Is the majority always right?

Teralek
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Is the majority always right?

Had some doubts whether to put this here or under philosophy... some subjects meld on each other... but given the nature of this question, I decided to put it here.

Despite you always seem to answer my questions with some rational consensus I can imagine some trouble answering this one.

On one hand I imagine you saying: "majority is always right because ultimate truth does not exist. There is no such thing as truth in this universe, at least not to us humans. Everything matters to us only in a way we perceive it to be." Meaning that the interests of the majority are the best overall (truth is consensus). The imposing majority is a feature of modern time democracy... but is the will of majority is always right? What is right? What gives minorities the AUDACITY to claim possession of the truth against a majority? 

On the other hand I can also imagine you having some trouble with "might makes it right" or "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few"... one simple example is that most of humanity believes in a God and you fight for atheism because you think you're right... in a nutshell: The beliefs of the many outweigh the beliefs of the few

Finally, if we conclude that the majority is not always right aren't we putting a check on democracy? Is democratic voting outdated?

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"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


Teralek
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Because it produces the

Because it produces the same outcome - Adrenaline rush.

It’s current knowledge that to resolve an ethical dilemma the more information you have the better you can decide about it. I also believe in intrinsic value of things and actions, on this interlinked Universe.

Matter is quantifiable and good deeds are quantifiable by their outcome. Thus I maintain there are absolute morals in a given context. The best outcome is the outcome that produces the best results for the bigger part of the interested population. Moral cannot be based on personal feelings. A serial killer gets a kick when killing people, the same kick that makes Beyond Saving jump of a plane - But in the case of the killer his actions are immoral. The same serial killer kills your mother and get's you so mad that you grab your shotgun and shoot him in the head... and this is still wrong... moral is not emotional or instinctive responses. It is not all rational too because we are emotional beings (outside the fact that emotions can be considered irrational) that feel compassion towards people with mental disability. Hard cold rationality dictates these people add no value to the system… but don’t worry… I would only support eugenics if I was 100% atheist. I’m not a crazy theist either, I’m just 100% deist because my beliefs are much more philosophical than religiously dogmatic.

All other considerations ignored, I agree that secular morality is better than religious dogma, whether ethics is objective or subjective, because standard religious dogma is based on thousand year old myths that are NOT context dependable. At the same time I keep on saying that there is such a thing as intrinsic values, especially in Human relations, that make ethics objective and thus universal - it can be rationalized. Objectifying ethics, I think, is a better explanation of reality. It explains why we have better results when our actions are good and have bad results when our actions are bad.

So yes, secular moral is better than religious dogma... But asking from where these intrinsic values come from, if not from a God, is the same as asking from where came the intrinsic values of 1, 2, 4, etc came from. Subjective or objective ethics doesn't prove or disprove God; they are two ways of interpret reality.

However, remember what I've said at the beginning; for any ethical dilemma the MORE info you have the better; it may help solve it. Thus in case there is an afterlife and the individual human consciousness is eternal, this has a major impact in many moral decisions and other life choices in general. If a person believes that he is going to live forever and possesses affective bonds with all humans on the planet this may change his moral choices in more altruistic ways. He can be a more patient and comprehensive person, especially if humility is one of his traits. The humility I talk about is the same as Einstein, Socrates or Gandhi. I find atheistic moral self-centered and selfish... and some of your comments reinforced this.

BeyondSaving wrote:
What rational explanation is there for an atheist to care about mankind as a whole?

None, and this why I think atheism is selfish. It doesn’t suit me. I believe not only that I should care about mankind BUT that this is one of my main missions as a human. Starting by those around me.

BTW, Although I respect Hitchens reasoning, I think, from what I've seen from the interviews and presentations, he is an example of an atheist "dick". The guy is rude, he is self centered, probably selfish, he as a death wish and he probably is a depressed person. You may mock this opinion but I don't care, this is how I see him. Given his present condition, I can't help but to feel compassion for him. 

______________________________________________________________
"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


Beyond Saving
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Teralek wrote:Matter is

Teralek wrote:

Matter is quantifiable and good deeds are quantifiable by their outcome. Thus I maintain there are absolute morals in a given context. The best outcome is the outcome that produces the best results for the bigger part of the interested population. Moral cannot be based on personal feelings. A serial killer gets a kick when killing people, the same kick that makes Beyond Saving jump of a plane - But in the case of the killer his actions are immoral. The same serial killer kills your mother and get's you so mad that you grab your shotgun and shoot him in the head... and this is still wrong... moral is not emotional or instinctive responses.

See, I don't consider it immoral at all to shoot the serial killer in the head except that to shoot him in the belly would would cause substantially more pain which he would deserve. Although, I do understand from a society standpoint that it needs to be illegal except in immediate self defense situations. I haven't decided whether or not to obey that law. Hopefully, I will never have to seriously consider it.

 

Teralek wrote:

All other considerations ignored, I agree that secular morality is better than religious dogma, whether ethics is objective or subjective, because standard religious dogma is based on thousand year old myths that are NOT context dependable. At the same time I keep on saying that there is such a thing as intrinsic values, especially in Human relations, that make ethics objective and thus universal - it can be rationalized. Objectifying ethics, I think, is a better explanation of reality. It explains why we have better results when our actions are good and have bad results when our actions are bad.

Really?? What about when failing to shoot the serial killer in the head causes them to kill again. Is that a good result? I can think of several situations where doing what most would consider the "moral" thing has bad results for that individual and sometimes the community as a whole.

 

Teralek wrote:

I find atheistic moral self-centered and selfish... and some of your comments reinforced this.

Guilty. I never denied being selfish. 

 

Teralek wrote:

BeyondSaving wrote:
What rational explanation is there for an atheist to care about mankind as a whole?

None, and this why I think atheism is selfish. It doesn’t suit me. I believe not only that I should care about mankind BUT that this is one of my main missions as a human. Starting by those around me.

BTW, Although I respect Hitchens reasoning, I think, from what I've seen from the interviews and presentations, he is an example of an atheist "dick". The guy is rude, he is self centered, probably selfish, he as a death wish and he probably is a depressed person. You may mock this opinion but I don't care, this is how I see him. Given his present condition, I can't help but to feel compassion for him. 

 

So then an atheist would have no logical reason to pursue eugenics with the possible exception of a scientist who is simply curious. My only point is you can come over to the dark side and not be a eugenics dick. And I concur with you on Hitchens.

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


Teralek
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Beyond Saving wrote:Really??

Beyond Saving wrote:

Really?? What about when failing to shoot the serial killer in the head causes them to kill again. Is that a good result? I can think of several situations where doing what most would consider the "moral" thing has bad results for that individual and sometimes the community as a whole.
 

 

Really, it is context dependable. If you know he is going to kill someone for sure and cannot be arrested then the fact that you kill him is actually good because is as if it was in self defense.  However if you kill him because your instincts tell you so it is wrong... I've just remembered a story I read... here's some food for thought:

There were 2 neighbors with a garden.
Almost at the same time, one bought a dog for the family and the other bought a rabbit.
The rabbit owner went to talk to his neighbor worried that the dog could hurt the rabbit. But the dog owner promptly said:
- No way! They will grow together and become friends!
  And so it was... for the enjoyment of both families the dog grew a lot bigger than the rabbit and one could often see them play with each other...

One day the rabbit owner went out for the weekend and left the rabbit behind. On Sunday afternoon when the family of the dog was resting by the porch the dog suddenly comes in front of them with the rabbit in his mouth completely covered in dirt and dead.

They couldn't believe their eyes! They jumped at the dog and beat the hell out of him...
Then the man said:

- The neighbor was right! And we didn't see it coming! His children are going to be so sad when they find out!

The dog hurtfully walked to a corner and started licking his injuries...

Then he asked the rest of the family, out of desperation:

- What do we do now?!

It is not known who had the idea but it looked good at the time:

- Let's clean the rabbit, wash it and put it back at his place as if nothing happened!

And so they did. They even put perfume because of the smell... in the end it almost looked alive...

Later they hear the neighbors arriving... a bit later they hear children screaming!

- They Found out!

Two minutes passed and the rabbit owner knocks the door... the guy looked like he's seen a ghost!

- What's the matter? Why the face?! - asked the dog owner.
- The rabbit, the rabbit...
- What about it?
- He's dead!
- Dead?! We saw him this afternoon and he looked fine...
- He died Friday!
- Friday?!
- Yes. Just before we went out for the weekend... We even did a funeral and buried him in our garden.

The story ends here. What happened next is for each imagination... But one can't help think of the dog searching for his friend all weekend and finally finding him dead and buried... Heart broke; he dug him out and went to his owners hoping they could revive him… The lesson here is to realize how easy we judge others! Many times we jump to conclusions and think we have all the truth without asking what really happened.

As for eugenics, for purely rational reasons, it is a go. From an atheist point of view who doesn't care about humanity it would depend on your position in society; if you were a head of state losing money because of the subsidies to the "out of order" there is a possibility that he might pull the plug thinking it would be moral to use the money for the betterment of society in general and thus buying votes. Moral is very much context dependable...

 

______________________________________________________________
"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


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Oh, I was talking about

Oh, I was talking about tracking down and killing the serial killer personally. Why is that morally wrong? I understand the legal argument that society isn't practical with a bunch of vigilantes out there. But from a purely moral standpoint? By definition a serial killer is going to kill again. So by killing them you are saving the lives of however many innocents they would kill in the future.

On the other hand, suppose I was visiting my mother and the serial killer was making his escape (assume for the discussion that I saw him do it so I knew for sure it was him). Now he is running away so if I grab my 30-06 and shoot him at 100 yards I am clearly breaking the law. Is it immoral? If I let him go he may or may not be captured by police before killing again. 

 

And for the record, I would have roasted the rabbit and fed it to the dog. I consider it immoral to waste perfectly good meat by burying it.

 

 

Teralek wrote:

As for eugenics, for purely rational reasons, it is a go. From an atheist point of view who doesn't care about humanity it would depend on your position in society; if you were a head of state losing money because of the subsidies to the "out of order" there is a possibility that he might pull the plug thinking it would be moral to use the money for the betterment of society in general and thus buying votes. Moral is very much context dependable... 

True, which is why I don't trust any politicians. People go into politics to control others and I don't put it beyond any of them religious or atheist not to pull the plug "for the betterment of society". In general, I don't trust anyone who says we have to do something for the betterment of society. More often it is about personal power for them. But my political views litter this forum so I will refrain from my traditional tirade here. 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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Teralek wrote: The best

Teralek wrote:

 The best outcome is the outcome that produces the best results for the bigger part of the interested population. 

Out of curiosity are you talking about utilitarianism?


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By definition of ethic, and

By definition of ethic, and the subjectivity of "right" & "wrong", the majority MUST be right every single time, unless or until it believes it is wrong.

But regarding "true" & "false", historically, the majority is almost always wrong. At least with concepts more advanced than simple mathematics.

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Vastet! Short and simple.

Vastet! Short and simple. Good answer!

RatDog I had to check what is Utilitarianism. I guess I'm talking about that, but in the sense that I think that a rational atheist society should be. In my view as a theist there is more to moral than what meets the eye. For example, we are more physically bond to each other that we think, and consciouss life doesn't end

Beyond Saving wrote:

Oh, I was talking about tracking down and killing the serial killer personally. Why is that morally wrong? I understand the legal argument that society isn't practical with a bunch of vigilantes out there. But from a purely moral standpoint? By definition a serial killer is going to kill again. So by killing them you are saving the lives of however many innocents they would kill in the future.

On the other hand, suppose I was visiting my mother and the serial killer was making his escape (assume for the discussion that I saw him do it so I knew for sure it was him). Now he is running away so if I grab my 30-06 and shoot him at 100 yards I am clearly breaking the law. Is it immoral? If I let him go he may or may not be captured by police before killing again. 
 

I told the story to illustrate how easy we judge others. You shouldn't kill the serial killer because in real life situations you are rarely sure of who committed a crime. And even if you are sure that some guy is a serial killer you should call the authorities so the person can be judged impartially. Only when you are confronted with an immediate life threatening situation you are allowed to use any means necessary to impede the death of a victim. All this is to avoid by all means, the killing of an innocent. Thus I think is the most moral thing to do.

As an example if you saw a man running after you found your mother dead, your instincts would tell you that it was the killer. However that is only circumstantial evidence, not proof that it was the killer. Exactly like the dog story.

  

______________________________________________________________
"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


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Teralek wrote:  I told the

Teralek wrote:

 

 

I told the story to illustrate how easy we judge others. You shouldn't kill the serial killer because in real life situations you are rarely sure of who committed a crime. And even if you are sure that some guy is a serial killer you should call the authorities so the person can be judged impartially. Only when you are confronted with an immediate life threatening situation you are allowed to use any means necessary to impede the death of a victim. All this is to avoid by all means, the killing of an innocent. Thus I think is the most moral thing to do.

As an example if you saw a man running after you found your mother dead, your instincts would tell you that it was the killer. However that is only circumstantial evidence, not proof that it was the killer. Exactly like the dog story.

 

 

  

Which is why I am against Capital punishment. I don't trust the government to be right even though I have no moral problem with killing a scumbag. There is no such thing as true impartiality in the court system. It is a nice and convenient myth. So personally, I trust my determination a lot more than any court.

 

I'm talking about if I did know for sure, say I saw it happen or I approach him as he is cutting up the body to dispose of it (ok, not proof he did it but a good reason to shoot him anyway). Suppose I saw the killer murder her, I fire a few shots with my .40 and somehow miss (I know unrealistic but maybe there was a lot of stuff in my way) and the killer starts running. I grab the 30-06, put him between the sights and shoot him at 50 yards while he is running away. Is that immoral? It isn't a completely unrealistic scene. People see people get murdered on occasion. 

 

If I wait for the police, chances are good they will never find him before he commits another crime. The only thing they have is my description and chances are the police are going to look at me as the prime suspect and it will take some time before they even admit I am not making the killer up to hide my own crime. So obviously, for society as a whole, it would be far better for me to shoot the killer before he escapes. 

 

edit: Or the other situation where I track down and kill the killer. Again, I saw it happen, I know who did it but he escapes and the police don't believe my story. It is easier for them to prosecute me. I manage to get out of jail but the police have shut down the investigation (happens all the time most murders done by strangers go unsolved) or they do catch the killer but a jury lets him go because the only evidence is that I saw him do it. So I go off on my own and manage to track down the guy because I am willing to spend every penny I have on PI's and such. I go kill him. Is that immoral?

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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Given that scenario, I would

Given that scenario, I would not condemn you, in fact I could argue you did a good thing.

the second scenario I am more neutral... I don't feel that that is right.

But to trust your determination a lot more than any court is risky... you could be commiting an injustice. You have to constantly put the test your personal values and never given them as imutable. Cause we humans are falible and always learning. 

______________________________________________________________
"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


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Beyond Saving wrote:If I

Beyond Saving wrote:

If I wait for the police, chances are good they will never find him before he commits another crime. The only thing they have is my description and chances are the police are going to look at me as the prime suspect and it will take some time before they even admit I am not making the killer up to hide my own crime. So obviously, for society as a whole, it would be far better for me to shoot the killer before he escapes. 

 

edit: Or the other situation where I track down and kill the killer. Again, I saw it happen, I know who did it but he escapes and the police don't believe my story. It is easier for them to prosecute me. I manage to get out of jail but the police have shut down the investigation (happens all the time most murders done by strangers go unsolved) or they do catch the killer but a jury lets him go because the only evidence is that I saw him do it. So I go off on my own and manage to track down the guy because I am willing to spend every penny I have on PI's and such. I go kill him. Is that immoral?

 

The movie, Lipstick.  I couldn't watch the entire movie as it was just too gross.  I'm not into slasher movies, based on true stories or not.  Anyway she was tried for killing her attacker when he got out of jail after raping her and then attacked her little sister.  She got off as it was a "justifiable homicide".  I don't know, I think shooting his cujones off and leaving him to live like that might be better.  (Which movie was that?)

DNA profiling has helped with innocent people being convicted of crimes they didn't commit.  And you should remember, a lot of these guys have very short life spans in prison.  Dahmler, McVey, Bundy.....  If Madoff gets beat up again, he's an old guy, he may join the list.

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

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cj wrote:Beyond Saving

cj wrote:

Beyond Saving wrote:

If I wait for the police, chances are good they will never find him before he commits another crime. The only thing they have is my description and chances are the police are going to look at me as the prime suspect and it will take some time before they even admit I am not making the killer up to hide my own crime. So obviously, for society as a whole, it would be far better for me to shoot the killer before he escapes. 

 

edit: Or the other situation where I track down and kill the killer. Again, I saw it happen, I know who did it but he escapes and the police don't believe my story. It is easier for them to prosecute me. I manage to get out of jail but the police have shut down the investigation (happens all the time most murders done by strangers go unsolved) or they do catch the killer but a jury lets him go because the only evidence is that I saw him do it. So I go off on my own and manage to track down the guy because I am willing to spend every penny I have on PI's and such. I go kill him. Is that immoral?

 

The movie, Lipstick.  I couldn't watch the entire movie as it was just too gross.  I'm not into slasher movies, based on true stories or not.  Anyway she was tried for killing her attacker when he got out of jail after raping her and then attacked her little sister.  She got off as it was a "justifiable homicide".  I don't know, I think shooting his cujones off and leaving him to live like that might be better.  (Which movie was that?)

DNA profiling has helped with innocent people being convicted of crimes they didn't commit.  And you should remember, a lot of these guys have very short life spans in prison.  Dahmler, McVey, Bundy.....  If Madoff gets beat up again, he's an old guy, he may join the list.

 

Haven't seen it. But I understand the desire to kill some scumbag.

The sole reason I am against capital punishment is because the court system isn't and can't be perfect. As DNA testing has shown, some innocent people have been convicted of murder. Who knows how many innocents have already received the death penalty? Even with DNA evidence used to convict there is always the possibility of mistakes or perhaps a perfectly plausible reason for the innocents DNA to be at the scene. I simply don't have enough trust in the government not to make mistakes. And as you pointed out, for the real super scumbags, the prison population will take care of them. So that kind of takes out the "well what about this person, surely you believe there is enough evidence to kill them" argument. If a person is slimy enough, just turn around and hum a tune. 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X