• Purple Pond
    253
    Humans compare in many ways. For example, some people are more talented, fit, attractive, intelligent, wealthy, motivated etc. Other people have none of these traits. The question is: Are some people better than others? The answer is simple (isn't it?): People with more good traits are better than those with more bad traits. Fully abled people are better than the severely disabled. Mentally ill people have less value than normal people. Healthy people are better than sick. Don't you agree?

    There are some nasty elements throughout history in comparing humans. Eugenicists and social Darwinists thought that some people are better than others and it's the duty of society to weed out the 'junk humans' to promote a healthy human society. Though you don't have to be a eugenicist to think that some people have more worth than others, you could also be a racist or a misogynist.

    On the other hand, viewing people better than other is frowned upon in our current society. Nobody wants to offend anyone. Seeing everyone as having equal worth is politically correct thing to do, but is it correct?
  • Cuthbert
    216
    I think the first trouble with the argument is that it slips from comparing humans "in many ways" to comparing them in one vague general way - "better / worse". Horses are better than lions at carrying heavy loads. We cannot conclude that horses are better than lions or that lions have less value than horses or that neighing quadrupeds have more worth than the roaring kinds.

    Secondly, the argument equates moral value with other kinds of worth, e.g. wealth and intelligence. A separate argument would be needed to show that these two kinds of value are actually the same. I lose to you in every comparison of intelligence etc. And I am of exactly equal worth and human value. We need to see how those statements are inconsistent, if they are.
  • S
    6.3k
    The question is: Are some people better than others? The answer is simple (isn't it?)Purple Pond

    Yes, the answer is simple. ( :gasp: )

    Some people are better than others in certain respects. E.g. Usain Bolt is better than me at sprinting the 100 metres.
  • Harry Hindu
    1.5k
    Define "better".
  • Cavacava
    2.4k
    Humans compare in many ways. For example, some people are more talented, fit, attractive, intelligent, wealthy, motivated etc. Other people have none of these traits. The question is: Are some people better than others?

    As I read it, your question seems to move from what is the case to what ought to be the case.
  • S
    6.3k
    Define "better".Harry Hindu

    Jump up and down.

    If you're thinking, "No, why should I?", then you should be able to relate.

    It means greater or superior, as you and I both know.
  • Bitter Crank
    6.8k
    Most people's gut reaction will be "Yes, obviously -- some people are a whole lot better than other people" and if they feel they are among friendly company, they may list just who all are better, and (more likely) who all are worse.

    You need to decide whether you want to distinguish "personhood" from "specific traits of a person". All persons, supposedly, are sacred beings of equal value regardless of whether they are healthy, sick, smart, stupid, sane, crazy, honest, thieving liars, and so forth. On the other hand, most of us are not going to waste too much time on the sacred worth of the person who is in the process of stealing our car after beating us up. Shoot the son of a bitch, sacred worth or not!

    Parents value their children as persons of sacred worth, even if the child is affected by disabilities. People continue to love their partners who develop severe mental illness. Friends stand by the murderer.

    Christians are supposed to differentiate the sin from the sinner. (Hate the sin, love the sinner.) You might not be Christian, but the distinction is still there to be accepted or rejected. Without an interpersonal connection or relationship, most of us are probably more or less inclined to reject the distinction. People who behave like shit ARE shit. Bad acts are performed repeatedly by people who are bad. You can get away with one bad act, maybe, but 5 bad acts in a row and you are scum, filth, and dirt.

    So what's your decision, Purple Pond? Good people do bad shit, or only bad people do bad shit. And what if bad people do something good? Then what.
  • Sir2u
    1.4k
    The question is: Are some people better than others?Purple Pond

    We all come into the world in basically the same way.
    We all have the same basic needs to live.
    We are all going to end up dead.

    The day one of these changes I will say yes, some people are better than others. Human beings are all equal, no matter what they look like, what their health is, how intellectual or not they are.

    But if we talk about the people as an individuals with sets of traits, as separate entities then I would have to answer that some are different from others.

    But who is to say exactly what is better than something else.

    Would it be better or worse for a kid to have a sick father or no father?
    Would it be better for a couple who have tried for years to have children, to have a disabled son or no son at all?
    Which would be the better football team, the ones that did not really have to exert themselves to win a world cup or a team of special needs children winning a match against another equal group?

    Better can be a cruel word.

    And in the end we all need to take a crap, and you cannot get much more equal than that.
  • S
    6.3k
    The day one of these changes I will say yes, some people are better than others. Human beings are all equal, no matter what they look like, what their health is, how intellectual or not they are.Sir2u

    No, we're not, and your subsequent statement contradicts this, as worded. You're just not being clear with your meaning. You mean that we are equal in some respects, and in some respects we should be treated as equals in spite of our differences.

    If I can say it clearly, as I've just demonstrated, then why couldn't - or why didn't - you? Is it because it would ruin your comment? You had it set up so nicely (or so it might seem), but then I come along and pick holes in it.
  • S
    6.3k
    Why are some of these replies so wordy? It only takes a single counterexample to refute the claim. Does anyone here dispute my counterexample?
  • Πετροκότσυφας
    979
    Surely, some people are better than others. Random example: severely disabled people are usually better than eugenicists and social dawinists.
  • S
    6.3k
    Surely, some people are better than others. Random example: severely disabled people are usually better than eugenicists and social dawinists.Πετροκότσυφας

    There is social Darwinism, and how it was/is used. Much like there is communism, and how it was/is used. Let's not conflate the two.

    I am not well-read on social Darwinism, although I'm aware of the controversy, as well as some of the ways in which it can be - and has been - used; for example, as a means of justifying discrimination in the bad sense, like racism or disability discrimination.

    But can there not be a more charitable reading of social Darwinism? Or, can it be salvaged?

    According to Wikipedia, in The Social Organism, Herbert Spencer compares society to a living organism, and argues that, just as biological organisms evolve through natural selection, society evolves and increases in complexity through analogous processes.

    I don't see anything inherently against disabled people in doing that.
  • Harry Hindu
    1.5k
    Better, greater and superior are all value statements and as such are subjective. It is nonsensical to ask a subjective question as if it has an objective answer.
  • Sir2u
    1.4k
    No, we're not, and your subsequent statement contradicts this, as worded. You're just not being clear with your meaning.Sapientia

    If you cannot read what it says there, that is your problem not mine.

    You mean that we are equal in some respects, and in some respects we should be treated as equals in spite of our differences.Sapientia

    No, I mean quite simple that we are all equal, just different.

    How do you justify your use of the word better?
    A dead person uses less resources and causes less pollution that a live person, a rich person uses more resources and contaminates more than a poor person. Which is the better person? Logically it would be the dead one.

    If I can say it clearly, as I've just demonstrated, then why couldn't - or why didn't - you? Is it because it would ruin your comment? You had it set up so nicely (or so it might seem), but then I come along and pick holes in it.Sapientia

    Piss of. See I am learning from you Socrates. When I don't feel like answering someone's post I will just insult their intelligence.
  • Sir2u
    1.4k
    According to Wikipedia, in The Social Organism, Herbert Spencer compares society to a living organism, and argues that, just as biological organisms evolve through natural selection, society evolves and increases in complexity through analogous processes.Sapientia

    Wonderful bit of research there, well done.
    Oh, sorry i had not noticed that you had referenced the idiot's guide to superior wisdom.

    At least find a legitimate page to use as a reference. Wiki is about the same level in truth value as the Sun.
  • Bitter Crank
    6.8k
    You and Sapientia seem to be in need of couple's therapy.
  • Bitter Crank
    6.8k
    There are some nasty elements throughout history in comparing humans. Eugenicists and social Darwinists thought that some people are better than others and it's the duty of society to weed out the 'junk humans' to promote a healthy human society.Purple Pond

    Do genetics disease specialists add the "eu" to their field (eugenics) when they give reproduction advice to individuals who are carriers of heritable diseases, especially the really bad ones? Apparently the genetic disease doctors think that it is better that some people should not be born.

    What about some future day (probably not that far off) when we can change the germ line (what we inherit through genes) to eliminate certain disadvantageous features, and enhance advantageous ones?
  • Bitter Crank
    6.8k
    some people are more talented, fit, attractive, intelligent... [and] motivated. Other people have none of these traits.Purple Pond

    Would you prefer to be In the first group or the second, and why?

    I would prefer to be more talented, fit, attractive, intelligent, and motivated, than less so, because higher levels of these features enable one to engage the human and physical world more successfully. Why would one not prefer that? People who have these traits are "better" than those who lack these features.

    IF one would prefer to be more talented, fit, attractive, intelligent, and motivated, apparently one thinks it would be better. Can one logically prefer to be talented, fit, attractive, intelligent, and motivated, and then say "everyone is of equal worth"? If we, ourselves, would prefer to place ourselves in the "better" category, then we are not entitled to claim that everyone is equal, regardless of the undesirable traits they have.
  • Sir2u
    1.4k
    You and Sapientia seem to be in need of couple's therapy.Bitter Crank

    Actually we are not a couple, why would anyone want a partner with such a bad attitude.
    Only he is ever right, or you agree with him or you get dismissed as being stupid.

    But thanks for the thoughts anyway. :smile:
  • Sir2u
    1.4k
    I would prefer to be more talented, fit, attractive, intelligent, and motivated, than less so, because higher levels of these features enable one to engage the human and physical world more successfully.Bitter Crank

    The fact that I would prefer does not make it so, that is a dream. You might wish for it but you are what you are.
    Imagine yourself on a scale from one to a thousand, taking into account your talents, fitness, emotions intelligence, ESP and all of the other things that make you you. If each part of you has a score, in some areas you might be high while in others low. Where would you be on the scale?
    Now tell me, who gets to draw the line where people become better than others? Yes the ones with higher score would seem logically to be better than those with lower scores.
    But for instance, a guy with a very low score might have an immune system that has prevented him from ever being sick.
    Another with a very low score has a photographic memory and can play a piano concert after hearing it only once.
    A guy with a very high score spends his time spending his rich wife's money in fancy restaurants, gyms and fine cloths

    IF one would prefer to be more talented, fit, attractive, intelligent, and motivated, apparently one thinks it would be better.Bitter Crank

    Some preferences are not better. Some people prefer to drink than smoke. Which is better.
    Some people are quite happy that their educational level does not allow them to get a better job because they don't want responsibilities and might lose the benefits and subsidies the government gives them. They don't think it would be better.

    What about the people that suffer Downs syndrome, do they not also think of themselves as talented, fit, attractive, intelligent, and motivated. Would, do they want to be better?
  • Plato'sView
    5
    Yes, some people can be considered as unfit because of their handicaps. Some people would like to eliminate those who do not measure up to certain standards, but where do you draw the line? I think they should be left alone. Can you imagine a world where everyone is perfect?
  • Bitter Crank
    6.8k
    A guy with a very high score spends his time spending his rich wife's money in fancy restaurants, gyms and fine clothesSir2u

    What's the matter with that? :naughty:

    where do you draw the line?Plato'sView

    Give me a pencil. :naughty:
  • unenlightened
    2.9k
    If one is alive, one is fit for life. Some people are not fit for life; they are dead. Personally, I try to to be completely useless, and that way I don't get used. This makes me better than you lot, or worse, depending. I'm sure Kant had something to say about this... or was it Lao Tzu?
  • Sir2u
    1.4k
    Give me a pencil. :naughty:Bitter Crank

    It asked WHERE, not how. :sad:
  • Sir2u
    1.4k
    ain't nottin atall rong wid it.

    Just that I am not so bloody lucky. :cry:
  • gurugeorge
    517
    Most modern "liberal" philosophy is oriented around non-discrimination and non-judgement as the ultimate, unquestioned values, which basically negates thought (which is instrinsically judgemental), and ultimately necessitates the falsification of reality. (That's why you get, for example, the silly argument, so common with the Left generally and the PC cult in particular, that if someone isn't doing as well as someone else, it must necessarily be because they're being exploited or oppressed or discriminated against - the presumption being that without the hypothesized "systemic" discriminatory or exploitative social relations, everyone would do equally as well, which is of course absolute nonsense.)

    People are better at things than others (including "being a better person" morally), and some people are better at a lot of things than others. Some races and ethnic groups are also better than others at this or that, on average. However, that doesn't necessarily have any dire implications because comparative advantage is a thing. (i.e., even if you were better at everything than anyone else, it would still pay you and everyone else, to delegate the things you're less good at to others - even if they're less good at those things than you are - so you can focus time and energy on the thing you're super-best at.)

    There's a higher level of abstraction at which the similarities between human beings outweigh the differences, though (i.e. everyone who is at least basically competent is equally a self-steering agent), in which case saying someone is "better" than others tout court is a bit off.

    It's a question of perspective. While the difference between the capabilities and potential of a janitor and the capabilities and potential of a CEO matters a lot in the human world, in the full context of the natural world, both share a huge amount of functionality and a whole raft of amazing capabilities that we take for granted (e.g. the ability to walk, a difficult task, as robotics people like Boston Dynamics found out, though they are obviously cracking it); while the differences in genes and brain structure, etc., that make such a huge difference in the human world are in fact usually relatively small, the tip of the iceberg, in relation to that shared mass that's roughly equal. No doubt if you were Ant-Man you'd learn to recognize individual ants, but from the point of view of an ordinary human, they all look the same. Similarly, the janitor and CEO are close enough for jazz if you zoom out and treat the tiny differences as noise.

    And at the highest, "spiritual" level, in most religions and systems of mysticism, all sentient creatures necessarily have a sort of equal dignity in being emissaries, or miniatures (microcosms) or "sparks" of the Absolute, God or whatever you want to call the hypothesized underlying Engine of the mystery of existence.
  • Bitter Crank
    6.8k
    I don't see anything inherently against disabled people in doing that.Sapientia

    And just because we think some traits are better than other traits like having two legs to walk on rather than none; or having properly functioning eyes and ears; doesn't mean that the obvious next step is sending out the poison gas vans to despatch everybody who fails to be "better".

    Some people fear that if we admit that some people are "better" than that means everybody who isn't better is worthless. Not so. For one thing, if you list all the traits upon which we might rate people, the list will be very long, and no one will be better at all of them.

    you are what you are.Sir2u

    Damn.
  • Sir2u
    1.4k
    doesn't mean that the obvious next step is sending out the poison gas vans to despatch everybody who fails to be "better".Bitter Crank

    In the movie Logan's Run the people were elevated or something at 30, basically killed off, because they were considered to have used up their useful years and there was a limit to the amount of resources that could be dedicated to each person.
    In the movie "Children of Men", the government offered a chance to the old, sick and invalid folks to leave to better climates and then drowned them.

    Would it not be a wonderful world where they tell you at 65 that that you have chance to "move up" instead of sitting around the house all day with nothing to do. And then they kill you because society has no use for you.
    Look at the situation in a lot of countries around the world where thousands of people are living non productively until they are a hundred or more. How long do you think it will be before some idiotic politician comes up with these ideas?
  • Sir2u
    1.4k
    DamnBitter Crank

    Suck it up and get used to it. :smirk:
  • Bitter Crank
    6.8k
    Of course, politicians already have come up with these ideas, and put them into effect. In fact, it's been done several times on a very large scale. Turkey did it to the Armenians, The British let the Irish starve, the Europeans did what they could to get the Native populations in the Western Hemisphere out of the way, the Hutus did it to the Tutsis in Rwanda, Pol Pot did it, Mao did it, Stalin did it, Hitler did it, and if you want to go back far enough, the Eurasia Steppe People did it to the people who were living in Europe at the time, around 4,000 BC, give or take a millennia or two. Maybe we all did it to the Denisovians and Neanderthals 30,000 years ago. It's an ancient tradition.

    Once people get on a mass murder kick, there isn't any Humanism so elevated that it will make any difference. Germany had loads of elevated Humanism on hand before Hitler came along, and he put it into deep cold storage for the duration.
  • matt
    98
    Yes some people are better than others. They think outside themselves and appreciate the experience of others. The betters also apperciate everything revelatory as if it were significant. Hope can only lie in some kind of faith of truth and beauty.
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