Author Topic: The morality of Thanos  (Read 7472 times)

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Online daniel1948

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Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #90 on: January 11, 2019, 10:58:37 AM »

You are saying that you would use your personal power to impose your will upon 7 billion people and strip their bodies of their natural functions and them of their personal choice. I can think of few things more forceful, coercive or violent than that.

Indeed, we appear to have different view of the value of intelligent life, but I do not think that is the fundamental difference between our positions. It seems from what you have said that you would not murder the entirety of humanity despite your misanthropy, a fact in keeping with what I believe are your previous positions on non-violence. I therefore think that the difference between us is better characterized as a disagreement about what constitutes force and violence.

Can you contemplate how you would feel if magically deprived of an ability you do value? Let's say you were stripped of the ability to speak or hear? Would you feel less violated because your vocal cords and auditory ossicles were removed magically rather than surgically?

I have edited the above down to what I think are the questions you asked me to answer.

I do not view the “ability” to reproduce as the same category of thing as the “ability” to speak or hear. Plenty of people cannot reproduce for a variety of reasons. This does not in any way affect one’s ability to function in society. The desire to have a baby is a lot like the desire to have an expensive car. And I do not regard the “right” to have a baby as any different than the “right” to own and drive an expensive car. I understand that I am alone, or nearly alone on this thread in this opinion.

Regarding the “value of intelligent life,” the animals people commonly eat possess intelligence. Humans score higher than pigs on intelligence tests (though the last presidential election throws some doubt on that) but pigs have intelligence. As do cows and even chickens, though I have almost as low an opinion of the intelligence of chickens as I have of the people who voted to put a baboon in the White House or who rely on acupuncture or homeopathy for what ails them. Humans are the only species on Earth smart enough to invent nuclear weapons, and the only species stupid enough to use them. I do not value human life higher than pig life. I see my wish to halt human reproduction as a lower level offense, if it is an offense at all, than the actual killing of billions or hundreds of billions of intelligent non-human animals for (unhealthy, environmentally destructive) food.

I don’t know if I answered all your questions. Please repeat any I missed.

To summarize: No, I would not kill anyone. Yes, I would halt human reproduction if I had the power to do so magically, which I don’t, provided it did no other harm. And no, I do not regard this as an act of violence. Note that I would not force people to undergo surgical sterilization as that carries some risks of damage and going under the knife is scary. I’d only do it if I could do it magically without physical harm and unbeknownst to the individual. And I do not think that there is anything special about human intelligence. The belief of many people that we are the most special animal is akin to the opinion of many Americans that ours is the most special country: Understandable but ill-conceived self-aggrandizement.

Daniel
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Offline Tassie Dave

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Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #91 on: January 11, 2019, 03:27:54 PM »
I do not value human life higher than pig life.

I find that very hard to believe.  ???

If you were at a beach and a child and a piglet were both drowning, are you seriously saying that it would be a split decision on which one you would try and save first.
Of course the only decision is save the child, and IF it is safe to do so then save the piglet.

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Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #92 on: January 11, 2019, 04:07:46 PM »

You are saying that you would use your personal power to impose your will upon 7 billion people and strip their bodies of their natural functions and them of their personal choice. I can think of few things more forceful, coercive or violent than that.

Indeed, we appear to have different view of the value of intelligent life, but I do not think that is the fundamental difference between our positions. It seems from what you have said that you would not murder the entirety of humanity despite your misanthropy, a fact in keeping with what I believe are your previous positions on non-violence. I therefore think that the difference between us is better characterized as a disagreement about what constitutes force and violence.

Can you contemplate how you would feel if magically deprived of an ability you do value? Let's say you were stripped of the ability to speak or hear? Would you feel less violated because your vocal cords and auditory ossicles were removed magically rather than surgically?

I have edited the above down to what I think are the questions you asked me to answer.

I do not view the “ability” to reproduce as the same category of thing as the “ability” to speak or hear. Plenty of people cannot reproduce for a variety of reasons. This does not in any way affect one’s ability to function in society. The desire to have a baby is a lot like the desire to have an expensive car. And I do not regard the “right” to have a baby as any different than the “right” to own and drive an expensive car. I understand that I am alone, or nearly alone on this thread in this opinion.

Regarding the “value of intelligent life,” the animals people commonly eat possess intelligence. Humans score higher than pigs on intelligence tests (though the last presidential election throws some doubt on that) but pigs have intelligence. As do cows and even chickens, though I have almost as low an opinion of the intelligence of chickens as I have of the people who voted to put a baboon in the White House or who rely on acupuncture or homeopathy for what ails them. Humans are the only species on Earth smart enough to invent nuclear weapons, and the only species stupid enough to use them. I do not value human life higher than pig life. I see my wish to halt human reproduction as a lower level offense, if it is an offense at all, than the actual killing of billions or hundreds of billions of intelligent non-human animals for (unhealthy, environmentally destructive) food.

I don’t know if I answered all your questions. Please repeat any I missed.

To summarize: No, I would not kill anyone. Yes, I would halt human reproduction if I had the power to do so magically, which I don’t, provided it did no other harm. And no, I do not regard this as an act of violence. Note that I would not force people to undergo surgical sterilization as that carries some risks of damage and going under the knife is scary. I’d only do it if I could do it magically without physical harm and unbeknownst to the individual. And I do not think that there is anything special about human intelligence. The belief of many people that we are the most special animal is akin to the opinion of many Americans that ours is the most special country: Understandable but ill-conceived self-aggrandizement.




So if I put a button on front of you that painlessly and safely removes humans ability to reproduce you think you would push it? Then you are an evil fuck who has no value to this forum or anyone.

I don't think you are an evil fuck, based on our conversations in the past, I think you are a decent person with some odd quirks and that is why I have been giving you so much shit about this.

I don't think you would be capable of pushing the button, I think you mite be trying to convince yourself you would to stand up for animals and make a point but the human in you is stronger than you think.  Only a very sick individual would be capable of pulling a trigger like that.
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Online daniel1948

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Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #93 on: January 11, 2019, 06:07:26 PM »
I do not value human life higher than pig life.

I find that very hard to believe.  ???

If you were at a beach and a child and a piglet were both drowning, are you seriously saying that it would be a split decision on which one you would try and save first.
Of course the only decision is save the child, and IF it is safe to do so then save the piglet.

The chances that I’ll be present, and closest, when a child and a pig are both drowning, and both near enough for me to intervene, are as near zero as makes no difference. So I won’t bother myself trying to decide.

I will say that I find pigs, and some people, thoroughly disgusting. But I do not allow my disgust to tempt me into making value judgements based on that disgust, because I recognize that my reaction of disgust is a personal feeling that should not be allowed to affect moral questions. If any living thing can be said to have a “right” to life, then all living things have that right equally. It is the height of hubris to pronounce oneself, or one’s species or race, as more deserving of life than any other.
Daniel
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Online daniel1948

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Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #94 on: January 11, 2019, 06:20:30 PM »
... I don't think you are an evil fuck, based on our conversations in the past, I think you are a decent person ...

See, this is where you’re wrong. Of course I’m an evil fuck. I have enough money to live on Maui, while there are children starving in the world, and I don’t give all my money to charity. I’m not sure how much more evil I could be. Of course I give money to charity. Just not nearly enough to truly absolve myself of the charge of evil fuckery.

But I don’t believe that allowing the human race to fade away naturally by failing to reproduce is evil. To convince me otherwise you’d have to convince me that humans have some intrinsic moral value above that of other living things, and convincing me of that will not be easy, and probably not worth your while, considering that I have no power to act on my opinion.
Daniel
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Offline Tassie Dave

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Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #95 on: January 11, 2019, 06:43:41 PM »
I do not value human life higher than pig life.

I find that very hard to believe.  ???

If you were at a beach and a child and a piglet were both drowning, are you seriously saying that it would be a split decision on which one you would try and save first.
Of course the only decision is save the child, and IF it is safe to do so then save the piglet.

The chances that I’ll be present, and closest, when a child and a pig are both drowning, and both near enough for me to intervene, are as near zero as makes no difference. So I won’t bother myself trying to decide.

I will say that I find pigs, and some people, thoroughly disgusting. But I do not allow my disgust to tempt me into making value judgements based on that disgust, because I recognize that my reaction of disgust is a personal feeling that should not be allowed to affect moral questions. If any living thing can be said to have a “right” to life, then all living things have that right equally. It is the height of hubris to pronounce oneself, or one’s species or race, as more deserving of life than any other.

You don't have to be physically in the situation to know what you'd do. For the vast majority of people there is no choice and they be appalled if it was even debatable.

As a member of the human species there is an expectation that human life is valued higher than other life. Survival of the species is inbuilt in all life.
I'd expect pigs to think more of other pigs than other life.

I get people loving animals and thinking of their pet as a member of the family, but I'd be appalled if someone chose saving their cherished pet over the life of another human (even a stranger)

Offline 2397

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Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #96 on: January 11, 2019, 06:57:17 PM »
I have thought that it would be better for humans if they were sterile by default, until they decided not to be. So if I could magic a reproductive change, I'd do that.

But I don't see actually accomplishing it without forcing medicine and treatment on people, and I would go with making sure that as many people as possible can choose to opt out of reproduction.

I personally don't see the ability to reproduce as important. When it's stated that something causes infertility, I want to know what the most serious consequence is besides that, because I could become unknowingly infertile and be completely unaffected. Even on behalf of strangers, I would wonder if that really is the most severe thing that could happen to them. There are ways to have children other than making them yourself. As you say, Daniel, there are other biological functions that are far more important.

But I would say that it's on a per person basis. The inability of a person or a couple to reproduce can be made up for by others.

Or maybe in the future, by artificial wombs and fully external pregnancies. I would bet on that happening before humanity is threatened by extinction. And if we as a society decide that we have to have children, but not enough people want to take it upon themselves, then we could decide to have public programs creating children (also raising them if they're not adopted). I'm not sure if I would vote for someone who would implement that, but I prefer the idea to how governments today talk about how people need to have more children, altering the entire rest of their lives to serve others.

Of course you could go quite dystopic with the human factories, including creating a subspecies of orphan humans to do all the worst tasks. I'd rather they be mindless robots, and for there to be much fewer humans (in total) who could (all) live much better lives than several billion of the people alive today do. Not being born isn't harming anyone, but I don't see a problem with humanity existing, only the scale.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2019, 07:34:07 PM by 2397 »

Offline 2397

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Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #97 on: January 11, 2019, 07:11:59 PM »
I get people loving animals and thinking of their pet as a member of the family, but I'd be appalled if someone chose saving their cherished pet over the life of another human (even a stranger)

I've stopped in traffic (off to the side) to protect strange dogs from humans, and I don't even really like dogs. I would probably do the same for humans, certainly children, but it was careless human owners who caused the problems to begin with. If there was a human who put themselves in a dangerous situation vs. another animal that was put in a dangerous situation by a human, I can see being more sympathetic towards the animal.

If a stranger put my pets in a dangerous situation, say they kidnapped them and got stuck in a burning building (let's add that they started the fire somehow), it would be an easy choice to rescue my pets first.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2019, 07:23:12 PM by 2397 »

Offline Tassie Dave

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Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #98 on: January 11, 2019, 07:31:16 PM »
I get people loving animals and thinking of their pet as a member of the family, but I'd be appalled if someone chose saving their cherished pet over the life of another human (even a stranger)

I've stopped in traffic (off to the side) to protect strange dogs from humans, and I don't even really like dogs. I would probably do the same for humans, certainly children, but it was careless human owners who caused the problems to begin with. If there was a human who put themselves in a dangerous situation vs. another animal that was put in a dangerous situation by a human, I can see being more sympathetic towards the animal.

If a stranger put my pets in a dangerous situation, say they kidnapped them and got stuck in a burning building, it would be an easy choice to rescue my pets first.

I'm not against helping animals. I often stop and get wildlife off our roads. Echidnas have the unfortunate survival skill of rolling into a ball when the perceive danger. Not a great idea on a highway.  ???

There are always outlier situations where an animal would come before a human. i.e. Poachers who hunt endangered (or threatened) wildlife.

But in most situations, human life would be rated higher than any animals in a life or death situation.

Offline Captain Video

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Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #99 on: January 12, 2019, 12:13:13 AM »
... I don't think you are an evil fuck, based on our conversations in the past, I think you are a decent person ...

See, this is where you’re wrong. Of course I’m an evil fuck. I have enough money to live on Maui, while there are children starving in the world, and I don’t give all my money to charity. I’m not sure how much more evil I could be. Of course I give money to charity. Just not nearly enough to truly absolve myself of the charge of evil fuckery.

But I don’t believe that allowing the human race to fade away naturally by failing to reproduce is evil. To convince me otherwise you’d have to convince me that humans have some intrinsic moral value above that of other living things, and convincing me of that will not be easy, and probably not worth your while, considering that I have no power to act on my opinion.

Consider the actual pain and suffering you would put people through, the final days would be horror and torture. As the last people die there would not be enough people to run utilities or hospitals. people will die of starvation because there will be nobody capable of getting the food.  Society would probably break down much earlier than that. There would be mass suicides. Why do anything if humanity is just going to die in 3 generations? Nothing will have any value, the economy will tank, chaos and more suffering.
 
At some point the children of today will be taking care of you as you die (then again maybe not  >:D ). You would be denying them that for themselves.

Thanos is more moral than this, I would rather you just made the people painlessly disappear.
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Online daniel1948

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Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #100 on: January 12, 2019, 09:37:04 AM »
You don't have to be physically in the situation to know what you'd do. For the vast majority of people there is no choice and they be appalled if it was even debatable.

I disagree with this statement. I think the exact opposite is true: I think you never know what you’d do in a situation until you are in it. Philosophically I oppose all violence. I’d like to think that I would never use violence. But I do not know that I would actually have the courage of my convictions, and so I work very hard to avoid finding myself in a situation where I’d be put to the test.

I once said that I’d never jump out of a perfectly good airplane. Then I found myself in a situation where I had the opportunity to sky-dive (tandem) and I realized that if I didn’t do it I’d regret missing the opportunity. So I did it. This is an example from my own life of not knowing what I’d do until I was actually in the situation. The fact that it was not a trolley dilemma kind of choice does not change the fact that I had to be there to know how I’d react.
Daniel
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Online daniel1948

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Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #101 on: January 12, 2019, 09:49:30 AM »
P.S. There are people I like more than others. And there are animals I like more than others. I like cats more than dogs, and I liked my own cat more than other cats. I dislike pigs and cows intensely, and skunks even more. My own actions will be driven by such likes and dislikes.

But I recognize that the people and animals I dislike are not inherently less worthy of life. I recognize that in the absence of a divine law-giver there is no inherent moral superiority to some races or species, and that my preferences are just that: my own personal preferences, not justified by any outside “truths.”

I’d rather spend time with an intelligent person than with a stupid person, and I’d seek out such companionship. But I strongly dispute the claim that intelligence is a justification for considering one’s race or species or oneself to be morally superior or more deserving of life or property. I value intelligence, but that’s my own subjective preference, and is absolutely not an excuse to murder an animal or a person for food.
Daniel
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Online daniel1948

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Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #102 on: January 12, 2019, 09:56:18 AM »
P.P.S. And I’m hypocritical enough, having said all the above, to ruthlessly kill any creepy-crawlie that I find in my house. I’m not only an evil fuck, I’m a hypocritical evil fuck. But at least I recognize that my actions are unjustified and unjustifiable. Eat all the meat you like. Just don’t pretend that it’s justified because humans are more intelligent than cows or pigs. Or rather, do pretend it all you like, but you won’t convince me.

And sorry for not putting all this into a single post. Posting from my tablet makes it more difficult. The tablet likes to occasionally delete great chunks of text, and starting over from scratch is annoying.
Daniel
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Online The Latinist

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Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #103 on: January 12, 2019, 10:18:22 AM »

You are saying that you would use your personal power to impose your will upon 7 billion people and strip their bodies of their natural functions and them of their personal choice. I can think of few things more forceful, coercive or violent than that.

Indeed, we appear to have different view of the value of intelligent life, but I do not think that is the fundamental difference between our positions. It seems from what you have said that you would not murder the entirety of humanity despite your misanthropy, a fact in keeping with what I believe are your previous positions on non-violence. I therefore think that the difference between us is better characterized as a disagreement about what constitutes force and violence.

Can you contemplate how you would feel if magically deprived of an ability you do value? Let's say you were stripped of the ability to speak or hear? Would you feel less violated because your vocal cords and auditory ossicles were removed magically rather than surgically?

I have edited the above down to what I think are the questions you asked me to answer.

I do not view the “ability” to reproduce as the same category of thing as the “ability” to speak or hear. Plenty of people cannot reproduce for a variety of reasons. This does not in any way affect one’s ability to function in society. The desire to have a baby is a lot like the desire to have an expensive car. And I do not regard the “right” to have a baby as any different than the “right” to own and drive an expensive car. I understand that I am alone, or nearly alone on this thread in this opinion.

Regarding the “value of intelligent life,” the animals people commonly eat possess intelligence. Humans score higher than pigs on intelligence tests (though the last presidential election throws some doubt on that) but pigs have intelligence. As do cows and even chickens, though I have almost as low an opinion of the intelligence of chickens as I have of the people who voted to put a baboon in the White House or who rely on acupuncture or homeopathy for what ails them. Humans are the only species on Earth smart enough to invent nuclear weapons, and the only species stupid enough to use them. I do not value human life higher than pig life. I see my wish to halt human reproduction as a lower level offense, if it is an offense at all, than the actual killing of billions or hundreds of billions of intelligent non-human animals for (unhealthy, environmentally destructive) food.

I don’t know if I answered all your questions. Please repeat any I missed.

To summarize: No, I would not kill anyone. Yes, I would halt human reproduction if I had the power to do so magically, which I don’t, provided it did no other harm. And no, I do not regard this as an act of violence. Note that I would not force people to undergo surgical sterilization as that carries some risks of damage and going under the knife is scary. I’d only do it if I could do it magically without physical harm and unbeknownst to the individual. And I do not think that there is anything special about human intelligence. The belief of many people that we are the most special animal is akin to the opinion of many Americans that ours is the most special country: Understandable but ill-conceived self-aggrandizement.

No, Daniel, you did not answer my question at all.  I know that you don't value your ability to reproduce, which is why can so cavalierly say that you would deprive others of it.  The point of my question is to get you to empathize by considering how it would feel to be deprived of an ability you do value and whether the fact that that deprivation was done magically would make it feel like any less of a violation than if it were done surgically.  You are carefully avoiding any attempt to understand how the act you're saying you would take would affect others.

So, again: how would it feel to have someone else take your hearing from you? Would you feel powerless? Violated? Angry? Would you feel despair at the loss of an ability you value? At the fact that you would never again listen to music or hear the chirping of birds or the sound of the surf or your paddle striking the water?  Would you feel these emotions significantly less if your hearing were taken from you magically rather than through painless surgery?
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 daniel1948

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Re: The morality of Thanos
« Reply #104 on: January 12, 2019, 02:40:16 PM »
If my use of my hearing was one of the major causes of massive environmental destruction; if my use of my hearing was rapidly leading to the depletion of essential non-renewable resources; if my use of my hearing was causing the worst mass extinction in the history of the world; then your comparison would be valid.

We place limits on what people are permitted to do all the time. You’re not allowed to take stuff that isn’t yours. There are a lot of poor people who feel miserable because they cannot walk into a grocery store and take as much food as they need.

Sure, some people would be unhappy that they can no longer make babies. That’s nothing compared to the misery of being unable to feed your family. You want me to say I’d be unhappy if someone took away my hearing. Fine. Yes, I would be very unhappy. But I categorically reject the assertion that taking away an ability whose use harms nobody is equivalent to taking away an ability whose use is threatening our very existence.

Some people enjoy shooting the windows out of houses. We do our best to prevent them from doing that, and they are unhappy they cannot shoot their guns wherever they like. Making more babies in this day and age is like shooting the windows out of houses. Yes, people will be unhappy that they cannot make more babies. But this activity is so destructive to the planet that it is my honest opinion that if it could be stopped without other harm, it should be, even though it would make people unhappy.

I’d be unhappy if someone took away my hearing, but I’ve yet to see an argument claiming that my hearing is doing any harm to the world or to any person or creature.

I still think the difference between me and many of the other posters here is that I do not believe that we can support an indefinitely increasing population on a finite planet, or that the dream of space travel is a realistic solution, since even if we could colonize other planets and/or stars, Earth would still be destroyed by overpopulation.
Daniel
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