Author Topic: The morality of Thanos  (Read 5629 times)

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Offline CarbShark

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Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #120 on: February 08, 2019, 02:39:00 PM »
I think the reason I’m having such a hard time relating to or responding to your concern is that I don’t see preventing insemination as modifying a person’s body.

How did I miss this?  And...wait...what the fuck?  What are you talking about insemination for?  You said you were going to sterilize people.  Now you're changing to...what, magically preventing them from having sex?

No, just magically preventing sperms from inseminating eggs. I never said (or at least never intended to say) that I would sterilize people. Since this whole scheme relies on my having magical powers, I would simply prevent the sperms from inseminating the eggs.


Sounds more and more like a religious doctrine with every post.
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Offline brilligtove

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Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #121 on: February 08, 2019, 09:32:16 PM »
I think the reason I’m having such a hard time relating to or responding to your concern is that I don’t see preventing insemination as modifying a person’s body.

How did I miss this?  And...wait...what the fuck?  What are you talking about insemination for?  You said you were going to sterilize people.  Now you're changing to...what, magically preventing them from having sex?

No, just magically preventing sperms from inseminating eggs. I never said (or at least never intended to say) that I would sterilize people. Since this whole scheme relies on my having magical powers, I would simply prevent the sperms from inseminating the eggs.

Afterthought: Maybe I did talk about sterilizing people. I don’t remember. But as a result of this discussion, I’ve modified my position to the above.

By definition making it impossible for fertilization to occur is sterilization. The method is irrelevant - strapping everyone down and injecting goo in their various orifices, blasts of radiation to the procreative bits, magic, whatever - because functionally it's all still forced sterilization.

Canada has some quite shameful eugenic history with that practice.
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Offline 2397

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Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #122 on: February 08, 2019, 10:35:57 PM »
To be fair, it wouldn't be eugenics if it affected everyone.

I agree that the means are irrelevant, the results are what matter. If you can cast a spell or create a plague that perfectly targets only gametes, and stops all reproduction, either way you're taking choice away from people. Even with 13% of people being affected by side-effects of varying severity, it's losing the ability to reproduce that's going to piss people off the most.

It's probably the second least bad way to exterminate the human species, after the same happening because everyone chose not to reproduce, but I don't see what else there is to care about if we decide it's not important for humans to go on. I like mammals, I'd like for there to be far fewer humans to help stop the destruction of habitats, but the main issue with there being so many humans is how it damages the environment and access to resources for humans in the future. If there aren't going to be any humans, well, it's too late anyway, for humans not to have permanently altered the global ecosystem. A smaller number of us could manage the environment better. With no humans, it would all be left to be reclaimed via natural selection, and the ~50% of the world's land that's no longer occupied by us will be very different from what it used to be. The oceans will grow back differently, too, after various species have already gone extinct or been pushed to their limits, or spread around the world via ballast water.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2019, 10:41:16 PM by 2397 »

Offline daniel1948

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Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #123 on: February 09, 2019, 01:19:20 AM »
We take lots of choices away from people. We don’t let them use certain drugs, or engage in certain activities, or run businesses in certain neighborhoods, or operate certain businesses entirely. We don’t let them beat their children beyond certain limits. In a lot of places we don’t let them terminate a pregnancy.

I would take away the choice to continue infecting the world with more of ourselves. This is not hate or self-loathing. This is just a recognition that we are destroying the world. We are going to wipe ourselves out, probably in a way that will cause unfathomable suffering. I would just turn off the baby tap so that we fade away peacefully rather than in a nightmare of human-caused suffering.
Daniel
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-- Otto von Bismarck

Offline CarbShark

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Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #124 on: February 09, 2019, 01:25:38 AM »
How about “The Screwfly Solution”?


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Offline Captain Video

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Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #125 on: February 09, 2019, 09:44:41 AM »
We take lots of choices away from people. We don’t let them use certain drugs, or engage in certain activities, or run businesses in certain neighborhoods, or operate certain businesses entirely. We don’t let them beat their children beyond certain limits. In a lot of places we don’t let them terminate a pregnancy.

I would take away the choice to continue infecting the world with more of ourselves. This is not hate or self-loathing. This is just a recognition that we are destroying the world. We are going to wipe ourselves out, probably in a way that will cause unfathomable suffering. I would just turn off the baby tap so that we fade away peacefully rather than in a nightmare of human-caused suffering.

You are in denial if you don't think that is hate or self-loathing. Its both.
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #126 on: February 09, 2019, 10:09:36 AM »
We take lots of choices away from people. We don’t let them use certain drugs, or engage in certain activities, or run businesses in certain neighborhoods, or operate certain businesses entirely. We don’t let them beat their children beyond certain limits. In a lot of places we don’t let them terminate a pregnancy.

I would take away the choice to continue infecting the world with more of ourselves. This is not hate or self-loathing. This is just a recognition that we are destroying the world. We are going to wipe ourselves out, probably in a way that will cause unfathomable suffering. I would just turn off the baby tap so that we fade away peacefully rather than in a nightmare of human-caused suffering.

You are in denial if you don't think that is hate or self-loathing. Its both.

I understand that it’s difficult to see the difference, but recognizing the harm we are causing, and the inevitable catastrophe we are headed for, is not hate or self-loathing at all. It is simply a realistic look at our behavior and its consequences. Most people are blinded by their drive to reproduce, so they fail to see where that is headed.

I do not feel the need to have kids, and this may be in one sense a defect, since up until a few thousand years ago the survival of the tribe depended on everyone producing as many kids as possible. But my defect allows me to see more clearly the hell into which we are condemning future generations. Our success as a species will be our own downfall. We cannot continue to multiply forever. Our choices are to stop reproducing (which will not happen; my fantasy of ending reproduction is just that: a fantasy, and I’m really a bit surprised that so many people are so angry over a fantasy) or else we will cause the most massive and horrific suffering the world has ever seen when our ability to operate our industry collapses into chaos, riots, and war as climate change, resource depletion, and overpopulation compete with each other to see which can destroy us first.

Just as anaerobic bacteria were so successful that they poisoned their own environment and were nearly wiped out, surviving now only in anaerobic niches, so we are poisoning our environment even as we squander the resources that future generations would need for survival and irreparably altering the climate from one ideally suited to our survival into one in which survival will be immensely more difficult.
Daniel
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Online The Latinist

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Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #127 on: February 09, 2019, 04:12:17 PM »
I think the reason I’m having such a hard time relating to or responding to your concern is that I don’t see preventing insemination as modifying a person’s body.

How did I miss this?  And...wait...what the fuck?  What are you talking about insemination for?  You said you were going to sterilize people.  Now you're changing to...what, magically preventing them from having sex?

No, just magically preventing sperms from inseminating eggs. I never said (or at least never intended to say) that I would sterilize people. Since this whole scheme relies on my having magical powers, I would simply prevent the sperms from inseminating the eggs.

Afterthought: Maybe I did talk about sterilizing people. I don’t remember. But as a result of this discussion, I’ve modified my position to the above.

First of all, Daniel, you apparently do not know what insemination is. I believe you mean fertilization.

Second, you most certainly did say that you would sterilize all of humanity. But I will accept that you have now changed your position.

Thirdly, you have still not answered my questions in which asked you to imagine and examine your own feelings if an ability you value were stolen from you.  I ask you again to answer them:

You want me to say I’d be unhappy if someone took away my hearing. Fine. Yes, I would be very unhappy.

I'm asking you to do more than that.  I'm asking you to consider whether you would not feel that someone using magic to modify your body against your will was an act of violence. And would you feel significantly less violated because your hearing was taken through magic rather than painless surgery?

And, since you have now modified your position, please consider whether you would really find it significantly less invasive and significantly less of a violation to have your hearing stolen by ongoing magical interference with the natural function of the neurons in your auditory cortex than by painless surgery.  While we're at it, what if someone used magic to modify your thinking such that you would consider the eating of animals perfectly moral?  Would you not feel that a violation? Would it really make any difference to those feelings whether it had been done by physical or magical means?
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline daniel1948

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Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #128 on: February 09, 2019, 06:36:04 PM »
I stand corrected on my incorrect use of “insemination” when what I meant was fertilization.

Yes, I would feel violated and angry if someone took away my hearing. If someone magically altered my brain function so that I regarded the eating of animals to be morally acceptable, by that very act, I probably would not be upset because by the terms of the hypothetical, I would then feel that I had been wrong all this time. If in addition to altering my moral compass they also altered my food preferences so that I liked the taste of it, I might even be grateful to them. If they didn’t alter my food preferences I still wouldn’t eat meat because I find the smell of it revolting.

So, let’s take someing I really value: My ability to think clearly. I experienced the loss of this briefly when I had my T.I.A. and it was terrifying. I would feel extremely violated and upset if someone took this away from me. However, if I was about to create a supervillain machine that would bring about the collapse of civilization, kill most of the world’s population amid horrible suffering, and leave the few survivors in a stone-age economy, then I hope that someone would deprive me of the ability to do that, no matter how violated I would feel about having my intentions thwarted. Indeed, even if my creation of this machine were unintended but were the inevitable result of my actions, I hope someone would make me unable to do so.

The human race is bringing about the collapse of the environment through overpopulation, uncontrolled burning of hydrocarbons, pollution, depletion of resources including slow-recovering aquifers, etc. The inevitable result will be a collapse of such horrific proportions that the survivors will wish someone had stopped their baby-making ability.

It’s all an exercise in fantasy, however, as I have no magical abilities or political power and Thanos’s glove and stones of power don’t exist. And if they did, I would not have the strength of character to sacrifice the one I loved to achieve what I believed was the salvation of the world. Hell, I wouldn’t even be able to kill someone I didn’t like.
Daniel
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Offline 2397

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Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #129 on: February 11, 2019, 06:32:31 PM »
It's fantasy and hypothetical, but that doesn't mean we have to settle for something that's merely better than the crappy things we already do.

If we can end the human species, then we can change the human species such that it won't have an unsustainable impact anymore. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. We can have fewer humans, rather than zero humans. Instead of taking choice away, we can give people more choice, because it turns out education and empowerment leads to people having fewer children.

Or if we are doing involuntary mass sterilization, what if we targeted the farm animals instead? 5 billion cows, pigs, sheep, and goats, 50 billion chickens, down to 0 in a generation. They're going to die or dramatically alter their regional environments anyway, once humans disappear, so might as well disappear them first.

We could ban international tourism. That's taking choice away, but it's not a personal choice and body autonomy matter on the level that having children is. And there are approximate alternatives for how to spend your free time, besides traveling great distances to walk and sleep somewhere else. Or we could allow people one trip every 5 years, instead of multiple trips every year. Make it a long trip. Spend the entire year in another country, if possible. A work exchange program akin to student exchange.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2019, 06:38:41 PM by 2397 »

Offline daniel1948

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Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #130 on: February 11, 2019, 06:43:43 PM »
It's fantasy and hypothetical, but that doesn't mean we have to settle for something that's merely better than the crappy things we already do.

If we can end the human species, then we can change the human species such that it won't have an unsustainable impact anymore. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. We can have fewer humans, rather than zero humans. Instead of taking choice away, we can give people more choice, because it turns out education and empowerment leads to people having fewer children.

Or if we are doing involuntary mass sterilization, what if we targeted the farm animals instead? 5 billion cows, pigs, sheep, and goats, 50 billion chickens, down to 0 in a generation. They're going to die or dramatically alter their regional environments anyway, once humans disappear, so might as well disappear them first.

We could ban international tourism. That's taking choice away, but it's not a personal choice and body autonomy matter on the level that having children is. And there are approximate alternatives for how to spend your free time, besides traveling great distances to walk and sleep somewhere else. Or we could allow people one trip every 5 years, instead of multiple trips every year. Making it a long trip. Spend the entire year in another country, if possible. A work exchange program akin to student exchange.

None of those things would have resulted in a movie that anybody would pay to see. And I fear that if I’d said I’d magically alter people’s personality so that everyone would be nice to each other and share everything and adopt a small-footprint lifestyle, I’d have been just as excoriated for wanting to alter people as I was for wanting to end the making of babies.

But I have learned that yet another of the things I’d do if I could is wildly unpopular.
Daniel
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