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Why I love and hate Ethics.


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I'd like to start by quoting from this forums Statement of Purpose.

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Section 1: Purpose Statement
ScienceForums.net is dedicated to providing a forum for the discussion of all things scientific with the highest degree of integrity and respectability. We aim to provide all individuals, regardless of their education level, a forum to express their ideas and love of science.

I love this Purpose statement, yet I also hate it, because despite there being a Philosophy section here, I like to think that I try hard to discuss philosophy and ethics with the highest degree of integrity and respectability. 'Try' being the operative at least. I am by no means perfect. So it would be nice if the purpose statement of this page extended to mention this of ethics and philosophy, as well as science. For I have a love for Ethics and Philosophy that is just as bright as the one I have for Science. 

When I look around me, I am valuing everything as a something. We often talk of what values we should have, yet ignore the constant that we all are valuers. In ethics and meta-ethics, we have to talk about theories of value because how, why, what and to what degree we value are fundamental to moral motivation.

I love ethics for what it can do for the individual and the collective. I also hate it for what it can do to them. 

One of the things that shocked me the most about ethics, was that it stopped everything being black, white or gray in my eyes. It seemed more like their was this whole rainbow of a moral spectrum. Black and white still existed, but grey was gone and replaced by other colour. Virtue theory seemed yellow, Utilitarian Green, deontology blue. I even had a strange dream about this where the same scene was showed to me with my sight shaded by different colours each time I looked at it. I can't remember the scene, just what the colors felt like in my mind although in the end colour coding is arbitrary in this instance. 

The more I learned and diversified my studies in all of these different moral perspectives, the more diverse the colours became and the more I started to suspect that there are very few, potentially no people who can truly be seen as being in the ultra negative or positive end of this spectrum, whether you call that black or white. I suspected that a person would have to be blinded to something to be in or close to either extreme. 

In Pragmatic ethics, you'll maybe sometimes read the phrase Moral Ecology. Which describes the moral landscape of humanity and at times life itself, as diverse and constantly evolving. I believe this to be so. The one constant I see is that living entities can be described as agents of value. We all have that love/hate relationship with the universe and reality. More or less everyone seems to have things they value in the positive or the negative in this reality. From the basically physical demands and obstacles of life to the more abstract mental ones. 

This is why forms of moral-antirealism seem so ludicrous to me, value exists because valuers exist. All moral anti-realism does is take value and moral as concepts and applies a negative value to them as false, therefore all attempts to have a moral discussion is meaningless. Even though they literally just did the valuing act..

In conclusion, my purpose with this thread is to open up discussions in meta-ethics where we can focus on identifying just who it is that we are and what we are doing when we talk about things like good, bad, maladaptive, beneficial, etc. I can honestly say I am motivated by love and hate, love of the things that benefit our physical and moral ecology, hatred of the things that threaten it by being maladaptive or needlessly destructive. Using intellect, language and my own emotions in service to a principle of defense for our moral ecology. Albeit imperfectly, as I'm only human.

 

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Overall, I think the term is misused a LOT. I think many people who claim to study ethics consider themselves beyond reproach when it comes to ethical matters. It's very much like those who claim they're skeptics, because you can't possibly be wrong if you're questioning everything, right? It's tails I win, heads you lose, because I've already claimed the high ground.

I also think too many people invest too much emotion in this sense of rightness. If ethics are so basic, we should be able to dispassionately cite why, instead of feigning moral outrage when the basics don't seem clear to someone else. 

I think too many people are motivated by love and hate because they've started with that emotional premise rather than finding an intellectual motivation and investing their passions in THAT. It's far too easy to react with a jerk of the knee rather than a reasoned response.

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On 12/3/2020 at 3:20 PM, Phi for All said:

Overall, I think the term is misused a LOT. I think many people who claim to study ethics consider themselves beyond reproach when it comes to ethical matters. It's very much like those who claim they're skeptics, because you can't possibly be wrong if you're questioning everything, right? It's tails I win, heads you lose, because I've already claimed the high ground.

I also think too many people invest too much emotion in this sense of rightness. If ethics are so basic, we should be able to dispassionately cite why, instead of feigning moral outrage when the basics don't seem clear to someone else. 

I think too many people are motivated by love and hate because they've started with that emotional premise rather than finding an intellectual motivation and investing their passions in THAT. It's far too easy to react with a jerk of the knee rather than a reasoned response.

Beyond reproach or have a high bar for proof?

What is an intellectual motivation in comparison to an emotional one? Are you suggesting there is a state of pure reason where no emotion is felt, no desires are had and only reason and rationality exist? Doesn't sound human to me and flies in the face of facts of human psychology. 

Do you not love science? Do you not hate ignorance? I kind of get the feeling that someone who doesn't feel emotion wouldn't be rational and reasonable, they just wouldn't do anything at all and would have little motivation to do anything at all.

For example; let's say I want to learn about the human body because I am curious as to how it works. Now, you'd maybe call that a purely intellectual motivation. If it is purely intellectual, should it matter if you study on a cadaver or a living being? 

Also, who said ethics is basic? I don't agree with that nor did I claim it, ever. It's actually very difficult. 

Maybe you want to reread my OP and not react with a jerk of the knee yourself. Maybe you want to quote and narrow down which parts of the OP you are specifically addressing with your response as it seems unclear to me.

 Maybe a better way to display some of my own moral beliefs (since you've never really bothered to ask what any of them are before judging me) will be to ask this question. Do you think it is possible to be ethical? Or will every act we do invariably be perceived as an injustice or harm to someone else? 

My main point, is that we as living beings, cannot help but value things. For example you value intellectual pursuits but seem to hold emotions in a state of negative value, which is kind of like having an emotional reaction to the idea of emotions and is kind of funny to me. 

Just so we are clear, I absolutely do not think I am beyond reproach, ethics to me is an intellectual pursuit, I didn't talk about a "sense of rightness", I don't think people feign moral outrage when someone calls them a liar and an asshole, I think they are just feeling emotionally hurt because neither are very nice things to call people and it is kind of abusive. But then, by this forums logic, being called a liar and an asshole makes you the abusive one, not the people calling you that, for some reason. Last I checked the people shutting down and claiming the moral high ground was never me. So maybe you want to engage with this thread appropriately and save the projection and guilty conscious for someone who's trust and respect for you, you haven't damaged.

 

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5 minutes ago, MSC said:

Beyond reproach or have a high bar for proof?

Beyond reproach is what I said and meant, since having a high bar for proof is easily discernible from considering your stance unassailable.

7 minutes ago, MSC said:

What is an intellectual motivation in comparison to an emotional one? Are you suggesting there is a state of pure reason where no emotion is felt, no desires are had and only reason and rationality exist? Doesn't sound human to me and flies in the face of facts of human psychology. 

Let me point out the difference between what I said and what you're arguing against, otherwise you're strawmanning me. I advocated forming an intellectual argument first, THEN putting your emotions and passions behind THAT, rather than starting off emotionally. How is that "a state of pure reason where no emotion is felt"? Don't do this again, I don't suck that badly at explaining things.

15 minutes ago, MSC said:

Also, who said ethics is basic? I don't agree with that nor did I claim it, ever. It's actually very difficult. 

Maybe you want to reread my OP and not react with a jerk of the knee yourself. Maybe you want to quote and narrow down which parts of the OP you are specifically addressing with your response as it seems unclear to me.

 Maybe a better way to display some of my own moral beliefs (since you've never really bothered to ask what any of them are before judging me) will be to ask this question. Do you think it is possible to be ethical? Or will every act we do invariably be perceived as an injustice or harm to someone else? 

My main point, is that we as living beings, cannot help but value things. For example you value intellectual pursuits but seem to hold emotions in a state of negative value, which is kind of like having an emotional reaction to the idea of emotions and is kind of funny to me. 

Just so we are clear, I absolutely do not think I am beyond reproach, ethics to me is an intellectual pursuit, I didn't talk about a "sense of rightness", I don't think people feign moral outrage when someone calls them a liar and an asshole, I think they are just feeling emotionally hurt because neither are very nice things to call people and it is kind of abusive. But then, by this forums logic, being called a liar and an asshole makes you the abusive one, not the people calling you that, for some reason. Last I checked the people shutting down and claiming the moral high ground was never me. So maybe you want to engage with this thread appropriately and save the projection and guilty conscious for someone who's trust and respect for you, you haven't damaged.

Perhaps you should reread my response to your OP again, and not react as if I accused you personally of any of it. I was responding to your offer to discuss meta-ethics with an opinion of mine regarding the topic. I'm happy to bow out if this isn't what you had in mind.

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3 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

Let me point out the difference between what I said and what you're arguing against, otherwise you're strawmanning me. I advocated forming an intellectual argument first, THEN putting your emotions and passions behind THAT, rather than starting off emotionally. How is that "a state of pure reason where no emotion is felt"? Don't do this again, I don't suck that badly at explaining things.

I didn't say you sucked? Okay, I can see that you're still angry with me and not in the frame of mind to discuss these things without an attitude. Maybe you should try and chill out a little and stop holding a grudge you have no business having in the first place. You didn't get called a liar and an asshole so you can stop pretending like you are the one owed an apology. I should be the one holding a grudge, yet here I am still trying to have a conversation with you despite the passive aggression you throw my way. 

I'm asking you, how does anyone form an intellectual argument first when emotion is always the motivator? 

This is my last comment until after the holidays. Figure out if you want to treat me with basic respect by then, if not we probably shouldn't bother discussing anything with each other. I really can't be bothered with people who hold grudges and talk down to people they aren't even prepared to try and understand.

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22 minutes ago, MSC said:

I didn't say you sucked?

!

Moderator Note

And Phi didn't accuse you of saying it.

Phi gave you an out for the strawman you appeared to be making, and you've chosen not to take the graceful approach of clarifying what you meant, in a way that eliminates the strawman.

Instead, we have this.

 
22 minutes ago, MSC said:

Okay, I can see that you're still angry with me and not in the frame of mind to discuss these things without an attitude.

!

Moderator Note

This is a response that absolves you of any wrongdoing; you've decided that the answer is that someone is mad at you and it's their fault that there is a disagreement, rather than the possibility that you had misinterpreted or misread something, or were just wrong about something. 

This approach leaves a lot to be desired.

 

 

 

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11 minutes ago, swansont said:
!

Moderator Note

And Phi didn't accuse you of saying it.

Phi gave you an out for the strawman you appeared to be making, and you've chosen not to take the graceful approach of clarifying what you meant, in a way that eliminates the strawman.

Instead, we have this.

 
!

Moderator Note

This is a response that absolves you of any wrongdoing; you've decided that the answer is that someone is mad at you and it's their fault that there is a disagreement, rather than the possibility that you had misinterpreted or misread something, or were just wrong about something. 

This approach leaves a lot to be desired.

 

 

 

This is a strange apology?

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58 minutes ago, MSC said:

Okay, I can see that you're still angry with me and not in the frame of mind to discuss these things without an attitude. Maybe you should try and chill out a little and stop holding a grudge you have no business having in the first place.

This is a good example of the unassailable stance I mentioned earlier. You claim to be the one with ethics, and judge me as the one with anger who's not in the right frame of mind and needs to chill out and stop holding baseless grudges. I must be unethical, because you surely can't be!

It's like skepticism, which can be easily misused. Skeptics can't just sit on the fence. If they don't accept something, they need to dig into it and decide one way or the other. And folks who study ethics should be wary of assuming their arguments and stances are always right. 

Adding a disclaimer to note that I'm still discussing the meta-ethical aspects of this topic, and my comments have nothing to do with anyone personally, or with any past event, or a different thread, and come from a reasoned frame of mind. 

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21 minutes ago, swansont said:

It wasn't an apology; I guess we haven't ruled out that the problem might just be reading comprehension.

Probably, but on which side? I wasn't the one who originally misread what I said about a eugenics thread and then accused someone of lying by saying no such thread exists. 

I think we haven't ruled out the problem that someone should apologise, for the sake of maintaining civility and de-escalating conflicts at least. 

Or, you can just keep on insulting me and expecting me to listen to that like it's valid. Knowing full well I will not. Do you really think that's the best strategy here? I gave you plenty of opportunity to send an apology privately, you have not as you think I'm beneath you for some reason, knowing full well I believe in equality and knowing that I believe no one, myself included, is faultless or perfect. If I believe that of myself, what could possibly make you think I don't believe the same of you? 😕

I genuinely want there to be resolution here, but I'm not the one slapping the hand away. 

There is an apology to you in a suggestions thread, if you wish to have an open dialogue about this, where the goal is resolution and amends, we can carry on this conversation there. 

12 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

This is a good example of the unassailable stance I mentioned earlier. You claim to be the one with ethics, and judge me as the one with anger who's not in the right frame of mind and needs to chill out and stop holding baseless grudges. I must be unethical, because you surely can't be!

It's like skepticism, which can be easily misused. Skeptics can't just sit on the fence. If they don't accept something, they need to dig into it and decide one way or the other. And folks who study ethics should be wary of assuming their arguments and stances are always right. 

Adding a disclaimer to note that I'm still discussing the meta-ethical aspects of this topic, and my comments have nothing to do with anyone personally, or with any past event, or a different thread, and come from a reasoned frame of mind. 

I claimed I study ethics. I never claimed you were unethical or that I was more or less ethical. I'm not the one strawmanning nor am I the one who is now projecting. If I truly believed you were unethical, I'd not be speaking to you now.

Out of the two of us, only one has made biased ethical comparisons and judgements, it was not me. Do I need to quote you from the private message you sent me?

Neither of you even behave as if I am worthy of an apology. Who's making the ethical judgements? Who banned who and accused who of abusive behaviour? I was direct and honest, imagining that I shouted my writing at you has caused you to justify your behaviour, even though I was calm and sincere when writing, as I still am. 

Can you really not see how hurtful your actions were? Do you think I'm lying when I say I feel unjustly hurt by you? Why would I lie about that?

I know you're not lying if you say the same to me. Do you want an apology? Ask for it, I've already given one in another thread but it is no skin off my nose to apologise, I know better than most how I come across to others, I know better than most that even with the best of intentions, I can still cause hurt. 

21 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

And folks who study ethics should be wary of assuming their arguments and stances are always right. 

But you don't have to be wary of that too? Okay. PhiforAllism reigns supreme and you decide right and wrong for everyone, from now on.

So am I unethical? Am I a bad irredeemable person who should be dead and not here?

38 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

Adding a disclaimer to note that I'm still discussing the meta-ethical aspects of this topic, and my comments have nothing to do with anyone personally, or with any past event, or a different thread, and come from a reasoned frame of mind. 

Just saw this disclaimer. That is fine by me and I'll retract my previous inferences of your underlying motivations for commenting. There is a thread open elsewhere if you or anyone else wants to discuss the grievances.

On 12/3/2020 at 3:20 PM, Phi for All said:

think too many people are motivated by love and hate because they've started with that emotional premise rather than finding an intellectual motivation and investing their passions in THAT. It's far too easy to react with a jerk of the knee rather than a reasoned response.

I focussed on love and hate in the OP, however my main point, or Humes point, is that we are all emotionally motivated. Ethics too is an intellectual pursuit, so how can you fault anyone who puts their passions into it, if that is what your advice is?

The reason I talk about valuing as the basis for meta-ethical reasoning and not on values themselves, is due to observation that we all in fact engage in value ascriptions every day, in every way. Emotional sentiment is the core motivator for engagement in all pursuits, intellectual or otherwise. 

I'd even go so far as to say that even when we feel certain we are being rational and reasonable, these two are emotional states. 

How familiar are you with stoic temperance and what do you take temperance to mean? This is very important as a lot of people misunderstand what is meant by temperance. 

In the rest of this discussion, there will be a lot of ground to cover and it will take me some time to mention everything in my research that contributes to my methodology. This is a disclaimer where I state clearly that my methods for philosophical and moral evaluation and reasoning are NOT unassailable, but they are nuanced and complex and will take time for me to go over. So I'd appreciate if people can reserve judgement on it until the picture has been painted, at which time constructive criticism will be more effective. 

Ultimately, I actually believe that myself, Swansont and you have similar values and morals, but we differ greatly on the modal expression of those. Particularly I think when it comes to the subject of authority. Which is a very contentious topic of conversation anywhere. From this point on though, when we discuss authority we will steer clear of discussing it's dynamic in this forum and focus on other venues where we are equal in that neither of us is an authority within those venues, neither of us are career politicians for example.

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1 hour ago, MSC said:

I claimed I study ethics. I never claimed you were unethical or that I was more or less ethical. I'm not the one strawmanning nor am I the one who is now projecting.

Here, let me post again what I said: "This is a good example of the unassailable stance I mentioned earlier. You claim to be the one with ethics, and judge me as the one with anger who's not in the right frame of mind and needs to chill out and stop holding baseless grudges. I must be unethical, because you surely can't be!"

I'm not sure how to explain this any better. I'm not saying you made any claims. I'm saying THE UNASSAILABLE STANCE is the culprit here, because it assumes I've got all these problems that make me wrong (I'm angry, I'm not in the right frame of mind, I need to chill out, all your words btw). The flip side, of course, is that you're automatically the ethical person in this exchange.

Please understand, I'm posting this as an interpretation  of some of the ethical stances I've seen posted over the years. It really has nothing to do with you or anything you've specifically posted. Like my observation about skeptics, it's behavior I've noted and want to be aware of, always.

1 hour ago, MSC said:

Out of the two of us, only one has made biased ethical comparisons and judgements, it was not me. Do I need to quote you from the private message you sent me?

I'm happy to reprint the whole conversation here, if you like. Let me get permissions from the other two participants.

1 hour ago, MSC said:

Neither of you even behave as if I am worthy of an apology.

The offenses weren't worth an apology. It's disingenuous to claim someone called you an asshole when they actually said your behavior might make you look that way.

1 hour ago, MSC said:

Can you really not see how hurtful your actions were? Do you think I'm lying when I say I feel unjustly hurt by you? Why would I lie about that?

I'm still not sure why you flew into such a rage when I told you that threatening to leave unless I banned someone was unethical to me. Most of your hurt feelings seemed to stem from that.

1 hour ago, MSC said:

But you don't have to be wary of that too?

Every hour I'm awake.

1 hour ago, MSC said:

So am I unethical? Am I a bad irredeemable person who should be dead and not here?

I think you should figure out what you stand for reasonably first, then put all this passionate energy into THAT. This overblown reaction is counterproductive. 

You seem very reasonable about other subjects, but when you start talking about ethics you get very high-leg about the subject, and act like anyone who disagrees with you is calling you a monster. That's what triggered my comments about the unassailable position. You act like we're all at fault here, but you were the one who asked the staff to do something against their own ethics, and when we pushed back you unleashed the kraken on us, and accused us of all kinds of things. 

I think there was a molehill that needed attention, the staff didn't act quick enough for your liking, so you've now turned it into a mountain. Merry Christmas!

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4 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

You seem very reasonable about other subjects, but when you start talking about ethics you get very high-leg about the subject, and act like anyone who disagrees with you is calling you a monster. That's what triggered my comments about the unassailable position. You act like we're all at fault here, but you were the one who asked the staff to do something against their own ethics, and when we pushed back you unleased the kraken on us, and accused us of all kinds of things. 

I've already said my piece on that and I considered the matter closed until Swansont came in and accused me of lying after misreading what I said. I did not "fly into a rage" as you say until the point where he had accused me of being a liar. 

This is what I mean by imagining my writing as if I'm shouting it at you, instead of assuming I was calm when I said what I said. 

My anger, is towards eugenics and being accused of lying. 

I did not break any rules by reaching out to the moderation team, reporting what I thought may have been rule breaching posts for you to evaluate, nor is it against the rules to communicate that if a certain view (eugenics) is not moderated the way it has been in the past, I won't feel comfortable enough to remain here. It was in no way blackmail and I dropped the issue after you had moderated the person. Swansont piling on and calling me a liar was out of order, the molehill as you put it, had been dealt with. I did not dig it back up. Swansont did. 

There is a eugenics thread on this site, he countered that claim by saying there was not, I then sent him a link to that thread and he never retracted his statement or acknowledged that I was in fact telling the truth. He instead doubled down and moved the goalposts to say he was talking only specifically about what is on his report list, something I have no access to as I am not staff here nor do I want to be. The original message I sent highlighted very specifically the eugenics thread, not the eugenics report which I never made nor claimed to word in any report I have made. The eugenics thread exists, so Swansonts claim that there was not, came across as an accusation that I was lying about the existence of a thread. Why would I lie about something so easily and quickly verifiable? Why is that accusation not worthy of an apology to the person who got accused of lying? 

 

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21 minutes ago, MSC said:

The eugenics thread exists, so Swansonts claim that there was not, came across as an accusation that I was lying about the existence of a thread. Why would I lie about something so easily and quickly verifiable? Why is that accusation not worthy of an apology to the person who got accused of lying? 

Whether or not you had access to the list swansont referred to, it was made clear you both were simply not on the same page in that instance. Nobody said anything about lying, until you decided on your own that it "came across as an accusation". Then you spun that up into "Swansont called me a liar!", and now you want him to apologize for it. I don't know about Tom, but I wouldn't.

This is why I hate how ethics is often studied. There seems to be no way to disagree with The Ethical Folks without it becoming an issue of your own integrity.

 

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51 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

Whether or not you had access to the list swansont referred to, it was made clear you both were simply not on the same page in that instance.

This is the first time any of you have even mentioned the possibility that we weren't BOTH on the same page. Up until now it has been put that it was solely me whom was not on the same page. This is the first time any one has even admitted I was right in the first instance when I said there was a eugenics thread on this forum. 

If Swansont can't admit he misunderstood me the first time, he can forego the apology. As it is, an apology for misunderstanding me or accusing me of lying, it makes no difference. I am owed an apology one way or the other. I'm happy to apologise for my part in a misunderstanding. 

You also did not address what I mentioned about me being okay with your moderation in the first instance, only for swansont to make it personal and pile on, hypervalent Iodine too, whom has never spoken to me at all and I know nothing about, save that they scolded me for being upset that I was misread or accused by swansont.

Have you truly tried to see this from my perspective? Or is it somehow distateful for me as a man to admit that you and others are capable of hurting my feelings without good justification?

51 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

This is why I hate how ethics is often studied. There seems to be no way to disagree with The Ethical Folks without it becoming an issue of your own integrity.

Who are The Ethical Folks? Do you hate how it is studied or do you hate that you don't know exactly how it is studied, discussed and debated? Or maybe you do know exactly but still hate it because it can lead to a lot of emotional charging and triggering on all sides? To me that is just part of the human condition itself. I myself have witnessed (although not here which is good) arguments and debates in hard sciences that get just as emotionally charged as ethical subjects. 

To be completely honest with you, there are plenty of contexts where I'd agree, I really wish how ethics was studied was different, or at least consistent. I also hate how other ethicists can make the same implications that bother you, about my integrity. Whenever I get into a debate with Antinatalists, I am usually faced with the same thing. Unfortunately, integrity is a moral subject. 

Do I believe you personally have a lot of personal integrity? Yes, you wouldn't be arguing this hard if you didn't and anyone who creates or contributes to a free source of learning and discussion definitely is a good person in my eyes. 

I think the thing that really bothers people about ethics, is that if you talk about it with anyone for long enough, conflicts will arise as everyone invariably ends up having to deal with the knowledge that they cannot be ethically perfect or that others cannot. We all have blindspots, biases and predispositions not only towards different ideas but also different styles of putting those ideas across in communication. 

I don't really know if it is possible to keep such things out of the field. It also isn't just your integrity that is at play, my own is at play too. Swansont insulted it, I returned it in kind. I firmly believe in giving people what they give and it doesn't take a genius to know that Swansont can be unfairly abrasive and rude when he speaks to people he has authority over.

If by "the ethical folks" you mean ethicists, or people whom have devoted their lives toward that intellectual pursuit, maybe you can look at it this way. How would you feel if your area of expertise is viewed by most people as subjective or a matter of opinion, even from experts within that field who have to make sincere efforts to argue consistently from a moral realist position, the position that has led to the increased levels of safety and security some of us in the modern world enjoy?

My position has never been that I am unassailable or more moral or immoral than the next person. Do I believe there is a number of right and wrong ways to engage with a situation? Yes. Am I always going to be right? No. Is anyone? No. Are you? No. 

There are consequences to our actions. The consequences for Swansonts misreading of me and appearing to accuse me of lying, is that I feel deeply insulted and the insult grows the longer I am without an apology. I can forgive without one, but I won't forget it without one. I am also not in control of how I feel. I'm not feeling a certain way to make anyone feel as if I am saying they are an awful person. I am just saying, if you want to repair the damage and cost of the harming actions, the best start is with an apology. Do not refuse to give one, out of an unassailable position that you have somehow not done anything wrong when the negative consequences of the actions are right there in front of you.

Not giving one at this point isn't the moral high-ground or preserving integrity, it's pride and an invalidation of the hurt party as less than, not worthy of an apology on even a basic human level.

Of course, if anyone wants to claim I have not been wronged on deontological grounds, I'm all ear. Consequentialist grounds won't work though as negative consequences have already happened. 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, MSC said:

Probably, but on which side? I wasn't the one who originally misread what I said about a eugenics thread and then accused someone of lying by saying no such thread exists.

If you're talking about the thread where I claimed that the intelligence of a biological organism is determined by its neurological system then that is not eugenic. I can claim that automobiles with a V8 engine can go faster than those with a V6 engine, and there is no implication that I believe automobiles with V6 engines should be destroyed.

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1 hour ago, VenusPrincess said:

If you're talking about the thread where I claimed that the intelligence of a biological organism is determined by its neurological system then that is not eugenic. I can claim that automobiles with a V8 engine can go faster than those with a V6 engine, and there is no implication that I believe automobiles with V6 engines should be destroyed.

No, that is the barrier to equal opportunities in education thread, not the eugenics thread I was referring to.

This is also not the claim that you made in the education thread. 

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If people do not behave in the same way it is because there is a morphological difference between them. That is the fundamental source of inequality. It's also impossible to fix, and there is no reason to either. Should we alter the genetics of the potato so that it will have the same morphology as a dog? Why? Why should organisms be equal? To what end? Give up on this childish dream of equality and accept reality.

This was in fact your first comment. Your claim is that we should not try to fix inequality because genetic difference is the underlying source of it. You also conflate equality with genetic sameness in this instance and are using genetics to make moral claims about how we should treat people who are different. Which also ignores the environmental factors at play in the neurological evolution of an individual within their lifetime.

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You have implicitly decided. It seems like many "progressives" have decided that morphological differences related to skin color and skull structure, i.e. the outward physical indicators of race, supersede all other others when ensuring equal opportunity.

Your focus on outward morphological differences is wrong headed. The morphological differences which are responsible for differences in achievement are most likely found within the neurological system. If those differences are passed down in conjunction with and therefore correlated with outward morphological differences then the problem is not with the outward differences, but with the neurological system.

If by progressive, you mean liberal, then you're wrong. I'm not a liberal or a conservative and this is not a political debate, it is an ethical one. 

Ultimately your argument rests on maintaining an unequal status quo, on the basis that those at the top are neurologically superior to others because of achievement, while adhering to a very strict definition of achievement in academia being a reflection of success as an organism. 

You even used the phrase "passed down". 

My claim, is that using morphological and genetic criteria to come to the conclusion that inequality should not be fixed, reeks of eugenics. Yes, you've not straight up said we should destroy the people you deem to have genes and neurology inferior to your own, but you are still allowing it to dictate your moral reasoning. 

I also don't think you want to make that argument to me, about neurological difference in academic performance. I have a better memory than most, due to my neurological structure and this has been verified through peer reviewed research into autistic individuals (allowing for variance within that spectrum of course) and I out performed most of my peers in written exams. Not all and I can only give first hand accounts to the people I went to school with. Don't have the data to compare to other schools.

It shouldn't matter either way anyway. As my neurology does not make me more or less deserving than others of an education. There is always a bigger fish in the brain department but should we not even bother to teach children because they start out with the neurology of a complete ignoramus? Does our society have a need for achievers and success in multiple areas of life? Not just success in academia? Yes. Then you have the notion that what makes you weak in one field of study, can be a strength in another field of study. 

So you'll have to forgive me for saying you have presented yourself as a eugenics advocate, but your word choice and conclusions look like eugenics. So maybe you'd like to retract and rephrase what your moral claims are?

 

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I was involved in that thread also ( if it's the one concerning barriers to education ), and I don't recall eugenics being discussed at all.
Eugenics: the practice or advocacy of improving the human species by selectively mating people with desirable hereditary traits.
We do this all the time with animals and has led to the domestication of many species.
It is even somewhat practiced when selecting characteristics of the father, during artificial insemination from a sperm bank.
This is a science forum and humans are just another species.
Aside from moral/ethical considerations, I don't see the objection to discussing eugenics as defined above.

If MSC has a different definition for eugenics, I'd be interested in hearing it.
I don't relish 'walking on eggshells' with my posts because he misinterprets meanings, or is easily offended, and reports people.

edit
As for the rest of the 'bitch session', I suggest PM.
Nobody needs to air their dirty laundry in public.

 

 

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1 hour ago, MigL said:

As for the rest of the 'bitch session', I suggest PM.
Nobody needs to air their dirty laundry in public.

A thick concept description toward airing a grievance publicly if it is required. Or maybe people who bring lawsuits are just having a "bitch session" too?

This is an example of throwing an eggshell onto the ground. If you find it tasteless for people to air their grievances in a public setting, then your issues are with natural responses towards perceived misuses of authority. 

Last time I tried to deal with this in a PM, I was banned. So maybe with a little empathy you can perhaps understand why I felt the need to make it public? Since it seemed like the only way to have a reasonable discussion where one side wasn't silenced completely. 

Just so you know, the issues have been resolved, in part because I aired them here. If you don't want me to take things personally, don't describe my behaviour as bitchy in anyway. I detest the use of thick concepts to describe peoples behaviour and if your desire is to NOT escalate things, don't use that word unless you are actually talking about a female dog.

This is what I meant in my earlier comment when I asked if it was somehow distasteful for a man to display or admit to hurt feelings. To the point where you'd use the term 'bitch session' as a means to shame me into not breaking that cultural taboo again. Too bad, I'm a man, I have feelings, the only thing wrong about my sharing that publicly are peoples attitudes towards that act being so negative in the first place. 

1 hour ago, MigL said:

I was involved in that thread also ( if it's the one concerning barriers to education ), and I don't recall eugenics being discussed at all.
Eugenics: the practice or advocacy of improving the human species by selectively mating people with desirable hereditary traits.
We do this all the time with animals and has led to the domestication of many species.
It is even somewhat practiced when selecting characteristics of the father, during artificial insemination from a sperm bank.
This is a science forum and humans are just another species.
Aside from moral/ethical considerations, I don't see the objection to discussing eugenics as defined above.

If MSC has a different definition for eugenics, I'd be interested in hearing it.
I don't relish 'walking on eggshells' with my posts because he misinterprets meanings, or is easily offended, and reports people.

Take out mating from that definition and you have broad eugenics. Who decides what is and isn't a desirable trait and is any desirable trait always a desirable trait? Advocating for selection criteria based solely upon inherited traits, internal or external, is eugenics. It's a slippery slope to be on, because if you can justify selecting who gets an education based solely on what one or a majority group of people decide is a desirable trait, then why not just go the whole nine and claim the genetically "inferior" should just be destroyed so they stop trying to get into school and demanding things like equality of opportunity?

In philosophy and ethics, a lot of people get caught up in finding the right definition for a word, instead of the right definition within a certain context. 

A quick look at any dictionary will display clearly that few words have only one meaning. If it is a philosophy dictionary, that reality becomes even more apparent. 

This is a science forum, ethics is a social science. Like any other science, it has it's own vocabulary and definitions are relative to the context in which they are used. Linguistics is also a science and that too has theories which revolve around meaning of a word being relative to the context in which it is used.

However, this should not be taken to mean that the meaning of a word is subjective and that we can use any word to mean anything whenever we want, that would be chaos. No, it has to make contextual sense. This includes the etymology of a word, it's past and current uses, the history behind the use of a word. 

The history of the theories of eugenics, does not end at selective mating, but using genetic criteria to be selective about everything, from who gets to have freedom, rights, opportunity, resources, everything. 

The question that I've yet to hear a eugenics advocate answer, from minor eugenics to extreme eugenics, who exactly decides what is and is not a desirable trait and what gives them the authority to make those judgements?

This is the sort of thing I compulsively perseverate over. Using those words very specifically, compulsive and perseverate. That way people will maybe be open to the possibility that I take things personally because I cannot forget and it actually takes a lot of effort for me to just move on with no resolution to a problem. This is something most autistic people have a problem with. It doesn't make me bitchy nor does it make me a bad person. If people would remember that I do infact have an ASD diagnosis, maybe they'd understand why I communicate differently and also why selecting based on neurology is abhorrent to me, I don't know if you've ever come across an autism hate site, but people there regularly argue that people like me be aborted and go so far as to put out misinformation that autism can be cured by drinking bleach. Parents have actually believed this and tried to force feed bleach to autistic children. 

Ethical discussions, tend to be all eggshells. It's not always fun, it is not comfortable, these sorts of talks are difficult to have and even the best of us lose our heads.

I stand by my categorization of VenusPrincesses claims as eugenics. I've also given them the opportunity to rephrase it since maybe they aren't aware of the history of eugenics nor it's different modal applications. 

 

 

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Nickels worth of free advice: Stop writing War and Peace with every post.

If you can’t say it concisely, then you likely don’t understand it well enough to be discussing it at all.

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40 minutes ago, iNow said:

Nickels worth of free advice: Stop writing War and Peace with every post.

If you can’t say it concisely, then you likely don’t understand it well enough to be discussing it at all.

You mean just in the forum setting right? 

That isn't the only reason you might not be able to say something concisely. Depends on how complex and elaborate what you're talking about is. 

I barely write more than a small essays worth at a time. Maybe the mistake I make is thinking that just because I take the time to write it, others will put the same amount of time into reading it? The annoying thing about writing a book, is slow feedback. 

I don't really know how you put a decades worth of research into something concise enough to be short, sweet and simple. The closest I can get to that; reality and existence are complicated, it isn't short, it isn't simple or easily describable, that is the simplest truth there is. 

I'm a devil is in the details and nuance type. If people want something that can fit into a tweet or makes a nice sounding short quote for someones yearbook, that is not philosophy or ethics... Oh my, how the tables have turned. I sound like the older ones just saying that and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but despite my ignorance and rejection of it at the time, they were right...

I'll take your advice though, that the forum venue is not the place for my windbag proclivities and that I am wasting my time writing at length when time to read is not something everyone has. 

That being said, be aware that your advice runs counter to others on this same forum, which is that I should expand more. Unless you think the criticism, that I write too much when I should write little, and too little when I should write more, would be a valid criticism to make of me? You can answer that honestly without fear of me snapping back you by the way. You've displayed to me, a level of linguistic precision that I envy, within the ethics threads. You are also direct and to the point. I can't believe I'm saying it, but I actually trust you to objectively critique my approach, as you've displayed a great deal of competency in your arguments for affirmative action. 

As we'd say in Scotland; go oan san, intellectually roast me mate! Gi me the fear.

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5 hours ago, MSC said:

Take out mating from that definition and you have broad eugenics. Who decides what is and isn't a desirable trait and is any desirable trait always a desirable trait? Advocating for selection criteria based solely upon inherited traits, internal or external, is eugenics. It's a slippery slope to be on, because if you can justify selecting who gets an education based solely on what one or a majority group of people decide is a desirable trait, then why not just go the whole nine and claim the genetically "inferior" should just be destroyed so they stop trying to get into school and demanding things like equality of opportunity?

So you are saying that discriminating amongst differing traits as to which is more desirable, is always wrong. Even if one attempts to use it for a 'good' purpose, like selecting out a genetic disorder.
Yet when I suggested that discriminating according to 'racial 'traits is wrong , even for the 'good' purpose of Affirmative Action, you ( and others ) were totally against it, and that I was misguided.

You really should be more consistent with your arguments.
Or do you get to pick and choose when to apply your high ( superior ? ) morals/ethics ?
 

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14 minutes ago, MigL said:

So you are saying that discriminating amongst differing traits as to which is more desirable, is always wrong. Even if one attempts to use it for a 'good' purpose, like selecting out a genetic disorder.
Yet when I suggested that discriminating according to 'racial 'traits is wrong , even for the 'good' purpose of Affirmative Action, you ( and others ) were totally against it, and that I was misguided.

You really should be more consistent with your arguments.
Or do you get to pick and choose when to apply your high ( superior ? ) morals/ethics ?
 

No, I don't. It's a good point to make and I had a feeling you would make it. So I prepared an answer in advance.

Affirmative action is not discrimination based on racial traits but a racial history of injustice. Although, I suppose you could argue for when the period of restitution and reparation should end? I don't know.

If the inverse scenario had been true, and whites had been enslaved on mass and brought to Africa to work against their will, then todays affirmative action would be for the benefits of that white history of being victims of a great injustice.

It isn't solely based on race. Your arguments didn't even strike me as eugenics, I would have said something if any of them had struck me as such. You made your point in that thread that your ultimate fears in regards to affirmative action, reside in overcompensation leading to a different kind of racism or unjust prejudice. 

What you didn't suggest, was that current and ongoing systems of inequality are justified based on inherent superiority of one groups genes over another. Eugenics lite, for lack of a better way to describe what I mean. 

I could try and expand more, but I'm going to make more of an effort to be more concise and to the point, as INow suggests. So I'll try to refrain and stick to a more casual flow of conversation. Results may vary...

 

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