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1  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Andrew Cuomo vs. Hades on: January 27, 2015, 04:13:13 pm
Still, shouldn't leftists despise Hades for being the original plutocrat?

2  General Politics / Book Reviews and Discussion / Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? on: January 20, 2015, 12:11:24 pm


Just finished reading Part One. All the stories were great (except The Approach to Al-Mu'tasim, which didn't seem quite up to the same level as the others), but I think that I liked The Lottery in Babylon the best.
3  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Andrew Cuomo vs. WooHoo on: January 16, 2015, 03:53:01 pm
"Woo Hoo", of course! I love Blur Smiley
4  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: 2015 Academy Awards Discussion on: January 16, 2015, 09:14:37 am
The Lego Movie wasn't nominated for Best Animated Feature - now there's a snub to get upset about.
5  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Where do you rank on the "privilege index"? on: January 14, 2015, 01:56:56 pm
This chart is probably a more accurate gauge:

[/img]
Being a 9+/10 woman is less privileged than being a short, disfigured, man?

[/img]

Eh, the short disfigured man probably has to put up with less unwanted attention.
6  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Moral Views on: January 13, 2015, 11:30:14 am
For me, all moral considerations begin and end by exploring how I would feel if I were the subject of the action whose morality is being evaluated (which becomes easier when you realize that you are the subject of that action, since the ego is an illusion). I'm not sure which of the available voting options comes closest to this answer.

That sounds something like Rawlsian contractualism.

After reading the introduction to John Rawls' Wikipedia page, that does sound like a fairly close approximation of my views - with the distinction that my moral philosophy is an extension of my attempt to overcome egotism in all aspects of life.

Contractualism it is, then.
7  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Moral Views on: January 13, 2015, 11:12:20 am
For me, all moral considerations begin and end by exploring how I would feel if I were the subject of the action whose morality is being evaluated (which becomes easier when you realize that you are the subject of that action, since the ego is an illusion). I'm not sure which of the available voting options comes closest to this answer.
8  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Where do you rank on the "privilege index"? on: January 12, 2015, 02:24:56 pm
How tall is "Manly Tears" exactly?

Probably around 5'6'' and below.
9  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Where do you rank on the "privilege index"? on: January 12, 2015, 12:46:34 pm
The chart isn't without its flaws (nothing from 4chan is), but I think that the overall assessment is generally accurate.
10  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Where do you rank on the "privilege index"? on: January 12, 2015, 12:13:55 pm
This chart is probably a more accurate gauge:

11  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of the British Empire on: January 03, 2015, 03:54:25 pm
Isn't "Freedom Empire" an oxymoron?
12  General Politics / Book Reviews and Discussion / Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? on: December 30, 2014, 12:07:26 pm
I recently picked up a translation of P. Boissonnade's Life and Work in Medieval Europe from a Salvation Army store (it seemed interesting enough to invest $.65 in). Has anyone here read it?
13  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Ancient water in the Earth's crust estimated at 2.5 million cubic miles. on: December 20, 2014, 10:53:34 am
How long until creationists start arguing that Genesis' "fountains of the deep" referred to this underground reservoir, and that its discovery proves the historicity of Noah's Flood?
14  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Please help me understand non-religious metaethics. on: December 17, 2014, 11:45:03 am
Then why is it that I have friends? Why is it that I have a husband? Why is it that these people come from outside my family and my social groups if as you say, it’s in my interest to dehumanise them? After all, they were once people I did not know and had no reason to trust when I initially encountered them. If what you say is true, we wouldn’t go out our way to fraternise with anyone…

Your husband, the people who are now your friends - you had an impulse to bring them into your life, you acted on that impulse, and now they're all a part of your immediate social circle. But not everyone will have the same impulse that you did; some will even feel the impulse to act cruelly towards the people that you know and love. Since you've rejected any objective ground for morality, it would be up to you to argue that it isn't in the prospective offender's self-interest to commit whatever cruelty. When you're incapable of dissuading them, however... that's when problems arise.

I don't follow your logic at all or why you're contrasting Christians with "individualist/rationalist" Ayn Rand types.  I never said self-interest is the sole human motivating force and it evidently is not.

You're right, it isn't. But for some, self-interest is a more important factor in their calculus than feelings of empathy or compassion. That's why the only way that someone with your worldview can convince those people to do the "right thing" is by arguing that doing the "right thing" is in their material self-interest. Which isn't always easy.

Quote
And, indeed, religious people are no kinder than non-religious people, so I'm just at a loss here. 

You get this impression because many religious people adhere to a shallow version of their faith, where they're religious only when they feel that being so serves them materially; at the same time, secularists by and large adhere to religious systems of morality, except that they discard the parts that inconvenience them.
15  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Please help me understand non-religious metaethics. on: December 17, 2014, 10:33:23 am
I don't really understand why it's necessarily in a primitive human's interest to dehumanize anyone outside their immediate family and social group. 

It isn't just in a primitive human's interest; it can be in our interest, too.

Let's say that you're a goat herder living in the Negev. A stranger happens to be sojourning in your land, and he asks you for a meal and a place to sleep. You're under no obligation to grant these to him, and since you're unlikely to ever see him again, the discomfort that feeding and boarding him would create outweighs the discomfort that you'll experience while turning him away. Since you don't believe that there's an objectively right way to treat one's fellows, you do turn him away, and you don't feel bad about it, either.

Incidentally, your Bible-believing neighbor happily provides the stranger with what he asks for.

A more modern example would be the homeless man begging for alms. Most of us would move past him with a guilty conscience if we didn't at least give him a token donation, but to the totally rational individualist, recognizing that he derives no material benefit from the exchange renders such feelings of guilt a foreign concept. How would you convince this person that he ought to feel otherwise?
16  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Please help me understand non-religious metaethics. on: December 17, 2014, 09:45:18 am
The basis for ethics is facts and circumstances of being human, as established by the laws of physics and biology.  We have a limited life-span, we experience pain, we have emotions, we share basic characteristics with other humans.  Those are just the circumstances of being human as they happen to be.  They inevitably lead to a set of ethical precepts which all humans seem to agree to.

To be honest, this comes across as a shallow justification for your preconceived moral beliefs; in effect, what you're doing is appealing to human tradition and to "science" as the basis for your morality. But what if I made a conscious decision to break with human tradition and with my biology, and commit an act that, according to you, those things should lead me to believe is objectively immoral? What would you say to convince me that this is the improper course of action?

It's hard to say if you're not specifically saying what action you're taking. 

And, I think you're misinterpreting me.  I don't think science creates an ethical framework.  I think the basic facts surrounding our human existence inform our basic ethical intuitions and give them content.  It's not so much "science" as the material facts of our human community and relationships. 

I'm certainly not going to argue that our experiences don't inform our conception of right and wrong; what I disagree with is the assertion that our experiences will necessarily lead everyone, everywhere to conclude that a common handful of things are immoral. For example: a hunter-gatherer has a self-interest in cultivating a sense of empathy and compassion towards fellow members of his tribe. However, he also has an interest in denying those same virtues to members of an alien tribe. How would you go about convincing this individual to value the lives of his competitors to the same degree that he values the lives of his neighbors and his kin?

How is that different from our view of ethics today?   We still care more about our family and friends and have no absolute rule against conflict with other groups.

What I'm getting at is more than just caring more for members of your own social group than for members of a foreign one. I'm saying that our hypothetical hunter-gatherer has no reason to extend any degree of compassion or humanity to members of a rival tribe - indeed, it's in his interest to dehumanize them, as that makes it easier for him to kill them should he feel that it's in his interest to do so. Are you saying that you find nothing objectionable in this line of thinking?
17  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Please help me understand non-religious metaethics. on: December 17, 2014, 08:21:09 am
The basis for ethics is facts and circumstances of being human, as established by the laws of physics and biology.  We have a limited life-span, we experience pain, we have emotions, we share basic characteristics with other humans.  Those are just the circumstances of being human as they happen to be.  They inevitably lead to a set of ethical precepts which all humans seem to agree to.

To be honest, this comes across as a shallow justification for your preconceived moral beliefs; in effect, what you're doing is appealing to human tradition and to "science" as the basis for your morality. But what if I made a conscious decision to break with human tradition and with my biology, and commit an act that, according to you, those things should lead me to believe is objectively immoral? What would you say to convince me that this is the improper course of action?

It's hard to say if you're not specifically saying what action you're taking. 

And, I think you're misinterpreting me.  I don't think science creates an ethical framework.  I think the basic facts surrounding our human existence inform our basic ethical intuitions and give them content.  It's not so much "science" as the material facts of our human community and relationships. 

I'm certainly not going to argue that our experiences don't inform our conception of right and wrong; what I disagree with is the assertion that our experiences will necessarily lead everyone, everywhere to conclude that a common handful of things are immoral. For example: a hunter-gatherer has a self-interest in cultivating a sense of empathy and compassion towards fellow members of his tribe. However, he also has an interest in denying those same virtues to members of an alien tribe. How would you go about convincing this individual to value the lives of his competitors to the same degree that he values the lives of his neighbors and his kin?
18  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Please help me understand non-religious metaethics. on: December 16, 2014, 09:32:51 pm
The basis for ethics is facts and circumstances of being human, as established by the laws of physics and biology.  We have a limited life-span, we experience pain, we have emotions, we share basic characteristics with other humans.  Those are just the circumstances of being human as they happen to be.  They inevitably lead to a set of ethical precepts which all humans seem to agree to.

To be honest, this comes across as a shallow justification for your preconceived moral beliefs; in effect, what you're doing is appealing to human tradition and to "science" as the basis for your morality. But what if I made a conscious decision to break with human tradition and with my biology, and commit an act that, according to you, those things should lead me to believe is objectively immoral? What would you say to convince me that this is the improper course of action?
19  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: 100 children killed in a school attack in Pakistan on: December 16, 2014, 06:58:50 pm
Attack appears to be over, at least 135 people dead. These jihadists are only technically human.

I never understand why people try to attack horrible people by implying that they "aren't human."

Because it implies that humanity is synonymous with a certain standard of behavior. A standard which, I hope that we can all agree, the perpetrators of this atrocity have consciously decided to fall far short of.
20  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: What is your favorite fish to eat? on: December 08, 2014, 09:42:33 am
If I were to become a full-fledged vegetarian, the only meat that I would be challenged to not make an exception for is fried catfish.
21  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: The Oxford School of Absurdity, Ignorance, and Bad Posts IV on: December 03, 2014, 11:27:41 am
All you're doing is digging desperately for a story in which religious people in America are somehow the victims because that, in turn, makes you feel noble for exposing some trifling little concern. It isn't as if the novels are accusing them of poisoning wells. In a country where people are suffering under the weight of unemployment, cancer, and all the rest of the humanity's plagues, you're sounding the alarm because the details of Amish people's theology and worship style are not accurately presented in romance novels? By all means, cry wolf on that account.

I rarely feel inclined to post in this thread, so I feel obligated to justify my entry: For me, in order to warrant admission into the Oxford School of Absurdity, Ignorance, and Bad Posts, a post must not only be absurd, ignorant, or bad, but absurd, ignorant, or bad in an entirely novel or unanticipated way. It must be so absurd, ignorant, or bad, that I can't even fathom the kind of reasoning that went into the making of it. The post must literally take me aback.

That's the kind of post that this is.

Seriously, I have no idea where this even came from.
22  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of "New Atheism" on: December 02, 2014, 06:23:18 pm
There's certainly nothing wrong with criticizing a practice or belief that happens to be held by members of a particular religion. Where "New Atheists" go wrong is that they often assume that that practice or belief is essential to the religion in question and then attempt no deeper understanding of the issue.
23  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of "New Atheism" on: December 02, 2014, 05:51:24 pm
In my experience, the fatal flaw of the "New Atheists" isn't that they criticize religion, but that they criticize something that they don't fully understand.

To be fair, 'New Atheists' make their money because uppity Christian churches/colleges constantly invite them to debate brain dead Christian fundies because no one else will. Watching William Lane Craig and Dinesh D'Souza get their ass handed to them on a plate each and every time is easy money. If 'New Atheists' don't understand religion, neither do these people.

You certainly won't hear me object to that assertion.
24  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of "New Atheism" on: December 02, 2014, 05:38:46 pm
In my experience, the fatal flaw of the "New Atheists" isn't that they criticize religion, but that they criticize something that they don't fully understand.
25  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Advent on: December 01, 2014, 10:21:33 am
2.) commercialized

A lot of the joy of Christmas comes from the expectation and exchange of gifts. What's wrong with that? Would you rather Christmas reverted to the solemn religious day it was in Medieval times? Personally, I think it's much better as a secular commercial holiday celebrating love, family, and plenty.

I for one wouldn't mind Christmas gift-giving if what it amounted to was, "Hey! I couldn't help but notice that you've been eyeing this gift all year long, so I decided to show my love by buying it for you!", or, "Here you go! I saw this gift and immediately knew that it was something that you'd enjoy". Instead, it's more along the lines of, "Well, it looks like we've once again reached that time of year when people are obligated to shower one another with material goods. Here's $100 worth of items that someone of your demographic might plausibly find enjoyment in".

That just feels so empty to me.
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