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How’s That Again?

I am all for freedom of religion, so long as religion doesn’t impinge on the rights of others.  That means no matter what your God/church/religion teaches, it hasn’t got the right to classify half the population as a piece of property based on gender, and it can’t dictate already-difficult personal decisions.  There is so much more, but those are a couple of big issues for me.

The Catholic church has its own history of abusing power, and not just with the ongoing rampant pedophilia among the priesthood.  Since birth control was introduced, it has been condemned by the church, and abortion was classified as murder.

Except, it turns out, when church-run hospitals are responsible for killing an unborn child.  In that case, the church has the right to declare an unborn baby just a fetus, not a person.

I don’t think so.  You can’t have it both ways; either the child is a person and the hospital is fully responsible for taking the child’s life, or the child is NOT a person, in which case it can’t be murder to abort a non-person prior to birth.   I am ambivalent about abortions because I don’t have the moral expertise to say when personhood begins.  Yes, a woman has a right to make decisions about her own body.  It’s the fetus that’s the question mark.  If the pregnancy has developed to the point that the child could survive an early birth, I am inclined to side on the part of the child’s survival.

It is a very gray area.  What’s the better outcome if the mother is a drug addict and the child would be subjected to abuse of all kinds?  Is it literally a mercy killing to abort in that case?  If a pregnancy is the result of rape/incest, the unborn child is innocent – but so is the mother.  I would side with the mother’s well-being in those scenarios, but not without considering the child as well.

Only in the most strict religious communities would there be a second thought about aborting if pregnancy puts the mother’s life in danger.  That happened in Ireland just recently and resulted in a lawsuit because the mother died – and as a result, so did the child.  How about the mother’s mental health?  That’s perhaps even more of a hornet’s nest.

Back in the day, the seriously mentally ill were involuntarily sterilized – and institutionalized.  Despite the horror stories tied to those institutions, they offered some kind of home to those whose minds were incapable of functioning on a self-management level.  Nowadays the catchphrase is to incorporate the mentally challenged into society as a whole.  The reality is it’s a cop-out in a massive way.  The people who once would have been institutionalized are now roaming the streets, homeless, or in prison.  One estimate I read recently (I don’t have the link – sorry) puts some 64% of the prison population as mentally ill.

The only difference in prison and mental institutions is the added taxpayer costs of the legal system.  That, and mentally-ill prisoners are at the mercy of those with whom they’re incarcerated.

I’ve been reading, watching and studying a lot of out-there theories lately, from the whole Ancient Aliens thing to quantum physics and all points in between.  The whole Ancient Aliens premise is deliciously ludicrous.  Yes, there is a great deal of evidence for advanced technology back when.  Attributing it to aliens… not so convincing.  There is plenty to convince me that we’re just the latest in a string of civilizations infesting the surface of the planet.

(Yes, infesting.  We homo sapiens are doing some pretty nasty things to the earth’s surface, air and water, not to mention all its other flora and fauna.  You sure can’t call it a symbiosis at this stage of the game.)

There are a lot of legitimate questions posed by the out-there folks, though.  Was it humans or some other race that built the ancient strongholds, the ones so old that they’ve passed from our cultural memory except the knowledge that they exist?  And how many more sites lie undiscovered, without even that much?  Egypt’s ruins range backward to some 4000 years ago, give or take a few centuries.  Other temples and cities predate the Egyptian dynasties by several millennia.  A couple of middle-eastern sites have been inhabited for up to 11,000 years, depending on who you ask.  The low estimate is 8,000 years.

To put that into perspective, 11,000 years ago our distant ancestors were just thawing out from the last ice age.

And that’s based on what we can date, which is strictly the things that were once alive: wood, bone, those products of life which can be carbon-dated.  There’s no scientific means to date the stone constructs themselves; their respective lifespans can only be estimated based on the detritus of life found in their immediate vicinity.  Which means if somebody in 2013 drops a Popsicle stick at Stonehenge, it’s buried and lost for another 3,000 years or so, our progeny may decide that Stonehenge was built c. 2000.

I guess you never really know unless you build a functioning time machine.  And even then it’s questionable.  Scientists project that if we ever DID figure out how to make a time machine, there wouldn’t be any way to make it land on planet Earth.  Even if you consider where the planet lies between spring and fall, we’re a loooong way apart.  Taking into account that longer periods also mean that the entire solar system – and the entire galaxy, for that matter – is in a different place, there’s nothing to guarantee whether or not your time machine would summarily land you in the middle of a black hole, materialize you in the center of a very hot sun, or at some midpoint between galaxies where nothing exists but a whole lot of darkness and cold.

Since nobody has built a time machine yet – that we know of – it’s still conjecture.  Science once proved that if a train moved down the tracks over 35MPH it would create a vacuum inside, thus asphyxiating all its passengers.  We kinda know better than that now, but it was a perfectly good theory until proven wrong.

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