Sunday, December 22, 2013

Gaede Criticizing the Neanderthal/Human Mating Hypothesis

On Facebook Gaede criticizes the ridiculous notion that humans (in my view children of Adam and Eve) mated with Neanderthals. The quotes he criticizes was taken from this blog post:

Entire Neanderthal genome mapped - with amazing results

“There is now conclusive evidence that Neanderthals bred with Homo sapiens”

Gaede: It’s what happens when idiots are brainwashed in school to believe and disperse the nonsense that Science is about evidence. They confuse Science with Law and think that a scientist is a prosecutor who must convince the juror to vote for his version.

According to one pro-‘admixture’ study, Neanderthal DNA is 99.7% identical to that of modern humans. The same study by the same bozos clarifies that Chimp DNA is 99.8% identical to that of humans. I suppose that these numbers categorically prove that not only did humans mate with Neanderthal, but with chimps as well.

To all the fuckin’ morons out there who believe that Neanderthal and CroMagnon mated: Did Heidelberg mate with Neanderthal? Did Antecessor do it with Ergaster? Did Habilis do it with Erectus? Is that how Mother Nature makes species disappear? They mated their way out of the simian dynasty??? I suppose that T-Rex did it with Triceratops. That certainly would explain why both vanished!

“1.5 to 2.1 percent of all people with European ancestry can be traced to Neanderthals”

Gaede:  Speak for yourself, you gullible idiot! Btw - was it on your mother’s side…?

“indigenous people from Brazil, such as the Karitiana, are not only related to both Neanderthals and Denisovans, but they show relatively high genetic contributions from the Denisovans”

Gaede:  And all this time we thought that the Neanderthals never made it past Europe! Maybe they stowed away on the Santa Maria when Columbus went on vacation to the Americas…

“Somewhere within these 96 genes may lay the answer to why Neanderthals and Denisovans became extinct”

Gaede:  Aaaahhh, now we get to the crux of the matter! Since not one idiot of the establishment can explain background extinctions, they had to concoct the marriage theory and then look for evidence to support it. (Sounds a lot like black hole and dark matter 'theories'.) Did humans do it with the Woolly as well? Is that how the mammoths disappeared? Or was it the African elephants that twined trunks with their shaggy northern brethren?

The idea that Humans and Neanderthals mated is the height of folly.  Were there marriages between Humans and Neanderthals?  Did our ancestors rape their females or did the Neanderthal males rape our females?  Would YOU go to bed with a Neanderthal male or female?  The Neanderthals would have hunted down and eaten the weaker humans.  Besides hybrids tend to be sterile and unhealthy.  If our ancestors mated with the Neanderthals we would have gone extinct.

This is really sad and twisted stuff.  I've even seen theologians make claims that some of Adam and Eve's children cross bred with Neanderthals.  What a twisted world we live in.  This is what happens when people with agendas leave critical thinking and rational analysis behind and practice sheer empiricism.  Combined with herd behavior even followers of Christ start to think that we are hybrids descended from Neanderthals.

Please come soon Jesus.  

Quote of the Day from Robert Holmstedt

Robert Holmstedt is a Hebrew language scholar. I really like his work. And over the course of studying Genesis 1, 2, & 3, I have come to have a healthy respect for language scholars. Some of them do excellent work and they genuinely help with an interpretation of the Bible. For Genesis 1 it is extremely difficult to determine the direct intent of God and the sacred author. And of course Genesis 1 has all sorts of implications and consequences in theology, philosophy, and the sciences. I think it is among the most difficult Sacred Scripts to interpret and the many thousands of different interpretations over the years seems to demonstrate this well.

Anyway I was rereading some of my previous posts and I got reacquainted with this little remark Holmstedt made on his blog last year:

We have to remember that even theology (of every kind) is a human creation. In the end, when the curtain is pulled aside, I’m betting that even the best theology will be a bit off. (Holmstedt, Genesis 1:1, again, and my "Unchristian" analysis)

This struck me as a wise saying coming from a seasoned scholar. With my experience, I am beginning to think that the majority of theology, philosophy and physical science is a vanity project. There seems to be an an endless output of ideas gone mad; from mainstream establishment to non; from the beginning to the present. That doesn't mean that I don't enjoy these fields, or that I haven't benefited from them or that these have no use, etc. But its like what the author of Ecclesiastes said:

You should require no more than this, my son. For there is no end to the making of many books. And excessive study is an affliction to the flesh. Let us all listen together to the end of the discourse. Fear God, and observe his commandments. This is everything for man. And so, for all that is done and for each error, God will bring judgment: whether it was good or evil. (Eccl 12:12-14)

And then I think of all the men and women God preferred. He chose and exalted low lives. He imparted David, a shepherd, and his son Solomon with extraordinary wisdom and understanding. Some of the prophets were farmers and shepherds. Jesus chose ordinary men and lifted them up. So on one hand it is good to be learned. But on the other hand having letters behind one's names is no guarantee that one will solve difficult problems or unlock all mysteries or even retain good common sense or sound reason. And so life goes on and people will pretty much accept whatever it is that suits them until kingdom come.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Excellent Quote From Pope Francis' Evangelii Gaudium

This sequence struck me because I deal with a lot of ideas here at the blog:
Realities are more important than ideas 
231. There also exists a constant tension between ideas and realities. Realities simply are, whereas ideas are worked out. There has to be continuous dialogue between the two, lest ideas become detached from realities. It is dangerous to dwell in the realm of words alone, of images and rhetoric. So a third principle comes into play: realities are greater than ideas. This calls for rejecting the various means of masking reality: angelic forms of purity, dictatorships of relativism, empty rhetoric, objectives more ideal than real, brands of ahistorical fundamentalism, ethical systems bereft of kindness, intellectual discourse bereft of wisdom. 

232. Ideas – conceptual elaborations – are at the service of communication, understanding, and praxis. Ideas disconnected from realities give rise to ineffectual forms of idealism and nominalism, capable at most of classifying and defining, but certainly not calling to action. What calls us to action are realities illuminated by reason. Formal nominalism has to give way to harmonious objectivity. Otherwise, the truth is manipulated, cosmetics take the place of real care for our bodies.  We have politicians – and even religious leaders – who wonder why people do not understand and follow them, since their proposals are so clear and logical. Perhaps it is because they are stuck in the realm of pure ideas and end up reducing politics or faith to rhetoric. Others have left simplicity behind and have imported a rationality foreign to most people. 

233. Realities are greater than ideas. This principle has to do with incarnation of the word and its being put into practice: “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is from God” (1 Jn 4:2). The principle of reality, of a word already made flesh and constantly striving to take flesh anew, is essential to evangelization. It helps us to see that the Church’s history is a history of salvation, to be mindful of those saints who inculturated the Gospel in the life of our peoples and to reap the fruits of the Church’s rich bimillennial tradition, without pretending to come up with a system of thought detached from this treasury, as if we wanted to reinvent the Gospel. At the same time, this principle impels us to put the word into practice, to perform works of justice and charity which make that word fruitful. Not to put the word into practice, not to make it reality, is to build on sand, to remain in the realm of pure ideas and to end up in a lifeless and unfruitful self-centredness and gnosticism.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Exoplanet HD 106906b a.k.a. Gallifrey

Mysterious Alien Planet in Farthest Ever Orbit Discovered

A grad student from the University of Arizona discovered a new exoplanet.  Her name is Vanessa Bailey.  Congratulations to her on a fine achievement.  This nearby exoplanet supposedly orbits a host star at about 650 AU where AU is the distance from the Sun to the Earth. In terms of star to planet relations this distance is 'astronomical'. :) What is more exoplanet HD 106906b nicknamed Gallifrey after a planet in the British sci-fi T.V. series, Doctor Who, is 11 times the size of Jupiter and its surface is measured to be hotter than the Earth's core. Once again this leaves the astronomers puzzled because Gallifrey defies their notions of planetary formation.

O.k. so let me abstract some quotes from the article I have linked above:

This system is especially fascinating because no model of either planet or star formation fully explains what we see . . 
Of course not. Nebular hypothesis cannot explain the presence of Gallifrey and no variable plugged into nebular hypothesis will ever be able to explain Gallifrey since it is an old transitioning star that originated from another location in the galaxy and wandered around the galactic core for billions of years prior to swinging near the newer star labelled HD 106906 and possibly locking into orbit. Gallifrey's residual heat is from its active fusing phase. Now it is in a phase of synthesizing elements into chemicals. 

According to commonly accepted theories, planets that orbit close to their host star, such as earth are formed by compression of leftover clumps of massive primordial disks of gas and dust that have collapsed and compressed into a star.

These 'commonly accepted theories' have become ridiculous in light of the new Kepler data.  In terms of physics there is no rational, conceivable or possible way that an enormous spherical object such as Gallifrey could have clumped together in HD 106906's debris of gas and dust.

An alternative hypothesis suggests that distant giant planets may form in ways similar to mini-binary star systems. 
"A binary star system can be formed when two adjacent clumps of gas collapse more or less independently to form stars, and these stars are close enough to each other to exert a mutual gravitation attraction and bind them together in an orbit," Bailey explained.

All systems of the galaxy are star systems (binary, tertiary or otherwise). A planet is simply a cooler star that has transitioned over many billions of years, shedding gazillions of atoms in the process. All the substantial moons orbiting Jupiter are ancient stars and Jupiter in relation to them is a newer star. The Earth and the Moon are a binary star system. Of course Gallifrey formed more or less like all other stars formed but it formed billions of years prior to HD 106906 and only recently swung near by chance. 

However, the difference between the masses of two stars in a binary system is typically less than 10 to 1. 
"In our case, the mass ratio is more than 100-to-1," she said.

It is 100-to-1 since Gallifrey, in its march around the galaxy has shed some of its outer layers perhaps in a series of novae. In billions of year from now HD 106906 might roughly have the mass of Gallifrey. 

She added: "This extreme mass ratio is not predicted from binary star formation theories - just like planet formation theory predicts that we cannot form planets so far from the host star."

The extreme mass ratio is due to the rational supposition that Gallifrey is an ancient star transitioned out of its fusion phase and now continuing to compress and synthesize elements to chemical compounds. Gallifrey formed at least tens of billions of years prior to HD 106906 in another location of the galaxy. 

In the HD 106906 system, the star and planet may have collapsed independently, but the materials that clumped together to form the planet were insufficient for it to grow large enough to ignite into a new star, Bailey clarified.

No. Gallifrey is past its 'ignition' phase. It was once a 'main sequence' star and is still a star. All stars are young planets.  By the time they arrive a phase where we start classifying them as 'planets' the same objects are ancient stars.    

The mysterious planet was discovered using the Magellan Adaptive Optics (MagAO) system and a Clio2 thermal infrared camera mounted on the Magellan telescope in Atacama Desert, Chile.

They do great work, but they should, IMHO, abandon their old stodgy ideas.

"Systems like this one, where we have additional information about the environment in which the planet resides, have the potential to help us disentangle the various formation models," Bailey said.

No. They are falsifying various formation models held by consensus.

Besides, she said: "Future observations of the planet's orbital motion and the primary star's debris disk may help answer that question."

It will be interesting to discover Gallifrey's orbital motion if in fact it is locked into orbit. The distance between the younger star and Gallifrey might be to great to generate gravitational attraction. What I am suggesting is that we might be witnessing the two locking into an orbital regime for the first time in history. 650 AU is an awful great distance. The two may be out of operational range of Newton's inverse square equations.

Maybe Gallifrey is on a 'chance course' to lock up with HD 106906. Perhaps the two are crossing paths for the first time. Gallifrey is moving toward HD 106906 like a bead on an abacus. Once Gallifrey moves close enough to HD 106906 the EM ropes connecting all the atoms of the two stars will eventually 'fan out' in steeper rope angles and effectively generate an ever increasing and instantaneous attraction between the two. Gallifrey should gravitation-ally accelerate toward HD 106906. If Gallifrey is not moving at high enough a velocity it should swing around HD 106906 via the fanned out EM ropes in an inverse square regime. But like I said HD 106906 may not yet be attracting Gallifrey because of the great distance that separates them.

"Every new directly detected planet pushes our understanding of how and where planets can form," said co-investigator Tiffany Meshkat, a graduate student at Leiden Observatory in the Netherlands. 
"Discoveries like HD 106906 b provide us with a deeper understanding of the diversity of other planetary systems."

Planetary systems are diverse since they are composed of stars that formed from different clouds of dust and gas in various locations of the galaxy all of which different ages and have undergone a vast history of metamorphosis or transformation while swinging around the galaxy, passing through interstellar clouds, etc. prior to crossing paths and locking together into an inverse square orbital regime.

My Posts on Ethics

Over the past few weeks I immersed myself in ethics and these posts were the output:

An Objective Basis and Criterion of Morality

The Two Fundamental Categories of Ethics (feat. Rape and Murder)

Ethics and the Gospel of Life

A Grand Moral Dilemma from the Film Sunshine (2007)

Subject-Object Relations in Deliberate Human Actions

A Brief Critique of Consequentialism

Freedom, Nature and Ratio in Morality/Ethics

Now I want to leave ethics behind and go back to what I was doing before.  

Freedom, Nature and Ratio in Morality/Ethics

Abstracts from Blessed John Paul II's brilliant encyclical Veritatis Splendor:
Man is able to recognize good and evil thanks to that discernment of good from evil which he himself carries out by his reason . . .   
A freedom which claims to be absolute ends up treating the human body as a raw datum, devoid of any meaning and moral values until freedom has shaped it in accordance with its design. Consequently, human nature and the body appear as presuppositions or preambles,materially necessary for freedom to make its choice, yet extrinsic to the person, the subject and the human act. Their functions would not be able to constitute reference points for moral decisions, because the finalities of these inclinations would be merely "physical"goods, called by some "pre-moral". To refer to them, in order to find in them rational indications with regard to the order of morality, would be to expose oneself to the accusation of physicalism or biologism. In this way of thinking, the tension between freedom and a nature conceived of in a reductive way is resolved by a division within man himself. . . 

They also remind us that reason and free will are linked with all the bodily and sense faculties. The person, including the body, is completely entrusted to himself, and it is in the unity of body and soul that the person is the subject of his own moral acts. The person, by the light of reason and the support of virtue, discovers in the body the anticipatory signs, the expression and the promise of the gift of self, in conformity with the wise plan of the Creator. It is in the light of the dignity of the human person — a dignity which must be affirmed for its own sake — that reason grasps the specific moral value of certain goods towards which the person is naturally inclined. And since the human person cannot be reduced to a freedom which is self-designing, but entails a particular spiritual and bodily structure, the primordial moral requirement of loving and respecting the person as an end and never as a mere means also implies, by its very nature, respect for certain fundamental goods, without which one would fall into relativism and arbitrariness. . . 

The natural law thus understood does not allow for any division between freedom and nature. Indeed, these two realities are harmoniously bound together, and each is intimately linked to the other. . . 

Precisely because of this "truth" the natural law involves universality. Inasmuch as it is inscribed in the rational nature of the person, it makes itself felt to all beings endowed with reason and living in history. In order to perfect himself in his specific order, the person must do good and avoid evil, be concerned for the transmission and preservation of life, refine and develop the riches of the material world, cultivate social life, seek truth, practice good and contemplate beauty. . .

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Brief Critique of Consequentialism (under Ethics)

Rationally analyzing specific types of human actions in isolation is not the only source of morality. Rational adults and ethicists understand that deliberate actions are performed by the mediators with motives and have outcomes which may or may not have been motivated. These are usually called the consequences. There is also the fact that the free agent of a deliberate action is surrounded by existing objects and a state of affairs that may or may not affect a choice. These are usually called the circumstances. Any one or anything encircling the action may modify or influence a supposed specific action performed in reality. 

Ethicists merge circumstances especially the consequences into a source of resolving morality. They ask questions like:

Which outcomes of a deliberate action harm targets and which outcomes help targets?
How does the outcome conceptually relate with the motive and specific type of deliberate action chosen by the mediator? 

Can motive and consequences change or override the quality of specific deliberate actions?

In this article I want to offer a little critique of the ethical systems categorized as consequentialism.

At Wikipedia, consequentialism is described as:

the class of normative ethical theories holding that the consequences of one's conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness of that conduct. Thus, from a consequentialist standpoint, a morally right act (or omission) is one that will produce a good outcome, or consequence. Wiki Link

At the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

Consequentialism, as its name suggests, is the view that normative properties depend only on consequences. Stanford Link

My critique of consequentialism in no way implies that I outright reject the bounty of excellent insights found in the consequentialist theories and systems. Consequentialist theories and systems highlight the unarguable importance of evaluating the consequences of deliberate action in a resolution of morality. Consequences are a rational basis of resolving the morality of deliberate acts whether in a study as an ethicist or in real life as a moral agent. Adults who assume a substantial degree of authority whether presidents, doctors, military officers, or parents alike understand the potential gravity of consequences in deliberate actions. Specific deliberate actions may have far reaching consequences for all those involved. Some consequences are foreseen and others unforeseen. Some consequences are intended and others unintended. Some consequences may indirectly help or harm self and others.

A great example to get a feel for consequences is the medical treatment called amputation. In an amputation the mediator, usually a doctor, directly ameliorates the target patient by removing an infected limb. Obviously this specific type of deliberate action is a category X. And this procedure is usually performed with the foreseeable outcome that the patient's life will be saved. An unintended bad consequence of an amputation is that the amputee will not have use of a limb for the rest of his or her life. But it is easy to understand that the good consequence of saving the patient's life via amputation far outweighs the bad consequence of loss of limb.

Another example would involve a murderer and a family.  The murderer is object A, father of family object B, mother is object C and children are object C1.  Object A directly deprives object B of his life and in doing so indirectly deprives object C of her husband and object C1 of their father.  The outcome of the consummated murder is that there is a hole or deprivation in the family.

Ethicists have identified and associated the interconnections of all human actions and they have done well to offer systems for evaluating consequences and helping others to conceptualize deliberate choices. However, the fatal flaw in the ethical theories and systems classified as consequentialism is they tend to conflate consequences as the ONLY source of morality. An ethical evaluation or the moral resolution of an acting subject is reduced to the the consequences and nothing else.

To illustrate where this tendency can possibly lead let me jump into a controversial historical example:

The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Once the Manhattan Project was a green light the U.S. military, Truman et al conceived the idea to use nuclear bombs with the intended end and foreseeable consequence of Japan's unconditional surrender. The intended end and foreseeable consequence of ending the war without a land invasion could no doubt be categorized as an X (where X is good, moral, just, rational, etc.). Truman thought that a consequence of using the bomb would potentially save lives (both U.S. and Japanese), prevent an U.S. land invasion of Japan, save resources, end the war, etc. He conceived that these foreseeable good consequences of using the bomb would outweigh the bad consequences of using the bomb for example the psychological devastation to Japan.  Some speculate that he may have also had ulterior motives such as displaying U.S. might to Russia and the rest of the world.  An interesting albeit tragic side note is that not even the scientists foresaw the harmful consequence of radiation sickness.  And of course the detonated nuclear bombs had profound consequences on all humans for generations.

The the fatal flaw in Truman's et al's reasoning is that the specific deliberate action of bombing a population of innocent civilians is a category Y where this relational mode of action directly deprives those non-aggressive, innocent, civilian targets of their lives. This specific type of action is unarguably a category Y (where Y is evil, immoral, unjust, irrational). Directly bombing innocent targets is a sub-type of murder. It doesn't matter what context the act is performed under whether it be a terrorist attack or a single military attack even in a set of acts in a just war of defense such as WWII. No amount of good intent or good consequences can convert, change or override the severe harm directly imparted to innocent targets in a bombing. The context of a just war of defense cannot or did not convert, change or override the reality of innocent targets deprived of their lives in the bombing.  This is not a matter of opinion.  It is rather a matter of cold hard reason and fact.

An innocent population was the target in the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; not military/aggressor targets or a military facility. The quality of bombing innocent civilians is always the same. Innocent human targets are always directly deprived of their lives by the mediators of the bombing in all contexts. I hate to even have to say this but the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was essentially no different than all the terrorist bombings of history. This is a criminal act.  The terrorist bombings are merely done by different mediators with perhaps some different motives and in different circumstances with different consequences. But no amount of good motives or good consequences or extreme circumstances can change the quality of murderous bombing of innocents.

So Truman and all those who immediately participated in the act of bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki committed a SEVERE evil in relation to innocent targets in spite of a good motive, arguably good consequences and even in spite of their possible confusion, ignorance, stress, etc.  They could have avoided using the bomb and taken a different course of action.  And this is where staking consequences along with circumstance as the ONLY or ultimate criterion of morality fails. In a theory or system that conflates consequences as THE single criterion of deliberate choices; a good consequence/intended end can supposedly justify an evil means where hundreds of thousands even millions of innocents are burned.

Herein lay an inherent contradiction.  A deliberate action in which mediators directly harm, deprive or damage a human targets in any manner conceivable, such as a bombing of innocent civilians, in any context conceivable, cannot be both Y and yet not Y because of an intended X consequence. A category Y cannot flip flop categories because of good consequences or good motives. And the reason is a category Y action is predicated on the harmful change effect undergone in the human target for the duration of the specific act in question.  A mediator directs any conceivable harm, damage or deprivation (whether physical, emotional, mental, vital, monetary, property, etc.) to or in a human target in a specific mode of relational action 'itself'.  The immediate term of the specific type of act called 'bombing innocent civilians' is the damage and/or death undergone in the targets by the bombing imparted by the mediators. A subjective motive or consequence or circumstance however good or extreme cannot change the reality that innocent civilians died or were harmed. This is easy to conceptualize.  And it is a given that a innocent human targets are to be respected and loved for their own sake. Humans are the best God or Mother Nature has to offer.

But back to the point:  It seems that in these consequentialist theories a good outcome for all may justify an evil means.  It would seem that according to consequentialism, one could rape, murder, defraud, pillage, plunder, lie to, sterilize, coerce, control and enslave another or even an entire population just as long as the good proportionally outweighs the bad for all those involved.  This is the danger I see in consequentialist currents of thought.     

In reverse no amount of evil motives or harmful consequences can change the inherent quality of a specific mode of action that directly helps a target.  For example:  Making a monetary donation always directly helps the target even if the mediator possibly has some sort of selfish or malicious or evil ulterior motive or an aim of harmful consequences.  So a more mature and integral way of evaluating or resolving the morality of deliberate actions, whether as acting subject or as a third party ethicist is a fullness of criterion not a single criterion. A fullness of criterion resolves 

1. the motive(s) of the mediator subject:  that for which a subject acts (synonyms: intention, intended end, purpose, aim, goal). Is the motive an X or a Y?

2. the specific mode of deliberate action conceived or performed by the mediator. Does the subjective mediator directly harm, deprive, or damage the objective target (whether self or others) in any manner conceivable in the specific mode of intentional action in question? Yes or no. Yes equals Y. No equals X. 

3. the circumstances--in particular the consequences. Do the foreseeable (or actual in a third party evaluation) good consequences outweigh the foreseeable bad consequences for all those possibly involved in the specific type of action? If the foreseeable good consequences equal or outweigh the foreseeable bad consequences then this font is categorized as an X. If not it is categorized as Y. A synonym of consequence could be outcome or indirect effects.  

Circumstances are the moral context of the deliberate act.  This concept includes environment, social pressure, duress, emergency, compulsion, etc. In short circum stantes is the entire moral context of the specific mode of deliberate behavior.  Certain circumstances are not fit for certain types of behavior, e.g. the middle of the street is not a good environment for a husband and wife to perform their intimate marital act.  To do so there would be irrational.  The circumstance is not a primary determinant of the specific action in question. The circumstance can increase or diminish the good or evil of an act but never change its quality.  Either an action directly harms or deprives the human target (whether self or other) and/or is inherently irrational or not.  No other thought is conceivable in context of deliberate human actions.  Circumstances and consequences are usually merged to a single criterion.  

In Latin, the above three criterion are called the fontes moralitatis (please note I am imparting a lot of my own insights).  The second font is by far the most important for all conceivable actions between humans have, as it were, their own end detached from a motive or circumstance/consequence.  The insights of the authors of consequentialism has improved the concept of the third font but like I said above the consequentialists conflated this font into a single criterion while disregarding or overlooking the first and second fonts, namely the motive and the act itself isolated and analyzed in terms of direct subject to object relations.

There is a helpful Latin axiom: Bonum ex integra causa = goodness comes from the integrity of the causes; malum ex quocumque defectu = evil comes from any defect. In the theory of the three fonts if anyone of these fonts is a category Y the overall act including motive, consequences and specific action is a category Y. There should not be any defect in the motive, or the specific type of action or the consequences. In a messed up world there will always be some indirect harmful consequences of our actions whether to self or others. If harmful consequences are foreseen they are not suppose to be intended.  One intends only the good consequences, right?  I hope that no one would maliciously aim to harm others (or even self) via any specific means of deliberate action even if that action does not impart direct moral harm.  
The foreseen helpful effects of a specific deliberate action are resolved to equal or outweigh the foreseen harmful effects. 

Yes this theory is more demanding but it is also more mature. The goodness of deliberate actions is always a fullness, a wholeness or an integrity that subsumes motive, the specific mode of action in question, as well as the consequences/circumstances. 

And of course it goes without saying that an exhaustive evaluation of consequences is not possible or even mandatory when resolving all subjective acts. In many circumstances a judgment of consequences is resolved swiftly almost at the velocity of light.  And one's resolution might be mistaken. But like I said above those subjects who hold a substantial degree of responsibility and care are keen to weigh consequences. This is why an adult will remind a young adult (whose pre-frontal cortex is not yet fully developed) to think about the consequences of his or her actions before acting. They understand through experience that some specific types of actions have far reaching consequences for self and others. I would even suppose that weighing the totality of consequences for all persons involved is mandatory in some circumstances such as establishing a policy for a nation or whether or not to wage of war.  Too not do so in certain circumstances would be an act of omission or negligence.

But then again even in grave circumstances an exhaustive evaluation of consequences is not even possible. The impossibility and impracticability of weighing the totality of consequences for all concerned is another reason why consequentialist theories and systems fail IF they posit consequences as the ONLY criterion for resolving the morality of deliberate human actions. And to be fair it is difficult to determine how far all the individual authors meant their readers to take their ideas in regards to consequences. But in supposition a subject can always have the good of the world in view when resolving his or her deliberate personal actions. Am I making the world a better place via my humble day to day category X actions? Will my pursuing this or that course of action help the world? This may sound trite but no man is an island. Our deliberate choices do in reality have some affect on the entire world for we are one family.

The consequentialist theories and systems can be useful only they are mistaken IF they stake the outcome as the ONLY or Ultimate criterion of morality. And they are mistaken if they reduce morality to merely 'pleasures' or 'pains' or 'maximizing good' or 'minimizing evil' for the entire world. There is more to human life than mere pleasure and pain or basic needs.  And each subject is unique and can help others in unpredictable and unexpected ways that cannot be forecast by sheer philosophy or scientific research.  A consequentialist theory of ethics cannot solve all the problems and complexity of consequences.  Heck, no ideology whether ethical, economic, political, scientific, religious or otherwise will transfigure the world or solve all problems. The transfiguration of the world begins and ends with the human subject who may freely choose to perform deliberate actions in relation to others and self that are overall morally categorized as X (where X is good, rational, just, moral, helpful, etc.) . . . ALWAYS.  This is how a human can change and mature.  

All things subject to change and to becoming never remain constant, but continually pass from one state to another, for better or worse... Now, human life is always subject to change; it needs to be born ever anew... But here birth does not come about by a foreign intervention, as is the case with bodily beings...[I think he meant inanimate]; it is the result of a free choice. Thus we are in a certain way our own parents, creating ourselves as we will, by our decisions. (Saint Gregory of Nyssa)   

And each new human subject conceived and born is as if the world begins anew. So there will always be a learning curve in terms of morality.  At least until kingdom come.

see also:

Subject-Object Relations in Deliberate Actions

The Two Fundamental Categories of Ethics

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Subject-Object Relations in Deliberate Human Actions (under Ethics)

This article is a continuation of my can of worms I opened in regards to ethics.  I'm attempting to reason through ethics in an unbiased manner apart from God and religious texts for the benefit of friends and society in general.  

Warm up Quotes:

Certain currents of modern thought have gone so far as to exalt freedom to such an extent that it becomes an absolute, which would then be the source of values.  The individual conscience is accorded the status of a supreme tribunal of moral judgment which hands down categorical and infallible decisions about good and evil. To the affirmation that one has a duty to follow one's conscience is unduly added the affirmation that one's moral judgment is true merely by the fact that it has its origin in the conscience. But in this way the inescapable claims of truth disappear, yielding their place to a criterion of sincerity, authenticity and "being at peace with oneself", so much so that some have come to adopt a radically subjectivistic conception of moral judgment. 
Conscience is no longer considered in its primordial reality as an act of a person's intelligence, the function of which is to apply the universal knowledge of the good in a specific situation and thus to express a judgment about the right conduct to be chosen here and now. Instead, there is a tendency to grant to the individual conscience the prerogative of independently determining the criteria of good and evil and then acting accordingly. Such an outlook is quite congenial to an individualist ethic, wherein each individual is faced with his own truth, different from the truth of others. Taken to its extreme consequences, this individualism leads to a denial of the very idea of human nature. 
These doctrines would grant to individuals or social groups the right to determine what is good or evil. Human freedom would thus be able to "create values" and would enjoy a primacy over truth, to the point that truth itself would be considered a creation of freedom. Freedom would thus lay claim to a moral autonomy which would actually amount to an absolute sovereignty.  (all quotes of John Paul II in Veritatis Splendor.  JPII was a philosopher and a great ethicist)

There is this fatal idea strongly held by some in the world today that morality is purely subjective, or relative to one’s opinion.  Obviously, deliberate human actions spring up from a free and unique human subject.  A human subject has the ability to freely conceive of specific actions embedded in context of a defined body with specific functions and integrally related in a personal motive and circumstance (consequences).  And human subjects have the ability to choose to perform their deliberated conceptual actions in reality.  In reality whether these concepts succeed or fail is beside the point.  

On the other hand the subject has no choice over whether or not certain deliberate actions directly damage, harm, or deprive the human target object in their conceived relational actions even if that target is the subject.  Thus there is an objective element to all deliberate human actions.  The target object of deliberately conceived actions is a predefined human (along with form and all bodily functions) and all actions directly related to the human target are in the most generic manner possible predetermined by virtue of the inherent dynamic quality of the action in question. 

Deliberate actions are not perceived via senses prior to performance in reality.  They are normally conceived or visualized via brain prior to performance even if at the velocity of light.  One deliberately works out a plan of action via the brain prior to performing that act in reality.  In the intentional conception of actions the subject is able to resolve whether or not the action in question directly harms, damages or deprives the target in any manner conceivable whether physical, emotional, vital, mental, property, monetary, etc.  This deliberation is the work of ‘conscience’.  Conscience is an act of rational intelligence proper to humans, usually exercised prior to choosing an intentional action.  The conceptual resolution of possible harm or help directly imparted to the objective target along with a resolution of subjective intent, and foreseeable outcome, set in particular circumstances, by the mediator of the action in question; is a process of critical thinking and rational analysis in context of the real body on Earth.  This process integrates, organizes, and even orders the phenomena of the subject’s sensory systems, perceptions, emotions, bodily chemicals, the entire body with its shape, memory, environment, etc. in spite of the assumption that all of these factors may possibly influence or condition a choice.  These factors may or may not induce a choice, but one cannot rationally conclude that in a healthy adult these factors can be used to question or even deny the stated fact of human freedom. 

In regards to human freedom there is one extreme that screams ‘absolute’ as it were.  These are currents of extreme subjectivism and individualism.  And at the other end of the spectrum there is another extreme that cries there is no such phenomenon of freedom or of free will in a rational human subject.  This is a current of extreme determinism.  And in between there are all sorts of unhealthy biases in both society and academia that overemphasize or under-emphasize the subject with his or her body.  It would be impossible for me to criticize them all in such a short article.  

But back to the above train of thought:  Whether or not the human subject decides to exercise his rational thinking and critical analysis in a resolution of his deliberate actions is beside the point.   He has the ability.  This ability is native to the human.  Just because some tribe of Cannibals in Papua New Guinea honors the man who uses lies to entice a member from another tribe into camp so that they can murder and then eat his flesh is not justification for a lack of human freedom or rational act of intelligence in all humans when resolving how to act in the here and now.  In isolation, these Cannibals have nurtured profound cognitive biases for centuries (and to be fair, so have we). But who is to say? Perhaps these tribes target members who use their brains to come to the conclusion that there is no point in severely lying to, murdering, and eating their fellow human.   I assume those who use these types of anecdotes to criticize rational notions of human nature and morality must have ulterior motives or are just plain na├»ve.  These researchers misuse information:

Mention should also be made here of theories which misuse scientific research about the human person. Arguing from the great variety of customs, behavior patterns and institutions present in humanity, these theories end up, if not with an outright denial of universal human values, at least with a relativistic conception of morality. (JPII, Veritatis Splendor)

All brains of the current human family (not including damaged) are more or less the same.  We are of the same species.  One group calls us homo sapiens sapiens.  Another group calls us rational animals.  Still another group calls us children of God; still another group says just plain humans.  Whatever the label we have singular abilities rooted in the body.  One of these is reason or rationale and this ability is to some degree autonomous.  Unfortunately, most all of us wonderfully endowed humans, the very best of the Universe, are to some degree conditioned or influenced by environment and for whatever reason, an adult may choose not to think critically or rationally analyze prior to acting, or he may be influenced or coerced not to think about or change an intentional choice.  Or an adult simply may not care about his deliberate actions, whether in terms of morality, they impart direct harm to the object.  

But this is ultimately beside the relevant issue of whether or not the fundamental categories of morality are possibly universally prescribed in the brain and body or in other words 'objective'.  Human actions resolve by an objective base and criterion of morality since all human actions conceivable (even types of omissions) presuppose a predefined target object.  The mediator subject of a deliberate action has no ability to override or change whether or not his or her specific mode of behavior directly harms, damages or deprives the target object even if that target object is self.  The specific action in question whether deliberately conceived by the subject via the brain or performed by the subject in reality either directly “harms” or “helps” the objective target and this in spite of personal motive and circumstance (outcome, consequences). 

The quality of the specific mode of action determines whether or not the objective target of the relational action is or is not directly harmed by the mediator of that action.  And there is no possible way for the mediator to change or override the inseparable qualitative direction of the act in question.  Remember harm and help are monikers for any conceivable manner.  Example of Harm: in the specific type of act labelled abortion the mediators directly deprive an innocent prenatal target object of his or her life.  Another popular and prolific example is contraception. In context of using the sexual faculties in consensual sex the male and female mediators deprive one another, the targets, of their gametes.  The male mediator deprives the female target of his gametes.  The female mediator deprives the male target of her gametes and possible use of womb, etc. There are all sorts of motives behind contraceptive sex as well as consequences.  Those biased for this in favor may whine and cry out against me.  But what can I say?   I didn't fashion the male and female forms and sexual faculties.  And it is impossible for anyone to design another human.  It is not for me or anyone to determine nature.

This specific type of action directly deprives the targets in all contexts. Isolated in an honest deliberation contraception is irrational.  Those who practice this type of behavior circumvent Mother Nature in a profound manner. And I'm sure an argument can be made that this sort of behavior might impart psychological damage not only directly to the agents of the act but also to society as a harmful consequence.

On a more uplifting note an example of 'help' could be search and rescue:  the specific mode of behavior called ‘search and rescue’ in all its unique contexts directly saves the life, limbs, or organs of potential targets.  

The subject has no dominion over whether or not his specific actions conceived, deliberately chosen and/or initiated and consummated in reality directly harm a target.  A man or women is in power of his or her own counsel and may act of his or her own accord however the same does not have the ability to change that which is imparted to the target via deliberate personal action.  Either the act directs some sort of harm, deprivation or damage to or in the target or not. And no one can change this reality.  Hence the rational prohibitions which express and safeguard our precious persons.      

Now everyone is on their own personal journey.  A human subject may be mistaken, confused, ignorant or biased of whether or not his specific type of actions directly harm or help to the target, but that is beside the point here (in reality this one of the purposes of rational and unbiased ethics).  When all is said and done the subjective mediator does or does not directly harm an objective target via a specific deliberate act in spite of a subjective motive or personal circumstances.  A subject cannot override or change the quality of certain modes of behavior.  Impossible.  Human freedom is not so autonomous that it could determine the stark reality of our action.  It is for the subject to discover or resolve the inseparable quality of specific modes of actions and accept that certain actions directly harm a precious human target and are to be avoided.  The healthy subject is freely able to avoid certain modes of behavior or change his intentional action.  And if he needs help he can seek it.  

On the other hand there is no limit to how many conceptual actions one can conceive of and possibly perform in reality.  Truly, there is no limit to the good one can conceive of.  And in context to the above example of contraception, there are plenty of other of 'things to do' with your wife or girlfriend . . . boyfriend or husband.  A moral life calls for the originality and creativity typical of the person, the source and cause of his own deliberate acts.  This is the genuine autonomy of humans. 

The prohibition of human acts categorized as Y springs up from critical thinking and rational analysis taking into account all sorts of concepts but especially in light of the target object of the intentional action in question.  The bounty of poetic literature, moral plays, historical, religious and philosophical texts may (or may not) express or safeguard fundamental tenets derived from the human brain conceptualizing in a critical, rational even creatively original mode of thought concerning deliberate human acts which directly relate to targets whether self, family members, and all members of the human family, etc.  Whether one cares to cultivate morality is a whole other issue.  But most morality is common sense even in light of new concepts conceived in the modern era in the field of medicine.  

Ethics/morality is about removing cognitive biases in a critical analysis and rational thinking proper to all humans.  And in this field one that practices ethics can become more refined than one who never practices ethics.

Conscience has rights because it has duties. ---John Henry Newman 
Not only the world, however, but also man himself has been entrusted to his own care and responsibility. ---JP2 
Human dignity requires man to act through conscious and free choice, as motivated and prompted personally from within, and not through blind internal impulse or merely external pressure. Man achieves such dignity when he frees himself from all subservience to his feelings, and in a free choice of the good, pursues his own end by effectively and assiduously marshalling the appropriate means.  (Gaudium et Spes) 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Grand Moral Dilemma from the Film Sunshine (2007)

Capa: Our sun is dying. Mankind faces extinction. Seven years ago the Icarus project sent a mission to restart the sun but that mission was lost before it reached the star. Sixteen months ago, I, Robert Capa, and a crew of seven left earth frozen in a solar winter. Our payload a stellar bomb with a mass equivalent to Manhattan Island. Our purpose to create a star within a star.***

Sunshine is a film directed by Danny Boyle made back in 2007. It is a borderline hard science fiction story. Plot: A team of seven astronauts are sent to the Sun with a nuke (the payload) so as to reignite the dying Sun and save Mankind from an ice age. En route their oxygen converter is damaged so they decide to hook up with the lost spaceship of the previous mission for repairs. In this they unknowingly pick up an unknown and unidentified passenger; supposedly a survivor from the previous mission. Of course the astronauts begin to face difficulties when this extra unidentified passenger sabotages the ships and two members of the team die. With five members left; four team members sit down to regroup after detaching from the old spaceship. The fifth team member, Trey, is in a self-imposed quarantine due to severe depression. They do not yet know of the sixth impostor. But they do know that they only have enough oxygen for four team members to make it to the Sun in order to deliver the payload.

Taken from the script:

Mace: When the Icarus Two was broken apart from Icarus One, there's something we weren't thinking about. The computer was down. The airlock was decoupled manually.
Corazon: I was on the flight deck with Cassie the whole time.
Capa: And I was with Mace and Searle in the observation room.
Mace: And I think we can all... assume it wasn't Harvey. That leaves one possibility.
Corazon: Trey.
Capa: But why would Trey do it? He blames everything on himself, he sleeps twenty-three hours a day, he's clinically depressed... Why'd he do it?
Mace: We don't know, but we can't discard it as a possibility.
Corazon: And there's something else.
[slides forward a piece of paper]
Corazon: With Searle and Harvey gone, we lost two breathers. We have enough oxygen for four crew to make it to the payload delivery point.
Capa: So we'll do it.
Mace: I'll do it. I'm not passing any bucks.
Corazon: Well, then...
Mace: We'll vote this time. Unanimous decision required.
Mace: Well, you know where I stand.
Corazon: [draws back the piece of paper] And me.
Mace, Corazon: [look at Capa]
Capa: What are you asking? That we weigh the life of one man versus the future of all mankind?
Capa: Kill him.
Mace: [looks at Cassie] Cassie...
Cassie: [a tear slides down her face] No.
Mace: Cassie...
Cassie: I know the argument. I know the logic. You're saying you need my vote. I'm saying you can't have it.
Mace: [long pause]
[gets up]
Mace: Sorry, Cassie...
Cassie: [crying] Oh God... Make it easy for him. Somehow.

So in this circumstance Capa, Mace, Corazon and Cassie understand that there is only enough oxygen left for four members to make it to the Sun so as to deliver the payload. Trey is not a part of the meeting.  He is incapacitated due to severe depression, but he is innocent. He is not an aggressor, only a possible aggressor (the team does not yet know of the unidentified sixth crew member who sabotaged the ship). They conceive of the idea to murder Trey, an innocent, with the intended end to provide enough oxygen for the team so as to deliver the payload and possibly save mankind.

The intent and consequences of the assumed action are unarguably categorized as X. But this is where a stark and clear cut distinction of the two fundamental moral categories comes into play. The motive and circumstance behind the decision to murder does not change the intrinsic quality of the chosen murder. They decided to direct severe harm to an innocent target. The act is to murder Trey, when performed in reality will directly deprive an innocent Trey of his life. A motive or circumstance cannot change the inherent quality or reality of the murderous act.  The action is directed by the mediators to impart a grave deprivation in Trey IN SPITE of motives and circumstances.   

Three of the members are more or less o.k. with this. They know that they are going to murder Trey. And they are unarguably sincere in their decision and in this extreme situation one could argue that their culpability is reduced. But their motive and consequences will not change the distinct quality or reality of their deliberate murder categorized as Y.

On the other side Cassie understands the rationale of their prospective act to murder Trey. She understands the motive and consequences, but she also understands the motives and consequences of murder DO NOT change the fundamental moral category of murder. And so she decides not to vote which is an implicit no. Of course Mace goes against his word of a 'unanimous decision' so as to go murder Trey.

What we as rational and unbiased humans can glean from this situation is that their opinions and perception of the murder cannot change the essential quality of murder either conceptually or when performed in reality. No amount of opinion or perception can change the fact that when they perform this type of act they will impart grave harm to the target.  Not even my opinion can change the quality, category and reality of a murder.  A lamb is about to get slaughtered.  Even if I never conceptualized this action or witnessed this action the act in question directs severe harm to the target.

Mace will directly deprive an innocent Trey of his life.  Together they chose to murder Trey. This is the stark reality.  They can rationalize and whine all they want but an act of murder is just that. Again, nothing can change the distinct fundamental category of a murder.  Its just the way it is.  A type of action categorized Y cannot change into a category X, even with the potential consequence of saving the human race. If anyone publicly preaches or argues otherwise his ideas are worthy of ridicule.  And I hope that he is ignorant.  

Reality is a kick in the face.

In the film, when Mace arrives to Trey a minute later; he learns that Trey had already committed suicide. Suicide is a sub-type of murder. In a suicide, the mediator and the target are one and the same individual. Trey imparts severe harm to Trey.  I forget if the audience is given the motive behind Trey's suicide, but again the motive or circumstance do not change the inseparable quality of the suicide, neither conceptually or in reality. Trey directly deprived his life in the act of suicide.  This type of act always directly imparts grave harm to a human target.  One could argue that Trey's culpability is reduced but his opinion and perception of his suicide (including mine) does not change the inseparable quality of this type of act categorized by rational humans as a Y.  All one can do is argue that there are no two distinct and fundamental categories of human actions, but this sort of argument is patently irrational:

Some human actions directly harm a target and other do not. The study of morality begins this simple.     

Morality is about facing the reality of certain types of deliberate actions. Nothing under the sun can change the quality or fundamental category of a murderous or suicidal act.  They are all inseparably directed at severely harming an innocent target and so categorized as Y.  The greatest of intentions and the most extreme circumstance in history cannot change Y into X since the intrinsic quality of specific acts do not change.  Y cannot change into X, and X cannot change into Y. The murder and suicide's categorization is based in the conceptual analysis of the act in isolation.  And in reality these types of actions being analyzed, namely, murder and suicide, ALWAYS directly impart severe harm to the victim.      

Soon the remaining members learn that all of their deliberation and action was for naught because there is a fifth unidentified crew member:

Icarus: Capa; warning. You are dying. All crew are dying.
Capa: We know we're dying. Were OK with it, just as long as we have enough oxygen to reach the payload delivery point.
Icarus: Capa; warning, you do not have enough oxygen to survive until the payload delivery point.
Capa: Please clarify.
Icarus: Twelve hours before crew will be unable perform complex tasks. Fourteen hours before crew will be unable to perform basic tasks. Sixteen hours until death. Time to payload delivery point, 19 hours.
Capa: Negative, Icarus. We have enough oxygen for four crew members to survive.
Icarus: Affirmative. 4 crew members could potentially survive.
Capa: Trey is dead. There are only four crew members; Cassie, Mace, Corazon and me.
Icarus: Negative. Five crew members.
Capa: Icarus... who is the fifth crew member?
Icarus: Unknown.
Capa: Where is the fifth crew member?
Icarus: In the observation room.

The four remaining crew members 'dying' is an indirect and unintended consequence of their act to deliver the payload with the intent of consequence of saving mankind.

These examples demonstrate the radical 'world' of morality. Rational ethics is a behavior more radical than almost anything imaginable. Morality/ethics is about facing the stark reality of our actions. It certainly is not for the superficial. And even though it is difficult to explain or practice morality; sincere men and women can find strength in the moment. They may have to be patient and wait for a brilliant new insight or pray for a miracle.

Later in the film Mace is engaged in fixing the ship after it is sabotaged by the unidentified aggressor. In the act of fixing the ship he dies, but this is not a suicide since his deliberately chosen act of fixing the ship is in connection to his crew and inherently directed toward helping his crew members.  Fixing a ship is categorized as X since it does not directly harm a human target.  Mace's death is an indirect and unintended consequence of his act to fix the ship. And he acted with the intended end and consequence of possibly saving the human race in delivery of the payload.  Mace redeemed himself of his act to murder made earlier in the film.

*** Dialogue abstracted from Link  

Monday, December 2, 2013

Ethics and the Gospel of Life

I've been on an ethics binge the past few days.  I wrote, edited and clarified these two articles:

An Objective Base and Criterion of Morality

The Two Fundamental Categories of Ethics feat. Rape and Murder

In these two articles I presented an objective base and criterion of ethics along with the two fundamental categories of ethics in such a manner that is detached from God and all religion.  And I did so in such a manner that is unarguable.  E.g.  One cannot argue whether or not a mutilation imparted by human mediator on a human target in reality directly deprives the target of his body parts and future use of them.  Either a human action directly harms the target or it does not.  Since mutilation DOES directly harm the target, it is morally categorized as Y.  Y is a place holder for all synonyms in all religions and ethics that are used to communicate the deliberate harm directed at a target in a human relation.  In my two posts I only dealt with the moral concept called the object and/or moral object.  The 'moral object' is resolved conceptually apart from sensation, perceptions, motives, circumstances, opinions, laws, codes, customs, etc. 

Morality is relative since it is based on a presupposed relation between a minimum of one human mediator and one human target. In the case of certain types of actions such as washing, eating, drinking, suicide, etc. a single individual acts as mediator and target to consummate the action. But the relativity of morality cannot change the fact that certain types of actions performed by a mediator in reality always directly deprive or harm a target. The ethicist identifies and associates certain types of human actions performed in reality. And one of the conceptual exercises he applies is whether or not the type of action in question directly harms the target. He does this in an impartial manner detached from motive, intent, circumstance, consequences, emotions, tastes, codes, civil laws. He will take the concept of abortion and ask questions like does abortion make sense? Does abortion directly harm the target? What is the quality of abortion. What do all abortions have in common.  And the answer is of course abortion directly deprives an innocent target. Abortion refers to a concept that resolves to a mediator(s) directly depriving a pre-natal of his or her life. Motives, circumstances, civil law and mom or dad's opinion on the matter cannot change the fact that in all abortions a pre-natal's life is directly deprived by the mediator. Abortion is a sub-type of murder. The concept ABORTION and signal 'abortion' is based on the realty of adult humans directly harming a pre-natal human in such a mode so as to deprive that pre-natal of his or her life. One cannot argue against this.  If no abortion was ever performed in reality we as a human family would have no concept and signal of abortion.  Similar with murder and all other types of acts categorized as Y.

One of the exercises of a moralist is to categorize ABORTION as Y.  All human acts categorized as Y directly harm or deprive the target object.  This is resolved conceptually.  And all anyone can do is hold a bias, rationalize, whine, bellyache, protest, etc. against this category, but even this cannot change the concept ABORTION.   All abortions are the same.  The motives behind the abortion and/or the circumstantial consequences of abortion are irrelevant to the fact that ALL abortions performed in reality directly deprive an innocent pre-natal of his or her life.  This is not an opinion.  This is a conceptual issue.  Whether you care or not is another issue is beside the point.

Blessed Pope John Paul II announced the Gospel of Life in his encyclical of the same name.  The previous two posts I did not invoke God or religion but here I will so as to demonstrate the refined and subtle teachings of Catholic Ethics.  Contrary to the biased media or popular opinion, sincere and proven Catholics actually care about individual targets susceptible to all sorts of direct and voluntary deprivations performed by irrational human mediators:

Even in the midst of difficulties and uncertainties, every person sincerely open to truth and goodness can, by the light of reason and the hidden action of grace, come to recognize in the natural law written in the heart (cf. Rom 2:14-15) the sacred value of human life from its very beginning until its end, and can affirm the right of every human being to have this primary good respected to the highest degree. Upon the recognition of this right, every human community and the political community itself are founded.
. . .
Today this proclamation is especially pressing because of the extraordinary increase and gravity of threats to the life of individuals and peoples, especially where life is weak and defenceless. In addition to the ancient scourges of poverty, hunger, endemic diseases, violence and war, new threats are emerging on an alarmingly vast scale.
. . .
The Second Vatican Council, in a passage which retains all its relevance today, forcefully condemned a number of crimes and attacks against human life. Thirty years later, taking up the words of the Council and with the same forcefulness I repeat that condemnation in the name of the whole Church, certain that I am interpreting the genuine sentiment of every upright conscience: "Whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia, or wilful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, torments inflicted on body or mind, attempts to coerce the will itself; whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children; as well as disgraceful working conditions, where people are treated as mere instruments of gain rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and others like them are infamies indeed. They poison human society, and they do more harm to those who practise them than to those who suffer from the injury. Moreover, they are a supreme dishonour to the Creator".
. . .
Unfortunately, this disturbing state of affairs, far from decreasing, is expanding: with the new prospects opened up by scientific and technological progress there arise new forms of attacks on the dignity of the human being. At the same time a new cultural climate is developing and taking hold, which gives crimes against life a new and-if possible-even more sinister character, giving rise to further grave concern: broad sectors of public opinion justify certain crimes against life in the name of the rights of individual freedom, and on this basis they claim not only exemption from punishment but even authorization by the State, so that these things can be done with total freedom and indeed with the free assistance of health-care systems.
. . .
All this is causing a profound change in the way in which life and relationships between people are considered. The fact that legislation in many countries, perhaps even departing from basic principles of their Constitutions, has determined not to punish these practices against life, and even to make them altogether legal, is both a disturbing symptom and a significant cause of grave moral decline. Choices once unanimously considered criminal and rejected by the common moral sense are gradually becoming socially acceptable. Even certain sectors of the medical profession, which by its calling is directed to the defence and care of human life, are increasingly willing to carry out these acts against the person. In this way the very nature of the medical profession is distorted and contradicted, and the dignity of those who practise it is degraded. In such a cultural and legislative situation, the serious demographic, social and family problems which weigh upon many of the world's peoples and which require responsible and effective attention from national and international bodies, are left open to false and deceptive solutions, opposed to the truth and the good of persons and nations.

. . . 
The end result of this is tragic: not only is the fact of the destruction of so many human lives still to be born or in their final stage extremely grave and disturbing, but no less grave and disturbing is the fact that conscience itself, darkened as it were by such widespread conditioning, is finding it increasingly difficult to distinguish between good and evil in what concerns the basic value of human life.
. . .
Decisions that go against life sometimes arise from difficult or even tragic situations of profound suffering, loneliness, a total lack of economic pros- pects, depression and anxiety about the future. Such circumstances can mitigate even to a notable degree subjective responsibility and the consequent culpability of those who make these choices which in themselves are evil. But today the prob- lem goes far beyond the necessary recognition of these personal situations. It is a problem which exists at the cultural, social and political level, where it reveals its more sinister and disturbing aspect in the tendency, ever more widely shared, to interpret the above crimes against life as legitimate expressions of individual freedom, to be acknowledged and protected as actual rights.
. . .
In this way, and with tragic consequences, a long historical process is reaching a turning-point. The process which once led to discovering the idea of "human rights"-rights inherent in every person and prior to any Constitution and State legislation-is today marked by a surprising contradiction. Precisely in an age when the inviolable rights of the person are solemnly proclaimed and the value of life is publicly affirmed, the very right to life is being denied or trampled upon, especially at the more significant moments of existence: the moment of birth and the moment of death.
. . .
We can find them in an overall assessment of a cultural and moral nature, beginning with the mentality which carries the concept of subjectivity to an extreme and even distorts it, and recognizes as a subject of rights only the person who enjoys full or at least incipient autonomy and who emerges from a state of total dependence on others. But how can we reconcile this approach with the exaltation of man as a being who is "not to be used"? The theory of human rights is based precisely on the affirmation that the human person, unlike animals and things, cannot be subjected to domination by others. We must also mention the mentality which tends to equate personal dignity with the capacity for verbal and explicit, or at least perceptible, communication. It is clear that on the basis of these presuppositions there is no place in the world for anyone who, like the unborn or the dying, is a weak element in the social structure, or for anyone who appears completely at the mercy of others and radically dependent on them, and can only communicate through the silent language of a profound sharing of affection. In this case it is force which becomes the criterion for choice and action in interpersonal relations and in social life. But this is the exact opposite of what a State ruled by law, as a community in which the "reasons of force" are replaced by the "force of reason", historically intended to affirm.
. . .
At another level, the roots of the contradiction between the solemn affirmation of human rights and their tragic denial in practice lies in a notion of freedom which exalts the isolated individual in an absolute way, and gives no place to solidarity, to openness to others and service of them. While it is true that the taking of life not yet born or in its final stages is sometimes marked by a mistaken sense of altruism and human compassion, it cannot be denied that such a culture of death, taken as a whole, betrays a completely individualistic concept of freedom, which ends up by becoming the freedom of "the strong" against the weak who have no choice but to submit.
. . .
Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors, and in communion with the Bishops of the Catholic Church, I confirm that the direct and voluntary killing of an innocent human being is always gravely immoral. This doctrine, based upon that unwritten law which man, in the light of reason, finds in his own heart (cf. Rom 2:14-15), is reaffirmed by Sacred Scripture, transmitted by the Tradition of the Church and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium.

The deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of his life is always morally evil and can never be licit either as an end in itself or as a means to a good end. It is in fact a grave act of disobedience to the moral law, and indeed to God himself, the author and guarantor of that law; it contradicts the fundamental virtues of justice and charity. "Nothing and no one can in any way permit the killing of an innocent human being, whether a fetus or an embryo, an infant or an adult, an old person, or one suffering from an incurable disease, or a person who is dying. Furthermore, no one is permitted to ask for this act of killing, either for himself or herself or for another person entrusted to his or her care, nor can he or she consent to it, either explicitly or implicitly. Nor can any authority legitimately recommend or permit such an action".
. . .
As far as the right to life is concerned, every innocent human being is absolutely equal to all others. This equality is the basis of all authentic social relationships which, to be truly such, can only be founded on truth and justice, recognizing and protecting every man and woman as a person and not as an object to be used. Before the moral norm which prohibits the direct taking of the life of an innocent human being "there are no privileges or exceptions for anyone. It makes no difference whether one is the master of the world or the 'poorest of the poor' on the face of the earth. Before the demands of morality we are all absolutely equal".

The demands of morality are the demands of rationale.  Regardless of biases held against God or religions or the Catholic Church these teachings are more or less rational.  Via reason it is impossible to even point out a contradiction in the teaching Pope John Paul II imparted invoking his assumed authority.  Blessed John Paul II was one of the most refined and subtle ethicists in history.  One can whine and bellyache all one wants about language use, motives, circumstances, the failures of the Church, or whatever but all direct and voluntary deprivations in context to two or more humans acting in a relation are irrational.  It is just a matter of degree.  Murders, such as abortion directly impart a SEVERE degree of harm to the target.  In contrast, a 'white lie' does not impart severe harm to a target.

These teachings are spring up from a human's use of reason.  The two fundamental categories of morality can be resolved through critical thinking and rational analysis.  It is just a matter of one caring to use his reason in context to the other human who is endowed with the most gifted nature in the Universe.  To not value another human for who and what they are is insane and ridiculous.  

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Two Fundamental Categories of Ethics (feat. Rape and Murder)

In the last article I established a simple objective base and criterion of morality considered apart from God and religious texts.  This is a follow up. 

All modes of human actions can be grouped into two distinct categories via their resolved morality apart from motives, circumstances, consequences, codes, rules, laws, texts, emotions, tastes, customs, traditions, opinions, judgments, etc.  It is irrational, inconceivable and impossible to argue otherwise. Either the human target is directly harmed by the human mediator or it is not via the action in question.  A moralist objectively and impartially resolves whether or not the action in question resolves to harm inherently directed to the target or not.  

A moralist is not first concerned about the motive behind the murder or even what the murderer thought about murder.  Criminal investigators and prosecutors are concerned with resolving motives in order to discover the serial killer’s location, etc.  Writers are interested about what possibly influenced the serial killers views of certain actions in order to write an interesting book.  But a moralist detaches a manner of behavior from the motives and thought of the murderer so as to impartially ask questions like

Does murder make sense?

What is the quality of murder?
What do all murders have in common?
Does an act of murder directly harm the target?

In their unbiased studies some genuine ethicists have discovered that all human actions imaginable resolve to two fundamental categories.  The words used to label the two fundamental categories of morality are completely irrelevant.  One can call them X and Y.  In religion there are probably fifty synonyms for X and Y and in ethics another twenty.  It doesn't matter what one names the two fundamental categories or what one uses to modify an action to communicate which of the two fundamental categories it fits into.  What is most important is that one resolve inherent direction of the act in view of the target.  The simple objective criterion used to resolve the morality of human actions is whether or not the mediator of the relational action directly harms the target.  
Is this type of action directly helping or is it directly harming the object?  

Harm is a sort of moniker or place holder or abstract concept nesting any sort of deprivation or damage imaginable whether physical, psychological, emotional, vital, monetary, property, etc. pending the human act in question.  Example:  Murder directly deprives the target of his or her life.  When ethicists isolate human actions via their brains, they sometimes consider them AS IF they were humans with their own immutable motive.  What is the motive of murder ‘itself’?  To directly deprive a target of life.  Murder's purpose is to directly deprive an individual of his or her own life.  I prefer not to communicate a concept such as murder AS IF an object.  But some ethicists do for ease of communication because ethics can get fairly abstract.  On the other hand I prefer to focus on the objective human target.  Ethics is all about the other. 

But back to one of the most important concepts in all of ethics: some types of human actions are direct deprivations in view of the target.  And this is NOT a matter of opinion.  Either the human action directly harms the target or it does not.  There is no other option and all opinion on the matter is irrelevant.  If one is attempting to resolve an obscure or complex human action then there might be some room for opinion or disagreement to help get the problem solved; but all human actions will inevitably resolve to Y or not Y(X).  If the mediator of the human action in question directly harms the target it is categorized as Y.  If not it is categorized as X.  Y is the cluster of all types of human actions that directly harm the target.

The objective base of morality is a minimum of one human target of the relational action imparted by a minimum of one human mediator (even if the mediator and target is the same individual as in the case of the inherently harmful actions of washing, eating, drinking, sleeping, or the inherently harmful actions of suicide, etc.).  The objective criterion of morality is whether or not the intentional action imparted by mediator to target directly harms the target.

I've firmly established that this criterion is objective, i.e. observer independent, as is the base for the base is an object.  Example:  In a hypothetical single man and single woman universe a rape performed with man as mediator and woman as target STILL directly harms the target and is irrational since there is a contradiction between the mediator and target.  The base and criterion are detached from subjective opinions, personal judgments, rules, codes, laws, religious texts, God, personal intent, consequences, whims of the times, emotions, ignorance or lack thereof, sincerity or lack thereof and even culpability or lack thereof.  The mind of the mediator and the mind of the target are cut off in an analysis of the act in question.  Either the mediator of relational human action in question directly harms the target or does not.  

If a certain type of conceptualized human action is obscure or complex one has to apply critical thinking and rational analysis in an attempt to resolve the human actions category of morality.  The below examples of rape and murder are SEVERE and BLATANT examples that can easily be resolved.  Most types of actions can be easily resolved.  But not all human actions can easily be resolved to their category.  It might take a good amount of objective and impartial thought even apart from the ethical literature and religious texts of the ages. 

What everyone and your mom thinks has nothing to do with the reality that a target object is directly harmed or undergoes harmful change effects when really involved in specific deliberately chosen human actions categorized as Y.  Motives are irrelevant.  The motive behind the rape does not change the harm intrinsically directed to the target in all rapes performed in reality by mediators.  What the rapist thinks about the act of rape is irrelevant and does not change the fact that his act of rape directly harms the victim.  This is impartiality personified!  Either the mediator of a manner of human behavior directly harms the target or not.  If a specific type of human action directly harms a target engaged this same action always directly harms a target when performed in reality.  If one thinks he found an exception then that one is considering a different type of action OR has misconceived the action as a consequence or motive.

No one’s opinion can change the moral category of a human action.  Why and how we are rational animals able to resolve human actions and cluster them in the two distinct categories cannot change the inherent harm directed to a target in a rape. One's worldview or understanding of science or whatever theory one's hold to about the history of the human race and the Earth cannot change the inherent harm directed to a victim in a rape and murder.  Evolution or Judeo-Christian tradition cannot change the fact that a target is always directly harmed in a rape and murder when performed in reality by a mediator.  One's opinion about right or wrong cannot change the inherent harm directed at the target in a rape and murder.
Your or my opinion of a human action’s category (X or Y) may be rational or irrational but that does not determine whether or not the isolated human action in question directly harms the target.  Either the action does or it does not.  No one can change the essential quality of a specific mode of human action.  Either the mediator directly harms the target or the mediator does not.  It is impossible, inconceivable and irrational to argue otherwise.  And a specific action cannot cross categories.  Y cannot change into X and X cannot change into Y.  If the type of action directly harms the target no object or concept can change its nature.  For example:  An abortion cannot deprive the prenatal of life and save the prenatal’s life!!!  This is a conceptual issue resolved by critical thinking and rational analysis. 

Now let’s pick up the example of rape from my last article and add murder. 

Imagine Object A is a male human and Object B is a female human.  Object A signals to Object B, “I want to have sex.”  Object B signals to Object A an unequivocal “No”.  Herein lies a contradiction.  Object A signals X, and Object B signals not-X.  But Object A moves against Object B’s word and helps himself to Object B.  Rape is inherently irrational. Object B is not even freely performing her mediation of the relational action as in the case of a rational sexual act between two mediators and two targets (Man and Women).
the Sowjanya rape and murder 
After the violation of Object B, Object A murders Object B.  At a frame prior to the event Object B looks like the picture in the top left . . . at a frame subsequent to the event Object B looks like picture to right and center . . . 

The motion picture is Rated R for explicit nudity and graphic violence thus I will leave the missing frames to your imagination. While imagining these frames think of any sort or irrationality in the acts or harm and deprivation directed to the target apart from any motive, circumstance, emotions, etc.   

When one visualizes the rape in isolation, in abstract; from the rapist’s opinion, thoughts, motives, etc. as well as one’s own personal opinion in so far as possible; one can resolve whether or not the mediator, in these specific modes of relational action, directly harms the target.  And one can imagine all rapes and all murders in all frames of Earth’s history to help solve whether or not rape and murder considered apart from all opinions ESPECIALLY the serial rapist and killer’s, directly harms the target.  So what is the answer?  Do rape and/or murder performed by all mediators of all times directly harm the target?  Yes or no.  If yes the rape is morally categorized as Y.  If no the rape is morally categorized as X. 

An objective base of ethics is the target object.  And an objective criterion of ethics is whether or not the target object (in this case Object B, the female human) is directly harmed by the mediator object (in this case Object A, the male human) in the identified mode of relational action.  If so the action in question is categorized as Y.  If not the action in question is categorized as X.  The base is unarguably objective as is the criterion.  No one can argue against whether or not a human action directly harms the target when performed in reality.  Either the act does or it does not.  It doesn't matter what Object A’s opinion or thoughts about rape and murder are . . . it doesn't matter what God’s opinion is . . . it doesn't matter what all the opinions of all humans of all history are . . .  Either the performance of rape and murder directly harms the target or not.  End of story.  This aspect of morality is truly a black and white issue.  Other aspects of ethics are more subjective such as culpability, motive, circumstance, ignorance, sincerity, etc.  But the directed harmful change of the target imparted by the mediator in an act is indisputable.  Criminal investigators know this intimately and these sorts of acts consummated in reality impart harmful consequences even to the investigators.  And if no one chose to enact a rape or murder or any other human action which SEVERELY deprives or harms a human target they would be ought of work! 

One’s opinion does not determine whether or not certain types of actions directly harm a target and or targets.  All one can do is attempt to resolve the issue.  Some intentional human actions are difficult to categorize and have taken time and many ethicists writing papers stating their personal opinions, but when all is said and done the mediator performing a specific mode of action either harms the target or does not.  There is no in between and there is no shifting from category Y to category X.  No intended end, thought, opinion, circumstance, law, religion, custom, etc. can change the inherent quality of a specific human action performed in reality.  

Your opinion about whether or not the understanding, application and resolution of morality are irrelevant.  NO one cares what you think.  The objective criterion used to solve the specific action’s native quality is like a punch in the face.  You can rationalize and bellyache and cry and preach that morality resolves to naught but opinion or what is or is not appropriate like at a dinner party; but this does not change the harm inherently directed to the victim by the criminal.  Rape and murder, when performed in reality always directly imparts SEVERE harm to the objective target.

At the present most humans in the world are biased against my analysis but even this cannot change the inseparable harm directed to the target via a rape and murder performed by a mediator in reality.  Social media bias, herd mentality, and bullying cannot change the inherent harm directed to the target via a rape and murder performed by a mediator in reality.  Appeal to authority and all appeals cannot change the inherent harm directed to a target in a murder.  No possible imaginable object or thought or even God can change the intrinsic harm directed to the target engaged in a rape with the mediator.  Thus rape and murder are categorized as Y. 

Grow up world.