reply to post by eboyd
This is wonderful, you'll get me up the level of homo sapiens
in no time. I was hoping that my second try would fix my message, but it
appears that I was only partly successful. I agree, again, that my expression was intolerably sloppy. I have no excuse, but as for an explanation
may I point out that you seem to have considerably higher standards than the average ATSers who have allowed me to get away with such casual contempt
for precision for so long?
I merged two related, but distinct arguments and one example into one paragraph.
As far as the Judaeo-Christian thing, that's one of the huge sources we have for telling us what's right and wrong.
The guide to
what is right and wrong at a societal level, at least in the US, has several sources. There are variable sources which depend on your circumstances
of birth and upbringing, such as family income, education, surrounding violence, etc. There are also sources which seem to blanket society with only
occasional exceptions, the law, and the generally accepted religiously based moral code, in our case, the Judaeo-Christian.
These society-wide norms can be specifically described, and the correct behavior can be described in advance, for the vast majority of situations we
may find ourselves in. To the degree that people accept and follow these society-wide norms, we have what can be considered to be ethical groups.
My question in cost-benefit analysis was meant to highlight the idea that certain groups see no cost in violating these societal norms. They either
scorn public disapproval or are unitimidated by the punishment of laws.
If a person believes that lying puts their immortal soul in jeopardy, they may be less likely to lie than someone who believes there is no
punishment for a bad act.
Eternal damnation, to those who believe in it, is the ultimate "cost," surpassing even the death sentence. This
sanction can be applied to any believer, regardless of wealth or status. It is also a valid threat to anyone with a philosophy of a future,
Individuals can create an ethical structure for themselves, unforced by societal norms, but any system that is created by a man can be disassembled by
that same man whenever the desire to do so is strong enough. (it can be a little like New Year's resolutions)
Having said all that, an inferior ethical system that is believed in and followed is better than a perfect one which is ignored.
Universities are not hotbeds for teaching objective morality, rather it's more "Do what you think is best under the circumstances,
follow your own heart, do what you will."
In an effort to advance the idea that education might be the controlling factor in unethical
behavior, I suggested that a University education might be a method of replacing the societal norms of objective ethical systems with personal,
subjective, ones. With no belief in eternal consequences, one need only consider what man's laws might threaten. That, for many, is a feeble threat
Let me ask you to do me another large favor. Keep shooting me full of holes and critique me wherever you find me. How else will I ever grow into
something useful. And you're a good shot.