Alistair Dunbar

Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom

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Comments & conversations

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Alistair Dunbar
Posted over 3 years ago
If/when same-sex marriage is legalised, should ALL religious bodies be required by law to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies?
@ Michael M (as the reply button doesn't appear to be working) As in my original comment I don't feel religious obligations should be forced to perform the marriage ceremony against their will, in that last post I was simply trying to clarify the argument a little. However to say civil and religious societies are separate in such a black and white fashion fails to touch on the side of the argument that I was attempting to confront which is the reason why the religious institutions are continuing not to condone the same-sex marriage. I'm glad I live in a country where it looks like the government has a sincere desire to move towards equality but as I remarked to a friend "You can't really have a consultation on equality, you either increase it or decrease it". From the beginning of the consultation process no-one suggested it would result in the forcing of religious bodies into performing marriages until someone opposed to same-sex marriage exclaimed that legislation (which hasn't been drafted, if it will at all) could cause this circumstance. This wasn't a problem as at first it just looked like a lot of hot air from an individual that got widely dismissed. The problem came when the religious bodies took a much harder stance than expected when replying to the consultation over this single individuals hot air. The issue quickly spun from a dismissal of his claims about potential "forcing" onto the concept of same-sex in general where the before mentioned hard stance has been taken.
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Alistair Dunbar
Posted over 3 years ago
What are human rights? How do we decide and are they universal?
I think the broad nature of the current system of human rights reflects the ideals encompassed in them not so much the legal enforcement. If every human being could say they are being afforded the basic human rights we would be living in a very different world to the one we have now and, as the idea entails, a much better world. To call them rights is a bit lack luster, how can something be a 'right' when more people don't have them than those who do?
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Alistair Dunbar
Posted over 3 years ago
If/when same-sex marriage is legalised, should ALL religious bodies be required by law to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies?
If we put aside fundamentalist views and look at the state of the modern churches (I'm Scottish so this will be directly relevent and perhaps only exclusively relevent to this debabte) they have slowly begun to accept homosexual members, including priests etc., so it seems ludicrous to then deny them the LGB community priviledge of a church ordained service. The arguments put forward by some people that we should simply let the churches die out or lose members isn't very helpful. There will, for better or worse, be same-sex couples who wish to be married in a religious fashion. Since religion practice is a choice there are no 'rights' associated with it bar the state trying to limit discrimination against it. However there are rights about bodies discriminating against same-sex relationships, which seems to be the crux of Stuart's argument, which is clearly what is happening here; the church is saying there is one rule for one group of individuals and another for the group in question. The murky waters in this argument between the state protecting the views of religious institutions and the state protecting the LGB community all comes down to simply protecting the feelings of both. The state wants there to be a country entirely free of discrimination or segregation of any sort and the arbitrary but influential rules of religion oppose this process.
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Alistair Dunbar
Posted over 3 years ago
What's your favorite word?
I really like the word "perfidious" as just saying it, as an adjective, really makes the person in question sound immediately slimey, sneaky and generally unpleasent.
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Alistair Dunbar
Posted over 3 years ago
If/when same-sex marriage is legalised, should ALL religious bodies be required by law to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies?
I agree with Corvida and it was ludicrous that civil partnerships came in without all the benefits of marriage. I believe that the better action would be to confer all state benefits from marriage onto civil partnerships and eliminate all state recognition of marriage in regards to religious ceremony. My first reaction when discussing the nature of marriage with mates in the LGBT community was that they wanted to have the capacity to be married in religious fashion, which the state currently blocks, or they just wanted the equal benefits highlighted above. The problem with the consultation is that, in the wake of increasing maginalisation of church dogma towards homosexuality, the religious bodies seem to have taken a very hardline stance which makes the issue appear as though the state is attacking a series of homophobic institutions. Many people are more than happy to cheer on the actions of the state when the religious institutions are looking this bad and kicking up a fuss about something society at large is really progressing with understanding. When it comes to the idea of being forced to perform a ceremony I don't think anyone wants to condone that as an action by the state but at the same time no-one wants to side with a large group of homophobes.
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Alistair Dunbar
Posted over 3 years ago
Will e-books replace traditional books
Are you implying that actual books give you less privacy? Would you not be worried about the massive amount of consumer data that would be made around what you purchase to read? If your country ever descends into some McCarthy era HUAC witch hunt on the left would you want to have people know you've read (or merely purchased) things by Marx? And just something to note the person I referred to was a woman. $100 or £100 as they cost in the U.K. is still a lot of money when unemployment is the west is around 8% and the rest of us are carrying round debt.
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Alistair Dunbar
Posted over 3 years ago
Will e-books replace traditional books
You quoted the wrong statistic in your response, you quoted the global population not those who have access to the internet. Those number are here "360,985,492" which you can look at yourself on the table in the web page. I think it's easy to see how low that figure is compared to the global population figures you cited (On a side note citing web pages for statistics is a big no-no as they have no peer review process). The other limit to access is cost. While you may be able to get into an internet cafe' once in awhile or use a public internet service at a library that doesn't mean you have the disposable income to purchase a £100 'toy' and then you have to factor in, the cheap cost I recognise, buying books. Currently buying brand new hardback copy of books is expensive and for the cost of 10 books you could have that ebook reader but if you make use of public library facilities, buy books second hand or borrow them from friends it would take you some time to reach that figure. Also books have a history to them when bought second hand that digital media can never have. I purchased a copy of The Communist Manifesto a couple of years ago from a second hand book shop near my university campus. On the inside part of the cover was a name and a date. Bored one day I googled that name and the name of my university to discover that the person whom owned it was now an aide to a republican senator. From owning a piece of Marxist literature in Scotland to being part of a right wing insititution in the U.S. is quite interesting, no?
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Alistair Dunbar
Posted over 3 years ago
Why is it so difficult to live a simple life in First World Countries?
Society in terms of government and economy has been of such a complex intertwined nature for so long that it would be impossible to become totally detached from it. The point I was making about liberty is based on the nature of the formation of societies. Since the birth of agriculture there has been property that more than adequately fulfills the needs of the individual. Once you have something that is turning a form of profit it becomes desirable and if there are no consequences to the action an individual could readily take it from you if they were stronger. The most basic laws are all in regards to the right of property and protecting it from these invasions; allowing you to accumulate property without fear of harm. The most basic communities will have laws that are principly punishment based to allow the amassing of capital beyond the scope of merely living totally freely in nature (without protection beyond your own means). As soon as you have a system that limits your actions you're not living totally freely, so when the laws regarding property rights and murder are put into effect they are already limiting your freedom. I don't think you'll find many people that will have problems with their freedom to murder and steal be limited and in turn we all gain a degree of certainty in the protection of our property and ultimately our lives. Any other laws that have sprung up since are still at some level trying to maintain these two basic ideals; the right to property and the right to a safe life. There has been some muddying of the water since where the presence of the laws does seem to infringe beyond these basic legal rights but I assure you most are to protect you from a wild state of nature where you own nothing and your life is at constant risk. The problems with government are far too many to list (reasons longer still) but a good general rule of thumb is that an individual in power benefits to negative consequence of their subjects.
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Alistair Dunbar
Posted over 3 years ago
What do you think of Planet Kepler 22b?
I think it is widely accepted that at some point humanity (or whatever we exist as in the future) will have to leave this planet. This could be influenced by many factors and I'm sure we're all aware of most of them such as climate change, expanding population and war. There are also the very far off endpoints such as the expansion of the sun and the possibility of meteors striking the planet. The research into planets which are like earth is extremely interesting but eventually we're going to have to reinvest in the space programmes to actually capatalise on their existence. I believe the closest planet in the goldylocks zone is much further away than the distance reached by any man made object yet so evidently we have to improve the capacity of moving these great distances. I can't imagine a method of transport that would make the distances insignificant so I believe it will merely be the closest planet on which we have a certain degree of information that will be habitated first by mankind.