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About Hephaestus

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  • Birthday 11/06/1969

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  1. I'm an old timer - I just turned 44. I used to debate against and get judged by the authors Al and Gordon you have cited above. (Hell, I've even partied with them). I also went to the wake of a friend of mine who was in the same Illinois group just last year. Debaters question everything. A lot of times, they play off the chessboard when it comes to ethics. Smoking pot is a given. The notion that 'everything is subjective' seems to be thrown around a lot. Debaters have a tendency of thinking that they are intellectual gods, and that people outside of debate are very ignorant. They think they are advanced. I don't think they are. There is gigantic level of social misanthropy in debate. People can be very disrespectful of one another, and a lot of people don't recognize any limits; any boundaries. And what are you really learning? Nothing that is clearly marketable. A lot of debaters (like my friend that passed away) skated through life for a long time not really honing any real skills other than the ability to speak well, which is something he did anyway. There was an ad I saw on TV one time with a kid that was on a roller coaster. A voice says 'you might think your kid is very active. But what if you stop what he is riding on. What is he really doing?' That's debate to me. Just a wild ride at a Six Flags. You fly around the country. You go to these tournaments. But what did you really learn? I have a friend of mine that teaches philosophy for the University of Minnesota, and he was never in debate. He talks to me from time to time about how very annoying he finds it when debaters come and talk to him about philosophy. He says they understand it in a very generalized, out of context way. So yeah, there are a lot of debaters that have gone on to much bigger and better things. And then there is that side of debate that leaves you at 23 with nothing more than bad pot habit and a mangled understanding of continental philosophy. Or you end up being one of these debate coach guys that argue with each other about their programs, how much funding they are getting, how their voting records are, etc., that I see on facebook, etc. That's not much of a payout for $150,000 in education when you could have been a chemical engineer.
  2. This is a really good discussion. I hope that people take it very seriously. I wanted to start a thread too with either this title, or 'why debate is bad.' There is definitely not enough of self criticism of the activity. Everyone always spouts off about how awesome debate is. To name a few criticisms..... (1) It's a huge distraction from what you ought to be doing. That is, studying, developing personal values, planning for the future, etc. Specifically, I wonder how many awesome chemical engineers never studied science because they were too busy with debate. (2) You need values in life. Debate doesn't do a whole lot to teach you about treating people respectfully, raising a family, not cheating on your partner, etc.,etc. (3) Drugs are rampant in debate. At least they were when I was there. High school students look up to 24 year old stoners instead of their parents and teachers. Everybody's story is different. Everybody's team is different. I know that debate has been a godsend for a lot of people. But I probably know more ex-debaters with f**ed up lives than most people. It's not the activity; it's the culture.
  3. I've read Anti-Oedipus, and I found the book utterly impenetrable. I have a degree in Philosophy from a top 20 University. A friend of mine who I studied with has a law degree from a top 5 law school, and he said the same. I have heard debaters say that they understand D&G, and they run positions on it. Like the 'Heidegger Kritik' I used to hear about, I have an open mind, but I have my doubts about how much debaters understand it. If you can explain it to me, I'm all ears, (and a few teeth too ).
  4. Have you yourself lost rounds because a team didn't disclose? Or have you always debated in a time when disclosure was universally accepted? You are right - I debated well before disclosure was ever even suggested. But I have judged a whole lot when disclosure was the norm. From my observation, it was,and is, the instrument of oppression, or the dispositif to use a Foucauldian term. As I mentioned before, the teams that really lobbied for disclosure were the huge, heavily funded, powerhouse teams. And perhaps some of these teams' 'toadie satellite schools.' Let me ask you this: if you are debating a round, and the round starts, are you allowed to access evidence on line during the round? Are you allowed to contact coaches during the round? I suspect that you can't contact coaches, but I am unsure about the ability to access on line resources. I would contend that a coach should not be allowed to prep teams post disclosure.
  5. To jayhawks. I have done most of my judging on another top national high end policy circuit. This is where I learned to debate, and this is where I judged for many years after graduating from high school and college. There are powerhouse national teams on this circuit that the smaller teams used to be able to compete against, but not anymore. Now, if you look for example at the state champions, there is zero parity. All that remains is these 3 powerhouse schools, an urban debate league, and a handful of other small teams that get crushed at every tournament. Nothing facilitates this trend more than disclosure. Without the ability to break out new arguments during the round, a team is not only competing against their opponents; they are competing against their coaches, the other 30 debaters on their team, all of their money, etc. Every circuit is different. Perhaps you feel that disclosure hurts smaller teams. From where I am from, the big schools love disclosure because it is the key to smashing smaller schools with their coaches, their computers, and their money. Perhaps for reasons I have yet to hear, the opposite is true here. Perhaps with the advent of on line positions, disclosure has become necessary because it has become too easy to 'whip out' a new position. For me, however, the overwhelming consideration is this: a team like, say, Kinkaid in Texas asks 'will you reveal?' The other team nervously feels the pressure and agrees. The Kinkaid team then emails and texts their four college coaches who then structure a whole negative strategy with specific links, etc., 15 minutes prior to the round, while the affirmative awaits their execution. That has GOT to stop. Perhaps a rule on 'no coach contact after disclosure' is necessary. Certainly, the process of requiring disclosure, but only as a courtesy and not as something in the rule book makes the whole process even worse. People keep saying 'do you really think you are going to win if you pull that one item out of your file that you have been hiding?' The answer to this question is a definitive yes. I know that when I was in high school, I beat at least two round robin teams that way. I realize that disclosure is the norm. And it's a really, really shitty norm if you ask me.
  6. I like speed, I like kritiks, I like all kinds of things that would be considered progressive. But the one thing I detest is disclosure. Disclosure takes all of the fun and competitiveness out of debate. Now, a smaller school has ZERO chance of winning a debate round.
  7. It is true that the DSM used to consider homosexuality a mental disorder. I kind of think that was then and this is now, though. The fact that this syndrome would be included in the DSM now speaks volumes. Despite the likely backlash in 2011 of including something like this in the DSM, scientists cannot look away from the overwhelming psychiatric evidence. I have known so many people that suffered from clinical depression and also smoked pot. My friend Matt used to smoke pot morning noon and night - he never used any other drugs - and he took his own life in 1999. I think a lot of people are accustomed to going back that that 'pot good' backfile they started building in their own minds when they were 15 years old. Words do not express how much I agree with this article, and how relevant it is to the debate community.
  8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2777674/ I would suggest that people in debate read this article. For some reason, there is this notion that marijuana is this wonder drug that has no real affects on anything. It's manna from heaven that just makes you high, and then disappears. The truth is, that like any powerful drug, it has lasting affects on your neurotransmitters. Why wouldn't it? I encourage people to see that the psychiatric community is likely to finally include marijuana withdrawal in the DSM-V. Marijuana smoking, or more specifically the withdrawal from heavy marijuana use, causes clinical depression. If you smoke or have smoked pot, this is a must read. This is not coming from the religious right - this is coming from PHDs from Columbia, etc. A word to the wise: there is a difference between smoking a joint 2-3 times a week and doing bong hits morning noon and night.
  9. Like you said before, Greg, I think we are clearly at the 'agree to disagree' stage. Two things that are very prominent themes in the Church is that the Church is pro-life, and that the God speaks through the hierarchy. I think things like immigration, how much you tithe, etc., are secondary issues, and I think most priests and bishops would agree. I am glad that you think that my post is important. The thing about you're point here, though, is that you are only taking into consideration the pros and cons of getting an abortion for the woman once it gets to that stage. I think you make some good points, but I think that your argument will bump heads against the notion that the decision, therefore, should be up to the woman. My point is broader than that. What about the women that never got to that stage. What about the women that would never have an unwanted pregnancy for ethical reasons? The women's movement equates abortion rights with strength and liberation. I think that this equation has some very tragic consequences, ones that are perhaps hard to see, but are very powerful. You make a good point, though, because these aren't (for example) just Indian people that are practicing Catholics. These are Hindus. I guess I would have to argue (1) perhaps they shouldn't be allowed in the school. If it's a Catholic school, ask them if they are Catholic before you let them in, and (2) there is a distinction to be drawn between allowing a Hindu on DePaul's college campus and allowing a pro choice feminist to be a psych counselor for 14 year old girls, because (little a) a Hindu faith speaks more to a cultural and ethnic heritage rather than sexual morality, and (little the Hindu individual is not advising early teens on pivotal issues at delicate times. I again put myself in the shoes of the parent paying double to send their kids to a Catholic School. What am I more worried about? Let me ask you this, since we are so busy kicking around reducio ad absurdums: Should DePaul have an abortionist provide free abortions in the student health department? Should a Catholic boys school have a gay porn star as a psych counselor for 14 year old boys? If not, why not?
  10. But it's not America, it's the Church. The Church is a private institution that is not paid for by taxpayer money. You can certainly practice Buddhism in America, but what if you taught Buddhism in a Catholic Church? Don't you think the Church would have the right to dismiss you? She told me specifically that she discusses reproductive freedoms with these girls. She also told me that she very much believed that the Church's hierarchy is a joke, the rules are a joke, Catechism is a joke, etc. Proselytizing? I wouldn't go that far. But I am quite certain that these issues come to her office without her having to actively pursue them. She is a psych counselor to Catholic High School girls. If I said 'guidance counselor' up above, I misspoke (it's been such a long time since I've been in high school - I probably forgot what a guidance counselor even was. No, no, she is definitely a psych counselor. My guess is that the issue of abortion, contraception, sexuality, comes to her office on a day in and day out basis, and some of the things she mentioned to me affirm this fact. I saw a car with a bumper sticker about 10 days ago that said 'if you're pro-choice, you aren't Catholic.' I couldn't imagine seeing myself actually getting into it that much with people either, which is why we have Cross-Ex.com - to discuss (in my case anonymously) issues that I wouldn't bring up in a classroom or even a barroom. Deep down, I agree though. The Catholic Church considers it a mortal sin. If you feel that this means that the Catholic Church is anti-woman, or mistaken in it's conclusions about reproductive freedoms, than I would seriously consider another church. I understand the distinction you are drawing between considering a religion a faith versus considering it more contingent upon, I guess, behavior. I recall going to church and annually, or maybe semi-annually, the priest would read a responsorial for the parishioners to renew their faith. It would ask 'Do you believe in Jesus Christ, son of God. Do you believe that he was crucified and died, that he rose on the third day? Do you believe in Satan? Do you reject Satan and all his works? ' etc., etc.. I count these among the questions of faith that you allude to. Would the Church not consider abortion one of Satan's works? As cartoonish as that might sound, I believe that answer to that question is likely yes. Furthermore, I am not quite so sure that being Catholic is merely a question of faith. I know that I read about a lesbian that got married to her lifelong female partner, and was dismissed from teaching gym at a Catholic school. She made a lot of the same arguments I heard earlier in the post about hypocrisy. There were other teachers that used contraception. There were teachers that had extra-marital affairs. Are not these the same thing? I believe that one of the answers to this question lies in whether it's perceived that a change of heart is likely. Here's what I mean: I believe that a priest would grant forgiveness to a woman if she had an abortion. During confession, it's likely that the priest would ask if the woman has examined her conscience, and has accepted that what she did was wrong. At that stage, the mortal sin could be forgiven, and she could accept communion, etc. If you are a lesbian, and you get married to a female partner, you are giving a signal that you are pretty much locked into a world view that is at odds with the Church. I think you are saying to the world that you are living a life that is not something the Church or conservatives in the church adhere to. Now, getting an advanced degree in feminist studies is close to the same. I recently read about a female playwright that got a bad review from one of her plays. She made mention during the course of her interview that she had come across some feminists that were working in the Church as teachers, counselors, editors, etc. She indicated that these women had long since abandoned their faiths, and had no interest in being part of the Church other than to advance a feminist agenda. Like El, they regarded the Church's hierarchy and it's view on reproductive freedom, as simply a joke. How many pro-life feminists do you know? I know that I am all for the empowerment of women, but what this means in almost every solitary instance, is the assertion of reproductive freedoms such as abortion. It's truly a tragic confluence. I most certainly would like to see women do well, to achieve their highest potential, to obtain that coveted equal share of the top 5% tax bracket for individuals in the country. They are well on their way. I don't conflate those two issues, though. There is the value of self actualization, and then there is the question of ethics, specifically sexual ones. It's horrible how these two very different matters get mixed up. It's horrible that seeing abortion as license is equated with 'not thinking for oneself.' In fact, I bet that there are a lot of women out there that don't achieve their potential because they associate success and assertiveness with having a less-than-Catholic interpretation of sexual morality. Happiness, success, self-actualization is not a coupon to Papa John's, but giving the green light on abortions most certainly is.
  11. Greg - I gotta say I disagree. You are trying to say that other issues are equally important to the Church as the abortion issue, and they aren't. The counsel on Catholic Bishops does not issue a statement saying 'The Catholic Church is a Church in Favor of Strict Immigration Laws.' But it does issue a statement 'The Catholic Church is a Pro-Life Church.' This issue is way, way more important to the Church than any of the issues presented. There is really no comparison to be made. I have known that this was your point from the get-go. You state it well, but I gotta disagree. I told El (the PHD woman), that what she is doing is like working at Domino's Pizza and giving every customer that comes to the counter a coupon for Papa John's. A psych counselor at a Catholic Girls school? I'd have her terminated.
  12. Greg - the clergy defines the Catholic position. The Pope defines the position. Anyone can have an opinion, but if that opinion is diametrically opposed to core values of the Church, you have to start asking yourself if you're really Catholic. It's easy to talk about the abortion issue in a vacuum. I have been more interested in the underlying psychology of why people are either pro-life or pro-choice. Here are some of the really telling features: What your sex is. What your socioeconomic background is. Who are the women in your life? I had to smile when I wrote #3, because I know how true it is. There is only one woman in my life. She's shy, timid, wouldn't hurt a fly. She was married for 37 years, and I am quite certain she never had sex with anyone other than her husband. She is unquestionably pro-life, and she has gone to mass every week for the last 80 years. I ask myself who are the women in Greg's life? In Retired's life? In Gordon's life? In Fox's life? Isn't that where the truth really lies?
  13. http://www.wisbar.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=News&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&CONTENTID=96001 But I see here that Dan McGuire, a major pro choice Catholic figure, is not such a cool guy. Retired - I am reading the bios on the website for Catholics for choice. None of them are priests - they are a group of feminists. The sad part is that I agree with the feminists on plenty of issues. For example, I think not letting women be priests is not only wrong, I think it's unconstitutional. I think it's a great absurdity. When people ask me these days whether I am pro-life or pro-choice, my best answer is that I can see the ugliness of both the choice and non-choice worlds. The pro-choice movement needs to beef up it's rhetoric. I don't think that describing it as a health care issue is a good way to approach it. Yes, there are a lot of health issues surrounding an unwanted pregnancy, but it really isn't a health issue, it's a moral issue. I also don't think that the constant slogan of 'it's my body, and I should be able to have control over my body' adequately describes the situation. I think the pro-choice movement would make great strides if it were to go into more depth about the circumstances surrounding an unwanted pregnancy. Talk about men that have become monsters once the woman becomes pregnant. Discuss instances of infidelity. Rather than focusing on rape and incest, discuss situations like a man lying to a woman about future plans, just to have sex with them. I am sure that happens with incredible regularity. Talk about the indelible effect that would have on a woman's life, having to carry and perhaps raise a child (if putting the child up for adoption is not an option). Come right out and say 'yes, we are balancing the right to life of the fetus with the women's rights, but the fetus has barely crossed into humanity, while an unwanted pregnancy could have enormous consequences on a fully developed individual in the woman.' Focus on what's really true - a lot more ears will open.
  14. I disagree. The term itself is a contradiction. There are people that might characterize themselves as such, and I know there are groups out there. But as you look through these groups, these web sites, the literature, do you see title 'Fr.' in front of any of their names?
  15. Retired, I have to agree with SVFrey in his characterization of Freakonomics. The chapter on this book suggests that the legalization of abortion reduced crime because the fetuses that were aborted were likely to be unwanted children. I don't think that provides much ethical justification for abortion for the public good or any good. Fox: You're points are clearly more cogent, however, I don't see abortion as one of many ancillary issues to the Catholic faith. In my experiences going to church, and reading Catholic materials, the issue of abortion is center stage and treated as the great holocaust of our age. All these other issues? Gay marriage, woman as priests, contraception - those are all very secondary compared to how the church feels about abortion. http://www.nccbuscc.org/prolife/issues/abortion/teaching.shtml Shouldn't a community be able to have a school with it's own set of values? Sure. Just don't call it a Roman Catholic school and don't take money from the Church. Several people mentioned that the school should be happy to have a PHD level psychologist on staff. In almost every case, I would say so. If she taught history or math, I wouldn't have a problem. But to have a counselor at a Catholic Girls School that has a very liberal agenda about reproductive freedom particularly abortion? I appreciate everyone's comments, but I'm not swayed.
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