RSS 2.0 Feed

» Welcome Guest Log In :: Register

Pages: (2) < [1] 2 >   
  Topic: Good?, A burgeoning ethical issue< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 11 2011,06:13   

Afternoon AtBCers,

There are a variety of folks here so I have a question for you all, well, less "a question", more of a general enquiry. Imagine yourself as the individual target of this enquiry and answer accordingly.

Given that you are aware of current issues in the world, some historical context, some professional or technical areas of expertise, and at least the bare bones of psychology and sociology, how do you function? How do you live a "good" life (whatever that may mean)?

I haven't properly thought this through as a question yet so forgive my rambling, but I'll try to elaborate/explain. Taking a purely personal perspective, I am aware of, for example, my disposable income and its potential utility, or my choices of what to purchase and where. I could buy the "fairtrade" X (assuming the "fairtrade" credentials were as claimed) or the "green" Y (again assuming that the product was not greenwashed), but then I could also give my money to a charity, micro-loan foundation, or some such altruistic cause.

I am in the privileged position to have disposable income to some extent (vastly more than most people on the planet, much more vastly less than a few!), this isn't the case for everyone. I am assuming (perhaps wrongly) that my future is a) relatively stable, b) provided for in some modest fashion and that my current modest-ish-but-more-than-adequate lifestyle can be maintained. Hell, I HAVE a lifestyle, that beats, materially, what ~4 to 5 billion people on the planet have. I am lucky to be even able to consider this issue.

Unlike some of my more socially/politically conservative social circle, and unlike their more capitalist confrères, I can't simply use denial as a tool to excuse my actions. Or even pretend that Keynes never lived, or that trickle down economics actually works in isolation. For example, I accept that "global warming" is a set of processes aggravated by human activity based on the best science I am aware of. Just like I accept the theory of evolution as the best explanation of the development of life on this planet, and the best explanation for its diversity. The point here is not to argue the merits of any specific case, but to answer (I suppose) the question "I cannot unsee what I have seen, or unknow what I know, what do I do next?".

I am aware that to varying extents we are all hypocrites. I know, for example, that many electronic products are made in work environments that are dangerous for the workers. Workers who are paid sub-par wages and exploited to a greater extent than I am. The materials that go into these devices are typically either scarce, derived from environmentally damaging processes or themselves problematic in some fashion. Yet I still own a plethora of nice, shiny, top end devices, feel little guilt (perhaps rightly) for doing so and will buy more in the future.

I'm not looking for the standard knee jerk stupidity of the liberal hair shirt or the conservative denialist. Neither suffices. Nor am I looking for an excuse to continue as I have. I will not be basket weaving an iPhone out of a sustainable placenta and moving to a yurt, nor will I turn the stereo up in my Hummer to block the sounds as I crush the corpses of Chinese sweatshop workers by repeatedly backing over them. I am merely caught in a quandary about how to conduct myself in a world where I am increasingly aware that *I* am part of the problem to a greater extent than I am part of the solution. Whatever either the problem or the solution might be.

It is exceedingly annoying that whoever I pose this sort of question too (in shorter verbal form I confess) falls almost immediately into one of three almost stereotypical camps:

1) The uber-hypocritical (wealthy) metropolitan liberal who thinks that making their own muesli renders them ethically superior (gag me with an ethically sourced recyclable wooden foetus knitter).

2) The denialist capitalist/conservative who thinks the question of responsibility in matters economic is somehow anathema and that I am a commie for even thinking that there may be an alternative (pass me a rifle) .

3) The apathetic.

I almost have some respect for 3). If someone is apathetic or genuinely uninformed, or just stupid, that I have little problem with. Bear in mind also that, whilst I have tried to tune my descriptions to an American audience, I am coming from a very European outlook, so "liberal"/"conservative" etc may have wrinkles that aren't universal to all.

Have at it.

Louis

ETA: I think I should probably not mention this, but I will anyway. The issue that got me thinking about all of this, a couple of years ago, was feminism. Recalling epic instances of learned sexism in my past and facepalming myself practically unconscious was a big epiphany. I don't think I'm all the way "there" yet, wherever "there" is, on any issue. But I like to think I'm making the attempt and at least aware of my contributions to the problems as opposed to pretending it all has nothing to do with me.

--------------
Bye.

  
rhmc



Posts: 340
Joined: Dec. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 11 2011,06:37   

you're not drinking enough.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 11 2011,06:50   

Quote (rhmc @ Mar. 11 2011,12:37)
you're not drinking enough.

Well I know that! The lovely beer makes all the nasty thoughts go away.

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
Schroedinger's Dog



Posts: 1691
Joined: Jan. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 11 2011,07:19   

Well, that's not an easy topic.

We live in a world (occident) dominated by consumerism. There's not much you or I can do about it. For one thousand people taking steps to soften the burden of those in dire economical distress, there will always be a million other people not giving a damn and thinking about their material confort.

I myself am not interested in material things, much. I only live with the minimum required (fridge, stove, oven, toilets, laptop...). It's not much at all and is largely enough to live a good (great) life. The money I get, I spend mostly on food, booze, cigarets and gifts to my loved ones. So no real major guilt for me there.

But I also keep in mind that those being exploited for the making of material goods are not my personal responsibility. Sure, I am part of this system, but the main entities responsible for this state of affair are, in my opinion, governments and corporations. If there is a correct action to take, it would probably be to put pressure on those. But boycotting a product, for exemple, would never work because, as I stated above, for a thousand activists there will always be a million dont-give-a-fuck-ers.

You can live in a yurt and eat home-made goatcheese, but it will never stop corporations to slave poor people on the other side of the planet.

One of my live guitarists is a communist, and a vegetarian. He used to love meat but decided to stop eating any. When arguying with him, he just told me "I might not make a difference now, but with time more people will probably join me". Nice, if a bit utopic, bordering on ubris. But at least he feels very good with himself.

Each to his/her own, I guess...


PS: It is quite possible I haven't a clue what you're talking about and just commited a major OT. But I don't care, so there!

--------------
"Hail is made out of water? Are you really that stupid?" Joe G

"I have a better suggestion, Kris. How about a game of hide and go fuck yourself instead." Louis

"The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is that vampires are allergic to bullshit" Richard Pryor

   
Erasmus, FCD



Posts: 6349
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 11 2011,07:23   

Quote (Louis @ Mar. 11 2011,07:13)
Yet I still own a plethora of nice, shiny, top bell-end devices, feel little guilt (perhaps rightly) for doing so and will buy more in the future.

FTFY

--------------
You're obviously illiterate as hell. Peach, bro.-FtK

Finding something hard to believe based on the evidence, is science.-JoeG

the odds of getting some loathsome taint are low-- Gordon E Mullings Manjack Heights Montserrat

I work on molecular systems with pathway charts and such.-Giggles

  
Robin



Posts: 1430
Joined: Sep. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 11 2011,08:51   

A very provocative contemplation Louis. I must confess that I've had similar contemplations from time-to-time.

For the most part I'm with SD on this from an intellectual standpoint - I've come to the conclusion that I can only accept direct responsibility for so much . Call it a domain of control (that's what my wife terms it). At some point, one has to recognize that although each of us as individuals contribute to the way the world is at any given instant, we are not responsible for it getting this way. It has evolved, for lack of more accurately descriptive word, into the current state through many varied events throughout history. Nothing you or I do can change where the world we have now came from.

So, your question, as I see it - or at least as I've phrased it to myself - is, do I accept the world the way it is and thus live my life within the structures and conditions that entails - go along with the status quo, as it were - or do I reject this world and try to survive outside the human societal structure. Those are the only to realistic options as I see it. The only other, as far as I can tell, is just to say EFF It! and commit suicide, but that to me is no more than punting; it doesn't address the root issue.

Alas, I think only you can answer the question for yourself. I know for myself that I cannot survive for long outside the human system that exists; I am, in a very literal sense, a product of it. But even beyond that, I don't want to. Yes...I'm with you in not being able to unsee and unknow those things that frustrate, disappoint, sadden, anger, and horrify me, but I also cannot ignore those things that impress, comfort, entertain, inspire, and restore me.

The world is a balance, Louis, at least that's what I've found. To me then, leading a "good" life is making the attempt to walk that thin line that defines the balance between what you like and what you don't and try, within whatever limits, comfort, and motivation one feels he or she has, to try to influence those former things one sees with the latter. That is, to whatever extent it "feels right", try to influence those things  that frustrate, disappoint, sadden, anger, and horrify you with things that impress, comfort, entertain, inspire, and restore you. You won't be able to affect very much I'm sure, but then so what? The only benchmark you can possibly (well...realistically) rely upon as a valid measure of success is your own ability, limits, and satisfaction. What else is there?

Hmmm...this is a hard medium in which to discuss such philosophical thoughts, Louis. We definitely need  to sit down with some beers for a few hours over this.

--------------
we IDists rule in design for the flagellum and cilium largely because they do look designed.  Bilbo

The only reason you reject Thor is because, like a cushion, you bear the imprint of the biggest arse that sat on you. Louis

  
OgreMkV



Posts: 3304
Joined: Oct. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 11 2011,08:59   

I have often considered this as well and I am left wondering not so much how to conduct myself in an appropriate manner, but how the hell to convince every else to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner.

First let me say that I was raised Christian... Southern Baptist actually.  I got better.  My family was not affluent, but they allowed me most of what I wanted.  Instead of spoiled, as I learned about the environment and economics and many other things, I grew out of it.

I know I'm not perfect, but I try.  My recycling can is full every week, while the garbage can (the same size) is barely a third full.  My car is not that efficient, but it's better than most.

If I had the money, I would have a wind turbine and solar panels and a pure electric car.  Not because it would convince everyone else, but because it would allow me to live with myself.

And that is, I think, my take home lesson.  You're right, you can't unlearn or unsee.  But you can do 'the right thing' for the sake of your own sanity.  What is the right thing?  Well, that's up to you.  Is it helping the environment by recycling or turning the lights off, is it contributing to a charity (more on that in a minute), is it donating time to a soup kitchen or a school for adults?  

You have to do whatever it is that you can do that you think will help.  You are the one that has to look yourself in the mirror and say, "I did good yesterday"... or "Man, I was a shit yesterday".  

I'm not sure if that was the direction you were going, but that's my opinion (of course that and $4.50 will get you a cup of coffee... or you could make your own cup for $0.25).

___

A note on charities.  The CEO of the company I work for made her annual visit to our location for the yearly report (it was very good).  But she told the story of a for-profit school in Kenya.  Our company purchased the company in Kenya and is looking to expand the concept all over the world.

This company goes into a village and builds a 'school'.  A very basic building, usually without electricity.  Tin roofs, tin walls (maybe), but there are tables and benches for the students.  The teachers are given 8 weeks of intensive training on administration and teaching.

It costs parents in the village $4 per month to send a child to the school.  Keep in mind that most of the villagers make less than $2 per day.  The parents send their kids as soon as the school is open, but often don't pay the first day.  They are used to charities running schools, so they just don't pay.  The second day, the kids are sent home if the parents don't pay.  So far, every parent, in every village (and there are a lot) have paid to have their child go to school.

The school, pays the teacher, pays a villager to maintain the building, pays the women of the village to cook lunches for the kids.

The parents get involved.  They are spending their hard earned money to give their kids an education, so they are involved.  They want to know that the kids ar doing well and the kids are taught to behave in school by the parents.

So far, the majority of the kids have gone from being illterate and no math skills to on grade level skills in months or just a few years, not 10-12 either less than 3 in all cases.

The schools are helping to bootstrap the economy of the village.  They are educating.  They are making a difference.  Whereas the charities came in, taught until their money ran out and then left.  Everything was free, so there was no motivation, there were no gains in the economy, etc.

I'm not a fan of those types of charities.  I am not a fan of religious charities.  I am a fan of disaster relief and charities that make the recepient a part of the process (habitat for humanities for example, but I have a seperate issue with them too).

Mostly, I give my donations to animal and environmental based charities.  Animals can't help themselves against the depredations of humans.  We have to help them.  That's my 'morality' if you will... that's what allows me to sleep at night.  If a cat or dog doesn't have to die because I gave the shelter a few bucks and a couple bags of cat food, then I have made a difference in a life... even if its not human.

OK... shutting up now.

--------------
Ignored by those who can't provide evidence for their claims.

http://skepticink.com/smilodo....retreat

   
J-Dog



Posts: 4362
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 11 2011,09:29   

Damn it Louis!  I didn't know there was going to be a test today!  

But seriously, you bring up some excellent points, and I am also with you about respecting this board - thanks Wes - and the regular posters. (No.  NOT you IBIG / FL)

I like Robin's approach, it makes sense to me, and closely approaches what I do.   I might differ in that I might be more aggressive about my atheism views, and whether or not to take a more activist stance on issues.  For example, I was @ 30 miles from Madison WI for the first phase of their anti-Gov sit-in protest, but did not go join the protestors.  And back in college I would have been helping to organize them.  

So now I might be more inclined to write "sternly worded letters" than make a sign and play Poke A Pig.  But I still care, and have tried to pass that on to The Kidz, and that's the take home message, right?

O.K. We will now take out our Hymnals, and please join in, at least on the chorus:

So, teach your Luis Jr well,
Their father's hell
Did slowly go by
And feed them on your dreams
The one they pick's
The one you'll know by.

Don't you ever ask them why
If they told you, you would die
So just look at them and sigh
And know they love you.

--------------
Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
Robin



Posts: 1430
Joined: Sep. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 11 2011,10:27   

[quote=OgreMkV,Mar. 11 2011,08:59][/quote]
Quote
I have often considered this as well and I am left wondering not so much how to conduct myself in an appropriate manner, but how the hell to convince every else to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner.


Nice post Ogre. I just wanted to address this one point though because it's something I tend to think about a lot.

I've come to believe over the years - in many ways from reading and joining in discussions on boards such as this - that the worst thing we as humans do in the world is try to convince others to live by our own codes of "appropriateness". Think about the creationist/ID movement for just a second, or better still places in the world where dictators rule or the Taliban runs things, and you can quickly appreciate the extreme of this mindset.

I truly believe that the one thing the bible gets absolutely perfect is the caution against judging others. There is absolutely no way that holding some else accountable to my standards and expecting them to behave as I would in all situations could ever possibly lead to anything other than frustration and bad feelings in the long run. Why? Because *I* can't even live up to my own standards all the time. How can I expect anyone else to fully comply with them and ever be satisfied? Worse, how can I expect anyone else to be satisfied with him or herself in such a situation and ultimately not end up resenting me for how he or she feels? I really don't see any situation in which the outcome could be anything other than strife.

In fact, I attribute nearly all social ills to this one human tendency and truly believe that if we humans genuinely sat down with ourselves and agreed to judge only our own actions by our own standards and hold ourselves accountable to those standards, 80% of the problems in the world would go away.

Now, this is extremely idealistic. I know that. It's also highly unrealistic and, in many ways, impractical, particularly with the world as it is now. For example, we are, for better or worse, societal as well as nationalistic now. I don't see any practical means of sustaining us as organisms in such groups at this point without some form of governing. And I think Churchill was right - democracy is the worst form of such governing except for all the others that have ever been tried from time to time. So it's what works at the moment, but it still requires judging folks against standards that are not their own.

--------------
we IDists rule in design for the flagellum and cilium largely because they do look designed.  Bilbo

The only reason you reject Thor is because, like a cushion, you bear the imprint of the biggest arse that sat on you. Louis

  
OgreMkV



Posts: 3304
Joined: Oct. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 11 2011,10:44   

Quote (Robin @ Mar. 11 2011,10:27)
[quote=OgreMkV,Mar. 11 2011,08:59][/quote]
 
Quote
I have often considered this as well and I am left wondering not so much how to conduct myself in an appropriate manner, but how the hell to convince every else to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner.


Nice post Ogre. I just wanted to address this one point though because it's something I tend to think about a lot.

I've come to believe over the years - in many ways from reading and joining in discussions on boards such as this - that the worst thing we as humans do in the world is try to convince others to live by our own codes of "appropriateness". Think about the creationist/ID movement for just a second, or better still places in the world where dictators rule or the Taliban runs things, and you can quickly appreciate the extreme of this mindset.

I truly believe that the one thing the bible gets absolutely perfect is the caution against judging others. There is absolutely no way that holding some else accountable to my standards and expecting them to behave as I would in all situations could ever possibly lead to anything other than frustration and bad feelings in the long run. Why? Because *I* can't even live up to my own standards all the time. How can I expect anyone else to fully comply with them and ever be satisfied? Worse, how can I expect anyone else to be satisfied with him or herself in such a situation and ultimately not end up resenting me for how he or she feels? I really don't see any situation in which the outcome could be anything other than strife.

In fact, I attribute nearly all social ills to this one human tendency and truly believe that if we humans genuinely sat down with ourselves and agreed to judge only our own actions by our own standards and hold ourselves accountable to those standards, 80% of the problems in the world would go away.

Now, this is extremely idealistic. I know that. It's also highly unrealistic and, in many ways, impractical, particularly with the world as it is now. For example, we are, for better or worse, societal as well as nationalistic now. I don't see any practical means of sustaining us as organisms in such groups at this point without some form of governing. And I think Churchill was right - democracy is the worst form of such governing except for all the others that have ever been tried from time to time. So it's what works at the moment, but it still requires judging folks against standards that are not their own.

Oy, it's Friday... two posts that require thinking on the same day?... sigh.

Now that you state it thusly, I agree with you... up to a point.

My philosophy is much like the pagan's.  Do what you will provided no harm comes to others.  

If someone really wants to kill themselves with a gun or drugs or whatever, then I can't stop them.  If that person wants to make poor life decisions, I can offer them my support and love and advice, but I can't stop them.

On the other hand, if someone's lifde decisions are harming others (like their children), then I have a duty to stop them.  Not for them, but for the harm that could be avoided for others.

Likewise, with (especially) the environment.  I feel very strongly about the damage done by fossil fuels because I grew up in a refinery town.  Most people, even avid environmentalists, have no concept of what it's like to live in the middle of a refinery... I do.  (See my blog on why global warming deniers hate you.)

So yes, when it's one person, I don't care.  When they are actively involved in harming others by action or inaction,then I think we have a duty to redirect their behavior (by legal means, I don't advocate threats or application of force to do anything except protect my family).  

Again, it's a question of society vs. the indivdual.  I think that we evolved from tribal creatures and the concept of a society is in our genes.  Some members tend to take advantage of that to gain power or other percieved benefits (like the people you mentioned).  But it's pretty easy to identify them, they are working for themselves, not for the good of the society.

Thanks for helping me to articulate these things.

--------------
Ignored by those who can't provide evidence for their claims.

http://skepticink.com/smilodo....retreat

   
Richardthughes



Posts: 10116
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 11 2011,10:47   

Oh you atheists with your moral relativism! Good is what God arbitrarily decides it is.

--------------
"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
"...it was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine

  
Alan Fox



Posts: 1365
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 11 2011,11:15   

Quote
How do you live a "good" life (whatever that may mean)?


I think it's a start if you are concerned enough to consider the issues. Being good ecologically usually involves economic choices. For example, we are building (well, strictly, my excellent maçon, Moustapha, is building) a new house. Size, choice of materials (straw bales and old tyres a step too far for me), insulation levels, type of heating (Mrs F has ruled out oil or gas so its logs and/or a heat pump) all have an ecological consideration that comes at a cost. You do what you can to tread lightly on the Earth but convincing others that excessive consumption and continued economic growth is undesirable and unsustainable may achieve more than individual action.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 11 2011,11:20   

I am reading. Thanks for all the great responses thus far.

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
Richardthughes



Posts: 10116
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 11 2011,11:23   

Good would seem to be contextual. Good for me? You? Us? Humanity? Life?

--------------
"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
"...it was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine

  
fnxtr



Posts: 2121
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 11 2011,11:25   

It's been fashionable in my part of the world (Vancouver Island) to consider the 100-mile diet, i.e., only eat things that grow within a hundred miles.

Nice idea, but not only would my neighbours and I have to give up oranges, bananas, coffee, tea, cocoa, and similar exotica, we couldn't even make bread, unless it was corn bread, or made somehow from potato flour.

So, paradoxically, while we have become a global village in the sense of commerce/trade/necessities, the village itself is so gigantic that its individual members are like the guy in the Total Perspective Vortex.

"What then, must we do?"  

I dunno. Don't buy Nike's.  Yeah, look for fair trade products.  Walk or take the bus when you can.  Share information, like what a scam CFL's are. Knowledge is power.

--------------
"But it's disturbing to think someone actually thinks creationism -- having put it's hand on the hot stove every day for the last 400 years -- will get a different result tomorrow." -- midwifetoad

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 11 2011,11:25   

Quote (Richardthughes @ Mar. 11 2011,17:23)
Good would seem to be contextual. Good for me? You? Us? Humanity? Life?

It is. I left it vague on purpose. I'm mean like that. In the loosest sense I guess I mean it as "contributing more to the solution than to the problem" for any given problem.

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
Alan Fox



Posts: 1365
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 11 2011,11:26   

Quote (Richardthughes @ Mar. 11 2011,06:23)
Good would seem to be contextual. Good for me? You? Us? Humanity? Life?

Can a good atheist be better than a good christian? Discuss!

Set as an essay in RI many moons ago. My answer, it all depends what you mean by good.  ;)

  
OgreMkV



Posts: 3304
Joined: Oct. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 11 2011,11:32   

Quote (Alan Fox @ Mar. 11 2011,11:26)
Quote (Richardthughes @ Mar. 11 2011,06:23)
Good would seem to be contextual. Good for me? You? Us? Humanity? Life?

Can a good atheist be better than a good christian? Discuss!

Set as an essay in RI many moons ago. My answer, it all depends what you mean by good.  ;)

Well, if you define 'good' as 'following God's Law', then no atheist can ever be good.  Which must be what those hater Christians are doing, because most of the Christians I have known in my 38 years have been utter a-holes with no thought except for themselves... except on Sunday morning.

While, every single atheist I have met has been polite, kind, and intelligent.  

Admitedly, it's a slightly biased sample.  But for any of my definitions of the word 'good', atheists win, hands down.  BTW: My definition of the word 'good' includes being able to critically analyze ones own behavior for inconsistancies and hypocritical concepts.  We all have them, at least thinking people can self-reflect and identify them, if not completely remove them.

--------------
Ignored by those who can't provide evidence for their claims.

http://skepticink.com/smilodo....retreat

   
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 11 2011,11:32   

Quote (Alan Fox @ Mar. 11 2011,17:26)
Quote (Richardthughes @ Mar. 11 2011,06:23)
Good would seem to be contextual. Good for me? You? Us? Humanity? Life?

Can a good atheist be better than a good christian? Discuss!

Set as an essay in RI many moons ago. My answer, it all depends what you mean by good.  ;)

I'm going with "Once one has a definition of good that both groups agree upon then yes. Because the Christian is potentially doing good out of fear of god, compulsion by god, or greed for rewards by god, depending on their theological outlook. The atheist cannot, by definition, be doing any of these. All other standard human reasons for doing good apply equally to both large, diverse sets."

"Graffiti is done neither for financial reward or personal acclaim, therefore is the purest form of art. Discuss!"

Louis (Not at all derailing his own thread)

--------------
Bye.

  
Alan Fox



Posts: 1365
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 11 2011,11:37   

Quote
It's been fashionable in my part of the world (Vancouver Island)


Hey, do you know Keith and Cynthia?

  
Alan Fox



Posts: 1365
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 11 2011,11:40   

Quote
...the Christian is potentially doing good out of fear of god, compulsion by god, or greed for rewards by god, depending on their theological outlook. The atheist cannot, by definition, be doing any of these.


Good answer. Damn, wish I'd thought of that, then!

  
OgreMkV



Posts: 3304
Joined: Oct. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 11 2011,11:50   

Quote (Louis @ Mar. 11 2011,11:32)
"Graffiti is done neither for financial reward or personal acclaim, therefore is the purest form of art. Discuss!"

Louis (Not at all derailing his own thread)

No.  Logical fallacy dude.  False dichotomy.  Other forms of art can be done for neither financial reward or personal acclaim.

Further graffiti is often done to mark gang territory and is therefore a form of communication rather than pure art (which judging by some of the shows I've been too involves flinging paint onto a canvas from more than 10 meters away or giant penises).

Considering all the money my wife is putting into her Master of Fine Arts in studio art degree... her art process is negative in terms of reward.

--------------
Ignored by those who can't provide evidence for their claims.

http://skepticink.com/smilodo....retreat

   
Badger3k



Posts: 861
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 11 2011,11:53   

Quote (fnxtr @ Mar. 11 2011,11:25)
It's been fashionable in my part of the world (Vancouver Island) to consider the 100-mile diet, i.e., only eat things that grow within a hundred miles.

Nice idea, but not only would my neighbours and I have to give up oranges, bananas, coffee, tea, cocoa, and similar exotica, we couldn't even make bread, unless it was corn bread, or made somehow from potato flour.

So, paradoxically, while we have become a global village in the sense of commerce/trade/necessities, the village itself is so gigantic that its individual members are like the guy in the Total Perspective Vortex.

"What then, must we do?"  

I dunno. Don't buy Nike's.  Yeah, look for fair trade products.  Walk or take the bus when you can.  Share information, like what a scam CFL's are. Knowledge is power.

Share information?  Do we need to get Joe in here too?

--------------
"Just think if every species had a different genetic code We would have to eat other humans to survive.." : Joe G

  
OgreMkV



Posts: 3304
Joined: Oct. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 11 2011,11:59   

Quote (Badger3k @ Mar. 11 2011,11:53)
Quote (fnxtr @ Mar. 11 2011,11:25)
It's been fashionable in my part of the world (Vancouver Island) to consider the 100-mile diet, i.e., only eat things that grow within a hundred miles.

Nice idea, but not only would my neighbours and I have to give up oranges, bananas, coffee, tea, cocoa, and similar exotica, we couldn't even make bread, unless it was corn bread, or made somehow from potato flour.

So, paradoxically, while we have become a global village in the sense of commerce/trade/necessities, the village itself is so gigantic that its individual members are like the guy in the Total Perspective Vortex.

"What then, must we do?"  

I dunno. Don't buy Nike's.  Yeah, look for fair trade products.  Walk or take the bus when you can.  Share information, like what a scam CFL's are. Knowledge is power.

Share information?  Do we need to get Joe in here too?

I'm declaring this a subset of Godwining a thread.

--------------
Ignored by those who can't provide evidence for their claims.

http://skepticink.com/smilodo....retreat

   
Badger3k



Posts: 861
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 11 2011,12:00   

Quote (OgreMkV @ Mar. 11 2011,11:50)
Quote (Louis @ Mar. 11 2011,11:32)
"Graffiti is done neither for financial reward or personal acclaim, therefore is the purest form of art. Discuss!"

Louis (Not at all derailing his own thread)

No.  Logical fallacy dude.  False dichotomy.  Other forms of art can be done for neither financial reward or personal acclaim.

Further graffiti is often done to mark gang territory and is therefore a form of communication rather than pure art (which judging by some of the shows I've been too involves flinging paint onto a canvas from more than 10 meters away or giant penises).

Considering all the money my wife is putting into her Master of Fine Arts in studio art degree... her art process is negative in terms of reward.

Indeed - back in Chicago we (ok, I and those I knew) used graffiti to mean gang signs mostly, and art that was put up without any permission from the owner.  Further, a lot of graffiti is put up for personal acclaim - look at this "banksey" (or whatever his name is) - people at large may not know who he is (or care, to be honest), but if anybody thinks he isn't doing it for the acclaim...well, I doubt it doesn't figure into it.  So, the premise may not even be true in that way.  Unless someone does it in the dark, there's always someone who knows, and even if it is done in secret, the artist usually lives in the area and can appreciate (in secret) the acclaim of the others in the neighborhood, if it is good.

Just my thoughts.

--------------
"Just think if every species had a different genetic code We would have to eat other humans to survive.." : Joe G

  
Robin



Posts: 1430
Joined: Sep. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 11 2011,12:05   

Quote (OgreMkV @ Mar. 11 2011,10:44)
Oy, it's Friday... two posts that require thinking on the same day?... sigh.


I'm feeling particularly contemplative today. Blame Louis for getting me going though.

;)

Quote

My philosophy is much like the pagan's.  Do what you will provided no harm comes to others.


Yes, I know this philosophy, but I can only accept it to a point...
Quote


On the other hand, if someone's lifde decisions are harming others (like their children), then I have a duty to stop them.  Not for them, but for the harm that could be avoided for others.

Likewise, with (especially) the environment.  I feel very strongly about the damage done by fossil fuels because I grew up in a refinery town.  Most people, even avid environmentalists, have no concept of what it's like to live in the middle of a refinery... I do.  (See my blog on why global warming deniers hate you.)

So yes, when it's one person, I don't care.  When they are actively involved in harming others by action or inaction,then I think we have a duty to redirect their behavior (by legal means, I don't advocate threats or application of force to do anything except protect my family).


...and here is that point.

The problem I have with this perspective is that I see it both as arrogant and short-sighted. That may sound really dispassionate and uncaring, but bare with me a moment.

There's a quote I particularly like that goes something like this (I know the exact quote, but for purposes of this discussion it isn't important, nor do I want, to get it exact):

Quote
Many who live cause great pain and suffering and deserve death, yet there are also many who have died untimely who could really have done great things had they lived longer. Can you bring the latter folks back to life? Why then do you think you have the authority to put the former people to death, or that you have the foresight to know that killing them now is best? I would caution against being so rash in dealing out such judgments. We can never see all ends and the outcomes of all actions; and even those who cause great suffering can be the cause of that which brings life and happiness to more people down the road.


I think of this quote when faced with the suffering caused by others upon those who cannot protect themselves. Who am I to decide that interfering with those who cause suffering is the best thing that can be done? Further, why am I interfering? Is it to prevent the infringement on the sufferers' standards, or my own?

I have only a limited domain of control and thus must consider the sufferers' domains of control as well. If they do not wish to defend their own stands, even to the point of risking their own safety and lives, who am I to do so for them?

I think of it this way. I have the benefit of a long, fairly well-documented history on the effect of Martin Luther King Jr.'s life and his assassination. I know that if MLK had lived, he would have continued to do great things through continuing to shape people's attitude towards what it means to be human and equal in humanity. Yet, if I were presented with the ability to travel back in time and the means to prevent his assassination, would I? I don't know, but I doubt it. I'm well aware of the effect his assassination has had; it's improved the lives of millions in a relatively short time. Was his death a good thing? No, I really believe it was not, but then I also think that out it - and specifically because of the way it occurred - came a much greater, much more profound recognition and attitude change.

I don't profess to have the wisdom of Solomon or anything like that, but in thinking about this a bit, I have a real hard time thinking that my emotional and visceral responses to behaviors that inflict suffering on others are a sufficient basis for my judging the action unacceptable and overtly inhibiting or preventing that behavior. Certainly I can think that the behavior is wrong (and most definitely wrong for me to engage in), but I don't know that, in and of itself, that is a good enough reason to intervene.

Quote
Again, it's a question of society vs. the indivdual.  I think that we evolved from tribal creatures and the concept of a society is in our genes.  Some members tend to take advantage of that to gain power or other percieved benefits (like the people you mentioned).  But it's pretty easy to identify them, they are working for themselves, not for the good of the society.


Yeah...true. Hence, I counter my idealistic perspective as rambled above with a recognition that at some point we need governance and we have to determine the parameters of that governance. That's the problem with reality...it isn't black and white.

Quote
Thanks for helping me to articulate these things.


Hmmm...not sure what I did, but you're welcome.

--------------
we IDists rule in design for the flagellum and cilium largely because they do look designed.  Bilbo

The only reason you reject Thor is because, like a cushion, you bear the imprint of the biggest arse that sat on you. Louis

  
khan



Posts: 1482
Joined: May 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 11 2011,12:51   

I strive for enlightened self interest.

Try to minimize consumption (low thermostat, low petrol consumption, organic garden, clothesline...)

Also I am very frugal and really don't like to spend money.

Not spending much money enables me to give some away to organizations and individuals.

I try to persuade others to do better and support government efforts to persuade.

But then, I'm a crazy old cat lady.

--------------
"It's as if all those words, in their hurry to escape from the loony, have fallen over each other, forming scrambled heaps of meaninglessness." -damitall

That's so fucking stupid it merits a wing in the museum of stupid. -midwifetoad

  
OgreMkV



Posts: 3304
Joined: Oct. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 11 2011,13:30   

Robin, I totally agree that many things are not black and white.  On the other hand, many things are black and white.  Slavery is wrong.  Murder is wrong.  Child labor and child soldiers is wrong.

I fully realize that many cases could be made for all of these things being 'good' (for some value of the word good).

Likewise with Martin Luther King.  If he had freely chosen to die to bring about the changes he wanted, then that's one thing.  But to be killed, without being given a choice, even if many good things came from it, that I still think is wrong.

Would more people have suffered for longer if King hadn't been killed?  Maybe, maybe not.  With the clarity of hindsight and the rightesnous of someone who knows the past cannot be undone, I think everyone would have preferred he not have been killed.

On the other hand, had he known what the results of his death would have been, would he have been willing to sacrifice himself for those?  I think that he would have been willing to do that, from what I know of him.

I don't know if that helps any.  

We're to the one guy tied to the railway and the three kids tied to the other railway.  You throw the switch and choose who lives and who dies.  It sucks and it is a moral quandry.

Environmental issues are easier.  We fix it, or everyone on the planet suffers.

--------------
Ignored by those who can't provide evidence for their claims.

http://skepticink.com/smilodo....retreat

   
MichaelJ



Posts: 455
Joined: June 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 11 2011,16:34   

Quote (fnxtr @ Mar. 12 2011,02:25)
It's been fashionable in my part of the world (Vancouver Island) to consider the 100-mile diet, i.e., only eat things that grow within a hundred miles.

Nice idea, but not only would my neighbours and I have to give up oranges, bananas, coffee, tea, cocoa, and similar exotica, we couldn't even make bread, unless it was corn bread, or made somehow from potato flour.

So, paradoxically, while we have become a global village in the sense of commerce/trade/necessities, the village itself is so gigantic that its individual members are like the guy in the Total Perspective Vortex.

"What then, must we do?"  

I dunno. Don't buy Nike's.  Yeah, look for fair trade products.  Walk or take the bus when you can.  Share information, like what a scam CFL's are. Knowledge is power.

The problem with the eat local things is that in the end you have more people driving smaller trucks making more total stops so it may not be greener. For instance you might have an orchard 50 miles away that used to get visited once a day by a large more efficient truck. It now gets visited 10 times a day by smaller less efficient trucks.

It might in fact be greener visiting a Walmart.

  
Lou FCD



Posts: 5378
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 11 2011,17:33   

Quote (MichaelJ @ Mar. 11 2011,17:34)
Quote (fnxtr @ Mar. 12 2011,02:25)
It's been fashionable in my part of the world (Vancouver Island) to consider the 100-mile diet, i.e., only eat things that grow within a hundred miles.

Nice idea, but not only would my neighbours and I have to give up oranges, bananas, coffee, tea, cocoa, and similar exotica, we couldn't even make bread, unless it was corn bread, or made somehow from potato flour.

So, paradoxically, while we have become a global village in the sense of commerce/trade/necessities, the village itself is so gigantic that its individual members are like the guy in the Total Perspective Vortex.

"What then, must we do?"  

I dunno. Don't buy Nike's.  Yeah, look for fair trade products.  Walk or take the bus when you can.  Share information, like what a scam CFL's are. Knowledge is power.

The problem with the eat local things is that in the end you have more people driving smaller trucks making more total stops so it may not be greener. For instance you might have an orchard 50 miles away that used to get visited once a day by a large more efficient truck. It now gets visited 10 times a day by smaller less efficient trucks.

It might in fact be greener visiting a Walmart.

But the demand for locally grown foods pressures the local grocery store to buy local (I've seen a lot of stuff labeled as such in the produce section lately). One big truck makes all the stops, I use exactly the same amount of gas to go grocery shopping as I did before.

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

Work-friendly photography
NSFW photography

   
  46 replies since Mar. 11 2011,06:13 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

Pages: (2) < [1] 2 >   


Track this topic Email this topic Print this topic

[ Read the Board Rules ] | [Useful Links] | [Evolving Designs]