Friday, December 24, 2010

Human derived Moral codes are inherently Evil -- Ethics

This is a copy of my 10 page argument paper where I try to persuade the reader into one simple fact, that any code of morality derived by humans is inherently evil in some sense, and as such, unfit to be followed. The best Ethical system is an unchanging, static, objective one, where good and evil remain the same from one century to the next and villains do not over time become heroes.

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Claim: Any Human derived moral system will inherently have some parts of its moral code be morally wrong, even if a large percentage of it is acceptable.

Explanation of claim: There are special reasons inherent to every human derived ethical code, that in turn leave room for evil and chaos to emerge. Even if by chance you get all people to agree on a majority of rules, something which is a great feat in itself, you will still have the grey areas near the boundaries and those areas will leave room for murder, death, and destruction. In this paper I will work to show you exactly what ideas each human derived moral code has to contend with, that in turn leaves room for error and evil.

Reasons in Support of the Claim:

1. Objective Morality: I do not believe in moral relativism and the argument of morality itself falls flat when you say that what’s good and what’s evil is simply relative and not grounded in reality. If such a world exists where good and evil sways in the wind, then a morale code to control it becomes impossible. What was once good may become evil and what was once evil may become good. I think all philosophers of great caliber will contend that Morality MUST be objective and that a good action, properly defined, must always remain such in the exact same circumstances defined. If it changed later in the future, with the exact same circumstances, than morality doesn’t matter and good and evil are simply a roll of the dice depending on when you live in the world and what country you were born in. My reasons following this one will come to show that a human ethical code is always subjective, and thus it violates this idea and leads the human morale code to fail as a system to live by. It is noteworthy to mention that Thomas Nagel in his book “The View from Nowhere” believes that an objective world or perspective in everything is not possible; and may not be possible in anything. On that merit alone Human derived moral codes would all be subjective, and they would all violate this first principle of mine which would lead them all to be evil in one way or another, as they would inevitably violate one or more objective morale laws, if they were subjective, as Nagel suggests.

2. Human Bias and Defining Human Rights: Since the laws that we’re creating in our moral systems eventually will lead to laws to live by and courts to enforce them, we as people will inevitably inject our own bias into them in different ways, to give ourselves an advantage. Where does the first point of injection occur? It occurs when defining Human Rights. When the issue of abortion comes up, who has the right to abort the baby and what if the other parent disagrees? Let’s assume the fetus is 4 months old, three situations come up:

1) The father wants an abortion but the mother disagrees.

2) The mother wants an abortion but the father disagrees.

3) The fetus cannot be aborted on either issue because both parents are intruding on it’s right to live.

So what would utilitarianism do to define their rights? How would Kant define their rights? Is it Just to define people’s rights and actions based on the system of what creates the most overall happiness? How does that even solve the issue of rights? Does the person whom has the most good will, control the issue of who has the most rights? Ethics cannot define people’s rights fairly, that is the crux of this argument. Bias shrouds this issue in every direction. Some believe the fetus’ right to live supersedes both parent’s rights. Others say the mother gets more rights in having a child then the father. Who derives these conclusions and how do we derive them fairly? I argue that Utilitarianism and Kant’s Good will cannot give us conclusive answers on these issues and thus they lead to holes in our moral code which leave room for evil.

3. Limited Reasoning Capacity: If we take Utilitarianism and we take Kant’ s good will and we apply their rules with a limited reasoning capacity, then we will always do some amount of evil acts; this is inevitable. Why is this so? Consider that all it takes for a decision to be good in Utilitarianism is to believe in an overall increase in the amount of happiness and thus if you believe your particular decision creates the most happiness but you reason incorrectly, you have just made a mistake and done an evil action. The same goes with Kant and his Good will. If I reason incorrectly that my intention is good but after further examination I find out it was wrong and my intention was evil because I reasoned incorrectly, I again have done an evil action. This is what we call Human Error, it is impossible to remove, and it only attests to our fallibility. We are not perfect creatures and we are bound, inevitably, to reason incorrectly because of our limited knowledge and as a result we are bound to make mistakes. These mistakes not only occur in the application of moral laws but also in the creation of them. If Kant were given one million years of life, I’m sure he would find some flaw somewhere in his reasoning that was left as a remnant in his first philosophical dialogue with the world. That small mistake will cascade into many evil decisions and Kant cannot be blamed for making it because he is as fallible as every other human in the world. Again, to summarize this argument, our reasoning capacity affects how we apply the moral codes we learned, and without perfect reasoning we will inevitably make a mistake somewhere down the line and commit an evil action. Even in the creation of the morale code itself we are sure to make errors that we’d realize existed after one million years of contemplation, thought, and reasoning.

4. Concept of Justice is Lost through Scholarly Ideologue battles: Kant rightly ridicules utilitarianism for relying too much on consequentiality. If a person does a good action with an evil deed, then why should he be rewarded for it? If, for the sake of the king’s money, you help out his son, why should your acts be given any true moral value? Would you like your best friend if you found out he only spoke to you to or liked you because of your wealth? Intention matters but what Kant forgets is that your action matters as well. If actions did not matter then Hitler must be seen as a good person. Hitler acknowledged that his race was under attack and that he needed to protect his people and his race from destruction. He was fighting for survival in his mind and being attacked on all sides so whatever he did was in defense and justified by the aggression of everyone else. He believed his Aryan race was the most superior and gave the most to society and to have it destroyed would be a travesty for all people. As he said in Mein Kampf: “All the human culture, all the results of art, science and technology that we see before us today, are almost exclusively the creative product of the Aryan. This very fact admits of the not unfounded inference that he alone was the founder of all higher humanity, therefore representing the prototype of all that we understand by the word "man." He is the Prometheus of mankind from whose shining brow the divine spark of genius has sprung at all times, forever kindling anew that fire of knowledge which illuminated the night of silent mysteries and thus caused man to climb the path to mastery over the other beings of the earth . . . It was he who laid the foundations and erected the walls of every great structure in human culture.” The vast majority of people agree that waging a war on humanity and being the cause of millions of deaths, along with the systematic genocide of six million Jews, was appalling, unjust, and completely unacceptable. But if we judge him by Kant’s Good will, he comes out clean. Where is the justice in Human Morale systems and why is it so elusive? Hitler is just one case where Kant’s morale system fails and it attests to the quote, “The road to hell is paved by good intentions”. Actions are important, because what are we at the end of the day, if not the very definition of our actions, be they good or bad? Human morale systems lose this basic concept for Justice when they enter the realms of ideology and in the end, basic human justice for life, liberty, and happiness is lost, at least in certain circumstances, as has been documented time and time again in history. Kant’s view is extreme and unjust because he fails to realize that consequences and actions matter. Murdering someone, with good intentions, is still Murder, especially if that person he is about to kill is an innocent by standard of good intentions himself.

Reasons Against the Claim:

I. No other options exist: The argument may be posed that there are no alternative sources for ethics and a standard is being created for it that is unacceptably high. Just as in any venture in the real world, we cannot create buildings that are unshakeable or drugs which make us live forever, so why should ethics be any different? Why is there no room for a small amount of evil here and there; which will add to the debate? If we cannot get a static unchanging objective Morality, but we can get very very close to it, than why can’t that be enough? This is a fair argument because sometimes asking for more than is possible is unfair. I can’t ask my doctor to make me 20 years healthier or younger, so why should I ask my philosopher to perform acts of miracles too? Imagine for a second a moral code that takes care of 90% of my moral choices, in a Just way, and still I must complain for more? Perfection should not be the standard for morality, as may argue my competitors.

II. Human Rights can be defined but not agreed upon: My academic rival may also argue that he may be able to create a set moral code of human rights, based on his fundamental ideas of Morality, but that the trouble that would occur is people would not agree with him. That in order to preserve the most good in the world, a man may be limited to certain rights and a woman may be limited to others. That in order for there to be good will, and respect for the Law, Kant can define our Human rights in a way that allows us to act as proper reasoning creatures, not under the power of a Monarch and under courts of law that respect intention and the difference between manslaughter and murder.

III. Limited Reasoning Capacity: Just because Humans have a limited reasoning capacity does not mean that people will not eventually come to the realizations of a Human Moral system and agree with it. Just because Kant was a human, doesn’t mean he made any mistakes in his reasoning when he created his moral code. After a million years, he still may not change a word in any of his dissertations or works. It also may be unfair to hold a philosopher at fault for the incorrect reasoning of his adherents. If a certain number of people did not take the time to properly apply his Philosophical moral code to their lives, that is their own fault and as a result of their own ignorance. Such people should not tarnish the name and aim of a Human based moral system which expects it’s adherents to be able to reason properly in relation to its construct.

IV Justice is too malleable a word: One man’s justice is another man’s evil. The word Justice, even if it applies as a true idea and a true standard, varies too much to compare to ideological principles which are hard in fast in their definitions. Even if something may seem unjust, it may be possible to, after a period of contemplation, understand the justice in it. So it is unfair to say that some principle of Utilitarianism is wrong simply because it seems unjust. The standard of justice is too freely flown to be allowable as a true defense against the precepts of a human moral code. What may appear unjust may in essence be the very nature of justice itself; but our ignorance may be eluding us from it.

Decision:

At the end of the day, I want a proper, universal, objective moral code. I want the precepts of good and evil to remain so if I practice them in 1,000 years. I do not want a relative world in which I struggle to decide in what is good and what is evil. I do not want to be punished for doing something that innately seemed correct to me and something which many philosophers would praise me for. I want human rights to be based on fundamental principles not founded in self interest and bias. I want my rights to be as fair as anyone else’s so that I do not gain an unfair advantage on them. I don’t want my limited reasoning capacity to affect my choices in life, and to affect what is good and what is evil. I believe in the standard of Justice and I uphold it as a standard to strike down any ideologues that refuse to see the consequences of their theories and their simple written work. If a moral code as this, which is static and unchanging, and upholds the test of time, cannot be fabricated, than no moral code is sufficient to satisfy the many cravings of justice, equitability, and respect that lay within my inner conscience.

Rebuttal:

1. No Other Options exist- Yes they do: If you are like Plato, Socrates, Newton, Einstein, or a number of other great thinkers in the world, than you believe in the existence of God. If you go a step further and then believe God sent down a moral code that is objective, that is untouched and therefore unbiased by us, then you lead to a point where you have found an impartial objective, perfect, moral code. That moral code, should have the answers to all decisions, with exceptions also placed, in certain situations where a rule may need to have limits placed on it’s over reaching power. Do you want to find an objective and perfectly sourced Morale code? If so there is no need to adhere to these human, biased, imperfect, codes of life. We need only look for God’s morale code, if you believe he sent it down, as billions of people through time have believed and adhered to.

2. Human Rights can be defined but not agreed upon – That’s subjectivity: To say that Human rights, as in the issue of abortion that came up earlier, can be defined properly but not agreed upon, is just like saying they are not objective and lead you to a realm of subjectivity. Even among philosophers, there are huge disagreements with issues of the State of Government and its relation and rights to the people. Why is it that there is so much strife and disagreement in the realms of Human rights? It’s because it’s simply too biased a subject for philosophers to face properly. This is a subject solely tainted with the hands of Mankind. No Human morale code ever devised can give me solid and clear answers that we can all agree on. No human morale code has ever come close and it’s why politics is such a heated discussion because it’s central to this issue of human rights. Do we have the right to regulate or take over banks or don’t we? Can they betray us, sell us bad loans, and come out clean, without any morale recompense for their immoral actions; or do they have that right to be greedy and are we to blame for our ignorance? Do celebrities have a right to privacy or don’t they? To what extent can we gossip on our fellow Human Beings? When is slander allowed? Is Free speech the overriding factor in all of the above, and does it take precedence in everything, including slander? Philosophers cannot decipher this code of Human rights and the very problems and arguments we have left unsolved today are proofs of this fact.

3. Limited Reasoning Capacity—Constant evil quandary: If you admit that humans are fallible and you admit that the sole purpose of a moral code is to provide an outlet for defining good and evil, then you must admit that any morale code devised by humans will be wrought with some mistakes. To disagree to this claim means to believe someone created a perfect moral code, and such a belief seems na├»ve. If even one hole or even one exception can be found in any morale code, then you have room for error and in turn evil. So our limited reasoning capacity again shows us that we cannot create nor adhere properly to a human morale code. This problem will not go away by simply wishing it away. We are not perfect beings and we make honest mistakes all the time. To expect perfection from such creatures is to deny the very nature of reality, death, and destruction that has occurred at our hands. Even if we could somehow move passed our bias, which is an argument in itself, there is no evidence to show that a human can create a perfect morale code that would be just in every situation a human may stumble upon. Without that level of quality, we make an inherently evil system that will make mistakes. Such a system should not be a standard for deriving good and evil, even if it be correct 90% of the time.

4. Justice is too malleable a word – Kant Disagrees: There is an innate conscience in all of us that Kant calls out to. It is an innate conscience that, as Kant seems to say, knows good from evil and decides the laws for ourselves, if we wanted others to follow suit in the same way. It’s that golden rule that allows us to make good and evil in Kant’s OWN human based moral code. So if that conscience finds a hole in a Human derived Morale code, and we are appalled at the level of injustice that ensues because of such a rule, than it’s perfectly fair to say such a rule is wrong. Justice can be a standard on which to compare the principles of any Human Morale system, and if such systems are leaking in certain areas of right and wrong, then they should be exposed by the standard of my conscience and in turn the essence of Justice. Kant would fight for this in a similar fashion because remember, if Kant is wrong, and we have no innate conscience of what good or evil is, then we can never decide rules for ourselves or others to follow, and Kant’s whole morale system fails. There is a standard of Justice, it can be applied, and many times, such as in the issue of Hitler, an Ideology and Ideologues in general can be lead astray because they lose sight of the innate justice in all of us. Hitler butchered millions of people, regardless of his good will. He is responsible for those deaths and should be known for all time as an evil person, even if a Kant adherent may disagree for ideological reasons. Justice always trumps Ideology, as Kant would agree to when he devised his morale code and said: “Would I be content that my maxim (principle) should hold as a universal law for myself as well as for others?” To answer is to know Justice.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Naturalistic Fallacy -- Anti Muslim Rhetoric

During this article I'd like to touch upon a specific fallacy and also three specific video case studies of people either not being logical or making logical leaps that are improper or false.

To decode them we will look at their foundations and analyze their assumptions, assuming they bothered to provide any evidence for their arguments in the first place.


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1) An interesting video I stumbled across including a man named Mark Steyn:

http://fora.tv/2010/04/26/Mark_Steyn_The_End_of_the_World_as_We_Know#Mark_Steyn_What_If_the_West_Turned_Muslim


Mark Steyn: "Would you want to raise a family in Cairo? Which currently Muslim city would you live in?"


Philosophical Summary/Breakdown:

"This religion is bad(worrisome to the west) because no city in our natural world in the control of a Muslim is currently good. Therefore, because a large amount of Muslims are ruled by evil people, they themselves must have an evil religion which fosters evil leaders."(It sounds absurd, I know, but that is what he is arguing.)

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Naturalistic Fallacy

Just because nature or the world shows us something, does not necessarily mean that is a proper representation of it.

An easier and nuanced approach would be to use the "is... Ought" method taught by Hume.

Just because something IS a certain way, doesn't mean that is how it OUGHT to be.

So it may be circumstances, outside the control of Muslims(lurking variables), have led to corrupt governments, and that those factors that created these kings have no bearing on the religion itself.

That is why you can't say, this is how it is, and that is how it AUGHT to be, because it might not have to be that way. It might be forced that way by other variables outside your control.

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Judging Religions or Principles by their Followers

At the end of the day you can't judge a religion by a country or a group of people. The group of people may be in stark contrast to what the religion says. It's best to just be critical of the religion on it's own grounds and it's own tenants; that alone is sufficient.

Also, any tendencies we may see in those people, should not lead us to say, "that is what this religion creates, and because it is this way, that is how it ought to be, and therefore I consider all of this wrong and evil."

Those types of arguments are nonsensical, illogical, and are littered with a bigoted and intolerant attitude.

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2) A similar intolerant and hate ridden speech was given by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, promoting Christians to convert Muslims.

She says:
"How can we get the 1.57 billion Muslims to believe in something other than what the radical Muslims are proselytizing because they are winning the argument"


This alone is a baseless fact, and to even say 1% of Muslims are radical equates to:

15.7 MILLION Radical Muslims, WAY above any FBI or CIA estimate. She is simply out of touch and shows no evidence to suggest that the radicals are winning the arguments, EXCEPT for her own word, which is baseless without evidence.

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She continues:

"...and yes there are Christians who are radicals, there are Christians who are.... I wouldn't say... just... they're absolutely not as violent but intolerant and narrow, but that is not the Christianity that I have seen."


So what she's implying is that Christianity is better than Islam, and isn't as radical, because, that's not what she's "seen".

Naturalistic error, once again.


(Nice video trying to stem some of the fanatical hate speech and islamophobia)


She finishes her speech off with:

"The Catholic churches and the Protestant Churches, the moderate ones, are already established and know how to do that(convert people), they're just being intimidated either by the PC people or people like you who think they're all radical. I think that we should stop doing that. I think that they should start competing"


She has made it clear what side she sits on. She wants a competition, and she prefers Christians to Muslims because of what she has "seen", again a naturalistic fallacy because she may not have seen many proper moderate Muslims.

If you notice her speech is all, "My, I think, We should, that's how it is".

She's manipulative, without actually accruing any facts besides saying "1.57". What actual fact based arguments is she making?

This is all sensationalism. It's an attempt to emotionally drive you to believe something without logically informing you as to why; without giving sound evidence to support a proper argument on a firm foundation.

The truth is:

All people that feel conversion is necessary, and that we should convert others, regardless of the rudeness and enmity it entails, are radicals.

It's why MOST churches and Mosques do not proselytize and do not go door to door preaching.

Let each pray and follow whom they will, and account to their Lord. That is the American way. America was founded by people seeking religious asylum. This principle of religious freedom is INGRAINED in our country and in the constitution.

If we want to have a civilized and logical debate between the religions, that's all good and well, and substantive.

Sensationalized drama asking us to come to arms, to convert 1.57 billion people, is nonsense and the fuel for anti-Islamic sentiment and hatred.
(The consequence of not doing so is an army of Radical Muslims and a WWIII military ending....
Again sensationalist propaganda that has absolutely no fact based merit and should be taken on her "word" and what she's "seen")


Shame on her for such sensationalism. She would be shamed by her Alma mater and whatever University named her a Scholar, if she even is one or has any degrees to her name.

She does not act in accordance to the principles of a Scholar. Instead she look more the part of a political pundit, manipulating their audience using scary WWIII undertones; similar to the likes of Glen Beck.

But definitely not a Scholar, which would come forward with coherent arguments, strong supporting facts, and a logical framework.


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3) Last Video, this time by Sam Harris:

He argues:
"So the problem is not Religious extremism, because extremism isn't a problem if your core beliefs are truly non violent."



He makes a lapse in judgment here. Although he's being very methodical in this video and at least using a reasonable argument, he says something which can be disproven easily.

He is basically saying if your core beliefs are non violence than that leads you to never having evil and extreme radical believers; but then what about Christianity?

  • Isn't Christianity the ultimate Peaceful religion?
  • If Jesus is slapped, did he not say turn to thy other cheek?
  • What wars or conquests did Jesus fight?
  • Did Jesus not allow himself, according to christians, to be tortured and killed?
  • What more better a shining example than Jesus himself, the pinnacle, the IDOL of Ghandi, and of pacifists.

  • "Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
  • And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.
  • And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
  • Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you."
Source (Athiests for Jesus, an essay by Richard Dawkins praising Jesus)


So I'd say at the CORE of Christianity is peace, and yet there are Christians that bomb abortion clinics and start world wars like Hitler.

What? You say Hitler wasn't a Christian. Have you not seen his Nazi Belts or read his manifesto?



It says Gott mit uns, or God with us. Are not Hitler and Jesus polar opposites?

That fact alone destroys Sam Harris' argument.

It has been shown that a religion with a peaceful core, can still be manipulated into a radical and violent one.

It just takes a number of centuries, a good head on your shoulders, and lots of charisma.

Sooner or later, even Sam Harris' example of Jainism will be shown to be fallible, once 1 follower of Jainism does something evil in the name of his religion, or an evil person joins Jainism with the intent to manipulate the religion to meet his own needs.


The reason why Jainism has been left untouched until now is it's power pales in comparison with that of Christianity, Judaism, or Islam. Why hijack a hardly known religion, with few followers, when you can spend your energy and manipulate millions of people.

That's why Jainism has been left alone.

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For Sam Harris to argue this is impossible, destroys his argument, rendering it useless.

He cannot argue that Jesus and Christianity, at their core, is not peaceful, because every sign even by atheistic writers like Dawkins have attested to the pacifism of Jesus and his true followers.


So what we are left with is an empty shell of an argument and the ability for peaceful religions to be manipulated.

But isn't that fairly obvious.... that anything can be manipulated. There are no holy untouchable organizations today that do not fear corruption.

Everything can be manipulated.
Why?
Because people are not perfect creatures, and our own inner faults pave the room for manipulation. These are all common sense conclusions to get to with just a bit of time and contemplation.

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For his second point where he says Osama isn't fudging the facts, and is simply painting the truth about Islam, he simply gives no evidence.

  • No Quotes by the Prophet of Islam.
  • No Quranic Verses.
  • No statements by Osama.
  • No lines from books of scholarly analysis.
  • Nothing.
  • He just says it as a fact, paraphrasing him: Obama and Islam are one, and he doesn't fudge the facts.

Sam Harris goes so far as to say:

"He(Osama) is giving a truly straightforward version of Islam and you really have to be an acrobat to figure out how he's distorting the faith"



To make such an amazing claim, that more than a billion Muslims have a religion that encourages Terrorism(or Murder), or that would allow such a thing, REQUIRES evidence to prove.

As the famous scientist Carl Sagan said, "Extraordinary claims require Extraordinary evidence". This supposed scholar gave none...

On that point alone, his argument is without foundation, and fails.
It's a point that even seems absurd to think about, that a billion murderers exist in this world, commanded to fight holy wars around the earth. That's 1 in every 6 people...

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Final Thoughts

The authors of these videos grasped the hands of hatred, for their own reasons, be it ignorance or a lack of will to seek out the truth(laziness).
Either way they did a disservice to themselves to not educate themselves properly before spreading false propaganda.

In Sam Harris' case where he actually tried to make a logical argument, he failed to contemplate on his thesis, and allowed a large hole to remain in the heart of his argument, easy to unveil, causing the whole theory to fall apart.

As we saw, even though his original point had some logical reasoning, his second point had no merit and was simply a bigoted slap in the face to every Muslim that prays peacefully on this Earth. Not even did he attempt to support his extraordinary and inflammatory claims.

At it's core, all we got here, from these three videos, was xenophobia, ignorance, a lack of reasoning capability, and hatred.

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