Archive for the 'Objectivity' Category

29
Jul
08

The Battle of Good and Evil…

Today I read (watched actually) the 666th post on the blog (or yolog) on the Blog of the Angry Aussie. For his 666th post, he decided to talk about the concepts of good and evil. Well worth listening to what he said if you have a few minutes, because he makes some excellent points.

If I understand what he is saying correctly, he feels that the ideas of Good and Evil are abstractions that have no real definable meaning, and that because of that, there is no such thing as absolute good, or absolute Evil. He raised some good points, with some compelling examples, such as the Nazis, and how none of them thought they were evil, and how evil actions are really a matter of perspective rather than any concrete idea.

But while I agree with a lot of what he said, I do disagree on some of the fundamental implications of his position. Hence this post. I do believe there is a universal definition of Good and a universal definition of Evil. And no, I’m not talking about universal good/evil in relation to, (for Instance) God, and the forces of good fighting against the devil and the forces of evil. I’m talking about how we define the basic earthbound humans daily battle with the moral and ethical questions that drive our actions.

There are a lot of things that are universal in this world. Laws of energy, nature, physics, etc. are inviolate. When we break one of those laws, it isn’t because we really broke it, but rather because we didn’t truly understand it to begin with. I think that universally applicable concepts of good and evil exist in the same way.

I believe that there must be some universally acceptable idea of good and evil, otherwise we would not be able to recognize the individual instances of one from the other, regardless of our individual beliefs. I think that this is a very important point. I think our problem is that we really do not understand the idea of what “Good” or “Evil” truly means at a universal level.

What this means to me, is that the biggest mistake people make with respect to defining good and evil is that they apply too specific a filter on what they consider good and what they consider evil. It is often a function of their cultural or religious belief system, or their cultural morals, or social normalcy, or any random thing they were brought up to believe.

None of these, from my perspective, are good ways to determine the benevolence or malevolence of a person or action, because they are all rooted in a human way of thinking that assumes the thinker understands the difference, or is the good guy. I believe that in order to truly define good and evil as universal concepts, we must learn to think outside of our petty differences, and in terms of a much, much broader picture, otherwise our definition of Good and Evil will, by definition, not be universal in any way, shape or form.

But then the question becomes, is it possible for a human to think in such broad terms? Well, I think so. After all, there are social laws that are universal. Laws that do exist, in one form or another, regardless of religion creed or belief system. A typical example is “The Golden Rule”. Do unto others and all that jazz.

Lets take Mr. A and the example of the Nazi’s. Sure, Nazi’s Germans never woke up every moring and said, “Today would be a great day to be evil.” No, they justified what they did using some altruistic sounding, though heinously misguided, rationalization.

Clearly, your average German walking the streets of Germany today would consider what the Nazis did evil. But why did the Germans of the time not think so? Was it because of a different perspective? And if it was, was that a reasonable perspective?

My answer to the first question is: because they were lying to themselves. And to the last two: No. No way in hell. Why? Because they violated the golden rule. Unless it makes sense to you that if another culture considers yours inferior, that they ought to take the initiative to wipe yours off the face of the earth, nobody can argue that it was a “good” thing.

It’s amazing how quickly peoples perspectives become irrelevant if you correctly apply the Golden Rule to the scenario. Things that people say makes sense suddenly contradict themselves under that paradigm, and the theoretical complications brought about by “differences in perspective” suddenly don’t mean much.

My point here is this. If a concept as simple, as straightforward and easy to apply (if you aren’t lying to yourself) as the Golden Rule, can be applied so universally, regardless of culture, creed and/or belief, then there must be some universal way to define actions that fall in line with the golden rule, and actions that violate it.

And if that exists, then, to my thinking, it follows that there must be some concrete definition to universal Good, and universal Evil… I think that most of us are usually just too egocentric to properly define it…

666-The nature of evil – [Angry Aussie]

07
Nov
07

Laaaaaaaw, is a many splendored thiiiiiing… Not.

OK, forgive my musical refrain. I ran across an article today that kinda illustrated how important it is that the laws be objective, not morally motivated, and constantly revised to stay current with the changing times:

Dying in parliament is an offence and is also by far the most absurd law in Britain, according to a survey of nearly 4,000 people by a television channel showing a legal drama series.

And though the lords were clad in their red and white ermine cloaks and ambassadors from around the world wore colourful national costumes, at least nobody turned up in a suit of armour. Illegal. – [Yahoo/AFP]

Obviously many of these laws probably had some practical logic to them when they were made, and merely suffered from being too broad or too specific in scope. However the same is true of many of the laws on the books today. They are based on historical or social standards that are either obsolete or irrelevant today.

On the other side of the coin, there are laws placed on the books, that are simply poorly thought out. Most often emotional the result of knee-jerk reactions by over zealous lawmakers. For instance banning baggy pants? No tag in school? No hugs?!? Seriously, how is banning baggy pants supposed to reduce the crime rate of a city? (see <Dumb Laws.com> for a big list of really wacky laws… Fair warning, you may laugh yourself into oblivion 🙂 )

But on a more serious note, the law has become a means for activists to push their own agendas, as opposed to protecting the society at large, and no, the two are not the same thing. An equitable legal system does not discriminate against anyone on the bases of race, color, creed, beliefs, etc, so it is absolutely ludicrous that any one should have to face prosecution simply because of their choice of clothes. What we are seeing is an abuse of the legal system. And it really needs to stop.

Die and you’re under arrest! Britain’s most stupid laws – [Yahoo/AFP]

12
Oct
07

The Crippling Power of the Human Mind…

Today I read an interesting article that elicited a healthy laugh from yours truly. It seems that an Irvine, CA inventor came up with a led adorned, radio controlled, reinforced foam flying toy that had local residents crying “Alien Abduction”:

Zingali, 58, was searching for help with his radio-controlled plane. Instead he found hand-drawn plans by a poster named Stringfly for something called a saucer.

“I was told – by engineers – it wouldn’t fly,” says Zingali, a former facilities specialist who recently moved to Phoenix. “There was no airfoil, no lift, no dihedral.”

He built one anyway. It flew, but couldn’t handle the wind. So he tweaked a few things and doubled its span from 18 to 36 inches. A phenomenon was born. Soon, Orange County motorists were chasing strange lights in the sky. Orange County’s Mutual UFO Network was taking calls about erratic, flying objects. And the Web site UFOinfo.com was posting reports of “glowing orbs” in south Orange County.

One 53-year-old man reported a large glowing ball that “appeared to drip fire.” It traveled about five miles in a few seconds, he said, and left an “acrid type odor” in the air. – [OCRegister.com]

OK. Lets review. What we have here is a 3foot foam toy with leds on it and a top speed of 40mph that, from observers reports, is bigger than a house, produces an acrid smell, (somehow detectable from its cruising altitude of 400ft), travels at 3600 miles an hour, and drips fire…

Amazing how our senses/perceptions can deceive us. Absolutely amazing…

UFOs baffle O.C. earthlings – [OhGizmo/OCRegister]

06
Sep
07

Early to rise, early to grave…?

Science is better today that it ever has been. The scientific process has been refined to the highest degree ever, and studies are, in general conducted in the most objective way possible. Which is why it is all the more irksome to me when I see researchers take perfectly good study results and flush it all into the sewer with out-of-left-field conclusions:

The study, conducted by researchers from several universities and hospitals in the western Japanese city of Kyoto, revealed a link between wake-up times and a person’s cardiovascular condition.

Well that’s quite interesting…

“Rising early to go to work or exercise might not be beneficial to health, but rather a risk for vascular diseases,” said an abstract of the study.

Say what now?!?! Now hold on just a second! How exactly did you make that jump from correlation to cause? You do realise that just because there is a correlation between factor A and factor B does not mean that Factor B was caused by factor A don’t you? You are scientists are you not? What happened to the science? Where’s the objective review?

The study, covering 3,017 healthy adults aged between 23 through 90, found that early risers had a greater risk of heart conditions including hypertension and of having strokes.

However, the study also noted that early risers were usually older. – [Yahoo/AFP]

Hmm… Far be it from me to question the findings of veteran researchers, but could it possibly be that age had something to do with the increased heart disease risk factors, as opposed to their sleeping habits? Now I’m sure that the study was conducted flawlessly. But I’m having a wee problem with the interpretation of the results.

Did you poll their work habits? Maybe they are getting up earlier because they are overworked, under a lot of stress and need more time to get work done. Being overworked could also increase stress and cause heart problems right? How did they come to this particular conclusion when there are approximately a gazillion of other factors that are known causative agents for heart problems?

Sometimes, in spite of all the scientific and technological advances of the past century, I feel like I’m living in the dark ages…

Early rising no good for the heart: study – [Yahoo/AFP]




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