: Do you think humans have a capacity to know what the absolute morals are?

No I don’t, because I don’t think they exist.


: 1: Absolute ≠ Objective. 2: Morality and Ethics are neither Subjective nor Objective, as they deal with subjective beings dealing with each other ,they are Inter-Subjective. 3: Ethics CAN be proven (rendered valid), but through argument using both subjective and objective components, as opposed to ether one exclusively. A little Epistemology can go a long way!

I think you’re probably right.


: Absolute moral laws do not exist but thats my moral opinion so is this a contradiction?

I don’t think it’s not contradictory.

You think that absolute moral laws don’t exist. It’s your opinion so it’s subjective. Even if something is an absolute for you, that doesn’t mean it’s absolute in general.

Anyway, I also think absolute moral laws don’t exist.


: What do you think about family systems theories and their therapeutic applications?

I studied some aspects of these theories, but I’m not an expert. I can agree with the general statements of these theories (like that individuals can be better understood as a part of a system of relationships), but having a superficial knowledge of the theory and practice of family therapy, I can’t say if I think it’s a valid approach. I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful.


: If our weather was food what would be your favorite conditions?


I don’t know…I think it would be a good dessert, and I love good dessert!


: Do you have any thoughts on religiously-based treatments for things like addiction, such as AA or NA?

Yes I have, although I feel that AA and similar mutual aid support groups have low/moderate religious content (and yes, I know they tell their members to accept a Higher Power). That said, I don’t like the idea that you need to accept religion-based beliefs to get help. That’s because I absolutely dislike the idea of religion used as a “treatment tool” for behavioral/psychological problems (and you know, there’s a lot of this stuff, and sometimes the problems they are supposed to fix are not problems at all -yes, I’m talking about conversion therapy-).

I’m bored. I don’t know what to post (except that there’s this cool thing about the artificial jellyfish that you should check out: “Morphologically, we’ve built a jellyfish. Functionally, we’ve built a jellyfish. Genetically, this thing is a rat”).

I accept music suggestions and silly questions.

I’m always amazed at how some people are willing to defend with astonishing passion their beliefs without the least regard for how the world really is.

We are apes descended from other apes, and our closest cousin is the chimpanzee, whose ancestors diverged from our own several million years ago in Africa. These are indisputable facts. And rather than diminishing our humanity, they should produce satisfaction and wonder, for they connect us to all organisms, the living and the dead.
But not everyone sees it that way. Among those reluctant to accept Darwinism, human evolution forms the core of their resistance. It doesn’t seem so hard to accept that mammals evolved from reptiles, or land animals from fish. We just can’t bring ourselves to acknowledge that, just like every other species, we too evolved from an ancestor that was very different. We’ve always perceived ourselves as somehow standing apart from the rest of nature. Encouraged by the religious belief that humans were the special object of creation, as well as by a natural solipsism that accompanies a self-conscious brain, we resist the evolutionary lesson that, like other animals, we are contingent products of the blind and mindless process of natural selection.
↳ Jerry A. Coyne, ‘Why evolution is true’.

Firearm availability and homicide

Patterns related to homicides committed with fire arms raise the natural question of the relationship, or non-relationship, between firearm availability and levels of homicide, and whether increased firearm availability is associated with increased overall levels of homicide, in particular. From a theoretical perspective, no dominant theory exists that explains the relationship between gun ownership and homicide, or indeed crime in general, as guns can confer both power to a potential aggressor and to a potential victim seeking to resist aggression.

On the one hand, the availability of guns can increase the level of a crime or it can make it more lethal: the “facilitation” hypothesis suggests that having access to a gun can empower potential offenders who, without a gun, would not commit a crime such as assault or robbery, and accessibility to a gun can transform “simple” family or community disputes into tragedies. The “weapon instrumentality” hypothesis suggests that, besides raising the crime level, gun availability increases the likelihood of a crime having a violent outcome. For example, use of a gun during an assault or robbery will increase the likelihood of death or serious injury because it provides perpetrators with the opportunity to inflict injury or death at long distances and it makes it easier to assault multiple victims than the use of other weapons such as a knife or blunt object.

On the other hand, a “deterrence” hypothesis suggests that gun availability can disrupt or deter criminal aggression and prevent the completion of a crime by neutralizing the power of an armed perpetrator or by shifting the balance of power in favour of the victim when confronted by an unarmed perpetrator. An axiom of this hypothesis is that gun availability does not represent a major driving force for offenders per se: they are already determined to commit a crime and they get hold of guns, through well established and hidden channels, to achieve their criminal goals.

The provision of reliable quantitative support to either of these hypotheses is one of the most difficult areas of homicide research, with a number of methodological problems, including: identifying reliable measures of gun ownership, availability, accessibility and use; the need to differentiate between different owners of guns (households, individuals, affiliates to organized crime groups or gangs, etc.) and different type of guns (handguns, shotguns, rifles, etc.); accounting for correlations that arise between firearm availability and homicide rates that may be caused by a third factor (such as a rise in homicides due to increased presence of organized crime); the difficulty in estalishing causal relationships between changes in gun availability and corresponding changes in homicide levels (what comes first?); the difficulty of taking into account different legislative frameworks on firearms and state capacity to enforce them when conducting comparative studies.
Notwithstanding such challenges, a significant body of literature tends to suggest that firearm availability predominantly represents a risk factor rather than a protective factor for homicide. In particular, a number of quantitative studies tend towards demonstrating a firearm prevalence-homcide association.

In figure 3.5, analysis of data from 45 cities and urban areas located in developing countries or in countries in transition collected between 1996 and 2008 shows that gun availability (as asked about in victimization surveys) is significantly associated with rates of assault with firearms: the more individuals in possession of weapons, the more frequent armed assaults take place (similar associations were found between percentage of gun ownership and prevalence of assault, robbery and gun robbery rates). Due to lack of data on homicide rates in the same cities, it is not possible to directly relate gun availability with murders. However, it can be assumed that assaults and robberies that occur in cities with high levels of gun availability may be more serious or deadlier than assaults or robberies carried out in cities with lower levels of gun availability. These data do not prove a causal relationship between firearm availability and gun assaults (in theory, higher gun ownership could also be a consequence of higher assault rates, i.e. a defensive strategy of citizens to deter potential aggressors). At the very least, however, the relationship between gun availability and violent crime, including homicides, does appear to be something of a vicious circle.

The relationship between overall homicide rates and the proportion of homicides committed by firearm is shown in figure 3.6 where the data again emphasize strong regional patterns. Countries in the Americas tend to show a strong correlation between homicide rates and the percentage of homicides by firearm. In contrast, in countries in Asia, Europe and Oceania there appears to be a looser relationship between homicide level and percentage of killings perpetrated with a gun: homicide rates tend to cluster at under 10 per 100,000 population but they show a broader distribution in terms of percentage of homicides by firearms, which ranges from values close to zero up to 70 per cent. (figure 3.6 does not include countries in Africa due to data availability limitations in this region).
It should be stressed that the percentage of homicides by firearm is the compound outcome of at least three aspects: availability of guns; preference of crime perpetrators to use guns in crime; and their willingness to inflict fatal injury. In addition, from a global perspective, the significant order of magnitude difference between global estimates of civilian firearm ownership (hundreds of millions, according to estimates by Small Arms Survey, 2007) and annual firearm homicides (hundreds of thousands) indicates that the majority of civilian firearms are not misused and are owned for legitimate purposes.
Nonetheless, the high overall homicide rates combined with a very high proportion (more than 60 per cent) of homicides by firearm seen in regions such as Central and South America shows that, depending on the context, the availability of firearms and therefore easy access to guns can play a significant role in influencing homicide rates. In such contexts, a certain proportion of civilian firearms (utilized by a certain proportion of the population) may be considered a major “enabler” of homicide events.

From the UNODC (United Nations Office on Drug and Crime) 2011 Global Study on Homicide.