Religion - is one better than another?

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Message 1457771 - Posted: 26 Dec 2013, 23:33:32 UTC - in response to Message 1457711.  

I'm not sure the voting in of Bush or Reagan gave the citizens someone to blame. While I certainly don't agree with either President's views on politics, I think it is disparaging to suggest that Bush or Reagan could have been the preface to something similar to the Holocaust.

Do not underestimate the capacity of man to be evil and certainly do not underestimate the capacity of modern bureaucracies to create an environment where no one feels responsible for anything. It is so devilishly easy to repeat a holocaust in modern societies. In fact, I'd say that modern societies are the only societies capable of a WW2 style holocaust.
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Message 1457787 - Posted: 27 Dec 2013, 0:29:43 UTC - in response to Message 1457701.  

Who asserts that Utilitarian logic is correct?

Economists for starters. Dawkins to some extend gives examples of utilitarian logic being used to save lives. And I think that when most people have to make a decision they employ utilitarian logic. Utilitarian logic is little more than a cost-benefit analysis.

Of course it isn't rational. If Utilitarian logic starts with the flawed premise of "if we kill this group of people we will be better off", then it cannot be defined as rational.

They do not start with such a premise, that premise can be the outcome of utilitarian logic. What benefits the largest group of people the most? I hate to say it, but 'killing all Jews' can be the answer to that question. You can of course try to claim that such an answer is not rational, but why is that? Can you give me a rational reason for why such an answer is never rational?




And where did I argue that pure rationalism should be detached from empathy or respect for life? Why would you even think that I was arguing in favor of such a concept without further seeking clarification of my views?

Because those two concepts are inherently irrational. They can force you to take routes that cost significantly more for significantly less benefit, or even worse, it forces you to take a route that endangers yourself or even a significantly bigger group of people than the people you help.

Again, empathy and respect for life are good things, they are just not rational, or at least they can force you to be irrational.



Then you teach that group through education and social influence on how to better manage resources. Casting out or killing of them is not acceptable.

Sometimes there is simply no time for that. Put it this way, you control a switch that controls the route a train takes. One one route the train will crash and all 300 passengers will die, the other route causes the train to hit a bus filled with all your family members. You can't stop the train, so what route do you choose for the train? Save your family or 300 faceless passengers?

This is a scenario where empathy and reason collide for most people. The rational choice is to save the train and kill your family, but I can assure you that most people if ever put in that situation will gladly kill the train and save their family because they know their family and they care about their family, while the people on the train are just faceless nobodies.

The situation changes once you replace the bus filled with family members with bus filled strangers. Then most people will save the train and kill the people on the bus, because that way you save the largest amount of people. But this kind of logic if applied on the scale of a country means that you are no longer talking about 20 people vs 300 people, but a few million people vs tens of millions of people. Sure, you save the biggest amount but that can still affect a few million people in a very bad way.

Take the food stamp issue. It cost the American tax payer billions of dollars to pay for food stamps, but roughly 1 in 7 Americans rely on it for getting enough food on the table. So, what do you pick? Help out 6 in 7 Americans by spending less on that 1 in 7 group? Or make 6 out of 7 Americans pay more so the 1 in 7 Americans have food? Either way, your decisions affects millions of people.


I cannot find any way to agree with your assertion that compassion is an act of irrational behavior.

Refer back to my food stamps example. Being compassionate to the 1 in 7 who need food stamps means 6 in 7 people have to pay a lot more money. It's irrational because you pick the minority over the majority.

The problem with compassion and empathy is that people generally reserve them for problems that have a face, while they ignore equally important problems that cannot be reduced to a picture of a crying child on a brochure asking for you to donate money. Hence a larger amount of resources goes to relatively small problems, exactly because of compassion.

Another example would be the way we deal with cancer (at least, this is what I know happens in the Netherlands). Cancer is bad, so we seek to cure it. So we have a Cancer organization that collects money and donates it to cancer research or for funding a new hospital ward that is specialized in dealing with cancer. But now there is this second organization that specializes on child cancer. And who do you think people give more money to? A picture of a child bald from chemo or a picture of a 50 year old women bald from chemo? Right, child, because people tend to be more attracted to children in need then people in need. This is of course completely irrational, given that children are far less likely to get cancer, yet from the money they get a special ward in a hospital for children with cancer. Money that now cannot be spend on cancer research in general (which would help children just as much as it would help everyone else) or on general hospital wards that could again help children just as well as adults.

Hence compassion and empathy result in irrational behavior.


Again, who asserts that Utilitarian logic is correct? And that might be the rationale of Utilitarian logic, but that doesn't make it rational. The two concepts are distinctly different, which is what I've been trying to argue.

Again, economists, philosophers and humanity in general all assert to varying degrees that utilitarian logic is rational. You'd be the first person Ive ever met who would claim that utilitarian logic is irrational.

Though I admit, most people only find it rational to some extend. They are quite picky about when they find it rational and when they find it irrational, and that usually corresponds closely to their moral values, so I suspect they are simply biased when it comes to that. In fact, I suspect even you from asserting the irrationality of utilitarian logic based on your moral preferences, and not because you have a better form of rationality. Unless you mean to tell me you that you think that cost benefit analysis are irrational.



Don't put words in your mouth, huh? Sort of like how you thought I was arguing that pure rationalism should be detached from empathy? And I tend to disagree that it was pure Utilitarian rationality that lead to the Holocaust. I refer back to my statement of common human gullibility combined with a lack of critical thinking and challenging the actions of those in power.

No, I said that empathy and pure rationality do not go together as empathy is inherently irrational.

Oh, and the lack of people challenging those in power could very well be the result of a cost benefit analysis by the people that should have done the challenging. And they would have likely reached the conclusion that doing so might end with them loosing their job or worse, their own lives. Would you risk your life for what amounts to little more than numbers on a document?

Aside from that, I've already explained to you that picking the 'extermination' option was considered to be the most cost effective option. Hence, utilitarian. Furthermore, the decision to get rid of them in the first place has strong utilitarian motives in it. Get rid of the small group so that the country as a whole benefits is little different from cutting off your leg so you might save the rest of your body.

Weren't you just arguing that Nazism utilized Utilitarian logic and was rational according to that logic? Now you're saying that Nazism abhors rational behavior?

Nazism as in the ideology abhors anything that requires using your brain. But as always, there is a major divergence between what the ideology says and what the people who follow the ideology do. Aside from that, most people in the government at that time were probably not really devout Nazis, just people who joined the party because it pretty much became a requirement if you wanted to keep your job.
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Message 1457790 - Posted: 27 Dec 2013, 0:33:38 UTC - in response to Message 1457704.  

Most of his comments are out of line (and I think he just likes to argue), but if you dare call him out for it, Guy will jump in with his Rules for Radicals bs and accuse you of trying to shut down the discussion.

Most of my comments are out of line? I'm sorry, but for what? Having a different opinion than you? Also, I do like the argue, but in this particular case I'm quite convinced that the holocaust was the result of to much rational thinking. And why would that be a bad thing? Its not like I approve of it, nor am I trying to justify it. If anything, the idea that the holocaust was not just a fluke, a moment when everyone lost their minds, scares me more than the idea that the Nazis were just a bunch of savages that mindlessly murdered a bunch of people.
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Message 1457839 - Posted: 27 Dec 2013, 5:22:52 UTC - in response to Message 1457771.  

I'm not sure the voting in of Bush or Reagan gave the citizens someone to blame. While I certainly don't agree with either President's views on politics, I think it is disparaging to suggest that Bush or Reagan could have been the preface to something similar to the Holocaust.

Do not underestimate the capacity of man to be evil and certainly do not underestimate the capacity of modern bureaucracies to create an environment where no one feels responsible for anything. It is so devilishly easy to repeat a holocaust in modern societies. In fact, I'd say that modern societies are the only societies capable of a WW2 style holocaust.


So you are characterizing Bush and Reagan as evil regimes?
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Message 1457845 - Posted: 27 Dec 2013, 5:59:21 UTC - in response to Message 1457839.  

I'm not sure the voting in of Bush or Reagan gave the citizens someone to blame. While I certainly don't agree with either President's views on politics, I think it is disparaging to suggest that Bush or Reagan could have been the preface to something similar to the Holocaust.

Do not underestimate the capacity of man to be evil and certainly do not underestimate the capacity of modern bureaucracies to create an environment where no one feels responsible for anything. It is so devilishly easy to repeat a holocaust in modern societies. In fact, I'd say that modern societies are the only societies capable of a WW2 style holocaust.


So you are characterizing Bush and Reagan as evil regimes?

Id say by his own definitions every goverment on the face of the Earth is evil Including his own.
[/quote]

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Message 1457846 - Posted: 27 Dec 2013, 6:01:20 UTC - in response to Message 1457787.  
Last modified: 27 Dec 2013, 6:33:04 UTC

Who asserts that Utilitarian logic is correct?

Economists for starters. Dawkins to some extend gives examples of utilitarian logic being used to save lives. And I think that when most people have to make a decision they employ utilitarian logic. Utilitarian logic is little more than a cost-benefit analysis.


Dawkins also asserts that he wouldn't want to live in a Darwinian society, and has stated that he agrees with the liberal ideology. While he clearly knows more about biology than I do, I tend to disagree with his views on what a Darwinian society would look like. And after reading the views of many economists, I'm not certain they know what they're talking about.

Of course it isn't rational. If Utilitarian logic starts with the flawed premise of "if we kill this group of people we will be better off", then it cannot be defined as rational.

They do not start with such a premise, that premise can be the outcome of utilitarian logic. What benefits the largest group of people the most? I hate to say it, but 'killing all Jews' can be the answer to that question. You can of course try to claim that such an answer is not rational, but why is that? Can you give me a rational reason for why such an answer is never rational?


Because it flies in the face of the survival of our species. Any outcome that suggests anyone should kill anyone or any group of humans cannot be considered rational by any means. We, as a species, are unique in our level of self awareness, adaptation, ability to have empathy, and various other traits which indicate that we are not just mindless animals that need to treat each other with disregard for our individual lives.

And where did I argue that pure rationalism should be detached from empathy or respect for life? Why would you even think that I was arguing in favor of such a concept without further seeking clarification of my views?

Because those two concepts are inherently irrational. They can force you to take routes that cost significantly more for significantly less benefit, or even worse, it forces you to take a route that endangers yourself or even a significantly bigger group of people than the people you help.

Again, empathy and respect for life are good things, they are just not rational, or at least they can force you to be irrational.


Taking a rational, empathetic route displays our ability to care for our own, which helps our species survive. It is the only rational choice.

Sometimes there is simply no time for that. Put it this way, you control a switch that controls the route a train takes. One one route the train will crash and all 300 passengers will die, the other route causes the train to hit a bus filled with all your family members. You can't stop the train, so what route do you choose for the train? Save your family or 300 faceless passengers?


Had discussions like this before... my friends and family get pissed when I answer that I would take the route that kills less people. You can believe my answer or not, and I could only hope that my friends and family would do the same as if they chose me to live over 300 faceless people, I could not live with the guilt that 300 other families have to bury their loved ones just so I could live. My family or friends would be doing me a great disservice to chose me simply because of an emotional connection.

At any rate, I reject the scenario with only the two possible outcomes. I liken this to the test that James Kirk had to take as a lesson in rational decision making before he when he could become Captain. He cheated on his test to have a more favorable outcome because he didn't believe in a no-win situation, and neither do I. Can't stop the train? BS! You find a way. Turn off all engines and throw the damn thing in reverse that it avoids a collision. There are always other options.

Take the food stamp issue. It cost the American tax payer billions of dollars to pay for food stamps, but roughly 1 in 7 Americans rely on it for getting enough food on the table. So, what do you pick? Help out 6 in 7 Americans by spending less on that 1 in 7 group? Or make 6 out of 7 Americans pay more so the 1 in 7 Americans have food? Either way, your decisions affects millions of people.


What do you do? You find a way to build a better economy where 1 in 7 don't need to rely on food stamps.

I cannot find any way to agree with your assertion that compassion is an act of irrational behavior.

Refer back to my food stamps example. Being compassionate to the 1 in 7 who need food stamps means 6 in 7 people have to pay a lot more money. It's irrational because you pick the minority over the majority.


I reject the idea that any logic that chooses the minority over the majority is irrational.

Another example would be the way we deal with cancer (at least, this is what I know happens in the Netherlands). Cancer is bad, so we seek to cure it. So we have a Cancer organization that collects money and donates it to cancer research or for funding a new hospital ward that is specialized in dealing with cancer. But now there is this second organization that specializes on child cancer. And who do you think people give more money to? A picture of a child bald from chemo or a picture of a 50 year old women bald from chemo? Right, child, because people tend to be more attracted to children in need then people in need. This is of course completely irrational, given that children are far less likely to get cancer, yet from the money they get a special ward in a hospital for children with cancer. Money that now cannot be spend on cancer research in general (which would help children just as much as it would help everyone else) or on general hospital wards that could again help children just as well as adults.

Hence compassion and empathy result in irrational behavior.


Sure, they can result in irrational behavior, but that doesn't imply that all empathy and compassion is inherently irrational as you've been stating.

Again, who asserts that Utilitarian logic is correct? And that might be the rationale of Utilitarian logic, but that doesn't make it rational. The two concepts are distinctly different, which is what I've been trying to argue.

Again, economists, philosophers and humanity in general all assert to varying degrees that utilitarian logic is rational. You'd be the first person Ive ever met who would claim that utilitarian logic is irrational.


There's a first for everything, and I'm glad to be your first. I also think you're mischaracterizing Utilitarian logic to suit your own argument. Not all Utilitarian logic would exclude the human factor from all cost/benefit analyses. Only people that lack empathy or are megalomaniacal to begin with would remove such a weight from their decision making.

Again, after reading what most economists have to say, I'm not convinced they know what they're talking about. And philosophers are a dime a dozen. Neither groups provide a convincing enough bandwagon idealism (that is, after all, the argument you're making, that somehow people in certain fields feel a particular way so it must be factual) to find the premise agreeable.

Though I admit, most people only find it rational to some extend. They are quite picky about when they find it rational and when they find it irrational, and that usually corresponds closely to their moral values, so I suspect they are simply biased when it comes to that. In fact, I suspect even you from asserting the irrationality of utilitarian logic based on your moral preferences, and not because you have a better form of rationality. Unless you mean to tell me you that you think that cost benefit analysis are irrational.


I mean to tell you that the wrong weights are used in such a cost/benefit analysis, and therefore provide irrational outcomes. I assert that this has nothing to do with my own morality, but what is best for the species, and that not all Utilitarian logic removes the human factor from the equation when making a decision.

Sort of like how you thought I was arguing that pure rationalism should be detached from empathy? And I tend to disagree that it was pure Utilitarian rationality that lead to the Holocaust. I refer back to my statement of common human gullibility combined with a lack of critical thinking and challenging the actions of those in power.

No, I said that empathy and pure rationality do not go together as empathy is inherently irrational.


Yes, you've made that assertion. Can't seem to find any reason why that would be correct.

Oh, and the lack of people challenging those in power could very well be the result of a cost benefit analysis by the people that should have done the challenging. And they would have likely reached the conclusion that doing so might end with them loosing their job or worse, their own lives. Would you risk your life for what amounts to little more than numbers on a document?


At this point, based upon all your skepticism and doubt about my positions and my views, I'm not certain you'd accept the answers I give, or you'd try to dismiss them as "irrational moral behavior" - but yes. I would risk my own life and/or lively hood for numbers on a document if those numbers had real people and real faces and real lives behind them, and is about to affect that in a major way. And many people did risk their lives to save those being persecuted by the Nazis because they saw that it was too costly to simply kill people.

Aside from that, I've already explained to you that picking the 'extermination' option was considered to be the most cost effective option. Hence, utilitarian. Furthermore, the decision to get rid of them in the first place has strong utilitarian motives in it. Get rid of the small group so that the country as a whole benefits is little different from cutting off your leg so you might save the rest of your body.


What was the cost of those lives that were exterminated? What was the emotional cost of the families and loved ones that had to deal with the trauma and the ordeal as it was happening? Any option that prefers genocide over any other choice has not put the correct weights in during the cost/benefit analysis, and as such is irrational.

Weren't you just arguing that Nazism utilized Utilitarian logic and was rational according to that logic? Now you're saying that Nazism abhors rational behavior?

Nazism as in the ideology abhors anything that requires using your brain. But as always, there is a major divergence between what the ideology says and what the people who follow the ideology do. Aside from that, most people in the government at that time were probably not really devout Nazis, just people who joined the party because it pretty much became a requirement if you wanted to keep your job.


That doesn't explain away the contradiction in your statements. You are admitting that the Nazism ideology doesn't use it's collective brain (a.k.a. rational and critical thinking), and instead chose the irrational route of thinking about only themselves and their own livelihood first.
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Message 1457850 - Posted: 27 Dec 2013, 6:04:29 UTC - in response to Message 1457845.  

I'm not sure the voting in of Bush or Reagan gave the citizens someone to blame. While I certainly don't agree with either President's views on politics, I think it is disparaging to suggest that Bush or Reagan could have been the preface to something similar to the Holocaust.

Do not underestimate the capacity of man to be evil and certainly do not underestimate the capacity of modern bureaucracies to create an environment where no one feels responsible for anything. It is so devilishly easy to repeat a holocaust in modern societies. In fact, I'd say that modern societies are the only societies capable of a WW2 style holocaust.


So you are characterizing Bush and Reagan as evil regimes?

Id say by his own definitions every goverment on the face of the Earth is evil Including his own.


No, I'm sure only the politics he disagrees with would be considered evil. Such is the obviousness of his bias.
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Message 1457855 - Posted: 27 Dec 2013, 6:11:10 UTC - in response to Message 1457850.  

I'm not sure the voting in of Bush or Reagan gave the citizens someone to blame. While I certainly don't agree with either President's views on politics, I think it is disparaging to suggest that Bush or Reagan could have been the preface to something similar to the Holocaust.

Do not underestimate the capacity of man to be evil and certainly do not underestimate the capacity of modern bureaucracies to create an environment where no one feels responsible for anything. It is so devilishly easy to repeat a holocaust in modern societies. In fact, I'd say that modern societies are the only societies capable of a WW2 style holocaust.


So you are characterizing Bush and Reagan as evil regimes?

Id say by his own definitions every goverment on the face of the Earth is evil Including his own.


No, I'm sure only the politics he disagrees with would be considered evil. Such is the obviousness of his bias.

Its amazing he left out our current President, The one who is continueing the past Presidents policy on war and detainees and interagations. And why the Dept of Homeland security needs all those millions of rounds of ammo.
But we are off topic the last few posts.
[/quote]

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Message 1457859 - Posted: 27 Dec 2013, 6:31:41 UTC - in response to Message 1457855.  
Last modified: 27 Dec 2013, 6:32:18 UTC

I'm not sure the voting in of Bush or Reagan gave the citizens someone to blame. While I certainly don't agree with either President's views on politics, I think it is disparaging to suggest that Bush or Reagan could have been the preface to something similar to the Holocaust.

Do not underestimate the capacity of man to be evil and certainly do not underestimate the capacity of modern bureaucracies to create an environment where no one feels responsible for anything. It is so devilishly easy to repeat a holocaust in modern societies. In fact, I'd say that modern societies are the only societies capable of a WW2 style holocaust.


So you are characterizing Bush and Reagan as evil regimes?

Id say by his own definitions every goverment on the face of the Earth is evil Including his own.


No, I'm sure only the politics he disagrees with would be considered evil. Such is the obviousness of his bias.

Its amazing he left out our current President, The one who is continueing the past Presidents policy on war and detainees and interagations. And why the Dept of Homeland security needs all those millions of rounds of ammo.
But we are off topic the last few posts.


Not to mention a President who defends the practice of spying on millions of innocent people without a warrant all in the name of National Security while unilaterally deciding that Americans [Edit] and non-Americans alike [/edit] do not have a right to privacy.

I don't think this is off topic at all, certainly not in the vein of continued interest in a winding discussion.
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Message 1457860 - Posted: 27 Dec 2013, 6:38:20 UTC
Last modified: 27 Dec 2013, 6:43:16 UTC

And quite a winding discussion it has been, I see.

I propose that God is what each individual wishes 'Him' to be. Or in their young life was taught them to be.

And if that seems to save them from their final damnation, whatever that may be, or even their private damnation in this current life, let them be.

I know my religion, I do not try to enforce it on anybody. If I wish to tell you about it, I would hope you might give it as much consideration as any other.

My own belief is that God exists. Most other religions do as well.
Might not the same God that I embrace. But, I am sure he exists in many forms to many people.

You may or may not have faith in whatever God I happen to believe in, but yours is your own.

Meow.
"Freedom is just Chaos, with better lighting." Alan Dean Foster

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Message 1457861 - Posted: 27 Dec 2013, 6:41:53 UTC - in response to Message 1457860.  

I know my religion, I do not try to enforce it on anybody.


So then you'll immediately cease in your disparaging remarks toward homosexuals and start supporting gay marriage, because not supporting gay marriage would be akin to forcing your religious beliefs onto them?
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Message 1457862 - Posted: 27 Dec 2013, 6:58:34 UTC
Last modified: 27 Dec 2013, 6:59:59 UTC

In the end being off topic is up to ES of course. And if any of my posts get hidden no harm done.

Im not saying the US is pure as the driven snow. No country is. But to read a blank ass statement that Reagan and Bush were just as bad as Hitler is wrong.

And modern societys are far from the only ones who commit genocide. Go back to antiquity and you see all sorts of people wiping out a so called enemy people.
The Mongol hordes seem to have been the best at. And lets not forget our pal Stalin. He did a few cleansings himself.

And Mark, I too dont think any religion is better than another. But it sure does stir the pot when people discuss it.
[/quote]

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Message 1457863 - Posted: 27 Dec 2013, 6:59:33 UTC - in response to Message 1457769.  

But on other aspects? There are some similarities. Reagan was running for president during a financial crisis and he also promised through extremely simplistic slogans to make everything better. Under him the war against poor people began. Of course, he did not choose to escalate it to the point where poor people would be shipped off to destruction camps, but he did introduce a massive shift in American discourse regarding welfare and poverty. Furthermore, his foreign policy is downright criminal, with invasions, support for military junta's, support for terrorists organizations and increasing tensions with the Soviet Union.


Many U.S. Presidents run on a platform to save people from a rather nasty situation. FDR did. John F. Kennedy did as well. To suggest that Reagan's platform was similar to Hitler's platform is yet another obvious bias against anyone associated with the GOP.

And Bush, well, he was just one small step away from becoming a dictator himself. He continued Reagan's economic policy, his war against the poor, started not one but two illegal wars, operated secreted prisons all around the world, allowed for torture (oh right, 'enhanced interrogation') and introduced a number of laws that turned the US in a surveillance state of which only now we begin to see the scope of. If Bush had wanted, he would have been able to seize power completely and he would have only needed to give the order for death camps to be constructed. Thankfully he didn't, but still, we were (and possibly still are) on the edge of another genocide.


While I agree with you on the wrongs Bush Jr. committed, I still find it deplorable to suggest that Bush could have risen to power like Hitler. The American people would have turned on him were he ever to give an order to authorize death camps. This is why he tried to hide his 'enhanced interrogations' of terror suspects, because he knew the American people wouldn't stand for it - and didn't stand for it. And President Obama has failed to shut many of them down after running on a platform that he would do so.
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Message 1457872 - Posted: 27 Dec 2013, 7:15:06 UTC - in response to Message 1457862.  
Last modified: 27 Dec 2013, 7:27:15 UTC

Im not saying the US is pure as the driven snow. No country is. But to read a blank ass statement that Reagan and Bush were just as bad as Hitler is wrong.


Agreed. But many militant liberals enjoy making such comparisons because it dehumanizes the political forces they disagree with. What better way to invoke the emotions of people than to suggest that certain people from certain parties share a kinship with the most despised man in the history of the world?

Again, and for those that don't know me, I tend to identify with social libertarianism, and as such I tend to disagree with both Reagan and Bush's politics, but I do not think it is fair to compare them to Hitler. This would be one of the few reasons why Godwin's Law exists - the argument is made far to frequently on the internet in an attempt to dehumanize the opposition.

Guy's Rules for Radicals rhetoric is in much the same vein. By finding similarities in someone's views and how they seem to align with a particular Rule for Radicals, he directly suggests that anyone with a particular view is somehow being an intellectually dishonest radical. This of course is non sequitur logic as merely finding a similarity is not akin to approval or utilization of such tactics by the person espousing a particular view, regardless if a reader such as Guy sees a similarity. However, making the accusation leads the other individual in the position of defending his view and seemingly defending the practice of a particular Rule for Radicals, or ignoring the accusation itself and giving the appearance to some that by not denying it the accusation itself must be true. This debate trap is, as I said, akin to Godwin's Law.
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Message 1457882 - Posted: 27 Dec 2013, 7:33:02 UTC

I will say up front that I am a registerd reuplican. Do I vote a straight ticket? Hell no. I never have voted a straight ticket. Im trying to weed out the idiots running in the primarys.The tea party especially. I firmly belive that they should form there own party and see how many voters really think they are dolts.

I have some liberal views and some conservite views. I would think Im a moderate. And I will say I have never like any President 100% And tyhe first one I can remember is Dwight E. on his second election.
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Message 1457884 - Posted: 27 Dec 2013, 7:40:11 UTC - in response to Message 1457882.  

The tea party especially. I firmly belive that they should form there own party and see how many voters really think they are dolts.


Now I like that idea!

I have some liberal views and some conservite views. I would think Im a moderate. And I will say I have never like any President 100%


As do I. Gary Charpentier could typically argue better than I can for some of my more conservative views, just as I think Bobby was able to argue far better than I can for some of my more liberal views - and he does a great job of providing facts instead of anecdotes and opinions! It always irritated me that people would call him a troll because he would try to drive home a particular point using facts and reasoning instead of opinions.
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Message 1457903 - Posted: 27 Dec 2013, 10:44:04 UTC - in response to Message 1457846.  

Dawkins also asserts that he wouldn't want to live in a Darwinian society, and has stated that he agrees with the liberal ideology. While he clearly knows more about biology than I do, I tend to disagree with his views on what a Darwinian society would look like. And after reading the views of many economists, I'm not certain they know what they're talking about.

Pretty much all forms of economics start with the idea that human beings are rational utility maximizers meaning that they try to get as much utility for their money. In easier terms it means that according to economists, all humans first make a cost benefit analysis before they make a decision.

And I'm sure that there are scenarios where you too would use utilitarian logic to reach a decision.

And the Liberal ideology just as much uses Utilitarian logic to reach decisions. Like I said, it just comes down to a cost benefit analysis, most, if not all people, employ that kind of reasoning when having to make a decision, at least for a good deal of choices they have to make.


Because it flies in the face of the survival of our species. Any outcome that suggests anyone should kill anyone or any group of humans cannot be considered rational by any means. We, as a species, are unique in our level of self awareness, adaptation, ability to have empathy, and various other traits which indicate that we are not just mindless animals that need to treat each other with disregard for our individual lives.

Some Eskimos leave their elderly behind once they become to old and sick to hunt because they are a drain on their resources and by keeping them around they would endanger the lives of everyone. Sometimes one has to sacrifice a few people so the rest of the group might survive. Therefor, you argument that this flies in the face of the survival of our species is just pure nonsense. Again, sometimes you have to cut off a leg to prevent cancer from spreading to the rest of your body and killing it.

Our ability to empathize, adapt and be aware simply means that we must be careful when it comes to making such a decision and ideally it should be a last resort option. But to claim that the option is irrational? No, life just doesn't work like that.


Had discussions like this before... my friends and family get pissed when I answer that I would take the route that kills less people. You can believe my answer or not, and I could only hope that my friends and family would do the same as if they chose me to live over 300 faceless people, I could not live with the guilt that 300 other families have to bury their loved ones just so I could live. My family or friends would be doing me a great disservice to chose me simply because of an emotional connection.

At any rate, I reject the scenario with only the two possible outcomes. I liken this to the test that James Kirk had to take as a lesson in rational decision making before he when he could become Captain. He cheated on his test to have a more favorable outcome because he didn't believe in a no-win situation, and neither do I. Can't stop the train? BS! You find a way. Turn off all engines and throw the damn thing in reverse that it avoids a collision. There are always other options.

Congratulations, you have just employed Utilitarian logic to reach a decision. Still think its irrational? Still think you made an irrational decision here?

And whether you like the scenario or not is irrelevant. Life deals you a set of cards and those card's don't always leave you with enough time and space to maneuver to a more acceptable outcome.

What do you do? You find a way to build a better economy where 1 in 7 don't need to rely on food stamps.

Good, 45 million Americans just starved to death because of your decision making. Because sadly, it turned out one couldn't change America's situation in less than several years and by the time the economy had improved to such a point it turned out most of the people you worked for had already died from starvation.

Again, the seemingly idealistic optimal outcome is not always possible as a realistic option. In fact, I'd say that in about 99% of the cases its not possible to reach the idealistic option within the time frame you are working.


I reject the idea that any logic that chooses the minority over the majority is irrational.

Oh, so it would have been perfectly rational then to have the train crash so you could save your family?

Sure, they can result in irrational behavior, but that doesn't imply that all empathy and compassion is inherently irrational as you've been stating.

The times when empathy and compassion become rational are the times when they are little more than means to a greater end and one is then only emphatic and compassionate for as long as it suits you. Its what a number of Atheists always accuse Christians off, that they are only emphatic and compassionate because they expect to be rewarded for it and that because of that they are not really emphatic or compassionate.



There's a first for everything, and I'm glad to be your first. I also think you're mischaracterizing Utilitarian logic to suit your own argument. Not all Utilitarian logic would exclude the human factor from all cost/benefit analyses. Only people that lack empathy or are megalomaniacal to begin with would remove such a weight from their decision making.

Not everyone has the luxury to include the human factor in their decision making. Some choices are simply to big to concern yourself with the human factor.

And I don't think you believe cost benefit analysis to be irrational given how you employ them yourself, you only believe them to be irrational when they result in outcomes that don't mix well with your moral and ethical convictions.



I mean to tell you that the wrong weights are used in such a cost/benefit analysis, and therefore provide irrational outcomes. I assert that this has nothing to do with my own morality, but what is best for the species, and that not all Utilitarian logic removes the human factor from the equation when making a decision.

But who are you to say that some people use the wrong weights? How do you know they use the wrong weights and how do you know its not you who in fact uses the wrong weights?

And really, if the best for the species is what you want, its in fact all the more likely that you end up with decisions that may end up casting out groups of people.


At this point, based upon all your skepticism and doubt about my positions and my views, I'm not certain you'd accept the answers I give, or you'd try to dismiss them as "irrational moral behavior" - but yes. I would risk my own life and/or lively hood for numbers on a document if those numbers had real people and real faces and real lives behind them, and is about to affect that in a major way. And many people did risk their lives to save those being persecuted by the Nazis because they saw that it was too costly to simply kill people.

Well, you are a real hero in that case, because history has shown that most people are all to willing to let it happen when they are not feeling responsible for what happens. Which tends to be the case in any good bureaucracy. A natural result from the division of labor, no one is responsible for the outcome anymore, only for their particular part.


What was the cost of those lives that were exterminated? What was the emotional cost of the families and loved ones that had to deal with the trauma and the ordeal as it was happening? Any option that prefers genocide over any other choice has not put the correct weights in during the cost/benefit analysis, and as such is irrational.

Well, according to the Nazis letting them stay would have resulted in the utter ruin of Germany, being trampled by the communists or the weak democratic pansies who would use Germans as slaves. Obviously nonsense, but if you are convinced of that being the truth, then one can see that they were convinced that the cost of killing was lower than the cost of not killing. Hence, utilitarian logic was applied, a cost benefit analysis was made, and this was the terrible result.
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Message 1457907 - Posted: 27 Dec 2013, 10:56:18 UTC - in response to Message 1457863.  

Many U.S. Presidents run on a platform to save people from a rather nasty situation. FDR did. John F. Kennedy did as well. To suggest that Reagan's platform was similar to Hitler's platform is yet another obvious bias against anyone associated with the GOP.

So did Hitler, he was always pretty clear about the fact that he wanted to 'save' Germany from things like racial impurity, the treaty of versailles and communism. Reagan wanted to save America from the poor welfare moochers, the Government and communism. In other words, both Hitler and Reagan wanted to save America from problems they just made up themselves in order to scare people into voting for them.


While I agree with you on the wrongs Bush Jr. committed, I still find it deplorable to suggest that Bush could have risen to power like Hitler. The American people would have turned on him were he ever to give an order to authorize death camps. This is why he tried to hide his 'enhanced interrogations' of terror suspects, because he knew the American people wouldn't stand for it - and didn't stand for it. And President Obama has failed to shut many of them down after running on a platform that he would do so.

Call me cynical but I don't buy for a moment that Americans are somehow not susceptible to the same tricks as the Germans. Where exactly where the massive protests when the whole 'enhanced interrogation' came out? Where were the justice loving mobs protesting against Guantanamo and the use of CIA blacksites? Where were the massive anti war protests as we saw during the Vietnam war? Why didn't Washington and New York burn in riots when the Patriot Act got signed? Where were the angry people when the whole NSA spying scandal broke out in 2006? No, I have absolutely no reason to believe that the American people 'would not stand for it' when a president like Bush had given himself dictator like powers and opened up death camps for 'terrorists'.
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Message 1457908 - Posted: 27 Dec 2013, 10:57:12 UTC - in response to Message 1457839.  

So you are characterizing Bush and Reagan as evil regimes?

Well, they certainly weren't 'good' regimes.
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Message 1457909 - Posted: 27 Dec 2013, 11:07:52 UTC - in response to Message 1457872.  

Agreed. But many militant liberals enjoy making such comparisons because it dehumanizes the political forces they disagree with. What better way to invoke the emotions of people than to suggest that certain people from certain parties share a kinship with the most despised man in the history of the world?

Again, and for those that don't know me, I tend to identify with social libertarianism, and as such I tend to disagree with both Reagan and Bush's politics, but I do not think it is fair to compare them to Hitler. This would be one of the few reasons why Godwin's Law exists - the argument is made far to frequently on the internet in an attempt to dehumanize the opposition.

Of course they are not like Hitler in the personal sense. For both it speaks in huge volumes of their moral character that despite being in the position to turn tyrannical they politely gave up their seat as president after their terms ended. My comparison with Hitler was purely meant to illustrate the fact that Hitler too was voted into office, and that both Hitler and Reagan and Bush have done things that are awfully similar. For example, as I mentioned, both Reagan and Hitler had a platform based on saving their respective countries from non existing threats. Bush slightly less, though he did over exaggerate the threat of terrorism after 9/11. And while in power, both Hitler and Bush pretty much wiped their buttocks with such things like laws and constitutions, for much of the same purpose.

There are only two reasons why I think that Bush and Reagan are not seen in such a negative light is that first, both men did manage not to kill 6 million people in concentration camps and second they both didn't lose a war in such a spectacular fashion.
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