Re: ETHICS: Utility First--> Fraud

J. R. Molloy (
Sat, 16 May 1998 15:10:28 -0700

Ian Goddard wrote:
> A "me first"
>principle is obviously useful to me, so
>"utility first, truth maybe" standard
>will automatically promote fraud
>and abolish a code of ethical
>conduct that is the only
>hope for science & humanity...

Can you imagine that real science has no
use for ethics, because real science
tests itself with its own record of
accuracy... its ability to precisely
predict events. Science does not hope.
Science intends to know.

Obviously, science does not exist
separately from brains. But what if it
"If science could talk,
it would whisper in song
like a morning breeze.
If science could touch
it would splash sweet lotion
upon my flesh and bones,
and the stream of it
would soothe, refresh and delight.
If science could see,
it would behold immense
and timeless reveries inside of me
within a heartbeat
sturdy as earth and sea,
and delicate as starlight
reflected in a misty eye.
The scientist's brain remembers shadows
of the would-be-nows
in feather-years of stillness
and dismay.
The scientist's brain knows silence
of the will-be-thens
in vaulted unknown spaces
of the bending land.
The scientist's brain knows suchness;
the stretching fibers
of a textured body singing
the ecstasy of light.
O passion of the quest for truth,
revealing science without end."
--Zulma Divya

"Utility first"? Nay, first find the
science that can free you from every
sort of teleology.

"ethics first"? Absurd to demarcate good
from bad until you know the point of
doing so.

"At last you find the truth, the place
where you began, and recognize it for
the first time." --Some Smartguy

>"truth first" ethic instills a standard
of ethics:
>a principle which the individual must
>him/herself for "the greater good,"
which, lets
>face it, is a defining principle of any
>minity, that I will agree to abide by a
>set of rules that includes your rights.

My own life teaches me that individuals
subordinate themselves to community
standards for entirely selfish reasons.
The myth of altruism persists, I
suppose, because it assuages the
cognitive dissonance of pointless

>I think that Daniel is correct to
observe the
>utilitarian aspect of a truth-first
>but this aspect is just as well as
>"Utility dictates that some other
>than utility be the prime directive."

Not quite. The usefulness of truth
coincides with its ability to provide
value to its adherents. For example: a
company that engages in fraudulant
testing practices knows that it has done
so. Such a company must nevertheless
acknowledge the truth of the matter by
diligently concealing the fraud.

One might suggest as a "prime directive"
the selection of a useful truth over a
useless one. In this case, it appears
somewhat unethical to try to identify
either truth or utility as prime
directives because we've just identified
reason as the prime directive. If it
appears unreasonable to do otherwise,
then we have our proof as well. --JRM