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Go to: Message to American Atheists

stanleygarden's Avatar Jump to comment 23 by stanleygarden

After reading this piece and then watching this amazingly engrossing clip I simply couldn't hold back my tears. Hitchens gives an improved meaning to the word 'erudite'. He's the sage of our time. I've never felt this strongly about a stranger before. I've never met the man, but it already grieves me his possible departure from this world.

Sat, 23 Apr 2011 04:41:38 UTC | #618302

Go to: Can Science Shape Human Values? And Should It?

stanleygarden's Avatar Jump to comment 23 by stanleygarden

Nunbeliever,

The reason why we generally don't lie to people about their clinical conditions regardless of the consequence to their well-being is actually pretty simple. Here is exactly where Kant's categorical imperative and Rule Untilitarianism take shape.

Imagine that you live in a world in which it is OK, i.e. morally appropriate for doctors to lie to their patients if these are found to suffer from an incurable disease, bearing in mind, of course, that this omission would spare them further misery.

Then what would be the point of even going to the doctor? In what sense could we feel relieved after hearing the "good news" that despite our constant light-headedness, dizziness and headaches, we're actually perfectly healthy. I personally wouldn't be able to sleep at night with the nagging question of whether I am indeed healthy or I'm about to die in a few weeks.

Everyone would rightly become a 24/hour fretting paranoid.

This hypothetical feeling of global everlasting uncertainty is what makes lying to endangered patients immoral.

Comment 15 by Nunbeliever :

I have one issue though I would like to reflect upon. Harris explained that the reason delusions are to be avoided is that they are vulnerable and in the long run might be harmful to individuals and societies in general. I tend to agree, but consider this hypothetical example. An old person has an incurable disease. Informing this individual about his/her condition is likely to cause a lot of mental suffering. If well-being is what morality is solely all about would it not be the moral thing to do not to inform the individual about his/her condition? I think most health-professionals would disagree with that statement. The question is why? One answer could perhaps be the slippery slope argument. Or in other words we feel the need to honour the concept of human dignity and respect. One might argue that the concept of human respect and dignity is very fruitful to societies even if it might also cause a great deal of suffering to certain individuals. Still, in order to avoid a slipper slope we can't bargain with a principle like this. Hence, it is moral to inform a person about his/her condition even if it might cause a great deal of suffering to certain individuals. Because keeping a person uninformed would be very disrespectful. Still, this explanation seems a bit superficial. I do not claim to have a good answer. I just think it is an interesting issue regarding morality.

Wed, 10 Nov 2010 00:07:36 UTC | #544979

Go to: "Protest the Pope" in Barcelona - 3.000 personas se concentran en contra del Papa

stanleygarden's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by stanleygarden

Comment 2 by Bribase :

"More than half of all young Catalans are not believers. And you?">

Ad populum arguments don't work for religions, why should it work for non-religion? A bit silly really. Good on them for the protest though. B

They're actually two sides to that line. The first is that, whether ad populum or not, many closet atheist/dissenters don't feel confident enough as to come out and protest simply because they fear being the only ones out there. I personally would be highly encouraged to come out an express my outrage if I knew thousands of people shared my views and would come out and stand by me.

The second point is that, if indeed it is true that HALF the people are nonbelievers, that's a strong point agains the typically ostentatious and extravagant governement funded Pope visit.

Sat, 06 Nov 2010 16:41:20 UTC | #543444

Go to: [UPDATE] Games of killing Muslims: Satire or Straight?

stanleygarden's Avatar Jump to comment 72 by stanleygarden

@ 22 Thyme

"This game is a really stupid idea. It does not help in anyway to nurture rational discussion and trust."

I agree, but nurturing rational discussion and trust is rarely in the minds of videogame programers. Videogames are supposed to be entertaining, and not necessarily moral guides.

One has to be pshycologically impaired to think: "Hmmm..this videogame is apparently about exterminating Musulims, therefore exterminating Musulims is obviously the right thing to do in the real world. Where is my AK 47?"

Tue, 26 Oct 2010 02:48:59 UTC | #538539

Go to: Unanswerable Prayers

stanleygarden's Avatar Jump to comment 51 by stanleygarden

This piece is particulalry majestic. One of the things that make Hitchen's latest articles so marvelous is their penetrating poignancy that seems to increase as his days go by. His eloquence and articulacy have always been utterly incomparable, but I think now, since we know that the colors of his life have suddenly faded to shades of grey, the nostalgia...the pathos and evocativeness of his prose somehow seem far more salient.

Hang on Hitch! A secular world needs your nondivenly endowed talent.

Sat, 04 Sep 2010 03:52:36 UTC | #511035

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