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Messages - xasop

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Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: Bye Bye Abortion
« on: May 05, 2022, 07:39:10 PM »
Because this country (the GOP and conservatives for clarity's sake) wants more white babies. We don't want to bring in immigrants to help our declining birth rate so the only fix is to force women to have babies. The boomers are getting older and there's not enough people to take care of them.
Sounds like they should fix the housing crisis so people can afford to buy a family home, then.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: Bye Bye Abortion
« on: May 05, 2022, 07:01:42 PM »
Solve the other problems and you greatly diminish abortion.
I do agree with this. I can't understand how the anti-abortion crowd aren't campaigning for free birth control.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: Bye Bye Abortion
« on: May 05, 2022, 06:41:10 PM »
Something that will eventually develop into a life is splitting hairs and irrelevant. Until it is a life then it does not supersede the life of the person carrying it.
You are making a distinction between when a foetus is a “life” and when it isn’t. That distinction doesn’t really exist or, at best, is a grey area which keeps changing as medicine does. I don’t think life begins at conception but I don’t think it’s clear when it becomes so.
Well, "life" began 4 billion years ago and has been around continuously since then. The question isn't when an embryo or fœtus becomes "alive", but when it qualifies as a human life.

To me, the important issue here isn't the definition of a "life", but rather the question of the mother-to-be's commitment. If the opportunity is presented to abort at, say, 5 weeks pregnancy, and the mother chooses to keep the baby, then it is unreasonable to say "I changed my mind" at 15 or 20 or 25 weeks, regardless of the state of the fœtus. Conversely, if the opportunity is not available (due to legal or circumstantial restrictions) at an early stage, then an abortion at 15 weeks may make more sense. But the decision to commit (or not) to pregnancy should be made as early as possible to avoid undue suffering on the part of the fœtus, and then once the commitment is made, it should be permanent (with obvious exceptions for life-threatening cases).

On the point about artificial wombs, I don't think that it makes sense to say that just because a zygote would eventually become a human baby, it is best to let it develop. Is bringing a child into an abusive family or an orphanage better than preventing it from ever existing? I know there are some who would say yes, but at the very least it should be clear that there are a variety of reasonable views on that question.

So, once again, we come to the issue being more complex than it first appears.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: 2022 Northern Ireland election
« on: May 05, 2022, 12:55:06 PM »
Not content to have created this situation, Westminster has decided to stoke it some more.

Brandon Lewis indicated on ITV’s Peston programme on Wednesday night that the government had pulled back from including plans in the Queen’s speech next week allowing it to suspend part of the protocol.

Coming just hours before polling stations opened for today’s Assembly election, his comments could spell serious trouble for DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson.

There is no possible reason for them to make this announcement at this particular time, other than in the hope of rousing up anger on election day in Northern Ireland. This isn't about the Protocol, it's about propping up Boris's regime by creating problems that it can then purport to solve.

Boris needs to be ousted, and he needs to be ousted now.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: Bye Bye Abortion
« on: May 04, 2022, 06:05:40 PM »
This is one of those issues which too many people (on both sides) pretend is very simple when it’s actually very complex
Yes, that was my point.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: Bye Bye Abortion
« on: May 04, 2022, 03:54:12 PM »
i don't get why it matters if it's a person or not. no person has the right to force me to donate any or all of my body to sustain their life.
Are you seriously suggesting that abortions after 8 months of pregnancy should be allowed?

Philosophy, Religion & Society / 2022 Northern Ireland election
« on: May 04, 2022, 03:32:52 PM »
There is an election for the Northern Ireland Assembly tomorrow, and it is set to be a historic one. In the wake of Brexit, the DUP has imploded, paving the way for Sinn Féin to overtake them — the first time a nationalist party will be the largest in more than a century of Northern Irish history. However, their usual rhetoric of campaigning for a border poll on Irish reunification has taken a back seat to dealing with the wake of Brexit and the cost of living crisis this time around.

Brexit, now firmly history in the rest of the UK, has been central to this election debate, with the Northern Ireland Protocol continuing to be as contentious as everyone warned it would be before Brexit was signed off on. The Protocol keeps Northern Ireland within the EU's single market, creating a customs border in the Irish Sea and obligating the UK government to perform checks on goods imported into Northern Ireland from Great Britain — an obligation they are currently failing to meet. This is necessary to avoid a hard border within the island of Ireland, an outcome considered undesirable by all involved.

Meanwhile, the DUP is insisting they will not participate in government until the Protocol is reworked, while still providing no practical alternative suggestions. Since this is very unlikely to happen and the Good Friday Agreement mandates that the Northern Irish government must share power between nationalists and unionists, the likely outcome is that forming government will be difficult, even with Sinn Féin in the dominant position.

The other winner in this election is likely to be Alliance, a centrist party that identifies as neither nationalist nor unionist, but sets itself apart from sectarian politics. They are predicted to gain several seats, and they tend to be a stabilising force in Northern Irish politics, so this is the best news of all for me.

Further reading: NI Assembly election: Everything you need to know — The Irish Times

Whatever the outcome, Brexit is certain to dominate political discourse in Northern Ireland for months to come. Predictably, the rest of the UK continues to not care or even understand that this issue exists, furthering the disconnect between the British in Northern Ireland and their countrymen on the other side of the Irish Sea who consider them little more than a nuisance. I wish I could say a solution was on the horizon, but Westminster has repeatedly rejected every possible solution, leaving Stormont with little recourse of its own.

Suggestions & Concerns / Re: Let's use the site-wide theme in CN
« on: April 29, 2022, 02:22:06 PM »
Hear me out though...

That looks great, and seems like it should be much improved for colour-blind use (though we should test it with one of those apps that simulates colour-blindness as well).

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Now Playing
« on: April 29, 2022, 12:34:46 AM »
Dunno if you've noticed, but you should be able to post in A&E again now.

Suggestions & Concerns / Re: Let's use the site-wide theme in CN
« on: April 28, 2022, 02:18:41 AM »
This, IMO, is the logical conclusion of all this. In fact, why don't we take this 5 steps further and just try freeing markjo altogether? If he misbehaves, we can restrict him from just S&C and the FE boards.
Also agreed. I'll wait a day or so to see if there are objections, and if not I'll make it so.
It is done.

Suggestions & Concerns / Re: SMF software update
« on: April 26, 2022, 10:32:24 PM »
In that way, our implementation is arguably superior to SMF 2.1's.
Along with our implementation of practically everything else we've changed.

Suggestions & Concerns / Re: SMF software update
« on: April 26, 2022, 09:31:56 PM »
We intentionally didn't upgrade to 2.0.18 because it has some changes to UTF-8 handling, after we'd just spent days testing loads of edge cases and fixing our version to make sure it works well. We still have to replicate that testing on 2.0.18 (or 2.0.19) before we can accept SMF's changes (or apply the update without that particular change). I am unlikely to have much time to devote to that until June.

2.1 is a whole other kettle of fish. I don't know if we even want it at this point. We've fixed so many bugs in 2.0 in features that have been completely overhauled for 2.1 (such as PostgreSQL and IPv6 support) that it would likely continue to generate a lot of work for us for months after "upgrading".

Suggestions & Concerns / Re: Let's use the site-wide theme in CN
« on: April 26, 2022, 04:02:20 PM »
I agree with this, and since I was the one to move it in the first place, I'll also be the one to restore it. It was a bad judgement on my part.
Thanks, that resolves the immediate issue.

This, IMO, is the logical conclusion of all this. In fact, why don't we take this 5 steps further and just try freeing markjo altogether? If he misbehaves, we can restrict him from just S&C and the FE boards.
Also agreed. I'll wait a day or so to see if there are objections, and if not I'll make it so.

That said, I'm still against de-CN-ifying CN. Threads shouldn't be moved into it (and it's why we normally go with AR for thread moves), but if we're going to make it identical to other boards, it may as well not exist.
I'd be okay with merging CN and AR as well, but I'll butt out for now and see if there are more opinions. Personally, I'm happy to go whichever way consensus lands.

Suggestions & Concerns / Let's use the site-wide theme in CN
« on: April 26, 2022, 11:30:43 AM »
Last time this issue was discussed, the argument against changing the CN theme went along the lines that CN is for garbage threads with no value, and therefore it doesn't make any difference if they are readable or not. But if we're putting threads like this one, in which people are actively participating, into CN, then I think it certainly does matter that people can continue to use them.

The CN theme has long been unsuitable for colour-blind users and a burden on those of us who maintain the forum because the code is not up to the same standard as the rest (which, for SMF, is saying something). I propose that we delete it, save ourselves some work, and just use Blanko's theme everywhere.

I understand the concept, I just can't see what the draw to men like Putin and Trump is. They don't look strong to me, they just look like assholes. Their power is entirely based on throwing other people under the bus and sacrificing them for their own personal gain. Why would anyone want to attach themselves to someone like that who is clearly just going to use you and throw you away the moment you're no longer useful to them?
You just described every successful dictator in history.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: Translations of the Bible
« on: April 12, 2022, 10:12:26 PM »
I have spent long enough considering Bible translations in different languages now that I have been able to articulate the criteria by which I evaluate a translation. These are, of course, subjective to my reasons for reading the Bible — as a cultural influence and a (somewhat biased) historical document, without any particular religious affiliation.

My criteria are, in descending order of importance:

1. It must include the Deuterocanonical books.

Aside from the Jewish Tanakh, no Christian denomination — whether Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant — excluded these books until around the 19th century. Martin Luther himself asserted that they should be read, but not considered to be scripture in the same way that the other books are. Thus, they were placed in their own section of the Luther Bible, rather than among the Old Testament books where Catholics prefer them. The refusal by many Protestants to read them at all is a modern invention. In any case, since they were universally treated as scripture prior to the Reformation, they are just as important to the cultural influence of Christianity as the rest of the Bible.

Of the Bibles I own, the Good News Bible, the New Revised Standard Version and the NBV21 all include the Catholic Deuterocanonical books separately from the Old Testament, which is ideal, as it makes the separation of sources clear to the reader. They vary in the order of books within this section and the inclusion of additional books not considered canonical by the Latin Church — they all include the Prayer of Manasseh, but beyond that there is considerable variation.

An Bíobla Naofa, on the other hand, includes only the Catholic canon in the Vulgate order. This is not surprising, since — unlike the ecumenical translations mentioned above — this is a translation commissioned by the Catholic Church. This approach somewhat masks the distinction between Hebrew scripture and the later Greek additions, especially in books like Esther and Daniel with extensive insertions of entire passages, but is acceptable.

Many Protestant translations fail this test and are immediately eliminated. The New International Version is a notable such failure.

2. It should be as faithful to the original as possible, according to scholarly consensus based on available manuscripts.

This is nebulous in some cases — for example, is 1 Corinthians 7:36 about a betrothed couple, or a father and his daughter? Both are valid scholarly interpretations of the Greek, so neither one makes a translation any more or less acceptable based on this test. But there are translations that ignore scholarly consensus in favour of traditional (mis)translations, particularly where there are valid interpretations of the Greek Old Testament which do not reflect the original Hebrew.

My go-to example for this is Isaiah 7:14. If that verse contains the word "virgin", it is not an accurate translation of the Hebrew. It may be an accurate translation of the Greek, but every good translator knows you don't translate a translation if you can help it. The New International Version fails this test too, as does the King James Version. (The latter case is forgivable because modern Biblical scholarship did not yet exist in the 17th century; what is not forgivable is that such an outdated translation is still so widely relied upon.)

All four of the Bibles I own pass this test with flying colours. It is an issue I am not willing to compromise on.

3. It should be written in clear, straightforward, idiomatic and modern language, in whichever language it is translated into.

This is obviously quite subjective. Regular church-goers will have a much easier time understanding Christian jargon than the irreligious. My personal view is that while translations that try to render every word of the original Hebrew and Greek (formal equivalence) have their place as study Bibles, a good general-purpose translation is one that uses natural language to convey the same ideas that the source texts would have conjured up in early Christians (dynamic equivalence).

In practice, this is a spectrum and every translation does this to a greater or lesser degree. (Simply translating each word by itself would result in incomprehensible gibberish, while some concepts cannot be rendered into natural English without needing some background explanation — the archetypal example being the tetragrammaton.) As such, it is more of a way to choose between two translations than a test that can be applied to a single translation.

The Good News Bible passes with flying colours, and the NBV21 only slightly less so. The Bijbel in Gewone Taal does better than the NBV21, but it lacks the Deuterocanonical books, so it is already eliminated by this point. The New Revised Standard Version does not do very well here, being very literal, but that is acceptable for a study Bible. This does not really apply to An Bíobla Naofa, which is the only complete translation of the Bible into modern Irish, and therefore has nothing to be compared with.

Notably, this is where the King James Version truly proves its irrelevance. The New International Version doesn't score too badly here, but still loses out to the Good News Bible.

4. It should include ample footnotes where alternative readings are possible.

This comes last because a Bible that scores well on the other points is still an excellent reading experience, even without providing the reader with the opportunity to consider alternatives. But for a Bible that passes the other tests, this is the icing on the cake.

The Good News Bible is excellent at this. The New Revised Standard Version is also good, and the specific edition I have it in — the New Oxford Annotated Bible — includes a plethora of additional notes and essays with further detail and scholarly commentaries. The NBV21 includes ample footnotes — though not as many as the Good News Bible — while An Bíobla Naofa includes no footnotes at all (but does have introductory essays for each book).

I feel like I have a much clearer understanding of why I like the Good News Bible now, and a better appreciation of how to measure others by the same yardstick.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: Democracy Is Overrated
« on: April 10, 2022, 10:34:51 AM »
I've been pondering the aging population problem recently, and I think it ties into this. If you look at the fertility rate in the Netherlands over the past century, you can see clearly that it plummeted from 3.17 in 1965 to 1.6 in 1980, and has remained at about that level ever since. With a retirement age of 68 — the highest in the world — this means that from now until about 2050, we are going to see a gargantuan outflux of workers from the labour market, with no replacement available. What's more, everybody's vote counts equally, which means that the boomer vote is by far the most powerful, and the policies being made to deal with this problem have the retirees' interests at heart ­— not the young workers.

Perversely, this means that it is in young people's interests for their parents and grandparents to die as soon as possible for them to have the best life they can. I'm sure nobody intends for this to be a consequence of democracy, but it is the situation we now find ourselves in.

I can see two possible solutions to this problem, neither of them ideal, but both better than letting the market work itself out, which is what will happen if we let boomers continue to take all the decisions. One, weight everyone's vote according to their estimated remaining life expectancy — so with a life expectancy of 80, a 20-year-old's vote counts for double a 50-year-old's. Two, tie voting rights to retirement, so that it's a choice whether to continue working past retirement age or to give up your right to vote.

Although these suggestions sound absurd, they do not fundamentally conflict with democratic principles. We have a minimum voting age because children and adolescents — many of whom are well educated with strong political opinions — are considered unfit to make sound voting choices, so why not exclude an age group that has proven itself to make unsound voting choices for decades already?

Suggestions & Concerns / Re: SSL
« on: April 04, 2022, 10:57:04 AM »
Yes, it's fixed now. Sorry about that.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: Translations of the Bible
« on: April 03, 2022, 03:12:57 AM »
I acquired a copy of the NBV21, and it is a very well produced book. It just feels so nice to hold in one's hand. The translation is beautifully done, too.

I would like to take this opportunity to focus on 2 Chronicles 7:19, which includes a feature that is notoriously difficult to render into idiomatic English: the use of a plural "you" in Hebrew, where a singular interpretation of the English word "you" could also make sense. Of course, Dutch and Irish both have plural forms for "you", so there is no ambiguity there.

Quote from: NBV21
Maar mochten jullie je van Mij afwenden en je afkeren van de bepalingen en geboden die Ik jullie heb opgelegd, en in plaats daarvan andere goden gaan vereren en voor hen neerknielen,
Quote from: An Bíobla Naofa
Ach má iompaíonn sibh uaim, agus nach gcoimeádfaidh sibh m'aitheanta agus mo reachtanna a chuir mé romhaibh, ach imeacht agus seirbhís a dhéanamh do dhéithe eile agus iad a adhradh,

Predictably for how outdated it is, the KJV in English also makes this distinction clear — but perhaps not so clear to modern readers who haven't studied Early Modern English.

Quote from: King James Version
But if ye turn away, and forsake my statutes and my commandments, which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them;

On the other hand, the NRSV uses the ambiguous "you" of Modern English, but with a footnote illuminating the reader as to its plural sense in Hebrew.

Quote from: New Revised Standard Version
"But if you turn aside and forsake my statutes and my commandments that I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them,

Finally, we come around to my favourite English translation, which is an exceptional case here in treating this passage with the clarity it deserves in Modern English that everyone can understand.

Quote from: Good News Bible
But if you and your people ever disobey the laws and commands I have given you, and worship other gods,

Of all these translations of this verse, I actually like An Bíobla Naofa the most. It's slightly more literal (based on comparison with the very literal NRSV) than the Dutch, while conveying the message in clear and (as far as I can tell with my current level) idiomatic Irish. But in terms of reaching the greatest number of people, the Good News Bible is the clear winner, with a simple yet accurate rendering in the world's most widely spoken language.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: Translations of the Bible
« on: March 27, 2022, 07:58:33 AM »
Since the last post in this thread, a newly revised version of the Nieuwe Bijbelvertaling from 2004, the de facto standard in Protestant churches in the Netherlands, has been released. It can be read for free online and purchased in the Nederlands-Vlaams Bijbel Genootschap's webshop. Very unusually, the general public was consulted for feedback on the first edition in preparing this revision.

This looks like a very nice publication. I don't own a physical Dutch Bible yet, but I am seriously considering adding this to my collection.

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