Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Objective Morality Revisited Yet Again

     Is morality ever objective or is it always subjective?
     How many variations of this question have been asked since I started working through this list of philosophical questions? No, morality is always subjective. People experience everything subjectively. There is no possible means by which people can experience something objectively. Everything we experience is filtered through the lenses of subjectivity.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Primal Instinct Revisited

     If it was discovered most animals were conscious of their existence and eventual death, what would be the ramifications?
   If you ask people now if most animals are conscious of their existence and eventual death, most would say yes. With that belief, false though it may be, so prevalent, we already work with the premise as reality. So nothing would change. This is pretty much what people believe now and act accordingly.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Ethical Revolution

     At what point is it ethical to overthrow a government?
     It should be noted a fairly elected government can potentially be overthrown every election cycle at the ballot box with no ethical concerns. As for an armed overthrow of a government, the question hinges more on opportunity for success than the ethics of the action itself. Some governments have been toppled for minimal reasons because the power to do it was in the hands of a motivated person or group of people while evil regimes thrive for lack of a fifth column.
     As a student of history and political science, my observation is ethics rarely enters into the equation of regime change beyond marketing the idea to potential supporters. Geopolitics is motivated by money and power, not idealism.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Editing the Mind

     If it was discovered personality traits are partially genetic and could be edited with gene therapy, would it be ethical to remove negative character traits like aggression, compulsive lying, and cruelty?
     I do not particularly like the idea. It sounds too much like lobotomies. The rationale would be altering personality to make a perfect person. This is eugenics. I am not comfortable with the idea of creating a perfect human as the idea begs the question of what happens to the imperfect ones? They would logically be inferior. But why? These alleged negative traits might still have a valuable purpose when counter-balanced with positive traits.
     If one desires to voluntarily remove personality traits in the same manner as getting a nose job or tummy tuck, that is another matter. A rational adult should be able to do as he pleases. The only limits would be what ever restrictions the medical profession places on the procedure.
     I would never consent to alter my personality. I am who I am, bad character traits and redeeming qualities. The damage that would be caused by eliminating the combination is too unpredictable to risk.

Friday, July 27, 2018


     Is justice a human concept or is justice independent of humans?
    Justice is a human concept. Justice is a legal or philosophical theory of fairness. A sense of justice varies based on cultural factors, so it definitely is not a uniform concept independent of humans. Nature certainly does not exhibit any sense of justice as further proof justice is a human concept.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Ignoble Savage

     With no rules or laws to influence your behavior, how do you think you would act?
     This question is awfully vague. Is it asking how I would act if anarchy was suddenly the norm? If so, I would act as morally as possible, but I assume circumstances might necessitate a more gray morality in the name of survival. I would like to think there is a limit as to how dark gray I would be willing to go, but who knows until I am on the spot.
     Is the question asking how I would act if I had no concept of rules or laws? If so, I sure I would be in a primitive, law of the jungle state of doing what I need to do in order to survive. Not an enviable state. I do not buy into the idea of the noble savage.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018


     What is the most ethical way to give away $5 million?
     As long as the money is not being given for a criminal activity, I do not see how ethics enters into the question. It is your money, you should have a lot of leeway to give it away as you see fit. I may have some personal objections—the money should not go to Planned Parenthood, as far as I am concerned—but it is still a matter of personal values.
     I would probably donate the money to Shriners Hospital. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Good Intentions

     Are intentions or outcomes more important in judging the morality of actions?
     Intentions. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Fifth Commandment

     When, if ever, is taking a life justified?
     Murder is never justified. The issue is what constitutes murder? God ordained the state to deal out capital punishment for certain crimes, so generally speaking the death penalty is not murder. We could debate over which crimes justify the death penalty until the cows come home. A measured response in self-defense might be the justifiable taking of a human life. The circumstances would be debatable.
   Whether taking a life is justified relies heavily on intent. Consider two scenarios. In the first, there is a train seeding uncontrollably down the tracks. It will inevitable hit five workers further down the tracks and there is no time to warn them. But you can pull a lever to switch the train to another set of tracks. The catch is the train will strike a single person on that track if you do. In the second scenario, there are four people who need organ transplants of they will die. A man enters the hospital who is compatible with all four transplant patients. The transplant patients' doctor suggests to a nurse they kill the man and harvest his organs.
     What do you think of these two scenarios. They both involve taking one person's life in order to save five lives. Yet the first feels unfortunate, but morally justified while the second is sinister. When there is scheming or conspiracy, taking a life feels evil. Taking a life as the result of a moral quandary seems less so. This is true even if the lives taken versus lives saved is equal in both scenarios.
     Your answers may vary to the above scenarios. Maybe if the one person on the tracks is your mother and you cannot sacrifice her for five strangers. You might believe preserving her life versus five strangers is a higher moral duty. Likewise, if she is one of the people who needs an organ transplant in the second scenario. It is difficult to answer the question of when is taking a life justified because the question has moral and spiritual implications beyond crime and punishment.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Orville Season Two Trailer


     A trailer for the second season of The Orville debuted at ComiCon this afternoon. The budget must have increased because the CGI looks fantastic. I assume the trailer features clips from only a handful of early episodes, so there may be much more cool stuff to come later on in the season.
    Captain Mercer heavily plagiarized Carl Sagan's Cosmos along with eight other sources I cannot identify. Seth McFarlane is a big Sagan fan who produced a revival of Cosmos. After producing that and The Orville, I can see why he would like Family Guy to be dumped into the dust bin of television history.
    Notice in the scene in which Commander Grayson is talking about his birthday, another character is in Alara's seat. It appears the rumors Halston Sage is leaving the show are true. Too bad. Alara was a great character who had a lot of room to develop more.

The Measure of Man

     If humanity was put on trial by an advanced alien race, how would you argue for man's continued existence?
     This question sounds like some of Gene Roddenberry's naive ideas about the perfection of humans over aliens who desperately need our guidance to set them straight. We have to show these aliens how awesome we are so they will submit to the human controlled Federation. It is one of the most annoying tropes in Star Trek.
     First things first...these aliens cannot be too advanced if they will randomly force another species to justify themselves or be wiped out in a genocide. On what grounds can you moral justify yourself to a species of aliens who believe genocide is a viable option for those they deem unworthy? No argument in favor of humanity will impress these aliens
     I would probably be stuck arguing jurisdictional issues to start and move on to the right of any species to exist. There is no logic in arguing man's potential versus his savagery for the reasons stated in the preceding paragraph. I am not idealistic enough to think aliens like those described can be emotionally persuaded.

Friday, July 20, 2018


     Are people ethically obligated to improve themselves?
     No, but they must be willing to accept the consequences of their own actions. An individual's lack of concern for himself becomes unethical when his deterioration damages other people.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Doctor Who Series 11 Trailer

     The teaser for Doctor Who series 11 that premiered after the World Cup final last week was scant on details. A full trailer, which is embedded above, was introduced at ComiCon today. It is still short on details, but at least we get a good look at Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor and her companions. 
     My impression is Whittaker's Doctor is more chipper and less brooding. More like Matt Smith's Eleventh doctor than Peter Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor. The tone appears lighter, as well, but that could be misleading.
     While I would like to see more to have a better idea of what is in store, I still anticipate the new series with all its changes.

Stay the Hand of Vengeance

     What is the difference between justice and revenge?
    The difference between justice and revenge is who is meting out justice and why. If an objective entity is deciding guilt based on all the facts with moral principles as a guide, it is justice. If someone personally effected and emotionally charged is meting out justice, especially if not in an official capacity, then it is revenge.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Indecent Proposal

     If you could receive a million dollars every time you pressed a button, but someone would also die each time you pressed the button, would you do it? If so, how many times?
     No, I would never press it. I would have a moral objection, the guilt would eat me alive, and the eternal consequences of murdering someone for the love of money would be too great. The money would not be worth it.
     I can picture this scenario working out like an episode of The twilight Zone, anyway. I would plan to gather riches in order to impress some woman I want to marry and she would wind up being one of the people killed. Probably the last one solely because I needed just one more million.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Order of Randomness

      Why do people expect a universe full of randomness to be fair?
    There are not a whole lot of people who accept the universe is random. Most people like to think everything happens for a reason. Even misfortune is supposed to ultimately come out for the best. Under this mindset, people expect things to be fair and become upset that it is not. They still deny that time and chance are the cause of everything.
    The big question is that if people go out of their way to deny the randomness of life, by what criteria do they believe life is unfair when they declare circumstances as such?

Monday, July 16, 2018

No Act is Selfless

     If doing something good for others makes us feel good, then can there ever be some thing as pure altruism?
     No, but does that really matter? There is no reason to think doing something good for someone in order to make yourself feel good is a bad thing. It sounds positive all around. I think this is a case of people being a little too idealistic about how the world actually works.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Doctor Who Series 11 Teasrer

     The first teaser for Doctor Who series eleven premiered during the World Cup final this afternoon. It is a bit underwhelming in its limited content. If Jodie Whittaker had not shown up at the end, the teaser could probably pass as a commercial for a pizza joint. But it is merely a teaser, so my expectations should have been low. Whittaker looks good as the Thirteenth Doctor.
     I review new episodes of Doctor Who on my television review blog

Abstract Visions

Skin Deep

     Why do people equate beauty with morality?
    I was not aware people equate beauty with morality. I suppose people associate beauty with innocence, but that is usually within the context of someone being uncorrupted as yet. It does not necessarily mean the person is moral. The person just has not been exposed to the darker aspects of life.
    For the sake of answering the question, I shall play along. People equate beauty with morality because both are positive traits. As such, people assume they go hand in hand. People also tend to believe a monstrous appearance equates with evil. Okay, maybe the question makes more sense now that I think about it.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Short Notice

    Donald Trump's critics are in hyper mode as the president's European trip continues. If you want to argue Trump's insistence NATO allies pull more of their weight financially or his calling out Germany’s dependence on Russian natural gas as too harsh, so be it. But surely we agree the Brits being upset over the president not bowing for the Queen is absurd. Americans are not subject to the British Crown. Our head of state certainly is not. The question was settled 242 years ago.
     I am also not bothered Trump may have walked ahead of the Queen. What can I tell you? I am a no king but Jesus kind of guy.
     But what does bother me is this photo. The Buckingham palace Guard on the far right is unusually short compared to the others. By the appearance of the rest of them, you would think there is a minimum height requirement. A Twitter friend jokingly suggested he must have been a nepotism hire. Maybe he is a distant cousin of the Queen? Maybe giving him a job is her way of making up for his extreme distance in the line of succession.
     With the current state of political correctness in Europe, I suspect it is more likely a social Justice Warrior concession. The little guy probably self-identifies as 6' 1” or something like that.

Requiem for Privacy

     Is privacy a right?
     If it is, the right to privacy is so thoroughly ignored by every entity out there to the point of irrelevance. Everything about you is out there somewhere. There is no getting the demons back in pandora's Box at this point.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Inalienable Rights

     What rights does every person have? Do those rights change with age?
     Everyone has been endowed by their creator with the inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of property. None of those rights change because of a person's age.

Friday the 13th

     Always go prepared.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

No Religion, Too

     Without religion would people be more, less, or equally morally corrupt?
    People would be equally morally corrupt without religion. Human nature is what is it apart from religion. Whatever moral guidance a religion offers is simply another set of rules for people to use or ignore the same way they do any other set of rules. As far as morality is concerned, religion is another tool to be used, for better or worse.
     None of this is to say religion is useless for moral guidance or that religion does not serve a higher purpose outside of mere moral guidance.  I am just being realistic about how corrupt, fallible humans are going to use the moral guidelines presented in a religion. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Primal Instinct

     Can animals have morals?
    No. Animals rely mostly on instinct. They lack the intelligence to process the concept of good and evil. Even those few which register the highest level of consciousness can only recognize themselves in a mirror. A task like obedience training for a dog can only associate reward or punishment with certain behavior. The dog will never understand why his actions are right or wrong.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Brain Cells and Happiness

     Are intelligence and happiness connected to each other in any way?
    They certainly seem to be. Intelligent people appear more inclined towards pessimism and depression. It is probably because they tend more to see things as they are rather than how they ought to be. Ignorance certainly seems to be bliss. One hears the term 'happy idiot' far more often than 'happy intellectual.” I do not believe I have ever heard the latter.
     Neither of these is absolute. Intelligent people who think creatively are often optimistic about the future possibilities. The ignorant understand the harsh realities of life affecting them. So there is no absolutely connection between intelligence and happiness. Just tenancies.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Perception Revisited

   Many people an organisms perceive reality in many different ways. With that in mind, What is real and what is just our perception of reality?
     Mercy, how many times has it been necessary to reiterate reality is subjective? Perception is reality. If you believe something is real, then that is reality to you. If you believe ghosts exist, then you wilt be genuinely afraid of being haunted by things that go bump in the night. If you believe in free will, then you are empowered to chart you own path in life. If you do not believe in free will, then nothing you do is preordained. Nothing will convince you the reality you accept as true is not.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Maybe the Way We Were

    Human memory has been shown to be incredibly unreliable. With that in mind, how can you tell which of your memories are genuine and which memories have been altered or made up?
     Your mind is not a camera that shows you the exact image of a time and place when you remember said time and place. Your mind reconstructs the time and place. So a memory is technically a copy of the real thing. Each time you remember a time and place, it is a copy of a copy. Copying a copy multiple times causes degradation. So the older a memory is and the more times you recall it make the memory less likely to be accurate.
     Your memories can be tainted by someone inaccurately reminding you of an event or if you fantasized a certain thing happening. If you lie about something often enough, you will begin to believe it is true. Basically, memories are images constructed by your mind that distort naturally even without the faulty input likely to affect them as well.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

The Origin of the Funny Bone

      Is a sense of humor a result of consciousness or something else?
   Working under the definition consciousness is awareness of oneself and environment, a sense of humor is a byproduct of consciousness. A sense of humor is a reaction to events based on one's viewpoint. Humor is subjective because viewpoints are subjective.
    A sense of humor can also vary with your personal feelings. An old man slipping on a banana peel is funny until you find out it is your grandfather. Or if you are blessed with empathy. But you get my point.
     My sense of humor originates from observing the absurdities of life. My jokes are most often cynical, sarcastic jabs at the status quot. My humor is often dark, abrasive, and hard for some people to handle because it shines a light on truths most would rather not think exists. My sense of humor is definitely a result of my less than cozy life experiences.

Friday, July 6, 2018


     What are the ramifications of everyone's perception of reality being slightly different?
   Conflict. Lots and lots of conflict. Everyone thinks they see objectively, or at least thinks the subjective as they see it is the most correct. Either way, everyone runs with what they believe to be true. typically, they run into someone else--more likely many someone else--with whom the varying viewpoints will clash.
     The perception of reality causes more problems than reality itself. If we could perceive reality as it is, then we would be better prepared to deal with it and more accepting of it. But we cannot, so we are not.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Wibbly, Wobbly, Timey Wimey...Stuff

      Would we know if time was altered in some way?
     I take this question to mean would we know if a time traveler had gone into the past and changed events, would we know it? I imagine not. Presumably, if the past changed enough to affect our lives, we would have the memories of the new time line since the previous one no longer exists. I am relying heavily on science fiction for my answer.
    The biggest reason I am relying on science fiction is because there is no scientific theory on how time travel could be possible. Without a working theory, it is difficult to conceive of time travel being possible. If you prefer to speculate the fantastical, you could consider this problem making it impossible to determine if there are time travelers, but more accurately, there are none and never will be.
    Time travel is still one of my favorite science fiction tropes even if it frequently causes illogical paradoxes and tramples on the laws of physics.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Selfie for the Fourth

     Here is the usual holiday selfie. I am a fiercely independent type of guy, so Independence Day is perfect for a selfie. The united states turns 242 years old today. As a bicentennial baby, the proper age is etched firmly in my mind.
    Just noticed I have a lot of real estate for a forehead. My hairline is not receding, folks.
     I only gained a couple pounds since the last selfie. I am not sure if one can even tell the difference from a photo like this one. Every little bit counts. At least this is what I am telling myself about the two grilled hamburgers I ate for lunch. We managed to get a little cookout rolling before the bottom fell out. The rain stopped in time for fireworks earlier tonight, too.
      I am not even certain when the next selfie-worthy holiday will be. I might be stuck coming up with some actual blogging content rather than relying on photos and YouTube videos as filler. Egad! Will that not be horrific?

The Color of Emotion

    If language influences how we perceive colors, what else does language altered our perception?
      By language altering our perception of colors, I assume the question means it is difficult to describe a color without actually using the color's name. That being the case, we often associate colors with emotions. Red is seen as intensity, heat, and passion. Green is the color of both new life in spring, sickness, and envy. This is my train of thought in answering.
    Language also affects our perception of emotions. Can you really describe love, hate, joy, and sorrow in a way everyone can understand? We all have different ideas of what these emotions are because we have experienced the emotions differently. There are a myriad of ways to describe emotions.

Happy Fourth of July!

     Old flags are the best flags.  They tell the most interesting stories.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Send in the Clones

     If there existed a perfect clone of you, would it be you?
    No. At best, it would be an identical copy. But even that would not be likely. My clone and I would have different scars, probably varying weight, and sense of style from our different life experiences. The personality cannot be cloned. It is developed by the sum totl of life experiences. The chances my clone's and my personality would be identical is unlikely.
    A clone of me would be more like a twin sibling than an exact copy. Similar, but still unique.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Nothing New Under the Sun

     Is it possible for humans to create something completely new that is based on nothing that previously existed or is human creativity just rearranging and building on previously existing ideas?
     I addressed this question yesterday. The latter is true, if you do not feel like clicking on the link.  Creators are the sum of their influences.  therefore, creativity is built on precedent.  
     There has a lot of overlap in these questions up until this point, but I appreciate the humor in essentially repeated the same question about creativity twice when the answer to both is essentially the same--creativity is derivative of what has gone on before.  The angling for a repeated answer is probably unintentional, but maybe subconscious.  It amuses me regardless.  I guess it is creative, too.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Creative Notions

     Are there limits to human creativity?
    Presumably. Humans have finite minds, so there is bound to be a limit somewhere. As the wisest man who ever lived once said, there is nothing new under the sun. Creativity is not as often coming up with something original, but taking existing elements and combining them to create something new. Creators are the sum of their influences, so creativity is set largely on precedent.