Why We Can't Resolve Ethical Arguments

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This topic contains 27 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  PopeBeanie 2 months, 2 weeks ago.

Viewing 13 posts - 16 through 28 (of 28 total)
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  • #33228

    Unseen
    Participant

    I love the way Simon and Davis are proving my point. Nothing either of you can offer as evidence will change either mind. It’s because your attitudes aren’t fact driven. You use facts to justify your position but no fact will prove your position.

    #33229

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    I’m actually pro-choice.

    All these attitudes are fact-driven.  It’s how people interpret the facts – what value they place on various facts – that makes the difference.

    #33230

    Davis
    Moderator

    What the hell are you talking about? Simon stated that it is a fact that a fertilised egg is alive. I countered that it depends on the definition of alive. Instead of defining “alive” he gave a bad analogy. I countered with an equally silly analogy to show how silly his analogy was. He replied by throwing in a new term “dormant” that also totally evades dealing with “defining what alive means”.

    It is an absolute fact that how Alice a fertilised embryo is depends on the definition of “Alive”. I never said in this discussion that it is or isn’t alive but that it’s questionable how alive it is based on which definition is used and I implied that it is difficult to give a definition that doesn’t arbitrarily include some but exclude others.

    Unseen you have completely micharicterised the debate. I’m not trying to change any moral or ethical view here but challenge Simon’s completely wrong assumption that:

    Everyone knows that a foetus is alive.

    That is not true. Simon and I are both pro-life. Our stance here is irrelevant. He thinks it comes down to interpretation. I claim it comes down to definitions.

    #33231

    Davis
    Moderator

    That should read pro-choice

    #33232

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    You use facts to justify your position but no fact will prove your position.

    What do you mean by “prove”?  The fact is, in some matters, there’s an ethical dilemma.  Each side has a good case.  But what the anti-abortion people are not stating, is that it’s also a patriarchal attempt to control women’s bodies and reproduction.  Is there a hidden agenda for pro-choice people?  Conservatives might say that “liberals just enjoy murdering babies” as Trump says, or “want to destroy the family” which has some kind of twisted grain of truth to it.  But both positions are ridiculous and childish.

    #33233

    Unseen
    Participant

    Is there a hidden agenda for pro-choice people?

    Introducing facts and rationality into an emotional issue in order to create a rational world, but it’s futile. Emotional issues are generally not based on misunderstandings that a fact or two will change.

    #33234

    About 20 years ago I joined a demonstration, organized by some local Catholic zealots, to protest stem cell research. My sign read “This could be the sign you are looking for”. They were so passionate about not allowing scientists to murder these “living” organisms. Did not matter to them if the cells were adult or embryonic because “life is life”. I explained to one of their ringleaders that my main concern was all the space these cells were using up. “I mean a mere 100 of them could take up almost an entire millimeter of space so what would happen if it all went unchecked?” I suggested the solution would need to be much more than a mere “ecumenical matter” but they asked me to leave. “OK, but I am taking my sign with me!”

    #33235

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Introducing facts and rationality into an emotional issue

    To pro-life people, it’s a “fact” that the foetus is a human being.  To pro-choice people, more accurately in my opinion, it’s a proto-human being, not yet a human being.  However, it has rights under the law, not to be killed in an assault.  It’s one big grey area, and the stakes are high.  Hence the emotions and disagreements.

    If something is pre-human, and not yet fully human, this doesn’t necessarily negate its rights.  Rights are given to all human beings, for being human.  That’s why Peter Singer’s tortuous, excluding definitions of “person” are such a load of crap.

    #33236

    Unseen
    Participant

    Introducing facts and rationality into an emotional issue

    To pro-life people, it’s a “fact” that the foetus is a human being. To pro-choice people, more accurately in my opinion, it’s a proto-human being, not yet a human being. However, it has rights under the law, not to be killed in an assault. It’s one big grey area, and the stakes are high. Hence the emotions and disagreements. If something is pre-human, and not yet fully human, this doesn’t necessarily negate its rights. Rights are given to all human beings, for being human. That’s why Peter Singer’s tortuous, excluding definitions of “person” are such a load of crap.

    It’s all definitions in the service of attitudes. Isn’t that obvious?

    #33239

    Ivy
    Participant

    Because people are stupid, selfish, and utterly incapable of living in a way that benefits others….and they will kill us all.

    or maybe that’s just the orange one’s sheep…

    #33240

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    I don’t know, I think we have to assume that each side is well meaning, and start from there.  Everyone tends to have the same motivations, unless they have “dark traits” or some kind of hidden agenda.

    #33241

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Introducing facts and rationality into an emotional issue in order to create a rational world, but it’s futile.

    So, your side is “rational”, but the other side are stupid liars?  That’s also what they think of you.

    #33254

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator

    That’s my thesis. People use definitions that rule out inconvenient “facts,” and they do so in the service of preserving their attitude.

    George Lakeoff in Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think was one of the first to point out how Liberals vs Conservatives frame their talking points. Religious values matter, too… showing imo how “facts” matter less and “faith” matters more to conservatives. (Yes those are generalizations that don’t apply to every member of the group they chose to belong to, but (e.g.) election results are dictated by the general beliefs and attitudes.)

    So I see at the top of this discussion how even our own words at AZ tend to take on black or white meaning rather than the grays, e.g. how we define “life”. To be more precise, again imo, I’d word the issue more as a question of “how and when should we determine by law when a fetus deserves protection by the state”. My view on this is to admit that we need to settle on somewhat arbitrary definitions, similar to how we decide end-of-life decisions by law, by state. Lacking available clear “facts”, we can still (e.g.) measure brain wave activity, and other characteristics of “life” we (somewhat arbitrarily) deem appropriate. What gets me, btw, is how religionists will tend to interpret scripture to support whatever “truth” they think fits their particular tribal-like beliefs. Similar to Sharia Law advocates who are able to be more openly in favor of the religious law they grew up believing in, which btw is also from interpretations of those scriptures by fallible human beings.

    All these attitudes are fact-driven.  It’s how people interpret the facts – what value they place on various facts – that makes the difference.

    Maybe our definition of “facts” is different? In the case of religion, I think faith is more relevant than facts.

    I don’t know, I think we have to assume that each side is well meaning, and start from there.  Everyone tends to have the same motivations, unless they have “dark traits” or some kind of hidden agenda.

    I agree with you. Let’s also assume there’s no such thing as good and evil, or original sin. The real problem (imo) is how systems corrupt their populations. Violent Jihadism is borne from autocratic, theocratic governments, originally sanctioned by Mohammed’s writings, and (arguably) with good intentions in their time.

    I don’t even remember how we got off into (what I think is) a tangent, but it probably had to do with a humanly flawed belief that definitions of words in language could have “perfect meaning” and that everyone should be able to agree on them. I think it’s a natural tendency that drove and continues to drive us to evolve languages that would be as “perfect” as we think we can make them, which is why grammar Nazis (and rabid sub-cultures with their own special ways of communicating) still exist. There’s probably a better word than “rabid”, I’m just trying to get across how naturally infectious our ways of communicating in our particular culture are, starting from babyhood, regardless of every language’s imperfections.

    (Btw when someone asks me “How are you”, I say “I’m good”. Because I am good!)

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