Skip

Logical Coherence
October 24, 2003 5:40 AM   Subscribe

Morality and Logical Coherence
A case in point.
If stem-cell research is morally questionable, the procedures used in fertility clinics are worse. You cannot logically outlaw the one and praise the other. And surely logical coherence is a measure of moral sincerity.
And failing that test would be a measure of what?
posted by nofundy (23 comments total)

 
...of how poorly the U.S. education system teaches logic and rational thinking? If we don't understand it, as a society, we aren't going to value it, and if we don't value it, we aren't going to demand it.
posted by rushmc at 6:14 AM on October 24, 2003


> surely logical coherence is a measure of moral sincerity.

Absolutely not. I would deny this at length but Scott Fitzgerald already disproved it concisely:

One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.
posted by jfuller at 6:26 AM on October 24, 2003


Such hypocrisy comes out of two things: true belief and pandering to true believers who don't grasp complex issues. However, the world is full of such people, and they vote.
Just as hypocritically, as example, are leftist-socialists in the democratic party who embrace Fidel Castro, and in past embraced other Communist revolutionaries, Communist revolutionary movements and Communist dictators.
Many of them did, and do this, out of true belief in the "rightness" of socialism, in any form, that it has to be better than "capitalism", in any form. So no matter what evidence they see of Castro being an evil, brutal prince, they praise and laud his "accomplishments" and ignore his flaws.
And because there are many such people, their leaders often either are true believers themselves, or pander to such beliefs, or a combination of the two--once again, just a comparison of hypocrisies.

Back to the issue at hand. Bush either truly believes that there is a difference here, possibly; or he has never had the difference explained to him, also possible, given it is a complex-enough scientific matter to not be common knowledge; or he believes so many of his supporters would be upset *and* not grasp the scientific issue that he is demogoguing it, again possible; or a combination of the above.

But come to think of it, since Michael Kinsley has for years been strongly opposed to everything republican, why should Bush do what he wants? Would Kinsley propose something for Bush to do that would be to Bush's advantage?
posted by kablam at 6:41 AM on October 24, 2003


One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.

I don't see how that relates to surely logical coherence is a measure of moral sincerity. Care to clarify?
posted by rushmc at 6:54 AM on October 24, 2003


Is that a good enough reason to dislike him personally?

I think so. I happen to think this was the worst decision of his presidency. As Kinsley correctly points out, it makes absolutely no logical sense. It's also severely impacting the United States' ability to compete in the rapidly developing biotech market. Already, major developments are coming from overseas labs, where there are no comparable restrictions. I predict that unless things change, in 50 years, after a great many diseases and conditions have been cured overseas, history will look back on this policy, as well as the threatened ban on therapeutic cloning, as morally indefensible political expediency.
posted by pardonyou? at 6:55 AM on October 24, 2003


Just as hypocritically, as example, are leftist-socialists in the democratic party who embrace Fidel Castro, and in past embraced other Communist revolutionaries, Communist revolutionary movements and Communist dictators.

Yeah...
Can you give us an example? Just one would do.

Saying Democrat == Communist is as faulty as saying Republican == Nazi.
posted by bshort at 7:16 AM on October 24, 2003


Just as hypocritically, as example, are leftist-socialists in the democratic party who embrace Fidel Castro, and in past embraced other Communist revolutionaries, Communist revolutionary movements and Communist dictators.

Okay, I'm sorry, that's not even ridiculous, it's just plain silly. As in, making me giggle silly. If you're going to go for "leftist-socialist" why not just go for broke and call us "the Democrat Party" while telling me how I'm taking your precious bodily fluids?

Suggesting a benefit to the Cuban people by lifting 30-year old ineffective sanctions meant to stave off the advances of a nation that collapsed a decade ago isn't "embracing Castro." For someone interested in pointing out "hypocrisy" the decision to not care about "embracing communist nations" like, you know, China, seems like a slight contrast to your... umm.. entire point.

But I agree. Back to the issue at hand: For a rare moment that hopefully won't open up a large hole in the ground or anything, I'm in near-full agreement with pardonyou?. Stem Cell research-blocking was one of the silliest and most short-sighted moves in Bush's career. The U.S. is going to take a broad step back in huge potential advances in medical technology and health research because, to paraphrase Tom Tomorrow, Bush basically thinks stem cells go to Stem Cell Heaven.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:17 AM on October 24, 2003


For a rare moment that hopefully won't open up a large hole in the ground or anything, I'm in near-full agreement with pardonyou?.

Cats and dogs living together! Mass hysteria!

Remember -- I'm not so much a Republican as I am a contrarian, or devil's advocate. I'd much rather argue the opposing side in a thread than add the 30th "me too." If I was on a site with a conservative bent, I'd probably be advancing more liberal arguments. Ultimately, I consider myself a centrist libertarian who usually votes Democrat. How 'bout them apples?
posted by pardonyou? at 7:36 AM on October 24, 2003


Well now you just sound like a douche. ;)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:42 AM on October 24, 2003


> Care to clarify?

Fitzgerald urges us to do something that is impossible because it is logically inconsistent (e.g. "I am determined to raise two children, each one taller than the other.") Nevertheless Scott's "thou shoudst" is morally serious and in fact true and correct.


> surely logical coherence is a measure of moral sincerity.

Let me take a more pedestrian stab at it. Moral sincerity comes from love; love can, indeed often does, point you in the opposite direction from that demanded by discursive logic. using logical consistency as a measure of love is a category mistake, like using a stopwatch to measure wit.
posted by jfuller at 7:49 AM on October 24, 2003


What you call love, I would term delusion (saving "love" for a non-logically inconsistent usage). I could go on, but I'd rather hear your defense of delusion (defined as "believing in or trying to do something that is impossible").
posted by rushmc at 8:04 AM on October 24, 2003


Moral sincerity comes from love

"But baby, I'm sorry I hit you but I LOVE you soo much and some times I just get so angry...."
posted by Dr_Octavius at 8:28 AM on October 24, 2003


I find it highly interesting that the leading world power today (USA) that got its position trough science and technology (rocket science and nuclear technology) is now turning its back on science and technology.
posted by spazzm at 8:48 AM on October 24, 2003


Funny thing happened on the way to the Bible Study...
posted by filchyboy at 9:05 AM on October 24, 2003


Moral sincerity comes from love

Then moral sincerity is fucked.
posted by kindall at 9:10 AM on October 24, 2003


> I'd rather hear your defense of delusion

I wouldn't ordinarily do this but I'm feeling avuncular and tutelary right now, so listen up.

In the first place, delusion is all that's available to you. None of your beliefs are connected to anything except other beliefs. You may say "I believe this book is six inches high because I measured it with a ruler," which is supported by a more basic belief "My ruler stays the same size between occasions of use." Digging down further, you find deep supporting propositions such as "I believe it's not all just a hallucination." But your belief system isn't infinite; down at the bottom you'll find fundamental assumptions that are supported by nothing. Which makes the whole overlying superstructure arbitrary and unsupported, hence delusional.

The only way to deal with this on a daily basis is not to scrutinize things too chosely (The unexamined life is not worth examining, as Beavis might say.) But if you have a grain more critical intelligence than NASCAR Bob you're going to run into a day when you can't not think about it. When that day comes, your only defence against hysterical emptiness and nausée is going to be your ability, however great it may be, to believe in or (more to the point) try to do something impossible - and cheerfully, at that. You should write this on the wall because you're going to need it at some point. Credo/facio/sum quia absurdum est.


> Then moral sincerity is fucked.

Well, that doesn't distinguish it from anything else, does it? We established back on Wednesday that fuck is fucked, so moral sincerity would be right up to date. Bend over and get with the program, do0d.
posted by jfuller at 9:43 AM on October 24, 2003


Off the top of my head, I'd say moral sincerity refers to people consistent with their professed beliefs regardless of ideology. Look at some who oppose both abortion and the death penalty. Those people are consistent, even if you disagree with them on one issue or the other.

Contrast that with people who rail against abortion as murder, then show up outside prisons with signs reading "Fry 'em!" when it's time for the executioner to do his thing.
posted by trondant at 9:50 AM on October 24, 2003


trondant - although I think that I believe roughly what you do, that's a pretty bad example of logical inconsistency. If I believe the cells in the woman are a life, I probably believe it's an innocent life since it hasn't done anything yet. By contrast, somebody who has killed somebody has abandoned the rules of society and therefore can't then turn to those rules to protect them from harm. Although the two deal with death as an end result, they are in no way the same, so there is no reason to expect that one can only support one if they support the other.

I could turn it around too. The cells (or child if you prefer) are a parasite trespassing on the most fundamental rights of the woman. This is a harm which we can see directly. While, the accused (or convicted) may well be innocent despite the state's best efforts to eliminate that possibility.
posted by willnot at 10:54 AM on October 24, 2003


The phone's for you, willnot. Guy says he's from the White House and wants to know if you need a job.
posted by Fezboy! at 1:09 PM on October 24, 2003


bshort: Just one example? Well, how about: Harry Belafonte, Steven Spielberg, Danny Glover, Julie Taymor, Oliver Stone, Jane Fonda, Robert Redford, Jack Nicholson, Ed Asner, Peter Weller, Jack Lemon, Woody Harrelson, Leonardo di Caprio, Frances McDormand, Naomi Campbell, Francis Ford Coppola and Joel Coen.

I'm not equating the democratic party with communism. Just members of that party that see socialism, in any form, as being better than capitalism, in any form.

But my favorite true believer isn't even a democrat. She is avowed communist Angela Davis, who, when touring Czechoslovakia as part of her Soviet-Union sponsored personality show, was approached by Czech dissidents who praised her for her work to free "political prisoners in America" (as reported in their press). Could she put in a good word for the hundreds or thousands of political prisoners being drugged and tortured in their country?", they asked.

"There are no political prisoners in Czechoslovakia", she replied, "there are only those who have committed criminal acts against the people."

Such people should experience the unfettered joy of serving "the people", someday. And I mean that in the purest, Stalinest sense.

The democratic party, to redeem its soul, must purge itself of all the Mensheviks.
posted by kablam at 4:05 PM on October 24, 2003


Eeek! Communist boogie men! Socialist boogie men! Daddy I am so scared! Kablam brought out those out-dated bad old boogie men to scare us from a rational discussion.

What pardonyou said.
posted by Goofyy at 4:38 AM on October 25, 2003


willnot, I think it's a good example based on what these people profess themselves. The contention is that the fetus is alive and human. Unless they deny that death row cons are alive and human, it stands to reason that they should be fighting to prevent those executions, too.

"Excuse me, Mr. President, but there's a 'kablam' on line two. He says he wants further instructions. What should I tell him?"
posted by trondant at 1:52 PM on October 25, 2003


Goofyy: Eeek! Communist boogie men! Socialist boogie men! Daddy I am so scared!

Nope, I just think we should put such scum in perspective with the tyrants, murders and genocidal maniacs they have gleefully supported *in favor of* the United States since, say, the 1920s through today.

Why should the democratic party in any way embrace such swine, who in their time supported Stalin, Trotsky, Mao, Kuhn, Ceausescu, Ho Chi Minh, Pauker, Honecker, Hoxha, the Sandinistas, the Shining Path, and lots of other "agrarian reformers", all in favor of the United States, because the "U.S. was bad."

Geez, you'd think these twits would have learned, back when the U.S. deported a bunch of them to live in the Communist paradise of the Soviet Union and several hundred of them were promptly shot. But we're talking true believers, here. As fanatical in their own way as the Taliban.

What the HELL was wrong with the democratic party to even permit such people in the front door? A better choice would have been to admit hundreds of institutionalized schizophrenics without their meds.

So what if the democrat's socialist wing are more like Shiites then Wahabbis? Mensheviks rather than Bolsheviks? They are still radically wacky agitators who support tyrants in other countries before they support the U.S. This alone should be reason to expel them.
posted by kablam at 7:23 PM on October 25, 2003


« Older Between The Sheets: The Pleasures Of Paper   |   Fraudulent Slavery Reparations Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post