My Debate on the Grounding of Morality

Was I nervous? Yes, absolutely. Of course, this wasn't my ordinary speaking event. On April 5, about 170 people packed a room at Weber State University, to watch my formal debate with professor of philosophy Dr. Richard Greene. The question: Can there be objective moral values and obligations without God? Each debater had 20 minutes for opening arguments, a 10-minute rebuttal, about 40 minutes of joint Q & A from the audience, and a 5-minute conclusion.

Dr. Greene had home field advantage. He has been teaching classes at Weber State for about eight years and a number of his students came out for the debate. About 65% of the attendees indicated on a pre-debate survey that they held Dr. Greene’s view, that morality is best explained without God.

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Swine Flu vs. The Quarter Pounder

Today it was reported that up to 90,000 people could die from the swine flu this Fall.  I’m sorry, I mean the H1N1 flu virus.  It is namely worrisome for children and young adults and the University of Kansas has already reported 47 cases.  (Mind you, the flu leads to 40,000 deaths each year as it is. So I’m not sure what the fascination with this particular flu is about.)  So here we have a perfect storm: the president is pushing healthcare reform, people are getting and are going to get sick, we are one of the unhealthiest nations on the planet, etc. Buckle your seat belts – the media is going to take us on a wild ride.  

It’s fascinating that this is only day when a story about Michael Jackson has been reported and it is not number one on CNN’s most popular list.  The swine flu has overtaken Michael Jackson.  Pretty soon we’ll all be wearing our masks and disinfecting everything in sight.  Just give it a month.

Do We Teach our Kids to Lie?

My 11 year old son Ian and I went out to breakfast this morning before school. it was a last minute decision and it basically ensured that he would be a little late. Better mothers than I are more particular about this sort of thing, but I tend to be more liberal with out-to-breakfast mornings and mental health days then I probably should be.  

It was about 9:15 when we arrived at the attendance desk - 15 minutes late. Ian knew the drill. He grabbed the neon yellow late slip and began to fill it out. 

Name: Ian Dominguez Ball

Date: April 23, 2009

Time: 9:15

Reason for lateness... 

I laughed as Ian started to write. "He's sure to tell the truth," I told the attendance lady with a smile as Ian said slowly as he wrote each word, ""  Why not? We had gone out to breakfast. No need to pose. Or so I thought...

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Risking a Fearful Judgment

President Obama, through presidential fiat, decided experimenting on potential human beings will expand. Without study and by proclamation, the President has created a monstrous policy that has no precedent in American history.

It is more radical than what was allowed under Bill Clinton or George Bush. President Obama has given no reasons why such a new course is reasonable other than his statement that it is reasonable. Because President Obama is a reasonable sounding man it is difficult to realize how radical his idea is.

An embryo is a human being or, at the very least, is a potential human being. We shall now kill that embryo by experimenting on it in the hope that it might help the rest of us. Obama’s medicine first will do harm to a growing human with the dream that such experiments might do some good for a dying one.

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Good Comedy or Bad Taste?

Did you catch Saturday Night Live (SNL) a few weeks ago? Well, apparently there was a skit on there that cause some debate and controversy. It was a skit depicting New York governor David Patterson. You can see that right here:

Now, the question is…bad taste or just good comedy? I saw this clip and, personally, can see if from both ends. As a cultural theorist, I deal with the good the bad and the ugly of pop culture and American societal trends. I can see both arguments and see where both sides are coming from.

From the argument that it is bad taste, we see SNL attempting to make fun of someone who is disabled, in this case a man who is blind. We also can see SNL poking fun at Patterson’s past drug problems and obvious issues with New Jersey. From this point of view, there are certain cultural taboos and this is one of them. SNL should have left this alone and gone for something a bit more tasteful.

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