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Old 03-07-2014, 08:28 PM
 
354 posts, read 246,030 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mordant
Even if this doesn't result in controlling behavior, sectarian strife, or outright violence, it causes one to make decisions based on wishful or even magical thinking, and such decisions cannot in the long run be sound ones for any given individual or society -- even if you can contrive examples where it appears to do more good than harm.
Yes, faith leads to gullibility and I can't imagine that conclusion is ever only a positive for the individual or society at large. It also seems reasonable to suggest that all false beliefs must contain some element of faith.
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Old 03-07-2014, 09:02 PM
 
40,107 posts, read 26,772,494 times
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Default Is it ethical to dispel false beliefs, when the false beliefs ultimately lead to more good?

This is a straw man question designed to legitimize proselytizing disbelief in the existence of God. There is no definitive answer to whether or not God exists that can be used to justify such proselytizing. Pretending that there is . . . is itself a lie or false belief. Pitting one false belief against others is no way to be ethical. All that can be done is to protect against those things that demonstrably produce evil and encourage those that demonstrably produce good. Everything else is egotistical human vanity and hubris.
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Old 03-07-2014, 11:04 PM
 
Location: Mill Valley, California
275 posts, read 393,688 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
I suspect that there are ways for your example to backfire and produce negative results, the most obvious is that it is a system predicated upon a coverup, which if unraveled, would certainly cause undesired consequences and a great deal of anger.
Having a few months of success would still be a better societal benefit than having none at all. But you have a good point -- a backlash would have potential for unintended consequences if discovered. Thanks!

This doesn't sink the challenge yet, however, it merely changes the dillemma for the science-researcher who discovers the truth, to face the choice of perpetrating a lie for a known and imminent benefit, weighed against a mere existential threat that may or may not become part of the equation. That, I think still allows one to ethically attempt the former. However, I will attempt to think of a better example with little to know backlash threat.

Quote:
So, it appears you wish to assert a right to deceive but not to be deceived.
And you cannot have one without the other.
Not exactly, I merely assert the desire not to be deceived, not a right to not being deceived.
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Old 03-07-2014, 11:15 PM
 
Location: Mill Valley, California
275 posts, read 393,688 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asheville Native View Post
The truth is always the best option. Lies pacisify idiots, but it is only temporary, and will create a negative outcome sooner or later.
As I have mentioned to others, this is merely a dogmatic attitude not worthy of our atheist freethinker's motto. One cannot rightly back up a statement "truth is always the best option." Take the classic dilemma, if the you hid Jews in your attic during WW2 Germany and the Nazi's knocked upon your door and asked, "Are you harboring Jews in your attic?" the truth is not going to be your best option. Even in many more pedant everyday examples, its also not true. How does a spouse answer the question from a partner, like "Am I stupid?" or "Does this outfit make me look hideous?". Lies are often a non-moral issue, but merely a part of our knee-jerk defense instincts to avoid unnecessary conflict in our lives. For "lies of omission" this is doubly true. One would be hard pressed justifying blathering out every single unkind or unpleasant thought one has in the presence of others.
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Old 03-07-2014, 11:42 PM
 
Location: Mill Valley, California
275 posts, read 393,688 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
That is not quite the same thing. The drug is real.the effects are true. It is not telling people that they have to take the drug otherwise the tree spirits will be angry and will send hurricanes - and they then collect money. I would have a problem with that- as I do with the claims of religion.,,,
I don't mind religions raising money if they would stop wasting it. I once read a study (in a religious conservative journal to boot) that concluded that only 5% of the money raised by faith-based instutions was actually used to do social-work. The rest went to paying for clergy, building maintenance, new buildings, and printing literature -- i.e. all tools of proselytization.

But more generally, where's the harm in most liberal faiths? For me, the only issue is when an individual makes the decision to think their dogma has precedence over everything else (dogma in primacy). When people make this mistake, they have adopted a method that allows them to ignore their common sense when it conflicts with dogma. And if their dogma is telling them to hate/kill/maime/etc. It is a recipe for disaster. But if they maintain a liberal religious attitude -- i.e. with their human-nature/common-sense in primacy over dogma -- where's the real problem with that kind of faith (even when it comes to raising money -- if they did it more honestly, at least)?
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Old 03-08-2014, 12:27 AM
 
Location: Mill Valley, California
275 posts, read 393,688 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
This is a straw man question designed to legitimize proselytizing disbelief in the existence of God. There is no definitive answer to whether or not God exists that can be used to justify such proselytizing. Pretending that there is . . . is itself a lie or false belief. Pitting one false belief against others is no way to be ethical. All that can be done is to protect against those things that demonstrably produce evil and encourage those that demonstrably produce good. Everything else is egotistical human vanity and hubris.
What?! I don't think you are using straw man correctly here...and the rest of your screed is pretty incomprehensible. For example, where did you get "Pitting one false belief against others is no way to be ethical" something we are discussing here?
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Old 03-08-2014, 03:32 AM
 
39,206 posts, read 10,887,543 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HopOnPop View Post
I don't mind religions raising money if they would stop wasting it. I once read a study (in a religious conservative journal to boot) that concluded that only 5% of the money raised by faith-based instutions was actually used to do social-work. The rest went to paying for clergy, building maintenance, new buildings, and printing literature -- i.e. all tools of proselytization.

But more generally, where's the harm in most liberal faiths? For me, the only issue is when an individual makes the decision to think their dogma has precedence over everything else (dogma in primacy). When people make this mistake, they have adopted a method that allows them to ignore their common sense when it conflicts with dogma. And if their dogma is telling them to hate/kill/maime/etc. It is a recipe for disaster. But if they maintain a liberal religious attitude -- i.e. with their human-nature/common-sense in primacy over dogma -- where's the real problem with that kind of faith (even when it comes to raising money -- if they did it more honestly, at least)?
Well, that is a good point. While it might seem that a doubtfully true claim (eg religion) is justified because of all the good it does, it might be that a better job could be done in other ways. Whenever I look at this 'religion is necessary, true or not' I tend to get this feeling that the Placebo effect or right answer the wrong way reasoning is only tolerable in the short term.
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Old 03-12-2014, 02:25 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HopOnPop View Post
I ask this dilemma because I kind of hope someone can pull me back from the cliff
Then I hope my post has succeeded in highlighting that there is no cliff. The cliff only exists when you use isolated examples limited in both scope and time. As such while it is fun as a thought experiment, your concerns do not seem to map on to actual reality in any way whatsoever.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HopOnPop View Post
But that's precisely all we need in this situation -- a single viable example that illustrates an ethical need to propigate a lie
Not if the example is so limited in scope and time that it does not map to reality in any way. All you need to have a fun thought experiment is, as you say, a single viable but limited example. To actual map your concerns on to reality however you need to do much more than this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HopOnPop View Post
Its a fine distinction (and why I chose this example) -- the particular lie doesn't directly endorse or support homoeopathy, because the example is actually a lie about the lie that is homoeopathy
Yet endorse homeopathy is exactly what it would do. By lying about the efficacy of one particular treatment you would lend credence to the practice as a whole. So while your example that is limited in scope and time might be fun for a thought experiment. The fall out by the ripples such a lie would cause in reality would be more expensive than any imagined benefit you achieved in the lie itself.

Two wrongs do not make a right. Feeding the lie that is homeopathy by using further lies to achieve an end is not a good thing. We should be working to dispel the lie that is homeopathy and bringing people who are practitioners of it to bear under the laws that we normally have for fraud, exploitation and worse. This endevour would be set back by feeding more lies into their marketing machine.
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Old 03-13-2014, 01:37 AM
 
Location: Mill Valley, California
275 posts, read 393,688 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nozzferrahhtoo View Post
Not if the example is so limited in scope and time that it does not map to reality in any way. All you need to have a fun thought experiment is, as you say, a single viable but limited example. To actual map your concerns on to reality however you need to do much more than this.
Of course! But this example was merely meant to stand as a "proof of concept" example, and it has so far faired fairly well for that purpose (though other than you, only one or two other people have given it a good walk around the block thus far....).

Quote:
Yet endorse homeopathy is exactly what it would do. By lying about the efficacy of one particular treatment you would lend credence to the practice as a whole. So while your example that is limited in scope and time might be fun for a thought experiment. The fall out by the ripples such a lie would cause in reality would be more expensive than any imagined benefit you achieved in the lie itself.
Sorry, no. You are misconstruing the example and drawing a false contingency from that misconception. No one is lying about the efficacy of homoeopathy in my example, the efficacy is merely the result of a mistake unbeknownst to all. The lie/deception in question, rather, only involves a single scientific researcher, who after the fact, discovers the mistake. Thus, its the avenue of truth here that what would actually lead to hurting the image of homoeopathy, not the deception as you contend. Ironically, it is the deception in this scenario that actually has any chance of helping the image of homoeopathy (which I think we both agree, since deception already permeates homoeopathy so thoroughly it would be a hard to argue that one more deception added to the great steaming heap it already is based upon could hardly be said to truly "help" it all that much). Finally, the only threat of damage is only to a single researcher who chose to withhold a truth. With the damage limited to a single individual, and that damage being merely existential rather than inevitable, these concerns do not give a significant challenge to the example, they merely make it a bit more complicated (and thus limit its usefulness to this kind of discussion)

Quote:
Two wrongs do not make a right.
Are you absolutely sure? What rational basis can you actually state to support that supposition? Consider a wealthy but miserable man who wrongly makes some investments that lead him to lose the bulk of his wealth, which in turn causes his wife to wrongly leave him, and only then, as a relatively poor and single individual, the man finds that he is truly happy for the first time in his adult life. Could he have ever discovered this "right" (that freed him of his depression) without having these two "wrongs" happen to him? Yes, its a contrived example, just as with the homoeopathy one, but it still demonstrates how such a statement is not really justified as an argument. While it is likely generally correct, it can't be used to counter a specific example.

My argument here is not meant to lead people to toss out clearly right-minded ideals (like a belief that truth is generally a good thing and usually preferable to a lie), but rather just to make people question the tendency to turn them into dogma (i.e. like unintentionally dogmatically over-stating the case, as in "truth is always preferable to a lie"). Perhaps if I used a more direct approach to address the issue of our own dogma, this thread would have spurred more discussion...oh well.

Quote:
Feeding the lie that is homeopathy by using further lies to achieve an end is not a good thing. We should be working to dispel the lie that is homeopathy and bringing people who are practitioners of it to bear under the laws that we normally have for fraud, exploitation and worse.
Although this is entirely a tangent, I totally agree with you.
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Old 03-13-2014, 03:05 AM
 
Location: City-Data Forum
7,945 posts, read 4,746,778 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HopOnPop View Post
That's a fairly impossible point to actually prove, is it not? I believe I did give an example in the OP on homoeopathy that did have only positive consequences (and further clarified in the above response I made to Nozzferrahhtoo).

...snip...
I don't think the accidental homoeopathic flu vaccine is "all-good." It causes a further undue believe in homoeopathy, instead of its placeboes and attention/care endorphins. It's better to explain to the conspiracy theorist pro-homoeopathy person why they are wrong. A lot of people don't go to homoeopathy because they "believe," they go to try it out.
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