open homosexuality. Open-mindedness as a luxury of the rich?

—Alorael, who won't argue that many homeless people have other problems. But why do they have those problems? Being poor is hard, but so is being gay. Being gay and poor is a good way to get cut off from that safety net of friends and relations who won't take you in when you need them.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Provide or Hide Character Details in General
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #8
I agree that it's nice to have the numbers available, particularly because there's very little indication that some traits are useless. But we've figured out a few things on these boards: Jeff usually (but not always) goes for simpler math so that if most details seem to be visible they probably are, and it is, in fact, feasible to do repeated tests to work out the mechanics.

—Alorael, who could even see having two modes. One, for casual gamers, hides all the number crunching and gives qualitative information about what stats do. The other gives you all the formulas and lets you min-miax to your heart's content.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Omaha Mall Shooting in General
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #285
Biology and sexual orientation according to Wikipedia! No, there's no gay gene. Yes, a large number of both genetic and environmental factors seem to play a role. I'm not sure what good this does for any argument, though, because natural does not mean good and good does not mean natural.

quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

not an opposite-sex pairing is different from an opposite sex pairing, which is legal, recognized, and perceived (by some) to be a good thing for society. Since any other kind of “marriage” is not the same, 'Heterosexual marriage is recognized, therefore any other kind of marriage should be too' is not a logical argument. For this argument to fly you need sameness.
The two are obviously different enough that one can distinguish between them legally, as we do. One can also distinguish between, say, blacks and whites. Laws cannot apply to one and no the other. Why? Because we have societally and, more importantly, legally determined that to do so is to discriminate in a way that does not do more good than harm to individuals or to society as a whole.

Likewise, there is no need to show that same-sex marriage is the same as opposite-sex marriage. We are attempting to show that any legal recognition of the difference is discrimination. Honestly, I can't understand how this point is not getting through. Discrimination is always about differences.

quote:
Alo, Why do you keep saying that sex and marriage is not about sex or children? Those are the very reasons people get married. Throw in some love and you have the trifecta. I doubt very many people would get married to someone they didn’t love, want to have sex with, or have children with for some tax breaks. What do you think marriage is about?
The laws about marriage do not require, encourage, or in any other way discuss children except for rights and responsibilities pertaining to any children that may exist. The laws about marriage apparently still do address sex, but I think that's rather antiquated. The point is that if we want marriage to be about something other than a legal contract between two individuals for whatever reason they want, it could be legislated in those terms. It's not. Legally, marriage isn't about anything.

quote:
quote:
same-sex marriages are different because men and women are different. Discrimination based on sex or gender is illegal, however. How is marriage different?
Individuals have genders. Marriages do not, so you can’t discriminate between marriages based on the gender of the marriage.

You're splitting hairs. The discrimination here is based on the sexes of the married individuals, not the sex of the marriage. It's still sex-based discrimination.

—Alorael, who doesn't think you can have it both ways legally. Either men and women are fundamentally different and sex discrimination should be legal or they are not and should not be legally different and therefore the differences have no bearing on marriage.

[ Friday, December 14, 2007 21:44: Message edited by: Sunbroken ]
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Omaha Mall Shooting in General
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #275
Homosexuality is quite common in animals, especially in the species most closely related to humans, bonobos. Biology has shown genetic and epigenetic factors that contribute to a homosexual phenotype. The factors are different for different taxa, but they're very much there.

If this is not "natural," then I must question what, exactly, you mean. It occurs among animals. It occurs among humans. It is not a condition considered deleterious by those who have it, so classifying it as a disease is highly problematic. Regardless of its genetic or non-genetic nature, what exactly makes homosexuality even possibly unnatural?

And I'm with Kel on equality and identicalness. No one is arguing that same-sex and opposite-sex couples are identical; they're obviously not. Therefore, they're not equal in a mathematical sense. The question is how the differences make any difference to marriage, which is not about sex or children.

Here's another question: same-sex marriages are different because men and women are different. Discrimination based on sex or gender is illegal, however. How is marriage different?

—Alorael, who would have you consider the fact that no two marriages are identical due to the myriad factors that go into two people and their relationship. Marriage must incorporate some degree of difference. You are being asked to justify putting the cutoff where you think it should be (or where evangelicals think it should be).
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Omaha Mall Shooting in General
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #257
To repeat what I've already said so you don't: men are not women. Marriages between men or marriages between women are not the same as marriages between women because anatomically they're not. What bearing does this have on the institution of marriage as a legal entity?

—Alorael, who also must point out that the government does not encourage, support, maintain, or inhibit the termination of marriage in any way except for the benefits of marriage itself. THe government doesn't seem to have any vested interested in having people get and stay married.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Omaha Mall Shooting in General
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #252
I think that's a pretty key point. You've argued over and over that same-sex and opposite-sex marriages are fundamentally different. This is true on the level of genitalia. This is probably also true on some mental level, as it's pretty clear that the brains of men and women don't work the same way.

However, arguing that opposite-sex marriage is less natural poses two problems. Firstly, you're presupposing that homosexuality is unnatural, which flies in the face of science, or that naturally homosexual couples don't marry. Since marriage is a man-made institution, not a natural one, the second argument is meaningless. Secondly, if you're not arguing that opposite-sex marriages are better, then whether or not they're natural is irrelevant. We don't make laws based on nature. In fact, according to social contract theory, we make laws specifically so that we don't have to live naturally.

So, again: what specifically makes opposite-sex marriage worth legally supporting that does not apply to same-sex marriage?

—Alorael, who will be disheartened if the answer has anything to do with children. Marriage is not about children, as has been repeatedly stated, and there is no evidence that opposite-sex marriage is better for children.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Omaha Mall Shooting in General
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #227
I'd argue the other way. Individual merit obviously means superior personal qualities from context. The first example has nothing to do with personal qualities, and thus is not based on merit. It's discrimination. The second example is wrong, but if it were true that all handicapped individuals had greater mental strength (whatever that means) and the job requires mental strenght, it's reasonable to hire only handicapped people.

—Alorael, who notes that the latter is only non-discriminatory (or not discriminatory in a bad way) if only handicapped people can do the job. If all handicapped people have this mental strength and 10% of the non-handicapped do, everyone gets a fair chance at the job as long as they have the necessary quality or the situation is bad-discriminatory.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
The War on Christmas in General
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #7
I don't know. How often do prostitutes mistake a slang term for mirth?

—Alorael, who denounces Santa censorship. The man has been belly-laughing at least as long as the world's oldest profession has been doing its thing. Or at least for a few hundred years, and that's the same thing.

[ Wednesday, December 12, 2007 14:15: Message edited by: Oracularity ]
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Omaha Mall Shooting in General
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #221
quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

Besides that, all of the privileges of marriage are available to homosexuals if they marry, just like the person that has asthma can get special treatment if he is willing to move into the smoggy development zone.

Whose side are you on, anyway? At any rate, if marriage is supposed to be based on love and/or sex, that's not going to work. If marriage has no such basis, why does same/opposite sex matter at all?

quote:
First the Thuryl Act act to preserve marriage; now the Alorel Act (man that has a nice ring!) to build healthy marriages. You two would make the evangelicals proud.
You're being sarcastic, but I honestly do not understand. Explain, please?

quote:
Same-sex unions cannot naturally produce children nor do they make natural use of the sex organs implied by their form. I would argue that these two differences strongly imply that male-female pairing is complementary in ways beyond these two obvious ways (e.g. masculine-feminine personality traits; the differences in male and female thinking), but those two differences suffice to establish fundamental inequality.
I would argue otherwise. Whoops, we're at an impasse. And since marriage is not about making children, which no longer requires compatible genitalia, this is all besides the point.

quote:
You’d have to ask someone that opposes it. I’m not 100% clear on all of their rationalizations. I think they’re along the lines of immoral, society-eroding, unhealthy, unnatural, etc.
You're just playing devil's advocate here? Well, okay. All of those claims have been disproven, though, except the first, which is entirely a matter of opinion and not a basis for law. Also, since you're apparently not arguing from this position, I have to ask again what's wrong with legalizing same-sex marriage.

quote:
Straight people don’t get special consideration over homosexuals any more than people without asthma get special consideration over people with asthma by the city with the smoggy development zone.
This is your second reference to asthma, and I don't get it. Asthmatics need special consideration for health reasons (which, I might add, I've never gotten nor heard of). What exactly do heterosexuals need special consideration for? It's neither a disability nor a disease to be straight!

Also, your point about merit was misunderstood, but going back to Kel's two kinds of acceptable discrimination, I really think there's only one. Handicapped people don't "merit" special consideration because of any inherent worth in them. Discrimination is acceptable when the good it does outweighs the harm it does. The harm of handicapped parking is negligible. The benefit applies only to a relatively small number of handicapped people, but it's a large benefit to them. So the small benefit weighted against the minute cause means it's good discrimination. Merit has nothing to do with it. Neither does disability per se.

—Alorael, who is block quoting again. Sorry! He won't promise not to do it this time, though.

[ Wednesday, December 12, 2007 13:27: Message edited by: Oracularity ]
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
The War on Christmas in General
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #3
"That's when the Jews killed Jesus."

—Alorael, who isn't sure whether this is more worrying as a sign of baseless hate, a sign of ignorance of Judaism, or a sign of ignorance of Christianity. How long until Easter?
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
I'm back!!! in General
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #18
Letting this live was a mistake. I'm sorry.

—Alorael, who is sorrier to have to do this. Remember, folks: pyramids are giant monuments for dead people and threads.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Omaha Mall Shooting in General
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #212
quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

quote:
Originally written by Thuryl:

I don't see anything in there directly comparing marriage to same-sex partnerships.
The idea is just to establish the merit of 1 man-1 woman marriage.

Which hasn't been seriously attacked, but it's good to know that marriage is, in fact, useful. There's a reason to support it in the first place.

quote:
quote:
Which is the more plausible interpretation of this statistic: that divorce causes domestic violence, or that domestic violence causes divorce?
Indeed. It would seem that a broken marriage may in some ways be worse than none at all. All the more reason for you to write your representative and demand that he pass legislation to preserve marriage. Great point. Thanks! I think “Thuryl Act” has a nice ring to it.

Actually, my interpretation is that domestic violence leads to divorce, not vice versa. In this case preserving marriage is a terrible idea. It's preserving an abusive relationship.

quote:
quote:
Originally written by Dikiyoba:

There is nothing in that list that suggest the benefits extend only to opposite-sex couples. If it proves anything, it proves that we should allow same-sex marriages right away so that more people can benefit.
I agree that some of the figures would indicate the possibility that any two parents can duplicate certain effects, but the ones that mention marriage and certainly every one of the benefits for the mates are only known for traditional marriage.

Because there are no statistics for same-sex marriage since it is not possible for same-sex couples to marry. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, to bring up the cliche. Many studies contend that same-sex marriages do, in fact, convey all of the same benefits. And as I already said, conveying many but not all of the benefits of opposite-sex marriage would still make same-sex marriage worth legalizing.

quote:
It does not necessarily follow that same-sex partners would experience the same benefits. After all, we have determined that same-sex and opposite-sex unions are fundamentally different.
Sorry, we have? I certainly haven't!

quote:
quote:
And drinking fountains for whites only discriminate in favor of whites. That doesn't make it acceptable.
Dikiyoba, I don’t know if you are following, but we’ve established that there are two types of discrimination. One is based on merit, the other is based on prejudicial grouping. White only fountains would be the latter; traditional marriage the former. What you did is equivocation. Some of the others just did it for the zillionth time, too.

All groupings are prejudicial. I question the word "merit" there, but the point remains that discrimination must do more good than harm. Yes, good and harm eventually require moral judgments that can't be logically justified because morals aren't logical. Segregation does no real good and is harmful on two counts: firstly, separate never manages to be equal; secondly, separating and polarizing elements of a society tends to have very negative effects on stability. Same-sex marriage is opposite: it does no real harm and in fact seems to do some good. What's the justification for not allowing it even if it isn't identical to opposite-sex marriage, which I still think it is (or close enough)?

quote:
quote:
Originally written by Student of Trinity:

Stillness could do some work here on articulating what this 'discrimination-for' vs. 'discrimination-against' distinction means, since it isn't quite clear to me.
It’s semantic, but meaningful. I’m trying to shake you all from equivocating. When most people see a handicapped spot, they don’t think it’s ‘discriminating against’ them, they think, “This spot is only for handicapped people because they merit special consideration.” Marriage, as it stands in the US, is the same kind of ‘discrimination-for.’

Except I don't think anyone seriously argues that straight people deserve special consideration. They don't have any unique needs. They don't provide anything unique to society except, broadly, children, and we're not encouraging children here.

quote:
quote:
Everyone agrees that prohibiting gay marriage is technically unequal
Yeah, but that’s missing the forest for the trees. Gay marriage and traditional marriage are unequal in fundamental, natural ways.

Not in most people's opinions, at least here.

quote:
quote:
discrimination is wrong unless it serves a greater good…Stillness could say whether or not he finds this premise meaningful, and if so, whether or not he accepts it.
I’m drawing a blank on any situation in which discrimination (of the illogical, nonmerit based sort) can be good. I'm thinking affirmative action. Is that discrimination? Maybe. I think there is some very good justification behind this.

Handicapped spaces. Affirmative action, but that's controversial. Braille on labels. Preventing the blind from driving cars or taking jobs that require vision. And so on.

quote:
1. Same-sex marriages may be better than non-marriage for homosexuals.
2. Same-sex marriage provides benefits.

Sorry for not substantiating. I'll work on it. At the same time, though, I'd be interested in seeing nonpartisan documentation of the opposite if you can find it.

—Alorael, who knows this kind of point by point quoting and responding never ends well. He's sorry, and he'll try not to do it again.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Omaha Mall Shooting in General
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #202
Even if opposite-sex marriages are better than same-sex marriages, it seems quite plausible that same-sex marriages are better than non-marriage for families. Since those inclined to marry someone of the same sex are largely disinclined ever to marry someone of the opposite sex, isn't it making the best of a bad situation for the government to legalize same-sex marriage anyway?

—Alorael, who doesn't actually believe same-sex marriage conveys fewer benefits than opposite-sex marriage. He's just saying that even if that were the case it would make very little difference as long as same-sex marriage provides some significant benefits, which it does.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00

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