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Re: [DotGNU]Re: DotGNU Manifesto - first draft

From: Barry Fitzgerald
Subject: Re: [DotGNU]Re: DotGNU Manifesto - first draft
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 2002 17:43:48 -0400

Bill Lance wrote:
> --- Norbert Bollow <address@hidden> wrote:
> > >
> > > For the sake of the atheists among us, could we
> > please leave
> > > out the god talk?  Quoting Jefferson and
> > mentioning Curran's name
> > > would probably be more effective.
> >
> > Isn't this request in principle very similar to an
> > "open source"
> > leader requesting that "for the sake of those who
> > don't agree
> > that software modification and redistribution rights
> > are a
> > matter of ethics" one should "leave out the ethics
> > talk",
> > because e.g. quoting Eric Raymond and only
> > mentioning Richard
> > Stallman's name would "be more effective" (for the
> > purposes of
> > furthering the goals of the open source movement)?
> >
> > That would be nasty.
> >
> > Even though the "open source" movement does not
> > agree with the
> > ethical imperative that all software should be free,
> > it would
> > still be proper for them to prominently cite the
> > Free Software
> > movement as part of their intellectual heritage, in
> > a way that
> > clearly shows that for the Free Software movement
> > these things
> > are a matter of ethics.
> >
> > Similarly, even though the DotGNU project is not in
> > itself a
> > religious (or anti-religious) activity of any kind,
> > I think it
> > is only proper to give such credit to the fact that
> > much of the
> > philosophical, social and political foundations for
> > today's
> > freedom ethics has been laid by god-fearing people
> > of the past,
> > who in turn were directly or indirectly inspired by
> > the New
> > Testament (where freedom is one of the major
> > themes).  That
> > quote from Curran serves this purpose.
> >
> Hi Norbert,
> Althought I've stayed out of this thread so far, I
> realy must support RMS on this issue.  'God' means
> something different to every person on the face of the
> Earth.  I'm pleased for you that your thought's of
> 'God' and religion are positive and constructive.
> However, that is not the case for everybody.  Your
> example of the New Testement as support of ethical and
> cooperative behavior is equally balance by it's use to
> justify massive genocide and distruction.
> I do not mean to bash your beliefs, or religion in
> general.  I do want to point out that use of these
> terms and references here is not likely to change
> anyones perspective of religion, and most certainly
> will put off those who have suffered greatly in the
> name of 'God'.

Also, one cannot dispute that other religions have ethical constructs
that are, in some cases, even more strict than religions based on
Judaism/Cristianity/Muslim backgrounds.  Certainly, our modern code of
law and base ethical standard has been influenced by Old Testament's
concepts of ethics, but it has been equally influenced by classical
Roman and Greek concepts of ethics.  In fact, the very terminology that
we use derives directly from those cultures and one would be
hard-pressed to find Judaic influence in those regions at the times of
primary philosophical writings.

Again, the point not being to bash Norbert's beliefs at all.  There is
some backing to what he says.  However, there are other perspectives and
other cultures that play into this.  We're sort of leveraging the
resurrection of a religious version of the old "White man's burden"
argument - which basically said that it was the duty of the average
person of European descent to take control of other cultures because
they were not civilized and could not control themselves.  Obviously,
this manner of thinking was heavily flawed and completely incorrect. 
While not flawed nor completely incorrect like the "white man's burden"
argument, the "modern ethics is exclusively based on the Old Testament"
belief follows a similarly dangerous line that implies that all
civilization stems from one root.

I don't think that that's at all what Norbert was trying to say - but it
hilights the need to stay culturally plural in an open society.


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