Posts Tagged ‘Moral Relativism’

Relativism Gone Relative to the Point of Madness:

December 17, 2018

The New York Times asks: “Would Human Extinction Be a Tragedy?

Our species possesses inherent value, but we are devastating the earth and causing unimaginable animal suffering.”

 [By Mr. Todd May, a professor of philosophy at Clemson University; Dec. 17, 2018] And so what? Well, publishes the New York Times, we should be indifferent to the extinction of all human babies…

Mr. May reveals himself to be incapable of distinguishing a human being from a shrimp. We have seen it all before. The Nazis highly valued such people, affected with similar inhuman lack of discernment: they had plenty of tasks for them.

Many common philosophers have sunk so low, they ask, to earn their pittance by ingratiating themselves to, and be published by the plutocratic media: would killing all humans be a tragedy? By that token of abysmal questioning, Auschwitz was not even an appetizer for a pleasant smoke-out. With, or without Heidegger, Nazism got many children. Or is it an infection, a pandemic?

One mistake those who want deep down inside to see humanity gone make, is that they claim humanity causes suffering of all conscious beings, and that’s tragic (Mr. May’s main argument).

However, the consciousness of a shrimp, or a sheep, doesn’t equate to human consciousness. Different consciousnesses are not like different frames moving relative to each other. One neuron does not equate ten billion neurons, just like a space with one dimension does not equate with one with ten billion dimensions. 

That a whale swallows millions of shrimps doesn’t make it a Hitler swallowing millions of Jews. Humans are no shrimps, even though some professional philosophers are hard to distinguish from shrimps:

Hitler and Helga Goebbels. After Hitler’s death, Helga , then 12 years old, was forced fed poison (a Soviet autopsy revealed). She resisted to the point of facial injury. The Goebbels’ parents hated non-Nazi humanity with all incandescent hatred.

Even non-human predators know this, how exceptional human beings are… something all too many professional philosophers deny (so that they can become famous and well-fed): a wolf will kill sheep, just because he can, but will respect a human being, just because he can look at the human in the eye, and recognize intelligence and fellow high level consciousness. I have personally made that experience in the wild with both wolf and lions. There is no doubt wolves and lions hesitate before inflicting pain to a creature with superior intelligence and consciousness.

Not all creatures are fellow: superior sentient animals know this perfectly well, because it’s an imminently practical notion: their lives depend upon it. Superior animals are clever enough and knowledgeable enough to know that injuring a highly social and competent human being will have bad consequences.

By the same token, the environment has no consciousness, it doesn’t suffer as a sentient creature.

The Nazis went down that same exact road, passing all sorts of laws for animal welfare, to better relativize human lives… by respecting rats… Respecting rats in a showy fashion makes it easier to kill humans. In the very lethally racist caste system in ancient India, courtesy was extended to cows and other beasts, to better deny the most basic humanity to lower caste human beings.

All too relative philosophers play the role of dynamic red herrings, capturing feeble minds with fascinating outrage, and nonsensical jargon. Yes, they say, people are no better than shrimps, be good to them, shrimps, and the masters of the world applaud… 

Patrice Ayme

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Here is an extensive quote from the theoretician of mass lethal imbecility in the New York Times, to show I am neither distorting nor exaggerating what was published there:

To make that claim less puzzling, let me say a word about tragedy. In theater, the tragic character is often someone who commits a wrong, usually a significant one, but with whom we feel sympathy in their descent. Here Sophocles’s Oedipus, Shakespeare’s Lear, and Arthur Miller’s Willy Loman might stand as examples. In this case, the tragic character is humanity. It is humanity that is committing a wrong, a wrong whose elimination would likely require the elimination of the species, but with whom we might be sympathetic nonetheless for reasons I discuss in a moment.

To make that case, let me start with a claim that I think will be at once depressing and, upon reflection, uncontroversial. Human beings are destroying large parts of the inhabitable earth and causing unimaginable suffering to many of the animals that inhabit it. This is happening through at least three means. First, human contribution to climate change is devastating ecosystems, as the recent article on Yellowstone Park in The Times exemplifies. Second, increasing human population is encroaching on ecosystems that would otherwise be intact. Third, factory farming fosters the creation of millions upon millions of animals for whom it offers nothing but suffering and misery before slaughtering them in often barbaric ways. There is no reason to think that those practices are going to diminish any time soon. Quite the opposite.

Humanity, then, is the source of devastation of the lives of conscious animals on a scale that is difficult to comprehend.

Well, what’s hard to comprehend is that, 73 years after the Nuremberg trial of the Nazis, this sort of deep criminal trash, where human lives are equated to flies, is still wildly publicized!

 

ETHICS IS ABSOLUTE

January 19, 2014

Someone in a philosophical forum, asked: ”Is ethics necessary?”

It goes without saying that ethics is necessary in any society to lay under law and order. But it does not stop there. Ethological studies have shown unambiguously that intelligent animals have a sense of ethics. (How does that sense of ethics arise is not clear to official science; philosophically, it is, though.)

Ethics is, to a great extent, within standard deviation, something we tend to do. It’s necessary, because we are born, and raised, most of the time, out of love.

A “moderator” of the forum I took part in, “Spiral Out” spiraled my idea out, by declaring that many non-human primates kill young not related to them, just because they are not their own. He asked whether killing the young was my idea of ethical behavior.

I had said: “tend to”. From the killing ape’s point of view, his behavior is ethical. Why? It’s clear that killing the young will make the female more amenable, by terminating what the enraged male perceives as her unhealthy obsession with the baby.

Ethics, comes from the Greek “ethos”, just like moral, which comes from the Latin “mores”. Both “ethos” and “mores” mean the same thing:  what is customary. Females, by the way, intuit all of this, and try to alleviate the problem with loving tactics to dangerous males, or by making alliances with other males: it’s very complicated, but they cope.

Yet, paradoxically, I also do believe that cruelty is a fundamental tendency in human (“natural”) ethics (see “Natural Born Killers”, a movie… That natural cruelty was also one of the main points of De Sade’s philosophy, let alone Greek or Roman philosophies). By coincidence, I just wrote an essay about that. There is no contradiction, ever since all is fair in love and war. Cruelty is one dimension, goodness another. So is empathy. I made no mystery that the Good Side dominates, although, sometimes, the Dark Side is necessary.

Spiral Out then pirouetted, approving what I said, and proclaiming that is was precisely because of that he was a “moral relativist”. Well, I am absolutely not a moral relativist, and the following is why.

Morality is not Special Relativity, with moving frames, here and there, and all uniform motions are relative.

Indeed, humans have always lived in groups. All advanced animals (no exception) cannot survive without a society. That society can be reduced to mommy (say with leopards).

The local social group, and even the species, or the environment constitute absolute reference frames for what is customary. Why? Simply because social, or species specific, or environmental survival forbids some behaviors. For example if apes killed all youngsters who feel unrelated, the species would die off. It is indeed observed that most advanced primates’ females have many sex partners, and thus an ethical modus vivendi was found.

In light of these absolutes, the social group, the species, the environment, ethics cannot be all over the place. Morality is actually, within standard deviation, and within standard circumstances, absolute.

How can morality be both absolute and relative? Before I call Quantum Theory to the rescue (it provides with a model), let me emphasize that morality is not a law. Morality is not a measurement.

Morality is, intrinsically, an average. Morality is the average of happenstance with moral significance, namely those that can enter said average.

The correct mechanical analogy is with Quantum Mechanics. In Quantum Mechanics, trajectories, and presence, are all over the place: they fill up all the accessible universe with complex waves. Those Quantum waves cannot be measured. However the probability of an occurrence is strictly determined. The latter is called a measurement.

Similarly, morality is strictly determined, as an outcome, although events of a moral character fill up the entire space that behavior can access.

SS assassinating civilians in extermination camps thought they were acting with superlative morality. However, they were wrong. Why? On a species scale, they were completely immoral, because, had other men in a situation of power behaved the same, exterminating whoever they could exterminate, humanity would have been exterminated.

As it turned out, they were even immoral relative to their chosen reference group: the Second World War, thus Nazism, exterminated more than ten million Germans.

The Quantum shows that not all that computes can be measured. The complex probability Quantum waves cannot be measured, only be computed with (after making the hypothesis of their existence). Only the end probability can be forecast, and measured. This has caused enormous confusion in Physics, so the point is not obvious. A similar confusion is at the root of the perception of moral relativism.

Is there a relationship between morality and the Quantum, beyond this analogy? Yes. Local morality, in the instant, as the expression of Free Will, is obviously a Quantum phenomenon. Thus the illusion of moral relativism is born out of the Quantum. And, like the Quantum, ends up with a classical world.

Hence Greco-Roman etymology correctly abstracted the wisdom of eons… and common sense. That morality, and a sense of justice is absolute is increasingly confirmed by ethological studies. Capuchin Monkeys, for example, have a very developed sense of equity. They get very angry when one of their fellows is treated better, for no good reason. They have been known to throw at the experimenter’s face whatever came handy when a lousy radish was offered as reward while the fellow next door got a delicious grape for the same task.

Thus, when the pitchforks come after the plutocrats, we will finally honor what we were born with.

Patrice Ayme’