Charity == morally bankrupt?

triften
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Charity == morally bankrupt?

This is a fork from a previous thread in order to prevent the old one from getting too far off topic.

DrFear wrote:

Quote:
And DrFear, you seem to have an irrational stance on altruism. This does show that yes, there are atheists out there who do not aspire to higher moral standards.

higher moral standards? sooo...you're on the side of good? and i'm on the side of evil? get off the fucking horse. you see it one way, the way you were "brought up" to see it. i was 'brought up' to see it that way too, but when i got older i evaluated it for myself, and came to my own conclusion. charity, in the context it's being used here, is 'morally' bankrupt.

I was curious about how you reached the conclusion that charity is morally bankrupt. Please explain.

DrFear wrote:

oh, do tell. what am i afraid of? homeless people? the poor? the handicapped? hah, they're weak! "feeling sorry"? why feel sorry when i can feel good? that is rational. what have i to fear of these things? what possible detriment can they bring to me?

So, if you find yourself weakened and in need of help, would you accept being told you're weak and being left behind? (I'm not saying you can't, I'm just wondering if you're prepared to.)

DrFear wrote:

. the truth is, it's rational to do what's in your own best interests, and everybody else be damned.

Who says it isn't in my best interests to maintain a structure of charity so that if I find myself in a bad position, I might find some help. For example, when I donate blood, part of me likes the idea of assisting others, but another part of me likes the idea of helping to maintain this system since I might find myself in need of a pint or two down the road.

-Triften


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Anyway, this is what I said

Anyway, this is what I said in the last thread:

Hate to lose your support, but I could honestly give a fuck. 

I donate my time, my money and my body for causes I believe help people all the time anyway. We may as well get a modicum of recognition for it.

 Honestly, as a libertine, I think the ONLY way to help people is via charity. I'd be a damn hypocrite not to support this. I firmly believe that humanity is responsible for its own "salvation", and that we sink or swim as a species, together. While I wish not to abide a government taking from me to support the world in a squanderous inefficient manner, I will give you the shirt off my back if you need it. In that regard, I guess I just have my priciples.

I don't do it because I'm an atheist. I don't do it because of my political beliefs. I do it, because it makes me feel GOOD to do it.

I feel great when I give blood. It may be in part because I'm light headed due to the loss of blood, but I do sincerely believe part of it is because I know what I just did could help somebody else - and that all it took from me was a half hour and having to eat a sugar cookie and drink a GatorAde. I'd hope they would do the same for me, for the same reason. 

 I think you're just a bit paranoid about a good natured project, Dr.Fear. 

However, if you feel strongly enough to withdraw your support, that is your perogative. I wouldn't have it any other way. We ARE moving forward with this project though, either way. We obviously hate to lose your support, but we were certainly never in this for the money. Subscriptions don't cover the bills as is.

 

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Gauche
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DrFear wrote: . the truth

DrFear wrote:

. the truth is, it's rational to do what's in your own best interests, and everybody else be damned.

This is egoism and it's anything but rational. You are dividing the world into two groups, the group that you are in and the other one and arbitrarily elevating the concerns of your group above the concerns of the other group. This is the same mistake that is made in systems like racism.

If you were somehow superhuman then this might be a good idea. But the fact is that if everyone adopted this policy your life would soon become miserable and unlivable. Cooperation would become impossible because there is no common interest or obligation.

Given the fact of scarcity, and that all people have relatively the same needs and abilities and concern for their own well-being above the well-being of others. Survival is very difficult in this state. Hobbes called this the state of nature which he described as a "constant state of war, of one with all".

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Thanks for bringing this up

Thanks for bringing this up triften.  I believe that after all this religion crap is out of the way, we can focus on society's real problem, which is pure hedonism such as Dr. Fear ascribes to.

The Enlightenment wounded the beast, but the killing blow has yet to land...


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Tomcat wrote:

Tomcat wrote:
Thanks for bringing this up triften. I believe that after all this religion crap is out of the way, we can focus on society's real problem, which is pure hedonism such as Dr. Fear ascribes to.

I wouldn't call his stance hedonism. I just think it seems short-sighted and would like to know how he came to his conclusions.

I would argue that we don't do anything that we don't derive pleasure from on some level and so we are all hedonists. For example, in the last thread, YN5 said that he enjoys giving blood and helping out. Is that hedonism? I'd say yes. He's doing it because it makes him happy. Even if one did charity because they felt obligated, well, they must get some enjoyment out of fulfilling obligations.

-Triften


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triften wrote:

triften wrote:

I would argue that we don't do anything that we don't derive pleasure from on some level and so we are all hedonists. For example, in the last thread, YN5 said that he enjoys giving blood and helping out. Is that hedonism? I'd say yes. He's doing it because it makes him happy. Even if one did charity because they felt obligated, well, they must get some enjoyment out of fulfilling obligations.

-Triften

I don't agree with that. People desire lots of things and they might get satisfaction from obtaining them. But the object of their desire is not the feeling of satisfaction that the get from possessing it. They are after the actual thing.

It's the same with helping others. Your desire to help others comes first and the good feeling you get is just a byproduct not your reason for doing it. People do good things for others all the time without even considering how they might feel about it later.

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
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To be quite honest, I have

To be quite honest, I have sympathies on both sides of the equation here. I feel a safety net for people should always exist. There isn't a single being on this planet who has never needed help in any way and yet survives despite the lack thereof. Almost everyone experiences at least one challenge they cannot face alone once the natural safety net(mom and dad) are no longer direct influences.
And yet at the same time, I see excess charity diluting the gene pool. We're spending so much effort saving stupid people from themselves that the stupidity is spreading. Natural selection is being truncated.

In the end, I have to take the same tack as I do with abortion. There are both good and bad consequences. And I'll stick to charities that are medical/scientific. Eye-wink

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I find his statement

I find his statement mutually contradictory. How can one say that charity is morally bankrupt when one rejects the notion of a universal morality in general?

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StMichael

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That's actually a good

That's actually a good point! Shocked


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Yellow_Number_Five

Yellow_Number_Five wrote:

Hate to lose your support, but I could honestly give a fuck.

A gigantic ditto. 

(he unsubscribed upon reading there was a chance his money could go to charity.  Who would like to make up for his lost subscription?  How about 10 people make up for his lost subscription?)

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I am glad most of you

I am glad most of you atheists are not very superficial hedonists, at least. Gives me hope...

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,
StMichael

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


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  StMichael, you sound

 

StMichael, you sound surprised. 

It's just that we don't volunteer and help out because some supernatural being said we should.  

 

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Not surprised. Just relieved

Not surprised. Just relieved that sort of nonsense has not invaded your minds. One less headache to worry about in the world.

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StMichael

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


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YN5: i know you don't give

YN5:

i know you don't give a fuck. i didn't expect anybody to. that's why i didn't go into this whole spiel, until that jackoff had to open his mouth with that idiotic dismissal.

anyway, now for the obligatory pick-apart.

Quote:
Honestly, as a libertine, I think the ONLY way to help people is via charity. I'd be a damn hypocrite not to support this. I firmly believe that humanity is responsible for its own "salvation", and that we sink or swim as a species, together. While I wish not to abide a government taking from me to support the world in a squanderous inefficient manner, I will give you the shirt off my back if you need it. In that regard, I guess I just have my priciples.

1. how are we defining charity here? helping the UPS man pick up some boxes he dropped is not charity, but it's still helping. people working together to build a skyscraper is not charity, but there are many levels of helping taking place. giving money, food, and what not to people who willingly live in a known potential disaster area and then expect everybody to help them when a disaster strikes is charity, and its fucking retarded. hell, maybe i'll go live in the desert and sustain myself on federal drought relief checks. becoming a victim is nobody's fault but your own, and i don't see why that should be rewarded. so charity is not the ONLY way to help people.

2. sink or swim as a species? are you implying that if we allowed all of the homeless, stricken, frail, retarded, and terminally ill to die, it would lead to human extinction? if so, please do explain how. i can really only imagine it helping humanity...hmm, more helping without charity. ironic.

3. i was going to say something ass-ish about that old shirt-off-the-back line. but it really doesn't go anywhere. basically, it relies on you owning more than one shirt....

Quote:
I feel great when I give blood. It may be in part because I'm light headed due to the loss of blood, but I do sincerely believe part of it is because I know what I just did could help somebody else - and that all it took from me was a half hour and having to eat a sugar cookie and drink a GatorAde.

ok, so you've got a positive reinforcement for helping bleeding people, and a comfort in knowing there is a blood supply for you to partake of should you need it. this is a good middle of the road example, half charity, half best interest. i still prefer to put my effort toward not coming into situations where i'll need blood.

this brings us to Triften's questions,...

Quote:
I was curious about how you reached the conclusion that charity is morally bankrupt. Please explain.

the assertion was made that, basically, allowing the weak and stupid to perish as a result of their weakness and stupidity is morally bankrupt. this translates almost directly into "The process of natural selection is morally bankrupt."

i say that charity is morally bankrupt because it is a way of circumventing natural selection, a process by which the best of a species is propagated, furthering the evolution and advancement of the species. helping the weak and stupid to propagate and flourish, and mingle and procreate with the strong and bright diminishes this effect, and also lays groundwork for overpopulation, which is something that can lead to extinction. i can go on, but i think you get the idea.

Quote:
So, if you find yourself weakened and in need of help, would you accept being told you're weak and being left behind? (I'm not saying you can't, I'm just wondering if you're prepared to.)

this is a pretty silly question, but i'll bite. so i'm so weak that my only recourse is to lie there like a blob, groveling for help? i'm curious how exactly i come to be in this state in your imagination (and what i'm being left behind for), but yes, i'm prepared to be told the truth that i'm a weak, disgusting gasbag. but i have a tad of pride and self-respect, so i wouldn't grovel.

you go on to talk about 'finding oneself in a bad position.' the point is, you are in control of your position. don't "find" yourself in a bad one.

Gauche, think harder about what you're saying.

it's irrational to want to be the best? sounds like you're advocating socialism. you think everyone's equal? now that's irrational.

Quote:
But the fact is that if everyone adopted this policy your life would soon become miserable and unlivable. Cooperation would become impossible because there is no common interest or obligation.

so anarchists are incapable of working together? and humans are incapable of living happy, solitary lifestyles? those sound like facts the same way that "atheists are incapable of acting morally" is a fact.

Quote:
Hobbes called this the state of nature which he described as a "constant state of war, of one with all".

and that's somehow worse than the current "constant state of war, of some with some"?

love the picture, by the way.

hit me up, chumps.

 

 

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Sapient:  fuck off.  i

Sapient:  fuck off.  i didn't cancel my subscription as some kind of jab at the squad, i did it so my money wouldn't go to charity.  i'm not trying to use it as some kind of leverage, ass.

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StMichael wrote: I find his

StMichael wrote:
I find his statement mutually contradictory. How can one say that charity is morally bankrupt when one rejects the notion of a universal morality in general? Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom, StMichael

so things can't be moral and immoral in a subjective moral code?

i find that statement devoid of cognition. 

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triften
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DrFear wrote: this brings

DrFear wrote:

this brings us to Triften's questions,...

Quote:
I was curious about how you reached the conclusion that charity is morally bankrupt. Please explain.

the assertion was made that, basically, allowing the weak and stupid to perish as a result of their weakness and stupidity is morally bankrupt. this translates almost directly into "The process of natural selection is morally bankrupt."

i say that charity is morally bankrupt because it is a way of circumventing natural selection, a process by which the best of a species is propagated, furthering the evolution and advancement of the species. helping the weak and stupid to propagate and flourish, and mingle and procreate with the strong and bright diminishes this effect, and also lays groundwork for overpopulation, which is something that can lead to extinction. i can go on, but i think you get the idea.

Natural selection opperates off all of a species' behaviors, including whether or not they work together/help each other out. Charity doesn't circumvent natural selection at all. Nothing can. If our actions are ultimately problematic to the human race, the idea of charity will eventually die out.

This seems like a slippery slope argument which can go the other way: ignoring those who are weak or infirm leads to eugenics and continual competition and needless suffering. Someone sets the bar on "weakness" and says "anyone below this should be left to die." Well, why not help them along. In fact, the higher the bar is the better, right?

This would "lay groundwork" for constant infighting and slaughter and I think our energy as a speces can be more efficiently spent on helping each other out a little now and then.

DrFear wrote:

Quote:
So, if you find yourself weakened and in need of help, would you accept being told you're weak and being left behind? (I'm not saying you can't, I'm just wondering if you're prepared to.)

this is a pretty silly question, but i'll bite. so i'm so weak that my only recourse is to lie there like a blob, groveling for help? i'm curious how exactly i come to be in this state in your imagination (and what i'm being left behind for), but yes, i'm prepared to be told the truth that i'm a weak, disgusting gasbag. but i have a tad of pride and self-respect, so i wouldn't grovel.

I didn't mean left behind in the literal, can't move sense. Then again, a car accident could cause that. Have you ever been to an emergency room? What if you end up there without any insurance information? Should they let you bleed out because they're not sure if they can be paid? You should have planned ahead and had it tatooed on your body, twice, in case you loose a limb. OR the hospital can give you the benefit of the doubt and risk being out the money and help you anyway. (Yes, you could argue that they are doing risk assessment, but the same thing could be said of charity work: I'm doing charitable work, in case I end up in need of some.)

Also, receiving charity does not automatically equate with groveling.

DrFear wrote:

you go on to talk about 'finding oneself in a bad position.' the point is, you are in control of your position. don't "find" yourself in a bad one.

Not all circumstances are under your control (personally, I'm in the camp of taking responsibility for where I am) and if you get below a certain threshold (economicly speaking), it is very, very tough to dig oneself out. If you haven't been there before, I recommend trying it. If you have and have clawed your way out of that hole, well, congrats. Although, I highly doubt you made it out without a single person deciding to assist you.

-Triften


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I find Social Darwinism

I find Social Darwinism disgusting and a hijacking of Biological Darwinism (I am a socialist by the way.)

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Gauche wrote: triften

Gauche wrote:
triften wrote:

I would argue that we don't do anything that we don't derive pleasure from on some level and so we are all hedonists. For example, in the last thread, YN5 said that he enjoys giving blood and helping out. Is that hedonism? I'd say yes. He's doing it because it makes him happy. Even if one did charity because they felt obligated, well, they must get some enjoyment out of fulfilling obligations.

-Triften

I don't agree with that. People desire lots of things and they might get satisfaction from obtaining them. But the object of their desire is not the feeling of satisfaction that the get from possessing it. They are after the actual thing.

But then why do they desire the thing to start with? Will they get pleasure from having it? From using it?I think there is always a drive towards pleasure (or at least I think that's better than a drive to avoid pain, this would be living in fear of pain all the time, and I think that's the worst life a person can have.)

 

-Triften


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A subjective moral system is

A subjective moral system is incoherent.

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,
StMichael


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StMichael wrote: A

StMichael wrote:
A subjective moral system is incoherent.

All morality is subjective. So I guess everyone, including yourself, is incoherent. Certainly explains your lack of capability to form a real argument.

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triften wrote: Gauche

triften wrote:
Gauche wrote:
triften wrote:

I would argue that we don't do anything that we don't derive pleasure from on some level and so we are all hedonists. For example, in the last thread, YN5 said that he enjoys giving blood and helping out. Is that hedonism? I'd say yes. He's doing it because it makes him happy. Even if one did charity because they felt obligated, well, they must get some enjoyment out of fulfilling obligations.

-Triften

I don't agree with that. People desire lots of things and they might get satisfaction from obtaining them. But the object of their desire is not the feeling of satisfaction that the get from possessing it. They are after the actual thing.

But then why do they desire the thing to start with? Will they get pleasure from having it? From using it?I think there is always a drive towards pleasure (or at least I think that's better than a drive to avoid pain, this would be living in fear of pain all the time, and I think that's the worst life a person can have.)

 

-Triften

If the thing you're talkin about is charity then they may desire it because it gives pleasure to others. I don't think human behavior can be summed up as simply as you are suggesting. Just because someone has a self interested motive that doesn't mean that they didn't have a benevolent motive as well. And it doesn't mean that the benevolent motive was not the ultimate determining factor.

Plus sometimes people engage in altruistic behavior without self interested motives.

If you saw a child drowning you would jump in the water and save the child.

You wouldn't stop and think 'well how would I feel if I let a child drown' or 'maybe this kid will grow up to be the next hitler' or something like that.

You might not even stop to consider that you could end up drowning yourself. You might think only of them. I consider that to be proof that people don't always do what is pleasurable to them.

 

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triften
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Gauche wrote: If the thing

Gauche wrote:

If the thing you're talkin about is charity then they may desire it because it gives pleasure to others. I don't think human behavior can be summed up as simply as you are suggesting. Just because someone has a self interested motive that doesn't mean that they didn't have a benevolent motive as well. And it doesn't mean that the benevolent motive was not the ultimate determining factor.

Plus sometimes people engage in altruistic behavior without self interested motives.

If you saw a child drowning you would jump in the water and save the child.

You wouldn't stop and think 'well how would I feel if I let a child drown' or 'maybe this kid will grow up to be the next hitler' or something like that.

You might not even stop to consider that you could end up drowning yourself. You might think only of them. I consider that to be proof that people don't always do what is pleasurable to them.

I don't think people necessarily stop to ponder these things all the time but the motivation in some cases is hard-wired. I'm sure after the rescue you will be relieved.

Just because the enjoyment comes afterwards doesn't mean it isn't a motivation. (I think I may be drifiting off but it's getting late for me.) I think childbirth is a similar example. Immediately, the endorphin dump that accompanies childbirth makes things better, followed by the longterm joy of raising a child.

-Triften 


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triften wrote: Natural

triften wrote:

Natural selection opperates off all of a species' behaviors, including whether or not they work together/help each other out. Charity doesn't circumvent natural selection at all. Nothing can. If our actions are ultimately problematic to the human race, the idea of charity will eventually die out.

good call, if we're talking about the 'selection' of homo sapiens as a whole. but we're not. we're talking about the betterment, advancement, and continuation of homo sapiens. natural selection deals (also) with the idea of weeding out the individuals within a species that can not cope with the conditions with which they are presented. you're talking solely about the continuation of the species. i'm talking about ridding the species, as a whole, of the ones who contribute most to holding it back. you seem like you are equating 'helping out' with 'working together'. i think i've already differentiated the two in sufficient manner...

bees work together, to build, to nurture, to fight and defend their homes, but if any single bee is left weakened, by any adversary, be it weather, an invader, be it age, be it 'unforseeable' mishap, that bee is left, and the rest continue.

i believe "our actions" (as they relate to 'charity&#39Eye-wink are problematic to the "human race", and that "the idea of charity" will die out, when the human race dies out from it. i believe i've already made it clear that this is an issue of over-population, which is a causality for extinction.

Quote:
This seems like a slippery slope argument which can go the other way: ignoring those who are weak or infirm leads to eugenics and continual competition and needless suffering. Someone sets the bar on "weakness" and says "anyone below this should be left to die." Well, why not help them along. In fact, the higher the bar is the better, right?

that's a possibilty, but at best, more speculation, really. after all, we're still hypothetically talking about an ideally free society here.

Quote:
This would "lay groundwork" for constant infighting and slaughter and I think our energy as a speces can be more efficiently spent on helping each other out a little now and then.

and i think our energy can be more efficiently spent not worrying about what happens to corpses, not expending billions of units of fossil fuels on pointless humans, reducing the amount of fuel expended, reducing the amount of deforestation, by reducing the amount of frivolous humans,

than by laboriously keeping them around, and then diverting inconceivable manpower to figuring out how to supply them with alternative energy, new technology, health care and public services....the list goes on....

as for my hypothetical crippling--

Quote:
I didn't mean left behind in the literal, can't move sense. Then again, a car accident could cause that. Have you ever been to an emergency room?

i'm an extremely alert driver. i take all conditions into account. and yes, i've been to emergency rooms here enough to recommend them on their various merits.

Quote:
What if you end up there without any insurance information?

i've been with, and without. i've found the experience to be very much the same regardless. (in fact, at Graduate Hospital, i received much superior service sans insurance, as compared to my recent visit with insurance.)

Quote:
Should they let you bleed out because they're not sure if they can be paid? You should have planned ahead and had it tatooed on your body, twice, in case you loose a limb.

oh, i see. what if i have insurance and don't have it on me? i think that illustrates my point more than anything...if i actually have the benefit, and was so dumb as to not carry it with me? yyyyep.

Quote:
Also, receiving charity does not automatically equate with groveling.

sure it does.

Quote:
Not all circumstances are under your control

there are always exceptions to a rule. not many, but there are.

Quote:
(personally, I'm in the camp of taking responsibility for where I am)

so why trumpet the other side?

Quote:
and if you get below a certain threshold (economicly speaking), it is very, very tough to dig oneself out.

yeah, but digging oneself out is not the only recourse. think outside the box, for crying out loud.

 

 

Quote:
If you haven't been there before, I recommend trying it. If you have and have clawed your way out of that hole, well, congrats. Although, I highly doubt you made it out without a single person deciding to assist you.

i have been there, and am still clawing my way out, and i haven't seen any help, nor would i take any. i'm proud to be the way i am, and take the path that i have. i would say take some of your own medicine, but it's not something that can be administered voluntarily.

don't take me wrong, i appreciate the earnest fashion with which you can debate this, as opposed to the baby-ish hit-and-run arguments that everybody else (including the RRS higher-ups) has exhibited. much respect, bro.

 

MattShizzle- Ooh, brilliant. why don't you dazzle us all with an explanation of "How Social Darwinism Differs from Biological Darwinism". i'm sure we're all on the edge of our seats to hear.

oh, and on the socialism tip--that's a real unique sentiment coming from the bottom of the barrel...

 

Fear is the mindkiller.


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DrFear wrote:

DrFear wrote:

i know you don't give a fuck. i didn't expect anybody to. that's why i didn't go into this whole spiel, until that jackoff had to open his mouth with that idiotic dismissal.

anyway, now for the obligatory pick-apart.

YN5 wrote:
Honestly, as a libertine, I think the ONLY way to help people is via charity. I'd be a damn hypocrite not to support this. I firmly believe that humanity is responsible for its own "salvation", and that we sink or swim as a species, together. While I wish not to abide a government taking from me to support the world in a squanderous inefficient manner, I will give you the shirt off my back if you need it. In that regard, I guess I just have my priciples.

1. how are we defining charity here? helping the UPS man pick up some boxes he dropped is not charity, but it's still helping. people working together to build a skyscraper is not charity, but there are many levels of helping taking place. giving money, food, and what not to people who willingly live in a known potential disaster area and then expect everybody to help them when a disaster strikes is charity, and its fucking retarded. hell, maybe i'll go live in the desert and sustain myself on federal drought relief checks. becoming a victim is nobody's fault but your own, and i don't see why that should be rewarded. so charity is not the ONLY way to help people.

No, charity is not the only way to help, but it is the subject at hand. Look, I AGREE with you that on occasion charity is wasted and can do more harm than good. We're not talking about such situations, are we?

You seem to want to say that because charity fails in certain aspects, that it is not a worthwhile pursuit or something we should concern ourselves with. What do we call reasoning like that again?

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2. sink or swim as a species? are you implying that if we allowed all of the homeless, stricken, frail, retarded, and terminally ill to die, it would lead to human extinction? if so, please do explain how. i can really only imagine it helping humanity...hmm, more helping without charity. ironic.

If you got that I was agruing that from my post, you're further gone that I had previously thought. Sure, we could simply let such people die, but include amoung the dead Stephen Hawking. I'm saying with the resources we DO have, there is no reason cull such people, and that such people ARE valuable as individuals in their own right and as contributors to society. They have rights at any rate, to suggest otherwise honestly disgusts me.

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3. i was going to say something ass-ish about that old shirt-off-the-back line. but it really doesn't go anywhere. basically, it relies on you owning more than one shirt....

Then say it, because it's true! I'm not going to give to the point where it destroys me. That would not make much sense. I'm certainly not advocating communism or forced charity. I'm entreating others to be charitable if they have the means to do so. In many cases it does not require monetary means to give. Which is why I advocate giving blood and what not.

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I feel great when I give blood. It may be in part because I'm light headed due to the loss of blood, but I do sincerely believe part of it is because I know what I just did could help somebody else - and that all it took from me was a half hour and having to eat a sugar cookie and drink a GatorAde.

ok, so you've got a positive reinforcement for helping bleeding people, and a comfort in knowing there is a blood supply for you to partake of should you need it. this is a good middle of the road example, half charity, half best interest. i still prefer to put my effort toward not coming into situations where i'll need blood.

Indeed, put your efforts into NEVER having an accident. See where that gets you, statistically speaking. When you collide with a garbage truck and get my blood, or somebody elses, don't bother to say thanks or reciprocate.

Look, I have no illusions about charity - I know being charitable is ultimately a selfish act, so what, it does not change the results of the act. Human being are ultimately responsible for their own "salvation"; believing that I choose to act upon it. Plain and simple selfish empathy.

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

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triften
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DrFear wrote: i believe

DrFear wrote:

i believe "our actions" (as they relate to 'charity&#39Eye-wink are problematic to the "human race", and that "the idea of charity" will die out, when the human race dies out from it. i believe i've already made it clear that this is an issue of over-population, which is a causality for extinction.

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This seems like a slippery slope argument which can go the other way: ignoring those who are weak or infirm leads to eugenics and continual competition and needless suffering. Someone sets the bar on "weakness" and says "anyone below this should be left to die." Well, why not help them along. In fact, the higher the bar is the better, right?

that's a possibilty, but at best, more speculation, really. after all, we're still hypothetically talking about an ideally free society here.

Yes, it is speculation. But then again, so was your statement 'i believe "our actions" (as they relate to 'charity&#39Eye-wink are problematic to the "human race", and that "the idea of charity" will die out'. At this point, all that I ask is that you recognize that your position is also speculative.

DrFear wrote:

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This would "lay groundwork" for constant infighting and slaughter and I think our energy as a speces can be more efficiently spent on helping each other out a little now and then.

and i think our energy can be more efficiently spent not worrying about what happens to corpses, not expending billions of units of fossil fuels on pointless humans, reducing the amount of fuel expended, reducing the amount of deforestation, by reducing the amount of frivolous humans,

Who decides who is pointless or frivolous? You?

I know the question can be flipped to "Who decides who is worth saving? You?" but I'm not advocating money being taken by force from some people to support others.

DrFear wrote:

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(personally, I'm in the camp of taking responsibility for where I am)

so why trumpet the other side?

Because, I find that that point of view helps me reach my goals, while still understanding that not EVERYTHING is under my control.

If I cross the street and some car comes over a hill at 90mph (or at whatever speed is necessary so that no human can't get out of the way), what am I supposed to say? "Well, I should have been psychic and known that car was going to come over the hill."

After the accident (if I survive), I won't worry too much about blame (although a big civil suit would be nice) but instead focus on what I can do to improve my situation. I'll also be glad that some people I don't know have decided to donate the blood I'll likely have needed in my recovery.

DrFear wrote:


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and if you get below a certain threshold (economicly speaking), it is very, very tough to dig oneself out.

yeah, but digging oneself out is not the only recourse. think outside the box, for crying out loud.

I guess the other option is subsistence. That's as far outside the box as I can get right now. Please, enlighten me if you see something else.

 

DrFear wrote:

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If you haven't been there before, I recommend trying it. If you have and have clawed your way out of that hole, well, congrats. Although, I highly doubt you made it out without a single person deciding to assist you.

i have been there, and am still clawing my way out, and i haven't seen any help, nor would i take any. i'm proud to be the way i am, and take the path that i have. i would say take some of your own medicine, but it's not something that can be administered voluntarily.

Yes, it could be. I could give away or destroy everything I own, all my assets, (perhaps keep enough for a ticket to someplace I have no friends) and start over.

 

I think we are more on the same page in actuality. I don't advocate communism or everyone giving until it hurts. I am still selective about who I help and where I donate. Yes, I think it's a bit sad when people build houses on a flood plain, then cry when there's water coming through their living room. Yes, people are dumb when they make poor resource allocation decisions and put themselves in the proverbial poor house. But again, things can happen to us whose causes are outside of our influence.

I'll donate where I like and you decide to not donate, but _if_ you do find yourself in need of a pint or two of blood, please keep in mind where that came from.

-Triften

 


voltaire28
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As an atheist and a Peace

As an atheist and a Peace Corps volunteer, I find some of the responses in this thread very troubling. I am also not shy in stating that one of the best statements on charity came from a brilliant theist, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: "True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring." Until we can accomplish that "revolution of values" that King was talking about, charity is an important aspect of social justice.

If a wide range of secular people and organizations do not step up to address the ills of the world, the fundamentalists will continue to use charity as a thinly-veiled missionary tool. Unless we speak to those in areas at risk of contracting HIV, we will be leaving the job to the Catholic Church, which will continue the genocidal policy of teaching abstinence and discouraging condom use. Unless we distribute food with no strings attached, missionaries (some, not all) will trade much-needed food for strings-attached proselytizing.

Anyone who takes the stance "who gives a damn about anyone but myself?" cannot claim to be rational. The great free-thinkers throughout history, such as Ingersoll, Paine, Voltaire, Darrow, etc., didn't take that sort of childish position.

 


lawrence
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voltaire28 wrote:

voltaire28 wrote:

As an atheist and a Peace Corps volunteer, I find some of the responses in this thread very troubling. I am also not shy in stating that one of the best statements on charity came from a brilliant theist, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: "True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring." Until we can accomplish that "revolution of values" that King was talking about, charity is an important aspect of social justice.

If a wide range of secular people and organizations do not step up to address the ills of the world, the fundamentalists will continue to use charity as a thinly-veiled missionary tool. Unless we speak to those in areas at risk of contracting HIV, we will be leaving the job to the Catholic Church, which will continue the genocidal policy of teaching abstinence and discouraging condom use. Unless we distribute food with no strings attached, missionaries (some, not all) will trade much-needed food for strings-attached proselytizing.

Anyone who takes the stance "who gives a damn about anyone but myself?" cannot claim to be rational. The great free-thinkers throughout history, such as Ingersoll, Paine, Voltaire, Darrow, etc., didn't take that sort of childish position.

Very true. I live in a secular society and religion has evolved in most of Europe to the point (besides some hardcore fundies no one gives a shit about - who constantly try to connect to the ancient US views. This is also one of the reasons why most of those nutjobs blossom in the US and have a hard time to get accepted even as human beings in most of Europe - especially in the well educated countries with a sordid past. Modern religion does not work under false pretenses or rips people off in such ways as the horror stories i read here about Christianity in the US. Religious institutions are mostly charity instiutions and are the reason why there are no slums, no homeless people, no mental people on the streets anywhere etc... that in conjunction with a solid social care.

I actually do have some respect for them so long they believe in their work and not in some mythical figure, and this is what modern religion teaches. In the end it does not matter who you are what matters is what you do.

 

And i believe here is a problem with you guys and your whole perspective of atheism. What you Americans would really need to focus on is that your nation will provide a good education for your future generations (and of course those religious nutjobs in the gov have got to go!!!!! All of them.). IMHO it is imperative that you are taught cell biology and psychology and neurology at an early stage just like other advanced countries do teach modern science to their children. I understand that most of you do not wanna learn anymore.

But look at your kids - they could not be more curious about the world around them. And your taxes are the driving engine of the government. The least you should be able to expect that kids can go to school without fear and actually learn something that gives them the chance to blossom anywhere around the globe in any job they desire.
It is also incomprehensible to me how people constantly bitch and wine about how the religious do not get it. This is not reasoning! Reasoning comes from education for the most part. One of the most funamental steps is that you are already living in a culture that teaches you speech. Without that you could never reason in the way you do right now. We are in the 21st century. We have neurobiology, neuropsychology. They give you those answers, you guys just do not wanna change your stance. These sciences will also give you the answers why it is so hard to change the personality of an old person, and why it is so easy for a young one (neurogenesis , synapotogenesis).

I know i hit a sordid spot here and i do not wanna call anyone of you dumb here, but let`s face it you americans are severely lacking behind and it should not be that way - ESPECIALLY since you are confronted with modern technology. But we both know the issues of technology coupled with ignorance.

See, I live in a secular society and there are virtually no "atheists " as it does not make sense to title yourself that way in a predominant secular society. One titles himself as a religious person or not. It is all about social reality and the group you were brought up.

But i am really happy about the fact that gradually some americans are waking up . Heck if it weren`t for Bush and his weird foreign policy which involved all Europeans and in the process  brought the media spotlight to the US, i would still believe that the US is a secular country (because i do not know any better other than the islamic countries) and a great advanced nation. Now hardly any students are actually interested in the US anymore, even though the research society in the US is just as top notch as anywhere else around the world. But see that is the problem. Most students go to other part of Europe (or south korea/japan/canada/australia) with open positions in their particular area of research rather than to the US and have to deal with everyday american society, of which now everyone has become aware of and not just Canada anymore.

But i think so long you stay open minded - and there are a lot of rational people on this board - you people will do just fine. It will take decades to make a genuine change but you no longer take the shitt from your government.

And to those who demonize the religious: Wake up, they are victims just like you are. Worse even, they understand less about the natural world than you do....and this will pay off in a reduced lifespan and quality of life. You think they became stupid by choice? (and yeah they are stupid, if you consider intelligence from modern neurobiological perspectives. And everything else is just a mere romantic or ignorant take on things). Heck when i see another person i see a person who has the same h. sapien genome but was brought up in an environment that was very different to mine. And this makes all the difference. But here is the thing. I also see a person who as a kid had the same neurological potential as me, for the most part. As kids we are very similar as embroys even more so.

Similarly "black" people are not "black" because of a different gene expression in their melanocytes, but because of a different social perception of themselves even though our european society for instance hardly perceives them differently.