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Author Topic: RPG.net user points out irony of mods "not wanting to ban people", gets banned  (Read 4777 times)

Pat

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This is a version of Pascal's Wager - which I think is a flawed logical argument. Pascal said that it's better to believe in God, because (roughly) the consequences of not believing in God are so huge, it's best not to take the chance. Even though I am a Christian, I don't think that it's logically correct to claim this as rational logic. Pascal's wager holds just as true for Buddhist, Shinto, and any other religious belief. However, we can't act like we believe in all religions simultaneously.

I have no problem with believing in Christianity as a matter of faith. I do. But I think it should be admitted as a matter of faith, not a rational choice that logically follows from the limits of science.


I feel that there is a similar issue here. Maybe a single fertilized egg cell has an invisible sentience or soul to it. Can I prove it doesn't? No, I can't. But there are a million other possibilities of things that *might* be true. Are cows and pigs sentient? I can't prove that either. Many people avoid eating their meat for moral reasons. Others go further, and they are fully vegan, and avoid harming bugs and other living things. Ultimately, one has to choose among the millions of unprovable things to act on.
I think Pascal's Wager is flawed, but I think the same about your analysis. Yes, you can make the same argument for any religion, or to bring up another common argument, you could say that anyone basing their belief on Pascal's Wager isn't really a believer and thus won't get any of promised rewards. But both those arguments miss the wider point: That Pascal's Wager is not based on a rational weighing of the benefits and risks. Because practicing a religion requires an investment of time and money, and involves non-trivial restrictions of behavior. If we look at the spectrum of certainty people have about the existence of God, then at some point on the diminishing spectrum of belief, the (significant) effort to conform won't be worth the (tiny) chance of a high return (Heaven), and conversely the (tiny) chance of a very negative result (Hell). Pascal's formulation simply ignores that risk/reward assessment.

Though I don't think any of this sheds any light on the topic of abortion.

Pat

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(double post)

Bruwulf

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No, we can't say that. While it's true a fertilized embryo is not sapient, I was the one who added the term to the discussion, and I did it deliberately. The rest of you have been using "sentient" instead, and the two words are not synonyms. Sentient just means able to react to sensations. Which, depending on how define it, can certainly apply to an embryo, because it's a cell and cells reacts to chemical stimuli. That's a long way from a nervous system and a complex emotional response, but that's the point. There is no clear dividing line.

Insofar as that definition of sentience goes, I frankly don't care about sentience. I eat meat daily, I've killed more than my share of animals (raised on a farm, hunter by choice), and I kill bugs that piss me off without even thinking about it.

So it's not an irrelevant difference, but the qualification is irrelevant.

But conception? That's a fairly clear dividing line. It's true, it probably doesn't make much difference if you choose the moment of conception, or 3 days later; a cell vs. a clump of cells. But 3 days is purely arbitrary, it's not a good schelling point. And while there are some other natural breakpoints, they occur much later in development, like a heartbeat, or a detectable brainwave, or the emergence of a human shape. So if you want to draw a line before all that, then conception is the natural default.


But like I flippantly responded to someone else with, this basically just avoids considering the issue at all. Which is fine, if you're comfortable with "No abortions, ever, under any circumstances" as the point to take. I'm not sure I am.

Pat

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But like I flippantly responded to someone else with, this basically just avoids considering the issue at all. Which is fine, if you're comfortable with "No abortions, ever, under any circumstances" as the point to take. I'm not sure I am.
No, it fully considers the issue, it just places a great weight at on avoiding the negative consequences (taking a life that shouldn't have been taken), and as a result draws the line in a place that eliminates the risk. You yourself noted that in a later post. But that's not a lack of nuance, or avoiding the issue, it's just drawing a line in different place than you or I would.

Ratman_tf

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For a myriad of reasons, I'm ethically fine with 1st trimester abortions, against 3rd trimester, and I think 2nd trimester is negotiable.
But I do want to give everyone their due argument, as I think the topic deserves at least a well thought out position, whatever it may be. Bad abortion arguments from both sides tick me off.
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DocJones

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We don't know for sure when life starts, and we don't how to clearly define where sentience begins, or sapience, and we can't draw a clear line between what's human and what's not human.
Human life begins at conception.
Sentience begins at age 30.

tenbones

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Human life begins at conception.
Sentience begins once you pass the Gom Jabbar.

fixed that.

David Johansen

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Life begins when the kids move out and the dog dies.
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Chris24601

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IVF is a sticky wicket. If the embryos are kept frozen and not destroyed, I have no real problem with that. The other is a point where I have trouble reconciling the idea of life begins at conception with human intervention for said conception. I really don't have a conclusive answer regarding that for myself.
This is why the Catholic Church opposes IVF. People give the Church a lot of crap over being “anti-sex”, but there’s deep logic behind its positions. If you believe life begins at conception then a system that relies on causing conception a dozen times over and then leaving all but one of those in Limbo (until they inevitably perish just because no cell can be preserved forever) or destroying them outright is mass murder of innocent and defenseless lives for the convenience of others.

It’s also the logic behind “sex should be limited to husband and wife” because that is, as studies have shown, the ideal environment for raising children. This isn’t to say it’s the only way it can be done, but, to draw a correlary... just because some kids will succeed even in a failing school, doesn’t mean we should make a failing school our ideal.

As to the Pascal’s Wager... the way I’ve always heard it expressed it not “if you’re wrong... Hell” it’s that best case for the believer is Heaven and worst is non-existence after death; best case for the non-believer is non-existence after death and the worst case is Hell. Therefore since the believer’s worst case is no worse than the non-believer’s best case, you’re better off believing whether it’s true or not (particularly since those who hold to the charitable and benevolent lifestyle espoused by believers are also generally well regarded during their lives as well).

In other words, even if the believer is only right on a natural-20... they’re critical fumble is no worse than the non-believer’s critical hit.

For an added bonus, the Catholic Church holds that, to the extent something is true and good, it is of God, means that even those who guess wrong on the “which specific set of beliefs” part of the test still get positive credit towards the best possible believer result (and just like the “ideal conditions” for raising a child, the Catholic position is that The Church offers the ideal conditions for reaching Heaven, which is why you should pick them over other potentially viable, but less ideal, conditions).

Basically, if you’re coming from a Catholic perspective, you’re still better off sincerely believing in Odin (the Norse religion still holds truth, justice, charity and courage to be virtues... so at least points to God) than believing in Atheism (it’s all just deterministic chemical reactions with no meaning but what our delusions of sapience tells us there is).

My own position on Abortion is pretty simple; I am for life in ALL situations. I am against abortion, the death penalty, euthanasia and all other forms of killing save for immediate self defense (and no... preemptive strikes are not immediate self defense). Likewise, food and water is not “life-support” (it is most typically a convenience vs. feeding by hand) as opposed to ventilators and the like (and even then, I’d want a pretty high standard that such life support would be both indefinite and not desired by the person on it for me to say that withholding it would be acceptable).

I am also against killing animals except for food and immediate self-defense and, even then, it should be done in as a humane a fashion as possible (no strangling or bleeding out or other savagery) and we should give thanks to the animal that died to sustain us.

I try to be as consistent as possible on this. It’s why I started opposing the death penalty about twenty years ago. It’s much easier to argue “Life in all cases” than “x degree of guilt deserves life, y degree forfeits their life.”

Needless to say, in superhero games I skew very hard towards the Superman/Batman end of the spectrum vs. the Wolverine/Deadpool end. Even in Rifts my favorite character was a Ley Line Walker who specialized in non-lethal spells for combat (and non-combat magic in general) and often ticked off some of the players who just wanted to shoot people because they couldn’t keep their good alignment if they killed helpless foes (on the other hand we made a fortune off all the fully intact armor we stripped off defeated foes).

VisionStorm

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Human life begins at conception.
Sentience begins once you pass the Gom Jabbar.

fixed that.

Facts!

Crawford Tillinghast

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Though I don't think any of this <Pascal risk/reward> sheds any light on the topic of abortion.

It does however, make sense in regards to Making problematic posts on RPGnet. ;)

Ghostmaker

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Huh. Someone copped a one day time out and threadban for espousing overpopulation rhetoric at TBP.

Since Malthusian nonsense is often linked to the left, I'm actually pleasantly surprised.

jhkim

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As to the Pascal’s Wager... the way I’ve always heard it expressed it not “if you’re wrong... Hell” it’s that best case for the believer is Heaven and worst is non-existence after death; best case for the non-believer is non-existence after death and the worst case is Hell. Therefore since the believer’s worst case is no worse than the non-believer’s best case, you’re better off believing whether it’s true or not (particularly since those who hold to the charitable and benevolent lifestyle espoused by believers are also generally well regarded during their lives as well).

In other words, even if the believer is only right on a natural-20... they’re critical fumble is no worse than the non-believer’s critical hit.

For an added bonus, the Catholic Church holds that, to the extent something is true and good, it is of God, means that even those who guess wrong on the “which specific set of beliefs” part of the test still get positive credit towards the best possible believer result (and just like the “ideal conditions” for raising a child, the Catholic position is that The Church offers the ideal conditions for reaching Heaven, which is why you should pick them over other potentially viable, but less ideal, conditions).

Basically, if you’re coming from a Catholic perspective, you’re still better off sincerely believing in Odin (the Norse religion still holds truth, justice, charity and courage to be virtues... so at least points to God) than believing in Atheism (it’s all just deterministic chemical reactions with no meaning but what our delusions of sapience tells us there is).
From a Catholic perspective, that's true. But the exact same wager applies to every other religion, from Jainism to Shinto, and there are hundreds of religions - plus maybe no real-world religion is true, but the truth is something completely different. For example, as I understand it, you eat meat. But is it really worth eating meat given the harm that you are doing to other life and to yourself if Jainism is true?

I think that Christianity - and really any religion - depends on faith. That's not a bad thing, in my opinion. Our beliefs and morality can't be derived from pure logic - there is some intuitive sense that guides us.


My own position on Abortion is pretty simple; I am for life in ALL situations. I am against abortion, the death penalty, euthanasia and all other forms of killing save for immediate self defense (and no... preemptive strikes are not immediate self defense). Likewise, food and water is not “life-support” (it is most typically a convenience vs. feeding by hand) as opposed to ventilators and the like (and even then, I’d want a pretty high standard that such life support would be both indefinite and not desired by the person on it for me to say that withholding it would be acceptable).

I am also against killing animals except for food and immediate self-defense and, even then, it should be done in as a humane a fashion as possible (no strangling or bleeding out or other savagery) and we should give thanks to the animal that died to sustain us.
This is one set of beliefs and I can respect that - but I don't see how it is any more logically justified than other beliefs - like in how you justify killing animals. To someone who believes killing animals is wrong, then humanely killing and eating a dolphin or cow doesn't justify that any more than eating a person after you kill them makes it more justified.

You divide up which life you respect and how in your own way - which is your beliefs that you're entitled to, but you're still dividing up which life you choose to respect.

From my point of view, I divide based on how close they are to sapience. I have no problem killing a single cell or killing an insect. I will sometimes catch spiders and bring them outside, but often I just kill them. However, I have my doubts about killing cows or especially pigs. I'm not fully vegetarian, but I avoid those meats.

Neither of us are for life in all situations - we just divide up differently what life we are supporting.


Needless to say, in superhero games I skew very hard towards the Superman/Batman end of the spectrum vs. the Wolverine/Deadpool end. Even in Rifts my favorite character was a Ley Line Walker who specialized in non-lethal spells for combat (and non-combat magic in general) and often ticked off some of the players who just wanted to shoot people because they couldn’t keep their good alignment if they killed helpless foes (on the other hand we made a fortune off all the fully intact armor we stripped off defeated foes).
This seems like it's a different topic to me. For me, fiction is fiction. My RPG characters don't have to represent my real-life morality. Again, you can play in your way - but it's not automatic that anyone who plays a Deadpool character doesn't respect life in the real world.

shuddemell

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But like I flippantly responded to someone else with, this basically just avoids considering the issue at all. Which is fine, if you're comfortable with "No abortions, ever, under any circumstances" as the point to take. I'm not sure I am.
No, it fully considers the issue, it just places a great weight at on avoiding the negative consequences (taking a life that shouldn't have been taken), and as a result draws the line in a place that eliminates the risk. You yourself noted that in a later post. But that's not a lack of nuance, or avoiding the issue, it's just drawing a line in different place than you or I would.

Well, being an Oklahoman, I am still out of power and have been for the past 9 days. Looks like the discussion moved quite a way since I was gone. I'll not try and back track and honestly, I think Pat did a decent job of making my point clear. Thanks by the way. Sorry to have bailed mid-convo... icestorms not withstanding.
Science is the belief in the ignorance of the expertsRichard Feynman

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