Author Topic: The morality of Thanos  (Read 7470 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Online The Latinist

  • Cyber Greasemonkey
  • Technical Administrator
  • Reef Tank Owner
  • *****
  • Posts: 8115
Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #60 on: January 05, 2019, 09:34:58 AM »
You are not merely suggesting that it would be preferable for human beings not to reproduce; you are saying that, given the power, you, individually, would strip that choice from 7 billion other people through forced sterilization.

Yep. But it’s unlikely I’ll ever have that power. Or that I’ll even be around all that much longer. So, on account of my age, I claim the right to engage in curmudgeonly rants from time to time.

Fuck your age, Daniel. You don't get to advocate genocide and pass it off as some sort of adorable character quirk. "Oh, there goes Grandpa calling for the extermination fo the Jews again. Old folks,  am I right?  Can't teach an old dog new tricks."  Fuck that.  You're responsible for the full implications of your words and your ideas, and you have a responsibility not to advocate for evils like forced sterilization and genocide. Your age is no excuse.
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

Online Noisy Rhysling

  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 4997
    • Hyperwar, WWII in Hypertext.
Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #61 on: January 05, 2019, 03:15:26 PM »


All animals, including humans have a strong drive to reproduce.
[/quote]

Well, maybe not pandas......
[/quote]Orangutans. Slow Loris. Pink Pigeons.
"Sunday's horoscope is note worthy because of its strange, sudden and wholly unpredictable and inexplicable occurrences, affecting all phases of life." Your Horoscope" L.A. Evening Herald Express, Sat, 12/06/41

Online daniel1948

  • Happy Man in a Boat
  • Reef Tank Owner
  • *********
  • Posts: 9305
  • I'd rather be paddling
Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #62 on: January 05, 2019, 07:01:46 PM »
You are not merely suggesting that it would be preferable for human beings not to reproduce; you are saying that, given the power, you, individually, would strip that choice from 7 billion other people through forced sterilization.

Yep. But it’s unlikely I’ll ever have that power. Or that I’ll even be around all that much longer. So, on account of my age, I claim the right to engage in curmudgeonly rants from time to time.

Fuck your age, Daniel. You don't get to advocate genocide and pass it off as some sort of adorable character quirk. "Oh, there goes Grandpa calling for the extermination fo the Jews again. Old folks,  am I right?  Can't teach an old dog new tricks."  Fuck that.  You're responsible for the full implications of your words and your ideas, and you have a responsibility not to advocate for evils like forced sterilization and genocide. Your age is no excuse.

I reject the notion that I’m advocating genocide. (But I said I’d not continue this discussion on this thread, so I’ll leave it at that.)
Daniel
----------------
"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think long and hard before starting a war."
-- Otto von Bismarck

Online The Latinist

  • Cyber Greasemonkey
  • Technical Administrator
  • Reef Tank Owner
  • *****
  • Posts: 8115
Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #63 on: January 06, 2019, 07:14:51 PM »
You are not merely suggesting that it would be preferable for human beings not to reproduce; you are saying that, given the power, you, individually, would strip that choice from 7 billion other people through forced sterilization.

Yep. But it’s unlikely I’ll ever have that power. Or that I’ll even be around all that much longer. So, on account of my age, I claim the right to engage in curmudgeonly rants from time to time.

Fuck your age, Daniel. You don't get to advocate genocide and pass it off as some sort of adorable character quirk. "Oh, there goes Grandpa calling for the extermination fo the Jews again. Old folks,  am I right?  Can't teach an old dog new tricks."  Fuck that.  You're responsible for the full implications of your words and your ideas, and you have a responsibility not to advocate for evils like forced sterilization and genocide. Your age is no excuse.

I reject the notion that I’m advocating genocide. (But I said I’d not continue this discussion on this thread, so I’ll leave it at that.)

Well, now that this has been split off into its own thread, by all means explain to us how exterminating the entire human race isn't genocide.
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

Online Harry Black

  • International Man of Mystery
  • Global Moderator
  • Poster of Extraordinary Magnitude
  • *****
  • Posts: 16701
Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #64 on: January 06, 2019, 07:41:23 PM »
By (theoretically) denying the right to reproduce, you would be denying the right of the human race to exist.

Thats genocide and it is no less an abhorrent notion when applied to the entire species as opposed to specific ethnic groups.

To put it in terms you may sympathise with- Cats threaten to exterminate multiple species and kill local wild life at an alarming rate.
Were I to remove the ability of all cats to reproduce, thus wiping them from existence, I doubt you would be terribly amused.

Offline brilligtove

  • Too Much Spare Time
  • ********
  • Posts: 7656
  • Ignorance can be cured. Stupidity, you deal with.
Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #65 on: January 06, 2019, 10:34:01 PM »
Scenario 1: Implement a gene drive to cause the malaria mosquito to become sterile in 3 or fewer generations.
Scenario 2: Implement a gene drive to cause humans to become sterile in 3 or fewer generations.
Scenario N: [Do something] to cause [species] do become sterile in [0 or more] generations.
evidence trumps experience | performance over perfection | responsibility – authority = scapegoat | emotions motivate; data doesn't

Offline 2397

  • Frequent Poster
  • ******
  • Posts: 3026
Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #66 on: January 07, 2019, 01:58:31 AM »
By (theoretically) denying the right to reproduce, you would be denying the right of the human race to exist.

Thats genocide and it is no less an abhorrent notion when applied to the entire species as opposed to specific ethnic groups.

To put it in terms you may sympathise with- Cats threaten to exterminate multiple species and kill local wild life at an alarming rate.
Were I to remove the ability of all cats to reproduce, thus wiping them from existence, I doubt you would be terribly amused.

I like cats, and that's one of the reasons I want as many of them sterilized as possible. Cats are put up for adoption all the time, not just kittens, old cats regularly end up needing new homes for whatever reason. If there weren't so many kittens being born, there would be less competition for the older cats, and in the long term fewer cats who end up needing new homes later in life.

If it became much more difficult to obtain a cat in the first place, maybe the per cat the abandonment rates would also go down, as you lose the people who only have a minor interest in having a cat who would be less likely to keep the cat for life.

In more realistic terms, cats are not either reproducing way too much or not at all. It would take a long time of large scale, dedicated efforts to stop cats from breeding before they're threatened as a species. When you get to that point, you can stop the efforts, and they'll probably be fine. There are more cats in the world (apparently 600 million) than there are members of any wild, non-human borne species of mammal.

Thousands of individuals is enough to sustain a species with very careful breeding, tens of millions should be plenty. Reduce the species by 90%, and it's still perfectly viable.

The same is true for humans, except there's no need to use force. I'd argue that there are far more children being born than people plan for, or that they decided to have after having seriously considering whether they should have (more) children. People have fewer children when they have more choices and opportunities in life, because children just happen, unless you decide differently. Reproduction is the default. Not the desire to reproduce, but the result.

You could go beyond offering people choices, and try to change the culture and the ideas that promote having children, and maybe achieve further reduction. I think it's enough to break the culture of it not being a choice, even in otherwise free societies. Where it's just assumed you'll have kids because that's what people do. Everyone should be encouraged to think about it.

Same as they should with their religious faith. You can have your faith, sure. But also, think about the details, consider that they might not be true.

Offline Tassie Dave

  • Frequent Poster
  • ******
  • Posts: 2452
  • Go Tiges
Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #67 on: January 07, 2019, 02:01:34 AM »
To put it in terms you may sympathise with- Cats threaten to exterminate multiple species and kill local wild life at an alarming rate.
Were I to remove the ability of all cats to reproduce, thus wiping them from existence, I doubt you would be terribly amused.

I'll put up my hand for being ok if all feral cats and cats that are allowed to roam freely (in Australia) were exterminated and I mean with extreme prejudice.

They do enormous damage to local wild life.

and seeing what free roaming dogs do to our penguin rookeries, and to farm animals I'd include them in the cull as well.


Online The Latinist

  • Cyber Greasemonkey
  • Technical Administrator
  • Reef Tank Owner
  • *****
  • Posts: 8115
Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #68 on: January 07, 2019, 09:39:16 AM »
Scenario 1: Implement a gene drive to cause the malaria mosquito to become sterile in 3 or fewer generations.
Scenario 2: Implement a gene drive to cause humans to become sterile in 3 or fewer generations.
Scenario N: [Do something] to cause [species] do become sterile in [0 or more] generations.

Something about Scenario 1 still makes me uncomfortable, as you might have guessed from my having started the thread on whether it would be right to cause the extinction of Anopheles Gambiae. I think ultimately that I come down in favor of it, but there is something genuinely disturbing about the prospect of making such a decision...even about a species whose members, individually, I have no problem killing. To be clear, I would not deliberately torture even a mosquito; but I don't have any problem swatting one. Even for mosquitos, however, I would not support deliberate extinction merely as a nuisance; it is the potential to save perhaps hundreds of millions of human lives that would justify it. Aside from such a pathogen, I am hard pressed to think of any justification for deliberate extinction of a species, especially as one moves up the scale of sentience but even including completely non-sentient plant species. It might be possible to construct some us-or-them hypothetical, of course.

As one moves up the scale of intelligence, one comes to species with some degree of sapience -- the ability to think and reason. This ability is one which I think is valuable in itself and which I think carries new ethical implications. Elsewhere I have in the past posted about a more general scale reflecting my attitudes toward the killing of animals, one which roughly reflects my evaluation of their sentience and sapience. The same is relevant, here.

When it comes to human beings, we are talking about a supremely sentient and sapient species; as far as we know, it is the only species in existence capable of reason. That makes it uniquely valuable and, in my opinion, of the utmost importance to protect. The genocide of the human species is, in my opinion, the single most ethically reprehensible action that a human being can contemplate. If I were ever going to call an act evil, that would be it. Please note that this consideration is generalizable; I would value equally an alien intelligence capable of reason and consider its genocide equally abhorrent.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2019, 09:45:08 AM by The Latinist »
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 Soldier of FORTRAN

  • Poster of Extraordinary Magnitude
  • **********
  • Posts: 10040
  • Cache rules everything around me.
Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #69 on: January 07, 2019, 11:44:40 AM »
In general, I think these conversations should steer toward, "We can curb growth by improving lives."

Based on what I've read, the developed world's below-replacement growth is largely due to:
  • Feminism
  • Healthcare
  • Abandonment of subsistence farming
These removes causes for growth like:
  • Women can't say no
  • People have six kids because they expect half/most to die
  • People have six kids because they need the farm-hands
If you want reduce growth, push feminism and healthcare and access to modern economies.  This is something we should doing regardless. This is something that will be well received almost everywhere.  And this is something which will curb growth with zero moral turpitude.
... in war the screams are loud and harsh and in peace the wail is so drawn-out we tell ourselves we hear nothing.

Offline Captain Video

  • Superhero of the Silver Screen
  • Frequent Poster
  • ******
  • Posts: 3643
Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #70 on: January 07, 2019, 01:33:35 PM »
Responsibly culling a heard of cats is great
Convincing the population to curb growth through education is fantastic.

Pushing the "all humans are now sterile" (or even half) button has evil genius levels of morally wrong. Stuff like that is the whole reason that high powered super hero teams and James Bond exist (in the movies) and its hard to believe that someone would sympathize with that kind of  action.

In Thanos's case doubly so as post infinity war he had the power to do almost anything.

*Snap* every living being now owns a food replicator/healthcare pod that works by feeding it garbage (or any other matter).
*Snap* all planets and gas giants are now capable of sustaining life
*Snap* Here is an atmosphere re-conditioner that works in a month
*Snap* Here is an unlimited power battery the size of a cell phone that can power a car/building/planet forever

or

*Snap* destroy half the population of the universe randomly

Paradise for evil titans and forum curmudgeons  >:D
« Last Edit: January 07, 2019, 01:46:10 PM by Captain Video »
“Don't explain computers to laymen. Simpler to explain sex to a virgin.”
― Robert A. Heinlein, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

Offline brilligtove

  • Too Much Spare Time
  • ********
  • Posts: 7656
  • Ignorance can be cured. Stupidity, you deal with.
Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #71 on: January 07, 2019, 02:39:30 PM »
The lack of imagination and intelligence that Thanos demonstrates frustrates the hell out of me. This limitation is endemic in stories - take the Green Lanterns, for example. That said, actual people also demonstrate these kinds of limitations. We box ourselves in to conceptual frameworks and beliefs (failure of imagination, reason) or are boxed in by limits on how our brains and bodies work (i.e. cognitive biases).

I think for Thanos, non-snapture solutions are unacceptable because he believes the loss he felt is a necessary component of learning to live within our collective means. Anything else would be out of character for him in the same way finding a non-technical solution is out of character for Tony, and a non-sneaky solution is out of character for Natasha.

The Latinist, I tend to agree with you about increasing sapience crossing some threshold where value judgements about the species take on a new character. I wonder if there is another threshold as sapience increases... Hard to imagine what that would look like.
evidence trumps experience | performance over perfection | responsibility – authority = scapegoat | emotions motivate; data doesn't

Offline Paul Blevins Jr.

  • Keeps Priorities Straight
  • ***
  • Posts: 397
Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #72 on: January 07, 2019, 02:40:10 PM »
Keep in mind that Thanos is referred to as the Mad Titan. He's insane. He's not going to come to a rational course of action.

Online daniel1948

  • Happy Man in a Boat
  • Reef Tank Owner
  • *********
  • Posts: 9305
  • I'd rather be paddling
Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #73 on: January 07, 2019, 03:47:57 PM »
Thanos is a fictional character. The first job of any fictional character is to exist in a story that will get people to the box-office/bookstore, whatever. If Thanos was going to make all the worlds capable of supporting an unlimited number of people, and/or opening up new planets for an ever-expanding population, the Avengers would not have opposed him and nobody would pay to see the movie.

A lot of people feel they have the right to reproduce without limit, consume all the world’s resources, and cause the extinction of other species at a rate thousands of times greater than the background extinction rate. Some people believe that technology will solve all problems of resources and allow unlimited growth forever. I do not believe that we have the right to destroy this planet, which is what we are doing just as fast as we possibly can.

I also do not believe that just because we are sentient and sapient, we have the right to run roughshod over the Earth, destroying everything in our path; and as much as I would like to see it, I don’t believe that our political systems will tolerate the sorts of changes we need to make to avoid the collapse of our civilization.

I’m accused above of genocide for advocating an end to human reproduction, even though this is a purely academic discussion because I have neither the ability nor the power do this.

I assert that the way the human race is proceeding today is the genocide of future generations, because we are rapidly making it impossible for such generations to exist. The rogues love to speculate on the technologies that human race will develop over the next 500 or 5,000 years. If we continue on our present course, either the human race will go extinct, or our industrial civilization will collapse, there will be mass starvation, and the survivors will be back in the stone age.

We are committing the genocide of thousands of species and of our own future generations by our behavior.
Daniel
----------------
"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think long and hard before starting a war."
-- Otto von Bismarck

Online The Latinist

  • Cyber Greasemonkey
  • Technical Administrator
  • Reef Tank Owner
  • *****
  • Posts: 8115
Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #74 on: January 07, 2019, 04:14:21 PM »
You did not merely advocate an end to human reproduction.  You said that you would forcibly sterilize the entire human race. Those are not the same thing.  Do you wish now to retract that statement?
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

 

personate-rain