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Media => TV & Movies => Topic started by: Noisy Rhysling on December 28, 2018, 06:07:19 PM

Title: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on December 28, 2018, 06:07:19 PM
Just to add one more thing to the aims of villains: I've never understood why anyone would want to rule the whole bloody world. Really? Really? You want to try and manage all the planet's problems and squabbles? You want to try and run the Middle East?!?!?  Good luck with that, mate. I can't see the perks as being worth all the trouble, time, and effort.
They often think they can fix it.
It  makes for compelling villains imo. Very few want to destroy the world for no reason.
Thanos was thinking big.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 on December 28, 2018, 09:13:23 PM
Just to add one more thing to the aims of villains: I've never understood why anyone would want to rule the whole bloody world. Really? Really? You want to try and manage all the planet's problems and squabbles? You want to try and run the Middle East?!?!?  Good luck with that, mate. I can't see the perks as being worth all the trouble, time, and effort.
They often think they can fix it.
It  makes for compelling villains imo. Very few want to destroy the world for no reason.
Thanos was thinking big.

Thanos
(click to show/hide)
There’s a deep moral there. I’m just not sure what it is.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Tassie Dave on December 28, 2018, 09:27:28 PM
Thanos
(click to show/hide)
There’s a deep moral there. I’m just not sure what it is.

The moral is
(click to show/hide)
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on December 29, 2018, 01:30:26 AM
Just to add one more thing to the aims of villains: I've never understood why anyone would want to rule the whole bloody world. Really? Really? You want to try and manage all the planet's problems and squabbles? You want to try and run the Middle East?!?!?  Good luck with that, mate. I can't see the perks as being worth all the trouble, time, and effort.
They often think they can fix it.
It  makes for compelling villains imo. Very few want to destroy the world for no reason.
Thanos was thinking big.

Thanos
(click to show/hide)
There’s a deep moral there. I’m just not sure what it is.
That one can obsess?
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Harry Black on December 29, 2018, 11:39:00 AM
Just to add one more thing to the aims of villains: I've never understood why anyone would want to rule the whole bloody world. Really? Really? You want to try and manage all the planet's problems and squabbles? You want to try and run the Middle East?!?!?  Good luck with that, mate. I can't see the perks as being worth all the trouble, time, and effort.
They often think they can fix it.
It  makes for compelling villains imo. Very few want to destroy the world for no reason.
Thanos was thinking big.

Thanos
(click to show/hide)
There’s a deep moral there. I’m just not sure what it is.
As with todays real life modern villains, I just assumed that Thanos was another person convinced of his own solution to perceived problems, but that he is just ultimately wrong and fucks up the universe for no good objective reason despite his intentions.
So the impetus for the heroes is not only because what the villain is doing is wrong, but that it wont even achieve its stated goal.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on December 29, 2018, 12:12:36 PM
And it's not a fix, it just pushes the tip-over point back a few decades at best.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: PANTS! on December 29, 2018, 01:11:09 PM
Just to add one more thing to the aims of villains: I've never understood why anyone would want to rule the whole bloody world. Really? Really? You want to try and manage all the planet's problems and squabbles? You want to try and run the Middle East?!?!?  Good luck with that, mate. I can't see the perks as being worth all the trouble, time, and effort.
They often think they can fix it.
It  makes for compelling villains imo. Very few want to destroy the world for no reason.
Thanos was thinking big.

No.  Thanks clearly does not understand exponential growth.  Therefore he did not think nearly big enough.

Couple that if you halve the population of a particular species, and thier food supply, and thier habatat, he -at the same time he did nothing to destructively dominant species - committed genocidenon the most vulnrable.  Thanos is an idiot.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 on December 29, 2018, 02:39:22 PM
And it's not a fix, it just pushes the tip-over point back a few decades at best.

So, you repeat once every 40 or 50 years.

(click to show/hide)
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Captain Video on December 29, 2018, 03:40:40 PM
And it's not a fix, it just pushes the tip-over point back a few decades at best.

So, you repeat once every 40 or 50 years.

(click to show/hide)

Are you actually arguing for this? There were many more sentient species other than "Human" destroyed by T. In fact Humans were a very small portion of those killed.

Thanos became all powerful and chose to destroy. He could have created more planets, more life, more food, more space.  I'm pretty sure he spared all of his own minions and himself to live in this new "paradise".

In the original story he did it to impress a girl.  >:D
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on December 29, 2018, 03:43:03 PM
Just to add one more thing to the aims of villains: I've never understood why anyone would want to rule the whole bloody world. Really? Really? You want to try and manage all the planet's problems and squabbles? You want to try and run the Middle East?!?!?  Good luck with that, mate. I can't see the perks as being worth all the trouble, time, and effort.
They often think they can fix it.
It  makes for compelling villains imo. Very few want to destroy the world for no reason.
Thanos was thinking big.

No.  Thanks clearly does not understand exponential growth.  Therefore he did not think nearly big enough.

Couple that if you halve the population of a particular species, and thier food supply, and thier habatat, he -at the same time he did nothing to destructively dominant species - committed genocidenon the most vulnrable.  Thanos is an idiot.
You missed the post directly above your that I posted an hour earlier.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: PANTS! on December 29, 2018, 07:11:57 PM
No, I saw it.  I just hate that Thanos doesn't have an inkling about probability, ecology, resource management, biology, etc.  Yet he felt OK with making that decision.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on December 29, 2018, 07:47:08 PM
No, I saw it.  I just hate that Thanos doesn't have an inkling about probability, ecology, resource management, biology, etc.  Yet he felt OK with making that decision.
He's not exactly a secret Green.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: brilligtove on December 29, 2018, 11:13:04 PM
And it's not a fix, it just pushes the tip-over point back a few decades at best.

So, you repeat once every 40 or 50 years.

(click to show/hide)

I haven't watched it again, but I have a strong impression that Thanos intimated that he would teach life to live within its means, one way or another.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on December 30, 2018, 05:37:47 AM
And it's not a fix, it just pushes the tip-over point back a few decades at best.

So, you repeat once every 40 or 50 years.

(click to show/hide)

I haven't watched it again, but I have a strong impression that Thanos intimated that he would teach life to live within its means, one way or another.
Yeah, that would happen.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: brilligtove on December 30, 2018, 06:18:28 AM
And it's not a fix, it just pushes the tip-over point back a few decades at best.

So, you repeat once every 40 or 50 years.

(click to show/hide)

I haven't watched it again, but I have a strong impression that Thanos intimated that he would teach life to live within its means, one way or another.
Yeah, that would happen.

Life in general mostly does this already through predation, parasites, disease, injury, and so on. Intelligent life OTOH can step outside these natural selection pressures and overrun the planetary resources in a manner analagous to a disease or parasite overruning its host. If Thanos set up a kill condition for intelligent life that dusted half the population of a planet whenever that population exceeded [criteria] I'm pretty that new selection pressure would be quite effective.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on December 30, 2018, 06:55:09 AM
And it's not a fix, it just pushes the tip-over point back a few decades at best.

So, you repeat once every 40 or 50 years.

(click to show/hide)

I haven't watched it again, but I have a strong impression that Thanos intimated that he would teach life to live within its means, one way or another.
Yeah, that would happen.

Life in general mostly does this already through predation, parasites, disease, injury, and so on. Intelligent life OTOH can step outside these natural selection pressures and overrun the planetary resources in a manner analagous to a disease or parasite overruning its host. If Thanos set up a kill condition for intelligent life that dusted half the population of a planet whenever that population exceeded [criteria] I'm pretty that new selection pressure would be quite effective.
So life was already doing what Thanos wanted it to do? Hence my confusion as to his purpose. Or there would be confusion if I didn't remember what a load of nonsense the Sokovia Accords were.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: werecow on December 30, 2018, 08:47:22 AM
And it's not a fix, it just pushes the tip-over point back a few decades at best.

So, you repeat once every 40 or 50 years.

(click to show/hide)

I haven't watched it again, but I have a strong impression that Thanos intimated that he would teach life to live within its means, one way or another.
Yeah, that would happen.

Life in general mostly does this already through predation, parasites, disease, injury, and so on.

To the extent that that's true, it's true by definition; you can't live without the means to sustain life, and as the population overshoots the long-term sustainable level, you run out of resources and your population density becomes such that you are a likely target for parasites and disease, and then your population first slows and then stops growing, and then declines until the resource crisis is over. I think the difference is that we're just exceptionally good at expanding our means. And we're not great yet at controlling population growth. Maybe Thanos should've been dealing out prophylactics and teaching people ecology and sustainable ways of living, instead of just killing half of them, which teaches them next to nothing. It just lowers the population level, but doesn't fix any underlying problem; massive death due to overpopulation is not "fixed" by massive death.

Also maybe I'm reading too much into your post, but it sounds a bit like you're implying a kind of Gaia hypothesis, which imho is overly simplistic and optimistic and not well supported by evidence (there is even a direct opposite hypothesis: Peter Ward's Medea hypothesis (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medea_hypothesis) - which I think is equally simplistic).
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 on December 30, 2018, 09:29:48 AM
And it's not a fix, it just pushes the tip-over point back a few decades at best.

So, you repeat once every 40 or 50 years.

(click to show/hide)

Are you actually arguing for this? There were many more sentient species other than "Human" destroyed by T. In fact Humans were a very small portion of those killed.

Thanos became all powerful and chose to destroy. He could have created more planets, more life, more food, more space.  I'm pretty sure he spared all of his own minions and himself to live in this new "paradise".

In the original story he did it to impress a girl.  >:D

Because the story is fantasy, and as an allegory of our world all sentient species are analogues of humans, the fact that he killed other sentient species is irrelevant to my argument.

I don’t read comic books, so I can only comment on the movie, not on the original story. In the movie it is clear that he does not spare his minions. The selection of who dies is made by chance, without Thanos’s input, other than to specify that it be by chance. And he kills the only person he loves or has ever loved, and he is devastated by that necessity.

And I do seriously argue that there is no moral difference between what Thanos does, and what humans are doing, except that he acts out of selflessness (right or wrong, his intention is to make worlds better places for the sentient creatures on them) whereas what humans do in the real world today we do out of greed and to please ourselves. I quit eating meat 51 years ago precisely because in the absence of a divine creator/law-giver I assert there is no moral difference between killing a pig and killing a human.

Humans are a cancer. We are multiplying out of control, squandering finite resources, and using the air, the rivers, and the oceans as garbage dumps.

I do seriously argue that what the fictional Thanos does in the movie is morally no worse than what humans are doing to our world today. (Note, however, that “no worse than...” does not mean right or good. I oppose all violence. I just don’t cry when a murderer gets murdered, and I regard the fictional Thanos as a better “person” than the real life people who run our nation, or the real-life people who run most other nations.)
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 on December 30, 2018, 09:35:43 AM
... Maybe Thanos should've been dealing out prophylactics and teaching people ecology and sustainable ways of living, instead of just killing half of them, which teaches them next to nothing...

That would have made for a pretty dull movie.  ;D
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Captain Video on December 30, 2018, 02:21:02 PM
And it's not a fix, it just pushes the tip-over point back a few decades at best.

So, you repeat once every 40 or 50 years.

(click to show/hide)

Are you actually arguing for this? There were many more sentient species other than "Human" destroyed by T. In fact Humans were a very small portion of those killed.

Thanos became all powerful and chose to destroy. He could have created more planets, more life, more food, more space.  I'm pretty sure he spared all of his own minions and himself to live in this new "paradise".

In the original story he did it to impress a girl.  >:D

Because the story is fantasy, and as an allegory of our world all sentient species are analogues of humans, the fact that he killed other sentient species is irrelevant to my argument.

I don’t read comic books, so I can only comment on the movie, not on the original story. In the movie it is clear that he does not spare his minions. The selection of who dies is made by chance, without Thanos’s input, other than to specify that it be by chance. And he kills the only person he loves or has ever loved, and he is devastated by that necessity.

And I do seriously argue that there is no moral difference between what Thanos does, and what humans are doing, except that he acts out of selflessness (right or wrong, his intention is to make worlds better places for the sentient creatures on them) whereas what humans do in the real world today we do out of greed and to please ourselves. I quit eating meat 51 years ago precisely because in the absence of a divine creator/law-giver I assert there is no moral difference between killing a pig and killing a human.

Humans are a cancer. We are multiplying out of control, squandering finite resources, and using the air, the rivers, and the oceans as garbage dumps.

I do seriously argue that what the fictional Thanos does in the movie is morally no worse than what humans are doing to our world today. (Note, however, that “no worse than...” does not mean right or good. I oppose all violence. I just don’t cry when a murderer gets murdered, and I regard the fictional Thanos as a better “person” than the real life people who run our nation, or the real-life people who run most other nations.)

What can I say other than, your self hatred and hate for your fellow man is epic Daniel  (I know you don't see it that way) Its a good thing that you "oppose violence" at least from your own hands.  I'm going to go have a steak and enjoy being at the top of the food chain then thank the next human I meet.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 on December 30, 2018, 04:15:41 PM
I neither hate myself nor the human race, any more than I hate the flu virus. And I think you are out of line pretending to know who or what I hate. I will admit to some contempt for people who think it’s wrong for the fictional Thanos to cull the human race, but perfectly okay to murder animals just because they get some pleasure from eating them. “Epic” would be better applied to the barbarity of the meat industry.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Soldier of FORTRAN on December 30, 2018, 04:47:22 PM
All Thanos did was apply basic wildlife management techniques to overpopulated apex predators.

Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on December 30, 2018, 05:09:56 PM
I neither hate myself nor the human race, any more than I hate the flu virus. And I think you are out of line pretending to know who or what I hate. I will admit to some contempt for people who think it’s wrong for the fictional Thanos to cull the human race, but perfectly okay to murder animals just because they get some pleasure from eating them. “Epic” would be better applied to the barbarity of the meat industry.
It's great to be a picky eater, isn't it?
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: PANTS! on December 30, 2018, 06:26:11 PM
Did he tho.  I will have to rewatch, but I never got the impression that Thanos did in just intelligent life (whatever the fuck that means), or even all animal life (again whatever tftm).  I thought he did in half of all life.  He certainly killed more than just humans.

And let's be real here.  Randomness is truly stochastic.  Unless he planned better (and there is no evidence he did) in this vast universe of Marvel's he almost certainly fer sure destroyed entire races.  Genocide pure and simple.  At the same time he left some toxic species completely untouched. 

He destroyed ecosystems to where they can not recover, and thus condemed more life - intelligent or not to the slow death of mass starvation.  If he destroyed vegetation he created massive dust bowls and deserts, collapsed mountains, eliminated homes of creatures who ostensibly survived.  What is worse, the intelligent species are more likely to survive such a catastrophy. 

Did he destroy half of all bacteria?  If yes life as we understand will starve.  If not then what happened when the host died?  For that matter, any creature in symbyosis has a much higher chance of dying than 50%.

In short he is an idiot and a fuckup.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: bimble on December 30, 2018, 06:47:17 PM
though we only saw intellegent life (well, people & Guardians of the Galaxy) wiped out... I certainly don't recall seeing any trees vanishing for instance.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Tassie Dave on December 30, 2018, 06:49:28 PM
though we only saw intellegent life (well, people & Guardians of the Galaxy) wiped out... I certainly don't recall seeing any trees vanishing for instance.

"I am Groot"  :(
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: bimble on December 30, 2018, 07:40:44 PM
though we only saw intellegent life (well, people & Guardians of the Galaxy) wiped out... I certainly don't recall seeing any trees vanishing for instance.

"I am Groot"  :(

touché
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 on December 30, 2018, 07:43:45 PM
I neither hate myself nor the human race, any more than I hate the flu virus. And I think you are out of line pretending to know who or what I hate. I will admit to some contempt for people who think it’s wrong for the fictional Thanos to cull the human race, but perfectly okay to murder animals just because they get some pleasure from eating them. “Epic” would be better applied to the barbarity of the meat industry.
It's great to be a picky eater, isn't it?

I’m not really a particularly picky eater. I eat no meat (including poultry). That means there are maybe 6 or 8 basic foods in the typical American diet that I don’t eat. And these are the foods with the greatest negative environmental impact and the foods that are the worst for your health other than junk foods.

Note: I was raised on meat, and I loved meat, and until I was 19, in 1967, I didn’t think I could get by without it. I made a decision, on ethical grounds, to change my diet. And now I get just as much pleasure from the foods I eat as I did then.

Everyone has a choice to make: be a customer of the most barbaric industry in the world, which is also causing significant damage to the environment, or make a change which is difficult for the first 2 or 3 years and then becomes just as natural and pleasurable as your old diet is now.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 on December 30, 2018, 07:50:48 PM
All Thanos did was apply basic wildlife management techniques to overpopulated apex predators.

Exactly! And this is bad only for folks who have an inflated sense of their own importance.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on December 30, 2018, 07:55:08 PM
Did he tho.  I will have to rewatch, but I never got the impression that Thanos did in just intelligent life (whatever the fuck that means), or even all animal life (again whatever tftm).  I thought he did in half of all life.  He certainly killed more than just humans.

And let's be real here.  Randomness is truly stochastic.  Unless he planned better (and there is no evidence he did) in this vast universe of Marvel's he almost certainly fer sure destroyed entire races.  Genocide pure and simple.  At the same time he left some toxic species completely untouched. 

He destroyed ecosystems to where they can not recover, and thus condemed more life - intelligent or not to the slow death of mass starvation.  If he destroyed vegetation he created massive dust bowls and deserts, collapsed mountains, eliminated homes of creatures who ostensibly survived.  What is worse, the intelligent species are more likely to survive such a catastrophy. 

Did he destroy half of all bacteria?  If yes life as we understand will starve.  If not then what happened when the host died?  For that matter, any creature in symbyosis has a much higher chance of dying than 50%.

In short he is an idiot and a fuckup.
Just a comic book crisis.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 on December 31, 2018, 07:43:06 PM
though we only saw intellegent life (well, people & Guardians of the Galaxy) wiped out... I certainly don't recall seeing any trees vanishing for instance.

"I am Groot"  :(

In the context of the comic-book world of the movie, Groot is a person. I.e., a sentient being with volition who behaves as a person. And although we cannot understand his language, the raccoon person can, so he clearly communicates his thoughts.

Groot does not disprove the hypothesis that Thanos only kills “people” in the wider sense of the fantasy world in which the movie takes place.

Thanos only kills people, and he does so entirely at random except for the relatively small number he kills to obtain the power to carry out his mission.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Tassie Dave on December 31, 2018, 08:57:16 PM
though we only saw intellegent life (well, people & Guardians of the Galaxy) wiped out... I certainly don't recall seeing any trees vanishing for instance.

"I am Groot"  :(

In the context of the comic-book world of the movie, Groot is a person. I.e., a sentient being with volition who behaves as a person. And although we cannot understand his language, the raccoon person can, so he clearly communicates his thoughts.

Groot does not disprove the hypothesis that Thanos only kills “people” in the wider sense of the fantasy world in which the movie takes place.

Thanos only kills people, and he does so entirely at random except for the relatively small number he kills to obtain the power to carry out his mission.

I was going for comedic effect. Not literalism  ;)
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on January 01, 2019, 05:19:29 PM
Aquaman - 6.5/10

I generally had fun with this movie, but damn was it overly long.  They could have easily done away with the final, over-the-top battle IMO.  Also, the love story left a LOT to be desired as they really had no chemistry and I didn't feel their relationship at all.  All told though, it was a good time with no horrific issues distracting me from it like so many other DCEU films.  I'd probably rank it number 2 behind Wonder Woman.
I definitely prefer Wonder Woman. But I feel like Aquaman is a more even movie?
Wonder Woman kind of takes a hard left turn at the end with a really stupid finale and very lazy portrayal of WW1 Germans.
If Im separating my feelings I kind of have to say Aquaman might be better structurally?
"You kill Ares, you stop the war." And the next war? And the one after that? And the one after that? And the one after that? And the one after that? 
Comic book solutions.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Harry Black on January 01, 2019, 05:59:30 PM
Aquaman - 6.5/10

I generally had fun with this movie, but damn was it overly long.  They could have easily done away with the final, over-the-top battle IMO.  Also, the love story left a LOT to be desired as they really had no chemistry and I didn't feel their relationship at all.  All told though, it was a good time with no horrific issues distracting me from it like so many other DCEU films.  I'd probably rank it number 2 behind Wonder Woman.
I definitely prefer Wonder Woman. But I feel like Aquaman is a more even movie?
Wonder Woman kind of takes a hard left turn at the end with a really stupid finale and very lazy portrayal of WW1 Germans.
If Im separating my feelings I kind of have to say Aquaman might be better structurally?
"You kill Ares, you stop the war." And the next war? And the one after that? And the one after that? And the one after that? And the one after that? 
Comic book solutions.
Even most comic books are not that simplistic.

It really seemed that we were being set up for the idea that it was not so simple, but I suspect with how rushed the ending seemed, there may have been some rewrites and studio notes.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 on January 01, 2019, 06:55:11 PM
Aquaman - 6.5/10

I generally had fun with this movie, but damn was it overly long.  They could have easily done away with the final, over-the-top battle IMO.  Also, the love story left a LOT to be desired as they really had no chemistry and I didn't feel their relationship at all.  All told though, it was a good time with no horrific issues distracting me from it like so many other DCEU films.  I'd probably rank it number 2 behind Wonder Woman.
I definitely prefer Wonder Woman. But I feel like Aquaman is a more even movie?
Wonder Woman kind of takes a hard left turn at the end with a really stupid finale and very lazy portrayal of WW1 Germans.
If Im separating my feelings I kind of have to say Aquaman might be better structurally?
"You kill Ares, you stop the war." And the next war? And the one after that? And the one after that? And the one after that? And the one after that? 
Comic book solutions.

In the mythology of the movie, wars happen because of Ares. The problem with setting the movie in historical reality is that in hindsight we know that wars kept happening. Wonder Woman is a great character, but her victory over Ares rings hollow since we know that her underlying purpose failed.

Perhaps a better ending would have been that Ares was never involved at all, and Wonder Woman realizes that wars are started by people, motivated by greed for power, land, or wealth, and that she is needed, not to kill a god, but to interfere in the affairs of the human world.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: PANTS! on January 01, 2019, 07:36:32 PM
I was distinctly under the impression that Ares out and out stated that he did not start wars anymore.  He just supervised and reveled in them.  I mean he was trying to end WWI in the movie.  All he cared about was the weapons and the capacity for distruction, he certainly didn't want the war to consume all humanity.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on January 01, 2019, 07:42:21 PM
I was distinctly under the impression that Ares out and out stated that he did not start wars anymore.  He just supervised and reveled in them.  I mean he was trying to end WWI in the movie.  All he cared about was the weapons and the capacity for destruction, he certainly didn't want the war to consume all humanity.
I took his stance on the Armistice to be a fallacious position.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: brilligtove on January 01, 2019, 09:38:57 PM
Ares was pretty clear that he did want to wipe out all humanity for reasons similiar to those expressed by Daniel. As with the "baddies" in Aquaman, Black Panther, and Captain Americal: Civil War, I found myself hard pressed to disagree with their logic. The underlying moral position yes, but given that belief? They were being reasonable.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on January 02, 2019, 05:13:36 AM
The bad guys in Civil War blamed the Avengers for all that happened in the world. The villain just blamed them for the loss of his family.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 on January 02, 2019, 09:12:04 AM
Aquaman - 6.5/10

I generally had fun with this movie, but damn was it overly long.  They could have easily done away with the final, over-the-top battle IMO.  Also, the love story left a LOT to be desired as they really had no chemistry and I didn't feel their relationship at all.  All told though, it was a good time with no horrific issues distracting me from it like so many other DCEU films.  I'd probably rank it number 2 behind Wonder Woman.
I definitely prefer Wonder Woman. But I feel like Aquaman is a more even movie?
Wonder Woman kind of takes a hard left turn at the end with a really stupid finale and very lazy portrayal of WW1 Germans.
If Im separating my feelings I kind of have to say Aquaman might be better structurally?
"You kill Ares, you stop the war." And the next war? And the one after that? And the one after that? And the one after that? And the one after that? 
Comic book solutions.

In the mythology of the movie, wars happen because of Ares. The problem with setting the movie in historical reality is that in hindsight we know that wars kept happening. Wonder Woman is a great character, but her victory over Ares rings hollow since we know that her underlying purpose failed.

Perhaps a better ending would have been that Ares was never involved at all, and Wonder Woman realizes that wars are started by people, motivated by greed for power, land, or wealth, and that she is needed, not to kill a god, but to interfere in the affairs of the human world.
But! She was the God Killer, not the Clemenceau Killer.

Yes. And it would have been a better movie if that bit had been left out. Leave out all the god crap. Have her be an ordinary child who gains superpowers like any other comic-book superhero, by some ridiculous accident.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 on January 02, 2019, 09:18:51 AM
Ares was pretty clear that he did want to wipe out all humanity for reasons similiar to those expressed by Daniel. As with the "baddies" in Aquaman, Black Panther, and Captain Americal: Civil War, I found myself hard pressed to disagree with their logic. The underlying moral position yes, but given that belief? They were being reasonable.

A slight correction: I do not want to “wipe out” humanity. I just want us to stop breeding so that we fade away peacefully. I do not want to kill anybody, and I strongly oppose all violence. The most I would do if I had Thanos’s power would be to cause everybody’s reproductive systems to stop producing eggs and sperms.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: swan on January 02, 2019, 09:48:16 AM
A slight correction: I do not want to “wipe out” humanity. I just want us to stop breeding so that we fade away peacefully. I do not want to kill anybody, and I strongly oppose all violence. The most I would do if I had Thanos’s power would be to cause everybody’s reproductive systems to stop producing eggs and sperms.

So basically Antinatalism (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antinatalism) then? That would be an intriguing version of "The Great Filter" - a whole society basically saying, “You know, we're all just a bunch of assholes. Let's build robots that we can have sex with now so we don't reproduce, and they can also take care of us when we're old until we're all gone.” (Probably the smartest, easiest way for the robots to eliminate us. ;) ) Maybe that was the true fate of "The Makers" in the Star Trek (TOS) episode "I, Mudd (https://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/I,_Mudd_(episode))."
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 on January 02, 2019, 02:30:15 PM
A slight correction: I do not want to “wipe out” humanity. I just want us to stop breeding so that we fade away peacefully. I do not want to kill anybody, and I strongly oppose all violence. The most I would do if I had Thanos’s power would be to cause everybody’s reproductive systems to stop producing eggs and sperms.

So basically Antinatalism (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antinatalism) then? That would be an intriguing version of "The Great Filter" - a whole society basically saying, “You know, we're all just a bunch of assholes. Let's build robots that we can have sex with now so we don't reproduce, and they can also take care of us when we're old until we're all gone.” (Probably the smartest, easiest way for the robots to eliminate us. ;) ) Maybe that was the true fate of "The Makers" in the Star Trek (TOS) episode "I, Mudd (https://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/I,_Mudd_(episode))."

Not sure where robots come in to all of this. Sexbots today are awfully rudimentary, basically a RealDoll with a Siri clone built in. Birth control is a real thing. Then you can have all the sex you want with real people, subject only to mutual agreement, without making more people.

The only thing “special” about the human race is that we are single-handedly causing the worst mass extinction in Earth’s history, and doing our best to cause our own extinction. All I’m saying is that we should agree to fade away gently before we destroy the environment for everybody else.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Harry Black on January 02, 2019, 05:09:01 PM
Ares was pretty clear that he did want to wipe out all humanity for reasons similiar to those expressed by Daniel. As with the "baddies" in Aquaman, Black Panther, and Captain Americal: Civil War, I found myself hard pressed to disagree with their logic. The underlying moral position yes, but given that belief? They were being reasonable.

A slight correction: I do not want to “wipe out” humanity. I just want us to stop breeding so that we fade away peacefully. I do not want to kill anybody, and I strongly oppose all violence. The most I would do if I had Thanos’s power would be to cause everybody’s reproductive systems to stop producing eggs and sperms.
So just some mild genocide then?
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: brilligtove on January 02, 2019, 05:14:47 PM
Daniel, sorry I misrepresented your position. I implied that you want the violent end of humanity. I know that's not the case - you want a quiet end. Sloppy writing on my part.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on January 02, 2019, 05:22:34 PM
"This is how the world ends, not with bang, but with a whimper."
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: The Latinist on January 02, 2019, 06:37:22 PM
I do not find your proposal, Daniel, significantly different from Thanos’ from an ethical perspective.  Your genocide is no less monstrous because you would allow the current generation to live out the remainder of their lives in despair; indeed, it may be more monstrous for that fact.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Captain Video on January 02, 2019, 06:38:58 PM
I'm compelled to post one of my favorite Heinlein quotes

Quote
There are hidden contradictions in the minds of people who
"love Nature" while deploring the "artificialities" with which
"Man has spoiled 'Nature.'" The obvious contradiction lies
in their choice of words, which imply that man and his artifacts
are not part of "Nature"--but beavers and their dams
are. But the contradictions go deeper than this prima-facie
absurdity. In declaring his love for a beaver dam (erected by
beavers for beavers' purposes) and his hatred for dams
erected by men (for the purpose of men) the "Naturist"
reveals his hatred of his own race --i.e. his own self-hatred.
   In the case of "Naturists" such self-hatred is understandable;
they are such a sorry lot. But hatred is too strong an
emotion to feel toward them; pity and contempt are the most
they rate.
   As for me, willy-nilly I am a man, not a beaver, and H.
sapiens is the only race I have or can have. Fortunately for
me I like being part of a race made of men women
--it strikes me as a fine arrangement and perfectly "natural."
   Believe it or not, there were "Naturists" who opposed the
first flight to old Earth's Moon as being "unnatural" and a
"despoiling of Nature."
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: bimble on January 02, 2019, 07:38:15 PM
I do not find your proposal, Daniel, significantly different from Thanos’ from an ethical perspective.  Your genocide is no less monstrous because you would allow the current generation to live out the remainder of their lives in despair; indeed, it may be more monstrous for that fact.

In Thanos' case no more than a couple of dozen people knew what was at stake, meanwhile the rest of the universe had no idea what was coming. In Daniel's it's like the film 'Children of Men', (though presumably without the baby) - at least in premise... I haven't seen the film, but the only other example I could think of at this time of night were the Asgards from SG1.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 on January 02, 2019, 09:00:38 PM
I do not find your proposal, Daniel, significantly different from Thanos’ from an ethical perspective.  Your genocide is no less monstrous because you would allow the current generation to live out the remainder of their lives in despair; indeed, it may be more monstrous for that fact.

I will accept your characterization of my proposal as monstrous, if you accept that the slaughter of billions of animals by the meat industry is at least as monstrous, if not more so. Humans justify their monstrous brutality with the myth of exceptionality. But humans can only justify their brutality by invoking the myth of a God who, as ultimate law-giver, gives us the right, or created the animals specifically so that we could abuse them so monstrously. Otherwise they must invoke the discredited notion that non-human animals do not suffer or have feelings.

Contrary to what some folks here seem to think, I do not hate humans or humanity. I merely recognize that we are a cancer, on a rapid road to killing our host. “Hate the sin, love the sinner.” I don’t go quite that far. I don’t love the sinner, but I don’t hate him either. I merely recognize that the world would be better off without us, and I categorically reject the idea that because we have evolved self-awareness, we are somehow God’s gift to the universe, or that we have the right to run roughshod over all the Earth’s other creatures.

And to be clear, I do not consider myself to be any better than anyone else.

I do think it would be more humane to stop reproducing than to continue the present population explosion which will inevitably (IMO) end in a worldwide economic collapse, with riots, wars, gangs fighting for the last remaining food, and death by starvation for billions. I do not share the belief of some here that technology can keep up with exponential population growth and distribute our numbers to other worlds.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 on January 02, 2019, 09:08:31 PM
P.S. I do not understand why some folks think that ending reproduction would lead to despair. Right now, in the real world, countless people are living and dying in despair because they lack sufficient food, because, humans being what we are, the people in charge (and the people who elect them) refuse to allow an equitable distribution of the world’s resources. I cannot imagine that my proposal would lead to greater suffering than exists in the world today.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: mindme on January 03, 2019, 08:58:44 AM
P.S. I do not understand why some folks think that ending reproduction would lead to despair. Right now, in the real world, countless people are living and dying in despair because they lack sufficient food, because, humans being what we are, the people in charge (and the people who elect them) refuse to allow an equitable distribution of the world’s resources. I cannot imagine that my proposal would lead to greater suffering than exists in the world today.

I know a movie is just a movie but it scares me. There might be something deep in our brain that makes us freak out we can't continue the species. It's pure speculation, however.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 on January 03, 2019, 09:21:03 AM
P.S. I do not understand why some folks think that ending reproduction would lead to despair. Right now, in the real world, countless people are living and dying in despair because they lack sufficient food, because, humans being what we are, the people in charge (and the people who elect them) refuse to allow an equitable distribution of the world’s resources. I cannot imagine that my proposal would lead to greater suffering than exists in the world today.

I know a movie is just a movie but it scares me. There might be something deep in our brain that makes us freak out we can't continue the species. It's pure speculation, however.


All animals, including humans have a strong drive to reproduce. Some of us fail to reproduce, either because we cannot find a mate, or because of a physiological problem. These people do not all freak out or become intensely depressed.

I never thought of this movie as being scary. My proposal is never going to happen. But the consequences of our present trajectory will be far worse than what happens in the movie. We, collectively, are far worse than Thanos, because he only kills half the population, and does it quickly and at random. We are making the world uninhabitable for our civilization and the result will be slow and violent deaths for far more than half.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: mindme on January 04, 2019, 08:10:14 AM
All animals, including humans have a strong drive to reproduce. Some of us fail to reproduce, either because we cannot find a mate, or because of a physiological problem. These people do not all freak out or become intensely depressed.

I never thought of this movie as being scary. My proposal is never going to happen. But the consequences of our present trajectory will be far worse than what happens in the movie. We, collectively, are far worse than Thanos, because he only kills half the population, and does it quickly and at random. We are making the world uninhabitable for our civilization and the result will be slow and violent deaths for far more than half.

I'm not freaked out, much, my family line dies with me. But then we've never faced a situation where everyone is faced with the same reality. Moral panics are not logical but happen when people share the same disconnect. Until we do face that reality, who is to say how society might react. But based on a history of moral panics, I'd lean towards freak out versus "meh".


Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Harry Black on January 04, 2019, 08:38:56 AM
You dont need god to have a morality that places ones own species against others. There are proven natural drives to prefer entities we can relate to and identify with. Your own internal morality might give humans and other species equal value.
And sure, industrialised farming is monstrous. Just not as bad as genocide of humans for most of society.

And yes, I know many people who are intensely sad that they cannot be parents (biological or adoptive) and I presume even more would feel that way to have the choice taken from them.
Even for myself, I feel that without future generations, there is very little (personal) value to any of my actions.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 on January 04, 2019, 10:55:36 AM
You dont need god to have a morality that places ones own species against others. There are proven natural drives to prefer entities we can relate to and identify with. Your own internal morality might give humans and other species equal value.
And sure, industrialised farming is monstrous. Just not as bad as genocide of humans for most of society.

And yes, I know many people who are intensely sad that they cannot be parents (biological or adoptive) and I presume even more would feel that way to have the choice taken from them.
Even for myself, I feel that without future generations, there is very little (personal) value to any of my actions.

Of course killing animals for most people is not as bad as killing people. Note also that for most people, killing people they perceive as “different” is not as bad as killing people they regard as “like themselves.” And for most westerners, killing certain animals is worse than killing others. Some here who eat cows have expressed revulsion at the idea of eating dogs.

People are very good at justifying whatever activities or lifestyles they embrace. It’s called hypocrisy. Since I reject the proposal that humans are “better” than other animals, or exceptional among the species in the world, I also reject “moralities” that assert that killing an animal is less of a monstrosity than killing a human.

Note that I make no claim to be less hypocritical than anyone else, I merely don’t try to pretend that my lifestyle is in anyway justified. Morality is a purely human invention which has no basis in reality. Different societies have vastly different moralities and many contradict each other, yet everyone is convinced that their morality is “the right one.” Since most people believe in a God or gods, they claim that morality comes from God or the gods. But even atheists have moralities, they just claim that their morality is intrinsic to the universe. The proof that all these moralities are merely subjective expressions of people’s own personal preferences is the lack of any common thread. Even the most-often cited example that “killing [people] is wrong” is so riddled with exceptions as to be an excellent example of my point that moralities are contradictory between groups. Because most people actually believe that killing is justified under certain circumstances. (War, self-defense, execution of convicted criminals, are common exceptions contained in different moralities.)

The human race is a cancer. We are killing our host and we will die out with it. I believe that my suggestion, that we stop breeding, is far more humane than the inevitable alternative of riots, wars, and mass starvation when our civilization collapses with the depletion of the resources it needs and the climate changes that will wreak havoc with our agriculture.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: The Latinist on January 04, 2019, 11:55:54 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.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Soldier of FORTRAN on January 04, 2019, 01:31:29 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.

We could probably get a thread out of this. 

Iirc, feminism and healthcare are major factors behind the developed world's below-replacement-rate growth.  You can reduce growth without hurting anyone, by actually helping everyone. How much can you reduce it that way? No idea. Never seen any studies parsing out hte influence of individual factors.

The morality of reducing growth would either be rejected on principle (growth is always good) or it would come down to the means. And I think 'good things eliminate bad growth' undercuts the blanket moralizing about 'growth is good' because some growth si caused by, say, expecting half your kids to die before age 5. 

I think you could get a few pages out of this.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 on January 04, 2019, 04:33:10 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.

But I agree with superdave, so I’ll post no more on this topic in this thread. (It did come out of a legitimate movie discussion, but I agree it’s gone on too long here.)
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: werecow on January 04, 2019, 09:50:44 PM
All animals, including humans have a strong drive to reproduce. Some of us fail to reproduce, either because we cannot find a mate, or because of a physiological problem. These people do not all freak out or become intensely depressed.

Not all of them perhaps, but that says nothing about any individual or even a majority of them. I think the vast majority of people that I know would be very depressed and stressed at the thought of being infertile. I say that as someone who (at least for the moment) doesn't actually want kids himself. I'm open to the idea of having kids (a few years from now perhaps), but I would be equally OK with infertility (on it's own; not taking into account the relationship issues and possible social stigma and such that come with it). However, I have some idea of what it can be like for those who do want it but don't or can't have it. My sister has been in a deep depression for the last two years for exactly that reason. My best friend ended a good relationship because she can't have kids and he feels such a deep need for that that he just can't be happy without kids in his future. It hurt him badly but it was an essential part of his experience as a human being. My aunt has always wanted kids but never had them, and was then confronted with a stepkid resulting from an extramarital affair (who she basically adopted). My ex want kids so badly she'd like to start an elementary school (but feels she's too young to have her own right now). My mom basically coerced my dad into having me (he seems OK with the outcome }|:op). So I know enough to say that the pain of not being able to have children is not to be trivialized.

I imagine it is a lot like my own struggle to find a lasting romantic relationship. That urge has been a constant in my life even when I felt like I had given up and was something of a hermit. I know a few guys who simply don't care or they have different priorities in life. To them, this seems like a trivial thing. I don't have the "need kids" predisposition, but I guess I do have the "need a mate" one. For me that drive is inescapable, and the resulting misery when I can't find a compatible mate has been at the forefront of my life for as long as I can remember. I've tried hard to be content, let alone happy, without a mate but I can't seem to manage it (which is probably the drive behind all of my major life changes in the last three years). There's just something in my genetics that screams for a partner, regardless of how much of an introvert and a loner I am in other regards. I imagine the drive to have kids feels the same way. Not everyone has it in equal amounts, but when you have it it is a terrible thing if you can't fulfill it. So taking that option away from people is not to be taken so lightly. You're talking about this as if it's a trivial thing but for a lot of people it defines their life's purpose and a major source of happiness.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: The Latinist 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.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Noisy Rhysling 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.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 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.)
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: The Latinist 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.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Harry Black 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.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: brilligtove 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.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: 2397 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.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Tassie Dave 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.

Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: The Latinist 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.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Soldier of FORTRAN 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:These removes causes for growth like: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.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Captain Video 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
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: brilligtove 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.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Paul Blevins Jr. 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.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 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.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: The Latinist 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?
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: brilligtove on January 07, 2019, 11:43:50 PM
Thanos' point of view (from the movie) and Daniel's point of view (above) are not identical - but they sure are close.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 on January 08, 2019, 04:19:46 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?

If I had the magical power, I would halt human reproduction. I would not use force on anyone. I think you will say I’m using force if I magically cause people to become infertile, but I don’t see it that way.

Maybe the underlying difference in our views is that I do not regard the human race as in any way special or entitled, and I view humanity, in its preent state, as a cancer that will inevitably destroy its host. I know a lot of folks here believe that we are so special that we must continue our species, but I see us as just another animal that evolved and will eventually disappear, with the difference that we are more destructive, to more different organisms, than any parasite or disease that has ever existed.

There are other things I’d do that would also be unpopular if I had magical powers. But you can all rest easy. Magic does not exist, so my ideas will never be implemented.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: wastrel on January 08, 2019, 05:37:03 PM
You are literally saying that if you had the power, you would inflict genocide on the human race.

Legal definition of genocide
Genocide is defined in Article 2 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
(1948) as "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical,
racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to
members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its
physical destruction in whole or in part1
; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and]
forcibly transferring children of the group to another group."
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Harry Black on January 08, 2019, 06:49:50 PM
Daniel, if you think this planet and life on it wont be here long after we are gone, I think you are delusional.
You are right, we aren't special, and neither is anything else. Something will fill our gap.
We are no more a cancer than anything else in the scheme of things, since you seem determined to frame the debate at that scale.
Outside of that scale, we should and could absolutely limit our impact while ensuring our survival.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Captain Video on January 08, 2019, 08:30:07 PM
I call hate speech and double down on my earlier statements of self hatred. I'm not offended though, just filled with pity that someone could feel that negative about their own race.

I'm not agreeing with Harry either. I'm special. The human race is special, there is no other animal out there that we know of that can do what we do, technology, culture, complex language, and NY pizza, just to name a few, we are at the top of the natural food chain.

this is for you Daniel

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98wVFsIt-MQ

Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: The Latinist on January 09, 2019, 10:08:10 AM
If I had the magical power, I would halt human reproduction. I would not use force on anyone. I think you will say I’m using force if I magically cause people to become infertile, but I don’t see it that way.

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.

Quote
Maybe the underlying difference in our views is that I do not regard the human race as in any way special or entitled, and I view humanity, in its present state, as a cancer that will inevitably destroy its host. I know a lot of folks here believe that we are so special that we must continue our species, but I see us as just another animal that evolved and will eventually disappear, with the difference that we are more destructive, to more different organisms, than any parasite or disease that has ever existed.

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.

Quote
There are other things I’d do that would also be unpopular if I had magical powers. But you can all rest easy. Magic does not exist, so my ideas will never be implemented.

I will not rest easy at all because I find the desire to commit genocide or other heinous crimes shocking and disturbing in an acquaintance even when not coupled with the ability or strength of will to do so, just as I would not rest easy knowing that the only thing keeping a friend from rape and murder is a fear of getting caught.

ETA:

I wonder if there is a difference in empathy and imagination involved. I know that you do not value your ability to reproduce, but 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?
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Soldier of FORTRAN on January 09, 2019, 12:14:21 PM
If I were psychic king, I'd move us into several space stations.  Turn earth into a nature preserve.

Much more humane than 'all humans dead with 100 years.' 
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: 2397 on January 09, 2019, 01:47:45 PM
I'd like to depopulate a couple of continents, but I don't see us building space stations that will be comfortable to live on in the next couple of centuries.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 on January 10, 2019, 09:24:39 AM
Coming from people who think it’s perfectly okay to kill untolled billions of animals every year just to turn them into unhealthy food, squandering limited resources in the process, I am okay with folks thinking I’m a bad person. I actually agree with you that I’m a bad person, though not for the same reasons you do. A good person would give away to the poor all the income and/or property that he or she does not need for basic health and survival. I spend far more on my own enjoyment than I would need to survive. So we all agree that I’m a bad person, though for different reasons. And I’m okay with this. As a cynic and a misanthrope, I’m very happily spending my last few years having as much fun as I can, which at present amounts to paddling nearly every morning on the warm waters of this island paradise.

I’m reminded of a fellow I met in prison. He was convicted of possession of some large amount of marijuana with intent to sell. He told me that the pot that was presented as evidence in his case was not his. It was planted by the cops. However, he confided in me that he was actually selling pot. Just not that particular pot. They could not find his pot, so they planted some. He felt this was fair since he was actually guilty of selling pot. You judge me to be a bad person. Fair enough: I am. That we disagree on the reason(s) is not a problem for me.

And FWIW, I do not hate myself for being a bad person. I just accept it as who I am.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: The Latinist on January 10, 2019, 09:47:24 AM
I do not believe that I said you were a bad person. Please do not put words in my mouth.

I would actually be very interested in your answers to the questions in my previous post, if you’re willing to answer them.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Paul Blevins Jr. on January 10, 2019, 02:24:52 PM
This thread is the true Infinity War.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: PANTS! on January 10, 2019, 06:16:10 PM
This thread is the true Infinity War.

Oh, snap!
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: brilligtove on January 10, 2019, 07:10:11 PM
Snap? Shit.

I don't want to go....
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: PANTS! on January 10, 2019, 07:33:51 PM
Dr. Zaeus?  I don't feel so good.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 on January 11, 2019, 10:29:38 AM
I do not believe that I said you were a bad person. Please do not put words in my mouth.

I would actually be very interested in your answers to the questions in my previous post, if you’re willing to answer them.

I guess I misread your comments, then. I suppose words like “monstrous” and “genocide” gave me the impression that the consensus here was that I was a bad person, a notion I do agree with for the reasons above. But I will try to answer your questions. Note that as I am using a tablet rather than a computer it’s harder to format my posts. I’ll start a new post and do my best.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 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.

Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Tassie Dave 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.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Captain Video 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.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 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.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 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.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Tassie Dave 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)
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: 2397 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.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: 2397 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.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Tassie Dave 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.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Captain Video 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.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 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.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 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.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 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.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: The Latinist 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?
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 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.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Tassie Dave on January 12, 2019, 02:52:31 PM
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.

We can imagine what we'd do in "most" situations. The example I gave is one of those black and white situations where there is only one right answer (ethically) and it is easy to imagine what we would do.
Of course we can't know what we'd do it complicated situations like the trolley problem. Which is why it is used in philosophy and ethical discussions. How you answer can change as you think about.

I have no problem eating meat. I am a member of an omnivorous species that has eaten meat for millions of years. Most of the animals we eat only exist to be eaten and even in their wild state they were part of the food chain for larger predators (as were we at one stage). Plus they are just so damn tasty  ;)

I don't kill every creepy crawly that enters my house. Only the ones I know will bite.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on January 12, 2019, 04:16:53 PM
Just to add one more thing to the aims of villains: I've never understood why anyone would want to rule the whole bloody world. Really? Really? You want to try and manage all the planet's problems and squabbles? You want to try and run the Middle East?!?!?  Good luck with that, mate. I can't see the perks as being worth all the trouble, time, and effort.
They often think they can fix it.
It  makes for compelling villains imo. Very few want to destroy the world for no reason.
Thanos was thinking big.

Thanos
(click to show/hide)
There’s a deep moral there. I’m just not sure what it is.
Just reviewing the thread.

Thanos didn't make "every inhabited planet in the galaxy (the universe?) into a paradise for half the population, at the cost of murdering the other half". The planets were less crowded, but that didn't make them paradises. And if the planet was already in trouble and technology was keeping it marginally habitable then he could have easily have killed the other half. His "cure" was like killing half a herd of zebra without checking which half had all the males.

And for the record, I didn't write the subject line.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: The Latinist on January 12, 2019, 10:16:49 PM
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? I doubt it. Indeed, I think your reluctance to answer the question in the first place is an indication that you never truly thought that such an act was not violent but that you didn't want to face the implications of that fact.

Quote
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.

But my purpose was not to argue that reproduction was harmless, but to argue that forcibly sterilizing people (even magically) would be an act of violence. You can accept that fact and still argue that such violence is justified; but I think it's important for you to recognize that you are, in fact, advocating for violence.

Quote
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.

I did not argue that they were equivalent in their effect, only that they were equivalent in their violence.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Harry Black on January 13, 2019, 05:00:04 PM

And for the record, I didn't write the subject line.

I do apologise for that. When I split the thread it automatically attributes its creation to the author of the first post to be split off. Clipping out posts would have made both threads really hard to follow.


Regarding the tack of asking someone how they would feel if x.
I generally find that this backfires. People either genuinely dont care or will argue that they would be fine with it.

The whole "Do unto others" rule is pretty shit in general I think because different people find different things to be acceptable. I have a pretty high tolerance for abuse of all kinds but I certainly would not expect any given person to put up with the shit I do.
I try as much as I can to treat people as they wish to be treated, as long as it doesnt cause greater harm or isnt highly unreasonable.

So that aside, my question to Daniel would be- why is it ok to intentionally genocide one species at the expense of others if one places an equal value on all life?
Would it be ok to wipe out the domestic cat due to the amount of species they have wiped out and continue to endanger?
I dont particularly care about the feelings of people who REALLY want to make babies, but I do think its flat out wrong to commit genocide on humans.
Its why I think Stephen Lang was the hero in Avatar :laugh:
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 on January 14, 2019, 10:48:01 AM
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? I doubt it. Indeed, I think your reluctance to answer the question in the first place is an indication that you never truly thought that such an act was not violent but that you didn't want to face the implications of that fact.

Quote
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.

But my purpose was not to argue that reproduction was harmless, but to argue that forcibly sterilizing people (even magically) would be an act of violence. You can accept that fact and still argue that such violence is justified; but I think it's important for you to recognize that you are, in fact, advocating for violence.

Quote
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.

I did not argue that they were equivalent in their effect, only that they were equivalent in their violence.

I’m not ignoring this. I’m still thinking about how to respond.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 on January 14, 2019, 10:50:40 AM
...
I dont particularly care about the feelings of people who REALLY want to make babies, but I do think its flat out wrong to commit genocide on humans.
Its why I think Stephen Lang was the hero in Avatar :laugh:

Because he wanted to wipe out an alien species in order to make money for a greedy corporation? ???
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Harry Black on January 14, 2019, 05:29:45 PM
...
I dont particularly care about the feelings of people who REALLY want to make babies, but I do think its flat out wrong to commit genocide on humans.
Its why I think Stephen Lang was the hero in Avatar :laugh:

Because he wanted to wipe out an alien species in order to make money for a greedy corporation? ???
No.
Because at the end of the movie, they send the earth people back to "their dying planet" implying that mining these resources are necessary for human survival.
That justifies it in my book, even if I wish they had just gone and negociated with the na'avi which likely would have yielded great results.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 on January 14, 2019, 07:22:57 PM
...
I dont particularly care about the feelings of people who REALLY want to make babies, but I do think its flat out wrong to commit genocide on humans.
Its why I think Stephen Lang was the hero in Avatar :laugh:

Because he wanted to wipe out an alien species in order to make money for a greedy corporation? ???
No.
Because at the end of the movie, they send the earth people back to "their dying planet" implying that mining these resources are necessary for human survival.
That justifies it in my book, even if I wish they had just gone and negociated with the na'avi which likely would have yielded great results.

Earth was dying because people had killed it. That did not give them the right to try to take another civilized planet away from its occupants so that they could kill that one too.

In addition, unobtanium was not going to save the Earth. It was just going to make one corporation very rich in its last dying days.

Still pondering my response to The Latinist. Sorry for taking so long.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: The Latinist on January 14, 2019, 07:59:40 PM
Understandable.  Take your time.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 on January 20, 2019, 10:20:45 PM
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? I doubt it. Indeed, I think your reluctance to answer the question in the first place is an indication that you never truly thought that such an act was not violent but that you didn't want to face the implications of that fact.

Quote
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.

But my purpose was not to argue that reproduction was harmless, but to argue that forcibly sterilizing people (even magically) would be an act of violence. You can accept that fact and still argue that such violence is justified; but I think it's important for you to recognize that you are, in fact, advocating for violence.

Quote
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.

I did not argue that they were equivalent in their effect, only that they were equivalent in their violence.

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. The closest I can get is that it would be interfering with a process within the body. But we interfere with people’s ability to perform specific actions all the time. And this would be far less intrusive than any of the other things we do all the time to limit people’s actions.

I really respect your views, and I’ve tried to see this from the point of view I think you’re coming from, but I just cannot. I don’t see it as violence.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 on January 20, 2019, 10:27:49 PM

... my question to Daniel would be- why is it ok to intentionally genocide one species at the expense of others if one places an equal value on all life?
Would it be ok to wipe out the domestic cat due to the amount of species they have wiped out and continue to endanger? ...

Because we are a cancer destroying the world. Cats are nowhere in the same league. Cats are not cutting down the rainforests or burning all the fossil fuels to cause global climate change or any of the other things that the human cancer is doing.

And I still do not advocate killing anyone. I just advocate that we stop being a cancer, and being what we are, as long as we’re here, we’re a cancer. Either we gracefully step out by ceasing to reproduce, or we’ll destroy ourselves in a far more violent and horrific manner, taking 99.9% of the Earth’s species with us.

I accept that mine is a minority opinion.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: bimble on February 07, 2019, 03:19:44 PM
It's been a few weeks, but I did see this story on the BBC today which seemed relevant - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-47154287 (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-47154287) - India man to sue parents for giving birth to him

Quote
Mr Samuel's belief is rooted in what's called anti-natalism - a philosophy that argues that life is so full of misery that people should stop procreating immediately.
This, he says, would gradually phase out humanity from the Earth and that would also be so much better for the planet.
"There's no point to humanity. So many people are suffering. If humanity is extinct, Earth and animals would be happier. They'll certainly be better off. Also no human will then suffer. Human existence is totally pointless."
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: CarbShark on February 07, 2019, 09:34:01 PM
Coming from people who think it’s perfectly okay to kill untolled billions of animals every year just to turn them into unhealthy food, squandering limited resources in the process, I am okay with folks thinking I’m a bad person. I actually agree with you that I’m a bad person, though not for the same reasons you do. A good person would give away to the poor all the income and/or property that he or she does not need for basic health and survival. I spend far more on my own enjoyment than I would need to survive. So we all agree that I’m a bad person, though for different reasons. And I’m okay with this. As a cynic and a misanthrope, I’m very happily spending my last few years having as much fun as I can, which at present amounts to paddling nearly every morning on the warm waters of this island paradise.

I’m reminded of a fellow I met in prison. He was convicted of possession of some large amount of marijuana with intent to sell. He told me that the pot that was presented as evidence in his case was not his. It was planted by the cops. However, he confided in me that he was actually selling pot. Just not that particular pot. They could not find his pot, so they planted some. He felt this was fair since he was actually guilty of selling pot. You judge me to be a bad person. Fair enough: I am. That we disagree on the reason(s) is not a problem for me.

And FWIW, I do not hate myself for being a bad person. I just accept it as who I am.

By the way, you know what  all this self hating anti human sentiment reminds me of?

Original sin. That’s the same self loathing that religions exploit.

“You are a sinner. All men are sinners. Next step god and salvation and eternal life and redemption.” Doesn’t that sound nice?

But you, you poor dumb miserable bastard, you’ve bought the humans are evil part of the equation and reject the holy salvation part. There’s no upside to that.

I reject both and live my life as best I can.


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Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: The Latinist on February 08, 2019, 11:25:12 AM
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?
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 on February 08, 2019, 02:26:05 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.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: CarbShark 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.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: brilligtove 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.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: 2397 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.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 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.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: CarbShark on February 09, 2019, 01:25:38 AM
How about “The Screwfly Solution”?


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Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: Captain Video 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.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 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.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: The Latinist 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?
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 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.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: 2397 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.
Title: Re: The morality of Thanos
Post by: daniel1948 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.