Blog Profile / Atheist Ethicist

Filed Under:Academics / Philosophy
Posts on Regator:473
Posts / Week:1.2
Archived Since:February 23, 2008

Blog Post Archive

Criticizing an Idea

The primary defense that Bill Maher and Sam Harris use against the charge of bigotry against their assertions against Islam is that it is permissible to criticize an idea. "Islam is an idea, not a race." Well, yes. That's true. However, not all criticisms of ideas are equal. Show More Summary

Legitimate Criticism and Defining Characteristics

The most common objection currently being raised to my claim about criticizing a bad idea goes something like this: "You say that it is only legitimate to say that you are criticizing an ideology if you are criticizing something that 100% of the people within that ideology agree on. Show More Summary

On Criticizing an Idea

When is a criticism of Islam bigoted, and when is it not? This has been a hot topic of debate in some circles recently after an exchange between Ben Affleck on one side, and Sam Harris and Bill Mahar on the other. In this exchange, Sam...Show More Summary

A Rational View of Tolerance

I haven't used this blog in a while. However, I have found a lot of nonsense on a recent question of whether Sam Harris and Bill Mahar are 'racist' in their criticism of Islam that I wanted to say some things about. The criticism isShow More Summary

The "Values" Found in the Republican's Proposed NASA Budget

There is more Republican idiocy going on in the House of Representatives concerning NASA's budget. Among the elements of the Republican NASA plan, they explicitly prohibit NASA from spending money on a mission to capture a small asteroid...Show More Summary

False Beliefs

Many atheists, perhaps proving their human nature in spite of their claims of superhuman rationality, get excitedly defensive when somebody challenges the groupthink. In my last post, I questioned some common claims about religion, and got a strong reaction from some. False beliefs are bad. Desirism accounts well for the badness of false beliefs. Show More Summary

Religion Poisons Everything?

There is a fundamental inconsistency in the way many atheists relate religion to good and bad actions. When a theist does something bad, religion is to blame. "What do you expect? You give a person a desire to please god and a belief...Show More Summary

Effective Altrusim

I have been looking into the movement known as “Effective Altruism” recently, particularly in the light of Peter Singer’s presentation at TED. To a large extent, this is substantially consistent with my interests since high school. I wanted to make the world a better place. Show More Summary

Why you should not kill yourself and why we should try to stop you if you do try.

Yesterday, I wrote that if you want to talk a person off the ledge, you need to tie that action to current desires. Future desires do not work because future desires cannot reach back in time to influence current actions. You can mention...Show More Summary

Talking Somebody Off a Ledge

I have been presented with the following scenario: Imagine a healthy, intelligent, priveleged young guy with the entire life ahead of him. Say he becomes deeply depressed for some reason and wants to die. Let's also imagine that he is completely atheistic and believe in no intrinsic values or meaning. Show More Summary

Procreation and Reasons for Action that Exist

If desires is the thing that tells us what is morally right / wrong, doesn't that impose upon us to procreate as much as possible? So that we have more entities that can form desires and fulfill them? No. Desires tell us what has value. Show More Summary

On Having a Purpose

Another question from the studio audience. Given the premise that determinism is correct, how can you say that the universe has no purpose? The universe is exactly as it had to be given it's deterministic evolution and consequentially the purpose was to give rise to living entities like you and me.... Show More Summary

Using People

I have been provided with another set of questions to answer regarding desirism. I will start with this one: A guy drugs a girl. She passes out. He rapes her in her sleep because he desired to. She is passed out during the entire ordeal and wake up without ever knowing about it. Show More Summary

Population Ethics: Bringing More People Into the World

Last week, I posted several articles on population ethics - the question of "How many people should there be?" Before moving on, I want to post an article that addresses this question more directly. It does not give an answer, but it...Show More Summary

The Nonidentity Problem

There is a problem in the philosophy of morality called The Nonidentity Problem. A member of the studio audience, Evan Dawson-Baglien, asked that I discuss it in the context of future desires. that a member of the studio audience put...Show More Summary

Future Desires Do Not Count

Future desires do not count. This is not to say that future desires do not matter. They matter to some people. In fact, they happen to matter to many of us. When I say that future desires do not count, this is to be taken as reporting the real-world fact that a future desire is not a reason for action that exists. Show More Summary

The Value of More Possible Worlds

As a follow up to my last post, I gave been asked to compare another pair of possible worlds. [B]etween the following [pair] of worlds, which would desirism recommend ("neutral" or "toss a coin" is also an option)? (A-life = almost all...Show More Summary

The Value of Possible Worlds

As a follow up to yesterday’s post, I have been asked [B]etween the following [pair] of worlds, which would desirism recommend ("neutral" or "toss a coin" is also an option)? (A-life = almost all desires fulfilled; B-life = hardly any...Show More Summary

On Population Ethics

I have been asked the following question from the studio audience. What's your view on it? Should we maximize fulfilled desires in the world; fulfilled desires minus unfulfilled ones; or should we minimize the number of unfulfilled ones?...Show More Summary

On Guns and Drugs

I have been asked, What is the [desirism] perspective on gun control? Which is a subject I have been thinking about recently along with... What is the [desirism] perspective on marijuana legalization? Because it strikes me that the two questions are similar. Show More Summary

Copyright © 2015 Regator, LLC