Some disconnected thoughts re disability:
- If Dawkins is right that she is blind, pitiless indifference, then Nature knows nothing: in particular, the difference between ability and disability.
- Nature also does not distinguish between ‘successful’ species and ‘failed’ (extinct) ones; or between anything… this successful species and that successful species… this or that anything… between self and other…
- Blindness is the disability to see. As far as Nature is concerned (or not concerned), organisms which can see and survive are not ‘more evolved’ than those who cannot, as if evolution (or Nature) had a mind with intentions and/or goals.
- Nature has no compassion on or understanding of people with any disability… or people with ‘abilities’
- Some might hold out hope that all the above is wrong: that a currently unknown part of Nature actually does know, care, and/or have compassion/understanding, etc. A bit like those who believed (or still do believe) in various kinds of nature-gods. The only difference being that they give them names based on what we know from human experience; oh wait, what name could we ever give to such a thing than that from human experience? Some just sound ‘scientific’ and others sound ‘superstitious’.
- In spite of the indifference and unconsciousness of Nature, the language of ‘disability’ is still, however, properly basic. It is simply true that we (not Nature) can recognise and name not only the various species, but the various abilities (or lack thereof) they have.
- Is the seeing ability of a (sighted) human a ‘disability’ in comparison to that of, say, a bald eagle? Why would we restrain disability to being only defined within species? What about non-living objects? Are we ‘disabled’ for not being as ‘able’ as a star, which (if our modern theories are correct) are ‘able’ to produce solar systems?
- Are we all not ‘disabled’ in at least some way? I find this idea to be quite equalising, humbling and right.
- I went to a Benny Hinn healing meeting a few years ago, so that my criticism of him would have actual experience behind it. I despise this kind of prosperity crap, and was enraged at how the machine works, but I particularly angered that those in wheelchairs were utterly ignored the entire time.
- Our ‘disability’ to love as we have ‘ability’ to (now there’s a juxtaposition if ever there was one) must be humanity’s most debilitating ailment.
- The Incarnation and Resurrection of Jesus, means, among other things, that (as the cliche goes) God meets us where we are at, namely in our disability and rebellion, and will not leave us there.
Some different senses of the word/concept ‘religion’:
- Like a bellybutton: a basic and unifying characteristic of humanity – we are all ‘religious’ in the broadest sense. We all have a worldview, beliefs and values which inform and shape the way we live our lives.
- Like a band: a particular and distinguishing characteristic of a group – this is my/our ‘religion’, which you are in/out of. We all are ‘religious’, perhaps, but there are religions within religion.
- Like a badge: a performance mindset characteristic of individuals (or a group) – I am ‘religious’ and therefore better (in the eyes of God or of other humans) than people who aren’t as moral as me.
Listening today to the NewstalkZB discussion of youth vandalism (which relate to my recent post) and the Pike River mining incident (29 miners trapped in a complex and multi-faceted situation).
Yet again, we see that technology is neither good nor bad.
If it’s good things we’re aiming to do, technology aids and strengthens our efforts. If it is best to send in human rescuers (or sacrificial, courageous fathers), then what a blessing to have breathing apparatuses & other gear to help them. If it’s best to send in a robot instead (as was decided – controversially), then what a blessing to have such technology to even give us the choice (and even better if it is able to withstand watery conditions – which it unfortunately was not).
If it is bad things we’re aiming to do, technology aids and strengthens these efforts as well. If it is not good to send in a less-than-robust robot to do a human’s job, then what a distraction the whole idea turned out to be. If it is not good for every opinion to be broadcast, then what a pain to have a mechanism like talk-back radio.
One caller was grateful for the discretion of the police, who kept people from taking the situation into ‘their own hands’ – as if it wasn’t in human hands anyway? Humans are responsible for doing what they can. More technology gives us more ‘can do’ options (can-do doesn’t equal should-do.), but is there a point when we have too many options? More power, but too much power? Does it make us hesitate to act courageously, or make us too dependent on technology?
A parallel scenario was the months before and weeks after Thomas was born, two years ago. We found the ante-natal classes generally helpful, and were grateful that we live in a time/place where such things are freely available to all. But we also noted that the sheer amount of information can be at times suffocating. You are given so many options and told about so many scenarios to be prepared for. There is being prepared on one hand, and on the other being so aware of the 74,000 things that ‘could’ happen that you worry they ‘will’ happen. Other parents we talked to related to this. At some point, we all have to trust those that know – even if we don’t.
((from the one source I’ve not quoted in my essay on evolution and the fall – yet…))
“In man, part of the world has become conscious of itself and consciously responds to its surroundings; in man a new mode of interaction in the world is introduced. Oddly, however, this product of evolution, unlike any other, is strangely ill at ease in its environment, Man alone amongst living creatures individually commits suicide. Somehow, biology has produced a being of infinite restlessness, and this certainly raises the question of whether human beings have properly conceived of what their true ‘environment’ is. In the natural world, new life can arise only from the death of the old, for the death of the individual is essential to the possibility of new forms evolving in the future. To man this is an affront and he grieves over his suffering and his own personal demise.”
-Arthur Peacocke, ‘Biological Evolution and Christian Theology – Yesterday and Today’ in Darwinism and Divinity, Ed. John Durant (Oxford: Blackwell, 1985), 123.
Conversations about sexual ethics often are had without reference to assumed/unstated/unconsidered ideas about:
- (in particular) goals for human(e) sexual acts – ‘what is the telos (end, goal, purpose) of human sexuality?’ (i.e. ‘what is sex for?’)
- and (in general) the relationship between sexual acts and being a human – ‘what is the relationship between sexual actions and human identity?’ (i.e. ‘how dependent is human identity on sexual actions?’) Continue reading humane sex
So I should probably post about my recent trip to India.
I could give a ‘what we got up to’ report of the work our team did (some still over – some still yet to go) on the new Freeset T-shirts building. But we didn’t only go as labourers – we went to observe as well. Kerry took us on a couple of ‘walks’ to see the areas around Freeset, and also we saw other bits of Kolkata as well. I suppose I’m more inclined to reflect on what I observed and the thoughts it brought to mind – many of which will still tick over in my head for some time to come. Continue reading india: different
The word ‘teleology’ (from Greek τελος ‘telos’ – meaning ‘goal’, ‘end’, ‘purpose’ or ‘that toward which things tend’) is not a street-level term. However, the concept of a purpose, goal, function or ‘end’ to things most certainly is. It’s a common as anything. Teleology is blindingly relevant.
Continue reading teleology & ethics
In a very interesting find, this is a site of atheists (and agnostics) who are pro-life.
I think their arguments are (mostly) excellent, though of course it would be interesting to a) see how non-pro-life atheists would respond to them, and b) converse with them concerning things like how they determine (judge/establish/discover) the nature of human worth/value/dignity.
…is sometimes found in surprising places.
Continue reading true beauty
Anyone who knows me knows I’m aware of the sensitivities associated with abortion. Although in one sense (something like the sense reflected in the post title) I think it can fairly be seen as a simple issue, I also affirm that it has complexities. Continue reading surgery to save or end a life