[ExI] yet another ethical dilemma

spike spike66 at att.net
Thu Sep 5 00:14:51 UTC 2013



From: extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org
[mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Kelly Anderson
Subject: Re: [ExI] yet another ethical dilemma


On Wed, Sep 4, 2013 at 3:57 PM, spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote:

That one's easy Kelly:  No.  If they aint askin' I aint tellin.  spike

>.Aww, but Spike... He forced himself on her... What about that old ethic of
an eye for an eye? Don't they deserve it... ;-)




Who is they, Kelly?  My fourth cousin didn't do anything wrong.  Neither did
I.  Rather I haven't yet.  But it feels like anything I do here is at least
partly wrong.


I have a thought experiment for you Kelly and others who are reading this
thread.  This exercise has a point. 


Take a list of characteristics you consider important to being a good person
in your view, put them in order of importance if you wish, any number of
characteristics, and personalize them, your top values rather than what you
have been taught are the right values.  What makes a good successful person
in your view?  Perhaps you chose honesty, fairness, intelligence, diligence,
kindness, generosity.  You can likely envision a person who you know who is
all that.


OK now, estimate your position on that scale as a percentile as compared to
every person in the world.  My guess is that you estimated your position in
the top half of every one of those scales.  Repeat for all people in your
nation.  Speculate you still did well in all categories, and if you repeat
for everyone in your neighborhood, you likely still did well.  In all three
cases, if you averaged your percentile in all those categories, you likely
scored in the 70s or perhaps even the 80s.


OK now, repeat the above experiment will a group composed of all your direct
ancestors.   Hmmmm, my ancestors.  Imagine them gathered in a fantasy or
thought experiment where all of your ancestors are the age you are now,
gathered in one spot.  That would be a hell of a party, would it not?  If
you imagined the above thought experiment compared against this crowd, your
own genetic donors, are you more honest, smarter, fairer, more diligent, etc
than they?  If you are like me, you probably put yourself about average on
many if not most of those scales, and possibly below average, so if you
average your scores on all your scales compared to your own ancestors, you
might be only around 50th percentile average.  Anyone else get that result?


Look at that a different way.  That thought experiment, if it turned out the
same as it did for me, is equivalent to saying your own ancestors were
better than average people.  We tend to think highly of our own ancestors.


If so, is it not upsetting to learn that one of our own was an evil bastard?



-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.extropy.org/pipermail/extropy-chat/attachments/20130904/1c5f3f94/attachment.html>

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list