Thread: NYT: Should this be the last generation?

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  1. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by wilbur View Post
    Peter Singer doesn't ask any different questions than any other philosopher. Even theologian's ask the same sorts of questions. They often ask (and try to answer) questions like, "What is the meaning of life?", "Why should we value our lives?", "Why should we value the lives of others?", "Do our lives actually have value at all?", and yes - "Why should we care about the what happens to the world after we don't exist?"

    I'm not sure why any philosophical questions of these sorts should be off limits, ever. It's not like we have any certain answers to any of them. It's really the answers , not the questions, that bother some people any ways, isn't it?



    That's pretty extraordinary - so you know enough about him to be able to peer into his psyche from across the internet, and judge his character?

    I'd hazard a guess that you're impression of him comes mostly from second-hand rather than first-hand experience. I don't know how anyone can read what he writes - or even what he says in lecture or debate - and walk away thinking he is anything but calm, reasonable, non-dogmatic, careful, methodical and intellectually humble. You don't have to agree with every word he says to notice the *huge* discrepancy between what this guy actually says, and what others (mostly Christian thinkers) say that he says. I've never seen anything like it, really. Hell, he even got some begrudging approval from Bill O'Reilly when he went on his show, even though you could tell Bill was expecting a different outcome.

    I've read quite a bit from him, and if you had asked me my opinion about how he would answer the questions he raised in the article - I'd have been right - that he'd say life is probably worth living. I don't think it was a put on, at all.
    For me, I have a surprisingly immediate view of the world, for someone who believes in an afterlife and all the rest of it...and I guess the difference between most theologians, some philosophers, and Singer I guess is the framework...or at least I thought when you see that he's not the only person who thinks this way. And did you not see the qualifiers? Or are you so wrapped up in defending this guy that ...."Seems" or . . ."Comes across". That's the language of impression, not of fact. Here I am thinking that nuance would be noticed. My bad.

    I actually had to read parts of Animal Liberation in college, and honestly didn't like him from that point on. So you're assuming what you think that I know about him. And you're forgetting that in many ways, philosophy is pretty subjective. . . .your calm, reasonable, non-dogmatic is my "Kiss my ass".

    And throwing Bill O'Reilly as a pacifying factor? REALLY, Wilbur? REALLY? I just want to smack you for those two assumptions alone. (yeah, I saw the Christian sources. . . there are disabilities rights groups that hate this guy too... THAT'S actually who I think of when it comes to negative press about Peter Singer)

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    I always wanted to have at least one child, but I never got married.


    It's funny-the teenaged girls I work with ask me if I have kids. I tell them, no, I've never been married. They look at me like I'm from another planet, not just another generation. Some will even say, "that doesn't mean you can't have babies", to which I usually respond "can and should are two very different words".
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  3. #13  
    LTC Member Odysseus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wilbur View Post
    Peter Singer doesn't ask any different questions than any other philosopher. Even theologian's ask the same sorts of questions. They often ask (and try to answer) questions like, "What is the meaning of life?", "Why should we value our lives?", "Why should we value the lives of others?", "Do our lives actually have value at all?", and yes - "Why should we care about the what happens to the world after we don't exist?"

    I'm not sure why any philosophical questions of these sorts should be off limits, ever. It's not like we have any certain answers to any of them. It's really the answers , not the questions, that bother some people any ways, isn't it?
    Of course the answers are what are bothersome. Singer comes to conclusions that lead inevitably to a devaluation of human life, not just pre-natal, but across the spectrum. His arguments in favor of bestiality, that "sex with animals does not always involve cruelty" and that "mutually satisfying activities" may occur between humans and animals, is no different than those arguments advanced by NAMBLA and other molesters of children, and is the direct result of his utilitarian, rather than rights-based outlook.

    Quote Originally Posted by wilbur View Post
    I'd hazard a guess that you're impression of him comes mostly from second-hand rather than first-hand experience. I don't know how anyone can read what he writes - or even what he says in lecture or debate - and walk away thinking he is anything but calm, reasonable, non-dogmatic, careful, methodical and intellectually humble. You don't have to agree with every word he says to notice the *huge* discrepancy between what this guy actually says, and what others (mostly Christian thinkers) say that he says. I've never seen anything like it, really. Hell, he even got some begrudging approval from Bill O'Reilly when he went on his show, even though you could tell Bill was expecting a different outcome.

    I've read quite a bit from him, and if you had asked me my opinion about how he would answer the questions he raised in the article - I'd have been right - that he'd say life is probably worth living. I don't think it was a put on, at all.
    He doesn't deny that he thinks that his life is worth living. It's the rest of ours that he is willing to consider less than justified. For example, Singer has written that arguments for or against abortion should be based on the weight of the preferences of a mother against those of the fetus, and that a capacity to experience suffering or satisfaction is a prerequisite to having preferences, which a fetus, at least up to around eighteen weeks, lacks (in his view, it has no capacity to suffer or feel satisfaction), so it cannot hold any preferences, and thus does not warrant consideration in the abortion debate. Taken to its logical conclusion, this premise extends to newborn babies, who also lack what Singer considers the essential characteristics of personhood—"rationality, autonomy, and self-consciousness." Consequently, he has concluded that "killing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person, that is, a being who wants to go on living." This further applies to adults whose capacity to exhibit the "essential characteristcs of personhood" has been reduced by disease or injury may also be killed. These "essential characteristics" are, of course, highly subjective and hardly quantifiable. How do you measure rationality? Autonomy? Self-consciousness? You cannot, but by making these the criteria by which we decide that life has value, Singer creates a paradigm in which anyone can be said to lack those attributes. It is not that far from the newborn baby to the toddler, to the disabled adult. This is the involuntary euthanasia argument by which eugenicists justified the sterilization and execution of those that they considered inferior, which invariably leads to atrocity.

    Singer is just the latest in a string of nihilists who can (and do) end up justifying the worst impulses in the the worst men.
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  4. #14  
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    Singer is just the latest in a string of nihilists who can (and do) end up justifying the worst impulses in the the worst men.
    ..under the guise and mantle of environazis.
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  5. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odysseus View Post
    Of course the answers are what are bothersome. Singer comes to conclusions that lead inevitably to a devaluation of human life, not just pre-natal, but across the spectrum.

    His arguments in favor of bestiality, that "sex with animals does not always involve cruelty" and that "mutually satisfying activities" may occur between humans and animals, is no different than those arguments advanced by NAMBLA and other molesters of children, and is the direct result of his utilitarian, rather than rights-based outlook.
    First off, utilitarianism is not mutually exclusive with rights. Secondly, sex with pre-pubescent children is always harmful, so you're going to have a hard time finding any utilitarian arguments in NAMBLA's favor. So who cares if NAMBLA tries, as you allege, to defend themselves with such statements - they don't actually work. In fact, NAMBLA is slain spectacularly by utilitarian/consequentialist reasoning.

    Secondly, I think you need to read him more carefully. He doesn't endorse bestiality, at least not that I have seen. He's raised questions about it, in an open-minded way - but that's not endorsement, that's how good tempered philosophers go about reasoned inquiry. They don't live in the world of pop journalism and politics where sides have to be dogmatically chosen and scathing polemics have to be written. If you approach philosophy that sort of polemical mindset, you're going to get it very badly wrong.

    As it is, bestiality is pretty tricky. Most of us certainly feel that its wrong, or at least a sign of dysfunction. Its just really hard to articulate why, aside from just asserting so. Good philosopher's usually like to go beyond bare assertions.

    He doesn't deny that he thinks that his life is worth living. It's the rest of ours that he is willing to consider less than justified. For example, Singer has written that arguments for or against abortion should be based on the weight of the preferences of a mother against those of the fetus, and that a capacity to experience suffering or satisfaction is a prerequisite to having preferences, which a fetus, at least up to around eighteen weeks, lacks (in his view, it has no capacity to suffer or feel satisfaction), so it cannot hold any preferences, and thus does not warrant consideration in the abortion debate.
    Ok, you're describing a pretty typical pro-choice argument. Singer's view here is not atypical or exceptional.

    Taken to its logical conclusion, this premise extends to newborn babies, who also lack what Singer considers the essential characteristics of personhood—"rationality, autonomy, and self-consciousness." Consequently, he has concluded that "killing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person, that is, a being who wants to go on living."
    Right- but he's not claiming that its right or permissible to just off a baby because you feel like it, or that babies are worthless. He's essentially saying it causes demonstrably less *harm* to kill a baby, that it does a being with full blown preferences and desires. Again, that's pretty clear cut.

    What he does not say, is that its OK to just kill a baby for the heck of it. Again, I think there are fundamental problems with your approach to philosophy. Bad unwarranted assumptions cause you to make straw-man arguments.

    This further applies to adults whose capacity to exhibit the "essential characteristcs of personhood" has been reduced by disease or injury may also be killed.
    You're misstating his positions. He's never argued that we should be able to kill more people than we do already - he argues that we already do kill people, and that *everybody* all ready thinks it's OK.

    He argues, in cases where adults have completely lost the capacity to exhibit the essential characteristics of personhood, that removing a feeding tube, respirator, etc is conceptually the same actively killing the being. So he argues that we might as well use more efficient, direct means to quickly kill the person.


    These "essential characteristics" are, of course, highly subjective and hardly quantifiable. How do you measure rationality? Autonomy? Self-consciousness? You cannot, but by making these the criteria by which we decide that life has value, Singer creates a paradigm in which anyone can be said to lack those attributes.
    You're free to make the case that his paradigm causes this, but I don't think it'd go very well. I couldnt deny that you are a person under his paradigm, nor could you deny that I am a person, and it's pretty clear cut.

    I'll agree that it is very hard to come up with a criteria for personhood that is exhaustive (that is, it includes all persons), and that excludes all non-persons, but that is OK. It's not very hard to come up with criteria that includes *only* non-persons. For grey areas, we err on the side of personhood. If we accidentally include a few non-persons in the net, so be it.

    It is not that far from the newborn baby to the toddler, to the disabled adult. This is the involuntary euthanasia argument by which eugenicists justified the sterilization and execution of those that they considered inferior, which invariably leads to atrocity.
    Peter Singer does not argue for involuntary euthanasia (at least not of conceptually a different form than what is already widely accepted) , so this is another straw-man.
    Last edited by wilbur; 06-18-2010 at 12:03 PM.
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  6. #16  
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    Quote Originally Posted by warpig View Post
    There are many more who support his view of humans

    “We are all of us, dogs and barnacles, pigeons and crabgrass…equally remarkable and equally dispensable.” (Quote from, “Human Beings Deserve the Right to Life Because They Are Human,” Wesley J. Smith, Life News, 8/27/07)

    “Human beings, as a species, have no more value than slugs.” (Earth First! Journal editor, John Daily)

    “To feed a starving child is to exacerbate the world population problem.” (Yale professor Lamont Cole)

    “The only hope for the world is to make sure there is not another United States.” ….Michael Oppenheimer, Environmental Defense Fund

    “Human happiness, and…fecundity, are not as important as a wild and healthy planet…until such time as homo sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along.”…David Graber, research biologist with the National Park Service
    This kind of rhetoric makes me laugh out loud. Every one of these people are wealthy self loathing idiots. No one is keeping them from committing mass suicide. Just more dripping hypocrisy from a bunch of elitist leftists.
    "Inequality is a false notion propagated by those who are made to feel guilty for what they have by those who are jealous for what they don't"-Former MTV Host Kennedy
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  7. #17  
    Quote Originally Posted by Constitutionally Speaking View Post
    I think this is a GREAT idea!!!!

    We can promote this in all of the lefty circles. Hell, we can pay for the party - let them have their fill of drugs sex and booze - as long as they sterilize themselves.

    We can build them a resort with the most lavish accommodations and in the most exotic places - let them live out their lives in a totally hedonistic bliss. Just keep them the hell away from the children so they don't keep brainwashing them.

    It would save our nation.
    Easier to let them keep drinking kool aid.
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  8. #18  
    Senior Member warpig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJCardFan View Post
    This kind of rhetoric makes me laugh out loud. Every one of these people are wealthy self loathing idiots. No one is keeping them from committing mass suicide. Just more dripping hypocrisy from a bunch of elitist leftists.
    Oh, but they feel everyone else should make the sacrifice not them. They feel they are too valuable.
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  9. #19  
    Senior Member Dan D. Doty's Avatar
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    If Singer wants to snuff himself for the good of animals/the Earth / Universe, I'm not going to stop.

    But to suggest that we all die in a pool of our own vomit, is beyond stupid; Truth be told Singer would most likely run for cover if his existence were in danger just like every other lifeform on the planet.
    How do I know, because he is still alive.

    No where in our planet's history has any species ever committed mass suicide; I think the last T-Rex lifted his claw to the Universe, gave it the finger and told cosmos to f*ck itself.

    Guys like Singer want us to party till we die, I'll remember to toss my invite in the trash, thank you.
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  10. #20  
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan D. Doty View Post
    If Singer wants to snuff himself for the good of animals/the Earth / Universe, I'm not going to stop.

    But to suggest that we all die in a pool of our own vomit, is beyond stupid; Truth be told Singer would most likely run for cover if his existence were in danger just like every other lifeform on the planet.
    How do I know, because he is still alive.

    No where in our planet's history has any species ever committed mass suicide; I think the last T-Rex lifted his claw to the Universe, gave it the finger and told cosmos to f*ck itself.

    Guys like Singer want us to party till we die, I'll remember to toss my invite in the trash, thank you.
    I think.. that humanity simply isn't designed for the 21st century. Time to build a better species?

    Hmph. Dunno. But singer simply believes that humanity is an obsolete concept... and misery loves company.
    Last edited by DU+NU_Reject; 06-19-2010 at 11:33 PM.
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