Category Archives: The Dice

Separating the ethic from the dogma

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Garden of Eden

Note: This is a cross-post from the Iowa blog Bleeding Heartland. A Kentucky circuit court recently granted a temporary injunction to halt the implementation of Kentucky’s “trigger law” that would ban abortion in response to the recent Dobbs Supreme Court decision. The judge spelled out perhaps the clearest rationale to date why the most extreme of the anti-abortion laws are… Read more »

All we like sheep — guns and volition

George Frideric Handel

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” — Isaiah 53:6 KJV A sample of the classic musical form of this passage from Handel’s Messiah: Here is the “thought experiment” of the day: Hundreds of ordinary Americans over 18 years… Read more »

Binary morality meets a complex abortion reality

Jimmy Swaggart: "I have sinned!"

We await the Supreme Court likely undoing decades of jurisprudence on the topic of women’s reproductive rights and we simultaneously see new state-by-state battles over LGBTQ+ rights. It has become obvious to me that our culture’s long insistence on binary choices on morality issues does not help us navigate Mother Nature’s (and democracy’s) love of continuum and complexity. Even among… Read more »

TL;DR

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Pea plant

TL;DR is Internet-speak for “too long; didn’t read.” This blog is now over four years old, and while the basic title-relevant posts can be followed more-or-less chronologically via the “The Story So Far” link at the top, this post is an attempt to summarize those four years in light of some recent tragic events. The word theodicy, literally “the justice… Read more »

Ethics 101 – They are still confusing legality and morality

The recent controversy over a leaked Supreme Court opinion perhaps overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion decision highlights how even Supreme Court justices, when blinded by sectarian religious fervor, can get Ethics 101 wrong. In a pluralistic society, issues of public morality may overlap with issues of legal practice, but only in places like Taliban-controlled Afghanistan do judges make… Read more »

“Sucks to Be You” ethics revisited

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Jimmy Swaggart: "I have sinned!"

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds declared the Covid pandemic over in her state yesterday, saying the state’s feeble measures to contain the coronavirus and address hospital needs are “no longer feasible or necessary.” Meanwhile, many Iowa hospitals remained stretched to the max, relying on “traveler” staff and “locums” to maintain services. Reynolds has no apparent plans for preparing for any future… Read more »

What are the odds that I am dead wrong?

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Dice

Ever since I transitioned from Iowa-based snowbird to full-time Floridian, news accounts of the storied “Florida Man” now show up regularly in my news feed. To find your own “Florida Man doppelganger,” you simply Google “Florida Man” in quotes, followed by your birth month and day, and then see what news headline comes up. My search yielded this: “Florida man,… Read more »

Dopesick, homelessness, and the casualties of culture

Junction

When faced with a friend who has succumbed to prescription opioid addiction, we commonly hear the expression, “There but for the grace of God go I!” But what if it is not divine grace at work here, rather simply the math of probability? I recently viewed the excellent Hulu television miniseries Dopesick, based on a book of the same name… Read more »

The capricious God of Covid

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Dice icon

“At the first glance, the only ‘law’ … seems to be that of Caprice — caprice in inheriting, caprice in transmitting, caprice everywhere, in turn.” — Philosopher William James (1842– 1910) One of the classic examples in an introductory statistics class is the drawing of billiard balls from an opaque sack containing an unknown mix of various colored balls, and… Read more »

When your pain becomes our pain

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Empathy-Sympathy-Compassion

Odds are…you personally will not suffer any ill effects from the coronavirus. But over 600,000 U.S. families have watched loved ones die, often without the hugs of family who had to say goodbye via FaceTime. Odds are…you personally will not be killed in a grocery store by a domestic terrorist wielding an AR-style high-lethality weapon. But over 40,000 families lost… Read more »