Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

Go to first entry



<< current
E-mail address:
jhertzli AT ix DOT netcom DOT com

My Earthlink/Netcom Site

My Tweets

My other blogs
Small Sample Watch
XBM Graphics

The Former Four Horsemen of the Ablogalypse:
Someone who used to be sane (formerly War)
Someone who used to be serious (formerly Plague)
Rally 'round the President (formerly Famine)
Dr. Yes (formerly Death)

Interesting weblogs:
Back Off Government!
Bad Science
Boing Boing
Debunkers Discussion Forum
Deep Space Bombardment
Depleted Cranium
Dr. Boli’s Celebrated Magazine.
Foreign Dispatches
Good Math, Bad Math
Greenie Watch
The Hand Of Munger
Howard Lovy's NanoBot
Liberty's Torch
The Long View
My sister's blog
Neo Warmonger
Next Big Future
Out of Step Jew
Overcoming Bias
The Passing Parade
Peter Watts Newscrawl
Physics Geek
Pictures of Math
Poor Medical Student
Prolifeguy's take
The Raving Theist
Respectful Insolence
Seriously Science
Slate Star Codex
The Speculist
The Technoptimist
Tools of Renewal
XBM Graphics
Zoe Brain

Other interesting web sites:
Aspies For Freedom
Crank Dot Net
Day By Day
Dihydrogen Monoxide - DHMO Homepage
Jewish Pro-Life Foundation
Libertarians for Life
The Mad Revisionist
Piled Higher and Deeper
Science, Pseudoscience, and Irrationalism
Sustainability of Human Progress

Yet another weird SF fan

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Why Keep Old Laws on the Books?

A few months ago, I posted a defense of “cafeteria religion” on the grounds that the accumulated experience of a community does not always agree with the early versions of that experience that got into the sacred texts. In that case, why keep the laws on the books but reinterpret them instead of just dumping them? It's quite simple. Keeping the laws on the books enables rapid backtracking.

Sometimes the above-mentioned accumulated experience goes awry. For example, the story of the Exodus is obviously about the rescue of a people from the horribly unjust system of slavery. For centuries, it was reinterpreted in Judaism and Christianity to be about a special case with no lessons for any other situation. (After all, everybody knew that slavery was a necessary part of the economy.) A few centuries ago, a handful of evangelical Protestants (which is embarrassing to those of us in other religions) went for a more literal approach and declared that slavery could not be tolerated. This actually worked.

In a system with cafeteria religion, there will be occasional attempts to “turn back the clock.” When backtracking is needed, those attempts can be used to fix the system. If we simply dump apparently-obsolete laws, it will be harder to fix.


Post a Comment

<< Home

My Blogger Profile
eXTReMe Tracker X-treme Tracker

The Atom Feed This page is powered by Blogger.