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  1. #46
    Anything's possible. But - for example - environmentalist nutjobs would probably use a virus that kills all human life and leaves the rest of the animal kingdom alone.

    Anybody ever see that movie "Twelve Monkeys" with Bruce Willis.

  2. #47
    Would be writer? Sure. Davis Ashura's Avatar
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    Seen it. Also, David Brin had a book called "Earth", in which
    Spoiler:

    a brilliant computer programmer who is also a fanatical environmentalist figures out a way to depopulate the Earth. She decides that Humanity has a place on the planet, but only 10,000 or so will ever be allowed to live at any time, and no modern technology will be allowed to be devoloped. The premise of the book is that this woman has also achieved omnipotence and so, that would be the fate of Humanity forever.

    Speaking of environmentalism, interesting article here in NYT.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/30/sc...prod=permalink

  3. #48
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    So, we're going into that all-time favorite lawyer game: my expert can top your expert.
    My favorite version of this game is the hole in the ozone layer. Based on less than 50 years' experience, one side concluded the hole was growing to dangerous proportions. Based on a billion years of failure to record evidence the other side wasn't so certain. However, now that we have eliminated spray cans from the shelves, the hole in the ozone is all safe now.

  4. #49
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    And since this was the coldest winter in the last ten years in the US and Canada, confirmation bias tells us that global warming is not longer a problem.

    When is killing right? Under what circumstances? Formulate some arguments and let's discuss the real merits of the argument. It might be more illuminating than we think at first. There will be so many assumptions in each formulation, it'll be interesting to uncover them.

  5. #50
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    Killing is justified:
    (a) For soldiers in war
    (b) Defending someone unable to protect themselves
    (c) When the odds are equal
    (d) Medical necessity

    All are personal decisions. Do not believe that governments of any shape or size can decide the issue. Only individuals.

  6. #51
    Re: the Brin book.

    Religious folks would probably love that: a human race with no possibility of technological advancement and thus no future. Nothing for folks to do but work on the farms to subsist, pray the day away and wait for death. The perfect environment for getting souls heavenward. There would probably be a huge upsurge of religion, and the preachers would say she'd been doing God's work without knowing it.

    When is killing justified?

    Subjective question. Depends on what you value. For some folks, homosexuality, witchcraft or blasphemy (against either the faith or the Party) merit extermination.

  7. #52
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hereford Eye
    All are personal decisions. Do not believe that governments of any shape or size can decide the issue. Only individuals.
    I think item (a) in your list somewhat contradicts this statement. Mobilization to war can't usually be reduced to a solitary individual decision. And even in events where it can be, obedience to that authoritative individual occurs through systematization. A soldier is not given the right to choose otherwise. When it happens, the result is court martial and/or dishonourable discharge. Yes, there is always an element of individual choice. But when that individuality is distributed through Governance, doesn't that change the assertion?

    Obedience complicates the issue considerably. Convention complicates it further.

    Quote Originally Posted by RAD View Post
    extermination.
    Hmm... Extermination already includes Killing in the definition. So the question would be more: how does something get on the list of what is acceptable for Extermination?

    Extermination can probably be defined, basically, as "the excision of that which is considered dangerous to the health of the body politic." I don't see that Extermination can be considered a 1:1 individual:individual issue, as per HE's suggestion. Extermination is predicated on the notion of protection of the group -- the killing of one type of individual over another based on a perceived or real threat.

    Capital Punishment, Euthanasia (item (d))... even War, really, all fall under "Extermination" -- there is a presupposed obedience to the will of authority to determine the list of exterminables, and the killing itself is usually carried out by a sympathetic, or uncaring (or just non-opposing), force.

    Again, it's distributed. Not strictly individual. The perception of a threat would normally require consensus.

    Consequences of killing also have to be factored into the justification for killing. Other than circumstances of imminent personal danger (ie -- killing as self defense) which is strictly reactive, all other acts of killing are engaged in purposefully. Proactively.

    Which makes HE's item (c) particularly interesting. "Proportional Response" would be part of the modern parlance, which strikes me as another way of saying "Eye for an Eye." Balance. Which I thought we were supposed to be getting away from... Eye for Eye Leaves Us Blind, and all that.

    As a Proactive model, though, that suggests the "pick on someone your own size" idea. Maintaining balanced odds. Presumably this not only means that a large force should not attack a small force, but that a small force should not attack a large force. By being unmatched, killing is unjustified?

    This would preclude radical revolution in almost all circumstances. The American Revolution, for example, would not be justified under this rationale. The resultant deaths caused by the revolutionaries would have to be considered unjustified (therefore murder), and the retaliatory killing against the rebels would be justified under "Proportional Response." Same for Bastille Day.

    So this idea of equable odds being sufficient justification seems incorrect. Chance is not quantifiable. That's why we call it "gambling."

    Proactive Killing should be justified differently than any of the items of the list thus far, methinks. Soldiers killing under orders could not be considered Proactive Killing -- they are reacting to authority. Obedience. Likewise with a medically justified killing -- it's reactionary to an outside circumstance. Same with self-defense.

    Item (b) becomes quite intriguing, then. "Other-Defense." How does one determine if the inability of another to defend themselves is true? On what grounds do we quantify the odds? What is the acceptable margin? And how does one justify interference in the first place? I think if asked to intervene, then the intervention justifies the killing. If not asked, though, we're back into the dubious Proactive Killing realm.

    That, it seems to me, must be the act of transitioning Theory to Practice (so far as killing is concerned). Under the laws of democracy, that transition is theoretically validated by the will of the majority. (Which brings me back, once more, to pondering how we define innocence under democracy.) At the individual level, we've structured society to preclude self-validation for Proactive Killing. Only Reactive Killing is justifiable.

    The justification for Proactive Killing (Hiroshima/Nagasaki, Iraq) seems to be the same process as validating Extermination, which is normatively seen as a Reactive process. Protection from a threat. Proaction = Preemptive Defense? Is that it? Do we just rationalize killing as self-defense in all cases?

    (Clearly excluding those who kill for personal enjoyment/torture in this. I don't think we can apply any reliable assessment to justify serial killers. Does make me wonder what we would do to a deliberate repeat self-defense killer, though... hmm...)

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