Saturday, June 24, 2006

Abortion Revisited

Is Abortion Murder?

The short answer is “It all depends.”

Let us take a scenario and see how a doctor determines if a baby is alive.

A baby is on the gurney and a doctor arrives and someone shouts, “Is he alive?”

The doctor quickly connects the electroencephalogram to his brain and an EKG to his heart. After noticing that the baby has both, he will then answer most emphatically, “Yes!”

So, now armed with how doctors determine life in a baby, let us follow the pre-birth growth of a baby.

At the time of fertilization up until about the second week, we call the baby a zygote. A single diploid cell resulting from the fusion of male and female gametes at fertilization (sperm and ovum.) From on line medical dictionary

Next, the baby moves into the embryo stage. The developing organism is an embryo from about two weeks after fertilization to the end of the seventh or eighth week. From on line medical dictionary

And then the baby moves into the final stage called the fetus stage. The period after the seventh or eighth week of pregnancy. From the on line medical dictionary

Is the fetus also a baby? From the on line Dictionary called we find... Baby - ”A very young child, and infant.” And “an unborn child, a fetus.”

A baby is an Infant until it reaches about 24 months. The derivative of the word comes from Latin meaning the baby cannot yet speak.

Now since we have established that after the baby reaches the fetus stage and after it has brain and heart functions, it should be considered alive, and protecting it’s life should be the first priority when the mother is considering terminating that life.

Some will not allow entertaining even the thought that the baby might be alive because it is uncomfortable for people to challenge their rationalizations. It is just human nature to hate to hear the truth unless it is located in the realm of our worldview so when even the suggestion that the baby might be alive is made, it is swiftly removed from their brain, lest the pain is too great.

So, is Abortion Murder? No one knows for sure, but shouldn’t we err on the side of caution since we don’t know?

What we do know is how doctors determine life, and it should be obvious to an open mind that the baby is alive once it has brain activity and heart beat.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Making Value Decisions

There is a big debate in the world as to the existence of the opposite of good. In other words, the question of the day is not just is there a God, but just as important is the question of is there an “Anti-God?” Some would call him Satan or the “Devil.”

If you believe in the idea of the “Ying and Yang”, or balance in the world, that is for every major topic that you can think of there are “equal and opposite sides”, then you will easily see my points that follow.

Again, if you can not see that you can not have hot without cold, up without down, left without right, good without evil, etc, then you are doomed to live in a world that makes no sense and the reason is that you will be fooled by the side of the balance that wants you to believe that there can be good in the world without evil. One side will refuse to even let their brain entertain the idea that evil exists.

So many people in this world refuse to admit to themselves this one fact, that since there is good in the world, there must be evil. Not only can you not “have” one without the other, you cannot “learn” the difference without both.

Now, for a moment, let us assume that there is not only a God, but also a Devil.

If there were such an “Anti-God” force or being, his job would be to teach us to do the wrong things instead of the correct things, or Wrong instead of Right, Incorrect instead of correct, etc, etc.

How would he do that?

First, he would recognize that there is a struggle going on between a man’s inner self that is between his “carnal self” and his “spiritual self.” The carnal self wanting to do whatever the flesh desires, and the spiritual self wanting to do whatever may be good, and those two things will often conflict.

Next, he would want to deceive us into believing that what we think is good, will actually be wrong or evil by using our carnal desires to fool us. Carnal desires are closely tied to “worldly” things, so as soon as our brain begins to think in terms that are philosophically good, he will “wake” us up by having us encounter the “real world.”

And finally, he will make us believe that our choices are clear and easy. Now, if you were him and you made the choices between good and evil easy, do you think there would be much evil in the world? Of course not! If it were easy, then almost everyone in the world would be like all of the great moral leaders in the history of the world, take your pick.

So, how does he make the waters muddy? How does he fool so many people?

He does it by making us make “Value Judgments” between two competing values; with only one of them the “best” answer. The entire key is seeing that the outcome is not the most important thing, it is the choice on how to get there is. Was the choice evil or wrong. He wants to make us think that the end justifies the means.

For example: Suppose you must choose between not lying and lying to save a life. That one is easy, most people would say that even though lying is wrong, the outcome of saving a life was worth it. So he mixes a right and a wrong.

But, Satan is much more cleaver than that.

He usually makes us choose between more difficult “actions” to achieve the desired outcome. A little better example would be self-defense. Many people will recognize that this is a tough choice. Taking someone else’s life in order to save your own. Many will say that we should just let the attacker kill us instead of defending our life by killing him. Many can see that point of view, but think that it is correct to want to protect your own life.

These are the types of examples that make it important to read a book like “The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis because he makes it fun and interesting to see how a person could be manipulated by an evil force if there is one. It is a great study on the workings of the criminal mind. Understanding what makes people choose evil over good.

Because we are often placed in positions of having to make value choices like abortion, where the rights of the mother are pitted against the rights of the baby, and like the “The Patriot Act” where many of the provisions are making us decide between freedom and security.

Those with a great understanding of how the “Dark Side” really works can easily see that the reason why we even have “Conservatives” and “Liberals” is that often both sides have their values and often both values are by themselves good, (like security and freedom), but when pitted against one another, we must make the hard choice.

Welfare is another good example. Do we all love to help the poor? Of course, but the “devil is in the details.” The methods we choose can be ones that can make it seem like a tough choice to those with an understanding of how Satan works. Use the government to force people to help by taking tax dollars from everyone or let the individual people be responsible and be rewarded by their individual charity. To some on each side the choice seems obvious, but I submit, if it were easy, there would not be balance and there would be almost everyone on the same page.

Spiritual versus Carnal, Emotion versus Logic, etc, etc, etc.

We make value choices that are difficult, but Satan makes them look easy to each side. Once side is making the correct choice, but what happens to people is that once you start making these value choices, you get comfortable in that “zone” or hemisphere of the brain. If it is the Spiritual side, then you have chosen the side that is without the emotion of the desires of the flesh and often it will be the correct side.

The choice again should be directed by asking yourself, “Which is more important, the means or the end?” This is the key question, and Satan usually makes it difficult. Once we make enough of the wrong choices, our brain and our ego will be most comfortable continuing to make the wrong choices.

Everyone likes to believe they are a good person. Even Al Capone when asked if he was a good person, said yes, of course, I am. I never killed anyone that didn’t deserve it, and all I did was to offer goods and services to people who wanted them.

When we are deep in either side of our brain, we can loose our objectivity and just follow the partly line, because we are comfortable there. If we are not sure about an issue do we really give different views a chance, or do we look to Daily Kos, or National Review to see “how we should think?”

Most will brush off a worldview that conflicts with theirs and easily accept one that agrees with theirs. Human Nature.

But life's value choices are not so easy.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Two Worldviews - Thank God.

Whenever a lot of people begin to write a term paper or thesis, they might start off with a very common method of organizing their thoughts. It is called a “Top-Down Outline.”

It can be like a pyramid, with the one or two major topics at the apex and then the supporting or minor points below that.

If we are talking about Philosophy, “Love and pursuit of wisdom by intellectual means and moral self-discipline, or the investigation of causes and laws underlying reality,” - American Heritage Dictionary, then we might start with what must be at the apex of wisdom and reality, and that would be the investigation of “how did we get here?”

No question has been more inciteful as far as trying to understand our existence on this great planet earth.

So at the apex could be placed the following, “God / No God”, “Design / Evolution”, “Creator / No Creator”, etc.

We might call these two conflicting positions, Worldviews. “The overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world, or a collection of beliefs about life and the universe held by an individual or a group.” - American Heritage Dictionary

Everyone either consciously or subconsciously has a belief of their perspective of how they see the world. Their idea of the purpose of life or if life just is.

Notice that both are about beliefs, or “filters” with which we view the world. One view ignores God, the other doesn’t.

The thing that is most interesting about these two positions is that both worldviews have avid and often passionate supporters or followers.

If the answer as to which was right, and there is no doubt that if one is right the other is wrong, was easily discerned, then we more likely would see the application of the ever-present 80-20 rule.

But while there surely is one correct point of view, it is obvious that that worldview is not easy to discern. Just look at the split decisions, (somethimes 5-4), of the Supreme Court on questions that concern battles over which worldview is correct. We have the greatest legal minds in the country passionate about their side being right and no clear cut view.

If one was religious, one might say that “Satan is very clever and can easily confuse and deceive even the very elect, and most of the masses as well”, while those not religious will easily be led to the conclusion that “my side is clearly right, and the other side is populated with drooling idiots.”

I for one would not suggest that it is clear for most people and that is why it is important to be respectful of the other worldviews point of reference.

So, now to carry it to a conclusion of why the side with the worldview of God or a Creator is the one that is appealing to me and I am sure to others like me and it all has to do with carrying that worldview to it’s natural conclusion.

The conclusion is one that leads to Eternity, where this worldly existence is just a phase or stage that we go through. One where death is not the final phase or stage.

Now, the other worldview is one where death is the final stage. They believe that the conclusion is one of death, while the other worldview is one that leads to eternal life.

Now some would say that my worldview could lead to eternal hell. Well, that all depends upon which sub-worldview you adhere to. Some religions don’t think that hell is the place where you spend eternity even if you are judged to be evil.

Some believe that it would be unjust to have a father place some of this children in a final place that is really bad when they were being judged upon what they “believed” to be the rules, instead of what they “knew” to be the rules.

Anyway, we should all remember that those with the other worldview are still our fellow human beings and we should treat them with love and respect regardless of which side they choose. The side that believes in “death” might try to convince the other that "death" is the correct final conclusion, while the other side tries to convince them that “eternal life” is the correct final conclusion.

Again the two worldviews are meant to be hard to determine which side is correct wherever both sides are given an equal stage to show their side. It would not be much of a test otherwise.

That is just one of the many things that makes this such a great country. Freedom to have both sides presented with passion and tolerance.

So, let us remember no matter which side we hold that the other side deserves respect and tolerance. I for one would find it a dull world if there were no “Universal Opposites” or in other words no choices.

There are usually two sides to every story or issue, and while one side is right and the other is wrong, it is not an easy task to see clearly. Some are blinded by the craftiness of men.

For example, Is there "Global Warming?"

There seems to be, but the contention is in the sub topics within that major topic. Such as Gore's "belief" that a 20 foot rise in sea level will occur within a century, while others suggest 3 feet is more likely.

Another is "Evolution", there is some truth to it such as "Natural Selection." Once again, the contention is in the sub-topics like as to whether there are "Transitional Species" or if those such as the "Tiktaalik" are actually a seperate species.

Wikipedia says that Paleontologists "suggest" that it was an intermediate form, but yet the ones with a certian bias will want to "believe" they are transitional species, and those with the other bias will want to "believe" they aren't. Both sides are relying on "faith" when it comes to the sub-topics.

The old saying that the "Devil is in the details", is never more appropriate.

As for me if I were one with the other worldview of "death" being the final conclusion, I would hope that the other side was right.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Why Socialized Medicine Is Bad - Part 2

Part 2 of 2

First let me say that we don’t have a free market health care system in the United States. One of the many problems with our system is the regulation and interference of the government.

The government involvement in the system causes the overall costs to be higher than they otherwise would be, by inducing distortions in the market.

Below are just some of those distortions:

1) The government subsidizes companies that pay health insurance to their employees. This effects the price of the services because a person who paid for the services themselves would be price conscious, but a third party payer levels out those types of fluctuations, thus killing price signals to a huge portion of the consumers in the market.

2) The AMA is the doctor's union, and it creates its own regulations. This means they control the supply of doctors, which our government allows by virtue of having licenses in the first place in the guise of “protecting” the safety of the consumers, which makes it sweet for them, and higher prices for the rest of us.

3) All non-profit hospitals must accept all patients in the emergency room regardless of ability to pay and all for-profit hospitals must accept all emergency room patients who are at risk of loss of life regardless of ability to pay. This also drives up prices we pay, since the government is mandating this to the hospitals.

4) The FDA extends the trial period of drugs by years because again under the guise of “protection”, they want to "protect" users of drugs for needless deaths from bad drugs. Well, what could possibly be wrong with that? The flip side of it is the delay keeps life saving drugs off the market for years and more years. The lives lost probably outnumber the lives saved. Europe manages a quicker drug approval process than us but do you hear of how they are concerned with defective drugs that kill.

5) Government paid Medicare subsidizes healthcare for the elderly, distorting market incentives. The government does not offer full reimbursement so this distorts the supply and demand pricing signals, causing the rest of us to once again pay higher prices and more taxes.

6) Government Medicaid is free for the poor, thus once again driving up the market price.

We do need real medical reform, but it needs to strike at the heart of the problem, which is too much government interference already.

As it is now, 18% of total federal outlays go to Medicare and Medicaid. We must stop these subsidies and mandates, and if we do, prices would plummet, perhaps enough to remove the need for health insurance altogether.

We also need to break up the government backed medical monopoly and decontrol drugs and delivery services. The Republicans don’t really want to do any real reform anymore than the Democrats because both parties get tens of millions of dollars from drug companies to keep the status quo.

Socialized Medicine, National Health Care, Welfare Health Care, whatever you want to call it, will always be plagued by shortages, and long lines. The long and the short of it comes from the need of government to hold back the temptation to just keep increasing taxes as the system balloons. These politicians realize that they must stop somewhere, so eventually they must restrict services and demand of customers, because otherwise they would not be able to stop the ever-rising costs.

Here is the Scenario:

Socialized medicine is advocated as the means of making medical care free or almost free, thereby enabling even the very poorest people to afford all of it that they need or “want.”

Unfortunately, when medical care is made free, the quantity of it that people attempt to consume becomes virtually limitless. Office visits, diagnostic tests, procedures, hospitalizations, and surgeries all balloon.

If nothing further were done, the cost would destroy the government’s budget. Something further is done, and that is that cost controls are imposed. The government simply draws the line on how much it is willing to spend. But so long as nothing limits the office visits, requests for diagnostic tests, etc., etc., waiting lines and waiting lists grow longer and longer.

Then the government seeks to limit the number of office visits, tests, procedures, etc., etc., by more narrowly limiting the circumstances in which they can occur. For example, a given diagnostic test may be allowed only when a precise set of symptoms is present and not otherwise.

A hospitalization or surgery may be denied if the patient is over a certain age.The above leads to the desire of the people to have private health care made available. People will naturally pay more to have problems taken care of better and faster, causing the good doctors who want to be paid well for their expertise, to naturally leave the welfare system and go to the private sector, thus exacerbating the problem to the point of doing what Canada did in 1984, (I think it was 1984), make private health care illegal. (Just recently Canada’s Supreme Court stuck down that law.)

The myths are that Canada's health care system works well and that Britain’s works well also, can easily be shown to be myths by many links that are available and I will be happy to provide some in the comments section. There are too many to list here and therefore I will not try.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Why Socialized Medicine Is Bad

Part One of Two:

Whenever people discuss a problem and a solution, the entire exercise should be looked at from two positions, moral and correct.

First and foremost, the discussion presupposes that if a moral and ethical solution is sought, one side will be a moral one and the other side will not as there are gray areas in all of life except in morals and ethics since they are rule based by definition.

The correctness of an outcome may be debatable as to its being “the” right or wrong solution, if we are only looking at the result to judge the actions. This is KEY!

Let me begin by explaining the difference between three words; Correct, Moral, and Ethical as it applies to the word “outcome.” The understanding of the difference is about the old saying that "The end does not justify the means."

Correct outcome could be viewed as “the outcome was an or the desirable one, irrespective of the actions used being moral or not.”

Moral outcome could be viewed as “the outcome was based upon whether the actions used followed rules based upon an accepted set of guidelines that followed the concept of conscience as typified by what is known as The Golden Rule.”

Ethical outcome could be view as “the outcome was based upon whether the actions used followed rules based upon a professions' set of guidelines or a cultures' set of guidelines, irrespective of the actions used being moral or not.”

Let me give an example of an Ethical action, that is not a Moral one:

A group of Cannibals eat a visitor from America. Was this Ethical? Yes, because it followed rules of the Culture. Was it Moral, No, because it violated the principal of the Golden Rule since the people being murdered/eaten would not do that to the Cannibals.

People have a habit of confusing and falsely interchanging the above three words and can therefore arrive at a conclusion that is gray because they wrongly conclude that we don’t know if the outcome was a correct one, instead of focusing on whether each of the actions were moral or not.

Let me give another example: “A person must lie in order to save the life of another person.” Was the outcome a moral one?” No, but the outcome was a “correct” one, while the lie, (an action used to get the desired outcome), was an immoral one. By definition, lying is immoral.

People will wrongly assume that since the outcome was a correct or desirable one, then the actions taken might be gray. Wrong! The actions must be judged on their own if the judgment is whether the actions were moral or not.

So, when discussing right and wrong as they apply to morals instead of an outcome that might be right or wrong as it applies to correct or desirable, we need to be careful as we do not want to be lulled into believing that a combination of actions might be gray with respect to morals.

Judge the actions individually and the outcome separately. Whenever we look at a solution, it is important to look at the actions taken, since it is better to arrive at a solution by moral methods or actions than by immoral ones.

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of looking at the core or foundation of solutions. Were the actions used moral or not?

Now, with that background, lets talk about the morality of Socialized Medicine.

We could discuss the infant mortality; the money being spent on the solution being greater in this country than it is in countries that have socialized medicine, but all of that is irrelevant if the actions used to fix the problem could be moral ones instead of immoral ones.

Suppose that you lived in a neighborhood and some in your neighborhood were poor and were in need of healthcare. Which is the best solution to taking care of the health of your neighbors, hiring a person to go from door to door and with a gun force them all to contribute, or to depend upon the charity of the neighbors to do it?

Now, before you jump off and say that the analogy is not fair or correct, please first answer which one would be best if the analogy was correct. Because if your assessment of the situation is wrong and in the end the analogy is correct, you will be beating yourself up for not being able to discern the truthfulness of the situation.

But, those will argue that taxing people is legal, and therefore it is moral. I say, that taxing people is only moral, (Golden Rule); if all of the people being taxed believe it is the right thing to do for the particular use of the tax money being “taken” as to the proper role of government. Others will argue that since the “outcome” is correct or desirable, then that trumps everything else.

Nope, there are many of my neighbors who object to Welfare, which is what Socialized Medicine is by any other name, and therefore based upon the Golden Rule of morality, it is morally wrong.

One could argue that there are only a few things specifically outlined in the Constitution that describes the “proper role of government” as it applies to their taxable powers, and surely a government that is powerful enough to be a provider, is powerful enough to be a tyrant.

If the Government exceeds its charter of protecting it’s citizens and uses the taxing power of government to “rob from Peter to help Paul” then they might as well be a gang of robbers. In fact one religion has a book that talks about these very people and it calls them “Gadianton Robbers.” They were socialists! It is morally wrong to use the police power of the state to redistribute the wealth of individuals.

Socialists rob from Peter to help Paul by way of using the taxing power of the state to “take from one who has earned it and give it to another who hasn’t” by way of saying that all taxes are moral and legal.

No, they may be legal, and that is debatable, but they are not moral just because they are legal or they might achieve some peoples sense of “social justice”, but I submit that the only moral way to help our neighbors is through voluntary charity given freely from the heart, not help given from the taxing power of government. For if the individual helps, God will reward him, but if he leaves the help up to the government, God will ask, why did you use robbery to help your brethren? Did you not know that some taxes violate the Golden Rule?

Taxes used to secure your life, liberty and property are moral, but most all others are not as they violate the justice of not plundering your neighbors property.

Perhaps "use" taxes are moral because those who use it are those that are paying for it and as long as we have a choice to not use it, then "use" taxes may also be moral.

One could argue the moral aspect of certain taxes and with the legality of them, but since there are usually two very good sides to most discussions, (there needs to be opposition in all things), I leave it to one’s conscience and hope for prayerful thought, and say that I respectfully disagree and that this is my humble opinion and that this, (the morality of the solution), should be the focus of all Socialized, (Welfare), Medicine debates.

In my next post, Part Two, I will show why Welfare Medicine does not work from a tactical and practical point of view, as far as being level-headed and efficient goes.