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Potentially glaring contradiction in the End of Faith.
Posted: 20 December 2008 11:11 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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Let me first say, I love Sam Harris and regard what he has done as the height of courage. In the spirit I think he lives by I would like to offer what I fear may be a devastating objection to his argument for the “strapado”. In his(in my view correct) attack on Chomsky and those who think as he does he argues that the failure of reasoning Chomsky is guilty of is not taking intention into account. For Chomsky moral culpability is equal for unintended deaths and intended. thus he draws a one-to-one correspondence beteen 9/11 hijackers and inadvertent civilian deaths in the Gulf War. But Then in the torture is justified scaffolding of reasoning that Harris carries us up in the “Torquemada” section he argues that if we are willing to wage wars in which civillians will die unintentionally then we should be willing to intentionally torture. I trust all will see the problem here. Harris has made the same mistake he accuses Chomsky of. He makes a moral equivalence between intended and unintended violence. Does Mr. Harris participate in the discussion here? Please comment.

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Posted: 20 December 2008 12:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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John - 20 December 2008 04:11 PM

Please comment.

The righteous assignment of moral culpability, plus a shiny coin, will buy you a brightly-colored gumball. Chew carefully, so as not to suffocate yourself accidentally. Then get a mob together, agree on moral culpability for ethical monsters, and hang the suckers by their balls. Now there’s an idea whose time has come.

And no, Mr. Harris does not participate in the discussion here. You need to be a mover and a shaker to talk directly to god. Bitching about “glaring contradictions” in Whoozy-Futzy’s texts in an online forum is fairly common. Perhaps you will want also to address the contradictions in Hegel.

Do you think anyone really knows what his “intention” is? Or if it’s different from his “motivation”? If so, welcome to the “Pompous Philosophical Wibbling Fuckwit Club”.

[ Edited: 20 December 2008 12:52 PM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 21 December 2008 11:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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“The righteous assignment of moral culpability, plus a shiny coin, will buy you a brightly-colored gumball. Chew carefully, so as not to suffocate yourself accidentally. Then get a mob together, agree on moral culpability for ethical monsters, and hang the suckers by their balls. Now there’s an idea whose time has come.” Immediate sarcasm. I’m very impressed by your advanced level. “And no, Mr. Harris does not participate in the discussion here. You need to be a mover and a shaker to talk directly to god. Bitching about “glaring contradictions” in Whoozy-Futzy’s texts in an online forum is fairly common.” Well I can’t understand why he wouldn’t want to spend time trading pretentious posturing with you. “Perhaps you will want also to address the contradictions in Hegel.” Oh you’ve read Hegel! My god how can a single mind be so advanced?! On Hegel I’m roughly with Schopenhauer if you must know. “Do you think anyone really knows what his “intention” is? Or if it’s different from his “motivation”? If so, welcome to the “Pompous Philosophical Wibbling Fuckwit Club”.” As is clear from my post I meant the intention of hypothetical perpetrators of the two kinds of violence. If you are going to bare your teeth to a stranger(cowardice is of course nowhere enabled as online) then at least read and comprehend on a fifth grade level to get started. Sorry if I made the mistake of seeking a discussion here.

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Posted: 21 December 2008 12:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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John - 21 December 2008 04:17 PM

If you are going to bare your teeth to a stranger(cowardice is of course nowhere enabled as online) then at least read and comprehend on a fifth grade level to get started. Sorry if I made the mistake of seeking a discussion here.

Sorry, Frosty. I should have simply said that your desired topic has been, how you say? done to death, here and elsewhere. Were you yourself capable of reading comprehensiion even at a fifth-grade level, and not so pompous as being certain that you had something new to offer on the subject (as indicated by your use of the hyperbolic “glaring” in your thread title), you would have discovered that fact, and embarked in a different direction.

We have exceeded our quota for philosophical wibblers. As Hegel might say, ‘Niemand vermisst dich’. Have a nice day.

Remember what Boltzmann had to say about Schopenhauer:

burt - 10 December 2008 09:53 PM

Boltzmann on Schopenhauer: “...a stupid, ignorant philosopher, scribbling nonsense and dispensing hollow verbiage that fundamentally and forever rots peoples brains.”

[ Edited: 21 December 2008 01:07 PM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 21 December 2008 01:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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What exactly is a potential glaring contradiction?

If it is glaring, meaning obvious, how can it be potential?

Does not sound like you consider it to be potential at all John, but glaring and obvious.

In my uneducated view I would say that glaring and potential are contradictory in themselves, but what do I know.

Maybe it is potential until you convince all of us that it is indeed glaring?

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Posted: 21 December 2008 01:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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McCreason - 21 December 2008 06:07 PM

What exactly is a potential glaring contradiction?

It’s the potential (thrill) of glaring at someone because they contradict you. John thinks everything is potential until he can tell himself he’s proven it to you. It’s a glaring contradiction because he’s certain he’s already proven it to himself.

Fuckwits, man. You can’t live with ‘em, and it’s useless these days to try to get them to drink hemlock to preserve their honor.

[ Edited: 21 December 2008 01:12 PM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 21 December 2008 01:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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I’ll bet hemlock tastes like shit too. The shit I have eaten tastes really bad so I know.

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‘If ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, knowledge of nature destroys them’

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Posted: 22 December 2008 11:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Potential, because there may be a variable which differentiates the two cases. It’s not that difficult to see what I meant. As for the hemlock you mean like Boltzmann?.. anyway please link the threads where this contradiction is discussed if not too much trouble.

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Posted: 22 December 2008 11:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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John - 21 December 2008 04:17 PM

Sorry if I made the mistake of seeking a discussion here.

It will be easier for you to start a discussion if you use the quote function, helpfully placed right above the place you write in. 

If you respond by clicking on the “Quote” button at the bottom of the post you are answering, it will automatically be quoted for you, although you may have to do some manual editing too.

So, use “quote” for people you are answering, and also for things you are quoting which you type in yourself, unless they are very short.

Second, break things down into short paragraphs.  It’s hard to read one long screed.

Finally, use the “search” function to see if your topic has already been covered. 

It’s unlikely that you will discover any new topic in Sam’s writing, but by searching you can figure out how to present it in a new light, so as to get a discussion going.

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Posted: 22 December 2008 12:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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John - 20 December 2008 04:11 PM

For Chomsky moral culpability is equal for unintended deaths and intended. thus he draws a one-to-one correspondence beteen 9/11 hijackers and inadvertent civilian deaths in the Gulf War.

Actually, so does American law.  If I snap a few rounds from a Glock 9mm into an inhabited dwelling, I can’t defend against a murder charge by saying, “Hey, I wasn’t aiming at anyone in particular; I was just shooting into the house.”  Conscious disregard of an obvious risk to human life constitutes the malice necessary to a murder conviction every bit as much as an intent to kill.

So, how do we “shock and awe” Baghdad and not bear the moral blame for the inevitable deaths?  By saying we weren’t aiming for the those particular individuals, they just happened to (predictably) be there?

So while we are learning to use the quote function, how about quoting the part of Chomsky,or Harris, for your proposition that :

In his(in my view correct) attack on Chomsky and those who think as he does he argues that the failure of reasoning Chomsky is guilty of is not taking intention into account. For Chomsky moral culpability is equal for unintended deaths and intended.

I’m going to guess that Chomsky’s position is not that intention is irrelevant, but rather that the intention to blow up a city is morally equivalent to the intention to kill the people who are probably going to be killed when you blow up the city.

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Posted: 22 December 2008 12:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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I’m going to guess that Chomsky’s position is not that intention is irrelevant, but rather that the intention to blow up a city is morally equivalent to the intention to kill the people who are probably going to be killed when you blow up the city.

thanks teuchter. I think your “intention to blow up a city” is an exaggerated description. If the goal was to blow up the city, it could have been done. In contrast to that to bomb a government building and kill or maim a little girl(inadvertently) who was in or near it is not the same. To drop the bomb on Hiroshima would entail the culpability more than to specifically target a building occupied by enemy soldiers say and unintentionally killing civilians.

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Posted: 22 December 2008 01:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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Let’s cut to the chase then, and not draw things out unnecessarily by watering this hardy perennial:

I think the extreme position for this problem is that no military objective should be pursued with weapons more powerful than clubs and bone points, so as to be reasonably assured of not injuring non-combatants.

Woody Guthrie carved a sign into his guitar that said, “This machine kills fascists”
Ani DiFranco says, “Any tool is a weapon, if you hold it right”

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Posted: 22 December 2008 05:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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John - 22 December 2008 05:29 PM

If the goal was to blow up the city, it could have been done. In contrast to that to bomb a government building and kill or maim a little girl(inadvertently) who was in or near it is not the same. To drop the bomb on Hiroshima would entail the culpability more than to specifically target a building occupied by enemy soldiers say and unintentionally killing civilians.

Your understanding of the Iraq War is that “a little girl” was killed inadvertently?

Where I live, we have things called newspapers.

Like the Washington Post, which wrote OVER FOUR YEARS AGO:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A7967-2004Oct28.html

100,000 Civilian Deaths Estimated in Iraq
By Rob Stein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 29, 2004; Page A16

One of the first attempts to independently estimate the loss of civilian life from the Iraqi war has concluded that at least 100,000 Iraqi civilians may have died because of the U.S. invasion.

and the NY Times, which wrote in January of this year:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/10/world/middleeast/10casualties.html

W.H.O. Says Iraq Civilian Death Toll Higher Than Cited
NY Times
By LAWRENCE K. ALTMAN and RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr.
Published: January 10, 2008
The World Health Organization on Wednesday waded into the controversial subject of Iraqi civilian deaths, publishing a study that estimated that the number of deaths from the start of the war through June 2006 was at least twice as high as the oft-cited Iraq Body Count.
The study is the latest in a long series of attempts to come up with realistic numbers of civilian deaths. The numbers are politically fraught, and researchers’ work has been further complicated by problems in collecting data while working in a war zone.

The estimates have varied widely. The Iraq Body Count, a nongovernmental group based in Britain that bases its numbers on news media accounts, put the number of civilians dead at 47,668 during the same period of time as the World Health Organization study, the W.H.O. report said. President Bush in the past used a number that was similar to one put forward at the time by the Iraq Body Count.

But another study, by Johns Hopkins, which has come under criticism for its methodology, cited an estimate of about 600,000 dead between the war’s start, in March 2003, and July 2006.

The World Health Organization said its study, based on interviews with families, indicated with a 95 percent degree of statistical certainty that between 104,000 and 223,000 civilians had died. It based its estimate of 151,000 deaths on that range.

Note that these studies are only through 2006, 2 years ago, and estimate civilian deaths at 47,668, or between 104,000 and 223,000, or 600,000 dead during this period.

If you can’t get newspapers where you live, can you get the BBC on radio?  (Not every region has PBS)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3962969.stm

BBC
Iraq death toll ‘soared post-war’

Iraqis are now 58 times more likely to die a violent death, Lancet
Poor planning, air strikes by coalition forces and a “climate of violence” have led to more than 100,000 extra deaths in Iraq, scientists claim.

Well, if you can’t get a newspaper, and you can only get Sean Hannity on your radio,  you obviously have access to the internet.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casualties_of_the_Iraq_War

Survey Iraqi deaths March 2003 to…
Iraqi Health Ministry survey 151,000 violent deaths out of 400,000 excess deaths due to the war. June 2006
Lancet survey 601,027 violent deaths out of 654,965 excess deaths. June 2006
Opinion Research Business survey 1,033,000 violent deaths as a result of the conflict. August 2007

For troops in the U.S.-led multinational coalition, the death toll is carefully tracked and updated daily, and the names and photographs of those killed in ac

So, I took issue with your characterization of a position Chomsky had taken, and asked you to quote it.  I gather you either couldn’t find it, or found it and realized it didn’t say what you had said it would.  Fine.  Just say so. Or say nothing at all.

But don’t come back with a suggestion that the civilian casualties consists of “a little girl.” 

Perhaps you can’t tolerate the truth that in excess of 100,000 Iraqi civilians have died in your name, because your government invaded Iraq.  As the Germans found out, willful ignorance is not a satisfactory response to international crimes.  (None of which I blame on the service personnel who serve in Iraq below the rank of Col.)

But I am curious why, in your fantastically limited view of the carnage we have wrought, you find no moral culpability for killing one single little girl by intentionally blowing up a bomb in a country which did not invade or attack us, and which had absolutely nothing to do with 9-11?

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Posted: 22 December 2008 05:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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John - 22 December 2008 04:02 PM

.. anyway please link the threads where this contradiction is discussed if not too much trouble.

So glad you asked!  (I love beating dead horses—they can’t fight back.)

http://www.samharris.org/forum/viewthread/9238/

“The Morality of Torturing Muslims”

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Posted: 22 December 2008 06:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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Antisocialdarwinist - 22 December 2008 10:44 PM

I love beating dead horses—they can’t fight back.

I have discovered a heretofore-unknown admiration for you ASD. This evidence of your own self-knowledge is welcome news, indeed.

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Posted: 22 December 2008 06:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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Why, thank you, Salt. I believe that’s the nicest thing you ever said to me!

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Do-gooding is like treating hemophilia—the real cure is to let hemophiliacs bleed to death, before they breed more hemophiliacs. -Robert Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

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