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Here is a really screwed up one.





JoryRFerrell
I know I ask some questions that are seemingly "evil", or even unfair sometimes.
I have outdone myself this time.

Would it be ethical to pick a vial at random from a lot of 10, with 5 being filled with saline, and five with
a drug which instantly causes Diabetes, and inject a person with the chosen syringe?

Yes or no answers only please (Pls include an explanation for that answer).

If you answer the question, please answer the next.

Would it be ethical to have children with someone who's DNA you know will give a 50% of producing offspring with Diabetes/AIDS/ALS(Lou-Gehrig's Disease)?

Please do not flip out on me. Just take this question for what it is.
I know it's a pretty serious topic.
It's meant to be.
So let's have a non-flaming debate about this subject please. Thank you.
JoryRFerrell
I can hear you with my ESP now:

"There is no way I am answering this...
No...
******...
Way."
Bikerman
It is not so hard to answer. The first question is pretty asinine. Of course it would not be OK to inject a person - either either saline OR the drug. Both would be classes as assault causing actual bodily harm and should result in a prison sentence - 6 months to 2 years for the saline. The diabetes would be gross bodily harm and could get 10 years or so.

In the second case then yes it would be not immoral. I can't say it would be moral because I would need much more info for that, but it would be amoral under most circumstances.
The two situations actually have very little in common and the decisions are based on entirely different considerations.
LxGoodies
Modern medical science can provide parents with all kinds of information about risk involved in childbirth and after. If I would know my child would certainly develop diabetes at a very young age.. knowing the complications of that, rather than diabetes of the elderly being a relatively mild form, young children can dy of it.. get really weak.. now considering all that, and knowing it before conception I would be grateful to the doctor for his early warning and certainly avoid having a baby with my partner. Rather we would resort to IVF-techniques, one of us avoiding to cause a desease in our child.
Quote:
you know will give a 50%

Yep, chance/probability is one factor in this decision. Severity is another one. Consider e.g. your child would be severely impaired, mentally and physically.. how impaired.. what would be the limit you would accept for your child.. difficult to say. But I consider it unethical to =knowingly= let a child be born with e.g. a life expectation of less than 7 years.
JoryRFerrell
LxGoodies wrote:
Modern medical science can provide parents with all kinds of information about risk involved in childbirth and after. If I would know my child would certainly develop diabetes at a very young age.. knowing the complications of that, rather than diabetes of the elderly being a relatively mild form, young children can dy of it.. get really weak.. now considering all that, and knowing it before conception I would be grateful to the doctor for his early warning and certainly avoid having a baby with my partner. Rather we would resort to IVF-techniques, one of us avoiding to cause a desease in our child.
Quote:
you know will give a 50%

Yep, chance/probability is one factor in this decision. Severity is another one. Consider e.g. your child would be severely impaired, mentally and physically.. how impaired.. what would be the limit you would accept for your child.. difficult to say. But I consider it unethical to =knowingly= let a child be born with e.g. a life expectation of less than 7 years.


I agree with basically everything you said. And thanks for answer the question. That goes for Bikerman too...

BTW, why would 7 years be the cut off for you? Is it an arbitrary number that just "feels" right, or was it a value arrived at with other considerations?
LxGoodies
That age is as arbitrary as any other criterium involved. Take e.g. ALS disease, this turns out to be genetically predictable in 10% of the cases. Suppose there will be a sound test for that 10%, would I allow my child to be born with a life expectation anywhere between 25 and 45 ? with 10-15 years of gradual physical degradation before that point.. Of course, a life can be welcomed and loved. But I think (and I hope) it will always remain an autonomous and personal decision for every parent to take measures - or accept consequences - when the obvious is presented..
spinout
That is the decition making in most peoples lives. There is always sicknesses in our genes, and more by age. And often are kinds born close to each other in time, so when you find an illness in the first the next one maybe already is on its way...
Yes, of course it is ok with a 50%...
JoryRFerrell
spinout wrote:
That is the decition making in most peoples lives. There is always sicknesses in our genes, and more by age. And often are kinds born close to each other in time, so when you find an illness in the first the next one maybe already is on its way...
Yes, of course it is ok with a 50%...


Ok. You agree to a 50% chance of a child being birthed with a disease, but what about 100%?
What if you KNOW that producing a child with your partner will produce offspring guaranteed to be
ill, with a severely crippled body? What about a 90% chance? What about 80%...what would be the cut-off for you, again, assuming a horrible, life-crippling (possibly fatal) disease?
JoryRFerrell
LxGoodies wrote:
That age is as arbitrary as any other criterium involved. Take e.g. ALS disease, this turns out to be genetically predictable in 10% of the cases. Suppose there will be a sound test for that 10%, would I allow my child to be born with a life expectation anywhere between 25 and 45 ? with 10-15 years of gradual physical degradation before that point.. Of course, a life can be welcomed and loved. But I think (and I hope) it will always remain an autonomous and personal decision for every parent to take measures - or accept consequences - when the obvious is presented..


Ok. Thanks for your answer...
Indi
JoryRFerrell wrote:
Yes or no answers only please.

Seriously? In a philosophy forum? Not even "yes or no with reasons", let alone "yes or no or why you can't answer, with reasons"?

You are pointlessly narrowing the scope of the answers you will get to the answers you want. That is not how you learn new things. That is how you stay in a mental rut.
JoryRFerrell
Indi wrote:
JoryRFerrell wrote:
Yes or no answers only please.

Seriously? In a philosophy forum? Not even "yes or no with reasons", let alone "yes or no or why you can't answer, with reasons"?

You are pointlessly narrowing the scope of the answers you will get to the answers you want. That is not how you learn new things. That is how you stay in a mental rut.


You misunderstood what I meant by "yes or no answer only".
I of course want to hear WHY you answer yes or no, but I don't want people dancing around the issue and never actually giving an answer.

I fail to see how trying to prevent folks from arguing about this or that, and in the end, failing to ever give an ANSWER on the question. I gave two very specific situations. There is no need for a vague answer for either, and so I purposefully attempted to narrow it down for folks who do in fact like to dance. :\

I also notice that instead of answering the question, you yourself managed to do dancing of your own. So let's hear your opinion: Is it wrong to avoid having children with someone who has a genetic predisposition for a dangerous disease? What percentage of chance for passing on the disease would you need before considering it immoral to produce a child? Or are you in to much of a mental rut to just come up with an answer? Oh...and please do answer the question, but also provide examples of how my topic/question is limiting to free thought. Maybe we will create a new discussion based off your suggestions. Neutral
Indi
JoryRFerrell wrote:
I also notice that instead of answering the question, you yourself managed to do dancing of your own.

Because the requirements you put on the answer preclude any answer i might give. So i did the only rational thing i could: questioned the requirements.

JoryRFerrell wrote:
So let's hear your opinion:

I don't do opinions, i do philosophy.

JoryRFerrell wrote:
Or are you in to much of a mental rut to just come up with an answer?

Is it really necessary to stoop to insults? You asked a question with requirements that made it impossible for me to answer - which means it was probably impossible for others to answer as well - so i pointed out the problem (unnecessarily limiting requirements) and why it was a problem (it restricts answer to only those you want, preventing you from getting novel ideas). What is the purpose of this question you're asking now, other than being a dick?
Iceaxe0410
The obvious answer is no. When would it be ethical? Without stating the purpose of the injection, it really doesn't need to be answered. But I suppose since you're asking this question, it is to prove a point based on the second question? But, I disagree with the comparison.

As for the second question, I would say yes. There are exceptions of course depending on the reasons for having children with said person. If the act was forced or unplanned then I would say that there is some argument to be made that it would be unethical. However, if it is a conscious decision between both people to have a kid knowing full well the potential consequences or drawbacks of having kids with diabetes, then I say it's ethical or at least acceptable.

The reason I disagree with the comparison is that you're omitting the reason for risking giving a person diabetes. If for instance that the person had no choice but to inject said person with one of the contents of the vials otherwise face death or worse, then there would be something to consider. Without the reason, there is no room for debate. At least in the second question, the reason is to have children, to procreate. There are various reasons people want children so one can contemplate the ethics.
LxGoodies
No, I don't agree. The analogy holds. If a severe problem pops up, you can make the choice to put a child into the world anyway.. but doing so, you knowingly cause a human being to have a disease.. big problem.. so you may as well inject a fellow human with the disease. You even do that with your own child in this case.

Iceaxe0410 wrote:
The reason I disagree with the comparison is that you're omitting the reason for risking giving a person diabetes. If for instance that the person had no choice but to inject said person with one of the contents of the vials otherwise face death or worse, then there would be something to consider. Without the reason, there is no room for debate. At least in the second question, the reason is to have children, to procreate. There are various reasons people want children so one can contemplate the ethics

These things can get sooo complicated. IMHO not because of the reason. The reason is always very clear. You want to give birth and raise a child. There are people for whom this is not so easy. Suppose you're dependent on an IVF procedure.. would it be ethical to proceed when genetic problems are found ? can you take that decision, even when it is very difficult (and costly) for you to have children of your own and the IVF success is a onetime lifetime chance.. I think circumstance can influence these decisions. And make them very difficult.
Iceaxe0410
I'm confused why you believe the analogy holds. Would you randomly stab someone with a deadly virus just for the heck of it? There is no rhyme or reason to do so unless if you purposely want to cause harm to the person. It's not the same comparison to having children who you would presumably care for as family.

Having children knowing the possibility of a genetic defect is not so black and white. The general reason people have children is for survival, to pass their genes to the next generation. Its not always a conscious decision, but instinct. In the example given, it's a 50% the kid would not develop the disease.

Think of it this way, if that kid later has kids of his or her own, there is a chance to eliminate the bad genetic disease with every generation. That is, unless if they copulate with another person that has the same genetic disease. Chances of that happening are not so great given how large the population is. It's one way how survival of the fittest works. The genetic diversity reduces or prevents outright detrimental diseases from becoming an epidemic.

I still say the first situation is unethical without the context or reasoning for injecting the person. It enters gray area when you're talking about having children because it deals with the quality of life. Would they suffer all their life? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe they would be glad they got the chance to live. Maybe they would find a reason to live through the pain they may encounter. And you're saying that we shouldn't even try because they might suffer? People suffer through life whether they have a genetic defect or not. What really matters is if they find something worth living for.
Indi
LxGoodies wrote:
No, I don't agree. The analogy holds. If a severe problem pops up, you can make the choice to put a child into the world anyway.. but doing so, you knowingly cause a human being to have a disease.. big problem.. so you may as well inject a fellow human with the disease. You even do that with your own child in this case.

Forget diabetes for the moment: If you were going to have a child, there would be a ~50% chance of it being male. If your child actually turns out to be a boy, did you knowingly cause that kid to have a penis? Are you morally responsible for that child's genitalia? If that child comes to you years later and says, "I wish I'd been born a female, why did you do this to me?" are you actually morally guilty of harming that child?

What i'm trying to point out here is that this entire notion is ridiculous.
LxGoodies
Your 50% makes the dilemma more fuzzy. Because 50% would mean "take the chance" or "avoid the risk". Without any responsability felt for the disease afterward, because it could have gone either way. If a 100% certainty or near 100% chance is involved, the dilemma looks different (in terms of direct responsability)
PBMaxx
Quote:
Would it be ethical to pick a vial at random from a lot of 10, with 5 being filled with saline, and five with
a drug which instantly causes Diabetes, and inject a person with the chosen syringe?

No, for whatever the reason.

Quote:
Would it be ethical to have children with someone who's DNA you know will give a 50% of producing offspring with Diabetes?

No.
JoryRFerrell
Indi wrote:
Is it really necessary to stoop to insults?

Your joking of course...you are joking right?
No?
Hmm...you were the one who said that the way to stay in a mental rut was to limit the possible answers.
That would imply that the person limiting the answers is stuck in a mental rut themselves.
Your statement, either intentionally or otherwise, accused me of being in a mental rut...so I merely mirrored your question, albeit a little more directly. I'm sorry if you prefer indirect insults.
I give what I get.

Anyway's...I felt this question was worded very specifically.
There are to pointed, specific situations, and therefore there is not really a need for a vague, or open-ended answer. These questions should be answerable as either "Yes it's immoral" or "No, it's not immoral".

That's the way I saw, so that's the way I asked it. I would prefer answers in the format I asked for them. You can feel free to start your own topic which poses the same question but allows for a broader range of answers. But this particular post was meant to be split between 2 choices.

Indi wrote:
I don't do opinions, i do philosophy.


:\ The two overlap...if we argue whether it's better to be a male or female, you can argue the philosophical points for each side, but no matter what, it's really just an opinion.

We can philosophize about whether it's better to have a lot of fun and die early, or a little fun and live much longer. But it's an opinion.

We can philosophize about whether it's better to eat dessert first, and the main course second, or vis-versa. (Pretend it's a healthy dessert. Maybe a bad dessert metabolizes differently from the healthy main-meal, causing a lop-sided issue.) But it's an opinion.

So long as the philosophical issue is neutral in terms of how it affects peoples ability to live their lives, it's nothing more than an opinion. Right?
JoryRFerrell
PBMaxx wrote:
Quote:
Would it be ethical to pick a vial at random from a lot of 10, with 5 being filled with saline, and five with
a drug which instantly causes Diabetes, and inject a person with the chosen syringe?

No, for whatever the reason.

Quote:
Would it be ethical to have children with someone who's DNA you know will give a 50% of producing offspring with Diabetes?

No.


LOL...well...I was looking for more of an explanation, not simply a point-blank "Yes" or "No" and "let's leave it at that"...that's to much like religion for me...I need reasoning.

Could you please elaborate on your response?
PBMaxx
Quote:
Yes or no answers only please.


I wasn't trying to be a smart alec.
JoryRFerrell
LxGoodies wrote:
Your 50% makes the dilemma more fuzzy. Because 50% would mean "take the chance" or "avoid the risk". Without any responsability felt for the disease afterward, because it could have gone either way. If a 100% certainty or near 100% chance is involved, the dilemma looks different (in terms of direct responsability)


Whooooooa nelly....hold on...we have a problem...
Your reasoning has a possible flaw.

What if we said that you were presented with a magic coin and you had the following options:

A: Flip the coin, and if it is heads, you win a lifetimes supply of whatever you want (material, or immaterial), or just plain 'ole money. You can't share or give it to charity however. It must be for your personal use, benefiting no one but yourself.

B: Flip the coin, but should you flip, and it lands on tails,
1000 innocent, good-hearted people will be immolated.

C: You don't flip the coin at all.

According to your logic, you wouldn't be responsible for choosing to flip the coin, and possibly getting
a 1000 people killed, merely to satisfy your own personal gain, is not wrong....because it's 50-50?!
Even if you flipped and didn't get those folks killed, you still took a risk which is screwed in it's own right... Think
LMFAO...wth dude...hopefully you never end up with a magical coin...lol Laughing Rolling Eyes
JoryRFerrell
Indi wrote:
LxGoodies wrote:
No, I don't agree. The analogy holds. If a severe problem pops up, you can make the choice to put a child into the world anyway.. but doing so, you knowingly cause a human being to have a disease.. big problem.. so you may as well inject a fellow human with the disease. You even do that with your own child in this case.

Forget diabetes for the moment: If you were going to have a child, there would be a ~50% chance of it being male. If your child actually turns out to be a boy, did you knowingly cause that kid to have a penis? Are you morally responsible for that child's genitalia? If that child comes to you years later and says, "I wish I'd been born a female, why did you do this to me?" are you actually morally guilty of harming that child?

What i'm trying to point out here is that this entire notion is ridiculous.


Well...we can't ignore the fact that mental harm can be subjective, where as physical harm...not so much.

If I speak out against religion, that hurts some peoples comfort. Then again, religion attacks the comfort of others, so it's a lose-lose. Someone gets their feelings hurt no matter what.
But at least when I attack the issue of religion, I am not destroying someones ability to live their life,
despite my disabusing their belief in sky-daddy.

However, when it comes to physical harm, the same cannot necessarily be said. If I go out with a gun and attack the religious, suddenly I have taken a step that many would argue is one too far.
There can be a difference between physical and mental harm.

In your example, you are faced with a specific situation though. The problem with your line of reasoning is that the child's preferences for sexual-orientation are something which we can't even begin to guess at. Therefore we have no real responsibility for rolling the dice in that arena.
We DO however, have the ability, to within reason, predict that the individual born, will like most people, undoubtedly want to live for as long as possible. Genetically, we ARE INTENDED to survive, and are driven to do so. We are NOT genetically predisposed to need blond hair, or green eyes. Even in the case of sexuality/gender, you can't reasonably predict (yet) that person would prefer to be of the opposite gender, or sexuality, later in life. Maybe as genetics advances, we will be able to determine that a persons genetic make-up predisposes them to being born with a mismatched
body and identity, or sexual pref. Maybe then we could argue about responsibility. But so far, it truly is out of our jurisdiction.

You can however, again, predict that the individual would like to live as long as possible, and would likely not want a incurable (as yet) disease.
Engaging in risk taking which affects this particular facet of their life poses a unique issue, separate from their sexuality, gender, or good/bad looks.
JoryRFerrell
PBMaxx wrote:
Quote:
Yes or no answers only please.


I wasn't trying to be a smart alec.


I didn't think you were. Razz
Your post was just too simple compared to what I had intended. I will re-edit the main post, as that was technically my fault for not wording it properly. Thanks for your answer though.
Bikerman
This confuses two concepts which are and should be distinct.
A person has every right to expect his/her body to be free from attack by others - that is how we have constructed society and it makes good sense to avoid social-Darwinistic thug culture.
A person has no right to expect others to avoid giving offence. I don't accept that there IS any mental damage in having your beliefs attacked and if they are such a gentle little flower that they fear having their feelings hurt then the onus is theirs - they certainly can reasonably expect people not to break into their house and insist on debating religion with them.
Once we start conceding some mythical right to not be offended - well, free expression dies right there.
There is actually a worrying trend developing here in the UK along this line. Recently there have been two successful prosecutions for people who used twitter to send offensive messages.
Few people realise that the 1988 act makes 'offensive comment' a prosecutable offence here .... it will be changed soon I hope, because it has possibly been used to prosecute several hundred social media users for 'grossly offensive' comments -we don't know, because there have been that many prosecutions but the details are not available to me and how many were for threats (which is no problem) and how many for just offensive comments (big problem) nobody seems to want to say.
JoryRFerrell
Quote:
they certainly can reasonably expect people not to break into their house and insist on debating religion with them.


Whoa, whoa, whoa....don't you think your offering a little to much freedom on that point?
If I break into their house and do nothing but debate them about their religious beliefs, am I REALLY causing any harm? Let's not be too hasty here...






















I am of course joking. Razz








-
LxGoodies
JoryRFerrell wrote:
LxGoodies wrote:
Your 50% makes the dilemma more fuzzy. Because 50% would mean "take the chance" or "avoid the risk". Without any responsability felt for the disease afterward, because it could have gone either way. If a 100% certainty or near 100% chance is involved, the dilemma looks different (in terms of direct responsability)


Whooooooa nelly....hold on...we have a problem...
Your reasoning has a possible flaw.

What if we said that you were presented with a magic coin and you had the following options:

A: Flip the coin, and if it is heads, you win a lifetimes supply of whatever you want (material, or immaterial), or just plain 'ole money. You can't share or give it to charity however. It must be for your personal use, benefiting no one but yourself.

B: Flip the coin, but should you flip, and it lands on tails,
1000 innocent, good-hearted people will be immolated.

C: You don't flip the coin at all.

According to your logic, you wouldn't be responsible for choosing to flip the coin, and possibly getting
a 1000 people killed, merely to satisfy your own personal gain, is not wrong....because it's 50-50?!
Even if you flipped and didn't get those folks killed, you still took a risk which is screwed in it's own right... Think
LMFAO...wth dude...hopefully you never end up with a magical coin...lol Laughing Rolling Eyes


In fact you rerun another dilemma, similar to the previous "immortality for murder" case presented. By introducing a stochastic element, THAT choice would not change.. indeed ! unless these innocent, good-hearted people die voluntarily, I would never go along with a coin toss like that.

But this choice differs from the one you presented in the OP. When talking hereditary disease, life expectancy of infants, and predictability, people would also consider the other 50%. Especially when conception is difficult. Is it unethical to have a child wish in such circumstance ? I think it is a different dilemma for everyone.

This also shows the flaw in the type of construct you tend to present: on the one hand something cruel and without reason, the one who makes the choice would be directly responsable. The second case being a real-life dilemma involving responsability (!) for childbirth. Now suppose a parent would make a different choice in the second case.. when statistics are involved.. keep in mind that the parent takes the consequences for their own lives, when it would go wrong. An infant with a handicap could require 20-30 years of care. Now I wonder wether it is just, to blame the parent in this case. Of course parents ARE responsible for ANY childbirth.. the chance of severe disease could be 50%, 30%, 10% .. or 2% . Now suppose we would follow your binary reasoning, no informed parent would ever have a child. There is always a 2% probability of something turning up !
JoryRFerrell
LxGoodies wrote:
JoryRFerrell wrote:
LxGoodies wrote:
Your 50% makes the dilemma more fuzzy. Because 50% would mean "take the chance" or "avoid the risk". Without any responsability felt for the disease afterward, because it could have gone either way. If a 100% certainty or near 100% chance is involved, the dilemma looks different (in terms of direct responsability)


Whooooooa nelly....hold on...we have a problem...
Your reasoning has a possible flaw.

What if we said that you were presented with a magic coin and you had the following options:

A: Flip the coin, and if it is heads, you win a lifetimes supply of whatever you want (material, or immaterial), or just plain 'ole money. You can't share or give it to charity however. It must be for your personal use, benefiting no one but yourself.

B: Flip the coin, but should you flip, and it lands on tails,
1000 innocent, good-hearted people will be immolated.

C: You don't flip the coin at all.

According to your logic, you wouldn't be responsible for choosing to flip the coin, and possibly getting
a 1000 people killed, merely to satisfy your own personal gain, is not wrong....because it's 50-50?!
Even if you flipped and didn't get those folks killed, you still took a risk which is screwed in it's own right... Think
LMFAO...wth dude...hopefully you never end up with a magical coin...lol Laughing Rolling Eyes


In fact you rerun another dilemma, similar to the previous "immortality for murder" case presented. By introducing a stochastic element, THAT choice would not change.. indeed ! unless these innocent, good-hearted people die voluntarily, I would never go along with a coin toss like that.

But this choice differs from the one you presented in the OP. When talking hereditary disease, life expectancy of infants, and predictability, people would also consider the other 50%. Especially when conception is difficult. Is it unethical to have a child wish in such circumstance ? I think it is a different dilemma for everyone.

This also shows the flaw in the type of construct you tend to present: on the one hand something cruel and without reason, the one who makes the choice would be directly responsable. The second case being a real-life dilemma involving responsability (!) for childbirth. Now suppose a parent would make a different choice in the second case.. when statistics are involved.. keep in mind that the parent takes the consequences for their own lives, when it would go wrong. An infant with a handicap could require 20-30 years of care. Now I wonder wether it is just, to blame the parent in this case. Of course parents ARE responsible for ANY childbirth.. the chance of severe disease could be 50%, 30%, 10% .. or 2% . Now suppose we would follow your binary reasoning, no informed parent would ever have a child. There is always a 2% probability of something turning up !


While it's true that there is always a "2%" chance something could turn up, via say mutation, that is different from knowingly taking a risk by mating with someone who's DNA is know to be predisposed to a disease, and when mixed with yours, could increase the risk of that disease. For example,
if neither I nor my spouse have anything that could be used to predict Huntington’s disease in our child, then we could never be blamed for our child being born with it due to a random mutation. But if we KNEW that we were both carrying the defect, and were much more likely to pass it to our child, would that be wrong? That is the question here...
LxGoodies
Jory wrote:
For example, if neither I nor my spouse have anything that could be used to predict Huntington’s disease in our child, then we could never be blamed for our child being born with it due to a random mutation. But if we KNEW that we were both carrying the defect, and were much more likely to pass it to our child, would that be wrong? That is the question here...

If you knew, you and your spouse would be unethical to proceed.. of course.. and even ignorance is no excuse anymore. Especially where Huntington is concernerned.

Allow me to restate your last question.. would it be wrong, to "have nothing" (=know nothing) in this case ? Would it be ethical NOT to ask the doctor ? because Huntington IS predictable, the practice researching risk and telling parents has even reduced the Huntington statistics in certain areas..

"Prospective study of relatives at high risk of Huntington's chorea (HC) in a previously documented1 South Wales population with a high incidence of the disorder has shown a pronounced fall in the number of births at risk and in the predicted future incidence of the disease, contrasting with relatively stable levels before the introduction of our programme of systematic genetic counselling and family support. Although the reasons for the reduction in births at risk are probably complex, it appears that genetic counselling, even in the absence of effective predictive and prenatal diagnostic tests, may be helpful in the long-term prevention of HC in this population."

Source: The Lancet
Indi
LxGoodies wrote:
Your 50% makes the dilemma more fuzzy. Because 50% would mean "take the chance" or "avoid the risk". Without any responsability felt for the disease afterward, because it could have gone either way. If a 100% certainty or near 100% chance is involved, the dilemma looks different (in terms of direct responsability)

The numeric value of the chance is irrelevant. You are not ethically responsible for any decision you cannot make, or any situation you cannot control. Clearly the sex of your baby is something that you cannot control (ignoring technological options), so you can't be ethically responsible for it. Clearly whether your baby happens to get some bad genes is something you cannot control, so you can't be ethically responsible for it - you can't choose which of yours or your partners' genes the baby gets, and you certainly didn't choose to give yourself (or your partner) bad genes in the first place.

When you're (consciously) making a baby, your intention is not to create a disease-riddled child who will live a miserable life. Your intention is to create a healthy child who will live a long and happy life. And there's a good chance that will happen. If it fails to happen, that's not your fault - you didn't cause it to fail.

Yes, even if there is a "100% probability" of the child getting the disease, you're still not ethically responsible. Because you know what? There is (more or less) a 100% probability that any offspring you have will die. Yes, that's right, you are creating babies that will almost certainly die one day. Are you ethically responsible for their mortality? Should you bear moral guilt for not creating immortal babies - babies that will almost certainly get old and decrepit and die (assuming they don't die earlier, which would also be bad)? Are you morally responsible for that your offspring are susceptible to disease or injury? No, that's ridiculous.

You can only be held ethically responsible for the things you can actually control. That, of course, implies that if the technology did exist to detect and repair bad genes (or to create immortality), you would be ethically obligated to do it. But until it does, you can't control what genetic diseases you carry, or which ones you pass on to your offspring.

JoryRFerrell wrote:
Hmm...you were the one who said that the way to stay in a mental rut was to limit the possible answers.
That would imply that the person limiting the answers is stuck in a mental rut themselves.

No, it doesn't. If i said "smoking two packs a day is not how you get healthy, it's how you get cancer", that doesn't "imply" you have cancer. It means what it literally says: "doing x causes y"... it does not mean "you are/have y" right now, just that if you persist in doing it, you will end up that way eventually. If you limit the information you get, you will be stuck in a metal rut - which doesn't imply that that you already are; you put the implication there yourself.

You are not "giving what you're getting". You are giving what you are imagining.

Furthermore, even if it were actually a legitimate argument (which it isn't) that you had been "indirectly insulted" by me pointing out that if you don't ask new questions you stay in a mental rut, you did not merely "mirror" the question. You just flat-out pulled an insult out of nowhere, without any justification.

It's as if you asked a question like "if you eat only carrots and nothing else, will you get super vision?", and i didn't answer the question and instead pointed out something wrong with it like "if you eat only carrots, you get vitamin deficiency", and you bizarrely took that as a personal insult and then said to me "why don't you answer the question, unless you have vitamin deficiency yourself?". You're retaliating to insults that only exist in your imagination, and behaving like an ****** for no good reason. If you think you're trying to copy my behaviour, i'd advise you to stop, because clearly you don't understand it.

In your own words, you wrote: "Please do not flip out on me. Just take this question for what it is." Yet that is exactly the opposite of what you did with what i wrote - you didn't take it for it literally was, you imagined it as a personal insult and "flipped out". If you want to act like an ******, that's your prerogative, but take responsibility for it instead of trying to blame it on me.

JoryRFerrell wrote:
Anyway's...I felt this question was worded very specifically.

Clearly not, because you have had to go back and edit your own original post so that that's not actually what you're asking for anymore.

JoryRFerrell wrote:
Indi wrote:
I don't do opinions, i do philosophy.


:\ The two overlap...if we argue whether it's better to be a male or female, you can argue the philosophical points for each side, but no matter what, it's really just an opinion.

We can philosophize about whether it's better to have a lot of fun and die early, or a little fun and live much longer. But it's an opinion.

We can philosophize about whether it's better to eat dessert first, and the main course second, or vis-versa. (Pretend it's a healthy dessert. Maybe a bad dessert metabolizes differently from the healthy main-meal, causing a lop-sided issue.) But it's an opinion.

So long as the philosophical issue is neutral in terms of how it affects peoples ability to live their lives, it's nothing more than an opinion. Right?

Wrong. There's a whole essay on why that's wrong in the stickies.

JoryRFerrell wrote:
Well...we can't ignore the fact that mental harm can be subjective, where as physical harm...not so much.

Mental harm is not subjective. That's ridiculous.

JoryRFerrell wrote:
If I speak out against religion, that hurts some peoples comfort. Then again, religion attacks the comfort of others, so it's a lose-lose. Someone gets their feelings hurt no matter what.

Yes, and? People who challenge religious beliefs are perfectly well aware that it upsets believers. But so what? The cure may be harsh, but the disease is still worse than the cure.

JoryRFerrell wrote:
But at least when I attack the issue of religion, I am not destroying someones ability to live their life,
despite my disabusing their belief in sky-daddy.

Actually, you are destroying their ability to live their lives. If don't understand that, you should probably refrain from mocking other people's beliefs by talking about "sky-daddies" and such.

When critics mock religious claims, it does cause great upset in the lives of true believers. You can destroy the entire support structure that props their lives up. This is not hypothetical - you can actually see how hurt and upset people get at having their religious beliefs called into doubt, because they will often react with visible grief and sometimes with violence... you have literally hurt them, and they are responding in the natural way and trying to hurt you back.

Those of us who take it upon ourselves to combat religion, superstition, and irrationality in general are very well aware that our efforts hurt religious people, and can often turn lives upside down and tear families apart. (In fact, i recently watched an excellent presentation by David Silverman, president of American Atheists, about exactly that, and why we should keep doing it anyway.) If you don't have any empathy for religious people, and how much it hurts them to have their cherish beliefs undermined, you should stop mocking religious beliefs, because you're just being cruel.

JoryRFerrell wrote:
In your example, you are faced with a specific situation though. The problem with your line of reasoning is that the child's preferences for sexual-orientation are something which we can't even begin to guess at. Therefore we have no real responsibility for rolling the dice in that arena.

You also don't know whether your child will ultimately be thankful they were born with some genetic condition or another. There are many people who have built their entire lives and identities around something they were born with. If they didn't have the condition, they wouldn't have that thing that makes them special, and they wouldn't have had that thing they had to triumph over.

Besides, you're missing the point. You're assuming the child will accept their sex (or colour, or height, or the shape of their nose, or their metabolism, or allergies, or lack of sporting/musical/artistic ability, or whatever else). The reality is that there are uncountable things your child could be born with that they would wish they hadn't been born with - and diabetes is just one of those things. The probability is almost 1 that there will be something in their genes the child is unhappy with. If it were true that you could be held ethically responsible for that, then everyone who has a child is committing a moral sin. But that's patently ridiculous.

Or to put it another way: if your child had the ability to choose between existence with diabetes and non-existence, what makes you think they would prefer non-existence? If they prefer existence, you'd be doing them a favour giving them existence with diabetes rather than non-existence.

JoryRFerrell wrote:
We DO however, have the ability, to within reason, predict that the individual born, will like most people, undoubtedly want to live for as long as possible.

"Undoubtedly"? The millions and millions of suicides that happen every year surely cast at least a little doubt on that idea. As does the repeated assertion by many people that even if they could live forever, they wouldn't want to.

JoryRFerrell wrote:
Genetically, we ARE INTENDED to survive, and are driven to do so.

No, no, no. We are not "intended" for anything. Teleology is bullshit. Our evolutionary history tells us how we got here, not where we will go in the future. We may come from a history of survivors, but that doesn't imply we or our children will be survivors.

And no, we are not "driven" to survive. That is obviously disproven by the suicides, and by the fact that millions of people just throw their lives away for stupid reasons, like martyrdom.

Besides, all this meandering into genetic predetermination has only served to obscure the fundamental point: you can't know whether or not your child will appreciate the sex they were born with, and you can't know whether or not the child will appreciate the genetic condition they were born with. You are just simply assuming the latter won't happen. But it's the same question - if you're not responsible for giving your child the "wrong" sex, how are responsible for giving them the "wrong" genetic conditions?

Bikerman wrote:
A person has no right to expect others to avoid giving offence. I don't accept that there IS any mental damage in having your beliefs attacked and if they are such a gentle little flower that they fear having their feelings hurt then the onus is theirs - they certainly can reasonably expect people not to break into their house and insist on debating religion with them.
Once we start conceding some mythical right to not be offended - well, free expression dies right there.
There is actually a worrying trend developing here in the UK along this line. Recently there have been two successful prosecutions for people who used twitter to send offensive messages.

You and i disagree here, then. I do believe harm is done when you undermine someone's beliefs - especially beliefs they don't want undermined, and that they build their entire psychological and social support structures on. Obviously it isn't "mental damage", but it is psychological damage, and i think it is irresponsible and dishonest to refuse to acknowledge that. And i think the evidence is obvious given the responses we get - these are not the responses of people who have merely been annoyed; i have had calls for my death on these very forums, for example. I think it's very, very important for people who challenge religious beliefs to understand that they're actually hurting people, and sometimes destroying families and even whole cultures.*

I do believe in a "mythical" right to not be offended. You apparently do as well, as given by the "break-in proselytizer" example. If you're not laying your beliefs out in public - if you're keeping your beliefs as private - you have a right to not be harassed about them.

But the moment you bring your beliefs or their implications into the public sphere, game over. That's where most religious people's offence becomes laughable - they expect to be able to not only hold beliefs, but to publicly trumpet them and even use them to influence the rest of us, yet think they're going to get away with not dealing with the consequences of that (ie, having those beliefs ruthlessly challenged and criticized).

I recognize and acknowledge that having one's religious beliefs torn apart can be a horrible, painful, and even demeaning experience. But you can't shit in public and not expect someone to turn the hose on your ass.

* (Although, there is an important caveat that i won't go into here, because it is off-topic. I am actually in the process of updating my understanding of the ethics of offending religious people.)
JoryRFerrell
Indi wrote:

The numeric value of the chance is irrelevant. You are not ethically responsible for any decision you cannot make, or any situation you cannot control. Clearly the sex of your baby is something that you cannot control (ignoring technological options), so you can't be ethically responsible for it. Clearly whether your baby happens to get some bad genes is something you cannot control, so you can't be ethically responsible for it - you can't choose which of yours or your partners' genes the baby gets, and you certainly didn't choose to give yourself (or your partner) bad genes in the first place.



Indi wrote:

Yes, even if there is a "100% probability" of the child getting the disease, you're still not ethically responsible. Because you know what? There is (more or less) a 100% probability that any offspring you have will die. Yes, that's right, you are creating babies that will almost certainly die one day. Are you ethically responsible for their mortality? Should you bear moral guilt for not creating immortal babies - babies that will almost certainly get old and decrepit and die (assuming they don't die earlier, which would also be bad)? Are you morally responsible for that your offspring are susceptible to disease or injury? No, that's ridiculous.


So according to this logic, it's perfectly ok to kill random people...because afterall, they will die one day anyways. Heck, that 22 year old woman walking down the street MIGHT die tomorrow, but she'll definitely be dead in around 100 years no matter what. So let's off her. No. No. In the end, you don't have a right to prematurely end someones life, or set them up in such a way that their life ends in a way you could have prevented. That would be unethical, especially based off the argument you provided.

Indi wrote:

You can only be held ethically responsible for the things you can actually control. That, of course, implies that if the technology did exist to detect and repair bad genes (or to create immortality), you would be ethically obligated to do it. But until it does, you can't control what genetic diseases you carry, or which ones you pass on to your offspring.


Agreed...

Indi wrote:

No, it doesn't. If i said "smoking two packs a day is not how you get healthy, it's how you get cancer", that doesn't "imply" you have cancer. It means what it literally says: "doing x causes y"... it does not mean "you are/have y" right now, just that if you persist in doing it, you will end up that way eventually. If you limit the information you get, you will be stuck in a metal rut - which doesn't imply that that you already are; you put the implication there yourself.

Furthermore, even if it were actually a legitimate argument (which it isn't) that you had been "indirectly insulted" by me pointing out that if you don't ask new questions you stay in a mental rut, you did not merely "mirror" the question. You just flat-out pulled an insult out of nowhere, without any justification.


If I state that racists who fail to question things and view things from a new perspective are doing something which will keep them in a mental rut, am I indirectly accusing THEM, as well as anyone with a similar train of thought, of being in a mental rut? Yes. Unlike cigarette smoking, my mental state is already exhibited in my way of perceiving things. My way of perceiving things affects the questions I ask. Therefore, if my questions can lead one to be stuck in a mental rut, it must be because I am in one. Otherwise I would obviously reword my question or statement, thereby avoiding the mental rut for myself or others exposed to the pothole...

Indi wrote:

It's as if you asked a question like "if you eat only carrots and nothing else, will you get super vision?", and i didn't answer the question and instead pointed out something wrong with it like "if you eat only carrots, you get vitamin deficiency", and you bizarrely took that as a personal insult and then said to me "why don't you answer the question, unless you have vitamin deficiency yourself?". You're retaliating to insults that only exist in your imagination, and behaving like an ****** for no good reason. If you think you're trying to copy my behaviour, i'd advise you to stop, because clearly you don't understand it.


Indi wrote:

Yet that is exactly the opposite of what you did with what i wrote - you didn't take it for it literally was, you imagined it as a personal insult and "flipped out". If you want to act like an ******, that's your prerogative, but take responsibility for it instead of trying to blame it on me.


Let me end this right now.

Indi wrote:

You are pointlessly narrowing the scope of the answers you will get to the answers you want. That is not how you learn new things. That is how you stay in a mental rut.


Verbatim.

You used the word "STAY". Why. Because you feel I am already there. That is not my imagination. It's your view. Otherwise, you would have wrote that "is how you ENTER a mental rut...and STAY there."

Maybe your choice of words was not what you meant it to be. We all do and say things that give an unintended impression of our intentions. However, you have also already said that you find the whole idea ludicrous. Also, if you want to play the indirect game, I did not directly say you WERE in a mental rut. I ASKED: "Or are you in too much of a mental rut?"

There is a difference in your eyes between a direct accusation, and a question.
So fine. My question was like asking "Do you smoke ten packs a day? You do? Well do you have cancer?"

Indi wrote:

Wrong. There's a whole essay on why that's wrong in the stickies.


There may be. And that description is a philosophical debate waiting to happen. RULES and distinctions are themselves up for philosophical debate. My own idea that something which is
neutral is an opinion is up for philosophical debate. Your sticky on the definition of "Philosophy"
is the same as having a philosophical debate about whether rocks have a quasi-consciousness
compared to the rock solid definition most of us use for describing sentience. To say that rocks
don't participate in a computation (that's all thought is) which ends up contributing to a higher order of being, is entirely up for philosophical debate. Now, I would agree that there is little scientific evidence that rocks participate in forming a conscious super-entity, (depending on your philosophical view of what it means to be conscious of course...), but never-the-less, the opinion that it's possible
leads to philosophical mulling over what it means to be conscious, and whether or not the reality supports such a possibility.

Indi wrote:

JoryRFerrell wrote:
Well...we can't ignore the fact that mental harm can be subjective, where as physical harm...not so much.


Mental harm is not subjective. That's ridiculous.


Ok. Would you like to elaborate instead of just shooting a one-liner. You'll notice I NEVER do that.
I freaking hate that. If it's ridiculous, then explain why?

If I tell some children that Santa is not real, they cry their eyes out. While it's true they have
"suffered" mentally, the degree to which they suffer is not definable. Whether or not they are even justified in being stressed out by the non-existence of a being (we tricked them into worshiping in the first place) is also hard to hash out. After-all, it's silly to cry about something not existing when it's not realistically supposed to. Unlike physical harm which can be defined unequivocally as harm,
mental distress is a little different.

Something a little more vague and ambiguous: Is it mentally harmful to tell a cancer patient who is in a desperate struggle of a late stage battle, that god doesn't exist? What if they possibly get torn apart by that and die because they feel no one is there to help them? We cannot assess the
likelihood that such a revelation will have that effect. Even if the person is usually weak willed,
people have been known to suddenly display great courage in the face of adversity. For all we know, that person may hear the words, and not feel upset, but rather take the time to mull over it and reassess their lives, way of thinking, their priorities. Doing so, they may find they feel more confident than ever. So now we have a problem. Shooting that patient is undoubtedly physically harmful. But the same cannot be said for ideas, memes, hateful thoughts, etc.

What is mentally "harmful" for one person, is not for another. It may even been beneficial for another party. Therefore, we cannot conclusively say that any given mental stimulus is harmful. We have evidence in the exact opposite direction of that claim. In the end, it's better to tell children Santa does not exist, even if they cry. It's better they understand that one, people lie, usually for intentionally bad reasons, but sometimes with good intentions. Second, that they and others can be made to believe something which is not true, and therefore need to examine things more closely in the future. In this sense, we can argue back and forth all day as to whether or not we have harmed the child mentally, or benefited him. That is how it's subjective.

Indi wrote:

Yes, and? People who challenge religious beliefs are perfectly well aware that it upsets believers. But so what? The cure may be harsh, but the disease is still worse than the cure.


Agreed. But the "harm" inflicted by letting them know they are wrong is subjective. It is not guaranteed to cause a form of harm. It might. But it may also not. Why? Because how the "harm" is perceived by the "injured party", and how they will take it in the end, all predictions aside, is largely unpredictable. If they take it badly, is it really because we harmed them, or because they chose to continue believing in some which is not real, and the idea that runs counter to their belief makes them uncomfortable? That is why mental harm is subjective. The injured determine whether it's "injurous", rather than a guaranteed definitive level of harm being caused. Humans are MEANT to think and experience ideas. We are not meant to experience electrocution, immolation, etc.

Indi wrote:

Actually, you are destroying their ability to live their lives. If don't understand that, you should probably refrain from mocking other people's beliefs by talking about "sky-daddies" and such.


No. I am not. Now it just sounds like you are trying to win the debate, despite whatever logic may mean for the truth.

When I say something, it is not up to me whether or not the idea "harms" the listener.
The listener needs to examine the idea, and determine whether or not the statement,
or question, is worth being upset over. Now we can actually say that intentional HARASSMENT
is an unjust attempt at causing harm. The intent to cause harm is itself a separate issue from
whether harm actually was caused. If I intentionally try to cause someone to lose a battle with
cancer, I am not at fault for the mental harm caused. I AM at fault for attempting to cause harm,
and in this case, I am at fault for attempted murder in a way. Again, the attempt is not equal to the actual end effect. The listener can choose to learn why the idea is not worth being upset over, and so be impervious to my attempt to cause harm, or they can stay in a mental rut, and not realize there is nothing worth being upset over. And then promptly have my ass thrown in jail for ATTEMPTING to harm, despite my actually having no say in whether "harm" actually materializes.

Indi wrote:

Those of us who take it upon ourselves to combat religion, superstition, and irrationality in general are very well aware that our efforts hurt religious people, and can often turn lives upside down and tear families apart. (In fact, i recently watched an excellent presentation by David Silverman, president of American Atheists, about exactly that, and why we should keep doing it anyway.) If you don't have any empathy for religious people, and how much it hurts them to have their cherish beliefs undermined, you should stop mocking religious beliefs, because you're just being cruel.


I don't think you are hurting anyone. When people around me claim i am an evil person, it is not their fault if I let it affect me. But again, they are at fault if they intentionally TRY to make it harm
me, but ultimately, it's up to me to not let it "harm me". I am actually in this situation a lot. So I am not just speaking without knowing what I am talking about. It's a pointed piece of experience. I am responsible for letting things affect me mentally. Others are responsible for TRYING to affect me mentally, despite their inability to actually do the harm they wish to cause.

Indi wrote:

You also don't know whether your child will ultimately be thankful they were born with some genetic condition or another. There are many people who have built their entire lives and identities around something they were born with. If they didn't have the condition, they wouldn't have that thing that makes them special, and they wouldn't have had that thing they had to triumph over.


Some survivors said the same shit about Auschwitz. Does that mean it's ethical to send the majority of people to concentration camps just because a select few may revel in the struggle and write a bestseller about their experience which inspires millions? Hell no. In the end, we KNOW most people would rather not go to a gas chamber. So it is unethical to perform ethnic cleansing on peoples loved ones while they starve and watch.

Ergo when you have knowledge about what the average person wants, an unfettered experience of life, you are sort of obligated to NOT walk up to a random person and punch them...on the off chance it my improve the quality of their outlook in life...

Indi wrote:

Besides, you're missing the point. You're assuming the child will accept their sex (or colour, or height, or the shape of their nose, or their metabolism, or allergies, or lack of sporting/musical/artistic ability, or whatever else). The reality is that there are uncountable things your child could be born with that they would wish they hadn't been born with - and diabetes is just one of those things. The probability is almost 1 that there will be something in their genes the child is unhappy with. If it were true that you could be held ethically responsible for that, then everyone who has a child is committing a moral sin. But that's patently ridiculous. Or to put it another way: if your child had the ability to choose between existence with diabetes and non-existence, what makes you think they would prefer non-existence? If they prefer existence, you'd be doing them a favour giving them existence with diabetes rather than non-existence.


Actually I am not. I am not assuming anything. Statistic show that the average person is comfortable with their gender. 999999 out of 1000000 people agree: they like not being in planes or skyscrapers that have intimate contact with one another. So we shouldn't fly planes into buildings.

Also, I may be mistaken, but I could have swore you'd be the type to support abortion (at least early stage...I don't like the idea of children being ground up after they have a brain...). Yet here you are making the same argument about hypothetical children who are in no position to even begin having an opinion about their chance to survive. If I don't exist, I don't know I don't exist. So please...by all means, don't allow me to exist. I won't hate you...because I don't exist. My existence just detracts from the available oil anyways, meaning we'd have to kill some dude trying to help airstrike casualties. Even though I don't drive, I create economic pressure to create gas-guzzling shipments of food from the country, and the occasional oil spill in the ocean. Screw it. Avoid having me, and adopt a kid who desperately needs your help since they already contemplate their suffering with cancer, and not simply their chance to suffer by living.

Indi wrote:

"Undoubtedly"? The millions and millions of suicides that happen every year surely cast at least a little doubt on that idea. As does the repeated assertion by many people that even if they could live forever, they wouldn't want to.

Yes. Undoubtedly. Your figure of "millions and millions" is no where near the 8 billion roughly, that will continue living. If I could count on the majority as being willing to commit suicide, as in almost 100% (around 2% of global deaths are supposedly suicides), that would dramatically alter how I treated people I run into. I'll be honest.
Seriously though, MOST people continue living, and want to do so to the point that we bother with creating art, new sports, topics here on Frihost, and even laws to hopefully prevent our murder.

Indi wrote:

No, no, no. We are not "intended" for anything. Teleology is bullshit. Our evolutionary history tells us how we got here, not where we will go in the future. We may come from a history of survivors, but that doesn't imply we or our children will be survivors.


Sorry if my choice of words sounded quasi-religious. And while teleology may not hold true for most things, it does for existence of life. Life started out doing something very basic: Improving it's fitness function. That is literally our one and only purpose. We are free to assign our own personal goals,
but our genes are unconcerned with anything except the "Prime Directive": Surviving long enough (and ideally, as long as possible) to ensure the survival of our genetic code (and again, ideally, it's domination of the gene pool.)...

Look at viruses. Why do they do what they do? What are they "meant" to do? Survive. They aren't really obligated. It's not a law. But their programming has dictated that is their prime focus.
Salmon are programmed to journey to their original birthing grounds, despite the fact that it often result in their own termination. Why? Because their species' genetic code has oddly enough fell into a niche, a cranny, that causes them to do so. It's like when I write a program that does nothing but replicate itself. I cleverly design it o eventually snowball in complexity, and develop consciousness,
but only so it can better survive and do more of the same: survive in competition against it's peers, thereby ensuring that if it's offspring are better adapted, they replace the population that is not, and ends up not surviving for whatever reason. That's not pseudo-science. That is literally evolution 101.
Our human level of intellect is now so sophisticated, to better facilitate it's existence, that it's hard for some of us to relate to our humble beginnings as cells, then plants, then fish, monkeys, so on and so forth. But as our complex brain begins to take full advantage of the tools it creates (as individuals and as groups), these issues and oversights will hopefully be overcome. We will come to grips with the fact that we are glorified computers, and do something even more amazing than being assigned an objective by sky-daddy: We will decide our own purpose for our personal, one of a kind, finite, and therefore intimate, cherish-able existence.

Indi wrote:

And no, we are not "driven" to survive. That is obviously disproven by the suicides, and by the fact that millions of people just throw their lives away for stupid reasons, like martyrdom.


Uhm...yes. We are. You haven't learned enough about how genetics work to make a determination on this.

It's a fact. Watch this.

If the following sequences are suitable for causing a gene which aides survival:

ABCDCD,
ABCDAB,
ABABCD

...then their more likely to survive than sequences which do not have these advantageous genes.

But what happens when a carrier of all 3 suffers a mutation to one:

ABCDCD,
ABCDAB,
ABACBD

Well, the end effect is, in this example, a life-form which has 2 out of three benefits, like the ability to use tools because of an oversized brain, but also has the mutation which causes difficulties breathing, which leads to proper lack of blood flow to the brain. This leads to an imbalance in brain chemistry, causing depression, suicidal thoughts, irritability, in-ability to properly reason and so adopt a religion and fly planes into buildings as a result.

Basically, these long sequences of code often do a lot of what they are meant to do. I.E. "Get us here". But after that, all bets are off. Sometimes the genetic code is jacked up and forms a neural network that has trouble managing all the excess dopamine and testosterone flowing through it, and so the network makes decisions that run counter to what the program USUALLY intends. This is a
fact.

Indi wrote:

Besides, all this meandering into genetic predetermination has only served to obscure the fundamental point: you can't know whether or not your child will appreciate the sex they were born with, and you can't know whether or not the child will appreciate the genetic condition they were born with. You are just simply assuming the latter won't happen. But it's the same question - if you're not responsible for giving your child the "wrong" sex, how are responsible for giving them the "wrong" genetic conditions?


You have already stated it yourself: You are not responsible for things which you cannot predict, such as your childs determination that they would prefer to be of the opposite sex after they are already born. However, you have also, already said yourself, that you ARE making an unethical choice if YOU KNOW that you are combining your code with someone else's to form a child with said predicted disease. I am not saying you are at fault if you didn't know you were a carrier of a disease
and your child is born with that disease. I AM saying that if you KNOW you are a carrier, and you KNOW your partner is a carrier, then you are responsible for assessing whether you have a right to create a child against their will, with said predicted complication. The crux of the argument here, lies in what YOU KNOW. Not what you don't.

Indi wrote:

Bikerman wrote:
A person has no right to expect others to avoid giving offence. I don't accept that there IS any mental damage in having your beliefs attacked and if they are such a gentle little flower that they fear having their feelings hurt then the onus is theirs - they certainly can reasonably expect people not to break into their house and insist on debating religion with them.
Once we start conceding some mythical right to not be offended - well, free expression dies right there.
There is actually a worrying trend developing here in the UK along this line. Recently there have been two successful prosecutions for people who used twitter to send offensive messages.

You and i disagree here, then. I do believe harm is done when you undermine someone's beliefs - especially beliefs they don't want undermined, and that they build their entire psychological and social support structures on. Obviously it isn't "mental damage", but it is psychological damage, and i think it is irresponsible and dishonest to refuse to acknowledge that. And i think the evidence is obvious given the responses we get - these are not the responses of people who have merely been annoyed; i have had calls for my death on these very forums, for example. I think it's very, very important for people who challenge religious beliefs to understand that they're actually hurting people, and sometimes destroying families and even whole cultures.*


Again, it is the responsibilty of the religious to understand their beliefs are not represented by reality. It is not my fault for stating reality. Even if the onus lies with the perpetrator of potentially harmful ideas/speech, was it Galileo's fault that the Earth revolves around the sun? Hell no. It's therefore, no matter what, not his fault if the listeners cannot accept his speech being supportive of the reality, and just get over it....to the point they try to crucify the man.

Indi wrote:

I do believe in a "mythical" right to not be offended. You apparently do as well, as given by the "break-in proselytizer" example. If you're not laying your beliefs out in public - if you're keeping your beliefs as private - you have a right to not be harassed about them.


There is a difference between a right to not be offended, and a right to not be harassed. Again,
this goes back to intent being separate from the actual ability to cause harm mentally. I do not have a right to not be offended by the beliefs of others. Because after all, what if their beliefs are correct, and my ignorance leads me to persecute gays? I do however have a right to not be intentionally harassed by others. So long as they don't proselytize against gays, they can continue not liking
them. I can't force them not to, even if I had the ability to. Freewill, free speech. But if they actively vote against gays, then, well, they have just opened the doors to attacking their own rights.

Indi wrote:

* (Although, there is an important caveat that i won't go into here, because it is off-topic. I am actually in the process of updating my understanding of the ethics of offending religious people.)


I have no comment at this time. ::shrug::
Bikerman
Indi wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
A person has no right to expect others to avoid giving offence. I don't accept that there IS any mental damage in having your beliefs attacked and if they are such a gentle little flower that they fear having their feelings hurt then the onus is theirs - they certainly can reasonably expect people not to break into their house and insist on debating religion with them.
Once we start conceding some mythical right to not be offended - well, free expression dies right there.
There is actually a worrying trend developing here in the UK along this line. Recently there have been two successful prosecutions for people who used twitter to send offensive messages.

You and i disagree here, then. I do believe harm is done when you undermine someone's beliefs - especially beliefs they don't want undermined, and that they build their entire psychological and social support structures on. Obviously it isn't "mental damage", but it is psychological damage, and i think it is irresponsible and dishonest to refuse to acknowledge that. And i think the evidence is obvious given the responses we get - these are not the responses of people who have merely been annoyed; i have had calls for my death on these very forums, for example. I think it's very, very important for people who challenge religious beliefs to understand that they're actually hurting people, and sometimes destroying families and even whole cultures.*

I do believe in a "mythical" right to not be offended. You apparently do as well, as given by the "break-in proselytizer" example. If you're not laying your beliefs out in public - if you're keeping your beliefs as private - you have a right to not be harassed about them.

But the moment you bring your beliefs or their implications into the public sphere, game over. That's where most religious people's offence becomes laughable - they expect to be able to not only hold beliefs, but to publicly trumpet them and even use them to influence the rest of us, yet think they're going to get away with not dealing with the consequences of that (ie, having those beliefs ruthlessly challenged and criticized).

I recognize and acknowledge that having one's religious beliefs torn apart can be a horrible, painful, and even demeaning experience. But you can't shit in public and not expect someone to turn the hose on your ass.

* (Although, there is an important caveat that i won't go into here, because it is off-topic. I am actually in the process of updating my understanding of the ethics of offending religious people.)

Hmm, I think the disagreement is actually mostly one arising from my brevity, and possibly bad expression, rather than being substantive. I actually DO agree that one's views, where they are kept private, should not be fair game - as in my example, as you point out. I think we might still have some area of disagreement about how protected this is/should be, but I do acknowledge that someone who keeps their beliefs to themselves - ie doesn't throw them into debate or try to suggest that others should do likewise - well, yes, they are entitled to a reasonable expectation of privacy. Personally I would consider it unethical to attack the views of such a person (doubly unethical since the only way I could know them, in this scenario, would be if they had confided in me, or if someone else had broken a confidence in revealing them to me). To that extent I don't think we have a disagreement.

There may be some disagreement over detail. For example, if someone is taking a public position on a particular issue, would it be ethical to reveal that they had behaved differently, even if that behaviour was entirely private and not directly hypocritical? To give a specific hypothetical, if a politician takes an 'anti' position on gay marriage, would I be justified in outing them, even though there is no necessary hypocrisy in their position (they might, consistently, believe that homosexual acts should be legal but that homosexual partnerships should not be given the same status as marriage)? I tend to think that I would - but I am also aware that this easily leads to a situation which one could characterise as 'public figures = fair game, whatever the issue' and I'm not comfortable with that.
JoryRFerrell
Bikerman wrote:
Indi wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
A person has no right to expect others to avoid giving offence. I don't accept that there IS any mental damage in having your beliefs attacked and if they are such a gentle little flower that they fear having their feelings hurt then the onus is theirs - they certainly can reasonably expect people not to break into their house and insist on debating religion with them.
Once we start conceding some mythical right to not be offended - well, free expression dies right there.
There is actually a worrying trend developing here in the UK along this line. Recently there have been two successful prosecutions for people who used twitter to send offensive messages.

You and i disagree here, then. I do believe harm is done when you undermine someone's beliefs - especially beliefs they don't want undermined, and that they build their entire psychological and social support structures on. Obviously it isn't "mental damage", but it is psychological damage, and i think it is irresponsible and dishonest to refuse to acknowledge that. And i think the evidence is obvious given the responses we get - these are not the responses of people who have merely been annoyed; i have had calls for my death on these very forums, for example. I think it's very, very important for people who challenge religious beliefs to understand that they're actually hurting people, and sometimes destroying families and even whole cultures.*

I do believe in a "mythical" right to not be offended. You apparently do as well, as given by the "break-in proselytizer" example. If you're not laying your beliefs out in public - if you're keeping your beliefs as private - you have a right to not be harassed about them.

But the moment you bring your beliefs or their implications into the public sphere, game over. That's where most religious people's offence becomes laughable - they expect to be able to not only hold beliefs, but to publicly trumpet them and even use them to influence the rest of us, yet think they're going to get away with not dealing with the consequences of that (ie, having those beliefs ruthlessly challenged and criticized).

I recognize and acknowledge that having one's religious beliefs torn apart can be a horrible, painful, and even demeaning experience. But you can't shit in public and not expect someone to turn the hose on your ass.

* (Although, there is an important caveat that i won't go into here, because it is off-topic. I am actually in the process of updating my understanding of the ethics of offending religious people.)

Hmm, I think the disagreement is actually mostly one arising from my brevity, and possibly bad expression, rather than being substantive. I actually DO agree that one's views, where they are kept private, should not be fair game - as in my example, as you point out. I think we might still have some area of disagreement about how protected this is/should be, but I do acknowledge that someone who keeps their beliefs to themselves - ie doesn't throw them into debate or try to suggest that others should do likewise - well, yes, they are entitled to a reasonable expectation of privacy. Personally I would consider it unethical to attack the views of such a person (doubly unethical since the only way I could know them, in this scenario, would be if they had confided in me, or if someone else had broken a confidence in revealing them to me). To that extent I don't think we have a disagreement.

There may be some disagreement over detail. For example, if someone is taking a public position on a particular issue, would it be ethical to reveal that they had behaved differently, even if that behaviour was entirely private and not directly hypocritical? To give a specific hypothetical, if a politician takes an 'anti' position on gay marriage, would I be justified in outing them, even though there is no necessary hypocrisy in their position (they might, consistently, believe that homosexual acts should be legal but that homosexual partnerships should not be given the same status as marriage)? I tend to think that I would - but I am also aware that this easily leads to a situation which one could characterise as 'public figures = fair game, whatever the issue' and I'm not comfortable with that.


While I don't think public figures should be "fair game" (we shouldn't have cameras in their bathrooms for damned sure), they do give up a right to a large degree of privacy when they engage in politics. They have to if we are going to ensure they are public servants. The only alternative is they have all the privacy they want, and so can act hypocritically, stealing money, taking bribes,
saying they support minorities when they actually hate them so they can win elections, etc.

I run into this problem a lot with even everyday civilians. People constantly act as if they respect gay marriage, just to try and gain respect for themselves, when secretly, they couldn't care less, or they even hate gays. It's psychological. If they can get away with pretending they deserve respect because they supposedly give it, then it almost makes it obligatory to respect them. Politicians take this stance, "I support it/I don't support it. I don't? How do you know. You are just going to have to take my word for it." I am tired of taking peoples word for it, right before election time. Obama's support for gay marriage was very, very well timed. But we are supposed to just take his word for
it that he truly supports gay marriage, and doesn't view the gay pop as a playing card he holds in his hand. In the end, we need to know the truth about what politicians truly believe when they are engaging in politics which affect ALL OF US, not just themselves. Especially when someone outs them concerning the very issues they are going around talking about or legislating against/for.

Seriously, should a politician be able to get away with avoiding bribery charges (while taking bribes that are supposedly "legal" because of loopholes), but then turn around and create anti-bribery laws that affect people without the money and political stature to get away with it?
Hell no. That is a bad situation waiting to happen. Wait....it already is. Why? Because politicians
feel that have this special right to hide deeply important facts from us. Their motivations are something we NEED to know. There is just no other way around it.
Bikerman
I don't recognise the politicians I know in any of that. The politicians I know are pretty much like me - want to do the right thing, work pretty hard, reasonably honest.
You setup a false dichotomy when you say 'the only alternative is....'. There are an almost infinite number of alternatives...ranging from the French model where the private life is pretty much out of bounds to the press unless there is a REALLY serious public interest, through to no entitlement to privacy at all.
When it comes to what my political representative thinks, privately - I don't really care. What I DO care about is how he votes. So if his thoughts are homophobic and racist but he votes for gay marriage and for anti-discrimination legislation then he has acted how I wish him to act and what he thinks in the privacy of his own mind is HIS affair. I don't want to even get close to the sort of society that models itself on Stalinist Russia, or on the New Testament *(ie societies which have 'thought crime' as an indictable offence). When I say I support freedom of expression I MEAN IT.


* “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
(Matthew 5:27-2Cool
Indi
Bikerman wrote:
(doubly unethical since the only way I could know them, in this scenario, would be if they had confided in me, or if someone else had broken a confidence in revealing them to me).

That's a good point, too.

Bikerman wrote:
For example, if someone is taking a public position on a particular issue, would it be ethical to reveal that they had behaved differently, even if that behaviour was entirely private and not directly hypocritical?

If it were actually a case of their private behaviour really being not hypocritical (i'm not going to split hairs over "directly" or "indirectly", because that distinction is too vague to be useful), then yes, i'd say it would be unethical to "out" it. But i do believe that if there are fuzzy cases where reasonable people might consider the behaviour to be hypocritical, the onus is on the public figure to clarify things.

I'll use an example based on yours: a politician who opposes gay marriage but has secret homosexual liaisons in private. I think from what you wrote that you'd argue that that isn't "directly" hypocritical, which is technically true (provided you don't dig too deeply). But there are some complicating factors here.

For starters, the vast majority (if not all) of the opposition to gay marriage doesn't have any real basis in fact or reason... it all just boils down to homophobia. It is not an unreasonable or unfair assumption when you hear that someone opposes gay marriage to assume that means they're homophobic - in fact, it's the only reasonable assumption you can make, if you're going to make one. So until and unless this politician gives an explicit justification for why they oppose gay marriage that isn't homophobic... the only rational assumption one can make is that that politician is a homophobe. With that assumption in place, finding out he's actually into gay sex is a very relevant revelation.

Now, if that politician does explicitly give a non-homophobic justification for opposing gay marriage (assuming one exists), and clarifies that they're not homophobic at all and that they just oppose gay marriage for that reason, then yes, their homosexual flings are no longer a matter for public concern. (Frankly, though, i don't think that's even possible for this issue. There simply are no rational arguments against gay marriage. So as a matter of course, it is simply impossible for a politician to be against gay marriage while having gay flings and not be a hypocrite.)

If you want a real-world example, consider the mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, who, despite being your average "tough on crime" conservative, was caught on video smoking crack. Now, for the moment, ignore all the other crap the guy did - all the lying, and smearing the journalists who discovered the video, etc. - and focus only on the claim his defenders make: that his addiction problems are simply a health issue, which should be private so long as they don't affect his job (assume they haven't), and it is wrong for the media to publish about them.

I would think that would be something you would call not "directly" hypocritical - because it is technically true that a person's addiction problems don't necessarily have any bearing on their job performance. If you consider a legal drug like alcohol, it is perfectly legitimate for someone to be a raging, rowdy drunk outside of work, yet do a perfectly good job when they come in for work. Nothing wrong about that. They could even speak publicly about how dangerous alcohol, because one obviously doesn't need to be pro-alcohol to be an alcoholic (in fact, it's quite easy to see how an alcoholic would be one of the first to worry about the dangerous effects of alcohol).

But even though it is not directly hypocritical to be both a drug addict and a city manager who is tough on drugs, there are complicating factors when you dig deeper. Since crack is an illegal substance, Ford had to do illegal acts - or at least interact with people doing illegal things - in order to get his hands on the stuff in the first place. Imagine what would have happened if the video hadn't been found by a journalist, but had instead been found by a seedy lobbyist... he could have used it to blackmail the mayor into passing some legislation in his favour. In fact, we have no way of knowing that didn't actually happen at some point. It's quite telling that there were several criminal elements trying very hard to keep the video from coming out - the cops even suspect someone was murdered over it. Ford would have us believe that those thugs wanted to keep the video under wraps because they were his buddies, and just looking out for him. That doesn't seem particularly plausible, though. It's far more likely that the criminals just didn't want to lose the ace in the hole they had to control the mayor, if need be.

So yes, technically Ford's addiction isn't relevant to his public duties... but realistically, there are very, very serious concerns raised by what he was doing. Arguably, the fact that he's an addict really is not relevant - what is relevant is that he was doing illegal things (or involved with people doing illegal things), so the fact that mayor smoked crack is relevant even if he weren't an addict and he only touched the stuff once in his life.

Another case is Justin Trudeau, leader of the federal Liberal Party in Canada, who recently admitted to smoking pot at a friend's house while he was an MP. Again, technically one can smoke pot on their free time and it doesn't really matter to one's job. But again, there are complications: as a member of parliament, Trudeau is a lawmaker. Now, he's never been an anti-pot crusader and is in fact now in favour of full legalization... but he did once vote for mandatory minimum prison sentences for growing the stuff (a year before he supposedly smoked for the last time). Even if he hadn't, though, it is blatantly hypocritical for someone responsible for making the laws to be so blasé about breaking them. A person responsible for making the laws is morally obligated to follow them, or if they outright refuse to do so (because the laws are unjust and they do not have the power to change them on their own), they should break them publicly as an act of protest and civil disobedience... not privately.

Generally, yes, if a private action really isn't relevant, then it would be wrong to drag it out. Public figures are not "fair game" by any stretch of the imagination - public figures are still entitled to complete and total privacy in any matters that aren't relevant. But the limits of what might be relevant are quite broad. If there is any chance that a reasonable person might interpret some behaviour as hypocritical, the onus is on the public figure to clarify why it isn't... it is not on everyone else to just assume it isn't. If the public figure really isn't being hypocritical, this shouldn't be a problem - for example, your hypothetical gay marriage opponent should be able to explain how they can oppose gay marriage without being homophobic (which doesn't even necessitate bringing up that they like having gay hookups - you don't need to admit to a behaviour to condone it, and you don't need to "out" details of your private life to clarify the boundaries of your beliefs). If they can't or won't, well then, it's open season on any relevant aspects of their private life.

Of course, that means that when you have politicians who base their entire platform on the Bible and bang on about being good Christians, anything they do that violates the Bible's doctrines is relevant. For these people, things like extra-marital affairs and so on are fair game (because if you pretend to follow the Bible, "thou shalt not commit adultery"). For a secular public figure who bases their platform on reason, such affairs would be a private matter because they would be utterly irrelevant to their public face and duties (Einstein was a complete cad, but that had absolutely no bearing on his scientific work or peace activism).
LxGoodies
Indi wrote:
Now, if that politician does explicitly give a non-homophobic justification for opposing gay marriage (assuming one exists), and clarifies that they're not homophobic at all and that they just oppose gay marriage for that reason, then yes, their homosexual flings are no longer a matter for public concern. (Frankly, though, i don't think that's even possible for this issue. There simply are no rational arguments against gay marriage. So as a matter of course, it is simply impossible for a politician to be against gay marriage while having gay flings and not be a hypocrite.)

Most times the justification is in the bible, the politician assuring us homosexuality is a choice to be avoided. If you consider that (choice) then the politician is always hypocritical, from his own point of view, according to his own beliefs. However, from Swaab's point of view, the poor basterd is victim of religious delusions, avoiding the inevetable, "in denial".. a sad case of misguidance.
JoryRFerrell
Bikerman wrote:
I don't recognise the politicians I know in any of that. The politicians I know are pretty much like me - want to do the right thing, work pretty hard, reasonably honest.
You setup a false dichotomy when you say 'the only alternative is....'. There are an almost infinite number of alternatives...ranging from the French model where the private life is pretty much out of bounds to the press unless there is a REALLY serious public interest, through to no entitlement to privacy at all.
When it comes to what my political representative thinks, privately - I don't really care. What I DO care about is how he votes. So if his thoughts are homophobic and racist but he votes for gay marriage and for anti-discrimination legislation then he has acted how I wish him to act and what he thinks in the privacy of his own mind is HIS affair. I don't want to even get close to the sort of society that models itself on Stalinist Russia, or on the New Testament *(ie societies which have 'thought crime' as an indictable offence). When I say I support freedom of expression I MEAN IT.


* “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
(Matthew 5:27-2Cool


What you recognize in the politicians you know is a self-selecting group though. Clearly politicians as a whole are not stopping war, voting for same sex marriage, etc.
Let's consider the fact that we still entered Iraq despite the fact that it was wrong/unjust.
Maybe the politicians who allowed that make up the majority. In that case, my point stands.
But the other possibility is that the groups responsible for the murder of up to a million innocent folks, was relatively small, yet still able to carry out an effective campaign of dis-info. Why?
Because there is no transparency in the government. If these possibly small groups were able to deceive us and take us down the drain economically....and morally...maybe we could stand to know a little more about what these guys truly believe. Now I am not advocating, again, cameras in their showers, but if they say they hate faggots, but they say they will fight for gay marriage right before an election, that's something which needs to come to light. Of course, as you said, if they do the right thing by voting, even if they personally don't like it, then AWESOME. But that is not what happens obviously. This is not an ideal world, which is why in America, the majority of states still have not legalized same-sex marriage.
Bikerman
This is simply an appeal from ignorance fallacy - 'I can't explain why X, therefore A', coupled to a false dichotomy - 'It isn't X therefore it must be Y'.
I can't speak for the US - and I don't particularly want to. I can speak about the UK and we have passed equal marriage legislation - despite having a basically right-leaning government*. The same 'forces' were operating here over Iraq, since we were involved with the US and are implicated to the same extent, but drawing simplistic conclusions and proposing conspiracy theories, involving cabals of politicians simply doesn't work.
Yes, there are non-trivial explanations which essentially DO mean that politics is designed to exclude the citizen as much as possible. This is not, however, something controlled by a small clique of Machiavellian conspirators. It is how the systems are designed to function. The politicians are products of the system in the same way that you and I are, and in most cases have no more influence or idea what is going on.
If you want to understand the 'forces' and mechanisms that lead to this sort of outcome then you need to study a lot of stuff - start with 101 stuff like Marx' economic theory (yes, Marx was wrong on some things but so is everybody), run through various economic theorists such as Keynes and Friedman. Then you might want to look at Chomsky's work on how consent is manufactured in 'democratic' states - handily entitled 'Manufacturing Consent'.
Looking for answers in the actions of politicians who, for the most part, are as ignorant, bewildered and un-influential as the rest of us, simply leads to daft conspiracy theory and simplistic scape-goating.

* comparisons with the US are difficult, and the obvious and popularly quoted one - Conservative=Republican, Labour = Democrat - doesn't really work at anything other than the most superficial level.
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