Win a copy of GANs in ActionE this week in the AI forum
or WebAssembly in Action in the JavaScript forum!
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
programming forums Java Mobile Certification Databases Caching Books Engineering Micro Controllers OS Languages Paradigms IDEs Build Tools Frameworks Application Servers Open Source This Site Careers Other all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
Marshals:
  • Campbell Ritchie
  • Bear Bibeault
  • Paul Clapham
  • Jeanne Boyarsky
  • Knute Snortum
Sheriffs:
  • Liutauras Vilda
  • Tim Cooke
  • Junilu Lacar
Saloon Keepers:
  • Ron McLeod
  • Stephan van Hulst
  • Tim Moores
  • Tim Holloway
  • Carey Brown
Bartenders:
  • Joe Ess
  • salvin francis
  • fred rosenberger

Good and Evil

 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 1376
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Excellent summation, Herb. I particularly like the concept of the "Human" modifier. I was absolutely thinking in terms of Human Good, Human Evil, Human Right, Human Wrong. I can't picture a "Good proton" or a "Wrong physical law".
I'm going to toss a couple new posts onto to the fire folks, let you all look at them and take shots for a day or two. They're not about the issue, but more about how to carry on a complex discussion using a multiple thread approach. Please read them and see if they make sense.
I'll be back.
Joe
 
Leverager of our synergies
Posts: 10065
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Eugene: And to extend it a bit further, neither Yin nor Yang are good or evil, and neither Eros nor Thanatos are good and evil.
I would agree with that.
So you found the elegance that you were looking for, it's just that you didn't realize it yet.
Noo, I complained about lack of elegance in my initial concept, that Right and Wrong are isolated phenomena that have no parallels in the Universe.
Remember the Marx' dialectical materialism from the Russian high school, and its fundamental principle, the unity and struggle of the opposites?
Sure. I am often amused how much it affects my thinking, and I do not regret my high school taught me some dialectics.
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 5390
1
Spring Java
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Eugene Kononov:
Ravish: Truth is never uni-dimensional. It is relative and dependent on time, place, matter and the state in which you are.
If you consider truth to be good then ...

That's a good thought, Ravish, -- I wish that you expanded on it. Or at least complete the sentence.


If you consider truth to be good then simply replace truth with good [I replaced uni-dimensional also with absolute ]
Good is never absolute. It is relative and dependent on time, place, matter and the state in which you are.
AW all absolute are hypothetical and denote ideal conditions. But we live in a practical world, even resistance of a metal depends on the temp, metal's density, electrnic configuration and type of metal though absolute resistence should be zero in metal.
[Plz dont go in too much depth of physics, NOW my area of interests are international politics and religion & its affect on human and society ]
So in IMHO, in this practical world there is nothing like absolute. Period.
Is killing evil ??
But we kill. We kill from mosquito to cockroach to chicken to man.
Yes, obviously each of this has different reason to be killed.
[ September 16, 2003: Message edited by: R K Singh ]
 
Wanderer
Posts: 18671
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
[Paul Stevens]: Interesting how some posters react one way when discussing hypothetical situations like this. But react totally different in a real situation similar to the hypothetical situations in this thread.
I can think of a way in which you might be referring to me here, but if so I think you've misread my position somewhere. Or was this something else entirely?
[ September 16, 2003: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]
 
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Posts: 10065
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
"AW it was really a nice thread and I will keep myself away from this thread so that it remain neat & clean."
I will use it as my signature when circumstances warrant. Thanks, Ravish.
 
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Posts: 10065
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Jim: I can think of a way in which you might be referring to me here,
And I thought he is talking about me
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 2937
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Jim: I can think of a way in which you might be referring to me here, but if so I think you've misread my position somewhere. Or was this something else entirely?
And I was sure Paul Stevens refered to me! Now we are talking about the danger of assumptions!
 
John Smith
Ranch Hand
Posts: 2937
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Damn, what a wonderful world!
 
R K Singh
Ranch Hand
Posts: 5390
1
Spring Java
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
Jim: I can think of a way in which you might be referring to me here,
And I thought he is talking about me


And seriously I was thinking its me
 
Jim Yingst
Wanderer
Posts: 18671
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Now we are talking about the danger of assumptions!
Well I wasn't at all sure who he was talking about, which is why I posted the question.
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 4714
9
Scala Java
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
i really liked map's post about the Aristotelian model and Prototype theory. perhaps for some things one works better and for other things the other works better.
[ September 16, 2003: Message edited by: Randall Twede ]
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 1479
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Mumbai cha bhau:

Similarly, it is amazing that some people are dead against abortion yet advocate capital punishment.


Similarly, it is amazing that some people are dead against recognizing a significant difference between abortion and captial punishment. In one case you can have an adult who has acted in an egresiously reprehensible way (well, to those of us who preceive cold-blooded mass murder as very bad thing), and in another case you have a life form completely innocent of any acts at all.
However, don't take this as taking any particular side in the abortion rights issue.
 
frank davis
Ranch Hand
Posts: 1479
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
[QB]Eugene: And to extend it a bit further, neither Yin nor Yang are good or evil, and neither Eros nor Thanatos are good and evil.
I would agree with that.
[QB]


Gee, what a calm, ideal society we have here on MD, no one gets too excited over either life or death, or pedophilia or mass murder or anything else. Here's a new book just out for all of you and what your philosophy permits : "Red-Color News Soldier: A Chinese Photographer's Odyssey Trough the Cultural Revolution". Its just a dispassionate photo collection of firing squads and abuse of educated people during the Cultural Revolution.
In the same vein as Mao's mass executions would be Nazi gas chambers, Stalin's mass murders, Saddam's rape rooms and executions, child rape, mass murder, cannibalism, etc; ah, just another day, nothing to get excited about I guess...
Just for the record, I would prefer that people did get a little excited
over these issues. I would prefer that people didn't just see these as the cosmic interplay of Ying and Yang in a vast impersonal universe.
I'll take Joe Pluta as my neighbor over any of you guys any day.
 
John Smith
Ranch Hand
Posts: 2937
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
I was going to leave this thread along, -- there is a certain beauty in its current incompleteness, but since my old friend Herb got involved, it would be disrespectful for me not to address my fellow libertarian.
Herb: In essence, all you guys (Pluta being the most notable exception) have said thus far is that you don't find evidence to support Plato's ideal forms idea. But then again, his world of ideal forms or ideas was on a different plane. Even Plato would not say, "Look, over there is the ideal chair!", or "This man has done ideal Evil". So, firstly, I question your attacks on Evil as a Platonic ideal by those who simply say there are no perfect manifestations of Evil that we can point to.
Platonic ideals can be seen in many ways; one is simply that they are conceptual abstractions or a type of mental summation of many situations; others more mystically inclined could say the ideal forms exist prior to any physcial manifestion of the subject to which they relate. In any event, to say that Platonic ideals do not "exist" or that Evil as a Platonic ideal does not "exist" seems to be missing the whole point of what a Platonic ideal is.

Your point is well taken. Indeed, Plato believed in two different worlds: the visible world, ever changing, and the outer world, which is timeless and unchanging reality. In Kant's terminology, these are the phenomenal world, registered by us with our sensory apparatus, and the noumenal, transendental world that can be anything. So you are right in the sense that just because we cannot register perfect manifestations of Evil, it doesn't mean that perfect Evil doesn't exist.
Now, for the purposes of discussion, let's separate the phenomenal world from the noumenal world.
In the phenomenal world, I would argue (and the gang seems to agree), the perfect Evil doesn't exist, -- cannibalism, pedophilia, and murder are not absolute Evil, but rather a continuum on the time-space axis. This is actually consistent with the Plato's attribute of "everything is becoming, nothing is", which he assigned to the visible world. Joe seems to have a different opinion, essentially saying that some things in the phenomenal world are naturally wrong.
Now, let's leap into the noumenal world. You said, "leaving aside the linguistics debates, Evil only seems to have a real and coherent meaning in terms of living beings." Well, that's something that I've been arguing all along, -- Evil is meaningful only in terms of human perception, it doesn't exist on its own. Perhaps what you implied is that the noumenal world consists of living beings, and they share the same idea of good and evil with us? But then, wouldn't you think that this is highly unlikely, given the fact that we can't agree on these absolutes even within a small group of people here in MD?
[ September 16, 2003: Message edited by: Eugene Kononov ]
 
John Smith
Ranch Hand
Posts: 2937
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Herb: Here's a new book just out for all of you and what your philosophy permits : "Red-Color News Soldier: A Chinese Photographer's Odyssey Trough the Cultural Revolution". Its just a dispassionate photo collection of firing squads and abuse of educated people during the Cultural Revolution.
Come on, Herb, this is a very cheap shot, you can do better than that. I already expressed my distate with this kind of reasoning using the Copernicus-Inquisition analogy. How about another analogy, -- Darwin must have been a very evil person, -- he believed that the humans were the direct descendants of monkeys, and since the rape is qualified by some modern anthropologists as a natural behaivior among monkeys, Darwin should be required to register as a sex offender if he lived today.
[ September 16, 2003: Message edited by: Eugene Kononov ]
 
frank davis
Ranch Hand
Posts: 1479
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Eugene Kononov:
...Evil is meaningful only in terms of human perception, it doesn't exist on its own.


I think everyone, even Joe Pluta, agrees that Evil, outside of any context, is meaningingless. In fact, any concept, outside of any context becomes meaningless. Just on a sheerly stupid semantic level how can you even define a concept to discuss without a context? Are we going to dicuss something that we can even know what we are talking about? No wonder Joe gets frustrated. To debate or discuss such things is so ludicrous and non-sensical that its not even worthy of being in MD. The Sheriff needs to delete such posts immediately and ban such topic posters from any further posts.
Just because its Drivel, and just because its Meaningless, doesn't mean it should be non-sensical.


Perhaps what you implied is that the noumenal world consists of living beings, and they share the same idea of good and evil with us?


Maybe not that noumenal world consists of living beings, but that the concepts we are talking about have no meaning except in relation to them.



But then, wouldn't you think that this is highly unlikely, given the fact that we can't agree on these absolutes even within a small group of people here in MD?



At the most basic level, would not Death/death be a subcategory/example of Living Being Evil?
[ September 16, 2003: Message edited by: herb slocomb ]
 
frank davis
Ranch Hand
Posts: 1479
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Eugene Kononov:
Herb: Here's a new book just out for all of you and what your philosophy permits : "Red-Color News Soldier: A Chinese Photographer's Odyssey Trough the Cultural Revolution". Its just a dispassionate photo collection of firing squads and abuse of educated people during the Cultural Revolution.
Come on, Herb, this is a very cheap shot, you can do better than that. I already expressed my distate with this kind of reasoning using the Copernicus-Inquisition analogy. How about another analogy, -- Darwin must have been a very evil person, -- he believed that the humans were the direct descendants of monkeys, and since the rape is qualified by some modern anthropologists as a natural behaivior among monkeys, Darwin should be required to register as a sex offender if he lived today.
[ September 16, 2003: Message edited by: Eugene Kononov ]


I honestly don't mean to imply in any way that any one here is guilty in any degree of such things. My point is that abstract ideas have concrete implications and manisfestations whether you recognize the causal link or not. I think its rather obvious that those who recognize certain things as absolute evils react in an emotional way different than those who do not when confronted with certain such situations. Do we not have examples in every day life or on this board? This emotional reaction may not only affect the degree of activity taken to confront such an evil but it may also mean the difference between action or no action. No further elaboration should be necessary. This is all so obvious and by no means a cheap shot.
 
Jim Yingst
Wanderer
Posts: 18671
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
I'll take Joe Pluta as my neighbor over any of you guys any day.
Any of you guys? Gee thanks, I'm glad to see that in your careful analysis of my posts you manage to overlook clear statement like "OK, I agree that, for example, an adult having sex with a 10-year-old girl is Wrong. And when I say Wrong, mean I think it's really, really, bad... I'm quite happy I live in a society in which the majority of people seem to agree that it's really, really bad and are willing to enforce their will against the minority who may think otherwise." I'm sure it's always easier for you in a discussion if you assume the other parties all take their arguments to the most absurd extremes possible, despite evidence to the contrary.
See Joe, this is why I have a general distrust of absolutism - it seems to attract a certain brand of narrow-mindedness binary simplicity to its banner. "Gee, you don't agree with everything I believe, therefore you must believe the exact opposite." Hogwash. Herb, if you want to ask what Eugene or Map means by something, oor how far they would extend their arguments, by all means do so. But please don't make assumptions about them and then apply those assumptions to "all of us". Thanks.
Similarly, I recall Joe asserting that if we don't believe in absolutes, all moral judgements become impossible. Again, hogwash. There's no absolute maximum on temperature, but that doesn't stop us from saying things like "I don't like temperatures above 110 F, and refuse to live anywhere the temperature is routinely above 130 F." Someone else may use different numbers, but I think we can all agree that if someone sticks us in an oven set at 300 F, that's Too Damn Hot. (Ooooh, look - capitals!) Even if someone doesn't believe in the concept of absolute zero temperature - they may be wrong, but they shouldn't have to put up with people who claim they're unable to tell whether it's freezing outside or not.
Just for the record, I would prefer that people did get a little excited
over these issues.

Well, long habit in MD tends to make me favor a discussion style that often sounds dispassionate. At least up until such point as my opponent starts treating me like an idiot. I mean, violent rape is bad. Duh. Do I need to be frothing at the mouth any time the topic is mentioned, to demonstrate that I too condemn it? Or may I ask questions about borderline cases to better understand what my opponent really means when they capitalize the W in Wrong?
 
frank davis
Ranch Hand
Posts: 1479
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by R K Singh:
Truth is never uni-dimensional. It is relative and dependent on time, place, matter and the state in which you are.


Who would even began to pronounce the truth on a matter before hearing any of the facts? Is not truth dependent on facts (time, place, matter, state)
Truth, as a platonic ideal, would be the idea of a correct/accurate description/represenation of facts. Its the relationship of a true statement to facts that is the essence of Truth as an absolute. Regarding either truth or Truth, its a uni-dimensional relationship in relationship to facts. As Aristotle would say, A is A (A has a specific identity such that A is A cannot be B, etc) which is either true or false. Either a million or so people were executed under Mao's regime or they were not. A truthful answer is uni-dimensional and absolute in regards to the facts.
 
John Smith
Ranch Hand
Posts: 2937
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
The Sheriff needs to delete such posts immediately and ban such topic posters from any further posts.
Indefinitely? For some period of time? How about just shooting these people to the back of their heads, so that not only do they not post in MD anymore, but also are not able to utter a word? And send the invoice for the bullet to the relatives, Mao style?

Just because its Drivel, and just because its Meaningless, doesn't mean it should be non-sensical.
Who will decide if it is non-sensical? Some sort of government comittee, made of people like you?
I honestly don't mean to imply in any way that any one here is guilty in any degree of such things.
But you did, very directly, by saying that you would prefer Joe as a neighbor. Look, put yourself together man, can't you be moral and rational at the same time?
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 18944
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Ya'll folks have Some Issues. Man is born on this earth to enjoy. Money, Sex (Tons), Fame. Rest is garbage. Goddamn I couldnt read 2 lines of anybody's posts here my heard is spinning. You folks need to get out of the house more. If you are married may god help you, if you are not, move your fat a$$ out of your house. Do something rather than posting all day long on this Meaningless drivel.
 
John Smith
Ranch Hand
Posts: 2937
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Ya'll folks have Some Issues. Man is born on this earth to enjoy. Money, Sex (Tons), Fame. Rest is garbage. Goddamn I couldnt read 2 lines of anybody's posts here my heard is spinning.
Well, New York must be a wonderful city to live in.
 
Anonymous
Ranch Hand
Posts: 18944
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Eugene Kononov:
Ya'll folks have Some Issues. Man is born on this earth to enjoy. Money, Sex (Tons), Fame. Rest is garbage. Goddamn I couldnt read 2 lines of anybody's posts here my heard is spinning.
Well, New York must be a wonderful city to live in.


Party All nite long 24/7, 365 days
 
frank davis
Ranch Hand
Posts: 1479
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
[b]... I'm sure it's always easier for you in a discussion if you assume the other parties all take their arguments to the most absurd extremes possible, despite evidence to the contrary...


My point is simple and practical (therefore out place here I admit). Strong emotion may have some correlation with strong action. I believe that those who take the absolute position on Good/Evil have a stronger viewpoint on what is evil and also a stronger view on the necessity to take action against it vs the guy weighing the cosmic Ying/Yang of all activities. Its not that you or the Ying/Yang crowd don't oppose peophilia, its just that I'd rather see a little more frothing at the mouth when confronted with such evil. There's numerous cases of women being raped or people being assaulted practically in plain view in major cities yet no one got worked up enough to do anything to stop such evil. Ask anybody if they support pedophilia and they'll say No, but if you want action and people to vigously protect your child, then you want a frothing at the mouth absolutist. Of course, such absolutism is open to abuse itself, but in today's society the peduleum has swung too far in the other direction. We need a few more rabid, frothing at the mouth absolutists to balance things out (the Ying/Yang crowd should undertand this!) in our society.
By the way Jim, you'd make a good neighbor too, I just couldn't resist a little extra gasoline on the fire
 
frank davis
Ranch Hand
Posts: 1479
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Eugene Kononov:
Herb :The Sheriff needs to delete such posts immediately and ban such topic posters from any further posts.
Eugene :Indefinitely? For some period of time? How about just shooting these people to the back of their heads, so that not only do they not post in MD anymore, but also are not able to utter a word? And send the invoice for the bullet to the relatives, Mao style?


You described quite a platonic ideal there Eugene.


Herb :Just because its Drivel, and just because its Meaningless, doesn't mean it should be non-sensical.
Eugene :Who will decide if it is non-sensical? Some sort of government comittee, made of people like you?


Ok Eugene, you're making me put you on the spot here buddy : Define "Evil" without any context what so ever. Now, if you can't give a meanginful answer for a term you started an entire thread on and therefore wasted the time of America's and the World's most brillent and productive minds in this thread, is there any punishment that woukld be severe enough?


I honestly don't mean to imply in any way that any one here is guilty in any degree of such things.
But you did, very directly, by saying that you would prefer Joe as a neighbor. Look, put yourself together man, can't you be moral and rational at the same time?


A preference for an absolutist just means I believe they would be more emotional on such issues and therefore react more stronger in protecting my child from pedophiles (hypothetically since I have no child).
 
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Posts: 10065
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Jim: Similarly, I recall Joe asserting that if we don't believe in absolutes, all moral judgements become impossible.
Joe, I also wonder what you meant when you said:
"But you can't judge me! According to you, there is no absolute right and wrong. All there is is whatever we each think is right and wrong. And thus, your judgment of me has no merit." (on the first page of this thread). I was perplexed then, and I am still unsure. Do you still agree with what you've said?
 
Jim Yingst
Wanderer
Posts: 18671
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
OK, I feel better after my rant. Kinda refreshed. I begin to understand the appeal of ranting in MD. Maybe I should indulge in those more often.
My point is simple and practical (therefore out place here I admit).
This brought a smile.
Strong emotion may have some correlation with strong action. I believe that those who take the absolute position on Good/Evil have a stronger viewpoint on what is evil and also a stronger view on the necessity to take action against it vs the guy weighing the cosmic Ying/Yang of all activities. Its not that you or the Ying/Yang crowd don't oppose peophilia, its just that I'd rather see a little more frothing at the mouth when confronted with such evil. There's numerous cases of women being raped or people being assaulted practically in plain view in major cities yet no one got worked up enough to do anything to stop such evil. Ask anybody if they support pedophilia and they'll say No, but if you want action and people to vigously protect your child, then you want a frothing at the mouth absolutist. Of course, such absolutism is open to abuse itself, but in today's society the peduleum has swung too far in the other direction. We need a few more rabid, frothing at the mouth absolutists to balance things out (the Ying/Yang crowd should undertand this!) in our society.
Interesting point, you may have something there. But do you really think that moral relativism is the root of the problem in cases like Kitty Genovese's? I admit I haven't studied these cases much, but my impression is that incidents like this derive more from desensitization to crime and violence, and the "don't get involved" mentality that evolves in high-crime neighborhoods. It would be interesting to see some studies on the religious, spiritual, and philosophical beliefs of the witnesses who fail to act, to see what patterns may emerge. What really causes people to think that level of passivity is OK, and how can we fix it? Probably a good topic for another thread.
While there may be something to the theory that absolutist correlates to willingness to act against wrong (certain forms of it anyway) as a general tendency, I do reject any suggestion that relativism necessarily prevents such action in all individuals. Which it appears you're not really suggesting. Just wanted to be clear.
By the way Jim, you'd make a good neighbor too, I just couldn't resist a little extra gasoline on the fire.
Understood. How else to get things going for our first neighborhood BBQ? After I move in though, I may occasionally throw parties and invite folks like Eugene and Map as well. Hope that doesn't mean Joe will boycott...
 
John Smith
Ranch Hand
Posts: 2937
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Herb: Ok Eugene, you're making me put you on the spot here buddy : Define "Evil" without any context what so ever. Now, if you can't give a meanginful answer for a term you started an entire thread on and therefore wasted the time of America's and the World's most brillent and productive minds in this thread, is there any punishment that woukld be severe enough?
I already gave the definition of Evil, in the very first post of this thread. Do you want to punish me for speaking my mind? Rape me, burn me, eat me. Now, I am going to put you on the spot: are you willing to throw the first stone?
 
Anonymous
Ranch Hand
Posts: 18944
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Eugene Kononov:
are you willing to throw the first stone?


I Know its not for me but I am offering once in a life time opportunity. Show me whom to throw the stones at I will bring my gun and torturing equipment too
 
author and jackaroo
Posts: 12199
280
Mac IntelliJ IDE Firefox Browser Oracle C++ Java
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
[Paul Stevens]: Interesting how some posters react one way when discussing hypothetical situations like this. But react totally different in a real situation similar to the hypothetical situations in this thread.
[Jim Yingst]: I can think of a way in which you might be referring to me here, but if so I think you've misread my position somewhere. Or was this something else entirely?
My immediate thought when I saw Paul's post was that it was directed at Jim and myself.
But if so, then as Jim said, our positions have been misread.
Regards, Andrew
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 117
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
I've been following this thread for a few days now, mostly in detached amusement, occasionally in high mirth.
Now, the name of this forum is "Meaningless Drivel", no? I think some posters would do well to remember this before they start getting almost apoplectic, sputtering and moaning about the immense strain of participating in what should be a fun and interesting exchange of information and views, just because others just won't play nice and agree with them.
I've reached the point where I can't any longer resist the temptation to put in my oar.
I couldn't let this, for example, stand without comment:
Herb Slocomb wrote:

Its not that you or the Ying/Yang crowd don't oppose peophilia, its just that I'd rather see a little more frothing at the mouth when confronted with such evil. There's numerous cases of women being raped or people being assaulted practically in plain view in major cities yet no one got worked up enough to do anything to stop such evil. Ask anybody if they support pedophilia and they'll say No, but if you want action and people to vigously protect your child, then you want a frothing at the mouth absolutist. Of course, such absolutism is open to abuse itself, but in today's society the peduleum has swung too far in the other direction. We need a few more rabid, frothing at the mouth absolutists to balance things out (the Ying/Yang crowd should undertand this!) in our society.


I think this kind of thinking is scary. I'm certainly NOT casting any aspersions on anyone's intelligence here, but this sort of mentality sounds very much like that of the ignorant mob. I definitely do NOT want any frothing at the mouth absolutists anywhere near my family, thanks.
As an example of the kind of base stupidity that your mouth frothers are capable of, a couple of years ago here in the UK a consultant paediatrician was besieged in her house by an angry mob, stirred up by a spate of recent, dreadful child sex murders, who didn't know the difference between a paediatrician and a paedophile (sorry for British spellings, but you know what I'm talking about) and thought they were acting in the public interest decrying this poor woman.
And why do people tend not to get involved if they witness violent crime being perpetrated against others? Well, there are several reasons, I suspect, but plain fear and an instinct for self-preservation have to be leading contenders. Not a casual, laissez-faire, "it doesn't matter because it's someone else, not me, and ooh, I have to take some time to weigh up the relative importance, cosmically speaking, of the rights and wrongs of someone else being attacked and my intervening in this morally neutral situation". Asserting otherwise would be crass and/or disingenuous (I'm not saying anyone here did actually assert such a thing, before anyone jumps on that).
Moral absolutism belongs in the past along with unquestioning acceptance of religious orthodoxy, unquestioning acceptance of one's "god-given" place in society (slave/labourer/aristocrat/royalty etc), and any other system of belief that is rigidly imposed and feels threatened by being questioned, rather than seeing it as an opportunity to reach a more fundamental understanding.
Can't we just have a nice time, talk about our opinions on these things without getting into petty spats about who'd make better neighbours for us based on the similarity of their prejudices (sorry, beliefs), who should stay away from who's families and the like?
If it's too emotionally straining for someone to engage in the public debate, they shouldn't subject theirself to the slings and arrows of outrageous posting.
[ September 17, 2003: Message edited by: Damian Ryan ]
 
R K Singh
Ranch Hand
Posts: 5390
1
Spring Java
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Andrew Monkhouse:
My immediate thought when I saw Paul's post was that it was directed at Jim and myself.


You too ..
 
frank davis
Ranch Hand
Posts: 1479
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Damian Ryan:

I'm certainly NOT casting any aspersions on anyone's intelligence here, but this sort of mentality sounds very much like that of the ignorant mob.
...


I'm certainly NOT casting any aspersions on anyone's intelligence here, but this sort of mentality sounds very much like that of someone who didn't quite catch all the points of my statements.
I did point out that such frothingness could lead to abuse, but my point was that the pycho-social ecosystem of modern society, at least where I live, is a little too devoid of absolutists. A certain percentage of absolutists is healthy to the functioning of society. Maybe its only 1 percent or even much, much less, but in any event they can provide a stronger spark for action that can galvanize the others in a way that a more neutral, non-absolutist minded person could not. Sometimes, a simple, direct, emotional appeal to absolutes is more motivational than Ying/Yang contemplation.


And why do people tend not to get involved if they witness violent crime being perpetrated against others?


I don't think anyone has a definite answer on that in all cases although there is most likely a multiplicity of factors. Since there is no definite answer, I believe my hypothesis is worthy of debate and not being so easily dismissed. To restate : Absolutism and strong emotions in relation to a particular subject can be correlated to some degree. Also, strong emotion and the propensity for strong action or any action at all are also correlated to some degree. In summary, someone who sees a crime as some sort of absolute evil is probably more likely to some degree to act more vigorously against such a crime. (As a side note, vigorous and severe action against crime tends to reduce the crime rate to the benefit of all, while the more neutral, lets understand and reform approach is been a disaster. I'm painting in broad strokes here, but this can be the subject of another thread...)


Can't we just have a nice time, talk about our opinions on these things without getting into petty spats about who'd make better neighbours for us based on the similarity of their prejudices (sorry, beliefs), who should stay away from who's families and the like?


Yes, we really all should sit down nicely in a cricle having our tea and crumpets in a quiete manner without raising our voices.
[ September 17, 2003: Message edited by: herb slocomb ]
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 2823
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
My point was that it is easy to talk about things when it is hypothetical. But when it is real and happens to you or someone close. All of it goes out the window. The whole discussion of ages of girls (I noticed boys were never brought up) with older guys. Place your daughter into the equation and that age changes quickly.
But if all of you feel guilty maybe all of those grey areas are more black and white than you thought.
 
Anonymous
Ranch Hand
Posts: 18944
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Paul Stevens:
My point was that it is easy to talk about things when it is hypothetical. But when it is real and happens to you or someone close. All of it goes out the window. The whole discussion of ages of girls (I noticed boys were never brought up) with older guys. Place your daughter into the equation and that age changes quickly.
But if all of you feel guilty maybe all of those grey areas are more black and white than you thought.


May be father Ted has a natural talent of making gay boys out of young boys and may be half of them are on Meaningless Drivel.
 
Damian Ryan
Ranch Hand
Posts: 117
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by herb slocomb:
I'm certainly NOT casting any aspersions on anyone's intelligence here, but this sort of mentality sounds very much like that of someone who didn't quite catch all the points of my statements.


Perhaps I have misunderstood your words, indeed. When you said

Originally posted by herb slocomb:
Ask anybody if they support pedophilia and they'll say No, but if you want action and people to vigously protect your child, then you want a frothing at the mouth absolutist. Of course, such absolutism is open to abuse itself, but in today's society the peduleum has swung too far in the other direction. We need a few more rabid, frothing at the mouth absolutists to balance things out (the Ying/Yang crowd should undertand this!) in our society.


I interpreted this as your direct espousal of the requirement for more "frothing at the mouth absolutists to balance things out". Please enlighten me if I am not correctly decoding the meaning of your words. Is there some hidden message, some clever subtext I have missed?
I notice you make no reply to my point about the frothers smashing the windows and vandalizing the house of an innocent member of the community because they were too fired up with a sense of what was wrong and evil (and too stupid to spell) to know that a paediatrician is substantially not the same thing as a paedophile.

Originally posted by herb slocomb:
I don't think anyone has a definite answer on that in all cases although there is most likely a multiplicity of factors. Since there is no definite answer, I believe my hypothesis is worthy of debate and not being so easily dismissed.


I think you'll find if you check back over what I wrote that I also said there were many potential reasons. You seem to go on to say (correct me if I misinterpret again) that someone with the courage of their convictions that rape or assault is ABSOLUTELY wrong (as opposed, presumably, to wishy-washy liberals who only think it's wrong in some intellectual, relative fashion) are more likely to overcome their fear of personal injury and wade in to the rescue of the unfortunate victim. I can neither confirm nor deny this, because I don't know the answer. But I can't quite see the logic between the precept and your conclusion in as clear a fashion as you.
I'm not going to rise to the bait you have left about approaches to crime prevention/punishment here in this thread. That's a whole other issue where again I find myself not in complete (or anything like it) agreement with you, but as you rightly say, that could be a topic for another thread). I just wonder why you felt you had to throw it in here if you didn't want to discuss it further.

Originally posted by herb slocomb:
Yes, we really all should sit down nicely in a cricle having our tea and crumpets in a quiete manner without raising our voices.


Ooh, petulant sarcasm! Not really a sign of a mature, winning argument.
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 162
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Joe's interpratation of good and evil hold good for a particular society, enviornment, culture etc to which he is exposed or he is aware of, while most others have a abstract picture of good and evil. There seems to be nothing wrong with both interpratation. But I think Joe's thoughts are much more precise but not so flexible. Having a flexible definition actually helps in adapting to different enviornment/circumstances and helps us to survive and grow together, even make friends with cannibals
This, I think, is one major problem with most/some religion, they were a bit short sighted when putting down the rules and restrictions. Some have broken that barrier (to some extent) and adapted to the current situation but some are still caught in the confusion.
As Paul indicated, some of us do react totally "different" when it comes to real situation because those real situations could have happend in "civilised" (our definition) world. An adult having sex with a 10 yr girls may be evil in most part of the world but there are places where 10 yr girls is married to adults as a tradiation ... will you brand this evil or ignorance ? In my opinion law prohibits it, it should be punished but I don't think it is evil or "EVIL" .
[ September 17, 2003: Message edited by: Vinod John ]
 
Joe Pluta
Ranch Hand
Posts: 1376
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
JY: Similarly, I recall Joe asserting that if we don't believe in absolutes, all moral judgements become impossible.
MI: Joe, I also wonder what you meant when you said:
"But you can't judge me! According to you, there is no absolute right and wrong. All there is is whatever we each think is right and wrong. And thus, your judgment of me has no merit." (on the first page of this thread). I was perplexed then, and I am still unsure. Do you still agree with what you've said?

There's a technique called reductio ad absurdum that states, in simple terms, that if you take an assumption to its logical conclusion and reach a contradiction, you know the assumption was false. This is what I've been attempting to use here, because it's usually the most effective approach in civilized philosophical discourse. It has met with less than resounding success on MD, but I'll try one more time.
1. The primary tenet of moral relativism (especially as professed by the posters here) is that you don't want to be told what is right and wrong (I won't even bother with caps in this case, because that's too far advanced for this simple discussion). This is why you get upset when I say there are things that are absolutely right and wrong, regardless of your opinion. You want to be able to decide on your own.
On it's face, this sounds great! It sounds like a recipe for an enlightened society wherein each person is able to reach their own level of spiritual enlightenment and (ya da ya da ya da).
2. There's a problem though. Because if you can make your own judgments, so can I. And every one of my decisions about right and wrong is just as valid as yours. Thus, if I decide I want to crap on your porch, then I can do so, and you have no say in the matter.
"What?" you exclaim. "I have lots to say in the matter! You cannot crap on my porch!" Well, in moral relativism, yes I can. Because all I have to do is believe it is right, and it doesn't matter what you think. Since I cannot tell YOU what is right, you cannot tell ME what is right. And in fact, if I get tired of your nattering about me crapping on your porch, and I feel morally justified, I can simply shoot you, and you have to accept it.
Unless there is some outside, governing set of rules, then moral relativism leads inevitably to anarchy. Reductio.
If you want complete free will to act however you please, then you must give that same free will to others and accept the consequences. You may judge me, but your judgments have no effect on me, and thus are simply mental exercises for you. This is what I meant when I say moral judgments are meaningless in a society based on moral relativism.
That's all I have on this today. Way too much work to do. I'll try to get my other threads started as soon as I can.
Joe
[ September 17, 2003: Message edited by: Joe Pluta ]
 
Damian Ryan
Ranch Hand
Posts: 117
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Joe Pluta:
There's a technique called reductio ad absurdum that states, in simple terms, that if you take an assumption to its logical conclusion and reach a contradiction, you know the assumption was false. This is what I've been attempting to use here, because it's usually the most effective approach in civilized philosophical discourse. It has met with less than resounding success on MD, but I'll try one more time.
1. The primary tenet of moral relativism (especially as professed by the posters here) is that you don't want to be told what is right and wrong (I won't even bother with caps in this case, because that's too far advanced for this simple discussion). This is why you get upset when I say there are things that are absolutely right and wrong, regardless of your opinion. You want to be able to decide on your own.
On it's face, this sounds great! It sounds like a recipe for an enlightened society wherein each person is able to reach their own level of spiritual enlightenment and (ya da ya da ya da).
2. There's a problem though. Because if you can make your own judgments, so can I. And every one of my decisions about right and wrong is just as valid as yours. Thus, if I decide I want to crap on your porch, then I can do so, and you have no say in the matter.
"What?" you exclaim. "I have lots to say in the matter! You cannot crap on my porch!" Well, in moral relativism, yes I can. Because all I have to do is believe it is right, and it doesn't matter what you think. Since I cannot tell YOU what is right, you cannot tell ME what is right. And in fact, if I get tired of your nattering about me crapping on your porch, and I feel morally justified, I can simply shoot you, and you have to accept it.
Unless there is some outside, governing set of rules, then moral relativism leads inevitably to anarchy. Reductio.


Nice straw man you've argued against there.
I can't speak for any of the others that have posted this far in this thread, but your vision of moral relativism is certainly not mine, neither is it, I suspect, theirs.
Briefly, the thing that I personally find distasteful about your moral absolutism is that absolutism, by its very nature brooks no argument, accepts no mitigation, makes no exceptions. I suspect this is at least part of what motivates others to disagree with you.
To make a very shallow, Java-related analogy: you design a set of classes to perform a specific set of functions of a system, using a requirements analysis as your guide. Within your interpretation of the requirements, your classes meet the specification: operations A, B and C are permitted and produce results X, Y and Z, but operations D, E and F are illegal and must be trapped and dealt with accordingly. This very simplistic scenario has a system which defines ABSOLUTE levels of behaviour.
But what if your interpretation of the requirements was not that intended by the client? Or, the client changes his mind and changes or adds new requirements? Or the system is successful but then sold into a different market with different requirements? Your behaviour is no longer appropriate to the requirements, and needs to be changed.
Bear with me. There's a point coming.
Now, back to human beings, their actions, and absolute rights and wrongs. It's all very well to make statements about rape, incest, murder, cannibalism, paedophilia, etc being utterly wrong, but one must have the insight to understand that these value judgements are only valid for a particular society at a particular time.
In the past there was no doubt in people's minds that things were the way they were because God had appointed it so (everyone in their place, and a place for everyone, a divine order, etc) and it simply made no sense in that context to consider the possibility that there were conditions under which some of these actions might not be wrong. People just plain didn't know that there were other societies with different belief systems and ways of doing things. So they had no "frame of reference" to compare.
This even led to some absurd outcomes during the dark ages with animals being tried and executed for "crimes" such as witchcraft, theft, and heresy. It sounds ridiculous now, but it must have made some kind of sense to the people doing it at the time, who absolutely believed there was a right and a wrong, and that animals should jolly well live by these concepts too.
No one has mentioned incest thus far, in the list of absolute evils. I wonder why? Is it because we all acknowledge that this is (although not by any means exclusively) largely a human taboo? I know that several other species don't mate with first degree relatives, but for every one that doesn't, there are probably plenty that do. Does this mean we have to drop this as an absolute evil? Or that we condemn evil species that blithely couple with their brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers? I bring this up only because of the earlier assertion that "rape" is an absolute evil, even when it occurs in primates.
Others have already mentioned other societies with different sets of moral standards (the tribes who ingest their dead relatives to honour them and obtain their "goodness", for example). To these people, the notion of burying their dead relatives would horrify. But because that's THEIR belief, not yours (or mine) we can ignore that, leave it out of the ABSOLUTE EVILS top ten but chalk down cannibalism. (I'm not specifically making the point about cannibalism here - I've seen the posts were Joe seems to agree it's a murder preceding an act of cannibalism that renders it evil. I'm just re-iterating that what goes in one society can be diametrically opposite to what is acceptable in another).
Take murder as a further example. Several extant quasi-stone age tribal peoples still engage in murder, and receive greater social status, not punishment. I'm not going to get into arguments right now about where's my sources (because I'd need time to track them down again if pressed) but I think one of the tribes mentioned is the Yanomamo in South America. In this tribe (or similar ones) males who have murdered others (usually, though not exclusively, from other tribes) have more sexual partners, more material possessions and more respect than males who have never killed.
I am not saying this is right, and, in my frame of reference it's wrong. You just don't go around bumping off other people to get ahead in my neck of the woods, no matter how much you might want to some times . But those are my mores, and they do not coincide with those of these tribal villagers. Does that mean they are absolutely evil? I don't think so. I don't even think that if I were to live with them it would be acceptable for me to murder other tribes' villagers, even if they find it acceptable, because I was brought up in a society where such things were and are not acceptable, and I think it's reasonable for the tribal villager and I to respect each other's differing views (as long as I'm not the one in the firing line, of course!)
The upshot of all this rambling on my part is that I firmly believe that it simply isn't possible to lay out a set of universally agreeable moral absolutes. What's morally right for you now does not define what was, is and always will be morally right for other people in other places at other times. If you can't concede that there is at least some truth in that assertion we have no common ground, and argument is therefore logically impossible.
 
R K Singh
Ranch Hand
Posts: 5390
1
Spring Java
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by herb slocomb:
Is not truth dependent on facts (time, place, matter, state)


Yes, thats what I am also saying. What is true today tomorrow might not be true.
What is Good today tomorrow it might not be Good.
What is Evil today tomorrow it might not be Evil.
If Good and Evil are functions of other factors also then how it could be absolute ??
BTW did you read the link I gave ??
 
He baked a muffin that stole my car! And this tiny ad:
Java file APIs (DOC, XLS, PDF, and many more)
https://products.aspose.com/total/java
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!