Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. Donationrwingett
    Ming the Merciless
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    29 Mar '15 23:49
    Alright...on the one hand you have Western civilization, with its emphasis on human rights, individuality, freedom of expression, and all that we take for granted as hallmarks of advanced culture. On the other hand we have a fundamentalist society, with its emphasis on religious conformism, lack of human rights, and a strictly enforced mode of thought and behavior. All the faults that we ascribe to a backward and benighted culture.

    It would seem obvious that the former would be preferable to almost everyone. But now let us assume that such a civilization leads inexorably toward a complete environmental collapse, while the latter, for all its faults, is an environmentally sustainable civilization that can continue on indefinitely.

    Which is now preferable? Is it better to support a civilization that is preferable in the short term, but doomed in the long term, or vice versa? For the purposes of this thought experiment, we will assume that my premises are true.
  2. Standard membervivify
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    30 Mar '15 00:10
    This is kind of like asking is it better to:

    a) Give a terminally ill child the best most possible fun life he or she can hope to experience (such as with aid from the Make a Wish Foundation), or

    b) keep the child in a life of chemotherapy, which has side effects like painful mouth sores, frequent vomiting, fatigue and a host of other symptoms that can make life feel unbearable.

    The answer will pretty much depend on whether you think enjoying life is better than merely surviving.
  3. Joined
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    30 Mar '15 00:23
    Originally posted by rwingett
    Alright...on the one hand you have Western civilization, with its emphasis on human rights, individuality, freedom of expression, and all that we take for granted as hallmarks of advanced culture. On the other hand we have a fundamentalist society, with its emphasis on religious conformism, lack of human rights, and a strictly enforced mode of thought and b ...[text shortened]... ce versa? For the purposes of this thought experiment, we will assume that my premises are true.
    Given that mortal life is doomed in the long term, both individually and universe-ally, no matter what, ("doomed" sounds so negative) I think it is better to independently decide how I will live, to the extent that I can, and leave the social engineering to others.

    I recommend consideration of the categorical imperative. Live by those maxims you wish that all live by.
  4. The Catbird's Seat
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    30 Mar '15 02:03
    Originally posted by rwingett
    Alright...on the one hand you have Western civilization, with its emphasis on human rights, individuality, freedom of expression, and all that we take for granted as hallmarks of advanced culture. On the other hand we have a fundamentalist society, with its emphasis on religious conformism, lack of human rights, and a strictly enforced mode of thought and b ...[text shortened]... ce versa? For the purposes of this thought experiment, we will assume that my premises are true.
    You describe the enlightenment. This liberal system, including rights of private property and capitalism, has resulted in over time a highly desirable set of outcomes, including great increases in population, one of the first signs of societal improvement.

    My own belief is that at present we are seeing the liberal (individual freedom) model combined with the notion of strictly enforce mode of thought and behavior. We may be stumbling backwards culturally, to uncivilized tyranny.
  5. The Catbird's Seat
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    30 Mar '15 02:04
    Originally posted by JS357
    I think it is better to independently decide how I will live, to the extent that I can, and leave the social engineering to others.

    I recommend consideration of the categorical imperative. Live by those maxims you wish that all live by.
    Well stated.
  6. Donationrwingett
    Ming the Merciless
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    30 Mar '15 02:17
    Originally posted by JS357
    Given that mortal life is doomed in the long term, both individually and universe-ally, no matter what, ("doomed" sounds so negative) I think it is better to independently decide how I will live, to the extent that I can, and leave the social engineering to others.

    I recommend consideration of the categorical imperative. Live by those maxims you wish that all live by.
    But all your choices (or most) about which society you wish to live in are conditioned by the society you live in. To take an example, most people raised in a western society would find it highly unpalatable to be transferred to the society of the Kalahari Bushmen. But conversely, most Kalahari Bushmen would find the reverse to be just as unpalatable.

    Most people habituate themselves to the internal working of whatever society they happen to be in. Should we not, therefore, opt for a society that will not destroy its environment in preference to one that is guaranteed to do so, regardless of how many billion years hence the sun will burn itself out?
  7. Joined
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    30 Mar '15 02:19
    Originally posted by JS357
    Given that mortal life is doomed in the long term, both individually and universe-ally, no matter what, ("doomed" sounds so negative) I think it is better to independently decide how I will live, to the extent that I can, and leave the social engineering to others.

    I recommend consideration of the categorical imperative. Live by those maxims you wish that all live by.
    Social engineering is evil.

    I recommend that people be allowed to live free and do as they wish with their private property. People do not have a right to others' property. People who believe in social engineering see things differently.
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    30 Mar '15 02:20
    Originally posted by rwingett
    Alright...on the one hand you have Western civilization, with its emphasis on human rights, individuality, freedom of expression, and all that we take for granted as hallmarks of advanced culture. On the other hand we have a fundamentalist society, with its emphasis on religious conformism, lack of human rights, and a strictly enforced mode of thought and b ...[text shortened]... ce versa? For the purposes of this thought experiment, we will assume that my premises are true.
    And here I thought Western civilization was destroying society with it's freedoms to reproduce without limit, pollute, use up all the natural resources, and leave carbon footprints.
  9. Joined
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    30 Mar '15 02:23
    Originally posted by Eladar
    Social engineering is evil.

    I recommend that people be allowed to live free and do as they wish with their private property. People do not have a right to others' property. People who believe in social engineering see things differently.
    But the masterminds don't believe in evil.

    From their perspective, science is their moral guide. That is what drove the eugenics movement. I'm wondering when it will become popular again.

    How long will we allow the genetically defective to continue to contaminate society?
  10. Donationrwingett
    Ming the Merciless
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    30 Mar '15 02:24
    Originally posted by vivify
    This is kind of like asking is it better to:

    a) Give a terminally ill child the best most possible fun life he or she can hope to experience (such as with aid from the Make a Wish Foundation), or

    b) keep the child in a life of chemotherapy, which has side effects like painful mouth sores, frequent vomiting, fatigue and a host of other symptoms that can ...[text shortened]... swer will pretty much depend on whether you think enjoying life is better than merely surviving.
    I don't think your examples are representative. Most people get along alright in whatever society they happen to inhabit. Especially one that is sustainable (examples like the Khmer Rouge were not sustainable). Most may even lead fairly decent lives and find some degree of happiness.
  11. Donationrwingett
    Ming the Merciless
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    30 Mar '15 02:25
    Originally posted by whodey
    And here I thought Western civilization was destroying society with it's freedoms to reproduce without limit, pollute, use up all the natural resources, and leave carbon footprints.
    It's destroying the planet, which, in turn, will destroy society. Or at least that particular type of society.
  12. Joined
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    30 Mar '15 02:261 edit
    Originally posted by whodey
    But the masterminds don't believe in evil.

    From their perspective, science is their moral guide. That is what drove the eugenics movement. I'm wondering when it will become popular again.

    How long will we allow the genetically defective to continue to contaminate society?
    You know Germany is doing pretty well with the population that Hitler left behind.

    Having said that, I do not believe the ends justifies the means.
  13. Donationrwingett
    Ming the Merciless
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    30 Mar '15 02:40
    Originally posted by normbenign
    You describe the enlightenment. This liberal system, including rights of private property and capitalism, has resulted in over time a highly desirable set of outcomes, including great increases in population, one of the first signs of societal improvement.

    My own belief is that at present we are seeing the liberal (individual freedom) model combined ...[text shortened]... mode of thought and behavior. We may be stumbling backwards culturally, to uncivilized tyranny.
    But these "highly desirable outcomes" cannot be sustained. It is as though western society is bolstering its popularity by writing checks it cannot cash indefinitely. Sure, we all like it NOW, but our partaking in it guarantees that it will collapse and lead to highly undesirable outcomes for future generations.
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    30 Mar '15 02:46
    Originally posted by rwingett
    But these "highly desirable outcomes" cannot be sustained. It is as though western society is bolstering its popularity by writing checks it cannot cash indefinitely. Sure, we all like it NOW, but our partaking in it guarantees that it will collapse and lead to highly undesirable outcomes for future generations.
    Exactly! That's why we need to end Socialism. It can't be sustained.
  15. Joined
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    30 Mar '15 03:003 edits
    Originally posted by rwingett
    It's destroying the planet, which, in turn, will destroy society. Or at least that particular type of society.
    Destroy the planet?

    The planet has survived ice ages, tropical climates warmer than this, massive asteroid hits, eruptions from super volcanos, mass extinctions every so many millions of years, and the list goes on.

    The planet is not going any where, we are. We are all going bye, bye.

    Just ask the poor saps swallowed by the last tsunami in Japan how mother earth is doing.

    Having said that, mankind is what will destroy society, not the earth. It would not surprise me they succeed by selling the notion they are trying to save the planet. From what, I don't know.
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