From: Dick.Gray@bull.com <Dick.Gray@bull.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com> Date: 13 January 1999 20:20
Subject: Re: Property and life
>To recap our exchange, Samael posts:
>>>>I don't have a right to live. I have a very strong 'wish' to live.
>>>What if I have a very strong wish to terminate your life? Is my wish not
>>>valid as yours? Can I rightfully implement my wish? If not, why not?
>>I have repeatedly stated that I don't believe in objective morals. So in
>>the above statement 'valid' and rightfully' do not make syntactic sense.
>>There is no 'right', 'wrong', 'valid', 'invalid', 'good', 'evil' except
>>within moral systems.
>There's no "right" or "wrong" way to construct a bridge, say? We can
>achieve our purposes in any arbitrary fashion?
There are more end less efficient methods of producing something you have
decided to produce.
Dammit. Sorry, I thought we were talking about morals.
>A logical deduction is neither valid nor invalid?
Again, I thought we were talking about morals.
>Eating (or the alternative, starving) is neither good nor evil?
No, it's bloody well not. A person decided to starve himself recently to protest against something or other here in the UK (something to do with animal welfare, I believe). It was not an evil act he committed. In his opinion it was a good action. Objectively? It was an action.
>On what criteria, then, do you base any decision at all, if there's no
>right or wrong, no judgment of validity, no good or evil?
Whether I like the outcome or not (bearing in mind that here are obht long and short term outcomes for all actions). I've stated this repeatedly. You are reading my posts, aren't you????
>>Please define ethics in some sort of objective way. Show me the
>>logical, non-emotional basis for ethics.
>I believe Mike Lorrey has proposed a satisfactory approach to an objective
You didn't read my critique of it, then?
>>So, I like Flu shots. Becasuwe I recognise their long term value. Liking
>>something is not necessarily an instaneous thing. You can like the
>Liking the outcome of something is not the same as liking the something.
Correct. I like surviving. So I do whatever is necessary to arrive there. It is not necessary to like every point on the road there, merely to like the place where I arrive. Should the method of travel be too unpalatable, then it may outweight the positive side of the place I am going, but it is still a matter of like and dislike.
>>Sorry, if I'm causing offence, but I'm still waiting for one example for a
>>purely logical basis for morals or ethics that does not depend on what
>>I or anyone else thinks or feels.
>No offense taken. Again I'll point out that I've proposed the evolutive
>point of view as a starting point for developing an objectively verifiable
>ethical code. While incomplete in itself, I think that, when combined with
>game-theoretical considerations, it may make possible an approach with
>considerable persuasive power for most reasonable people, at least in broad
And I still don't see why evolution is so great. It's a process for producing animals who'se ancestors were adept at producing children. (and my old biology teacher would have had me shot for saying that evolution was 'for' anything). Some of our characteristic were set by being able to survive an ice age, some by surviving the cataclysm that wiped out the dinosaurs, some by being fasterthan the things that were chasing us, some by being able to kill off all of our nearby predators, some by being able to shag our neighbours wives when they weren't looking. Very, very little of it was set in the last 10,000 years - far too short a period of time to have much evolution - but still the span of all of civilisation.
Oh, and I'll repeat my objection to Michael Lorreys argument (similar to yours in some respects) - EVERYTHING IS NATURAL. Every human act, everything we do, whether social, individual, liked or disliked, genocidal or political or sexual or whatever is a natural act. There is no dividing line between 'natural' and 'unnatural' except in peoples heads, just because some of us believe that we are 'above' nature or 'apart' from nature or 'over in the corner, looking at ' nature.
The same can bbe said of evolution - everythin we do is because evolution has set us up (Bang! goes my biology teacher) to act in this way in our surroundings.