The Atheist Agora

What matters – actions or consequences?

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    @simon  You’re using your terms (“moral,” “immoral,” “morality,” etc.) in very uncolloquial ways. Your way is simply not how we understand and use these terms. So, what you are doing, whether or not you are conscious of it, is proposing a change in the language, but without offering a reason for doing so. I think the way we think and talk about morality colloquially is fine as it is and isn’t standing in need of the sort of revision you’re talking about.


    This woman died recently from Covid after intentionally contracting the virus. She is dead from the consequences of her own actions. Moral? Immoral? Or just worth a Darwin Award?


    Simon Paynton

    @unseen – it’s entirely up for debate, since the term is not well defined and still poorly understood.  There are many different current definitions.


    Simon Paynton

    This woman died recently from Covid after intentionally contracting the virus.

    That’s a truely bizarre story.


    But Simon it is not bizarre. I have sent the story to SAV where reading posts for 10 minutes will make you question if these people are the same species as us. They all seem to have legions of prayer warriors to call upon but their god keeps saying “No” and won’t even refund them the time they wasted beseeching him for help. Just even read this one!



    No. I entirely disagree that neither consequences nor intentions are the ultimate explaining power in ethics. Different systems deal with them differently and if you claim one is the all-explainer, then you are simply favouring one moral system over another rather than describing the variety of moral systems in philosophy.

    Virtue ethics would not laud someone who sits around and passively does nothing while contributing to a larger human problem. Mass indifference is but a micro contribution to much much larger problems, and electing to be idle instead of a myriad of other things you can do says something about your own virtue and still affects others (i.e. the possible consequences of doing what seems like “neutral behaviour” or just sitting around watching television.

    Some utilitarianist moral systems would not look favourably on short term personal benefit for the long term destruction of future generations, even if you just felt like what you were doing was every day tedious things.

    Deontological moral systems are particularly uninterested in consequences. So while you may not like that system Simon, you cannot dismiss deontological moral systems, in their abstract and in their specialised applications, as outside of the realm of “human morality”. It is something humans practice. Be more precise with your words. It is a system you don’t agree with. Admit that. Don’t define such systems out of moral discussion.

    Consequentialist systems absolutely do not distil moral judgement down to intentions. So fine, you may prefer moral systems Unseen which focus on intentions, but there are other systems which are equally sound in their logic, which do not. You are talking about a preferred system or one you find more ideal. That is not the same as reducing descriptions of human morality down to one thing. To do so you must consider a variety of moral systems, both formalised systems and ones put in practice both now and historically.

    Both of you are oversimplifying…to an absurd degree.


    Simon Paynton

    Surely there’s a problem if they are claimed to be mutually exclusive, when in fact, they must be complementary.


    Just to edit my last comment on the woman who died after deliberately catching Covid. Yes, it is a bizarre story. But she was still an anti-vaxxer and after 2 years of a pandemic anyone who refuses to get vaccinated and then contracts a severe infection has also done so deliberately. These are the consequences of inaction.




    The Aussie article was paywalled. However, this one isn’t:

    The Search for Anne Frank’s betrayer.

    The search for Anne Frank’s betrayer

    So much that you could derive from that story. For one, those without children are not necessarily ogres and witches who hate them. And as Elton John put it in “Philadelphia Freedom”: “I like living easy without family ties.”

    It kind of reinforces my own position that as long as there is a national and an International “War On Drugs,” the best position is that of being a one-man Switzerland, neither partaking of the stuff or running in the circles of users, nor doing anything to assist “Drug Warriors.”

    That way, I can truly be a Schultz who “knows nothing” and who does not jeopardize anyone’s Life and Liberty. It also leaves my brain effective to argue the case for legalization. It takes bone-sober people to fight against “The Drug War.”




    Not so fast. Hindsight through your shade of lenses is not even 20/20, let alone predicting results. Now you may well have a fairly accurate probability in some cases and that is all. Will Russia invade? Will omicron be the last C19 wave? Will the US end up as some sort of dictatorship. Should I sell or hold my Boeing stock?

    What are the consequences if Russia occupies Ukraine? What should the US do?

    Even though climate change seems unstoppable…we don’t really know how bad the social consequences will be or the timeline. So no, I disagree consequences are easy to establish, and I doubt that we even measure them 100% correctly after the fact.

    While it’s true that the future is indeed uncertain, we do know from past and present epidemics, tyrannies, and wars and rumors of war that they all have certain commonalities. From there we can take steps to prepare and, if not avoid, at least ameliorate the effects, as well as avoid future crises.

    One thing we can learn from the present, ongoing COVID-19 endemic is that crises are too important to be left solely to “experts” and “authorities,” especially when they can’t agree on the effectiveness of a possible device and when they hoard up that device rather than just get out of the way of producers who can make more;

    Biden plans giveaway of 400M masks as Omicron surges
    There are more than 750 million N95 masks in the Strategic National Stockpile, a White House official said.

    We also know that the U.S. FDA got in the way of producing a cheap COVID-19 test kit at the beginning of the pandemic, which would have enabled us to take steps to isolate those most at risk without shutting down and destroying entire economies.

    We know that the BATFE and State authorities kept liquor manufacturers from refitting their facilities for production of sanitizer, which helpedfurther spread the contagion.

    We know that while everyone else was under lockdown, City and State authorities let rioters run free in the streets unmasked and unvaxxed, all in the name of “social justice” and “Wokeism.”

    And if the FDA had kept regular protocols for approval of a vaccine, we would be without a vaccine now and for years to come and millions more would hwve died in the process of waiting.

    Now, as in times past, “well-intentioned” Governments get in the way of thinking and productive individuals assessing a dangerous situation and acting to put an end to it.


    Whenever I hear government experts or “Drug Czars” talking about the “war of drugs” I just laugh. The international drug smugglers probably respond with “Is there really? We hardly noticed”.



    Whenever I hear government experts or “Drug Czars” talking about the “war of drugs” I just laugh. The international drug smugglers probably respond with “Is there really? We hardly noticed”.

    So far, whenever there’s been an intervention tactic, there’s been a way around it.

    PLUS, drug profits are so high that the lost shipments are little more than a cost of doing business.

    Drug lords are so insulated from street-level transactions and even the transport of product that they are largely immunized from prosecution. And when they are caught, someone else simply takes over to fill the void.



    Reg and Unseen,

    I had seen a true crime TV program that pointed out that the Cartels in Mexico are so powerful and prosperous, they have their own mini-submarines to send their shipments to the U.S. Pablo Escobar even wanted to purchase a full-size submarine from the former Soviets after their Empire fell.

    In some States of Mexico, the Cartels are more powerful than the Mexican Government.

    And none of it would be possible without governments outlawing plants and certain chemical configurations to create the black markets for them.



    And none of it would be possible without governments outlawing plants and certain chemical configurations to create the black markets for them.

    I have often wondered, what if we went full libertarian by legalizing all drugs and making it also legal for employers and landlords to discriminate against drug users to protect their own businesses.


    Down on the fronkey farm I have a few freaky friends called Freelwheelinn’ Franklin Freek and his two brothers Phineas T. Phreak and Fat Freddy Freekowtski, along with their good for nothing cat. They can do no wrong in my book so I keep them on as freaky farmers. I once heard them plotting to hijack a pizza van but it never happened as they had to pass the “munchies” store on the way and got side tracked. “Dope will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no dope.” Oh, such words of wisdom!  I think they have all forgotten it is not legal but I will never fire them. 🙂

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