Is Killing Human Beings Wrong/Immoral?

Is Killing humans wrong?

  • It is always wrong.

    Votes: 3 21.4%
  • There is nothing wrong about it.

    Votes: 1 7.1%
  • It is wrong or right depending on the situation.

    Votes: 10 71.4%

  • Total voters
    14
  • #1
Another God
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Vote, and explain why it is immoral, isn't immoral or dependent on the situation as you believe the case to be.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Jonathan
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It depends on the situation, unless you were being literal and really meant killing, not murdering, in which case it is always okay. To clarify, I define killing to be a just cause of death, while murder is senselessly causing death, (ie killing+just=murder-senseless).
 
  • #3
Tail
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Depends on the situation.

If a murderer would kill 10 people if not killed himself, it's only logical to kill him (if he cannot be stopped any other way).

Or, euthanasia. If a person suffers a lot and wants to die, it should be acceptable.
 
  • #4
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Originally posted by Jonathan
It depends on the situation, unless you were being literal and really meant killing, not murdering, in which case it is always okay. To clarify, I define killing to be a just cause of death, while murder is senselessly causing death, (ie killing+just=murder-senseless).
Well, i was being literal, where I literally mean 'killing' a human...ending their life, they exist no more. Killing someone is killing someone, I don't think you can change the definition of killing to have subjective connotations. Murder, sure, that's a word which has a subjective overtone. Killing, is the ending of life.

But I would take it by your reply then, that killing is OK depending on the circumstances.
 
  • #5
maximus
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AG, your phrasing of the question makes it so that i cannot respond in any way. and here's why-

your use of the terms "right" and "wrong" need to be clarified. do you mean that it is universally wrong, as in heaven and hell? or that it "wrong" in a society? the distinctions between these two scenerios are important. i do not believe that killing/ raping/ stealing/ ect. is "wrong" in a universal sence. it is however neccesary in a society. we could not survive as a group if we condoned the killing of each other.

to summerize, if you mean "immoral" in a universal sence then my answer is NO, it is not "wrong" (as these terms have no meaning). if you mean in a society, then YES AND NO, depending on the situation.
 
  • #6
It's almost always more wrong than right to kill human life because all life is of benefit and human life of most benefit to humans, even the bad humans(in prison) can show the good humans what not to do and maybe even prevent more bad ones. I'm too naive to claim understanding it and the only exception I can think of is that if it's either kill or be killed with no escape. War is a poor exception and almost always a poor solution in like fighting for one's own survival because we are not wild animals. Over time most wars reveal their stupidity and false ideologies that they spawned from. People can and do kill each other for all sorts of reasons, but I like to think that hardly anyone does because they know the consequences of it and for some may not be going to hell but likely a living hell when such actions are not for survival alone or euthanasia.
 
  • #7
russ_watters
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Originally posted by Another God
Well, i was being literal, where I literally mean 'killing' a human...ending their life, they exist no more. Killing someone is killing someone, I don't think you can change the definition of killing to have subjective connotations. Murder, sure, that's a word which has a subjective overtone. Killing, is the ending of life.

But I would take it by your reply then, that killing is OK depending on the circumstances.
In addition to maximus's objection, I have another - the word "murder" has a specific definition. It means "unlawful killing." You can't say "depends on the situation" and then try to make the choice binary. Because "depends on the situation" means you DO consider different types of killing. Thats what situations are.

So maybe make a choice here: Do you want this poll to be binary or not?

1. Is killing a person a strictly binary moral question? Then:
2. (if yes) Is killing a person ok or not ok in a strictly binary sense? Or:
3. (if no) What are the conditions under which it could be acceptable?

I think you are looking to answer both questions in one poll, but you can't. However, from the responses it looks like people mostly agree that it is NOT a strictly binary question. It does depend on the situation. In that case each answer requires explanation (or maybe just more choices).

My personal belief is that people who try to make it a binary question do so because they are naive (consciously or unconsciously): they CAN'T or don't WANT to consider the necessary complications. Capital punsishment, self defense, war (different kinds), utilitarianism (immunizations), etc.
 
  • #8
Another God
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Originally posted by jammieg
It's almost always more wrong than right to kill human life because all life is of benefit
Of benefit to whom, and how so?

War is a poor exception and almost always a poor solution in like fighting for one's own survival because we are not wild animals.
What makes you believe we are not wild animals? As far as I can tell, we are wild animals, because no superior alien race has domesticated us yet...
 
  • #9
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Originally posted by russ_watters
So maybe make a choice here: Do you want this poll to be binary or not?
Well, to be honest, I don't really care about the poll. I put it there partly to attract people who felt like they could vote Right or Wrong, because it is to the people who believe that they can make that vote that I am most interested in. I am wondering what it is that they know which I don't.


from the responses it looks like people mostly agree that it is NOT a strictly binary question. It does depend on the situation. In that case each answer requires explanation (or maybe just more choices).
Well that is reassuring to my logical mind, but even the people who have voted this, I am still more interested in hearing what conditions make them believe killing is right/wrong.

I am actually interested in finding out how much people have thougt about this, and what conclusions they have reached. My recent experience with this topic keeps making it seem like people never think about it, they just dogmatically accept that killing is wrong, and won't hear otherwise.

I hate indoctrination.
 
  • #10
Ivan Seeking
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For me this was very simple. I have a right to survive. If someone threatens my life directly, I have no problem defending myself.

I think the death penalty is always wrong.
I think that war is usually wrong.
There are times I think when killing someone like Saddam [I didn't support the war] does constitute a good greater than the sanctity of one or even several lives.

Edit: I wasn't going to share this but it seems appropriate. I was once kidnapped and held at gunpoint for about 3 hours. If I would have had a gun, I would have killed these guys [3 of them] without hesitation. I had never felt the true desire to kill before. As it was, I nearly crashed my truck on purpose thinking that I could kill them and still survive. In the end, they realized that they had the wrong guy and let me go! In this case, it seems that it was best that I had no weapons. I would have killed them beyond a doubt.
 
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  • #11
Another God
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Originally posted by Ivan Seeking
I have a right to survive.
What do you mean by 'right to survive'? Why do you have this right? Is it not equally as true to say you have a right to die?


I think the death penalty is always wrong.
I think that war is usually wrong.
There are times I think when killing someone like Saddam [I didn't support the war] does constitute a good greater than the sanctity of one or even several lives.
If the death penalty is always wrong, then how can you justify the killing of Saddam? Isn't that identical to the concept behind the death penelty????

Why is the death penalty always wrong anyway? Why is it wrong to kill those who have harmed others within their society to a large degree?
 
  • #12
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by Another God
What do you mean by 'right to survive'? Why do you have this right? Is it not equally as true to say you have a right to die?[/B]

Please see also the edit to the last post. If my attacker has a right to survive then so do I. If he chooses to violate my rights, he surrenders his own rights. If he has a right to die, then I will assist him in this matter; purely from the goodness of my heart.

[quote[/b]If the death penalty is always wrong, then how can you justify the killing of Saddam? Isn't that identical to the concept behind the death penelty????[/B][/QUOTE]

You've got me a bit on this one. Hmmmm. I see a difference but it is difficult to identify.... I guess this is like a bank robbery in progress. During the robbery, the robbers must be stopped first. I guess my position is consistent since I wouldn't support the death penalty for Saddam if captured. But if he is killed during the attempt to capture him, then oh well.

Why is the death penalty always wrong anyway? Why is it wrong to kill those who have harmed others within their society to a large degree?

Because the justice system makes too many mistakes. Even one mistake is too many. Recent DNA testing has revealed that many people on death row are in fact innocent. I stand by the U.S. principle that it is better that a thousand guilty men go free than for one to be imprisoned unjustly. Since the justice system cannot be perfect, then how can the death penalty ever be applied with absolute confidence? One note: When the outgoing governor of Illinois learned of the recent revelation of problems with death penalty convictions, he commuted all standing death sentences...at least so it was reported. Maybe someone from Illinois can confirm this report?
 
  • #13
Tail
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maximus,
I think the author of the thread wants to know whether YOU consider it to be right or wrong. It is impossible for a human being to be an objective judge of anything, especially 'right' and 'wrong', so your opinion is all that can be asked, really...

Ivan Seeking,
how can war be not wrong?
 
  • #14
Another God
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Originally posted by Ivan Seeking
If my attacker has a right to survive then so do I.
Assuredly.
If he chooses to violate my rights, he surrenders his own rights.
I would agree to that
If he has a right to die, then I will assist him in this matter; purely from the goodness of my heart.
This third statement doesn't follow from the other two. I mean, if you are assisting him in his right to die, then it could equally be said that he is assisting you in your right to die, from the goodness of his heart.

I don't think you really mean this last statement though. It doesn't really follow from anything you have said thus far. I assume it was an attempt at sarcasm/humour, but unfortunatly, I am trying to get to some sort of a conclusion atm, and so humour isn't on my mind.

I have a question for you: You started this post with "If my attacker has a right to survive", but you started the last post with "I have a right to survive". Was this just an innocent error, or are you implying that you personally have a right to life, and other people may or may not have this right?

I ask you again, where does this right come from, and what do you actually mean by "Right to life"?

You've got me a bit on this one. Hmmmm. I see a difference but it is difficult to identify.... I guess this is like a bank robbery in progress. During the robbery, the robbers must be stopped first. I guess my position is consistent since I wouldn't support the death penalty for Saddam if captured. But if he is killed during the attempt to capture him, then oh well.
So you don't agree to killing people...but you don't mind if people who you disagree with die through some 'Accident'... Did they have a right to life when the accident happened?


Because the justice system makes too many mistakes. Even one mistake is too many. Recent DNA testing has revealed that many people on death row are in fact innocent. I stand by the U.S. principle that it is better that a thousand guilty men go free than for one to be imprisoned unjustly.
Innocent of what? 1000 men guilty of what, and save the man innocent of what?

Firstly, it seems that you have agreed that if someone kills, then they have denied their own 'right to life'. So on those grounds alone, the death penalty seems like a certainty. But you deny it on the fear of killing one man who is innocent of...killing? What if those thousand man keep killing the rest of their lives (ie: meaning they can never be let out of prison). Why should the rest of us have to pay to keep those men alive when they have revoked their right to life?

You will spare the lives of 1000 guilty men for fear of accidentally killing one innocent man, and yet you believe that there is nothing wrong with 'accidentally' killing a man just because he has a different moral system to the western world?

Thats unfair.
 
  • #15
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by Another God
Assuredly.[/b]I would agree to that[/b]This third statement doesn't follow from the other two. I mean, if you are assisting him in his right to die, then it could equally be said that he is assisting you in your right to die, from the goodness of his heart.

I don't think you really mean this last statement though. It doesn't really follow from anything you have said thus far. I assume it was an attempt at sarcasm/humour, but unfortunatly, I am trying to get to some sort of a conclusion atm, and so humour isn't on my mind.[/b]

I can never resist my little bit of sarcastic humor.

I have a question for you: You started this post with "If my attacker has a right to survive", but you started the last post with "I have a right to survive". Was this just an innocent error, or are you implying that you personally have a right to life, and other people may or may not have this right?

I ask you again, where does this right come from, and what do you actually mean by "Right to life"?

I am only asserting that either we both have a right to live or not. In either case the situation gives me just as much right as my attacker. If you want a reason, how about this one: I define that I have the right to live. I ask for no ones permission to do so.

So you don't agree to killing people...but you don't mind if people who you disagree with die through some 'Accident'... Did they have a right to life when the accident happened?

This is a practical limitation that will change. I see this as a left over from the dark ages. Soon the bad guys will just go to sleep or something similar. No more guns.


Innocent of what? 1000 men guilty of what, and save the man innocent of what?

This is a situation where the greater principle must come first. We seek to maximize justice. If a system is allowed to run amok - convicting innocent people at will - then the system and everyone's freedom is at risk or lost. Again, you seek a philosophical justification for a practical limitation.

quote][Firstly, it seems that you have agreed that if someone kills, then they have denied their own 'right to life'. So on those grounds alone, the death penalty seems like a certainty. But you deny it on the fear of killing one man who is innocent of...killing? What if those thousand man keep killing the rest of their lives (ie: meaning they can never be let out of prison). Why should the rest of us have to pay to keep those men alive when they have revoked their right to life?[/QUOTE]

In the former case my life is threatened directly. In the latter case, we seek the fairest result possible within the practical limitations of an imperfect system.

You will spare the lives of 1000 guilty men for fear of accidentally killing one innocent man, and yet you believe that there is nothing wrong with 'accidentally' killing a man just because he has a different moral system to the western world?

Thats unfair.

Our freedom has cost much more than 1000 lives. Would we waste the lives of a hundred thousand for a theoretical one thousand? That's unfair.
 
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  • #16
Another God
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Originally posted by Ivan Seeking
I define that I have the right to live. I ask for no ones permission to do so.
Perhaps we should remove the 'right to live' phrase altogether then, and just say "I do not want to die". I know it sounds a little less emotionally pleasing, but would you disagree that it achieves the same ends?

If you agree to what I have just said, would you then also agree that "Right to Life" is a meaningless concept?


This is a practical limitation that will change. I see this as a left over from the dark ages. Soon the bad guys will just go to sleep or something similar. No more guns.
I don't really understand, but that aside, I wonder who you mean when you say the bad guys.

This is getting a little off topic now, but I need to ask: What makes someone a Bad Guy?
This is a situation where the greater principle must come first. We seek to maximize justice. If a system is allowed to run amok - convicting innocent people at will - then the system and everyone's freedom is at risk or lost. Again, you seek a philosophical justification for a practical limitation.
Of course running amok is not an option...but we are talking about an honest mistake here...not a system running amok. Of course the law enforcers must be subject to the very same laws they are enforcing. As such, and keeping in mind that the DNA evidence which showed all of the mistakes that have been made in the past is also the very stuff which is very convincingly convicting the criminals these days, why is capital punishment wrong?


Our freedom has cost much more than 1000 lives. Would we waste the lives of a hundred thousand for a theoretical one thousand? That's unfair.
Oh no....the 'F' word.... That word has become truly disturbing. Does anyone have any idea what they are actually refering to when they use it anymore?

WHy is your freedom any more special than the freedom the rest of the world has?
 
  • #17
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by Another God
Perhaps we should remove the 'right to live' phrase altogether then, and just say "I do not want to die". I know it sounds a little less emotionally pleasing, but would you disagree that it achieves the same ends?

If you agree to what I have just said, would you then also agree that "Right to Life" is a meaningless concept?[/b]
No. I define that I have a right to live. I ask no ones permission to do so.

I don't really understand, but that aside, I wonder who you mean when you say the bad guys.

In this case, we mean someone who would kill other innocent people solely for reasons of personal gain.

Of course running amok is not an option...but we are talking about an honest mistake here...not a system running amok. Of course the law enforcers must be subject to the very same laws they are enforcing. As such, and keeping in mind that the DNA evidence which showed all of the mistakes that have been made in the past is also the very stuff which is very convincingly convicting the criminals these days, why is capital punishment wrong?

No certainty. Life in prison is the only reasonable option to no law.



Oh no....the 'F' word.... That word has become truly disturbing. Does anyone have any idea what they are actually refering to when they use it anymore? WHy is your freedom any more special than the freedom the rest of the world has?

Because not only is it my freedom, which clearly makes it special for me, but also because so many Americans have died fighting for my freedom. I define that this is important.
 
  • #18
Another God
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Originally posted by Ivan Seeking
No. I define that I have a right to live. I ask no ones permission to do so.
But this is meaningless. A definition is meaningless unless it refers to a concept or a real world phenomenon. You are defining something out of pure desire, with no basis, no real world phenomenon and no abstract relation to anything.

You may define that you have a right to life, but have to ask "What does that mean?"


In this case, we mean someone who would kill other innocent people solely for reasons of personal gain.
SO the people who kill others for the gain of...their country is OK?

How about the people who kill others for the gain of their state?

Do you think that killing is more tolerable the more people it benefits in the action?
 
  • #19
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by Another God
But this is meaningless. A definition is meaningless unless it refers to a concept or a real world phenomenon. You are defining something out of pure desire, with no basis, no real world phenomenon and no abstract relation to anything.
You may define that you have a right to life, but have to ask "What does that mean?".

It means that I can defend myself.


SO the people who kill others for the gain of...their country is OK?

How about the people who kill others for the gain of their state?

Do you think that killing is more tolerable the more people it benefits in the action?

Don't confuse my words with the actions of governments. My words were clear.
 
  • #20
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by Another God
[BDo you think that killing is more tolerable the more people it benefits in the action? [/B]

No. In an ideal world, we only kill when given no choice.
 
  • #21
Royce
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My rights extend only so far as they do not interfere with the rights of another.

If I knowingly and intentionally violate the rights of another, my rights then become forfeit to the same degree.

Life is the one property that can not be returned or restored.

If I knowingly and intentionally take the life of another for any reason other than self defence or defence of another whose life is being unjustly threated, then my right to life becomes forfeit.

There are just wars and justified killing.

I do support the death penalty but only in smoking gun cases where there is absolute material proof that the person is guilty of unjustified killing. All other circumstantial cases should be life imprisonment without parole.
 
  • #22
The term 'right' is often used as though it has an objective meaning, which it does not. It is a human construct, based on the idea that a certain amount of autonomy is healthy in a society.
 
  • #23
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by Zero
The term 'right' is often used as though it has an objective meaning, which it does not. It is a human construct, based on the idea that a certain amount of autonomy is healthy in a society.

I think it does have objective meaning - as defined in the Bill of Rights for example. Nothing means anything unless defined as meaning something.
 
  • #24
russ_watters
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Originally posted by Another God
I am actually interested in finding out how much people have thougt about this, and what conclusions they have reached. My recent experience with this topic keeps making it seem like people never think about it, they just dogmatically accept that killing is wrong, and won't hear otherwise. [/B]
I tend to agree. Its a question that often elicits a knee-jerk response.
You've got me a bit on this one. Hmmmm. I see a difference but it is difficult to identify
Though I support the death penalty, it does have a major flaw morally(besides the errors): it happens so far after the event in question, the morality of those involved may have changed. Self defense deals with the here and now. Capital punishment deals with future possible crimes.

RE: right to life. I think the sarcasm got in the way of the intent. Everyone has a right to life but when you commit certain crimes that infringe upon the right of another to his/her life, you forfeit your own right to life. Its not that self defense is "assisting" anyone in ending their life, its just that the choice no longer resides with the criminal. It is strictly up to society (for punishment after) or the victim (for self defense during) to decide what to do with the forfeited life.
may define that you have a right to life, but have to ask "What does that mean?"
Its really quite simple. Right to life is the first and most basic right. It means you have a right to continue living and your life cannot be forfeit without cause. The corrolary is the definition of "murder" - the unlawful taking of someone's (right to) life.
My rights extend only so far as they do not interfere with the rights of another.
Very important concept. This is the fundamental method for determining the boundaries of individual rights.
 
  • #25
[QUOTE Though I support the death penalty, it does have a major flaw morally(besides the errors): it happens so far after the event in question, the morality of those involved may have changed[/B][/QUOTE]

What if the morality of the people that did the act are divergent from yours anyway? Everybody perceives things differently, you can't superimpose your ethics on to someone else and punish them when they don't comply. To the person breaking the law, they may not perceive it as wrong, the world they see might be such where they can as they please. Therefore, you're punishing people for being different, it's ridiculous, the whole system of crime and punishment is. I understand that laws are required to uphold social stability, therefore, these people shouldn't be punished but reformed.
 
  • #26
Another God
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Originally posted by Ivan Seeking: reply directed at everyone.
In an ideal world, we only kill when given no choice.
OK, this is good, lets get back to the central question of this thread: Why should we only kill when given no choice? What is wrong with killing in other instances?

Originally posted by russ_watters
Its really quite simple. Right to life is the first and most basic right. It means you have a right to continue living and your life cannot be forfeit without cause.

I know it is a simple concept, but my questioning was relevent to Ivan's particular phrasing of "I define that I have a right to live", which was meaningless in itself.

As for the generally accepted "Right to life" concept, I ask again: Why does anyone have a right to life? Where does this right come from, and what ends does it serve?

The corrolary is the definition of "murder" - the unlawful taking of someone's (right to) life. Very important concept. This is the fundamental method for determining the boundaries of individual rights.
"Unlawful taking" : You are mixing law with ethics. Do you mean the unethical taking of someones life? (I am talking about ethics not law, and yes, they are different) And if that is indeed what you mean, then what makes the taking of someones life unethical? (don't reply with "Because they have a right to live".. the answer that I am looking for would basically be the same as the answer to the previous question: Why do we have a right to life? But this new one would be phrased more like: Why is taking someones life unethical? Same question, different wording.)
 
  • #27
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This is getting a little off topic now, but I need to ask: What makes someone a Bad Guy?

Nah. I think this is an important and relevant question 'cause such discussions always lead to a/the theoretical "bad guy(s)".

but when you commit certain crimes that infringe upon the right of another to his/her life, you forfeit your own right to life.

I'm interested in knowing. Why do we forfeit our own right to life the moment we infringe upon the right of another to his/her life? Who do we forfeit our right to life to?
 
  • #28
russ_watters
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Originally posted by wonderland
Though I support the death penalty, it does have a major flaw morally(besides the errors): it happens so far after the event in question, the morality of those involved may have changed

What if the morality of the people that did the act are divergent from yours anyway? Everybody perceives things differently, you can't superimpose your ethics on to someone else and punish them when they don't comply.
Yes you can. And you must. The whole basis of laws is that there is an absolute standard of morality that everyone must follow. See the other thread on morality. I explain the difference between "moral absolutism" and "moral relativism" and show why relativism is wrong.
As for the generally accepted "Right to life" concept, I ask again: Why does anyone have a right to life? Where does this right come from, and what ends does it serve?
Just like with physics this question is irrelevant. Where the concept of "gravity" came from is irrelevant to whether or not General Relativity can explain how it works. It just IS. Similarly, the right to life is a fundamental universal law.

If thats uncomfortable and you prefer God invented gravity and God invented rights, thats fine, but it really isn't required for gravity and rights to work.

As for what end does it serve, isn't that obvious? Survival of the species depends on it.
"Unlawful taking" : You are mixing law with ethics.
Mixing?? You mean you would separate the two? Law is based on ethics and morality. Again, if you want this to be religious, "murder" is the word used in the Ten Commandments. "Kill" is a (common) mistranslation. You tell me though: if law is not based on ethics and morality, what is its basis?

Another God, your basic question here is "WHY?". To me this is like (no offense) the child asking his father why is the sky blue and after the father gives the scientific explanation, the kid asks "but why?" again. You can follow ANY arguement with and endless string of "why?" That is your choice. I suspect you have an answer already and the answer is "God made it that way." For a scientist, "why?" is unnecessary and irrelevant.

Why do rights exist? They just do. They are a law of the universe. Similar to gravity. This is of course not the only theory, but it is the basis for modern western society. Have you ever taken an ethics course?
 
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  • #29
Royce
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First we are human beings. Human beings are social animals and live in societies. Every society, from social insects to the most complex human society must have rules of behaviour, laws in order to maintain internal peace and order.

If an individual or group of individuals violates those rules of the society he lives in and is a member of them then that society will expell, punish or kill the individual to discourage others to follow the rules. Society can not tolerate individuals breaking its rules. If it does it will not long be a viable society. If a member of a society breaks the rules of that society it is called a crime and that society imposes a penalty. It must in order to maintain order and protect it's other members; or, it can not continue to be a society.

The ownership of propery, not necessarily land in this sense, is one of the cornerstone of an economical society. I own my horse, my cow my house etc. I own my life. Life is the one property that can not be returned or restored. If a life is unjustly taken then the ultimate rule of human society has been broken and that ultimate penalty must be paid. This called right to life and why that right is foreit if murder is commited.

If a person breaks the rules of a society of which it is not a member that is an act of war or terrorism and the offended society must protect itself and it's members; thus, it has an obligation to punish the outsider in a way befitting its internal rules of punishment.

There is no profit or purpose in reforming an outlander. Enforcing reformation upon an unwilling nonmember of any society is called slavery amoung other things like kidnapping and conscription.
 
  • #30
[/QUOTE] Yes you can. And you must. The whole basis of laws is that there is an absolute standard of morality that everyone must follow. See the other thread on morality. I explain the difference between "moral absolutism" and "moral relativism" and show why relativism is wrong.
QUOTE]


In that thread you admit to the fact that people have different ethical outlooks. To punish people for breaking the law is analogous with enforcing a rule where everyone has to be able to swim, and punishing those you can't. Rather than doing this, you should teach them how to swim.
 
  • #31
russ_watters
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Originally posted by wonderland
[BIn that thread you admit to the fact that people have different ethical outlooks. To punish people for breaking the law is analogous with enforcing a rule where everyone has to be able to swim, and punishing those you can't. Rather than doing this, you should teach them how to swim. [/B]
I think you misunderstood. People certainly have different outlooks on EVERYTHING. But that doesn't mean they are RIGHT. Like physics, it just means some people understand and some people don't.

I certainly agree though that education is important. However, ignorance is never an excuse. If you don't know right from wrong you should.
 
  • #32
Another God
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Originally posted by russ_watters
The whole basis of laws is that there is an absolute standard of morality that everyone must follow.
A law is an intrasociety thing. It is only absolute within that society, and it is not synonomous with ethics. Is it unethical to ride a bike without a helmet? I'd hardly think so, but here in australia at least, it's illegal to do so. Is it unethical to run a red light? Is it unethical to drop litter? Is it unethical to drive faster than some arbitrary number on a signpost?

I think it is, but on the grounds of a relativistic ethics that is constructed through a mechanism quite different to what everyone else seems to have ever thought. And so, I am here asking why? all the time trying to figure out exactly how it is that you people justify your ethics.


See the other thread on morality. I explain the difference between "moral absolutism" and "moral relativism" and show why relativism is wrong.
If I remember correctly, you claimed it. You never showed it.

Just like with physics this question is irrelevant. Where the concept of "gravity" came from is irrelevant to whether or not General Relativity can explain how it works. It just IS. Similarly, the right to life is a fundamental universal law.
But the universal law of gravity is a law because no matter where you go, and no matter what you do, you are subjected to it. If I was a..say a viking many hundred years ago, then the idea of going to a neighbouring town and killing every man in that town wasn't wrong. Where was this "Right to Life" LAW then? The crusades, the killing of the inca's and aztec's, every war in history. These are all examples of killing indescriminantly, which is all a very good case of inductive evidence that your right to life is not a Law at all, but rather an opinion on an idealised state.

Right to Life is an ideal. Why is it your ideal?

Don't forget: We have to kill to stay alive. (TOOL: Life feeds on life, feeds on life , feeds on life... This is necessay.)


If thats uncomfortable and you prefer God invented gravity and God invented rights, thats fine, but it really isn't required for gravity and rights to work.
But it doesn't seem like rights do work to me? Maybe they should...but a myriad of evidence shows that they don't.

As for what end does it serve, isn't that obvious? Survival of the species depends on it.

OK. I like this reply. Right to life is an important concept because it keeps our species alive (which of course means right to life only applies to organisms with very human like qualities).

Dare I ask why this would be a desirable Ends? (please, give me the most obvious answer available... I'm not trying to be clever)

if law is not based on ethics and morality, what is its basis?
Law is based on a set of rules designed to keep society stable. The traditional conception of ethics may have also had this effect to some degree, but society has changed, and people have forgotten what ethics originally did, and forgot to change their ethics with them. (thinking that their ethics were "Absolute" and unchangable) Ethics no longer keeps societies together, the Law does. Ethics doesn't really do anything now, except make one person feel "Morally superior" to another...

Thats my opinion.

Another God, your basic question here is "WHY?". To me this is like (no offense) the child asking his father why is the sky blue and after the father gives the scientific explanation, the kid asks "but why?" again. You can follow ANY arguement with and endless string of "why?" That is your choice. I suspect you have an answer already and the answer is "God made it that way." For a scientist, "why?" is unnecessary and irrelevant.
*chuckle* oh you make me life. hehe, hoho. Don't worry, your opinion of me will change over time.

Russ: I am a philosopher. I particularly preach the denomination of Science. Thats what I do. I can't help myself. And I'd appreciate it if you took back the claim that "Why?" is unnecesary and irrelevent. I don't think you thought that through very well. Science (and of course, Philosophy) is entirely founded on the why question. Without it, we would know nothing.

Why do rights exist? They just do. They are a law of the universe. Similar to gravity. This is of course not the only theory, but it is the basis for modern western society. Have you ever taken an ethics course?
Several. I think it would be best for your own interests if you stopped assuming my intentions and things about who I am, and just deal with the subject matter. If you think a question which I ask is stupid, then say so. Just say so and tell me the answer. I am trying to build up a story through the beliefs of other people here.

Besides: Right just exist? That would make them an objective fact right? A fact that exists outside subjectivity? If no humans were around to witness the "right to Life" phenomenon, it would still exist?

I find it strange that there is an objective fact which could exist without the subject matter for which is universally applies to.
^thats not really an argument. Just a comment.
 
  • #33
Another God
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Originally posted by Royce
First we are human beings. Human beings are social animals and live in societies. Every society, from social insects to the most complex human society must have rules of behaviour, laws in order to maintain internal peace and order.

If an individual or group of individuals violates those rules of the society he lives in and is a member of them then that society will expell, punish or kill the individual to discourage others to follow the rules. Society can not tolerate individuals breaking its rules. If it does it will not long be a viable society. If a member of a society breaks the rules of that society it is called a crime and that society imposes a penalty. It must in order to maintain order and protect it's other members; or, it can not continue to be a society.

The ownership of propery, not necessarily land in this sense, is one of the cornerstone of an economical society. I own my horse, my cow my house etc. I own my life. Life is the one property that can not be returned or restored. If a life is unjustly taken then the ultimate rule of human society has been broken and that ultimate penalty must be paid. This called right to life and why that right is foreit if murder is commited.

If a person breaks the rules of a society of which it is not a member that is an act of war or terrorism and the offended society must protect itself and it's members; thus, it has an obligation to punish the outsider in a way befitting its internal rules of punishment.

There is no profit or purpose in reforming an outlander. Enforcing reformation upon an unwilling nonmember of any society is called slavery amoung other things like kidnapping and conscription.
Love your work Royce.

So you would agree then, that the right to life is an entirely human constructed phenomenon, which only serves a purpose of maintaining societal stability?
 
  • #34
I think you misunderstood.

Not intending to sound irreverent, I think you're misunderstanding. It seemed as though you were trying to refute what I said yet no real reasoning was provided.
 
  • #35
russ_watters
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8,804
Originally posted by Another God
Is it unethical to ride a bike without a helmet? I'd hardly think so, but here in australia at least, it's illegal to do so. Is it unethical to run a red light? Is it unethical to drop litter? Is it unethical to drive faster than some arbitrary number on a signpost?
It is immoral to allow kids to die by not requiring them to wear helmets. It is immoral to run a red light because you may kill someone. It is immoral to drive faster than what is reasonable because you may kill someone. Those are easy ones. Public safety is most certainly a moral issue.

Yes. All laws ARE based on morality/ethics.
If I remember correctly, you claimed it. You never showed it.
I made arguements. Feel free to address them.
Where was this "Right to Life" LAW then?
Those societies failed largely because their morality failed them.
But it doesn't seem like rights do work to me? Maybe they should...but a myriad of evidence shows that they don't.
The examples you provided are ones where people used flawed morality. Thats part of my point. They applied the WRONG morality and their societies failed. Just like applying bad scientific theories leads to falure.
Dare I ask why this would be a desirable Ends?
I'm sure you've heard the term "evolution." Come to think of it, morality fits very well with scientific theory there, doesn't it?
Ethics no longer keeps societies together, the Law does.
Already covered that. Laws are based on ethics/morality. You can try giving more examples, but I can connect ANY law to morality/ethics.
Science (and of course, Philosophy) is entirely founded on the why question. Without it, we would know nothing.
Could you give me an example? Science observes "what" and answers "how" but "why" is a religious (maybe philosophical) question.
Right just exist? That would make them an objective fact right? A fact that exists outside subjectivity? If no humans were around to witness the "right to Life" phenomenon, it would still exist?... I find it strange that there is an objective fact which could exist without the subject matter for which is universally applies to.
It is strange because you have it wrong. Its a flawed question. Plate techtonics is a theory that depends on the existence of the Earth. Biology is an entire branch of science that wouldn't exist if there was no life. Its not the "witnessing" that makes it exist, it is connected to our existence itself. And it applies in the animal kingdom as well.
 

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