• Simulation reality

    I think it was Bertrand Russell that said something to the effect that even dreams/illusions are real.

    You seem to be referring to the idea expressed by Donald Hoffman that we are in reality, but, we experience it through an illusionary lens, to aid gene survival.
  • Does consciousness exist?

    What various definitions of consciousness are there? Are all animals conscious? Trees? Cities? The moon?TiredThinker

    There is only evidence that brains experience reality.
  • Anti-Vaxxers, Creationists, 9/11 Truthers, Climate Deniers, Flat-Earthers

    Is it even worth it to engage with these people?

    They're immune to facts and they will not change their minds no matter what happens, which is interesting psychologically. But should we engage for the sake of others who are rational yet "on the fence"?

    I struggle with this.

    42 pages later, any nearer to the answer?
  • Anti-Vaxxers, Creationists, 9/11 Truthers, Climate Deniers, Flat-Earthers

    Fauci's fingerprints are everywhere at the crime scene. It's a massive crime against humanity that he is at all involved with anything.MondoR

    The article you provided a link to suggests documents leaked by scientists show the Wuhan Lab had an extensive collection of coronaviruses which they intended to genetically engineer and test in bat caves (only a few years before the pandemic).

    Where does Fauci or those running the vaccination programme come in? If I remember correctly, there was a photo of Fauci at the Wuhan lab. Is there any other evidence of his involvement?
  • Anti-Vaxxers, Creationists, 9/11 Truthers, Climate Deniers, Flat-Earthers

    Why are the scientists who helped create the virus, running the vaccination program? Giant, extraordinary, cover-up for science's complicity in pandemic?MondoR

    How are they running the vaccination programme?
  • Is a constitution undemocratic? Is it needed to protect minority rights?

    Indirect/representative democracy's days are over, it was simply an interim measure that had to be adopted because of practical limitations (no easy way all the people could vote on issues back before we had cellphones).TheMadFool

    Yes, that makes perfect sense.

    I'm guessing the change will be gradual - it may take a few generations for people to give up the old ways.

    Who does a constitution serve? The people - protects their freedom and enables their pursuit of happiness. Once direct democracy is reestablished. the constitution becomes more of burden - extra time & energy will be needed for the steps a country has to make/take in order for their votes to do what they're supposed to do viz. steer the nation towards the achievement of wholesome goals.TheMadFool

    I don't think a document that protects minority rights is a bad thing. Have you seen what these people are voting for?

    In the UK people have voted for a 165% increase in homelessness (this figure is pre-pandemic), around 30,000 deaths per year due to NHS cuts according to The Royal Society of Medicine (again, pre pandemic), and case examples of people literally starving to death after having their state benefits terminated (around 70% of these decisions get overturned on appeal to a judge). A more obvious example is Nazi Germany.
  • Is a constitution undemocratic? Is it needed to protect minority rights?

    Have you heard of the futurist Jacque Fresco? He believed technology would make laws redundant.
  • Is a constitution undemocratic? Is it needed to protect minority rights?

    Exactly! Any country with a functioning political (procedural) democracy but without a corresponding functioning economic (substantive) democracy is not sufficiently democratic (i.e. controlled by the majority of stakeholders (citizens)). Whether or not a country has a "written constitution" isn't determinative either way (e.g. Russia has a "written constitution", Israel, like Britain, operates with an "unwritten constitution" – both claim to be democratic). Scandanavian / Nordic countries seem to come closest to substantive democracies, but maybe that's only the "grass is greener" effect. Neither the UK nor US, as we know, are substantively democratic.180 Proof

    If we forget about the fact that the monarch has to sign off for a bill to become a law (called Royal Assent) :grimace: the UK parliament is supreme. "Parliament is supreme" is a common phrase in legal books and judgements, and law passed in parliament takes precedence over judgments of the courts, and the wishes of the government.

    When asked what kind of national government was created during the 1787 Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin replied "A republic, if you can keep it." Consensus among legal historians and political scientists is that the USA is a constitutional republic and not a democracy.180 Proof

    I've tried to stay away from US politics as I have enough trouble staying up to date on UK politics, but it's too interesting (and entertaining too). Maybe there is some "grass is greener" effect, but I do wish we had a US style constitution to protect our minorities.
  • Is a constitution undemocratic? Is it needed to protect minority rights?

    I had directly voting for legislation in mindDown The Rabbit Hole

    Again, that would be a disaster. How would laws be developed? Who would write them? Initiative petition or referendum? If it was run like Massachusetts, a petition by fewer than 3 million people would put a law on the ballot. What about all the daily, tedious, keep the machinery running laws? Who would deal with those? Bad, bad, bad idea.T Clark

    The bills could still be drafted by professional politicians, and the questions then put to the electorate electronically. The same question is not to be put before the electorate again within x years unless the legislature votes that it should be, or in the alternative upon a supermajority of the electorate.

    directly voting for our leaders/representatives would be less controversial. I understand the 2016 presidential election demonstrated how undemocratic the process can be. Didn't the loser have the most votes?Down The Rabbit Hole

    That doesn't make it undemocratic, no matter what the Democratic cry babies would have you believe. I'm a registered Democrat by the way. Democracy doesn't have to be perfect majority rules. The electoral college is a clunky piece of machinery. I'm on the fence whether it should be abandoned or not. One thing it would do, for better or worse, is force almost all campaigning into just a few states. I'm not sure if that would be a good thing or not.T Clark

    Whether there is good reason to have the electoral college voting system is another question. It is clearly undemocratic to appoint a president when the majority voted for his opponent.

    Again, a system that is not pure majority rule is not necessarily undemocratic. If you think majority rule will help protect minorities, you are way off. We could outlaw Islam with nothing to stop us. Did I mention it was a bad, bad, bad idea.T Clark

    It's a matter of degree of democracy. The more persons that have choice over their ruler, and the laws that govern them, the more democracy. However, I'm no cheerleader for democracy. I think it is detrimental to the rights of minorities, and the US constitution helps protect these minority rights from the mob.

    Yes, another question, apart from the sustainability of direct democracy, is if the people would make better laws than those they elect. It may be that the people, voting anonymously and without accountability, would be more likely to make risky, dangerous and vicious decisions.
  • Is a constitution undemocratic? Is it needed to protect minority rights?

    I agree. The UK government's new police bill would make protest that causes "serious annoyance" illegal. I'm sure the US First Amendment wouldn't stand for that.
  • Is a constitution undemocratic? Is it needed to protect minority rights?

    The race and abortion issues in the US are a pocket history of this process. Conservative states for decades have been passing laws on race, voting, and restricting abortion struck down as unconstitutional. Trouble is, in most cases you first need someone to break the law, they convicted, and then up through the federal appeals courts. And yes, people are expected to obey the law, subject to usual penalties, because it is the law until thrown out.tim wood

    It was only the other day I heard about the Texas Heartbeat Act. Looks like legal challenges are pending, but apparently the Supreme Court is more pro-life following Trump becoming president.
  • Is a constitution undemocratic? Is it needed to protect minority rights?

    Direct democracy would be a disaster. In New England we have a tradition of Town Meetings, which act as the legislature for towns. They meet once or twice a year. It's a very clunky system, although it works ok on a small scale. Are you suggesting that people would vote on federal and state legislation from their homes? Or are you only talking about the presidential elections?

    Good government requires quite a bit of friction to slow things down. In the US, that has gotten out of hand, but the principle is sound. The direct democracy option would just move the chaos that's found on the internet even deeper into our political system.
    T Clark

    I had directly voting for legislation in mind, but directly voting for our leaders/representatives would be less controversial. I understand the 2016 presidential election demonstrated how undemocratic the process can be. Didn't the loser have the most votes?

    I don't know anything about election of lawmakers on the other side of the pond, but here in the UK we risk wasting our vote on our party of choice when our vote has much more power when made for the main parties, due to the First Past The Post system. Whereas in a Proportional Representation system all votes would have equal power.

    The primary argument against direct democracy in the creation of law is that the law would be changing with the wind, and this would be unsustainable. I'm sure this could be fixed by, for example, limiting the amount of times a question is directly put to the electorate. Anyway, I'm not opposed to giving up some democracy in the interests of a system that works smoothly or protection for minorities.
  • Is a constitution undemocratic? Is it needed to protect minority rights?

    No. The Constitution is the people's will. It may constrain and restrict some people. But the people can change it, although not easily.tim wood

    I doesn't seem right to call it the people's will when the people can rarely control it.

    Of course. But what country were you supposing is a democracy?tim wood

    Direct democracy would be as pure as you could get, but failing this a parliament where your elected representatives can act on the people's behalf, without restriction.

    No. A law is good until and unless successfully challenged in the courts. If the people want a law contra the constitution, they can start the process to amend the constitution. Not easy but doable, as prohibition and the subsequent repeal of prohibition demonstrate.tim wood

    Interesting. So would people be expected to follow the law even if it violated constitutional rights? And would they be protected from being liable for damages as a result?
  • Is a constitution undemocratic? Is it needed to protect minority rights?

    Democracy is government by the governed. There are lots of different ways this can be configured and still fall within the meaning of the word.T Clark

    Yes, I didn't mean completely undemocratic. Clearly the people's will is restricted by a constitution.
  • Your thoughts on Efilism?

    I don’t think it makes it all the way to moral nihilism. Sounds more like humanism. The source of morality is humans and their preferences, not some “answer” that’s “out there”. Though there are certainly answers that fit more or fewer preferences. And ones that are sustainable and others that are not. Etckhaled

    Our view that there is no correct answer seems to meet the definition of moral nihilism. Although, I think moral nihilism is commonly used to refer to a belief that morality doesn't matter, which is a pill I'm not willing to swallow.

    I don't think the fact that a moral principle is popular makes it any more right, as we would still be unable to articulate a basis for it. Of-course a moral principle is unsustainable if you cannot apply it consistently.
  • What would be considered a "forced" situation?

    What do you think? What is it that seems to be unjust here that I am not quite verbalizing other than "paternalistic unnecessary harm".. Is there something else that can describe this unnecessary creation of the obstacle course for another, and deeming it "good" because YOU want to see this take place for another person? It starts to become a political decision. You want to see an agenda enacted of game playing.. This isn't innocently defending yourself by saying, "Oh well, we need to provide obstacles to prevent even greater obstacles".. This is creating all obstacles in the first place.schopenhauer1

    It makes perfect sense that doing something now to affect a future person (such as planting a bomb to kill them or having sex and forcing them to be alive) can be unethical. Though it doesn't feel right to me to say that it's okay to force non-existence, but it's wrong to force a happy existence, based solely on the fact that in the latter case someone will exist.

    I'm stuck with one argument - that the lives of suffering (even 3% of the population is hundreds of millions) are not a reasonable sacrifice for everything else life has to offer. I guess this argument is just part of your collection?
  • What would be considered a "forced" situation?

    Right, there is a way that preventing the planting of a bomb that would hurt a future person(s) is "good", even if there was no person alive to be aware that there was a prevention of this terrible thing that could have affected them.schopenhauer1

    Makes sense to me.
  • What would be considered a "forced" situation?

    I was showing the lack of freedom in the unborn. As I have already acknowledged, the unborn are being forced into existence, but in the alternative the unborn are being forced not to exist. In the former, the unborn would end up with more freedom overall.Down The Rabbit Hole

    I don't think this is looking at it accurately. The alternative is NOT being forced to not exist, as in that scenario there is no "one" to not exist. In fact, there is no one "missing out" on the game by not existing. This goes back to that asymmetry. There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with "missed game" to anyone who doesn't exist. What "force" or "bad" is happening to anyone? What is a factual state of affairs, is no person will be forced, and that is where the issue lies.schopenhauer1

    Bloody asymmetry! :lol:

    Would you say the violation occurs, with the act that gives rise to a birth, or the birth itself? And an example demonstrating violating the rights of the not yet existent is planting a bomb that will kill a future generation (that hasn't been born yet), but their right to life (when they have been born) etc will have been violated?
  • Flow - The art of losing yourself

    The flow is experienced in sports and video games when the task is not too easy or too difficult. I guess the concentration in trying to achieve something just outside our grasp keeps our mind off of our sadness and worries.
  • What would be considered a "forced" situation?

    I'll go with a dictionary definition: "the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants". I don't think this is abundant in the unborn.Down The Rabbit Hole

    Again, why is not being around at time X, but being affected at time Y, not count as a force? Any number of things can be justified with this notion.schopenhauer1

    I was showing the lack of freedom in the unborn. As I have already acknowledged, the unborn are being forced into existence, but in the alternative the unborn are being forced not to exist. In the former, the unborn would end up with more freedom overall.

    So is it only about amount of pain and pleasure for you? Is not the collateral damage something more than a statistic? It's easy to discount it when one is just philosophizing and abstracting.schopenhauer1

    Yes, I don't feel anything other than good and bad feelings matter. At the end of the day, my moral foundation is no more objectively right or wrong than anyone else's, but it's still worth debating moral questions, as our positions may be inconsistent with our goals.
  • What would be considered a "forced" situation?

    How are we defining freedom?schopenhauer1

    I'll go with a dictionary definition: "the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants". I don't think this is abundant in the unborn.

    Another take: Even if there seems to be choices (for surviving, entertaining, relationships with others, and even killing yourself), there really isn't. It's either follow the game (obstacle course with some choices there), homelessness, hack in the wilderness, or die. The option for suicide, homelessness, or dying in the wilderness, doesn't make the forced game any more fair or right to make people play. We are not "panning out" far enough to see the limited choice of the game of life.schopenhauer1

    I really do think this demonstrates, in the case of people with lives of suffering, the weakness of freedom as a moral principle. It would be better for these people if they were never born despite all of the freedoms they have gained by being born.

    So a takeaway here, there is something about the forced game, similar to the "happy slave" that is not right, or suspect. I am starting to think it has something to do with a paternalistic, "But this is good for you".. The forced game of limited options (especially never having the option not to play) has the paternalistic air that this game needs to be played by someone else.. It's good for them.. But why is the evaluation correct for someone else? There seems to be an implicit political agenda of the game that needs to be played, by more players. Majority opinion, like the happy slave, doesn't really answer this, so be creative. Also, there is still something not quite right about "suicide" being a solution for the collateral damage of those who don't agree with the game's premises.schopenhauer1

    It just doesn't feel wrong to enslave someone and make them happy. It could be my consequentialist bias, but @khaled seems to agree.

    I'll end on agreement though - suicide is a torturous experience for the person committing it, and all of their loved ones left behind. It can often cause more pain and suffering than the marginally bad life being ended, and it is definitely not an excuse in any way for bringing people into existence that have bad lives.
  • What would be considered a "forced" situation?

    1) What counts as "forcing" people into a game? Certainly the villain is doing this, but how is birth not any different besides the fact that prior to the birth, the person didn't exist? Does that really matter when the outcome is the same (the person plays the game of life?).schopenhauer1

    People have been forced into a game when they had no choice but to have been put there - so, yes, birth has forced people into life. I don't think this makes it automatically bad - for example it wouldn't be bad if you know everyone will be glad that they were forced, and that they will enjoy life.

    I think it does matter whether the person existed prior to birth, as it would be bad to snatch them from a good life to something worse, and good to snatch them from a bad life to something better. This means when giving birth, it is good if the life is better than the neutrality of non-existence, but bad if it is worse than the neutrality of non-existence.

    2) What counts as "freedom"? I mean the villain's game, and life's game (after the expansion) is pretty much identical. But many people might still say what the villain did was wrong, whereas the life game is not. How so? It is almost if not exactly the same in terms of amount of choices allotted (play the game, or die of depredation, suicide, and poverty.schopenhauer1

    I think people that are born have more freedom than the unborn, as they have more choices. It demonstrates (most strongly when looking at people with lives of suffering) that the consequences are more important than freedom.

    3) Are the contestants like the "happy slave" that might not mind the game (being a slave in the slave's case), but don't realize their options are more limited than they think? What makes life itself so different? Life itself doesn't offer much beyond it's own game, homelessness, and suicide.schopenhauer1

    I think if being a slave makes someone happier, all things being equal, their being a slave is a good thing.

    Your example of someone being snatched from one life and put into another requires calculation as to their amount of choices in each, but I don't see how it limits your options by being brought into existence from nothingness.
  • Your thoughts on Efilism?

    Is it that there is no correct answer? Or we just can't prove it to each other?Down The Rabbit Hole

    The former.
    I prefer vanilla, you prefer strawberry.
    I prefer the pricking of my finger, you prefer the destruction of the world.
    De gustibus non Disputandum est.

    I think you are right.

    Moral nihilism has a bad reputation, but isn't that what we are espousing? "Moral nihilism is the meta-ethical view that nothing is morally right or wrong".
  • Are only animals likely conscious?

    There's a difference between consciousness and behavior and we can't measure consciousness (yet at least) but we look at behavior. The prejudice cuts to thinking that those things that behave like us may be conscious and there has been tremendous resistance to every acknowledgement of cognition/consciousness each step further from humans to other other primates to other mammals to birds, with the scientific consensus being No, the default as no, until overwhelmed with evidence.Bylaw

    The planning and introspective type behaviour is evidence of consciousness, especially in light of the fact non-human animals have brains which are used for thinking, just-like-us. It doesn't make sense to say these non-human animals are by default not conscious, and we certainly shouldn't wait until we are overwhelmed by evidence to treat them as such.

    In recent decades a lot of evidence is coming in related to plants: plant intelligence, plant communication, plant decisions, plants having painlike reactions, some but not all of this at slower speeds than animals, but in the end not that different.Bylaw

    Plants don't have brains for introspection, or nerves to transmit pain signals. The more a brain develops the more it is conscious of its own thoughts and feelings, and the world it inhabits.
  • Are only animals likely conscious?

    I don't think it is because of prejudice that we believe animals to be conscious but not the rest of nature. It's the evidence, that non-human animals have brains which we know are used for thinking, we observe that non-human animals plan, become anxious, and depressed. This evidence isn't there for the rest of nature.
  • Your thoughts on Efilism?

    Tis not contrary to reason to prefer the destruction of the whole world to the scratching of my finger. Reason's only purpose is to help us to satisfy our desires. Reason is, and ought only to be, the slave of the passions. — Hume

    In other words, it's not worth arguing about.unenlightened

    :chin: Is it that there is no correct answer? Or we just can't prove it to each other?
  • Anti-Vaxxers, Creationists, 9/11 Truthers, Climate Deniers, Flat-Earthers

    I haven't seen anything about contraceptives increasing the risk of vaccines. Maybe @baker can give us a link or two.

    Have you seen our chief medical officer responding to Nicki Minaj's impotence claims? It's a must watch:

    I was surprised by the ratio of thumbs down, and amount of anti-vax comments left on the video though.
  • Anti-Vaxxers, Creationists, 9/11 Truthers, Climate Deniers, Flat-Earthers

    It's part of how Astrazeneca got a bad reputation. I've heard it on the national news, and I'm sure they can fact-check better than I can.baker

    I think that had to do with blood clots, and was shown to be mistaken.Xtrix

    There are a few serious side effects, most notoriously the blood clots that in "Some cases were life-threatening or had a fatal outcome", according to the UK Government.

  • Abortion and the ethics of lockdowns

    Moral epistemology. Focus on what the thread is about, and not on the 'how do we know anything is right or wrong?" question.Bartricks

    I was responding directly to your comments to the effect that "consequentialism is obviously wrong", "consequentialism is false", and consequentialist ethics are "silly". You made these comments, using only your intuitions as evidence therefor, but refusing to explain why your intuitions prove what is moral.

    I actually enjoyed our exchange on my thread asking whether morality was objective, subjective or relative, but you dodged the same question there. It's kind of important when everything else is built upon it.

    Consequentialism about ethics is silly. We can argue over that and how I know it and how you know otherwise somewhere else. But even if it is true, consequentialism would deliver an anti-lockdown verdict for the reasons I have explained. It's the actual consequences that determine the morality of a policy; and it is obvious - obvious - that any sober assessment of the aggregate gains and losses would deliver the verdict that lockdowns to deal with a virus are utterly stupid, consequentially.Bartricks

    I am open to convincing. I don't think your conclusion is so obvious, considering a 1-2% mortality rate and 15-20% hospitalisation rate - if left to infect the planet would result in 80-160 million dead, and 1.2-1.6 billion hospitalised; and multiply these number for devastated family and friends. Lockdown would much more than half these numbers?
  • Abortion and the ethics of lockdowns

    I don't see how your intuitions prove something to be morally correct or incorrect. You can't just say intuitions prove morality, without giving reasoning for this.

    All those people who have died from covid - they'd have died of it if there wasn't a lockdown, yes? So locking them down just made them miserable to no gain whatsoever. And most of us - the vast bulk - would not be killed by it. So most of us are being made miserable and poorer and being made to lose businesses for the sake of sparing us a flu-like illness (the vast bulk of us would rather suffer a flu like illness than be locked in our homes for months on end at massive cost to ourselves and you can tell by the fact that if there were no enforced lockdowns, most would not have voluntarily locked themselves down, would they?).Bartricks

    That you seem to think otherwise can only be, I think, because you are cherry picking what consequences you focus on (which is to abuse the theory, not apply it).Bartricks

    No, I'm not worried about unsavoury conclusions at all. If I knew for 100% fact pushing the fat man off the bridge would save multiple happy lives (and there is no other way to save them), I feel it's right to push him off the bridge.

    With the lockdown argument, you've made the case against lockdown, but what about the many many more people that would die suffering if the virus wasn't locked down? Not just them, the grief of all those families losing loved ones; talk about driving people to despair and suicide.
  • Abortion and the ethics of lockdowns

    The violinist example may result in more suffering by remaining connected for the 9 months. I think a clearer example is the trolley problem, with people that live happy lives. I think it right to pull the lever and murder someone than let multiple people die.

    But your intuitions count for no more than someone else'sBartricks

    That's my point. You can't say as a fact your non-consequentialism is morally right, and my consequentialism is morally wrong.

    it contradicts most people's intuitions about what it is right to do in all manner of situations.Bartricks

    That's the appeal to popularity. As I said, if popularity proved morality, your views are in trouble.
  • Your thoughts on Efilism?

    People believe the minority that live a life of suffering are a reasonable sacrifice for everything else life has to offer.

    Have you heard of The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas?
  • Abortion and the ethics of lockdowns

    Considering your views, for example that our parents should pay for us for the rest of our lives without us ever having to work, I take it you accept popularity does not prove what is moral? Then what is left is your intuition against mine. Why is your intuition right and mine is wrong?
  • Consequentialism

    I think your explanations are correct. A non-consequentialist would see things as good and bad in and of themselves, whereas a consequentialist would say the same things are good and bad by virtue of their consequences.

    The roommates privacy should be breached if there is even the slightest inkling he is a danger?Down The Rabbit Hole

    I don't think soOutlander

    Because it is intrinsically bad to breach the roommates privacy, or because the inkling is not enough evidence? What about if it is more likely than not the roommate is a danger?
  • Consequentialism

    That seems right.

    Take the US' Right to Bear Arms. Does this Right take precedence over the consequences? Although I'm a Brit, I think almost everyone would say, no.

    How about Right to Freedom of Speech? Some speech is illegal due to its proven consequences.

    The roommates privacy should be breached if there is even the slightest inkling he is a danger?
  • Consequentialism

    I used to have deontological views when I was a teenager, but now have pure consequentialist views.

    Consequentialism seems more scientific and less arbitrary than values and how they compete with each other. However the consequences we hope to achieve might be just as arbitrary.
  • Abortion and the ethics of lockdowns

    Consequentialism just seems more down to earth to me; it is the way we do science after all.

    It seems too arbitrary picking values and how they compete with other values.
  • Abortion and the ethics of lockdowns

    For me it is all about the consequences. I take it you believe there are rights that should be respected, in spite of the consequences? As my ethics are suffering focused, my decision as to whether there should be mandatory lockdowns would depend solely on which option best reduces suffering. There are so many variables, I don't feel comfortable saying either way.

    Note Thomson's position is not absolutist (and nor is mine). If you only have to give up, say, 10 minutes of your time to save the violinist, then probably you ought and maybe others can make you stayBartricks

    How would you decide where to draw the line?
  • Currently Reading

    How about the Oppy one on infinity?Seppo

    I thought that would be the hardest read, but it's pretty understandable if you slow down and take your time with it. I'm at page 100, having a break from it to do other things.

    A lot of the classical actual infinity thought experiments he has answers for, but for those he doesn't he asserts that just because certain actual infinity thought experiments are impossible, it doesn't mean actual infinities are impossible. He points out that even finite scenarios can be impossible.
  • Currently Reading

    Went way over my head, especially with all the math.

    I remember seeing reviews on Amazon before someone got me the book, from professors etc, saying the same thing.