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It's common to believe one can and should "change the world", and certainly leaders commonly espouse such an attitude, reminding us of how "each little drop counts". However, some pragmatists argue such idealism is futile, and that blind optimism only makes life more difficult for oneself. The pragmatists tend to view the matter quantitatively, reasoning that the negative effect on oneself far outweighs the positive effect on others, if indeed one is having a positive effect at all.
Anders Breivik is responsible for the 2011 Norway Attacks, killing 76 people. The knee-jerk assessment of his personality is that he's insane, but is this actually the case? Is evil possible without insanity?
Religious people and even scientists sometimes claim that science is ultimately just a matter of faith, based on unproven assumptions. The argument is used to cast doubt on all scientific beliefs, as well as demonstrating that scientific attacks on religion are ultimately not only impotent but furthermore hypocritical.
Critics of feminism suggest that the movement that once gave birth to positive changes such as emancipation has since soured. The goal of equal rights has allegedly now become simply a desire to dominate men, often under the guise of victimhood. Many feminists vehemently deny such allegations, often citing evidence of the continued suppression of women, such as inequality in wages.
Popularized by movies such as the Matrix, the simulation argument states that the physical world as we know it is actually running on a simulation. Is this argument science or science-fiction?
The controversial WikiLeaks cable leaks have been condemned, particularly by those in power, for sabotaging diplomatic efforts and empowering terrorists with sensitive information. Defenders of the leaks downplay such concerns, which they believe are outweighed by the benefits of bringing transparency to government.
Julian Assange, via his organization WikiLeaks, recently released classified communications between the US State Department and its embassies throughout the world. Should he be considered a criminal who compromised the noble goals of a righteous country, or a hero who fights corruption and champions freedom and transparency?
Some countries and states have outlawed corporal punishment in schools, and others have even outlawed it in homes. The rationale underlying the laws are ultimately based on whether the long term effect on children is considered positive or negative.
Marriage is a certainly an idealized legal institute, with few entering the relationship expecting divorce statistics will one day apply to them. Of course this is not to say that there aren't long and happy marriages, but on the whole, does the evidence suggest that marriage is, at the risk of sounding wholly unromantic, rational?
The more idealistic we are with our principles, the more vulnerable we are to hypocrisy. Should we be less idealistic to avoid being hypocrites, or should we hold onto our ideals, even if we can't always live up to them?
We often trust a scientific consensus, but is this rational? Contrarians often maintain consensus is irrelevant - and that the facts should speak for themselves. However, an assessment of the facts is not always as straightforward as the rhetorically inclined advocates on either side often insinuate. In such cases, is it rational to trust the consensus, or is there always a better way to rapidly assess the truth - short of becoming an expert one's self?
Michio Kaku
Is free will an illusion? Mostly Disagree
... Einstein was wrong. God does play dice. Every time we look at an electron it moves. There is uncertainty with regards to the position of the electron. So what does that mean for free will? It means in some sense we do have some kind of free will. No one can determine your future events given your past history. There is always the wildcard. There is always the possibility of uncertainty in whatever we do.
The Catholic Church
The Church teaches that every spiritual soul is created immediately by God
Steven Novella
Does God exist? Disagree
First, to be clear I don’t believe in God or any supernatural being …
Kenneth Miller
Miller proposes that God set the world in motion and nature is evolving just as planned. "We cannot think of God as a part of nature. God is the reason for nature," he explained.
Massimo Pigliucci
The new ad says: “You KNOW they’re all SCAMS,” and it’s signed “American Atheists — Telling the truth since 1963.” “They” are at least five of the major religious traditions, as is made clear by a set of symbols accompanying the poster. … it is a really bad PR move, even if the target audience is in fact limited to closet atheists and agnostics. … it is an even worse PR move when it comes to the public perception of atheists considered more broadly.
James Randi
Is God just? Disagree
I accuse the Christian god of murder by allowing the Holocaust to take place -- not to mention the "ethnic cleansing" presently being performed by Christians in our world -- and I condemn and vilify this mythical deity for encouraging racial prejudice and commanding the degradation of women.
James Randi
Does God exist? Disagree
To make sure that my blasphemy is thoroughly expressed, I hereby state my opinion that the notion of a god is a basic superstition, that there is no evidence for the existence of any god(s), that devils, demons, angels and saints are myths, that there is no life after death, heaven nor hell, that the Pope is a dangerous, bigoted, medieval dinosaur, and that the Holy Ghost is a comic‐book character worthy of laughter and derision.
Al Gore
I support the death penalty. I think that it has to be administered not only fairly … but also with very careful attention. If the wrong guy is put to death, then that’s a double tragedy. Not only has an innocent person been executed but the real perpetrator of the crime has not been held accountable for it, and in some cases may be still at large. But I support the death penalty in the most heinous cases
Mitt Romney
The appropriate response of society to terrorism carried out around the world or within the Commonwealth’s borders is to apply the death penalty.[...] along with a small number of other crimes, including the assassination of a law enforcement officer, judge, juror or prosecutor, for the purpose of obstructing an ongoing criminal proceeding.[...]as well as cases in which the defendant has already been convicted of first-degree murder or is serving a life sentence without parole.
Robin Hanson
This seems to me a common situation – things said to be critiques of capitalism are often just critiques of humanity. Humans vie selfishly and self-deludedly for status. Some succeed, while others fail. The struggle, and the failures, aren’t pretty. Yes capitalism inherits this ugliness, but then so does any other system with humans.

New Comments

0 Points       dionisos       23 Aug 2016     Is suicide morally acceptable? Agree
Suicide can reduce suffering a lot.

0 Points       dionisos       22 Aug 2016     Is "ought" derived from "is"? Disagree
The same than blacktrance.

0 Points       dionisos       22 Aug 2016     Should atheists directly challenge religious beliefs? Agree
Beliefs have consequences, they doesn’t live outside reality.
False beliefs have generally bad consequences.

We can, if done well, reduce false beliefs by challenging them.

0 Points       dionisos       22 Aug 2016     Could a computer ever be conscious? Agree
Yes, we are one example.

0 Points       dionisos       22 Aug 2016     Is capitalism good? Disagree
It can’t be good nor bad in itself.
It could be better or worse than another economical system, given a particular ethical system.

I think there is a lot of better economical systems than capitalist. (given most consequentialist ethics).

0 Points       dionisos       22 Aug 2016     Should Julian Assange be considered a criminal for Wikileaks? Disagree
No, states should strive to almost complete transparency, they are way too much corruptible without it.

0 Points       dionisos       22 Aug 2016     Is trying to "change the world" foolish? Disagree
If you have goals which doesn’t only concern yourself (any consequentialist ethics), then it is logical to try to change the world.
(In fact any goal is about changing the world, but here i assume you are speaking about changing a lot of the world, not just very local things)

0 Points       dionisos       22 Aug 2016     Is the unconscious philosophical zombie possible? Agree
It could seem strange to some, to imagine philosophical zombies talking about consciousness, the important thing to understand, is that they wouldn’t really be speaking about consciousness.
It is only us, seeing the thing with a external conscious view, that put concepts on the words they use.

Their brain would contain the exact same model of themselves that our brain, with the same self-referential structures, they would speak about consciousness (in the exact same way i did) because of these self-referential structures, but without any conscious understanding of it.

I am not speaking of consciousness because i have consciousness, i am speaking of consciousness because of the self-referential structures in my brain.
So, how am i able to speak differently of my consciousness and of my brain self-referential structures ?

I am NOT capable of it, i am only going one level up in the self-referential structures.

Without the self-referential structures, i would not be able to speak at all about consciousness, but it would not mean i am less conscious, i would still have a subjective reality, but i would not be able to understand that, because there would be no self-referential structure in this subjectivity.
When you correctly understand the first level : being conscious without any understanding of it, without any way to speak about it, you can understand the level up, when there is self-referential structures, which create a understanding in the subjective reality, but is still not equal to the self-referential structures.

0 Points       dionisos       22 Aug 2016     Does God exist? Disagree
Nothing special to say. (just trying to have enough data to see who agree with me on other subjects)

0 Points       dionisos       22 Aug 2016     Is free will an illusion? Mostly Agree
The problem of the concept of free-will come down to the problem of the concept of possibility.
We make choices : A choice is the act to select one possibility between many. (it could easily be extended, but it is the main idea)

The problem is that a possibility is relative to knowledge : That something is a "possibility" only mean that we don’t know if this thing is true or false. (it is not a physical problem, the universe could be deterministic or not, it doesn’t change that, it is purely conceptual)

Some will not see the relativity of some possibilities, for them it will feel like the possibility is intrinsic, independent of their own knowledge.
So when they make a choice, it feel like they have selected a intrinsic possibility, so it is like a pure act of creation, something with at least a part which is "absolutely free".
So they have to create the concept of free-will to designate this very thing.

The compatibilists are only redefining the concept of free-will by removing what is fundamental in this concept.

0 Points       Side Effect       21 Apr 2015     Does God exist? Neutral
yeah, God is invisible to the natural eye.

0 Points       Capricious       25 Mar 2015     Does God exist? Disagree
It's highly unlikely.

Philosophy Question Index

Is free will an illusion?
Were the atomic bombs dropped on Japan justified?
Is democracy the best form of government?
Does God exist?
Should atheists directly challenge religious beliefs?
Is God just?
Is the death penalty acceptable?
Is capitalism good?
Is truth relative?
Is it worthwhile to die for your beliefs?
Has feminism gone too far?
Is abortion morally acceptable?
Is trying to "change the world" foolish?
Can we handle the truth?
Is truthfulness a characteristic of a politician who is good for the people?
Is Anders Breivik insane?
Are double standards acceptable in dating?
Is affirmative action fair?
Is homosexuality natural?
Is it ethical to eat meat?
Is science ultimately just a matter of faith?
Is torture ever justified?
Is it plausible that we're living in a simulation?
Are spiritual experiences evidence of the supernatural?
Do we have an immaterial soul?
Is spanking children acceptable?
Is marriage a good thing?
Must God exist to explain how the universe began?
Is "ought" derived from "is"?
Are the core truths of science and religion complementary?
Is morality objective?
Does everything happen for a reason?
Should Julian Assange be considered a criminal for Wikileaks?
Will the WikiLeaks cable leaks do more harm than good?
Is there life after death?
Does life have a meaning?
Is living forever or having a greatly extended lifespan desirable?
Is hypocrisy acceptable?
Is revenge OK?
Is scientific consensus relevant?
Can art be defined?
Is the unconscious philosophical zombie possible?
Is the world explainable without God?
Is "good" art purely subjective?
Is casual sex morally acceptable?
Is there a Law of Karma?
Could a computer ever be conscious?
Is quantum mechanics needed to explain consciousness?
Can reductionist methods help explain consciousness?
Do Gödellian arguments refute a computational model of the mind?
Is life a deterministic consequence of physical laws?
Is information-theoretic death the most real interpretation of death?
Is physical reality a mathematical structure?
Are people who reject theories as unscientific closed minded?
Can you put a price on life?
Are our enemies innately evil?
Were the 9/11 hijackers cowardly?
Is censorship acceptable?
Is humanity likely doomed to destroy itself?
Should euthanasia be legal?
Is cryonics worthwhile?
Is masturbation morally acceptable?
Is hope good?
Is it acceptable to target (i.e. kill) civilians in war?
Is "good" music purely subjective?
Is suicide morally acceptable?
Is abortion wrong because it destroys the potential for life?
Is the value of a life proportional to its level of consciousness?
Is a "Theory of Everything" that unifies quantum mechanics and general relativity possible?
Is animal vivisection ever ethical?
Does P = NP?