Saturday, June 18, 2016

The latest goofy value judgments

I keep seeing complaints that 20yo Stanford swimmer Brock Allen Turner was only sentenced to 6 months or less for a rape conviction.

No, he was not convicted of rape, and his sentence was not just 6 months. He was also sentenced to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. Those requirements are so onerous that many find it necessary to move out of state or out of the country.

I did not follow the case, so maybe he deserves the punishment. But it is disturbing the way everyone overstates the crime, and understates the punishment. Just part of the war on men, I guess.

One of the great advances in the history of philosophy is the conclusion that "ought implies can". Immanuel Kant said that if you ought to do something, then it must be that you can do it. That is, you cannot be morally commanded what you are unable to do. Now experiments supposedly show that people do not reason this way at all. The philosophers go on to argue whether Gandhi's morality can be said to be any better than Hitler's. I guess the idea is that both were popular extremists who were just doing what they could to help their people.

Such is the sorry state of philosophy.

Non-philosophers in respectable publications are not much better. This Julia Ioffe essay concludes:
No religion is inherently violent. No religion is inherently peaceful. Religion, any religion, is a matter of interpretation, and it is often in that interpretation that we see either beauty or ugliness — or, more often, if we are mature enough to think nuanced thoughts, something in between.
Her main argument is that the early Christians persecuted the rival Manicheans about 1700 years ago.

(((She))) is just another Trump-hater.

Yes, Islam is inherently more violent than Christianity. Islam was founded by a military conqueror, and teaches killing its enemies. Christianity teaches peace.

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