• Marchesk
    2.8k
    Peter Singer put forward the argument for charity based on the analogy of coming across a drowning child, and choosing to save the child even if it ruins your expensive watch, because as a decent human being, the life of a child is more valuable than a watch. In the real world, there are places on the planet with many dying kids who could be saved with less cost by supporting organizations doing good work to save them. So as decent human beings, we should all make the small effort/cost to support these organizations.

    It's a convincing argument. But it's also quite misleading. Because in the real world, it's not just you and the drowning kid. There are a lot of other people involved. Your charity might end up supporting a warlord or corrupt government resulting in more harm. The aid organizations might create a brain drain by attracting the best local workers who were badly needed in other areas. And you might be helping to undermine the local businesses and agriculture with shipments of free clothing and food, keeping the country poor and dependent. You may also be helping to perpetuate the notion that developing countries need to be saved by the rich countries instead of them becoming self-sufficient.

    Also, there might be people drowning closer by in your own country where the same concerns are absent, and you can do more good for them without the unintended consequences.

    This isn't to say charity is necessarily bad, only that simple persuasive arguments can mask real world complexity.
  • Ocean777
    14
    I recall one time I was in a busy outdoor mall where thousands of people were roaming around, & there was a man who was calling out for help & saying he had just gone blind & could not find where the seats were so he could sit down & figure out what to do next. He was really distressed & obviously not trying to hoax anyone. But not one person would help him & so I took his arm & led him to the seating area.
    Another time a man had a heart attack on the sidewalk & his old mother was with him in total panic, & all the thousands of rich healthy people just ignored him; & I instantly took him & his mother in the car to the emergency department.
    Another time all the people just ate icecreams & watched a boy being slowly electrocuted to death after he accidentally grabbed a live power line. Not one person would help & I had to find some wood & pry his burnt hands from the wire. He eventually regained consciousness & begged all the people for help, showing them his horribly burnt & mutilated hands, yet no one would even talk to him.
    I could go on & on with many instances where I have rescued people or saved their lives when no one else would. & I often have put my own life in danger in order to rescue them. Like I swim out into dangerous rip tides after women & children get swept out to sea & are drowning & no one will save them. It is almost certain death but I plunge in & save them all regardless.

    I'm not a hero type person, I just see it as the right thing to do. Yet I notice that generally no one else is like me & they will not lift a finger to help other people who definitely need help. Most people only like to commit acts of selfishness.

    Still I would be hesitant to give money to foreign lands because obviously the money would never reach the starving people on the ad.
  • god must be atheist
    920
    I'm not a hero type person,Ocean777

    Obviously you are some relation to Jesus the Christ.

    I could go on & on with many instances where I have rescued people or saved their lives when no one else wouldOcean777

    It is statistically highly unlikely that you'd find yourself in a position where you could save lives from random accidental deaths. I was saved twice, from absent-mindedly walking under speeding cars, and I saved one bicyclist who wanted to start to cross the road right when the light turned to green, but I held him back, he looked at me quizzically, and then he saw a red sports car zoom past us, running the red. The cyclist watched the light, only, to calculate when it'd turn green, while was watching the crossing traffic, and saw that the red thing would not stop. The bicyclist gave me a quick nod and sped across the street.

    That's all. To save a drowning man, a blind man, an electrocuted child, a raped woman, a beat-up hippy from the cops, a man from the combine harvester, a girl from the calculus exam, a woman from the Four Riders of the Apocalypso dance group, etc, strikes me as highly unlikely.

    I am not saying you are a liar, Ocean777, not at all. I am just amazed how god put you into those millions -- okay, not millions, but a large number -- of situations where you had to rescue people while thousands, literally thousands, of other onlookers would not.
  • god must be atheist
    920
    ... and the provincial superior court judge from the snow grooming machine at a ski slope.

    This is not a joke. A friend of mine was handed down a guilty verdict, and was going to be sentenced by who had been reputedly a tough judge, when she (the judge) was eaten by the icegrooming machine at Blue Mountain resort near Collingwood. He was assigned to a different judge who ruined my friend financially, but he was spared incarceration.
  • Ocean777
    14
    It is statistically highly unlikely that you'd find yourself in a position where you could save lives from random accidental deaths. I was saved twice, from absent-mindedly walking under speeding cars,god must be atheist

    3rd time lucky. lol
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