Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Low-Fat Religion

I always find it interesting how we have always bought into the low-fat craze. Most of us have never really done the research ourselves because it requires more time and effort. I myself recommend that once you get your carbs back in line, and you are at your ideal weight, that a true balance would be 40% carbs, 30% protein, and 30% fats. Here's an interesting article on how low fat diets can be dangerous or deadly.

Anthony Colpo - Why the Low-Fat Diet is Stupid and Potentially Dangerous

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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Morality, Its not just for Religions

The other day in talking with two different friends, they each brought up quotes on morality.

"Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life. Aim above morality. Be not simply good; be good for something." - Henry David Thoreau


"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated"- Gandhi
We often hear that we must be more moral, our society is losing its morals, and we are losing our morals because we are losing faith. Through out my life different people would throw around the term morality. Yet interestingly, the impression I received was that they did not know specifically what it meant. The usual definition or explanation was that it meant being good. When we deal with morality, we are dealing with ethics and values. Good is a value or in other words a measurement of something. In order to measure something, you need a standard of value or measurement. For example, a ruler's standard of measurement is one inch. What is the standard of value for good or morality? The standard varies depending on your philosophy and ethics. Many people hold this standard subconsciously. However, it can be quite eye opening to understand what your standard happens to be. Holding this standard consciously allows you to measure whether an action or thing helps you to accomplish or maintain your standard (which would also be your ultimate value) or does it prevent you from accomplishing or maintaining your ultimate value. I agree with Ayn Rand's observation, that only living creatures can have values. Life requires self-sustaining action. A cup does not have to take any action to remain in existence. However to maintain life, certain actions are needed. An example would be searching for food or building shelter from the elements. Animals, unlike humans, automatically take actions to maintain their life if the are not stopped by an outside force. Humans, must choose the actions needed to maintain their lives. However, since those actions are not automatic, we need to discover which actions maintain our lives or destroy our lives. Hence, the need for ethics/morality.

Let us look at the first quote. Henry is talking about the morality of most religions. That standard of value is not life, but what god commands you to do. Think of the consequences of god as your standard of value. His commandment may be contradictory of what is required to maintain and enhance your life. Furthermore, it takes away your personal responsibility to identify the facts of existence and to act accordingly. Instead, it promotes obeying authority. I have to think that Thoreau was basically saying that you have put aside the morality with god as a standard and for time to time and use Rational Self-interest the morality with life as the stand. I say one promotes life and the other promotes normally the after-life.

The quote from Gandhi, I have to agree with. I just do not agree in the way he intended. How we treat animals does show our moral progress as a society. If we elevate animals to be equals or above humankind, then we are not progressing because human life is not our standard of value. We have to remember that in the Hindu culture god is in every animal. This is the reason for sacred cows. In this case, it is not the animals that are the standard of value, but their god.

For many people being moral is about following god's authority, for me I say try Rational Self-interest, the other white meat. It will promote and enhance your life.

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Sunday, February 05, 2006

Abortion is a Property Rights issue

A wonderful little piece by Humble
B Wonderful

has lead me to ponder the abortion
issue again. Essentially her position is that abortion is a property
rights issue and provides a wonderful thought exercise on her blog in
regards to that position. I agree with her points. Further more I
agree with the Objectivist
that abortion is Pro-life and it is a property rights issue.
The right to property or ownership is the freedom to use and dispose
of one's property as you see fit. The first thing one owns as a
separate individual being is one's body. Therefore, the right to
property in this case is the right to use and/or dispose of ones body
as you see fit. A government that states or is given the power to
control what goes in or what goes out of your body, implies they have
a right to the use/ or dispose of your body. Government is only
a group of individuals. So lets follow this reasoning to its
conclusion. A group of individuals that controls the use of /or
dispose of your body implies that you are the property of this group
or government. This is just plain slavery. The rights of a fetus
would be the right to slavery. That's just not right at all.

Let us make another observation, that a fetus is not a human being. It
is a potential human being. For example, a peach seed can become a
peach tree. A peach seed is a potential peach tree or in other
words ungrown tree. However, a peach seed is not the same as a peach
tree. The peach tree can feed you now if it is the right season and a
peach seed by itself can not feed you any season until it becomes an
actual peach tree. Now, potentials have value and this explains the emotional attachment
to a fetus. If there is a chance or a potential to gain something in
life that you value and if that potential opportunity has ended, most of us would be
sad. The greater the value the more that we would be sad. Our
feelings however do not change that a women's body is her
The fetus can live off of it biologically as long as it
has the
permission of the mother.
may ask why we many times refer to the fetus as child or baby if it is not an actual being. If you think
about it, how many times have we talked about a potential as if it
were an actual already. You drive by the home that you are
going to buy and say "there is my home" instead of
saying "there is my future home and it is owned by the Jones
right now". We use present terms to show how much we value the potential future.

A final thought on property rights, is that all parts of the body
feel pain and have reactions. Body parts also can not survive with
out being attached to a person's body or some machine to keep it
alive. A fetus until born is a body part. It depends on the
mother's body to survive. Sure, there are means to keep fetuses of a
certain age alive outside the body and once they are removed from the
body they should have full rights because they are no longer part of
the mother's body. Yet, while they are a part of the mother's body,
if the mother decides she no longer gives the fetus permission to
stay in her body the fetus most be removed in the safest way for the
mother. This may be a C-section or could be an abortion. This is up
to the mother and her doctor's expert opinion.
Now, I know some
will say that fetuses can laugh, cry, avoid light sources and etc.
However, Studies into Fetal Brain & Cognitive Development show
that these are reactions caused by the brain stem not the cognitive
area which would be the fore brain. This brings us back to
a fetus being a potential being not an actual being. A fetus is more like a body part of the mother and abortion is an extension of the right of
property that the mother holds over her own body. The fetus does not gain
these rights until it is an actual being not a part of the mother. Abortion is pro-life. It is pro the mother's life the
only actual being in this situation and not the potential human

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Another state of the union

Well we had another ho hum state of the union again. The Cato Institute had an interesting lesson on the history of state of the unions.

Speech from the Throne