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Comment Re: Judging by the story so far... (Score 1) 367

Apparently you and those writers prefer to have ethics refer to morality of larger groups of people, and morality to refer to the personal ethics of an individual. Perhaps you will notice that I'm still using those words as synonymous in the previous sentence, which is perfectly legitimate.

Besides, it's silly to pretend that there is no morality taught by large groups of people, because obviously churches, synagogues, and mosques teach and promote their own brands of morality and ethics. So do atheistic writers on societal issues: many atheists take morality very seriously, and promote their own brands thereof. If you commit an egregious criminal offense, your judge is very likely to condemn your behavior as "immoral" at your sentencing.

To the point, this whole discussion started because you were demanding that morality (which means considerations of right and wrong) should never affect legislation, but only ethics (by which you mean the applied study of, wait for it... right and wrong). If you want to define words so as to exclude "morality" from legislation, you are free to do so, but don't expect others to speak in that way 100% of the time. Based on ordinary dictionary definitions, there's no compelling reason to.

Comment Re: Judging by the story so far... (Score 1) 367

I did google that, and shared my results already, which refuted your point. Mainstream dictionaries recognize that morality deals with right and wrong, and ethics also deals with right and wrong. If you want me to find a different result, you'll have to be more explicit.

In the interests of further flagellation of the expired equine, I'll just mention here that our word "morality" comes from a term coined by the Latin poet/politician Cicero, who used it to translate the Greek term... (wait for it)... ethikos. So ethics and morality have pretty much always been either synonyms or very close to it. Those who say otherwise (perhaps claiming that society's shared laws are something qualitatively different from an individual's perception of right and wrong) are confused or otherwise mistaken.

Comment Re: Judging by the story so far... (Score 1) 367

No, murder is not a moral issue. It is an ethical one. Various moralities consider murder to be moral under certain circumstances. In fact almost every society has considered some murders are proper. Many still do. Many in the U.S. consider state executions to be moral. So, no I am not pretending anything and you can stop trolling.

I'm not trolling, and I hope you aren't as well. You are very much in the minority in claiming that murder is not a moral issue. There could be various definitions of murder. Probably the most common definition restricts to a killing that is legally classified as murder. Others would want it to be broader than that and include (for example) police actions that end someone's life unjustly, even if the law allows it and there's no prosecution of the policeman who killed a person. In that case, they would say it was a murder "morally speaking", though not legally speaking.

Most people would not refer to a state execution as a murder, unless the condemned convict happened to be innocent; then you might call it a murder "morally speaking" as above (I certainly would -- killing the innocent is inherently immoral/unethical).

Bottom line is that you are not entitled to come into an argument and claim you are right and everybody else is wrong because you are going to redefine words to mean something different than they mean in ordinary dictionaries. The most you can say is "under my preferred definitions, morality deals with a different subject than ethics", and then we can nod our heads and say "lovely; so go write your own dictionary".

Comment Re: Judging by the story so far... (Score 1) 367

OK, here's what I found, again grabbing the google instant answer because I'm lazy: "Morals are the principles on which one's judgments of right and wrong are based. Ethics are principles of right conduct. So the two nouns are closely related and are often interchangeable."

I can't help but note the "are often interchangeable" part, which refutes your point. Beyond that, they both deal with what is "right" or "wrong", which is exactly the same concept as "morality". If you look at Wikipedia, you'll find that a synonym for ethics is "moral philosophy". You might say that ethics is "applied morality", or taking morality and working out how it affects our actions in specific cases.

Note that is not I appreciate ad hominem arguments and ridicule.

Sorry, maybe I did get a little carried away with the ad hominem. It is possible you truly had a misunderstanding of these English words and definitions, and that you weren't consciously obfuscating as I alleged.

Comment Re: Judging by the story so far... (Score 1) 367

I just googled "define: ethics". There were two definitions listed in the instant answer: (1) "moral principles that govern a person's or group's behavior. example: Judeo-Christian ethics" and (2) "the branch of knowledge that deals with moral principles".

Maybe you'll suggest a different dictionary, but it doesn't matter at this point, because I've proven that mine is a legitimate mode of speech -- ethics deals largely with morality, it's the same ball of wax.

Comment Re: Judging by the story so far... (Score 1) 367

Thank you, I think Demena was just trying to obfuscate to avoid admitting what is really an obvious point. The old saying goes "you can't legislate morality", which is often understood to mean that morality only covers "unimportant" items of personal choice, whereas the real meaning is that you can't change people's individual character just by writing laws. But should laws touch on areas of morality? Of course -- what else would you legislate? Murder is absolutely a moral issue, and Demena is full of beans on this subject.

Comment Re:Guess what? (Score 1) 301

the phenomenon of hypocrisy and people behaving like jerks is orthogonal to the correctness or incorrectness of the position they postured themselves as upholding.

What bullshit, if your position is correct then you don't need to engage in hypocrisy to hide your true motive.

Not sure what you were drinking yesterday, but hopefully the hangover wasn't too bad. Let's try again: There are some people who are kind to animals in public, but get outed by hidden cameras for cruelty such as kicking their dog. According to you, their hypocrisy proves that it's OK to kick dogs. However, according to me, this proves that human beings are flawed. Which theory looks better this morning (or whatever time it is in your part of the world), hmm?

Comment Re:Guess what? (Score 5, Insightful) 301

The view or position also deserves to be ridiculed.

I was right with you up to this statement. You are welcome to ridicule the position, as you are entitled to your opinion, however the phenomenon of hypocrisy and people behaving like jerks is orthogonal to the correctness or incorrectness of the position they postured themselves as upholding. If you will allow me a quote from the Bible, "Put not your trust in princes," meaning even the (alleged) best specimens of humanity will let you down. This is true of views you may cherish as well -- so you find public environmentalists who privately show they really don't care, etc.

Comment Re:So much wrong with this (Score 1) 458

It would look like some crappy partisan document and would ultimately break down over abortion, leaving us with a bunch of un-unified states.

Funny you put it that way, since they really had the same problem, albeit with slavery. At least slaves were counted as 3/5 persons by the time of Clay/Webster/Calhoun. It seems our current president and his favorite organ trafficking chums at PP prefer not to count late/full term babies as people at all. Getting human rights straight is a continuing challenge for the USA and we surely ain't there yet.

Comment Re:So much wrong with this (Score 1) 458

America's government used to be elected by white male landowners.

That doesn't preclude them from being great. It is possible that there were great white male land owners, and you know it. The problem with not having diversity is that you are preventing great people from other sectors from becoming leaders. On average this will pull down the level of greatness, but there still can be great leaders.

Probably if you backed him to the wall, Lessig would admit that judging by today's standards the Founding Fathers were horrible people with nasty primeval ideas; but that for their time and historical period, their ideas were at least a great improvement over the European status quo.

Comment Re:"virtually no compelling evidence" (Score 1) 663

If all you're saying is that people who knowingly publish lies positioned as guidance for other people can be held accountable for the harm that directly results, then I'm with you.

Fortunately, I don't think anybody is planning to knowingly publish lies in this case. It's just that the junk food companies will pay people to focus on areas of research that you don't like. And you apparently want the government to make it illegal to research some areas of science, because... well, because a guy on the internet doesn't like it, I guess?

And it should be the law: If you use the word `paradigm' without knowing what the dictionary says it means, you go to jail. No exceptions. -- David Jones